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Spade or Banana between the amp and speakers


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Hi all,

 

Just wondering what type of connections to use between the amp and speakers. 

Recently, after setting up my new system, I have used spades for the amp end and bananas for speakers as the speaker cable came with spades and bananas on each end.

 

Personally I don't think spades, banana or bare-wire matters as long as the connection is 'good'

 

I would like to hear, constructive thoughts from you guys about this.

 

Cheers.

 

K.

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I've found with spades no matter how hard you tighten them up they still move around. 😞

Have a scotch and relax, enjoy the music.

I tend to disagree in so much as it depends entirely on which binding posts you are using with spade connectors. When properly tightened, (only finger tight) the Mundorf binding posts on my Absol

1 hour ago, NADbooffa said:

Personally I don't think spades, banana or bare-wire matters as long as the connection is 'good'

Would tend to agree on this point - however, my brain insists that each added bit of connection is room for oxidation to creep in. So, if possible I'll tend to leave the wires bare at either end unless that is not an option. But I can honestly say I haven't noticed a difference.

(Shut up! Shut up!)

Sorry, my brain also says that if I do such a crappy job with the bare wire, then maybe I SHOULD be using banana - as they plug in so neatly (and are much easier to attach).

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Yeah quality is key.  Years ago I used some cheap banana connectors on bare wire and they introduced white noise.  Took me ages to fault find.  I always worry about a stray wire shorting out an amp with bare wire, more mental than anything else, so have used a mixture of quality spade and banana.

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Similar observation here re spades, they tend to loosen over time, even if the cables are static. I guess room vibrations from the speakers, et. al. loosen the clamping knobs (?) over a period of time, somewhat like speaker drive screws need maintenance tightening.

I just changed the eBay banana plugs of my speaker cables to KLEI™Classic Harmony Banana Connectors and I can report a positive experience. The level of detail and the expansiveness of the soundstage has definitely gone up a notch - go figure. They are pretty easy to solder to reasonable thickness cable (10 AWG) and are quite a neat design. I'm not sure how they would structurally handle really heavy speaker cables, however. Significantly cheaper than WBT's...

Regards, Peter.

 

bananas.jpg

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On 27/05/2020 at 11:52 AM, cafe67 said:

I've found with spades no matter how hard you tighten them up they still move around. 😞

I tend to disagree in so much as it depends entirely on which binding posts you are using with spade connectors.

When properly tightened, (only finger tight) the Mundorf binding posts on my Absolare monoblock amps grip the Oyaide spades on my Echole speaker cables like they are welded together.

 

I know this because I have just relocated my amps after 12 months and undoing the binding posts to remove the spades was not easy at all: )

ECHOLE Limited Edition speaker cables 11.08.18b.jpg

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7 hours ago, Aperalim said:

 

When properly tightened, (only finger tight) the Mundorf binding posts on my Absolare monoblock amps grip the Oyaide spades on my Echole speaker cables like they are welded together.

 

 

They look superb, A ... but f*ck me they are expensive!  :(

 

Andy

 

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58 minutes ago, warweary said:

Spades attach to amp, bananas to speaker is the way I've gone twice so far... they keep working.

 

Sure, they work, ww - but I've removed both spades and banana plugs from my amps today (doing a bit of testing of clipping - using dummy loads) and the cylindrical Multi-Contact banana plugs I use, grip the binding posts much harder than my (Vampire) binding posts do.  :)

 

So I would suggest binding posts are better connectors than spades.

 

Andy

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Spades are far superior to any banana plug IME.  Significant pressure can be applied to the spade (with decent binding posts) with much more contact area than banana plugs.  I use spades on my amps and Neutrik Speakon connectors to the speakers, which are far superior to binding posts IMO.  My system runs 8 x speaker cables with 48m of external heavy duty speaker cable, and due to the significant power being fed to the speakers I simply can't afford a mishap with poor connections.     

DSC05231 (Medium).JPG

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Spades made of pure copper and of Chinese origin, were my choice until recently. Never had any problem with them.

Eventually though I decided to take them out and use bare wire, and thus eliminate another "link" in the signal chain.

In honesty, I can't hear any difference in the sound. It just made me feel better.

...and before everyone jumps up and points out that there's negligent / not measurable resistance with adding spades,

I will agree with such statement. It just feels 'better' to adopt a simplistic approach.  

 

PS: The above applies for my main system.  The 'home theatre' set up is different.

Edited by Arthur K
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On 27/05/2020 at 4:02 PM, PeterB7858 said:

 

I just changed the eBay banana plugs of my speaker cables to KLEI™Classic Harmony Banana Connectors and I can report a positive experience. The level of detail and the expansiveness of the soundstage has definitely gone up a notch - 

 

Just out of curiosity..  

 

Had the sound inproved because of a better connector or a new clean connector over a dirty old connector? 

 

Just a theory of mine. 

 

 

And on the orginal question. 

 

If current carry capacity and surface area contact was the only factors. 

 

Spade

Bare wire 

Banana 

In that order.. 

 

As for what sounds better? 

 

The cleanest and tightest. 

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I like spades over bananas. The spades have a much larger contact area, even though they can be a pain to get tight enough not to move and loose enough to not break the screw posts.

At the same time my pre to amp uses XLR and the amp to speaker is hard wired (active speakers).

 

@Hytram—cleaner connectors aren't just a theory, clean really does work better. It's why there are multiple recommendations to disconnect, clean and reconnect at regular intervals.

Edited by GregWormald
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Use banana, jack.

 

Less stress on the contact points.

 

Less stress on the cables themselves.

 

Less stress on sound. More relaxed. 

 

Easy way to relieve stress. Laid out. Plug in. Unplug and let cable fall to ground. Pick up and plug in again. Only do this when the whole system is already powered down for 48 hours (for charge storage to be fully dissipated) and to avoid your hands passing static charge to the cables' dielectric. 

Edited by jeromelang
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Have a scotch and relax, enjoy the music.

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7 hours ago, sir sanders zingmore said:

My understanding is that bare wire is good at first but it will slowly corrode and worsen the connection. So unless you keep trimming the corroded bit, you lose the benefit

We live next to the sea, where everything corrodes. Except bare wire - at least in the music room. And, I figure, if I used spade or banana, they wouldn't be soldered (for a variety of historical reasons), so I'd have the same issue.

 

But if I did have any corrosion, then a haircut would be on the cards - once a year, probably.

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3 minutes ago, Cloth Ears said:

 

 

"....But if I did have any corrosion, then a haircut would be on the cards - once a year, probably...."

That's always a good practice. Kind of annual maintenance.

And it hold true to other parts of a sound system, like power plug pins, RCA pins etc.

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15 hours ago, Hytram said:

 

Just out of curiosity..  

 

Had the sound inproved because of a better connector or a new clean connector over a dirty old connector? 

 

Just a theory of mine. 

 

 

And on the orginal question. 

 

If current carry capacity and surface area contact was the only factors. 

 

Spade

Bare wire 

Banana 

In that order.. 

 

As for what sounds better? 

 

The cleanest and tightest. 

Could certainly be the case but I had only recently treated the eBay plugs with DeoxIT (as I do a couple of times a year) so I don’t think dirty contacts were having too much of a deleterious effect. 
The KLEI bananas should theoretically be providing an increased surface area contact over the eBay type I had (Nakamichi Silver plugs). 
The improvement was subtle but I know my system well and I listened to the same set of songs pre and post installation. But who knows... 🙂
I will say that pulling all my cables out and utilising DeoxIT Cleaner and “Gold” Conditioner, and tightening all the speaker and equipment screws I can get to, a couple of times a year, seems to definitely provide a performance lift to my system every time I do it. 
Regards,

Peter. 

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8 hours ago, sir sanders zingmore said:

My understanding is that bare wire is good at first but it will slowly corrode and worsen the connection. So unless you keep trimming the corroded bit, you lose the benefit

Normally I would say treat the bare wire connection every 2 to 5 years with Caigs Deoxit.  If you live in an area of high corrosion you can do it once a year.

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I'm surprised no one has made a fruit joke yet.

 

 

Bananas for me. i'm always plugging and unplugging gear. Spades and bare wire is just too much of a hassle. 

If I didn't  need to constantly unplug speakers/amps I would use bare wire or 'O' ring spades for best connection.

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19 hours ago, andyr said:

They look superb, A ... but f*ck me they are expensive!  :(

Well of course the Mundorf binding posts came fitted to my Absolare monoblocks : )

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18 hours ago, Hytram said:

If current carry capacity and surface area contact was the only factors. 

 

Spade

Bare wire 

Banana 

In that order.. 

 

You would appear to have only used the 'spline'-type banana plugs, H, if you put surface area contact of bananas below spades.

 

The Multi-Contact cylindrical ones that I use (gold plated, beryllium copper - very springy!) have a total surface area of about 226mm^2 - ie. the surface of a 4mm tube which is 18mm long.

 

In contrast, the only part of a spade which makes contact with a typical binding post is the bottom surface of the space under the BP nut.  If we take a typical BP as an annulus which is 15mm OD and 8mm ID - that gives a total annulus area of 127mm^2.

 

Quote

As for what sounds better? 

 

The cleanest and tightest. 

 

True!  Multi-Contact banana plugs are very springy.  They compress slightly, as you insert them into a Binding Post socket - so they are a very tight connection.  :)

 

18 hours ago, GregWormald said:

I like spades over bananas. The spades have a much larger contact area,

 

See above, Greg.

 

1 hour ago, Aperalim said:

Well of course the Mundorf binding posts came fitted to my Absolare monoblocks : )

 

You mean your expensive Absolare monoblocks, Chris!  :)

 

Andy

 

Edited by andyr
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1 hour ago, Aperalim said:

Well of course the Mundorf binding posts came fitted to my Absolare monoblocks : )

Agree with Aperalim. The type/brand of binding post makes a difference.

The Furutech Torque Guard binding posts - when used - hold spade connectors in exceptionally well.

When tightening the screw it literally torques down the spade like a torque wrench. Very cool to use - very smart design.

 

Furutech FT-808 (R) - binding posts | Accessories and DIY ...

 

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8 minutes ago, haygeebaby said:

The Furutech Torque Guard binding posts - when used - hold spade connectors in exceptionally well.

When tightening the screw it literally torques down the spade like a torque wrench.

Isn't that the opposite way to how they actually work?

Isn't there a torque limiter to prevent overtightening?

A torque wrench turns the fastener until a predetermined torque value is reached, then it either gives a visual and/or audible indication, or it has a release mechanism that prevents further tightening. It doesn't tighten a fastener any better or worse than another type of spanner or socket drive.

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17 hours ago, jeromelang said:

Less stress on the cables themselves.

If they are 90 degree bananas, otherwise, no there isnt.

Edited by Wimbo
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25 minutes ago, andyr said:

The Multi-Contact cylindrical ones that I use (gold plated, beryllium copper - very springy!) have a total surface area of about 226mm^2 - ie. the surface of a 4mm tube which is 18mm long.

 

In contrast, the only part of a spade which makes contact with a typical binding post is the bottom surface of the space under the BP nut.  If we take a typical BP as an annulus which is 15mm OD and 8mm ID - that gives a total annulus area of 127mm^2.

And who told you that?

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2 hours ago, andyr said:

True!  Multi-Contact banana plugs are very springy.  They compress slightly, as you insert them into a Binding Post socket - so they are a very tight connection.  :)

With all due respect Andy (noting I have used Multi Contact gold-plated beryllium copper banana plugs and binding posts myself for DIY projects in the past) and not disputing your maths on the surface area calculations, I would suggest that just because it is a 'tight fit', I am not sure that you can assume the outer surface of your banana plug is making 100% contact with the internal surface of the binding post?  But as far as banana plugs go, If I had no choice but to use them, these are the type I would use : )

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Have been using spades but they are harder to switch between speakers.

 

Anyone care to suggest the best banana plug?

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17 minutes ago, Aperalim said:

With all due respect Andy (noting I have used Multi Contact gold-plated beryllium copper banana plugs and binding posts myself for DIY projects in the past) and not disputing your maths on the surface area calculations, I would suggest that just because it is a 'tight fit', I am not sure that you can assume the outer surface of your banana plug is making 100% contact with the internal surface of the binding post?  But as far as banana plugs go, If I had no choice but to use them, these are the type I would use : )

That logic would also apply to spade contacts. Unless things are lapped together, there is no absolute surface contact. Also, FWIW, silver doesn't lose conductivity with corrosion. 

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3 minutes ago, t_mike said:

That logic would also apply to spade contacts. Unless things are lapped together, there is no absolute surface contact. Also, FWIW, silver doesn't lose conductivity with corrosion.

Yes understood – but I would venture that two flat surfaces under compression possibly have a better chance of maximising potential contact than two cylindrical forms one inside the other?  I have used both of these options specifically – and yes, you are correct there is NEVER absolute surface contact in purely mechanical fixings in audio equipment – or most instances for that matter unless there are enormous forces involved and the metals are sufficiently malleable (as in pure copper) to deform into each other – but beryllium is relatively hard and in this instance added to the copper in the banana plugs to increase its tensile resilience to generate its  'springiness'...

No absolute truths here of course – all good fun and reminds me of fascinating time I spent a few years ago with an artist friend working with several research nanochemists and engineers working with Atomic Force Microscopy (ATM) and Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) exploring the Midas phenomena where atoms are transferred (exchanged) between materials under certain contact conditions.

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3 hours ago, Wimbo said:

And who told you that?

 

Ummm, I measured some that I have W.  :o

 

Andy

 

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Unfortunately corrosion on silver does cause conductivity loss; corrosion on  silver being mainly silver sulphide and not silver oxide.

Edited by PicoWattson
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Not sure if anyone here has seen Krispy’s recent video sharing his experiences/opinions.  I’m in the banana camp, but I can see the merits of spade also. 
 

 

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14 hours ago, andyr said:

 

Yes - Multi-Contact banana plugs.

 

See here:  https://au.rs-online.com/web/p/banana-plugs-connectors/0531453/

 

Andy

 

 

 

 been using these,the rs component supplied multi contact banana plugs for a while now and can highly recommend them,i soldered mine with wbt silver solder,very happy with sound quality also a nice snug fit,if you wan't to be really fussy apply caig  pro gold conditioning treatment to the plugs before inserting into binding post.

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3 minutes ago, NADbooffa said:

Hi Andy, thanks for the link. They almost look like KLEI classic harmony, but cheaper👍

 

Cheers.

 

K.

Does that surprise you?

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I have tried a lot of different connectors, mainly spades amp end and bananas on the speakers (all triwired), but many years ago a major speaker designer/manufacturer who sold all the connectors and is now a lifelong friend told me that the cheap auto ring connectors that you can buy a whole bunch for about $4 were actually as good as anything.  They are pure copper with a non corrosive coating, I just crimp and silver solder them and add some heatshrink.  The copper is a bit softer than the gold plated brass ones, but probably "sound"  better. 

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