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    Five Hidden Banana Plug Speaker Wire Features

    2022.02.23

    One of the questions we get most frequently is which banana plug speaker wire to use for their speaker cables. It seems an apparently trivial question. But for all enthusiasts who enjoy trying cables and amplifiers, constantly changing the configuration of their system. It is not at all.

    Banana Plug Connectors

    First choice: brass or copper?

    The first choice that every self-builder has to face is to decide the material of which the connector must be easy.

    Leaving aside all the possible alloys and variants that can be common (there are really a lot of them). The most common materials are basically 2: Brass and Copper.

    Characteristics of banana plug speaker wire

    Speaker wire is an alloy of copper and zinc with varying percentages. It is a fairly hard material, easily workable and resistant over time. These features mean that brass connectors can be common with very heavy cables, without them bending over time or, even worse, breaking.

    Brass has a decent conductive capacity. Although not exceptional, but it is certainly the alloy with the best value for money for the production of audio connectors.

    Characteristics of copper: red gold

    It is currently common for banana plug speaker wire and audio connectors for one essential feature: excellent conductivity.

    Unlike brass, copper is much softer, making some connector machining more complex. Also, not to underestimate, this softness could cause problems if the cables are very heavy. A banana plug, which is naturally more subject to the weight of the cable, could bend or, worse still, break.

    Copper connectors normally exist in 4 variants:

    • Untreated copper
    • Gold plated copper
    • Rhodium-plated copper
    • Silver plated copper

    In all 4 cases it is essential that the plating is Nickel free. It allows the banana plug speaker wire, and not the plating, to conduct.

    Purists will definitely prefer untreated copper

    There are no other elements that can affect the quality of the connector / conductor. But copper is a metal that tends to oxidize.

    Don't worry, cleaning the contacts is very simple and takes little time. Just use lemon and let it act for a few minutes, or, better still, create a fine salt and vinegar mash, to pass on the connector. In a few seconds everything will shine again as before.

    The other two plating, on the other hand, differ very little in substance (in the case of silver, the plating will tend to oxidize).

    Banana plug speaker wire - are the best choice

    Let's immediately dispel a taboo: on a sound level, choosing a banana or a fork does not involve differences of any kind. So on what to base the choice? Simple: on the use you intend to make of it.

    Banana connectors (or banana plugs) are the best choice if you intend to change configuration of your system often. Therefore, having to connect and disconnect the cables frequently. In this case, inserting / disconnecting the connector are certainly much faster and easier.

    The banana, however, does not digest very heavy cables and requires more space behind the amplifier to allow the cable itself to flex.

    Banana plug speaker wire connectors are certainly more cumbersome

    You have to unscrew the clamp (also called binding post), insert the fork and screw it back on. In itself it is not a complex operation. But it becomes annoying if it repeats several times a day.

    The fork, however, has two significant advantages. It suffers much less the heaviness of the cables, since it can position perpendicular to the cable and. Due to its position, requires very little space behind the electronics or the speaker. This advantage is obviously a boon for those forced to place the amplifier or speakers very close to the walls.

    Banana Plug Speaker Wire

    Type of banana plug speaker wire

    There are different types of banana connectors, but all have a standard: the 4mm diameter, which over time has replaced the standard of leads, which had an even smaller diameter.

    There are so many types of banana connectors, the most common are certainly the following 4:

    • Expanding Banana
    • Broken Banana
    • Banana in Lamella
    • Banana in Spring

    The expanding banana is certainly the most prized type

    The body of the connector equip with a pin that is brought up when the shield (or sleeve) screw on. As the pin goes up, it expands the part of the banana plug speaker wire that makes contact, ensuring maximum grip. Obviously, you must be very careful: before disconnecting the banana, it is essential to unscrew the shield, otherwise you risk damaging the terminal of the amplifier or speaker.

    Here are some examples of expanding banana

    Broken banana connectors are not broken connectors, as the name might suggest, but simply a thin sheet of copper or brass, wrapped around itself in a circular fashion, with a wavy break.

    The part of banana plugs speaker wire that insert into the terminal has a diameter slightly greater than 4mm, but the interruption on the blade guarantees the sufficient tolerance necessary to make contact and insert the connector firmly.

    This mechanism works very well, but over the years (especially if the connector plugs in and unplug often), it may fail, reducing the quality of the contact.

    Brushless motor ESC Battery charger gold plated banana plug

    Banana plug speaker wire connectors have an operating mechanism very similar to that of broken bananas, with the main difference being that there is not a single wound reed, but multiple reeds, all around the central pin, which shrink when inserted inside the clamp.

    Also, for this type of connector, the years and use can lead to a loosening of the blades, worsening the quality of the contact.

    Gold plated banana plug for RC connector

    The last type of banana connector we will talk about is the spring one. It is a less common mechanism than the others, but still very efficient. It is a solution recently proposed by Viborg Audio to allow the use of copper banana plug speaker wire.

    The mechanism is as simple as it is ingenious: while the reed or broken copper connectors would give way in no time, the presence of a clip, which returns into position as if it were a spring, allows it to last over time.

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