All other things being equal (the quality of the spades and bananas commpared), spades provide more contact area and are supposedly a better audio connector.
Yes, you can hear the difference in a poor quality spade and a higher quality one assuming your system is on par with the expense involved in the connectors, imo.
I have a hard time getting my spades to stay on the speakers. Whenever the maids come over I need to chech that they have not come off while cleaning.
I only use bananas because spades are always sliding off. Spades are a pain in the butt.
bananas..no wear and tear
The material is more important than whether it is a spade or banana. Bananas usually sound like s--t, as does gold plating, etc. The banana spring tension goes south and the sound goes with it. Go with Cardas Rhodium and you will notice that when you clean them there is no black grunge like there is with gold. The Rhodium also sound good today and a year from now. I like spades which fit good, or a banana which is very tight, not the ones with the spring which twirls...gives you another contact area to bridge. Use quicksilver cleaner or the like.
I have found spades to be the most secure termination. They would seem to have the best contact area due to their size.
Sound wise I wouldnt like to say which is the best as each set of cables I have had have changed brand/geometry as well as the type of connectors.
What I would say is as long as you have a tight and clean connection you should be ok.
The type of metal and constuction is important too. But if you have a good cable, usually the manufacturer has looked into this within reason.
I do prefer gold, but it needs to be cleaned regularly. Though my latest speaker cables use Cardas rhodium spades and I cant complain!
There is also a school of thought that says keep to the same type of metal as the binding post as its not good to mix metal contacts.
Best to use your ears
For a combination of convenience, contact area and secure fit I like the BFA-style bananas, also known as Z-plugs. It's easy to adjust the tension, either tighter or looser depending on your binding posts, they're very quick to connect and disconnect, and the entire length and diameter of the plug makes contact with the inner surface of the binding post.
Audioquest makes a version of it and the Knukonceptz brand available online are good quality and inexpensive.
"I have a hard time getting my spades to stay on the speakers. Whenever the maids come over I need to chech that they have not come off while cleaning.
AAAAUUUUGGGGHHHHH, You let maids near your equipment!!!
I don't even let my audio buddies that close. I have Gold-velvet rope across that end of the room. And just in case they are tempted, I have pictures of blood-dripping hands with severed fingers (and more blood). Can't be too careful.
Bananas for ease of use. I use both WBTs on Crystal Cable and BFAs on DIY cables and both work well. Cardas copper spades on the end of jumpers between sets of speaker posts.
I recently tried these BFA plugs
. I believe they have more contact area than spades. I find with spades, even good ones, you need to check periodically for proper tension. They will almost always need a little tightening after a while.
Not to confuse the issue, but I prefer unterminated speaker cable ends. Yes, they can get tarnished and don't look as tidy, but in my experience, terminations tend to dull the sound. I admit that I've never used WBTs or anything terribly pricy to compare them with, just standard gold spades and bananas.
the amount of pressure is what determines a good connection, the size of the area does not determine a good connection
according to an article I read many moons ago...
Use what is convenient.
You (and everybody else for that matter) can't hear the difference among spades, bananas, and bare wire.
I would not agree with the opinion that no one can hear the difference between spades or bananas or bare wire. However I would say up to a point it doesnt make a huge sonic difference.
These types of things are small tweaks and not like changing a source or speakers. For some convenience will be far more important than a slight change in noise floor or presentation etc. This type of attention to detail is for the hardcore audiophile/connoisseur.