Terminated speaker cables -necessary or not?

Discussion in 'Cables & Switches' started by echn111, Jan 21, 2008.

  1. echn111

    echn111
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    This may be a fairly basic question, but I couldn't find it in the faq...

    Other than convenience and looks, is there an advantage to terminating speaker cables? It just looks like another layer that the signal needs to go through. More importantly, it also adds significantly to the cost of mid-range speaker cables.

    Do some cables/speakers/receivers "require" termination? For example, the QED X-Tube XT-400 (example only, haven't bought it) looks rather thick and has a strange design, can I still pull off the outer layer and plug the bare wires into the amp/speaker anyway?
     
  2. ben.bayliss

    ben.bayliss
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    No, it's purely a convenience thing.

    I disagree though that it adds significantly to the cost. A recent thread here turned out good banana plugs at 50p each (£1 per pair), and a quick hunt on eBay shows some very affordable options out there (24 for £15 seems a common deal on offer). Compared to the cost of the cable you'll be putting them on, I honestly don't think cost is an issue!
     
  3. echn111

    echn111
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    Thanks for the clarification.

    I was looking at the QED airlocks, and at £4 each, that automatically adds £16 to each speaker cable. As I only need 1 meter each for my three front speakers so I don't mind getting reasonably high quality cables. But the cost of the airlocks more than doubled the price. Going for dirt cheap (but decent quality cables) for the sides/rear speakers however.

    However, if I got low quality banana terminators rather than either bare wire or high quality terminators, wouldn't that hurt the quality of the audio as it adds another (low quality) layer that the signal needs to pass through?

    I'm thinking that, when it comes to audio quality, I'd be better off with bare wire, and am wondering why so many people don't do that.
     
  4. trailer

    trailer
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    I think the idea of terminating speaker cable is to try and maximise the contact area between the cable and the plug. If it's a proper soldered connection then if done correctly all the strands of the cable will be in contact. If its a bare wire that you screw down on then there may be a chance you'll squeeze out some of the strands.
     
  5. blue max

    blue max
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    Unless you have very good access to the rear of the receiver, you will appreciate the convenience of plugs. Bare connections will allow oxidisation of the stripped cable. A plug will exclude air from the connection and be the best connection possible.

    Graham
     
  6. ben.bayliss

    ben.bayliss
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    You're basing your decision though on the assumption that QED Airloc must be better simply because it's more expensive, and equally that regular banana plugs are worse because they're cheap.

    I personally don't subscribe to that idea whatsoever, and would suggest that you wouldn't be able to tell any difference at all between any of the three options unless the connection was faulty.

    All a plug does is conduct electricity, and all that is required for it to do that well enough is to provide a low-resistance path from cable to connector, which copper banana plugs of any kind will all do very well.
     
  7. trailer

    trailer
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    I think you'll find banana plugs are made out of brass with a nickel or gold plating.
     
  8. ben.bayliss

    ben.bayliss
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    A quick google reveals plenty of copper (usually w/gold plating) banana plugs available out there, including the 24-for-£15 ones on eBay I referred to earlier.. I take your point though that more often than not they're probably something else.

    Let's not get too technical - they make no difference! :D
     
  9. echn111

    echn111
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  10. ben.bayliss

    ben.bayliss
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    They're actually quite good as far as plugs go! :) Don't worry - you'll be perfectly happy with them.
     

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