Banana plugs...who needs stinking banana plugs?

Discussion in 'Speakers & Subwoofers' started by James USAF, Aug 12, 2003.

  1. James USAF

    James USAF Agent

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    Seriously. I have a Pioneer 45tx with Athena speakers all the way around. I currently just have the Athena's hooked up by straight cable (monster cable) with no adapters...or "banana plugs"

    My question. What exactly are banana plugs...and would I benefit (sound quality) by having them? I believe my system sounds awesome as is...but any tweaks that would increase the sound would be nice.

    So do I need banana plugs? [​IMG]
     
  2. CurtisSC

    CurtisSC Screenwriter

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    They won't make your system sound any better. It does make the ends of the speaker cable cleaner, and makes connecting and disconnecting speakers easier. Basicly plug or unplug.

    That's about it.
     
  3. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    The benefit is, no stray wires to potentially short out, ease of connection, looks better, etc...

    They are nothing more than connectors. Sonically, you are adding one more thing in the path of the signal, so no there is no performance advantage.
     
  4. JackS

    JackS Supporting Actor

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    James - Your bare wire connection is probably as good as it gets and is prefferred by many. The downside is it is also more prone to shorting-out at some point in time if you aren't real careful. I use bannanas for their convenience and safty, and beleive this is the ideal connection for most people.
     
  5. Joe Hsu

    Joe Hsu Supporting Actor

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    I've been meaning to buy banana plugs for the longest time, but having to buy 10 at once can really hurt the wallet...and of course, I want the nicer ones, which are like 3-4 bucks each (NXG? Maybe it was Phoenix Gold)...at least they're not the outrageous ones, that are like $8 each. [​IMG]
     
  6. James USAF

    James USAF Agent

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    wow...thank you for the quick replies. I think I will just hold off on them...because they are fairly expensive and 14 banana plugs (for the 7 speakers) would take a big bite out of the wallet. Will just be careful when I have to disconnect and reconnect them. [​IMG]
     
  7. Geoff L

    Geoff L Screenwriter

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    A number of sellers have Banana plugs for sale at Ebay and very reasonable to boot. Including the shipping...

    Many sell individually, by the pair, or in large multi packs for a complete 5.1 6.1 system. Seen some very high quality ones extremely cheap, worth a look if one needs some.

    Even seen top line Cardas cheap.

    Cheers
    Geoff
     
  8. Darrin W-G

    Darrin W-G Extra

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    Banana plugs are good. I personally use spade plugs attached to the speaker cable with silver solder and used a small adjustable spanner to tighten them enough for the best possible fit on the receiver and speakers... [​IMG]

    Cheers Darrin
     
  9. Karl_Luph

    Karl_Luph Supporting Actor

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    These connectors are used alot by pro audio soundmen who are regularly setting up sound equipment. Definitely makes it faster and easier to just plug and play. I think I'll take Geoff's advice and check them out on E-bay.
     
  10. JackS

    JackS Supporting Actor

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    I'm using spades on one of my amps. Spades also make a nice connection and many people do prefer. However, spades are almost as risky as bare-wire and I plan to replace eventually with bananas. My advice would be not to use spades and definitly don't use spades if you have less then two inches between connectors. The lugs I have are very large and protrude out beyond the tightning screws. I used a little piece of electrical tape on each opposing prong and then built a little "dam" between connectors using rubber and glue. All this because I almost learned the hard lesson the hard way. I'm fairly comfortable now but not totally. If I'd used banana connectors in the first place, all this could have been avoided.
     
  11. Brian Fellmeth

    Brian Fellmeth Supporting Actor

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  12. SeanA

    SeanA Second Unit

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    I just bought and tried some AR banana plugs, and I love them !!! They were easy to install, and the AR's look great and are reasonably priced to boot. I just ordered another dozen and I am going to run double wires into them for the bi-wiring at the back of my receiver. I tried it out and there is no problem getting two speaker wires to fit into a single banana plug. The AR plugs also come with a nifty plastic holder to convert two plugs to a double with just the right spacing. Check it out at Amazon... just $9.11 for two pair (and free shipping if you spend more than $25):

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...&s=electronics
     
  13. RichardJ

    RichardJ Stunt Coordinator

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    I picked up some Dayton Audio banana plugs from Parts Express, and, while I haven't used them in a live system yet, they look and feel pretty decent. Only $6 (on sale) for two pairs of two (that means 4 plugs per pack).

    Gotta love something that saves you lots of time!
     
  14. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    Another alternative is to look for Pomona banana plugs. Pomona is a major manufacturer of various items for the electronic industry and you'll find their products all over the place, probably at fairly attractive prices. If you're going to treat banana plugs like audio jewelry, then you'll pay jewelry prices. For example, here's a picture of a solderless banana [​IMG]
    Other styles from Pomona, including right angle, etc. can be seen here. One thing you'll find at Pomona's website, is that virtually every item has a pdf document that you can click on that'll provide specifications and additional model numbers for colors, nickel plating, gold plating, etc.
     
  15. David Preston

    David Preston Supporting Actor

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    I just started using banana plugs and love them. They look nice and make conneting very easy. I just need some for the receiver side now. I don't think I'll ever go back to bare wire.
     
  16. Cagri

    Cagri Second Unit

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    I was using bare wire on the speaker end, until I realised that on one speaker the plastic binding post get loose after just a couple of days. It was easy to just forget about it and it could easily cause a short because of wire sliding off from the post. So I bought AR compression type banana plugs and am very happy with them. One thing with the compression type plugs though (I think I am using the correct term here), aren't those convex metal stripes which I guess serve for better locking scratching the surface inside the speaker? At least when you insert the plugs first time, you feel that they are pretty thick for the fit but when you insert them once the stripes get flatter and come out smoothly.
     
  17. Gordon Groff

    Gordon Groff Second Unit

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    I use banana plugs all over too, but there are a couple downsides.

    1. Standard spacing for dual plugs do not fit many modern speakers or recievers 'cause the spacing is too similar to European standard power receptacles! I had to saw a bunch of mine in half for my reciever and speakers. Look good on the wall-plates, though!

    2. They can pull out. If I try to pull my reciever out of my A/V shelving from the front, I can almost guarantee that most of my speaker wires will pull out, at least partially.

    I like the secure mechanical fastening of wire direct or spades, but love the convenience of bananas.
    FWIW,
    Gordon
     
  18. Andrew Pierce

    Andrew Pierce Stunt Coordinator

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    If you get color coded banana plugs, it's easier to avoid accidentally reversing polarity than with bare wire. Just chunk the red clip into the red terminal and the black into the black. You don't need to worry about finding the little white line on the wire and trying to remember which terminal you hooked it up to on the amp end. I use the el cheapo Parts express ($.30 each) which work great as long as you're not using 12 guage or thicker wire. I honestly don't think the half inch you're going through the banana plug is going to seriously impact your sound quality one way or another. Or at least not on equiptment I can afford.
     
  19. NicholasTS

    NicholasTS Stunt Coordinator

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    I use $10 a pair Monster Quiklock Banana plugs. 24kt gold plated. They're wonderful. Not only do they look fantastic and ease installation, they serve a purpose in preserving consistent quality from my equipment. My speaker wires are made of oxygen free pure copper strands. When I strip the ends off, the copper is exposed to the elements. After time, the once oxygen free copper will have fallen victim to signal crushing oxidation.
    Never fear, Monster Quiklock is here. When installed tightly, the connector completely isolates the copper from the elements. The screw-type compression fittings complete with element-blocking rubber o-rings effectively prolong the life of the speaker ends and leave me with the piece of mind my discerning ears deserve.
     
  20. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    Agreed with a lot of what's been said. Bananas add yet another thing the signal has to go through, so claims of "improving" sound may be dubious. But bare wire can (and mine have) oxidized over time and using these types of connectors (properly attached) can help reduce that

    Also, I move my equipment around a lot, and it's a pain in the ass to have to unscrew the wire and screw it back in. The "rat's nest" behind the receiver is also lessened by using these plugs, for whatever reason the binding posts make threading the wire very difficult with such little space, whereas the plugs just...plug right in! No muss, no fuss!
     

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