5 Easy Steps to the Right Audio Cable Connectors

for Your Home Theater System or Stereo Speakers

audio cable connectors

A good combination of audio cable connectors can in fact make a difference in the audio quality of your audio or video system. Reliability of connection is one thing. Making a good connection is the primary function of any connector.

Plain bare wire can work well for some speaker cables like 12-guage-speaker-wire.

In fact if you can get bare wire to hold a good connection it should work better than having any connector at all on the wire.

Simplicity is often the best way to go.

However, I have found that bare wire does not stay tight in most binding posts. So I (and most others) have been forced to use spade lugs on my speakers.

My cables always seem to work their way loose even if I use a wrench to tighten them up when using bare cable in the cable connectors. I think they tend to pinch the wire instead of clamping down on it.

This is probably due to the insertion hole being set up from the clamping surface. I suppose it would even be possible to accidentally cut the wire off with this sharp edge of metal at the surface of where the hole meets the nut.

A good connection must be made in order to get an excellent signal from component to component. The most reliable way to do this is with some good audio cable connectors.

5 Things you should consider with all Audio Cables:

Eddy current:

Eddy currents are the subject of much debate in the HiFi and diy speaker wire industry. It seems that there is the argument that unless a piece of copper would need to be very thick for eddy currents to build up within a conductor.

The scientific debate is that eddy currents should not be problem for most audio cables.

Still, I think it can’t hurt to do whatever one can to eliminate any possible problems in the signal chain. So I would recommend cable connectors that are not extremely bulky and thick. Of course, they also need to be thick and robust enough to hold onto your equipment connections well.

Cable end Terminations:

The clamping mechanisms must also be well designed and ensure a stable flow of signal.

WBT make some truly fine connectors but they are priced like jewelry. I love fancy connectors as much as the next guy but I do not want to spend more on a set of audio cable connectors as you might get an entire set of cables otherwise.

There are some brands that offer close to WBT quality at more reasonable prices through Parts Express. I would typically opt for these less expensive cable ends and terminations. Solder or set screws: Some HiFi enthusiast and audiophiles claim to be able to hear the differences in solder connections.

I doubt it.

I would not go so far as to say it cannot be done, but I won’t believe it unless it was proven with a scientific analysis. The main benefit to the use of solder is that it is more robust than a screw type connection for audio cable connectors.

Set screws can damage the thin wires and make them fragile to breaking. Solder is much gentler and less prone to wire breakage. Whether it sounds worse or not, I don’t know. I’ve never taken the time to see if this were an experiment worth doing. To me; it seems a bit silly to even have a discussion about it.

Spade or banana:

It’s a known fact that spade lugs offer a better contact area than a banana plug. But there are some very good banana plugs available as well. Again, WBT makes some fantastic banana plugs. I happen to use WBT banana plugs to connect to my amplifiers in my main music system. They work very well and it would take a substantial amount of force to break one loose -without first loosening the set screw sleeves.

The connections for my speakers have spade lugs. I like these because they are less likely to receive damage if someone steps on them or something worse.

Where to get the Best Audio Cable Connectors:

I use Parts Express for all my cable parts. I build nearly all of my speaker cables and interconnect cables myself nowadays.

Parts you may need:

• Audio cable connectors

Bi wire speaker cables – Parts Express – Free Shipping Every Day on most orders over $98 (Restrictions apply).

Concealed speaker wire Home Audio / Video – The items you need to enhance your home audio and video experience

• Underground speaker wire 10,000 Electronic Parts & Accessories Ready to Ship Today

• Audio cable adapters

• Audio video cable for iPod

Speaker wire connections Wire & Cable – We carry a large selection of bulk reels to completed cables in every style and length.

• Buy speaker wire

• Audio cable connector

• Subwoofer speaker cable

• Audio quest cables

• Transparent audio cables

• Subwoofer connections

You can get all these parts at Parts Express Wire & Cable – We carry a large selection of bulk reels to completed cables in every style and length.

Parts Express should have pretty much anything you need to…

Make your own cables

I learned a long time ago that while cables are important; it is very easy to make nice cables at a small fraction of the cost of retail audio wires available on the market.

The hifi cables available are priced like diamonds as far as I’m concerned.

I did an experiment some years ago comparing my DIY cables to some top flight cables from MIT.

My DIY cables sounded noticeably better on my stereo system. Maybe on some different equipment this would not have been true, but I doubt it. I think a lot of the cables on the market are light on science and heavy on fluff. I don’t intend to ever be a victim of the great ‘cable’ scam again.

This is just my opinion; don’t get all upset and write me hate letters.

You are entitled to your own opinion. I will just need some empirical evidence before I change mine. (Which I’m confident I will never receive)

You can read more about this little experiment on the best speaker wire page . (see left NAV Bar)

For some free cable recipes there are three of them on that page. You can try a few of them yourself.

The good news is that they are pretty easy to build and the parts aren’t too expensive either. The bad news is you will probably want to build your own cables from now on, which will take more work than going to the store.

But it will cost about 10 percent as much as some HiFi cables will set you back.

Look at it like this; you can buy a better amp with the money you saved.
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