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Overall I think bananas are much easier to work with. With spades I had trouble getting the right amount of tension on the binding posts. To loose is no good obviously but I was afraid I would overtighten them and break something.
With bananas you just shove it in and forget about it. Only disadvantage is that they stick out much farther than spades.
I can recommend the Nakamichi bananas if you are building your own cables. They work well and are inexpensive. My only complaint with them is that you need to use a small slotted screwdriver to tighten them, which tears up my hands after a while (a hex head would be SO much better).
IMO bananas if you plan on multi connect/disconnect for whatever reasons. Spades for put them on and forget for years.
The only other use banana reason is the posts are too close together as on a receiver, where you have a dozen lined up. Then bananas may be better just because you can get them into place easier.
All the rest is theory and personal preference.
Ryriken - Many amps don't support bananas. My old Cambridge A3i supported only spades. My current Rowland 102 (and perhaps all current Rowland amps) have Cardas style clamp - for spades only.
As for the sound, if there is any difference then according to people opinions the best is bare wire (not always possible) then spades followed by bananas.
I prefer spades over bananas. But if you are going to use either use good quality jacks for your connections and treat them too with ProGold, etc.
My experience with Bananas have been mixed and mostly at the speaker end. My amp will only handle spades. I kept getting this weird buzzing noise in my Spicas when certain frequencies were played. I tightened my drivers, the spikes on my stands and anything that wasn't tightened. The problem was with my banana connections. They were vibrating inside the 5 way binding post. I have some other wires with much better bananas and when I tried them or the spades the buzzing just went away. I tried the same set of buzzing bananas again and yeap, thats what it was. I tried spreading them and still the noise persisted. The better quality Bananas have never buzzed. But I never have any of those problems with spades. I just clean them every now and then and the electrical connection is great and sounds good too. Less hassle.
I think they are all, "set and forget" unless the gear is getting moved more than a couple inches. then spades arebest.
I've heard no diffs in sound quality from one to another. I prefer Bananas. Far easier to deal with and hook up to nearly anything, especially on cramped rear panels like with processors and receivers.
With spades you have to concern yourself with thier spread or size and the binding posts size too. What sort of connectig nut, thumb screws, etc.
I especially like the Z bananas from SR. They fit better than the non expansion solid types.
the note above on using Pro gold too is a good one.... or any contact enhancer for that matter.
What has not been brought into consideration here is the need for periodic cleaning of the contacts and connectors throughout the system. From my experience after about 3 to 6 months the system became boring. A good thorough cleaning of all connectors brought everything back to life. The choice of spades or banana connectors will ultimately dictate the convenience of cleaning them. Set it and forget it? I wouldn't buy into that notion if you want to keep everything in optimal condition.
Rrog - speaker wire I'm using is a little too complex to use bare. It has whole bunch of strands in individual insulations and one that has again bunch of very thin strands. I decided to uses spades. Many purists believe that adding solder introduces another metal and recommend crimping only (Audioquest welds wires in ICs). I crimped my spades to provide oxygen free connection, then soldered it with 4% silver solder. Purists also believe in usage of unplated silver or copper since gold (for plating) is not the best conductor. Silver oxidizes and rhodium enhanced silver spades are expensive. I decided to use gold plated copper spades (from Audioquest) since gold plating (and perhaps nickel plating underneath gold) is very thin and should not affect conductivity. My speaker terminals are already gold plated.
Well, there are bananas and then there are bananas. Some bananas are so loose they barely stay in place. The kind that look like a crimped tube generally fit snugger and make better surface contact. My favorite, however, are the locking bananas. They give you the best of 'most everything--convenience of bananas, stress-free ability to connect and disconnect, plus excellent surface contact and the ability to stay put just like torqued-down spades.
I bought a pair of Cobalt speaker cables from a pawnshop. They came with the locking bananas and spoiled me. My integrated amp doesn't take spades--bare wire, pins, or bananas. So for this setup locking bananas are a boon. Since then I replaced them with some Zu Libtec speaker cables with snug but non-locking bananas. They'll do but the locking ones are better. But I'll put up with it because these Libtecs are incredibly good.