Is Speaker Termination Required?

Had a very interesting conversation with an engineer at work today and I need you guys to clarify something for me. This �Senior Electrical Engineer� told me that he has never terminated his speaker cable to his amp or loudspeakers he uses bare wire connection, he told me this elaborate reason why, but the end result was �it�s the best connection possible�

He is using an older McIntosh and Ohm speakers and has had them connected since the 80�s and the connection is as good as gold he told me.

Is there any truth to he train of thought?


He's right. I clipped my highend connectors off my LAT International cables and they sounded much better.
Depending upon what material your cables are made of corrosion can become a serious issue with unterminated cables. Also there are some cable designs that cannot be used without some form of termination.

I agree that some spades/banana plugs, etc. can have a negative effect on sonics, but I don't believe that one can make a blanket statement about all termination being negative. In the better designed cables whatever effect the termination has seems to be part and parcel of the cables overall sound. There are no absolutes on issues like these.
Whenever you add a termination connector to a cable, you add another connection that requires electrons to jump from one material to another. That increases the likelihood of resistance due to a change of metal types, physical separation and corrosion impeding the connection.

However, this is true for the internals of electronics as well as for speaker wires. Pull the top of your amp and you'll see dozens, if not hundreds, of soldered or crimped wire connections plus components soldered to circuit boards.

Solder is usually tin/lead or tin/silver or other metals. Therefore, even on a circuit board you have a change of materials between the component lead and the circuit board copper foil.

So on a theoretical basis, it is a valid idea to use unterminated bare wire on your speaker connections.

In the real world, one has to ask if, for example, 201 connections are significantly worse than 200.

At least speaker cable has easy access making it no problem to frequently check for corrosion and to tighten and clean them.

You might want to try it both ways in your own system and see if you prefer one over the other.

Me? I don't find it makes a difference as long as your terminations and connections are appropriately sized, clean and tight.
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I have often used unterminated in the past and still think it is theoretically better but all the cables I have used for years have come terminated and most would not work well without it for practical reasons. I have found the binding posts are probably a bigger problem. I replaced the stock ones on my Spendor S 100s with $3 all metal ones from Madisound and got a significant improvement. Whether this was mainly due to the better material or much better grip and contact I don't know. I noticed the same effect when I replaced the stock plastic knob terminals on one pair of my Meridian 605s with Michell metaL ones.
I agree with Stanwal. The binding posts tend to be a bigger problem . Lots feel bare wire is best and for the reasons mentioned are probably rite. Elizabeth is correct in the application of it and the ooops that can happen. Cheers.
That is one less connection for each wire.Terminals with a good secure connection should be fine too.The secure termination is what is important for me in my experience.
isn't this really about the sound or is it about what's easy
Indeed, but if you short the amp, there's no sound at all!
Better safe than sorry, is what people are saying...:))
Indeed, but if you short the amp, there's no sound at all!
Better safe than sorry, is what people are saying...:))

I think too big of a deal has been made of connecting speaker wire. This is a simple task whether it is terminated or not. I realize there are some cables that require termination because of their design and I agree with some connectors the sonic signature has been incorporated into the cable's performance.
I have experimented with a wide variety of connectors and all connectors affect the sound regardless of price.