what are the cons of using bare wire to connect speakers???

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Salvador, Jan 4, 2002.

  1. Salvador

    Salvador Second Unit

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    I know oxidation is an issue. But other than that what are the cons?
     
  2. Adil M

    Adil M Supporting Actor

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    I have been told that by the time you tighten the binding posts enough to get good Surface Area w/ the bare wire you end up cutting through a lot of them.
     
  3. Howard_S

    Howard_S Supporting Actor

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    It can be dangerous. Ie. stray wire may touch other parts of your receiver for example or another wire. And your fingers can hurt/bleed from twisting it.
     
  4. Salvador

    Salvador Second Unit

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    cutting through them??? I removed my bare speaker wires (16g) from the denon 3802 binding posts and none of the strands were cut of. Also keep in mind that i tightened the binding posts a lot to ensure good contact.

    about stray wire touching together.... don't banana plugs or any other type of connector pose the same risk? I think this is more of an issue about negligence and carelessness.

    the reason why i'm asking this is i don't want to spend an inordinate amount of money on connectors to biwire my studio 20's. If bare wire would do the job just as good as with connectors, why introduce the connector in the first place? Other than convenience and the oxidation issue, i can't find any other reason.

    i'm pretty much new to the HT scene so this is just my humble opinion.
     
  5. Randy Prue

    Randy Prue Stunt Coordinator

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    Hmmm... I take it that you mean bare wire ENDS, as opposed to mounnting terminals of some kind. Bare wire across the floor would be a bad idea (between receiver/amp and speaker).

    I have used bare wire for 35 years, have never blown a speaker, cut myself, etc. They fray after a dozen or so times of connecting/disconnecting. Okay, I should stop changing components and moving things around.

    Audio Research OFC speaker wires came with some odd plug/end thing that.. is not a banana plug, does not fit into anything on my speakers or my receiver.

    Anybody know what they are good for, or how to use them?

    Maybe I'll use them, if I knew how. No instructions came with them.
     
  6. Thomas_A

    Thomas_A Second Unit

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    personaly..I dont see what the fuss is over the extensions/plugs etc... I have been using bare wire for 25yrs and have had absolutely no issues of such. Now..if your sloppy ... I can see an issue..but a little attention to detail works wonders. I move my stuff around enough and upgrade enough.. I'm always trimming my ends off..so oxidation is not that big of a deal... btw.. by adding plugs etc.. all your doing is adding another piece of resitance to your speaker wire... mot audible.. but its still resistance... ..just some food for thought
     
  7. Allan Jayne

    Allan Jayne Cinematographer

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    Actually connecting the bare wire ends directly to the speaker or amp. terminals can have an advantage over spade lugs or banana plugs -- one joint instead of two.
    If the banana plugs, etc. are not soldered to the ends of the wires, that, too, is a joint that can oxidize, and I recommend taking apart all screwed together joints and re-making them every two to three years, and unplugging and replugging all plug-jack combinations twice at the same time. (Unplugging and replugging jacks has a cleansing effect.) Unfortunately it is difficult to redo crimped or riveted joints so you just have to leave these alone and sooner or later they will oxidize enough to fail.
    Video hints:
    http://members.aol.com/ajaynejr/video.htm
    I have some vintage electrical toys with crimped connections that have failed and I ended up soldering jumper wires around the joints, which destroyed some of the antique value of the toys.
     
  8. Steve Zimmerman

    Steve Zimmerman Second Unit

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    If you're going to biwire your speakers, you might as well get some banana plugs (what, $2 each?). To do otherwise would be bad biwire karma.

    --Steve
     
  9. Adil M

    Adil M Supporting Actor

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    Bare wires do not make the best connections, spades or locking banana's work better. RS has a package of 8 spades for $5, and a cheap crimp tool for around $8, worth it over bare wires. By the time you tighten down the bare wires enough to make good electrical contact, the strands start cutting through.

    -John Risch

    He's pretty well-respected at the AudioAsylum and they worship wiring there. This was my second-hand source. When I do my wire testing in the future, I'll be testing spades vs. bananas too.
     
  10. Jim_Stu

    Jim_Stu Stunt Coordinator

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    BARE WIRE vs ????,

    I have done it with:

    1) Bare wire

    2) Spade lugs (crimped)

    3) Soldered Banana Plugs

    4) Crimped pins that pass into the small side hole

    4) RS xxx-306A.

    Maybe its the wire I use, but I haven't found anything to

    beat the RS -306A.

    JRS
     
  11. Salvador

    Salvador Second Unit

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    what if i solder the ends of the copper wire??? this would prevent the strands from getting cut and oxidation wouldn't be an issue anymore. Is this a good idea?
     
  12. Mark Austin

    Mark Austin Supporting Actor

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    I have used bare wire for years, and I can't think of any cons.
     
  13. Brett DiMichele

    Brett DiMichele Producer

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    Bare wire can, will and does oxidize over time. And contrary
    to what has been posted. When a bare wire oxidizes it will
    do so all the way to the core and even extend underneath the
    cable jacketing.
    We have to ask ourselves is this an issue? Moderate oxidization
    occours in 1-2 years (surface) and takes many more years for
    the oxidization to penetrate to the core and extend beyond
    the jacket. Of course there are variables to this. Cheaper
    cables will not only oxidize faster but will also extend under
    the jacket faster. This has been shown to be true of the non
    OFC Wires that some on this forum swear by (like Home Depot
    12-2)
    I used to work with restorating vintage model trains and I
    have used a few pounds of solder in my short time on this
    earth. You should see how badly copper oxidizes in 50 years!
    Don't even think that any of us will have our wires connected
    for that long [​IMG]
    So is it a must to have another connector added on? Absolutely
    NOT...
    It comes down to a matter of convinience. For some people
    (myself included) I like the quick disconnect properties of
    Banana and Spade Terminations. I will not use crimped terminations
    on any of my speaker wires. Crimped terminations are not an
    air tight seal and as has been stated previously, you can
    and still will get oxidization (only now you won't be able to
    see it) so I choose to silver solder all of my connections.
    Liquids Displace Oxygen and when you have a perfect solder
    joint you now have an air tight seal with minimal resistance.
    That's just my $0.02 take it how you want to.. [​IMG]
     
  14. Salvador

    Salvador Second Unit

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    brett, is there any kind of special lead that i have to use to solder the ends of the speaker wire??? Or should i just use the normal "44" Rosin that i have?

    thanks.
     
  15. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    another tid-bit for thought.

    some people say that by using connectors or solder that you also affect the sonic characteristics of the signal. in other words, you change how the music sounds.

    personally, i think that's a bunch of "hooey". i've listened to my system both with and without and could not discern a difference. of course, maybe my hearing just sucks...

    i use the rat-shack banana plugs. they're cheap, provide a solid and secure connection and make it easy when you want to move things around.
     
  16. RobY

    RobY Auditioning

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    Salvador,

    Regular 60/40 rosin core solder is good enough. Unless you're anal, then you can spend the extra on silver solder.
     
  17. Brett DiMichele

    Brett DiMichele Producer

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    Salvador,
    Yes you can use the 44 Rosin Core that you have. The only
    advantage to Silver Solder is that it offers less resistance
    than typical 60/40 Lead/Tin types.
    I wanted to adress 2 other issues in this topic. Bare wires
    must be carefuly twisted and a keen eye must be placed on
    the Binding Post when inserting Bare Wires. It is very easy
    to have a stray wire not go through the Binding Post (no matter
    how good you are) and if that stray wire touches the other
    polarity terminal you have a short. Most amp sections have
    therman overload or a fuse circuit to protect against permanent
    damage from this type of occourence but why chance it?
    Soldered leads will definatly remedy that situation.
    Also I would like to say that some Biding Posts CAN cut the
    wire. There are certain Binding Posts that have serrated or
    "knurled" Posts that are meant to grasp Spade Lugs more firmly.
    These types of Posts when tightened down can chew through
    some wires.
    In the end it all comes down to personal prefrence. I like
    the convinience of Banana and Spade lugs. Not all connectors
    are created equally either. RadioShack does have some good
    Terminations as does Parts Express and many others. But the
    best money you can spend would be on WBT Terminations throughout
    the entire setup. Unfortunatly WBT does not come cheap. They
    are usualy priced at $80.00 per 4 connectors and with 2 channel
    music setups this wouldn't be "so bad" but when you start
    talking about 5.1 6.1 and more... It gets $$$$$$ [​IMG]
     
  18. Jeff Adams

    Jeff Adams Screenwriter

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    Bare wire. That is what I have used forever and have not had any problems. My philosophy is that the less connections there are between equipment the better the signal. Bannana plugs and spades are just 1 more connection.
     
  19. Norm Strong

    Norm Strong Stunt Coordinator

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    The main problem with using bare wire to connect your speakers is that they tend to short out frequently. I've found that keeping them apart is much easier when they're insulated.
     
  20. MikeH1

    MikeH1 Screenwriter

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    I like Banana plugs. Very convenient to switch things around on an amp that is tight on the audio rack. Also for the rear speakers that may be on stands that are in the open. Gives it a more polished look. When company comes over and starts inquiring about their 16 gauge 50 foot lengths at least they can see what a decent wire with a nice finish should look like.
     

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