Regardless of the complexities of your speaker setup, the speaker wire connection will always remain a vital aspect of this process. It doesn’t matter if it is a multi-channel surround sound system or a simple two-speaker setup.
Apart from the most important benefit which is audio quality, the right speaker wire connection will also enhance the look and aesthetics of your system.
That being said, this makes it one of the most important things to consider when installing your sound system.
The right wire connection can take your sound to the next level while the wrong one can ruin everything and make your expensive sound system sound and look cheap.
There has always been a heated debate about the banana plug vs bare wire option. In this article, we will in-depth compare these two options and help you decide which option is better for your sound system.
This will be more than just a standard comparison, this will also be a guide and an eye-opener to help you understand the differences between these two.
However, there is a consensus that banana plugs have certain audio and visual aesthetic advantages over their bare-wire counterpart.
There is also the advantage of offering ease of connection and less or no chance of a missed wire strand shorting, thereby causing the system to shut down.
All About Banana Plug
Banana plus is a single-wired electrical connector that is used to connect wires to equipment.
Sometimes, they are called 4 mm connectors in Europe, but not all bananas will connect with 4 mm parts.
A banana plug is termed as a cylindrical plug with sprung metal that bulges outward, although variations are there for many available applications.
Springs ensure a good fit and connection on the socket while protecting the pin from falling.
Its pin’s diameter comes as 4 mm, hence the name “4 mm plug.”
Two parties claim to have invented the plug. According to the Hirschmann company, Richard Hirschmann invented it in 1924.
A competing claim is made for the General Radio Company, introduced in this country by GR in 1924.
GenRad has developed a banana plug to replace pin plugs, this spring-loaded connector technology.
Richard Hirschmann was granted a patent for an improved banana plugin in 1929. The patent describes a banana plug with only two parts, and it does not require a small screw to hold the wire in place, as in conventional Bananenstecker, that is, the banana plugs.
Features of banana plugs:
- Banana plugs are round with a slightly curved end that resembles a banana, hence their name.
- Size: Banana plugs are available in various sizes, allowing them to be used with various devices that are 2, 4, and 5 mm.
- Material: Most banana plugs are made of metal, such as brass or copper, to conduct electricity and last a long time.
- Banana plugs are designed to make secure and stable connections between wires and devices. They are inserted into a corresponding socket or jack, which grips and holds the plug.
- Colour coding: Banana plugs are frequently coloured to indicate how the wires are connected. coded
- The positive wire is usually red, and the negative wire is black.
- Banana plugs are frequently used in scientific, industrial, audio, and video equipment. They also work with a range of wire gauges and connectors.
How to hook up speakers with banana plugs:
- Cut the two-conductor wire to the length you need.
- Separate each wire from the other for about an inch or two.
- Using a wire stripper, remove about half an inch of insulation from the end of each conductor to show the wire inside.
- Twist the exposed wires on the inside of each strand together.
- Unscrew your red and black banana plugs and push in the corresponding conductors until they don’t go any further. Once both wires are in, put the screws back on to hold them in place.
- Put the positive and negative banana plugs where they belong on the speaker.
Here’s a detailed video guide
All About Bare Wire
Bare wire is a common method for connecting speakers to amplifiers or receivers. It is a type of speaker wire with no plugs on either end, allowing the speaker and amplifier to communicate directly.
If you want to connect your speakers without purchasing special connectors or tools, bare wire is an excellent option.
When connecting speakers with bare wire, selecting the appropriate wire gauge is critical based on the cable run length and the power the speakers require.
Because thicker wires have less resistance and can handle more power, lower gauge wires are usually preferred for longer cable runs and more powerful systems.
The insulation must be removed to expose the metal conductor to use bare wire as a speaker wire. After stripping, twist the exposed wire strands together to form a tight bundle that can be inserted into the speaker and amplifier terminals.
Ensuring the exposed wire is long enough to reach the terminal’s bottom and make a secure connection is critical.
When connecting the bare wire to speakers, it is critical to pay attention to the polarity of the wire. Most speakers’ red and black terminals and amplifiers indicate good and bad connections.
Also, ascertain that all speakers in the system have the same polarity. If the polarity is reversed, the speakers may not be in sync, causing the bass to disappear and other issues.
Finally, connecting speakers to amplifiers or receivers with bare wire is simple and inexpensive. To get the best sound and performance from your audio system, use the correct gauge, strip and twist the wire correctly, and ensure the polarity is correct when using bare wire.
How to connect the speaker with bare wire:
- Strip the ends of the wire.
- Twist the bare wire strands.
- Trim any excess strands.
- Connect to the negative binding post.
- Connect to the positive binding post.
Banana Plug Vs. Bare Wire
Banana plugs make connecting speaker wires simple and secure. To connect them, plug the banana plug into the appropriate speaker terminal on the amplifier or receiver.
Banana plugs are also useful for people who frequently switch speakers because they make it simple to disconnect and reconnect wires without stripping and twisting the wire ends every time.
Bare wires, conversely, are more difficult to connect and disconnect because they must be stripped and twisted before being inserted into the speaker terminals.
However, bare wires can allow more of the wire’s surface to contact the terminal, and this may result in a better electrical connection and sound quality.
Speakers can be connected to an amplifier or receiver using banana plugs or bare wires. The user’s preferences and specific needs determine which one to use.
Banana plugs make connecting speaker wires simple and secure, but they only work with terminals on the amplifier or receiver that are the same shape.
Bare wires, conversely, can be used with any speaker terminal, but they are more difficult to connect and disconnect.
Generally, either option can be used with any speaker, but some speakers may perform better with one connection type.
Some speakers, for example, may have terminals that are too close together to use banana plugs, whereas others may have larger terminals that require thicker gauge bare wires for the best sound quality.
Pros and Cons of Banana Plug
There are numerous advantages to using banana plugs with your speaker wire.
- In addition to making your installation look cleaner, banana plugs also provide a permanent and high-quality connection. The connections between bare speaker wires are often unreliable, and the wires can pull out or become frizzy over time, which can adversely affect the sound quality. By using banana plugs, you can avoid this.
- Another advantage is doing behind-the-wall installations and using wall plates instead of leaving a big hole in the wall. Usually, these wall plates will only have a jack for a banana plug.
- Banana plugs will also make the back of your speakers and receiver looks nicer by hiding the wires.
- Because of their exposed nature, banana plugs are intended for use with reduced application domains. If a male banana connector is not fully inserted into a female banana connector, the plug may be partially exposed. Banana connectors are typically rated for 30 V to protect against injury.
- Expensive compared to other wires
- It can affect your sound if connected poorly
Pros and Cons of Bare Wire
- Connecting the bare wire ends directly to the speaker or amplifier terminals can be better than spade lugs or banana plugs because it only requires one connection instead of two.
- It is cheaper compared to the banana plug.
- Corrodes easily
- It can be risky if a stray wire touches another or part of the receiver. And if you twist it, your fingers can hurt or bleed.
Banana Plugs, in Summary
A banana plug raises the resistance and keeps the copper cable from rusting. With the banana plug, the part of the cable that has been stripped is no longer there.
So, banana plugs are useful, but they aren’t a must-have. Don’t touch the ends of the cable with your bare hands; if you have to, you can get rid of the banana plug because it’s so convenient.
Sometimes, you can’t just plug the banana plug into the system. Before you buy the guidebook, when you buy, make sure that the thickness of the banana plug and the speaker cable is the same.
Banana plugs can be a quick and reliable way to connect speakers to an audio system, but whether they are “better” than bare wire depends on your needs and preferences.
One benefit of banana plugs is that they provide a more secure and reliable connection than bare wire, which can sometimes come loose or cause signal loss over time.
Also, banana plugs can make adding and removing speakers from an audio system easier because you can plug and unplug the cables instead of striping and reconnecting the bare wire.
Bare Wire, in Summary
A simple and flexible way to connect speakers to amplifiers or receivers is to use bare wire for the speaker connectors.
It is made up of a single wire with ends stripped of insulation, and this makes it harder to work with than other connectors like banana plugs or spades.
When using bare wire, it’s important to match the wire gauge to the power output of the amplifier or receiver, twist the strands together to keep them from fraying and ensure the connection in the speaker or amplifier terminal is tight.
Bare wire can be used in professional audio settings because it makes a direct and reliable connection.
However, if it is not handled properly, it can cause an electrical shock. Overall, bare wire is a cheap way to connect speakers, but it must be done carefully and safely.
Frequently Asked Questions
Most of these are common among people who like to listen to music, and connecting them to the bare wires is not as hard as it seems.
If you want good sound quality, Banana plugs and similar connectors should be regarded as important parts of your audio system.
Banana Plugs are male connectors with 4mm or 2mm pins. Banana plugs are meant to go into banana sockets, which can be either 4mm or 2mm in size.
Putting banana plugs on your speaker wire has a lot of benefits. Banana plugs not only make your installation look better, but they also make a connection that lasts and is of high quality.
Most of the time, bare speaker wire connections need to be fixed.
For connecting speakers, both banana plugs and bare wire can work well. When compared to bare wires, banana plugs are easier and safer because they are easy to plug into the speaker and receiver terminals without stripping or twisting the wire.
They also make the connection more stable and less likely to cause damage or short circuits by accident.
The bare wire and banana plugs are perceived to be excellent speaker connectors. However, having gone through this topic extensively, it is evident that the banana plug is a more convenient connector than the bare wire.
However, if one is looking for a cheaper alternative, the bare wire is an excellent pocket-friendly choice.
Having discussed the two, the choice between bare wires and banana plugs ultimately depends on individual preferences, needs, and budgets.