Speaker wire terminations

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by JasonMIL, Feb 6, 2003.

  1. JasonMIL

    JasonMIL Extra

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    I just bought 100 ft. of sound king 12 ga. wire from parts express. I had been using AR 16 ga. First off, should I hear a sound improvement? Secondly, ny receiver has binding posts for the front and center speakers but the back speaker inputs use those cheesy spring-loaded terminals that you have to push down, hold and insert the wire, then release. What are the best wire terminations to use for this? I assume bare wire is a bad idea.

    Thanks
     
  2. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    Not unless your speaker runs are very very long.

    As far as terminations go, you could get those pins, basically it would accept the bare wire, either solderless or the solder type, and then have a long pin at the end for you to put into the pushpin type connectors. My old Carver receiver was like that so I used that type.

    Jay
     
  3. TimTurtino

    TimTurtino Stunt Coordinator

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    You may or may not hear an improvement-- the differences are going to be subtle, and some might argue that there won't be a difference.

    Bare wire is usually the best recommendation-- using terminators improves convenience when you take connecters in and out on a regular basis, but doesn't do much else for you. It could conceivably be a negative factor for sound, depending on the connector. If the bare wire fits and you're not going to be taking it in and out of the device on a regular basis, you're golden...

    Me
     
  4. JasonMIL

    JasonMIL Extra

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    Thanks guys. So you're saying that using bare wire, oxidation really won't be a problem? Also, is it OK to use Bannana Plugs for the binding posts and then bare wire for the spring connectors? Or should I be consistent all around with the connectors I use?
     
  5. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    You dont need to worry about being consistant with the connector type for audio. Video - yes, but not audio.

    Oxidization WILL be an issue even if you use banana/pin connectors. Just leave several inches of slack and plan to cut/strip the insulation back to fresh copper every 2 years or so.

    Audiophiles feel that bare-wire is the best (less breaks to come loose) and I agree to a point. But using 12 ga is a very tight fit for most binding posts and spring clips.

    Radio Shack sells some nice Dual Banana plugs (xxx-308) if your binding posts are spaced for them. Buy 1 pair and bring them home. If these dont work or stick out too far behind your receiver, the single bananas (xxx-306) also work great. For the spring clips, try the pin-connectors (278-309).

    Just remember: neatness is IMPORTANT. You should not have ANY strands of copper sticking out to cause a short later on.

    Other Advice:

    - No, your front 3 speaker wires DO NOT have to be the same length. Measure them to fit and add 1-2 ft of slack for maintance/trimming.

    - Put your receiver on the lowest shelf. This allows the heavy speaker wires to flow out without obscuring the other equipment or causing interference. (Make sure to leave 6-8 inches of space above it free for ventilation. Yes, get a ruler and measure.)

    - Put devices you interact with (DVD, Game system, VCR) on the upper shelves.

    - Put other remote-controled devices above the receiver.

    Now, measure and cut your wires.

    Hope this helps.
     
  6. RobertCharlotte

    RobertCharlotte Supporting Actor

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    Another point from recent experience:

    If those spring-clips on the back of your receiver are the locking type (a little pressure and it sort of pops open and stays open until you close it), you may not have any luck with pin connectors. I was planning to use them for the surround speaker connections on the back of my Kenwood VR-507 and it choked on them and wouldn't close back, so I had to go with bare wire. Even at the 14 gauge I was using, that was a job of persuasion to get that in there.
     
  7. Mat_M

    Mat_M Stunt Coordinator

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    Just a little input: Most of us who use banana plugs use them purely for convenience. As long as you're using 12 gauge wire, your terminations most likely won't make an audible difference, as long as the connections are clean as Bob stated.
     
  8. Cees Alons

    Cees Alons Moderator
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    You may actually hear a difference (if the cables are not too short) if you hookup only one of the mains first, using the new cable, and then run the hiss-test (most receiver have a pink noise signal to test all channels). It may be a slight difference, but it may be there!

    The "best" connectors on speakers are those with a screw: they allow for very good contact with a minimum chance of oxydation.
    BTW, go look in your power meter cabinet (whatever you call that in your country) and see how they fix those 16 Amps leads: clamped with screws!

    Excellent advice is already given above. If you're really afraid of oxydation and you can solder: carefully solder the tips of the wires. Although it may get you into more trouble with those springed clips you mentioned.

    Cees
     
  9. BrandonB

    BrandonB Agent

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    Newbie here with another question in regards to speaker wire. I am in the process of finishing my basement, and have the GREAT opportunity to run wire in my walls prior to putting up sheetrock. I have purchased much of my wire already (12gu Monster CL approved for wall installation). But I am building a recessed entertainment cabinet on one wall, and my TV is going to be on another. The only problem this creates is that I am going to have to make long runs with my speaker wire - the longest being about 40'. I understand that I will be losing some signal stength if I terminate the wire at the wall, and install banana clip plug-in junction box; but would it be that noticeable? I think it would offer a nicer appearance, but I do not want to compromise audio quality.

    What are your thoughts?

    If it's needed, my system includes a Toshiba 55" HDTV, Harman Kardon AVR 320, (not purchased yet, but currently planning on...) Klipsch Quintet 5.1.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  10. Bill Kane

    Bill Kane Screenwriter

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    Brandon,

    A 40-foot speaker wire run, particularly using 12-gauge which serves to keep higher frequencies from rolling off, is fine. While the idea of installing wall termination boxes and modular binding posts, may look "neato," there can be an argument against this method.

    First, such splits probably will not affect signal strength. But in theory it is always best to make unbroken home runs with the wire. The more termination/splice points, the more chance of something getting loose, more corrosion points, and worse, going funny inside the wall out of sight.

    A plastic gang box cud be installed inside the wallboard if desired and the wire simply run out of it using a regular wallplate with small hole, going straight to the speaker with banana plugs there. A couple feet of surplus wire ought to be left in the wall.

    Much later, if desired you cud go back and install those modular binding posts, but what's the point?
     

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