How much difference does banana plug quality do? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 44 Old 04-19-2019, 07:57 AM - Thread Starter
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How much difference does banana plug quality do?

Hello!
I bought 5m of QED Reference xt40 and QED Airlock bananaplugs 4mm but the website I bought em from didn’t tell me that I needed a special tool to fit my cables in the QED airlock. I am now stuck with my old banana plugs which I bought from a local electronics store which I assume isn’t of very good quality. SO I am wondering, am I bottlenecking the crap out of my speaker cables by using a, I assume, bad set of banana plugs.

Thank you for reading.
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post #2 of 44 Old 04-19-2019, 08:12 AM
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Assuming a good interface between the wire and the plug and between the plug and the jack you shouldn't be able to hear any difference.
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post #3 of 44 Old 04-19-2019, 08:28 AM - Thread Starter
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Alright, awesome. Yeah they’re in a good spot! Thank you for the reply.
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post #4 of 44 Old 04-19-2019, 09:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattztt View Post
Assuming a good interface between the wire and the plug and between the plug and the jack you shouldn't be able to hear any difference.
Yep, purely mechanical. If they fit firmly and aren't corroded, they'll work as good as any. Audiophile grade plugs may look nice but they offer no sonic benefits over good commodity grade plugs.
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post #5 of 44 Old 04-19-2019, 02:57 PM
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If your paying much more than $10 for 5 pair ... well your paying too much!

I’ve used these in 10 pair of speakers ... zero issues


Plus I held a audio gtg 4/13, they worked fine for that event to help swapping



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post #6 of 44 Old 04-20-2019, 09:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mat-tias View Post
Hello!
I bought 5m of QED Reference xt40 and QED Airlock bananaplugs 4mm but the website I bought em from didn’t tell me that I needed a special tool to fit my cables in the QED airlock. I am now stuck with my old banana plugs which I bought from a local electronics store which I assume isn’t of very good quality. SO I am wondering, am I bottlenecking the crap out of my speaker cables by using a, I assume, bad set of banana plugs.

Thank you for reading.

I've found there is a difference, which is mostly manifested in the high frequencies. The better or higher quality the banana plug adapter, the smoother and less harsh the highs (I've found at least). I was using monoprice and found the highs overly emphasized and fatiguing. Moved to RadioShack brand, which are more expensive and which seemed to be of higher quality material (don't know the differences, but they were heavier and seemed better made). I also have some spade to banana adapters of decent quality from Apollo AV, but upgraded to Vampire brand and the highs were smoother and less emphasized at the same volume setting. Better overall listening experience. For me, it was worth it, but the only way to tell is to try different ones. And more expensive might not mean better or more preferable.


The monoprice ones were dirt cheap. The RadioShack were like $7-8 per single pair (and no longer made or available to buy). The Apollo AV ones were like $11 per single pair, and the Vampire ones were $22 per single pair.


However, all this being said the ones you have may be perfectly fine, and even concerning any potential audible differences, none would be describable as bottlenecking anything.
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post #7 of 44 Old 04-20-2019, 09:48 AM
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I should point out the Monoprice ones I was using were like from 10+ years ago, so the ones now are likely different and may be better.
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post #8 of 44 Old 04-20-2019, 11:47 AM
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As long as they fit snug, and grip the wire good, that’s it.
Don’t overthink any more than that.


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post #9 of 44 Old 04-20-2019, 11:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RWetmore View Post
I've found there is a difference, which is mostly manifested in the high frequencies. The better or higher quality the banana plug adapter, the smoother and less harsh the highs (I've found at least). I was using monoprice and found the highs overly emphasized and fatiguing. Moved to RadioShack brand, which are more expensive and which seemed to be of higher quality material (don't know the differences, but they were heavier and seemed better made). I also have some spade to banana adapters of decent quality from Apollo AV, but upgraded to Vampire brand and the highs were smoother and less emphasized at the same volume setting. Better overall listening experience. For me, it was worth it, but the only way to tell is to try different ones. And more expensive might not mean better or more preferable.


The monoprice ones were dirt cheap. The RadioShack were like $7-8 per single pair (and no longer made or available to buy). The Apollo AV ones were like $11 per single pair, and the Vampire ones were $22 per single pair.


However, all this being said the ones you have may be perfectly fine, and even concerning any potential audible differences, none would be describable as bottlenecking anything.
Yeah, no, I don't think so.
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post #10 of 44 Old 04-20-2019, 12:32 PM
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Bananas can sound fine but it is important to give them a slight twist as you insert them: rotating 90 degrees clockwise if you live in in the Northern hemisphere and 90 degrees counter-clockwise if you live in the Southern hemisphere. [This is because people in the Southern hemisphere are essentially upside down, they just don't realize it. ]

I'm of course assuming the polarity of your music is not inverted.

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post #11 of 44 Old 04-23-2019, 01:09 PM
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Originally Posted by RWetmore View Post
I should point out the Monoprice ones I was using were like from 10+ years ago, so the ones now are likely different and may be better.
Well if the old plugs had corrosion, there could be diode effects that could cause HF distortion.

But beyond that I see no reason for any differences heard.
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post #12 of 44 Old 04-23-2019, 01:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Glimmie View Post
Well if the old plugs had corrosion, there could be diode effects that could cause HF distortion.

There was no corrosion.
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post #13 of 44 Old 04-23-2019, 01:17 PM
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Monoprice makes at least two very distinctly different ones and the more affordable one has a nasty habit of guillotining a good percentage the wire strands so you end up having a rotten connection [and it is completely hidden from view so you don't realize it] .

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post #14 of 44 Old 04-23-2019, 01:34 PM
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I'm not a big fan of the Monoprice plugs pictured. Had issues with both the set screws and the plug itself loosening over time at my dad's and a neighbor's places. I avoid them.

Many connectors are made by the same OEM. Nakamichi was the first name brand I remember when I first saw BFA plugs (my favorite type). Whoever makes the Nakamichis also makes GLS Audio, Sewell, Mediabridge, etc. I have bought GLS via Amazon in a pinch when I needed quick delivery. I find it easiest to browse connector types as well as order from here:

http://www.nakamichiplugs.com/
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post #15 of 44 Old 04-23-2019, 03:51 PM
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Originally Posted by RWetmore View Post
There was no corrosion.
Well it could have been poor plating under the surface you can't see. If the connector did what you stated, there's a scientific reason why. And upon examination it would be revealed.

There is no magic in electronics. Just science and physics.
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post #16 of 44 Old 04-23-2019, 05:14 PM
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Well it could have been poor plating under the surface you can't see. If the connector did what you stated, there's a scientific reason why. And upon examination it would be revealed.

There is no magic in electronics. Just science and physics.

Well yes, of course. I don't know the reason. Only what I heard.


Many would disagree, but I suggest everyone not skimp on the quality of the bananas and splurge for some really high quality ones, like these from Vampire (but heavily discounted somewhere, which they often are):


https://www.vampirewire.com/product-page/gb


I have the SBs and use them for a spade to banana adapter in my two systems. They just scream super high quality and craftsmanship (especially the quality of the gold plating, but everything really), and I heard virtually immediately smoother, less harsh and a little less emphasized highs with them at the same volume level. Heard no difference in the mid or low frequencies compared to the previous Apollo AV ones, which seemed fairly good quality themselves.


Just my opinion and experience.
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post #17 of 44 Old 04-24-2019, 10:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RWetmore View Post
Well yes, of course. I don't know the reason. Only what I heard.


Many would disagree, but I suggest everyone not skimp on the quality of the bananas and splurge for some really high quality ones, like these from Vampire (but heavily discounted somewhere, which they often are):


https://www.vampirewire.com/product-page/gb


I have the SBs and use them for a spade to banana adapter in my two systems. They just scream super high quality and craftsmanship (especially the quality of the gold plating, but everything really), and I heard virtually immediately smoother, less harsh and a little less emphasized highs with them at the same volume level. Heard no difference in the mid or low frequencies compared to the previous Apollo AV ones, which seemed fairly good quality themselves.


Just my opinion and experience.
Don't be fooled by shiny gold plating, or more accurately gold flashing which can be rubbed off with your finger! A lot of so called audiophile connectors especially from Amazon and Ebay are actually cheap off shore junk. Yes they look good and sturdy but there is no traceable specifications.

Banana plugs have been around since the 1930s. There are established vendors that have made these parts for over 80 years. And some of these established vendors do make audio specific products that will accept heavy speaker wire. Buy those and you won't go wrong.
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post #18 of 44 Old 04-26-2019, 07:42 AM
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Originally Posted by RWetmore View Post
Well yes, of course. I don't know the reason. Only what I heard.

What you heard and what your brain thinks you heard aren't the same thing. You have to do a scientifically valid test that accounts for psychoacoustics or your results don't mean a thing. You cannot overcome the placebo effect with willpower. You have to overcome it with testing methodology. Now, I don't mean to pick on you specifically. This is true for all of us. The human brain is not as precise with details as many people think. It only takes a matter of seconds to forget a lot of the details about what you hear or see.
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post #19 of 44 Old 04-26-2019, 09:12 AM
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What you heard and what your brain thinks you heard aren't the same thing. You have to do a scientifically valid test that accounts for psychoacoustics or your results don't mean a thing.

No, one would have to perform scientifically valid test to establish at a scientific level that a difference is heard. This is an absurd and impractical standard, especially the individual level, and because ultimately the hi-fi listening experience is a subjective experience. I'm not into this hobby to prove at the scientific level what I hear, nor do I have the time or money to conduct such a test. And it's absurd to think everyone should be doing such testing in order accept/validate any differences they hear. It's laughably absurd, IMO.
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post #20 of 44 Old 04-26-2019, 09:19 AM
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Originally Posted by RWetmore View Post
No, one would have to perform scientifically valid test to establish at a scientific level that a difference is heard. This is an absurd and impractical standard, especially the individual level, and because ultimately the hi-fi listening experience is a subjective experience. I'm not into this hobby to prove at the scientific level what I hear, nor do I have the time or money to conduct such a test. And it's absurd to think everyone should be doing such testing in order accept/validate any differences they hear. It's laughably absurd, IMO.

You like what you like, but here you are on a forum advising other people about products. What you like for yourself and what you tell other people aren't the same thing. It's irresponsible to give purchasing advice that does not correspond to reality. Yes, people could just ignore your advice when they decide what to buy (and in this case that is what people should do). The burden of proof that people should buy more expensive products does lie with those who claim they are better. You don't have to prove anything, you don't have to use the same products that I or other people do... and you also don't have to tell people that $20 banana plugs sound better than $2 banana plugs. You're welcome to your opinion, though, and so are the rest of us. Now, if your opinion is that you think science is not capable of describing audio properly, that is what I would call a laughably absurd argument.
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post #21 of 44 Old 04-26-2019, 09:31 AM
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You like what you like, but here you are on a forum advising other people about products.

Yes.


Quote:
Originally Posted by DonoMan View Post
What you like for yourself and what you tell other people aren't the same thing.

Yes they are.


Quote:
Originally Posted by DonoMan View Post
It's irresponsible to give purchasing advice that does not correspond to reality.

That's your opinion.


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Originally Posted by DonoMan View Post
Yes, people could just ignore your advice when they decide what to buy (and in this case that is what people should do). The burden of proof that people should buy more expensive products does lie with those who claim they are better.

No it doesn't. I've given my reasons why. You are not obligated to agree with them or believe them.


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You don't have to prove anything, you don't have to use the same products that I or other people do... and you also don't have to tell people that $20 banana plugs sound better than $2 banana plugs.

Of course I don't have to, but I did because it was my experience.


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You're welcome to your opinion, though, and so are the rest of us.

Again of course.
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post #22 of 44 Old 04-26-2019, 11:19 AM
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If I heard a difference between different brands of banana plugs I would be confident it was just my imagination. [Further testing under controlled conditions of course would be in order.]
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post #23 of 44 Old 04-26-2019, 11:32 AM
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If you use bare wire, you don't have to worry about the qualities or deficiencies of banana plugs.
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If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough – Albert Einstein
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post #24 of 44 Old 04-26-2019, 11:34 AM
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NAKED wire?! Please, this is a family friendly web site.
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i have banana plugs that have gotten loose over time and a few were a spline? broke...this more quality issue than sound imo.

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post #26 of 44 Old 04-26-2019, 12:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DonoMan View Post
What you heard and what your brain thinks you heard aren't the same thing. You have to do a scientifically valid test that accounts for psychoacoustics or your results don't mean a thing. You cannot overcome the placebo effect with willpower. You have to overcome it with testing methodology. Now, I don't mean to pick on you specifically. This is true for all of us. The human brain is not as precise with details as many people think. It only takes a matter of seconds to forget a lot of the details about what you hear or see.
Appreciate you, "fightin' the good fight" and all, but RWetmore is one of those long-time members who's withstood all manner of quality oppositional argument from several members over many years with respect to these types of topics. He's impervious to them all as he places MUCH higher value upon his own subjective impressions and holds them sacrosanct. As such, there will never be any counter-argument that will be compelling enough to even give him a second's pause.

tl;dr: Save your breath, he's impervious.
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post #27 of 44 Old 04-26-2019, 02:16 PM
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Appreciate you, "fightin' the good fight" and all, but RWetmore is one of those long-time members who's withstood all manner of quality oppositional argument from several members over many years with respect to these types of topics. He's impervious to them all as he places MUCH higher value upon his own subjective impressions and holds them sacrosanct. As such, there will never be any counter-argument that will be compelling enough to even give him a second's pause.

tl;dr: Save your breath, he's impervious.

I'm not impervious. If I actually participated in a blind test and couldn't distinguish something I thought I was hearing, I would of course question whether or not I was actually hearing it. Any rational person would.


My point is it is absolutely absurd and impractical, especially at the individual level in an ultimately subjective hobby like this, to think that one should go through the trouble and expense to conduct such testing for everything he or she is hearing in order to prove (at the scientific level) that he or she really hearing it. It's also absurd to think that no one can offer such listening experiences as advice to other unless they've done so.


Moreover, I'm not suggesting anyone spend major bucks on bananas because they will sound 'better'. I even said they may not sound any better, and the ones the OP has may be just fine. I recommended bananas from Vampire that can be had for $10 per pair, which is hardly a lot of money. Yes, ones can be had for a less, but jeez -- I'm hardly advocating anything unreasonable here. IMO at least.
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post #28 of 44 Old 04-26-2019, 02:25 PM
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People have every right to make posts based on their sighted listening tests just like others have every right to question if sighted testing is flawed.
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post #29 of 44 Old 04-26-2019, 02:27 PM
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Moreover still, even if I claimed I performed such testing and was able to hear a difference, you most likely wouldn't believe it anyway, right? Which just further illustrates the absurdity and impracticalness of all of this. You and anyone else is of course free to not believe my or anyone else's reported listening experiences unless you see 2nd party verified double blind testing of each individual's various claims, but again I think this is absurd. But that's your business and you're entitled to that opinion or view point.


Had DonoMan simply stated this I wouldn't have even bothered to respond, as I have no problem with it.
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post #30 of 44 Old 04-26-2019, 02:31 PM
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Originally Posted by m. zillch View Post
People have every right to make posts based on their sighted listening tests just like others have every right to question if sighted testing is flawed.

Yes, of course. And yes, sighted testing doesn't eliminate potential listener bias and doesn't establish and prove at the scientific level that someone has actually heard and/or audibly perceived something. I'm not disputing this and never have.
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