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What are banana plugs? How do they work? What's the point?

Discussion in 'Beginners, General Questions' started by kurt_fire, Dec 3, 2004.

  1. kurt_fire

    kurt_fire Well-Known Member

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    I'm clueless as to what banana plugs are, help me!
     
  2. ScottCHI

    ScottCHI Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]

    they are a type of male connector that can be added to the end of wires to make connections to the corresponding female receptacles more easy and/or more neat than bare wire. the "point" is convenience.

    [​IMG]
     
  3. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Well-Known Member

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    Many receiver terminals have "5-way" binding posts for speaker connections. Same with speakers.

    You can use bare wire, but it is a pain using good 12ga wire into the small side-holes on the binding posts. It is easier on speakers, but try connecting 10 of these on the tight-spaced cluster of binding posts on the back of your receiver and you will learn why bananas are so handy.

    There is another reason: oxidization. Bare copper wire always oxidizes. But making a tight crimp/bind on the bare wire with a banana tends to help reduce, but not eliminate, the rate of oxidization.

    Bananas are also neater. We have seen numerious posts from people about their receivers over-heating or going into "protect" mode. This is usually traced to a small-strand of copper speaker wire sticking out of a binding post and causing a short-circuit. Bananas make it easier to do a neat wire job.

    I like the dual-bananas from radio shack: (2xx-308) and the single bananas (2xx-306) if your binding posts dont have the same spacing as the dual units.

    Hope this helps.
     
  4. Leo Kerr

    Leo Kerr Well-Known Member

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    How often is this an issue? I keep thinking about going bananas [​IMG] in a serious way (at home and at work, with all sorts of different applications.)

    But how often does one encounter a banana pair where it's more or less than, what, ¾" on center?

    Leo Kerr
     
  5. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Well-Known Member

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    None of the speakers i've owned would accomodate dual bananas.
     
  6. kurt_fire

    kurt_fire Well-Known Member

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    Can someone please post pictures of a speaker that will accept banana plugs and a receiver that will accept banana inputs.

    I have an Onkyo R500 receiver, Athena AS-F2s as fronts, and Onkyo rears. Would banana plugs work with those?
     
  7. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Well-Known Member

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  8. ScottHH

    ScottHH Well-Known Member

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    My speakers and my amp have binding posts that look like this (thanks Parts Express Binding posts).

    [​IMG]

    As Bob previously noted, these "5-way" binding posts can accomodate bare wire, spades or bananas.

    Is this the back of your receiver, the Onkyo TXSR500?
    [​IMG]
    The Onkyo website says it has Dual Banana Plug Compatible Speaker Terminals except for Speaker B. As you can see the Speaker A, center and surround jacks are 5-way binding posts, while the speaker B jacks are not.
     
  9. kurt_fire

    kurt_fire Well-Known Member

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    Yes, that is the back of my receiver. So I should buy 5 sets of dual banana plugs? Should I buy 2 more for the back of my AS-F2s? What I don't understand is how the banana plug actually will connect to the receiver? Can anyone explain that to me?

    What's a good site that sell good banana plugs? How much are they?
     
  10. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Well-Known Member

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    It just plugs into the back of the binding post. You don't have to use banana plugs, you can always use bare wire, spades, etc, but bananas can be handy as you can unplug them easily.
     
  11. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Well-Known Member

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    First - Go to Radio Shack and buy 1 pair for $6 and bring it home to see if the spaceing matches your equipment.

    (Spacing on binding posts are NOT standardized so you just have to try and see.)

    I love the dual-bananas for behind my speakers. They have a solid bar that prevents shorts should a child/dog run behind things and snag the speaker wires.

    But the dual plugs stick out about 3". It does not sound like a lot, but add this to the back of your receiver and you may not have enough room. (another reason to bring 1 pair home to test with).

    For behind my receiver, I like the Radio Shack single bananas (27x-306). You un-screw it into 2 parts, shove 12ga wire up the back part and fold the copper strands over the sides at the top. Then you screw the banana part onto the top and you have a very strong mechanical connection.

    The bananas just friction-fit into the end of the binding post.

    Note: See the picture above? It has little clips for the front speaker connections. You can buy "Pin connectors" from Radio Shack that work the same as banana plugs, but are designed to fit these clips.
     
  12. kurt_fire

    kurt_fire Well-Known Member

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    I have 16 guage speaker wires, will that work?
     
  13. Frank Zimkas

    Frank Zimkas Well-Known Member

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    My $.02.
    Anything you add to your system should be an upgrade to improve the audio/video quality. Something that can actually be seen or heard. If not, what's the point, spending money just cuz? Banana plugs are not an upgrade. All you are doing is adding another electrical connection, therefore more resistance, to your speaker cable. The fewer connections the better. There are of course exceptions, if you disconnect your speakers frequently then they will offer a bit of convenience but thats it. If your speaker wire is to thick to fit into the binding post then banana jacks make sense. I'd stick to bare wire twisted tightly and inserted into your binding posts. Try stepping up to a slightly larger speaker wire, let's say 14 or 12ga. Even then you may not notice any audible difference.
     

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