Best way of connecting bare wire to bare wire

Sorry if this sounds like a newbie question - I've always had speakers and speaker wires with banana type ends. Now I am trying the whole 'magnet wire' thing (solid core copper 14 awg) and also changing to Magnepan MC1's and MMG-W's. These speakers have multi-strand bare wires coming out of them, and my copper 'speaker wire' is bare as well. My question is, what is the best way to make a high quality connection between a multi strand bare wire and a solid core bare wire? Solder? Crimp connectors? Just wondering what people out there are using in this situation. Thanks!


When I had the MC-1's not to long ago, I also had speaker wire that was bare, and to connect the two, I twisted them together and put wire nuts to hold them together.
If the connection at the speaker end will accept banana plugs, Audioquest makes a banana that slides over solid wire and there's a set screw that holds it in place.
I would solder them together.
I would choose crimping over soldering if it was practical.
I am a cable manufacturer that has just joined Audiogon, so I am not sure if its OK for me to comment here. Soldering is a good idea for joining wire. I would slightly favour getting a WBT crimp sleeve of an appropriate size, slip both ends in and perform a high pressure crimp. Then give it a coating of some anti-oxidising agent and heat shrink it to minimise air contact.

This may not be so practical for a one off job as buying a couple of sleeves may be tricky, unless you have a friendly dealer that has a stock. And you would want to borrow his crimp tool if you didn't have one.

Using a solid sleeve with screws, in my opinion adds too much metal to the transmission line and will pick up noise, and the potential for eddy currents, and therefore some small time smearing of the signal. That is only theory however, and whether you can hear the difference is a matter of conjecture.

Tell me if I shouldn't be doing this as I intend to market our cables here soon, and I don't want to upset anyone.

I believe there's nothing wrong with commenting/posting, as long as you disclose the fact that you are a cable manufacturer.
The wire nuts suggested by Riley804 will make an excellent connection. However, you must take care that your audiophile buddies never see what you did. If the secret gets out say that the wire nuts are cryo treated.
Anyway you want will work fine - I tend to agree with Eldartford. Wire nuts are simple, secure, and inexpensive and there isn't any downside. Get the yellow wire nuts and say they are then refer to them as the Gold wirenuts - better yet, add a drop of paint on the outside market them for $39 a pair.
Sonia, I think most here would welcome your input, given your background, especially as you've declared your 'conflict of interest'. Welcome to Audiogon!

On the topic, my method for good physical and electrical connection would be to tightly twist the ends together, solder and then heat-shrink the join.
Thanks very much for the welcome. I like the idea Carl109. Crimping can be slightly better than solder just because no solder is as good as the wire used in decent cables, but it depends on how well the crimping welds the metals together. But your suggestion is simpler, practical and will, as you say, work fine.
Hello BFrank,
While the wire nuts are cheap and effective, they look a bit unprofessional or unfinished. The Neutrik Speakon connectors (NL4FX female and NL4MMX male) would be what I would try. They run about $6 each and have set-screw or solder wire connections. Neutrik claims the contacts are rated for 50 amps! You can find more info on them at parts express-dot-com.
In general I have found Neutrik connectors to be of good quality. As to Antipodes mention of her interest in selling products- it is appreciated that you made this known. Too often there are posts from persons who argue in favor of certain products or types of products without such up front disclosure. After a little checking, one discovers that the individual regularly sells that product or one of a similar ilk. After discovering the undisclosed interest I disregard their further posts as I find the person to lack credibility. While I may disagree with the opinion of someone who has made such an up front disclosure as Antipode has, I would not discard their future posts out of hand.
Thanks for all the great responses - I've been reading a lot lately on this, it seems that solder vs. crimp is an ongoing debate. Quality of solder, quality of join, quality of crimp/crimping tool, type of wire etc etc all play factors. I read somewhere that solder *can* give the best connection, but most crimped connections are as good or better than most solder jobs (especially after some time). Also started looking at the wire nuts and there are a ton of different designs! I never knew it could get so complicated :) I guess I'll start with wire nuts and see how that works for me, since it's by far the easiest and least expensive.
Seems a little silly to be commenting on the quality of wire nuts but you do want to be sure the ones you get have a wire coil inside. Some inexpensive ones are just a plastic cap without any wire inside the wire nut itself. The ones with the metal coil grip much better.
With a soldered connection done properly the solder does not make the electrical connection. The wires are twisted or crimped together, thus making the contact, and the solder is added to prevent things coming apart.

I was impressed with the Speakon connectors which I used as jacks on the wall for an in-wall system, and as mating connectors on my speaker wires. But I think they would be overkill for simply joining two wires.

Good photo illustrations of wire connections.
If you decide to soldier, use the 'Western Union' splice.
Use good quality Rosen Core solder, NOT ACID CORE.

I was taught to solder by a 'Mil Spec' guy and it is amazing how much detail he went into......At the real course they will cut your solder joints in half so you can see the quality.
FWIW, I was reading an interview with a person from WBT. They prefer crimping over soldering. Their Nexgen connectors use soldering only because there isn't enough metal to crimp properly.

The previous post about crimping, then covering with an antioxidant coating and shrink tubing seems like a great way to do it if you're handy enough to do those things.

By the way, you can buy crimping sleeves individually. I've come across them at this site, where I've bought a number of things over the years. Just scroll down to the WBT section. You can even buy the WBT crimping tool and send it back after using it. They'll buy it back from you at the same price. Pretty cool.

If you use wire nuts, that's a neat idea. It beats my first stereo where I hand twisted the wires together and covered the twists with masking tape (It was a long time ago). Naturally, wire nuts need to be special audiophile grade nuts with six nines copper inside the nut and hand made by Swiss mountain gnomes.
Markphd: I might add that those audiophile grade wire nuts with the six nines copper hand made by Swiss mountain gnomes would be a bargain at, say, $39 each. The risk of not purchasing a pair is that the 10's of thousands of dollars spent on the sound system would, ultimately, be wasted money without these gems. What would one rather do ? Spend an extra $78 for a pair of such obviously top grade wire nuts, or, essentially have wasted many thousands of dollars on the high end equipment that, without the wire nuts cannot approach the quality that lays buried therein.