Best speaker wire connection

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Frank Chang, Dec 4, 2001.

  1. Frank Chang

    Frank Chang Agent

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    I'm wondering what the best way to connect the speaker wire to banana plugs.

    I'm about to connect 7 speakers to Denon 3802 with banana plugs. I notice the wires, some run thru the walls almost 15 years ago, are oxidized. I was planning to cut off the ends and create fresh ends. Would there be an advantage to solder the ends of the multistrands prior to connecting them to the banana plugs (they screw down to tighten)to prevent oxidation of each individual strand? I have termiations in other speaker wires where the multistrands are soldered to a solid piece of copper wire to make the connection to the speaker or amp (probably to reduce the diameter for the connection). This would be relativly easy to do by soldering the stripped conductor from some 14 guage romex to the multistranded end of the speaker wire. On a previous post someone mentioned coating the end of the wire with vaseline. It would seem to me that the vaseline coating would somehow interfere with the information transferring through the connection. I doubt that vaseline is a very good conductor. You certainly could not conduct much of an electrical current thru a glob of vaseline. Years ago we used to coat our RCA jacks with different chemicals to try to prevent the oxidation between the RCA jack and the plug.

    Thoughts, comments, electrical engineers with data would be appreciated!
     
  2. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    About once per year I do a "HT Cleaning" where I disconnect every cable and re-connect. For speaker wires, I trim off any exposed copper, re-strip until I see non-oxidized strands and re-connect. I am using banana plugs, non-soldered. This is how I get around the oxidization problem.

    Some sites have stated that you should never solder you speaker wires and that bare-wire into the binding posts is the best for the best possible sound. There was little/no data to back this up these claims, but you should know that you will run into this.

    Good Luck.
     
  3. Frank Chang

    Frank Chang Agent

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    Thanks Bob,

    Great solution! Unfortunately because of the location of this particular system your method would be too cumbersome. All the components are in a large antique oak armoire. With all the electronics and software it probably weighs well over 1000 lbs. I have to take as much out as possible and get some help to move the sucker. Once set up I hope to not move any of the components for 10 years. I have several other systems (all accesible from the back and are much more susceptible to upgraditis) where I will try your technique.

    Please anyone else with experience and suggestions for minimizing the effects of speaker wire oxidation.
     
  4. Allan Jayne

    Allan Jayne Cinematographer

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    Solder is the best way to make connections but obviously it is unsuitable for joints that are taken apart every now and then.
    Crimped or screwed joints will sooner or later loosen due to not quite equal expansion and contraction due to temperature changes. Loosening is followed by oxidation of what should be metal to metal surfaces touching.
    Vaseline seals the metal from the air and retards oxidation but if the joint loosens and Vaseline seeps between the metal parts that should touch, you lose contact also.
    The only way to assure good contact in non-soldered joints is to take them apart and clean them every once in awhile.
    Video hints:
    http://members.aol.com/ajaynejr/video.htm
     
  5. Frank Chang

    Frank Chang Agent

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    Brett, do you have a recommendation for the best termination to minimize the effects of oxidation and maintain the best connection?

    Allan, how do you clean your wires and jacks, and do you really take the time to do it. I'm a bit on the lazy side and would like to do the best I can today then forget about it!

    How about every one else? Everyone of us on this forum is connecting multiple speakers to your electronics!
     
  6. Brett DiMichele

    Brett DiMichele Producer

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    Frank,

    It depends on "how much do you want to spend"

    You could buy some WBT Safety Locking Banana's ($80.00/4)

    and some WBT Crimp Sleeves and some WBT Silver Solder and

    instead of crimping the sleeve on, silver solder the sleeve

    and then simply tighten the set screw on the WBT Locking

    Banana onto the sleeve on the wire. Of course this will cost

    mucho deneiro. That's the route I am ultimately going.

    OR

    The affordable method would be to hit up RadioShack for some

    of thier 24K Gold Banana's (Crimp Type) and get some good

    Radio Shack 60/40 or Silver Solder and solder the Banana's

    onto the wire rather than crimp them on.

    Either way and you will be worry free indefinatly.
     
  7. Frank Chang

    Frank Chang Agent

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    Thanks Brett,

    That solution makes the most sense yet. How about the oxidation between the banana plug and the post on the receiver. If I remember my chemistry gold will also oxidize in an oxygen environment! The friction interface will degrade over time and I am lazy and would like to avoid messing with it once its set up for at least a few years. I believe there have been some audiophile type products in the past to coat your connectors with to minimize oxidation and maximize connectivity. Are you or anyone else familiar with such a product and who to order it from?
     
  8. Brett DiMichele

    Brett DiMichele Producer

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    Frank,

    I beleive if you do some research into the corrosion properties

    of gold vs. natural copper you will find that gold does not

    oxidize anywhere near as quickly as copper will in a home

    environment. This could be tested by leaving a 24K chain

    and a piece of copper on your dresser for a years time and

    then see which has oxidized more. I would bet the gold won't

    have any noticable oxidization where as the copper will have

    become nearly black by that time.

    Even if the gold were to oxidize you could simply wipe off

    the banana with some isopropyl or denatured alcohol and it

    should be gleaming clean again.

    You can apply vaseline to wires and such to keep them from

    corroding but your also hampering the connection because in

    theory vaseline acts like silicon which is a dialectic and

    a dialectic by design insulates electrical current from flowing.
     
  9. Frank Chang

    Frank Chang Agent

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    Brett,

    I absolutely agree, and am not trying to be argumentative but gold will slowly oxidize and theoretically the connection will degrade over time. My goal is to minimize the hassle of moving my >1000 lb cabinet once everything is set up.

    Years ago I was a serious audiophile (now I'm pretty far out of touch). I was given some "stuff" that was used to coat the metal connections of the RCA connectors on interconnects and the RCA posts on each component. The "stuff" was supposed to slow down the oxidation and improve the connectivity. Was this hype or does anyone know of such a product? If so where can it be purchased from? I don't remember the name of the "stuff" or where it came from. Having more senior moments these days.:b
     
  10. Chris PC

    Chris PC Producer

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    The only thing I can think of that would be "stuff" that slows oxidation AND conducts electricity would be petroleum jelly or the stuff you can get at auto stores, the silicone that you use to reduce oxidation of spark plug contacts. Either thing will coat the wire contact and slow down the penetration of oxygen onto and into the metal surface, which is what oxidizes it.

    I don't know how it would work for audio cable wires. I have been living in a damp basement over 12 years and my 10 gauge speaker wire hasn't really corroded enough for me to be concerned.
     
  11. BruceD

    BruceD Screenwriter

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    I believe there is a product called Craig's Gold that is used as a contact oxidation inhibitor.

    You will have to look at some of the equipment sites like maybe audio advisor to see who carries it.

    BruceD
     
  12. Frank Chang

    Frank Chang Agent

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    Thanks Bruce. That was a great tip. I found some stuff call Pro Gold by a company called Caig which advertises to do exactly what I was looking for, to deoxidize the metal and increase conductivity, and prevent further oxidation. Sounds great for any RCA or banana plug connections also.

    Frank
     

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