How much difference could a simple Banana plug make?


Well - I've tried several different types of Banana connector over the past 8-10 years and although there were subtle improvements from one plug to another, there was never any "remarkable" improvements.

That was - until yesterday !

My - how things changed :-)

If you search the forums, you'll find several posts and reviews by me touting the benefits attained by using products from KLE Innovations. I like them a lot and consider them among the best products in the market.

The  KLEI™Classic Harmony Banana Connector/Adaptor is not just "another Banana Plug"

https://kleinnovations.com/kle-innovations-klei-products/klei-harmony-banana/klei-classic-harmony-ba...

To start with, it is designed to be multi functional - you can use it as...
- A single Banana Connector
- A stack-able Bananas Connector - e.g. it allows you to easily attach jumpers  when connecting a single cable to a bi-wired speaker 
- A Banana Adapter - e.g. as a temporary connection of bi-wired cables to a single wire speaker i.e. without leaving one set not connected.

There may also be other uses that I am yet to discover.

What makes these plug so special
1. they boast an impressive IACS conductivity rating >101%  - that's impressive for a copper product
2. they are engineered to allow another banana plug to be inserted into the insulated housing
3. they have perfectly round spring pins - most spring pins are not completely round
4. they fit into all of the banana terminals I have tried with an unforced "snugness" that grips the speaker and amp terminals securely.
5. they are dead simple to connect using solder
6. removal is also very easy if you want to try them on a different cables

KLE Innovators state they can be crimped, but that's not something I would personally try - perhaps that have a special crimping tool?

So how did this unassuming looking little banana improve sound quality ?...
1. the most noticeable improvement was the width and depth of the image - much bigger than my room
2. overall clarity was front and center and added some nice "sparkle" in the high end
3. instrument placement and isolation within the image was improved
4. The dynamics were noticeably faster.
5. additional texture in bass lines were very nicely reproduced

I think the best genre of music that shows off the full capability of these bananas is classical - even my worst recording sounded very spacious and allowed be to discern the distinct boundaries of first/second viollins, violas, cellos and double bass sections within the orchestra and the added depth placed brass, woodwind and percussion in equally isolated spaces front to back within the image

"Is This Love", by Bob Marley was cavernous and sounded like it was being performed in a stadium!

These connectors also excel in allowing micro details such as subtle venue reverberations and reflections to be more noticeable than with any other banana connector I have used in the past.

If the speaker cables in your system utilizes a more standard Banana plug -  I'd highly recommend replacing them with the KLEI Bananas.

Cost is $135 Aussie Dollars (about $100 US)

What did I use before these?

The most recent was a spring connector from ebay like this
https://www.ebay.ca/itm/4x-Acoustic-Copper-Silver-Plated-APS5-Speaker-Cable-Banana-Plug-Connector/30...

Other "named" products included Spring Banana plugs from Neotech and a pure copper connector from Furez - none of which performed to the level of this plug

There are not many products that improve sound this much for $100 - go on - give em a try!

Back to the tunes :-)

Steve
williewonka
needs rhodium
@randy-11 - compared to silver and copper (105% and 100%) - rhodium is a poor conductor rated at 39% IACS rating
https://www.avoutlet.com/images/product/additional/f/iacs_of_metals_n_solder.pdf

These plugs are >101%

My previous plugs - beryllium copper is 45%

Granted, rhodium is more durable - but they would not sound as good

Cheers
I had Zu Audio swap out my spades for bananas and it was like I had installed different, and better cables. I believe they are a beryllium copper mix and are made by or for Zu. They told me they've gotten great feedback on them.

All the best,
Nonoise
Ayre seems to like rhodium - you'd better do a blinded test to be sure
Why don't amateur audio companies not follow the lead of the professionals and all use Neutrik connectors?
It could be that they cost 4-5 times more than the typical connectors used in home (amateur, really?) audio set ups. Also, home audio set ups don't usually get connected, disconnected and reconnected on a continual basis like pro audio set ups. You can also factor in that in stage performances, where Neutrik connectors and the shielding they provide from outrageous lighting systems with their dimmers and roadies stepping on them doesn't necessarily occur at home.

All the best,
Nonoise
@randy-11 - I have compared Rhodium plated connectors to silver plated copper connectors and solid silver connectors in the past and the rhodium connectors did not display the same level of clarity, dynamics and image as the silver plated copper, but solid silver was the best

Alas, under excessive humid conditions Silver tarnishes. However the black oxidation on silver (i.e. silver sulphide) can still convey electrical current - unlike tarnished copper.

BTW, I’ve been using silver and silver plated connectors for over 4 years and I am yet to see any tarnish appear - the humidity of my house varies between 40% (winter) and 65% (summer)

I’ve observed Rhodium plated connectors tend to perform around the same level as beryllium copper, which is the metal of choice for many connectors. So it compares well to most other connectors

Rhodium is selected as a plating for it’s durability - only a very thin coat is required and it is tough enough to prevent scratching through to the metal beneath - hence it works out cheaper in the long run - that’s probably why Ayre and many other companies use it.

Like gold - It also looks "pretty" compared to the flat look of silver

Regards...






Amateur, willemj? Rather pejorative! Consumer is the accepted term.
AFAIK, Ayre use Rh for its corrosion resistance

and breaking / cleaning that corrosion often accounts for the claimed benefits of new cables (!!)
@williewonka thanks for the information, looks very interesting!
@williewonka looks interesting indeed!  Thanks for the thorough info.
Let us know how the springiness of the plugs holds up. I've always wondered if pure copper BFA bananas would hold their shape. I do love some klei connectors...
Post removed 
Because of the superb engineering of these plugs - i.e. how round they are - I would guess it is the "roundness" that is responsible for the very snug grip and not the force applied by the natural "spring" in the material as with similarly designed products

Plugs that are not perfectly round will loosen over time with the weight of the cables, because of the gaps..

Since you have to apply very little pressure to insert them I believe they could take many insertions without loosing their grip and with "normal use" should last a very long time.

I have been using spring style bananas for several years and these are as close to perfectly round as I have seen.

I'll post a full review once they have fully burned in - but as of this post they are sounding very good

Yesterday, I played an exceptionally nice Tacet recording...
https://www.discogs.com/Johann-Sebastian-Bach-Florin-Paul-Partitas/release/7081091

It's one of the most detailed recordings in my collection and perhaps one of the best for gauging the abilities of my system because it's a single violin.
The reflections within the venue were nothing short of spectacular - multiple reflections of the violin bouncing off of the walls left me wondering...
- had I finally reached the end of my audio journey? 

As we all know - one plug alone will not elevate a system to a performance of this level - the rest of the cables have to be able to match (or better) the abilities of these plugs.

I believe my cables are largely responsible for the performance, since my components are what I consider to be modestly priced by today's standards (approximately $12k)
- NAIM 5i MK II
- Bluesound Node 2
- Simmaudio Moon LP5.3 RS
- Audiomods Arm + Denon 103 cartridge with Soundsmith mods
- Gershman Acoustics - Sonogram speakers

My cables are all DIY of my own helix design...
http://image99.net/blog/files/d048bbacfce9bcad4a025be804771d9a-76.html
http://image99.net/blog/files/be8de0c383c5434907610d6b55049e69-75.html
http://image99.net/blog/files/4127b5fe2694586e383104364360373b-74.html 

If DIY is not "your thing" then I highly recommend the cables from KLE Innovations - most of which I have tried and compared to some established and respected brands. The reviews are on the KLEI site - see reviews by Steve Reeve

They have a model to fit most budgets and they all perform way beyond the abilities of all of the other commercial brands I have tried.

I consider Keith Louie Eichmann a "Grand Master" in the field of connectors and cables.
Since his early days as inventor of the original Eichmann Copper and Silver Bullet RCA plugs, he has continued to develop his outstanding new line of products.

They are exceptional indeed and would elevate any system to exciting levels of performance.

Take a look at his web site
https://kleinnovations.com/

Now it may seem like I'm banging the KLE Innovations drum rather loudly?

However - I have NO affiliation to KLE Innovations - I use and promote their products simply because they are exceptional performers - not just in my system, but also on all other systems I have tried them on. 

Cheers - Steve

I've not tried klei cables, as your designs are the sh*t, willie, but man, I love his RCAs. Such simple, effective design. A great way to terminate Willie's helix design!
@toddverrone - KLE Innovations cables were the "yardstick" by which I gauged the performance of the Helix cables.

I have found that there are people that love to try DIY stuff, like yourself, and others that feel they lack the necessary skills - in which case I have no problem recommending KLE Innovations products - not only are they great performers, they are reasonably priced, i.e. compared to the competition in the market place.

If you "love" his RCA’s - when you see the simple elegance of his design "in the flesh" - I think you’ll go bananas (I’m really sorry, I just couldn’t resist) :-)

Cheers

You are very impressed by them, are you still very impressed.
@yping - when Keith Louie sent news of the release of the new Bananas I was in two minds...
1. how could a simple banana be capable of improved sound quality, after all it’s such a tiny piece of metal.

2. It’s Keith Louie Eichmann, inventor of the Harmony RCA - again a simple connector that has proven itself to me and many others over and over.

The harmony RCA’s provided benefits from the get-go - so why not the Banana?

Well, I’ve just completed the 125 hour burn-in process and I can report...

A. they provided very discernible improvement from the start

B. There as little improvement from my initial observations over that time, but to be honest I did not really stop and listen

C. Yesterday evening I did have an opportunity to sit down and listen intently to some of my well recorded tracks and found that over and above my initial observations they now exhibit a fuller/richer, more complete sound, the details of which I will get into in my review that will be posted here next week.

I recall you’ve used KLEI products in the past and I know you were impressed - I think these will leave you equally impressed.

If you are using KLEI speaker cables - adding these new bananas will be the icing on their cake.

Still Impressed? - yes I am very impressed :-)

Cheers

@toddverrone - I would be very interested to hear how the KLEI™Classic Harmony Banana Connector/Adapter performs on the bi-wire Helix cables you built - they should sound very good :-)

Any intention of upgrading? :-)

Are your bi-wires two sets of cables or joined at the amp end?

If so, the stack feature of the new bananas would be very useful.

Or you could save some money and take advantage of their 12 pack, which I believe is specifically designed to address bi-wire cables that are joined at the amp

Cheers - Steve
Good idea and amazing what a effect a connector can have on the sound.  Their products are definitely excellent that is for sure and it sounds like the KLEI banana is exceptional, also. Thank you for the update.
Maybe I will try them on the gZero6 SCs that I have although I really like them as they are already.  Food (bananas) for thought...
a simple Banana plug or other connector could make a big difference if the "test" did not take account of any corrosion that was altered when a different connector was used (!!)

forget silver, rubidium or other magic metals and clean the connectors first
@yping These bananas on the gZero6 should be amazing - if it were me - I’d upgrade for sure.

Let me know how thay work out - i.e. if you upgrade
Here’s the link to my review of the Bananas - it will also be posted on the KLE Innovations web site

http://image99.net/blog/files/f6ae775e30339e2b0375b739988237b7-77.html

The bananas were actually far better than I had anticipated - as you will read

Enjoy
Anyone else tried these?
As I mentioned in a PM to williewonka I have 16 of these KLEI™Classic Harmony Banana Connectors ordered and I hope to receive them by or before December 1st. I'll use WBT 4% silver solder and burn in the bananas using my Audiodharma Cable Cooker. The bananas will attach to 
Duelund DCA 16 gauge wire and a pair of Heavy duty Western Electric 10 wire. I'll keep you posted here regarding the results.
Post removed 
Something that came to my attention regarding the removal of the plastic housing once the plug has been completely installed...

How do you release that little flap on the back
It is fairly simple, but DO NOT use another banana plug to do this - it may damage the tip.

Take a small screwdriver and
- insert it into the hole that allows you to stack the bananas,
- but only just enough to get a grip on the little flap,
- then simply pry the flap open by applying a little pressure

DO NOT try to push the little tabs on the side of the flaps to release it

It is very simple but you need to use something quite robust, like a screw driver, and you must only insert it into the plastic flap and NOT into the metal barrel

I’ll also state the obvious:
  • these Plugs are of the "spring" variety and like other spring types, they will not take a lot of rough handling. Be careful not to knock them once installed.
  • DO NOT force them into the speaker or amp terminal, they slide in quite nicely with a gentle push once lined up correctly.
  • Rotation is not required.

I’ve used a few of this type of banana and these are the easiest to insert and require less force than others that I have tried.

KLE Innovations plan on detailing installation/removal procedures on their web site at a future date

Regards


I received 16 of the KLEI™Classic Harmony Banana Connectors and finally made time to use WBT 4% silver solder on my Duelund 16 gauge (top terminals on speaker) and 12 gauge (bass terminals on speaker).
I must admit that the KLEI™Classic Harmony Banana Connectors are simple yet very well made. Easy to solder and I really like the design where one can piggyback the bananas together which is what I did to connect to the terminals on my CJ Classic Sixty SE amp. The design for banana tension is also very good.
I used my Audiodharma Cable Cooker and burn in the bananas and Duelund wire (which was already good to go) for 136 hours and this morning I transferred the speaker cables over to my system and will allow additional hours for settle in time before I attempt to say anything else about the bananas other than if you are in the market for bananas you should definitely consider these..
@lak - looking forward to your feedback on the bananas. :-)

QUESTION: Have you ever tried using the 16 gauge for the signal on both LF and HF leads and then use the  thicker 10 gauge as the neutral conductors of HF and LF  leads.

I've found this has positive effects - but the conductors have to be separated (or the neutral wound in the Helix) for this to work best

Regards - Steve 
How is everything sounding?
@yping - are you asking me or lak?
oh, both of you
@yping  After some additional settling in time and use, I believe I can hear more details using the KLEI™Classic Harmony Banana Connectors vs other expensive bananas that I have used or bare tinned wire with no connectors. This is contrary to the way I thought all would turn out but I trust my ears.
@williewonka I have not tried you "QUESTION" from above however as soon as I have some time I'll definitely try it...thanks for the suggestion. I'm always open to suggestions...
@yping - No real change from my comments in my other posts above.

They are sounding very detailed and quick - probably the least amount of burn-in I've applied to any of the KLE Innovations connectors (i.e. Bananas and RCA's) - approx 130 hours - but they also improved things from the get-go - they just did everything better after the burn-in.

As I posted above - these bananas on your gZero6 would make a considerable improvement.

Regards...


lak, contrary or not, that is a terrific and can you describe in a more detail the sound improvement.

williewonka, you still seem really happy with the sound improvement... very detailed, quick, and fast burn-in.

I read that a fellow inserted the classic harmony banana on to a pair of Nordost blue heaven speaker cables that already have bananas and the sound improved, quite noticeably. That is pretty amazing and sounds like the effect that Bybee quantum thing-a-me-bobs have, but it would appear even more so and much cheaper. https://kleinnovations.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/20171216_KLEI-Classic-Harmony-Banana-by-SS_1.1.pdf

Maybe this is a quantum device in the form of a banana. Anyway, it all sounds good and worthwhile. Sounds like it’s time for the gzero6 cables to be quantumized and it sounds like a good thing.


@yping for a lack of a better explanation I would say that the microdetails sounded more focused, as perhaps the rest of the music. I'm hesitant to say anymore because after several days of listening to the speaker cables with the KLEI™Classic Harmony Banana Connectors I removed an interconnect and replaced it with the new Cerious Technologies Matrix interconnect. 
@yping - I read that review also - seems like they provide a better connection - perhaps eliminating the possibility of micro arching?

I cannot think of any other reason.

It could be a case of - hey I just got something new and YES - it sounds better.

KL Eichmann does tend to work wonders with his products :-)

Regards - steve


williewonka, quantum banana, sounds better and interesting.  I have ordered them so might try as an adapter, first. That will cook them.  How many burnin hours would you recommend?


lak, what were the expensive bananas?  More micro detail, sounds good.
@yping: https://kleinnovations.com/kle-innovations-klei-products/klei-harmony-banana/klei-classic-harmony-ba...


8 pack $135 AUD = $107.77 USD (total, shipped) takes about one week for delivery.


@yping - they sound good from the get-go, but sound a little nicer after 120 hours
lak, $107, is pretty reasonable, not cheap but not expensive.

I was asking about the other expensive bananas that you mentioned. What ones are they?
williewonka, sounds good.
@yping, from what I remember and checking my notes other banana connectors I've used are: Cardas CABD Double, WBT 0610 AG, WBT
0610 CU, and Furutech CF 202 Rhodium. I'm sure there were others but I don't remember.
I'm willing to bet that williewonka has experimented with  many more high quality bananas than I have.
@lak  - It would appear you have been far more adventurous than myself.

@yping I have tried a few but have always kept away from the high priced plugs because they do not offer anything outstanding from a specification/engineering aspect that leads me to believe  they will make a difference.- 

e.g. many of the high end plugs seem to use materials and/or plating  which is not as good as silver plated copper i.e. from a conductivity perspective. Those with pure copper pins plate them with a metal I believe impedes good conductivity, so I have never tried them. I did try Feruz Bananas (silver plated pur copper), which were exceptional.. Prior to that I had tried a few srping style Bananas from Neotec and a couple of other lessor known companies and found them to be no better than the budget brass connectors I purchased from a local store.

I'm also not a fan of the lockable kind, because they tend to have a looser fitting and that could lead to micro arching - so those never got selected.

After trying the Feruz, which were exceptional, I stopped looking, but then came the KLE Innovations bananas which proved to be the best I have tried.

My biggest problem with the high end plugs is their cost and something as simple as a banana - the furutech are $160US for 2 sets of 4 - not something I'm prepared to spend.
The Oyaide are even more expensive and are made from Phospher Bronze which is way down on the conductivity table.

Feruz products provide  exceptional sound quality, but are on the fragile side, but I think the engineering on the KLE Innovations bananas is the best I have seen and it is reflected in the sound quality.

Hope that provides some useful insight - Steve

 
These bananas are amazing. I received them and simply inserted them onto the existing bananas (as an adapter) and right from the very beginning the sound was better. Letting them settle and burnin, by just playing music (about 70 hours so far), the sound got even better. The improved sound I have been listening to, is noticeably better...
- upper bass and lower mid weight and resolution
- articulation, resolution, and clarity
- leading edge attack, speed, excellent PRaF
- harmonic texture

The KLE Innovations classic harmony bananas are very easy to use and, imo, excellent bang for buck. Quite amazing actually.
@yping I'm glad that you like the KLE Innovations classic harmony bananas, it's always nice to have others confirm ones thinking.

@williewonka thanks for your original post that opened my eyes to this fine product!

Happy New Years to all...
@williewonka & @lak from what I am hearing, and enjoying very much, I am finding the KLE Bananas to be a no brainer. The sound was already musical but it is now really, really, musical, if that makes sense. I am enjoying them so much as an adapter that I am happy to take my time changing the bananas that are already on the SCs. Actually, I may just leave them as they are as I not feeling in any hurry to change them. HNY to all
get Neutrik connectors