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  1. #1

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    Default Surprising discovery about banana plugs

    We spend so much time considering the construction of our speaker wire. How much time do we invest in considering our connectors construction? Most connectors I've seen have a serious design flaw and I’m just now discovering this.
    I’m an Industrial Mechanic in charge of Special Projects at our plant in Las Vegas. Like any new project I’ve undertaken I’ve have to foresee every angle of a projects assembly from the very start all the way downstream to the finish. I’m about to make my first higher-end speaker wires when I discovered something rather alarming about the design and construction of MOST Banana plugs. Pay close attention. I want real advice and I want to bring this thing to your attention if you don’t already know it.
    We like the mushroomed wire topped connectors because they securely hold our 12 awg wire in the plug. We sometimes buy wire in single stand for its conductivity/polarity characteristics and the fact that there is no opportunity of having two parallel conductor strands moving against each other regardless of how remotely a chance that might happen. But what about the male plug’s tips? You know, the little jackets that have multiple splits in them that run the length of the male plug and are fanned out and made to compress as they are pushed in their respective female seats? These bloody things are only loosely pressed on to the lug and this is a very not good thing. I’m looking at 3 different brands of plugs right in front of me and all of these things spin freely on their post. If I can spin these blades on the male post while inserted into the female connector (and I can) then my connections are technically severed. This is a horrible connection and would never be allowed in an industrial application yet we spend 20x times the money on speaker connection continuity than industry would ever spend on connectivity only to be installing un-foreseen connectivity "no-no’s” at both ends of our $100+ speaker wires.
    Has anybody else here ever thought about this. It is just now something I’ve realized. In industry, if there were applications for the use of “audiophile grade” Banana plugs, every one that I have sitting in front of me would be tossed in a trash can. Yet audiophiles are more anal about connectivity than any industrial electrician. Am I way off base here?
    I’ve seen a better male end in the GLS locking plug where a locking cam mechanism firmly presses the mail connector into the female confines but it has an inherent flaw in its design as well in the way wire locks into the upstream shank. Bare wire can rock side to side in the sleeve allowing stranded wire to slide on its self and solid connectors can slide on the connector’s sleeves. This introduces noise and fatigues wires.
    I’d love to hear what you guys have to say about this before I build these expensive wires.
    Last edited by Igo; 12-20-2008 at 01:06 PM.
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  2. #2

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    Default

    And if you would like to see something even more thought provoking next time you open up your amplifier just look at where you beautiful speaker wires hit the amplifier posts and then have a look inside at the kind and size of the skimpy wire the factory runs to those same posts

    Same story for an inside of a speaker and the factory wire that connects the posts to the crossover and drivers.

    It’s not unlike the hundred if not thousands of miles or crappy electrical wire that electricity passes through before it get’s to your wall outlet and somehow spending several hundred dollars or more for the final 3’ feet from the wall to your amp is supposed to make a “massive” improvement.

    Yes; we have a crazy hobby.

  3. #3

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    You are absolutely connect but we have line conditioners after the a/c outlet. The wire in the receiver is very short and is firmly soldered as is the wire in the speakers. The wire from amp to speakers usually run thru a mine field of radio waves and introduced electro-magnetic fields generated by our own power supplies.
    Anyway, these banana plugs are probably just fine if they feel snug upon insertion but I'm going to build my new wires ridgid just so I can KNOW they are ridgid.
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  4. #4

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    But, like, wouldn't just using bare wire solve this?
    Currently listening to:

    Marantz SR5004
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  5. #5

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    Don't waste your time making cables, buy MIT. The best sound with the best banana plugs.

    BTW, the wire in my amp is thicker than your wrist.
    'Political Correctness'.........defined

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  6. #6

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    You can take some silver solder and tin the ends of the wire for an improved connection at the banana plug. As for the plug itself it gets compressed when you insert it into the jack. As for the internal wiring of an amp the stuff has much thinner insulation than speaker wire and is 16 gage or better in most decent amps for the less than one foot run internally. If someone wants to make an argument about not needing a decent gage wire due to the internal wiring of an amp take a look at the traces on the amp boards and the XO boards. If you go by that then you shouldn't need wire greater than 22ga to run to your speakers. I run 16, or 14ga wires in my speakers for the internal wiring. Just an analogy. When I used to paint bridges the pumps had 3/8" connectors on the manifolds. When using long hoses the first hose was up to 1", and tapered down to 1/4 inch at the gun. Same is true for air.
    Ben
    Please. Please contact me a ben62670 @ yahoo.com. Make sure to include who you are, and you are from Polk so I don't delete your email. Also I am now physically unable to work on any projects. If you need help let these guys know. There are many people who will help if you let them know where you are.
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  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by RutgersFTW View Post
    But, like, wouldn't just using bare wire solve this?
    Silver maybe. I am contemplating straight wire at the amp in fact. Not pretty or cool like I want to do but as solid and direct as it gets.
    Copper tarnishes to dramatically except when installed clean (never introduced to the acids and oils from human skin) and is never moved.
    Back in the 70's, for awhile, home builders started using aluminum wiring because aluminum is one of the best conductors there is until they realized that aluminum would oxidize even under ridged coupling, connections would become intermittent and houses would burn down due to arc flash.
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  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by F1nut View Post
    Don't waste your time making cables, buy MIT. The best sound with the best banana plugs.

    BTW, the wire in my amp is thicker than your wrist.
    I don't know MIT. I searched for it but got some school. LOL. What am I missing with MIT. Got a link? I'd like to look at this.
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  9. #9

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    Ben, jackpot on the silver solder. I knew that. Doh. This will be part of my speaker construction. Heck, I just told a guy one or two post before this that silver wire would make a good bare wire connection. My mind is slipping.
    If I tin my wires then rasp down on them in the GLS locking bananas then run the lip of some shrink tubing into the neck of the connector I'll have a positive connection from front to aft. Perfect.
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  10. #10

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    Ooops. I forgot. My new wire is silver. Tinning not required.
    Spades at the speakers. Now I'm rock solid.
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  11. #11

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    Back in the 70's, for awhile, home builders started using aluminum wiring because aluminum is one of the best conductors there is
    Is no where near the conductivity of copper. They used it because it is cheap and there was a shortage of copper. Do you ever see aluminum in any HiFi gear beside the case? No. Someone feed you some real bad info.
    Please. Please contact me a ben62670 @ yahoo.com. Make sure to include who you are, and you are from Polk so I don't delete your email. Also I am now physically unable to work on any projects. If you need help let these guys know. There are many people who will help if you let them know where you are.
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  12. #12

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    "He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you." Friedrich Nietzsche

  13. #13

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    Igo,

    I usually terminate with the locking nanners. Couple of things I do to help relieve the things you mentioned.

    - I tried tinning the wire, but I prefer to leave it un-tinned to get a better compression into all of the strands.

    - In the locking nanners, there are 2 compression screws. The one closest to the tip is the one that goes on bare wire. The other compression screw is screwed down onto the wire insulation. Putting one of the compression screws on the insulation helps lock the wire in pace and keeps if from bending. I have also put heat shrink over the insulation to help take up the space and keep the wire in pace.

    - Even if I'm using wire pants, if there is a extra space between the wire and where it exits the connector I add heat shrink to create some strain relief for the weight of the wire and help it gently arc down to the floor.

    - If I'm using larger than 12ga or larger, on the speaker side, I use the angled locking nanners. That way the wire flows from the floor to the connector without putting all the extra weight on a 90 degree connection.

    That being said, I generally use Soldered spades for all amp connections.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by ben62670 View Post
    Is no where near the conductivity of copper. They used it because it is cheap and there was a shortage of copper. Do you ever see aluminum in any HiFi gear beside the case? No. Someone feed you some real bad info.
    You are correct. I went looked it up and aluminum wire has to be 50% larger than copper to move the same current. It was used promarily because it was cheaper....but it oxidized making intermitant connections which arced and burned things up.
    My bad on the conductance statement. I don't know where I think I remeber that from.
    ...Link to my System Showcase...
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  15. #15

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    We used to use Aluminum for range outlets, but like you stated the gage had to go up, it was harder to work with, and it does loosen up over time.
    Ben
    Please. Please contact me a ben62670 @ yahoo.com. Make sure to include who you are, and you are from Polk so I don't delete your email. Also I am now physically unable to work on any projects. If you need help let these guys know. There are many people who will help if you let them know where you are.
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  16. #16

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    at $4 a pop the MIT blades are still pressed on. I can't tell from the images but if they are soldered at the based they would still be an un-interupted connection.
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  17. #17

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    I like crimp fit, and then I touch up the connection with solder:)
    Please. Please contact me a ben62670 @ yahoo.com. Make sure to include who you are, and you are from Polk so I don't delete your email. Also I am now physically unable to work on any projects. If you need help let these guys know. There are many people who will help if you let them know where you are.
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  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by ben62670 View Post
    I like crimp fit, and then I touch up the connection with solder:)
    Yes ideedy. Then the plug and the wire become one. The more I ponder over my original inquiry the more I think I'll go silver solder of bare wire at the amp and crimped spades and silver solder at the speakers. Very simple, way cheaper and as good a connect as it gets.
    Last edited by Igo; 12-20-2008 at 05:18 PM. Reason: shit I can't spell
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  19. #19

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    I heated the banana plugs up to the point the silver solder melted into where the cable goes in filling it up, then I put the cable in, filled the screw holes with more solder, rock solid.......

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Igo View Post
    at $4 a pop the MIT blades are still pressed on. I can't tell from the images but if they are soldered at the based they would still be an un-interupted connection.
    Huh? Of course, it's an un-interupted soldered connection. Why would you want anything else!?!

    BTW, my suggestion to you was to just go ahead and buy a set of MIT cables. There are none better, IMNSHO.
    'Political Correctness'.........defined

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  21. #21

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    My system doesn't warrant high end cables. $200 got me bi-amped DL Labs t-14 for the stereo pair and the bi-wired center and 12 guage twister pair for the surrounds. Good enough for me. I appreciate the link though.
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  22. #22

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    Ok, fair enough and honest. Gotta respect that.

    That said, why are you so worried about the connectors then?

    Anyway, maybe you'll like these. http://www.soniccraft.com/products/c...a/wbt_0600.htm
    'Political Correctness'.........defined

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  23. #23

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    Because being frugal is not a reason for being sloppy with connectivity.
    Some things are no different if you spend $500 or $50,000 on a system.
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    Conversely, the best connector in the world isn't going to net you an advantage if the conductor isn't on par.

    It's my experience that the method of connection is far less important than the conductor. I dare you or anyone to hear a difference between bare wire, banana or spade.
    'Political Correctness'.........defined

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  25. #25

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    I am more than aware.
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  26. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by F1nut View Post
    Conversely, the best connector in the world isn't going to net you an advantage if the conductor isn't on par.

    It's my experience that the method of connection is far less important than the conductor. I dare you or anyone to hear a difference between bare wire, banana or spade.
    Which MIT cables do you have?

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