Correct way to attach speaker wires... Wait, what!!!


Okay this is going to sound ridiculous but I've always wondered if I'm connecting the wires in the proper way to the binding posts. I just picked up a Red Dragon S500 power amp and I figured I finally should ask the question. It has the screw down type of posts. Here is a link to the pic on their website. The wires I have are Mapleshade Clearview Golden Helix which terminate in a stiff single 3/4" wire. Any help for a dumb question would be greatly appreciated!
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the connection just needs to flow an adequate current to not create a significant resistance

the speaker is like an electric motor and needs some current to move the cone, ribbon, or panel back and forth

there are conductive liquid polymers you can use to inhibit corrosion; otherwise any connection will be fine - you are not driving an arc welder

plenty of other things ot worry about (room treatments for example)
Thanks Kenny!  I'm glad you replied since if I recall correctly you either have or had the same amp. I was pretty sure that was the case but I thought this would be a good time since I now have new equipment. 
Bare copper is bad due to oxidation. The best long term solution is a crimped on banana or spade.

Spades and screw materials should be SOFT! Cheap spades using pot metal or hard brass core are the worst. You want the spade to give and be pliable enough to give you the best contact area.

A symptom of having too hard materials is you can't finger tighten them well without a risk of them coming undone.

I think WBT has spades with spring loaded construction exactly to solve this issue.

Best,

E
Better to solder the connection to the spade or bananas you get a much higher contact area and it will stay secure longer then a simple crimp. Also more corrosion resistant. tin'd bare wire is also good or even bare wire. In the industrial military electronics world you would never use a simple crimped on connector unless you wanted it to fail or lose conductivity. Just my 2 cents 
Thanks guys. Hey Erik what is WBT?
Heat from solder can be bad for high-end wire that's why many higher-end manufacturers Just a use a quality crimp on connector I use Analysis Plus cables and they are by no means the cheapest they use a very soft brass pressed on terminations
Hi Autre, WBT is a famous German connector manufacturer.

http://partsconnexion.com/connectors_brand_wbt.html
All connectors degrade sound. All, regardless of cost. Bare wire is best. Do the comparisons and it is obvious. So, go with bare wire.

1) just clean every so often and no oxidatiobpn issues.
2) or just thin the stripped area - good option

You can buy some very good sounding tinned speaker wire from Duelund. Their 16 gauge stranded in cotton wire.  Makes great speaker cable and costs $10 meter.  It is tinned already.  You can buy it from Parts Connextion if interested. 
The wire of your choice cold welded (method used by Audioquest) to thin pure silver spades.  Tighten down but not to the point that you deform the thin silver spades.  Listen and enjoy!
After doing a lot of testing with different types of power cord and interconnect connectors, I do not actually believe that bare copper against bare copper would be the best solution.  It really depends on what your speaker binding posts are.  Bare copper against bare copper (two different pieces of metal under physical contact) does not really transfer higher frequencies as well.  This is where plating increases the ability for high frequencies to jump from one piece to another (i.e. bare copper against rhodium/gold/silver plating).  The plating just dictates the type of sonic signature you're after.  Gold plated binding posts could be good, but if it's pure brass, then you can probably improve by using a plated banana/spade.

@grannyring , I agree to bare wire, only what to do with that 3/4" thick sausage LOL? I doubt that it's going to be cooperative to the screw-in posts of amp or any posts technically. Need to check if Mapleshade doodz took such thickie from near-by power transformer...

soldering is out of question simply because you will rather need an electrode welder instead of soldering iron.


Good point. I’ve been able to tin individual wire runs, stranded or solid core, up to 14 gauge no problem. If you start to get 12 gauge and thicker well yeah not easy to tin.
However, once you strip a speaker cable, outer jacket and insulation, I don’t know of any using gauges any thicker than 10 gauge? Perhaps they’re out there I’m just not aware of them.

I don’t use binding posts, at least I don’t use them in a traditional manner. I just use them for clamping together the runs of the speaker cable and the crossover leads from the speaker. I haven’t had any problem clamping together two 10 gauge wires with a 12 gauge wire with this process.

You see I really do not believe in connectors as I believe they all degrade sound. I do the same thing on the amp end and bypass the binding post simply using them as a clamp for the output wires of the amplifier to the speaker wire.

In the past I have built my own nylon binding posts able to clamp together very large gauges of wire and cabling.

I realize not many people are going to go to all this effort. I’m kind of nuts that way.
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Bare copper against bare copper (two different pieces of metal under physical contact) does not really transfer higher frequencies as well. This is where plating increases the ability for high frequencies to jump from one piece to another (i.e. bare copper against rhodium/gold/silver plating).
Resistance along a conductor has no bearing on the frequency of an electrical current passing through that conductor.  Any electrical frequency introduced at some point in a circuit will be realized on the other side of a restive load.  The amplitude of the signal will be changed but the frequency will not.  The ability of an electric current to bridge an open in the circuit, "jump from one piece to another" is dependent on voltage not frequency.
I was under the assumption dissimilar metals is the issue, not similar metals.
Could I be wrong?
geoffkat   you are correct
grannyring,
" I don’t use binding posts, at least I don’t use them in a traditional manner. I just use them for clamping together the runs of the speaker cable and the crossover leads from the speaker"

I've been doing that as well with great results and have 16ga duelund wire running internally from the speaker cable to the lowther drivers
Boxer12,   Very nice indeed. I bet that sounds so darn real and open. Very nice! 

I use Kimber 4TC bare wire I purchased as left-over for $50 which gave me 2 runs of approximately 5.5 feet.

No issues with corrosion as I clean somewhat once per season frequency 4...5 times per year.

Kimber is also great value wire and bare hookup is very smart.  What do you use for cleaner? 
vinegar works - but why not just protect the connection so you don't have to clean it??

this is really a very simple thing - not that the crazed anti-vaxers won't try to post lots of silly
Thank you for the kinds words again. You take care...
randy-111,326 posts08-15-2017 3:01pmvinegar works - but why not just protect the connection so you don't have to clean it??

food vinegar won't work. cleaner vinegar from home depot or similar retailers will. 

unterminated wires work very well as one reason and another reason that i can shift manual tranny better than any today's automatic tranny and, finally, each and everyone prefers to mustarbate one's own way.
food vinegar or any vinegar WILL work - use a white vinegar to avoid getting thyme or tarragon your wires* - the lower acidity vinegars will simply take longer to alter Cu-oxide back to Cu

do they not teach chemistry in high school these days??

if you want find a photo lab with old chemicals and use the acetic acid they have - it can be diluted if need be

or...  simply abrade the wire ends

just BE SURE to observe the correct WIRE DIRECTIONALITY as you move the sand paper !!


* an exception would be if you play only the Provence Harmonic Orchestra
All this jazz about terminations and wire... 
You do know that the makers of the active and passive devices in your amp don't get this weird about the leads on their stuff. Pretty much all the connections that aren't solder are gold on gold because it never corrodes, at least if it's quality stuff. I'm going to guess that if a gold on gold connection is good enough to address memory in the GHz range, it should handle audio just fine. 

grannyring,
Yes it does. I was using solid core music meter wire prior to this & the duelund made a very noticeable difference. Highly recommended. 
"Colloidal copper preparation compounds". They work for silver and other metals as well. "Kopr-shield" is one. It's an anti corrosion treatment for connections that will not only keep copper from oxidizing it will enhance the resistance properties, "lower resistance" of the termination.    
     There is another product whose name currently escapes me. It's a high silver "powder" content, anti-oxidation treatment. I believe "Parts Express" carries it.    Why audiophiles don't use this more often escapes me.  That this works is a quantifiable fact. Easily measured with a meter as resistance but that measurement will not give you any given frequencies loss or corruption, "one type of distortion". Which is a factor when talking about line transmission. Most know something about frequency induction along the signal path but not so much about signal degradation and corruption. If a given frequency degrades enough, most will think it wasn't there to begin with. And if corrupted until it's simply distortion we think it's something to get rid of when in fact the opposite is true. It needs to be saved. Therefore the goal should be insulative in nature to protect the sanctity of the source signal. That would also help with induction of "other than true source" energy.    "Ramble, ramble, ramble...."   So those are my 2 cents! And if you don't at least try this you should be relegated to using only lamp cord for speaker and signal wire for eternity! Or at least until you can come up with the $27 bucks for the 16oz. container of said compound. Which ever comes first.








most of food vinegar isn't concentrated enough to work on corrosion and the price is different as well.
the only subject i am good at is math. all other ones had inferior grades or little to no interest including chemistry. 

I agree with some of the above posters - bare wire is the best connection - use deoxit or an equivalent cleaner a couple times a year to avoid oxidation- and clean the input connections as well as the wire -  the connector is a means to an end - its only intention is to connect the speaker wire to the speaker post - I avoid them whenever possible and just ensure I have clean wires and binding posts - a connector cannot improve on a bare wire - it can only minimize oxidation and possibly give you a little more surface area to work with 
Bjg? I thought certain connectors when applied properly "could" improve signal compared to bare wire. Am I wrong? My understanding was that "Banana" plugs for one were invented for testing applications but were soon found to have better connection characteristics because the signal actually traveled on the "skin" of the strands. And when terminated to banana plugs the signal then migrated to the skin of said plug giving you more of an abundance of the original signal "as in the valence ring effect". Whereas the bare wire terminated directly to binding posts did not. Am I wrong? Hee hee , I have been before. And part of the banana plug theorem I've been told does sound illogical. But I've never let a little thing like "LOGIC" stop me anyway!
One thing out there is called Stabilant, buy is straight ,the Stabilant 22 is fine also 
That just gas a 4-1 ratio with very pure 99% isopropyl alcohol. It is the most 
Modern protestant out there .NASA,uses it as well as Many top government agencies. It not only is a form of super conductor but once applied it stays for over 10 years in testing if not moved . A small bottle $50
And enough to do your system . First clean All application with 99% or close Isopropyl alcohol until applicator is clean go over slow several times .
Then apply a thin coat to the surface interconnects one surface and center pin 
Then install . Vacuum tubes sound better Caig sell the tiny applicators to clean inside tube pins .I no longer use caig or anything else. STABILANT is clear and non  greasy. Even bare wire coated will then Not oxidize. 
Banana plugs (or BFA) are a good choice if you want to be able to easily change, amps, cables or speakers. They have a large contact area. 4mm in diameter makes their circumference 12.6mm and they are about 18mm long giving a total area of 227 mm2 = 2.27 cm2. That is equivalent to a square of 1.5x1.5cm. This is much larger than the cross section of any normal speaker cable on the market.

Of course the plugs should be of good quality but I think they are an excellent choice for cables up to about 4mm2. If they are screw fitted or crimp on that is basically the same thing as a bare wire connected to a binding post but of course you introduce an extra connection point where the plug meets the jack.

Is soldering bad? How many other solder joints are there in the signal path? There are plenty of them in amplifiers and in most speaker cabinets. So does one or two more make a significant difference?

Solder that contains lead should be avoided as lead has a rectifying property. Unfortunately lead free solder is terrible to work with, which is the reason they added lead in the first place, but it is to be preferred both for its audio properties and for the environment.

Using bare wire on a binding post is very fiddly so for practical reasons I don't like using unterminated cables. It is however the cheapest way of connecting very thick speaker cables and does not require any extra material such as plugs or spades. As some others have pointed out it also opens up for oxidisation of the exposed strands of the cable and that can cause more detonation of the sound in the long run than using good quality plugs with an air tight fit.

If you want to fiddle about with loose cable strands go right ahead. It probably does not sound any worse than using terminated cables but for me personally it's just too much hassle...
No connector sounds are good as bare wire. They all degrade sound based on my extensive testing and mods over the years. Bare wire also holds more sercurely when done right. I find it very simple to do and it just sounds better. Bypass those binding posts folks! You will not believe the improved realism.  
The internet will help you find several classic papers on this topic. Bare wire wins for quality of connection, banana plugs and spades for ease of switching connections. If you use silver wire, the oxidation is said to not degrade the connection per the properties of silver and it's oxidants. 

I have used all manner of connections, and do not have the ability to discern any difference in sound quality. However, I can tell you that if you like doing A/B speaker tests, bare wire connections will be the first to suffer repeated binding post torture. If you aren't swapping cables that frequently, bare wire should please you for it's connection and non-existing "connector" price...

If you want the absolute best connector, please contact me and I will be happy to provide you with the world's most expensive Unobtainium Connectors. I will charge you so much for them, you are bound to get otherwise impossible compliments for your intelligence and excellent choice. Your marriage may suffer, but if you are after Unobtainium to begin with, it's unlikely you have the problems that a marriage can entail. Good luck!
czarivey wrote,   I agree to bare wire, only what to do with that 3/4" thick sausage LOL? I doubt that it's going to be cooperative to the screw-in posts of amp or any posts technically. Need to check if Mapleshade doodz took such thickie from near-by power transformer..

Are you sure you have Mapleshade wire? No wire from them ends in a 3/4 diameter termination. Pierre uses thin solid core with NO terminations, just stripped bare wire. 
vicweast,
I prefer the Bareanakedium Wire Connection (BWC) to all others. Google it.  
I use bare wire when connecting to the speaker binding post. For those who mention oxidation, while true, it occurs ever so slightly and over such a long period of time that it is of no practical concern. Even so, every 18 months or so I'm inclined to clip off the bare wire, strip another half-inch or so of insulation and use the newly exposed bare wire. Sure, this shortens the cable, so you should start the process with a cable which is 2 or 3 feet longer than otherwise needed and the cable can last a lifetime. Also, I believe its a good idea to keep the binding posts *very* tight (by hand only but with the aid of a cloth or glove in order to tighten that much more), and to check the tightness of the binding post every two months or so as invariably it will loosen ever so slightly. Same on the amp side.