Is there any benefit in using banana speaker plugs? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 132 Old 09-14-2013, 07:43 PM - Thread Starter
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I have been using a decent (mass market decent, I mean, $100 spent or so) 18 gauge speaker wire. Now I have upgraded everything that can be upgraded to a modest home theater level. Even interconnects are upgraded to decent Canare. The only thing that is left is banana speaker plugs. Right now my speaker wire is just bound to the speaker posts.
Is there any benefit in using those banana speaker plugs, or they are simply for convenience?
By "benefit" I mean an audible difference for the better coming from the speakers.


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post #2 of 132 Old 09-14-2013, 10:24 PM
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No audio benefit at all. They're just for convenience and I think it looks cleaner with banana plugs

I cant do w/o them though. I move my speakers around all the time and swap with other speakers.
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post #3 of 132 Old 09-14-2013, 11:17 PM - Thread Starter
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I will forgo them in that case. I cant use them for another reason. Back clearance for the power amp in my audio rack. They take away an inch or two, and the amp is already hanging from the front side. Bare wires and binding posts it is. Thanks a lot.


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post #4 of 132 Old 09-15-2013, 12:03 AM
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They're also nice because there's less of a chance of a stray wire coming loose and shorting something out. Although, it usually won't blow anything up, it can cause issues. That's why I like banana plugs, a little more peace of mind in that regard.
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Of course, I got it modified with the TK-427, which cheeks it up another, maybe, 3 or 4 quads per channel.
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post #5 of 132 Old 09-15-2013, 12:35 AM
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Depending on distance I think it would be better to upgrade to thicker wire something like 12 gauge from Monoprice.com
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post #6 of 132 Old 09-15-2013, 07:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grigorianvlad View Post

Is there any benefit in using those banana speaker plugs
None.
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or they are simply for convenience?
Correct.
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Depending on distance I think it would be better to upgrade to thicker wire something like 12 gauge from Monoprice.com
Even with a 4 ohm load to be audible that distance would have to be at least 30 feet, or the average actual consumed power per speaker would have to be over 100 watts, each. 12 ga. is only beneficial with runs of at least 75 feet or actual per channel power output of at least 750 watts.
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post #7 of 132 Old 09-15-2013, 08:28 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Manic1! View Post

Depending on distance I think it would be better to upgrade to thicker wire something like 12 gauge from Monoprice.com

What a minute, Manic1! Hold everything. Have I made a fool out of myself already and its just 11AM? I thought the bigger the gauge the better the wire. So, what I had was the best the money can buy as the Circuit City salesman assured me when I bought the wire back in the 90s. But you know salesmen, everything they sell you is "the best money can buy", even if it is a pile of s**t on a shovel.

The truth is am clueless as to which is which. I assume bigger (18) is better and I thought that is what I got 20 years ago. After I all I paid like a $100 for a very small spool.

I will put up an actual picture of the wire connecting to my speaker. May be you can tell me the actual gauge and give me further suggestions.


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post #8 of 132 Old 09-15-2013, 08:52 AM - Thread Starter
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I just took the pictures and my wife is in the process of developing them. It usually takes her a good hour. All it involves is just emailing the pictures taken with her iPhone to my web email. Yes, there is a difference between "computer illiterate" (yours, truly) and "computer unlitirate" (my better half) smile.gif
I am sure there is a way to post the pics directly from the iPhone, but for me it is an insurmountable task. Can't do it. Never will!

Anyway. Here are some info that will help you help me to choose the right wire if the one I have is actually not the "best money can buy"

1) My front and center speaker distance from the power amp is below 4-5 feet each. So they are close.
2) I am obsessed with fronts and center sound quality. I want to hear details that weren't even recorded on the original master 24 channel studio tape (kidding of course, but gives you an idea)
3) Power rating of my power amp is 200W into 8ohm, 330W into 4Ohm.
4) The speakers are Polk LSi-9s, up to 200W, 4ohm speakers which I love
5) Not sure that it matters, the sub is Sunfire HRS-10 (1000W) connection by a subwoofer cable, not wire

The pictures are almost developed, I just heard my email client pinging.


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post #9 of 132 Old 09-15-2013, 08:56 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grigorianvlad View Post

I just took the pictures and my wife is in the process of developing them. It usually takes her a good hour. All it involves is just emailing the pictures taken with her iPhone to my web email. Yes, there is a difference between "computer illiterate" (yours, truly) and "computer unlitirate" (my better half) smile.gif
I am sure there is a way to post the pics directly from the iPhone, but for me it is an insurmountable task. Can't do it. Never will!

Anyway. Here are some info that will help you help me to choose the right wire if the one I have is actually not the "best money can buy"

1) My front and center speaker distance from the power amp is below 4-5 feet each. So they are close.
2) I am obsessed with fronts and center sound quality. I want to hear details that weren't even recorded on the original master 24 channel master studio tape (kidding of course, but gives you an idea)
3) Power rating of my power amp is 200W into 8ohm, 330W into 4Ohm.
4) The speakers are Polk LSi-9s, up to 200W, 4ohm speakers which I love
5) Not sure that it matters, the sub is Sunfire HRS-10 (1000W) connection by a subwoofer cable, not wire

The pictures are almost developed, I just heard my email client pinging.

OK here are the actual wires. Are they 18 gauge or something else? Do I need to upgrade them keeping what I wrote above in mind? Thanks a lot guys.





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post #10 of 132 Old 09-15-2013, 09:04 AM
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I'm pretty difficult to tell from the pictures what gauge speaker wire you have. But it looks thicker than 18ga to me. 16ga, 14ga and 12ga are thicker than 18ga. The lower the number the thicker the wire.

I generally use 14ga or 12ga for my speakers.
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The truth is am clueless as to which is which. I assume bigger (18) is better and I thought that is what I got 20 years ago. After I all I paid like a $100 for a very small spool.

You probably bought Monster cable which is usually 16ga if you paid $100 for it. But you've had it for 20 years so as long as its in good shape, use it.

14ga from Monoprice would cost you $25.
http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=102&cp_id=10239&cs_id=1023902&p_id=2791&seq=1&format=2

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post #11 of 132 Old 09-15-2013, 09:10 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by afrogt View Post

I'm pretty difficult to tell from the pictures what gauge speaker wire you have. But it looks thicker than 18ga to me. 16ga, 14ga and 12ga are thicker than 18ga. The lower the number the thicker the wire.

I generally use 14ga or 12ga for my speakers.

Got you, Afrogt, thanks a lot. Do I need thicker cables keeping mind what I wrote above about my listening habits and proximity of the speakers? Or the gauge matters only if your speakers are 30 feet away?


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post #12 of 132 Old 09-15-2013, 09:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrEastSide View Post

They're also nice because there's less of a chance of a stray wire coming loose and shorting something out. Although, it usually won't blow anything up, it can cause issues. That's why I like banana plugs, a little more peace of mind in that regard.

I can't imagine the stray wire would come loose if you twist the ends before inserting and screw it down tight. And even with my bifocals, I can see if there is a stray wire hanging out smile.gif

Your questions are answered:
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post #13 of 132 Old 09-15-2013, 09:17 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by afrogt View Post

You probably bought Monster cable which is usually 16ga if you paid $100 for it.
14ga from Monoprice would cost you $25.
http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=102&cp_id=10239&cs_id=1023902&p_id=2791&seq=1&format=2

WHAT? THEY LIED TO ME WHEN THEY SAID "BEST WIRE MONEY CAN BUY"? I WILL NEVER SHOP AT A CIRCUIT CITY STORE AGAIN!


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post #14 of 132 Old 09-15-2013, 02:02 PM
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Originally Posted by grigorianvlad View Post

WHAT? THEY LIED TO ME WHEN THEY SAID "BEST WIRE MONEY CAN BUY"? I WILL NEVER SHOP AT A CIRCUIT CITY STORE AGAIN!
Reality check: The number one profit item for retail stores is extended warranties. That's why salesmen push them on every sale. The number two profit item in electronics stores is wire, that's why salesmen tell you to 'upgrade', even though there is no such thing as upgraded speaker cable. Yes, you got taken. Chalk it up as a learning experience, know what you really need and what you really don't before going to a store, and never forget why that store exists: To make as much profit as possible.
Quote:
I thought the bigger the gauge the better the wire.
That's what cable crooks are counting on. For the truth about what you actually need use this:
http://www.bcae1.com/images/swfs/speakerwireselectorassistant.swf
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post #15 of 132 Old 09-15-2013, 02:09 PM
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from the looks of the pics your wire is starting to oxidize...I would replace it. also I like bananna connectors because they secure the wire better. In the past I noticed that just hooking the bare wire up to the post compresses over time. If you recheck the connection, alot of times its loose.
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post #16 of 132 Old 09-15-2013, 02:10 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Fitzmaurice View Post

Reality check: The number one profit item for retail stores is extended warranties. That's why salesmen push them on every sale. The number two profit item in electronics stores is wire, that's why salesmen tell you to 'upgrade', even though there is no such thing as upgraded speaker cable. Yes, you got taken. Chalk it up as a learning experience, know what you really need and what you really don't before going to a store, and never forget why that store exists: To make as much profit as possible.
That's what cable crooks are counting on. For the truth about what you actually need use this:
http://www.bcae1.com/images/swfs/speakerwireselectorassistant.swf

Wow! This is a great link! Thanks a lot.


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post #17 of 132 Old 09-15-2013, 02:17 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by grigorianvlad View Post

Wow! This is a great link! Thanks a lot.

I wish I saw this link you sent me before. According to it the difference in lost dB between 12ga and 18ga is :

12ga - 0.05dB loss
18ga - 0.19dB loss

But here is the killer:

"The loss of less than 1dB is INAUDIBLE"!!!!!!

Nuff said.


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post #18 of 132 Old 09-15-2013, 02:21 PM - Thread Starter
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BTW, thanks for everything, BIll, but this was actually an attempt at humor:
Quote:
WHAT? THEY LIED TO ME WHEN THEY SAID "BEST WIRE MONEY CAN BUY"? I WILL NEVER SHOP AT A CIRCUIT CITY STORE AGAIN!


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post #19 of 132 Old 09-17-2013, 12:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrEastSide View Post

They're also nice because there's less of a chance of a stray wire coming loose and shorting something out. Although, it usually won't blow anything up, it can cause issues. That's why I like banana plugs, a little more peace of mind in that regard.

There's lots of wisdom in the above statement.

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post #20 of 132 Old 09-17-2013, 01:39 AM
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I have been doing HT installs for about 20 years now and there have been a few times where I have seen people not use some kind of wire plug/conector and the copper strands on the end of the wire have oxidized so bad the single could no longer get to the speaker. The first time I encounted this this years ago I was stumped on why I was getting no sound until I figured why not try cuting off the ends of the wire and reconnect with nice clean copper and BOOM it worked. Over the years I have seen it maybe 5-10 more times. For the little bit of money you spend on them it can help in the long run.
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post #21 of 132 Old 09-17-2013, 02:27 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by basshead81 View Post

from the looks of the pics your wire is starting to oxidize...I would replace it. also I like bananna connectors because they secure the wire better. In the past I noticed that just hooking the bare wire up to the post compresses over time. If you recheck the connection, alot of times its loose.

Basshead81, I have never heard of cable oxidizing. How do you tell? This got me worried. Thanks.


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post #22 of 132 Old 09-17-2013, 04:07 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Manic1! View Post

Depending on distance I think it would be better to upgrade to thicker wire something like 12 gauge from Monoprice.com

Manic1!, thanks for suggesting Monoprice. I checked the site and it looks terrific. Great prices and decent quality products. I decided to get new speaker wire since Basshead81 thinks it might be oxidized. Could be. Its 20 years old. Momoprice has video tutorials on banana plugs for speakers (I decided to get try them since they are dirt cheap). The tutorial mentions that there are 5 different banana plug types.



Which ones do I need for my Polk LSi-9s?
Thanks a lot.


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post #23 of 132 Old 09-17-2013, 05:41 AM
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Have had good results with Banana plugs from eBay seller chanler.young

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just 1 more pair of KLIPSCH Classic speakers...
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post #24 of 132 Old 09-17-2013, 09:13 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by SanchoPanza View Post

Have had good results with Banana plugs from eBay seller chanler.young

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thanks, but I think I found a perfect pair at a budget price: Canare 4S11 Star Quad 11 AWG BiWire Speaker Cable 4 Banana 2 Spade 1 Pair, 6 Ft.

Processed By eBay with ImageMagick, R1.1.1.M2b

Processed By eBay with ImageMagick, R1.1.1.M2b

Processed By eBay with ImageMagick, R1.1.1.M2b

Processed By eBay with ImageMagick, R1.1.1.M2b

It matches my Canare interconnects for the power amp. Another reason is that my audio rack is pretty cramped and rear clearance is limited, so spade ends will be connected to the power amp and biwired bananas will be feeding to the speakers.

Do you guys think $60 for the pair is reasonable (free shipping)?


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post #25 of 132 Old 09-17-2013, 10:23 AM
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Originally Posted by grigorianvlad View Post

Do you guys think $60 for the pair is reasonable (free shipping)?
Yes, but bi-wiring does absolutely nothing, neither does star quad with speaker cables, nor is there any need for 11 ga wire for less than a 150 foot run and/or 2,000 watts actual power consumption.
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post #26 of 132 Old 09-17-2013, 12:59 PM - Thread Starter
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Bill, right you are. It serves no purpose whatsoever other than giving me a chance to delude myself.
Its like buying a Dodge Neon with a rear spoiler. Not exactly a Porsche. The car cannot possibly go fast enough or corner aggressively enough to ever need the downforce, but it makes the owner (and the dealership) happy.
It is such a small difference between what I actually need (a $30 spool of 18ga copper wire) and this useless, but pretty $60 toy. Previous wire lasted me 20 years. Shelling out an extra $30 for another 20 years isn't gonna keep me awake at night.
smile.gif


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post #27 of 132 Old 09-18-2013, 04:10 PM - Thread Starter
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Well, Bill, you can't argue with logic. I went ahead to bid on this pretty cable pictured above, but then i realized what's right is right.
Not because of the money. $60 isn't much even in this economy. It just didn't make a lot of sense to buy it because I would not tell the difference anyway.
So, like Manic1! and Afrogt suggested I went to Monoprice and got what I actually needed and paid exactly what it's worth, not a penny more:




P.S. Taking the real spoiler off my Dodge Neon too. biggrin.gif


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post #28 of 132 Old 09-20-2013, 09:00 PM
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"P.S. Taking the real spoiler off my Dodge Neon too."

Put the spoiler on your receiver. Better aerodynamics equals better sound tongue.gif .

i also use banana plugs. I'm always swapping out equipment and it just makes things easier.
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post #29 of 132 Old 09-20-2013, 09:08 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by gene c353 View Post

"P.S. Taking the real spoiler off my Dodge Neon too."

Put the spoiler on your receiver. Better aerodynamics equals better sound tongue.gif .

i also use banana plugs. I'm always swapping out equipment and it just makes things easier.

Why dont just wear the darn spoiler? If I can't improve my standard of living, at least my aerodynamics will be better!


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post #30 of 132 Old 09-20-2013, 09:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gene c353 View Post

Put the spoiler on your receiver. Better aerodynamics equals better sound tongue.gif .

I thought spoilers were useful mounted near subwoofer ports to help increase air flow rate, and thus more max SPL??? confused.gif

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