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Question: terminating speaker cable

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by EricHaas, Jan 23, 2002.

  1. EricHaas

    EricHaas Supporting Actor

    Dec 25, 2001
    Likes Received:
    Hi, I am shopping for some decent quality cables for my new speakers. If I buy cable by the foot (unterminated), the price is like half of what it is if I buy it terminated in preset lengths. A few questions:

    1. Is it worth it to buy them factory terminated?

    2. Is it difficult to terminate it yourself, and should I except better sound quality if it is "professionally" done?

    3. Are there any advantages to an "internal" bi-wire configuration (for speakers setup to biwire) as opposed to just going doing it full range? Here I am referring to using a single cable and splitting it to bi-wire at the speaker end, not actually doubling up on the cable. I ask, because a vender told me that there is no benefit to bi-wiring unless you actually double up the cable. He said save your money and just have it terminated normally, or else go the whole 9 yards.
  2. Phil A

    Phil A Producer

    Oct 1, 2000
    Likes Received:
    Central FL
    Real Name:
    1 - It depends on what you are terminating them with. Some things could require special tools to do them right. The most expensive part of good speaker cables is generally the connector. Some people don't have or want the tools and sometimes for solder connectors they don't want to solder.
    2 - It depends on what they are terminating it with and the method used. For example, are they terminating it with WBTs (www.wbtusa.com)? It is not difficult to terminate stuff given the proper tools to do it with.
    3 - Most speakers that can be biwired accept set sets of connectors and when terminating them at the amp end they are connected together into one set. Biamping would involve a separate set of connectors going from each amp to the speaker terminals. Some speakers sound better biwired and others do not. Many times it is better to buy a good set of speaker wire than a biwire set of OK stuff, so he is right when he advises on what benefits can be achieved via a biwire double-up.
  3. Allan Jayne

    Allan Jayne Cinematographer

    Nov 1, 1998
    Likes Received:
    Terminations (banana plugs, etc.) are for convenience. If you don't have to move and reconnect your equipment often, and if you are able to fasten the bare wire ends directly to the clips or terminals with good metal to metal contact, and without stray strands of wire sticking out, you do not need any special terminations.
    If you have banana plugs, etc. the joint where the wire goes into them will last longer and give better results if done properly, but will sooner or later give trouble unless it is soldered. So generally you have to go through the motions of undoing and redoing that joint also, every three years or so.
    Video hints:
    Sometimes the only reason why a new expensive speaker cable made a dramatic improvement is just because old oxidized connections were undone and new clean connections were made at the time it was installed. Just the act of unplugging and replugging a jack cleans the contact. We should invite folks with "good" cables undisturbed for at least three years to try replacing one with a new thinner cable as a one day experiment and see what happens.

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