Mini-Rant: Human Fingers


I don't have a huge range of experience in this matter but in my limited experience the experience is universal:

My fingers are too large to comfortably use most speaker binding posts easily. It is always tight and tedious. Yes, my hands are big but not unusually so. No, I'm not a clumsy oaf. Quite experienced doing small delicate work in fact. This experience has bridged hi-fi to mid-fi to low-fi.

I can understand this with small or bookshelf sized speakers. But my experience is with tower speakers. I just wonder if there is a reason for this? 

My experience is similar with components. Even my amp which is a huge 100 pound deal with virtually nothing on the back but two balanced inputs and 4 binding posts. The binding positive and negative posts are very close together and hard to tighten for that reason.

Anyway, rant over. Just wondering if there is a reason for not putting enough space between binding posts to get human fingers all the way around them? 
n80
Use high quality BFA style banana connectors. Better contact area than spades and won't inadvertently loosen as spades can. Oh, and you don't have to fiddle with tightening those pesky binding posts.
It is simply best practice to keep speaker +/- wires close together. Larger distances will create stronger EM that could affect other nearby devices like a transformer.
Are yours closer than the standard, for Five Way binding posts, which has been set for decades? Many have a hex built in, which makes it easy to tighten with a socket(or specialized) wrench. ie: https://www.amazon.com/AudioQuest-binding-post-wrench-Discontinued/dp/B0009XQUAM
@shadorne If that is truly the reason then it makes me feel better about the whole thing. At least its not just a matter of bad design.

@rodman99999 All three of the towers I have close experience with seem to have the same dimensions with the 5 way posts. Bu, even making the 'box' they are in larger would help some.

@reubent With my low end (maybe mid-fi, I don't know) Polk Audio towers I did just get banana connectors which makes things a lot easier.

My Aerial Acoustics 7Bs have hex nuts and a 1/2 inch ratchet works okay. But, my cables are Transparent Super Bi-Wires and are spades on both ends. Even with the ratchet the spades tend to twist under the binding post hex nuts when you tighten them.

The 7Bs will accept banana plugs.

So here are a couple of questions about that situation:

1) You can get banana plugs that have a screw off base which can accept a spade from the speaker cable. Is that recommended? Do I need to buy super pricey banana plugs for that application? If so, recommendations? 

2) I could simply cut the spades off the Transparent cables and add good banana plugs but not sure what that would do to the value or performance of those expensive cables?

One issue with that is that I do not know the AWG size of the actual wire in the Transparent cable but they look to be significantly larger that the 12 AWG cable I use on my low end system and I'm not sure they make banana plugs that take larger wire sizes but I have not researched it.
Engineering to a space/cost criterion. I have my wife do the connections, I just tighten.
 "Even with the ratchet the spades tend to twist under the binding post hex nuts when you tighten them."   Spade connectors do that, under what's being tightened(regardless of the application/not just Five Ways), unless one prevents it, by holding them(or the connected wire), with a fingertip, pointy pliers, etc.   Unless I'm mistaken, most mainline cable constructors offer termination replacement services, for their own products.  I've always had mine(Audioquest/Kimber/Analysis Plus) built with bananas on the output end, with excellent result.  
I don’t mean to be dense here, but I don’t see anything close to 1/2" or 7/16" on any of my speakers or amps that the binding post wrench will fit over to tighten. I am only bringing it up because I love the idea and agree with n80.
@rodman99999 said:

"Spade connectors do that, under what's being tightened(regardless of the application/not just Five Ways), unless one prevents it, by holding them(or the connected wire), with a fingertip, pointy pliers, etc. "

Exactly. And there is very little room in there to get your fingers or needle nose pliers to get enough purchase to prevent twisting. The cable often ends up kinked no matter what I do.

Currently my main speakers are all hooked up and not going anywhere. But, I have some decent banana plugs and I looked up the specs and they will receive all the way up to 10 AWG. So I think next time I unhook them I am going to cut the spade connectors off and put the bananas on. These use set screws but I can put some solder in there too if it seems necessary. I can't see why this would compromise SQ. I can see how it might lower the value of the cables but I have no plans to sell them anyway.
If you're switching to bananas, I'd echo reubent's recommendation of BFA-style bananas. They're much easier to connect than spades, provide a greater contact area than conventional banana plugs and the tension can be easily adjusted with a pair of needlenose pliers.
Same problem with my Snell E's! I use banana plugs!

since the days of Fred & Barney, Wilma and Betty, bare wires were the way speakers used to be connected.

some are returnign to that philosophy. get in where ya fit in.

obviously where ever speaker terminals are located is where the maker figured it to be the best place for ‘them’. not us.

I find it highly doubtful adding another half inch or inch between the plus and minus poles will have any effect on anything, but making it easier for end users to deal with when adding and replacing wires.

but it is what it is, I’d not hold my breath on things changing anytime soon.

bananas are as good a way to go as any other. regardless it being on the input or output. in fact with many receivers geography on the rear panels is at a premium and bananas seem to be the right pick.

if adapters are required by choice or need, their influence on the sound is marginal, but depending, often quite distinct.

I believe bananas are my preference for reasons such as these.

I’ve a pair of towers whose terminals are not only very close to each other, but as there are two sets for bi wiring or bi amping, they are set on angled inserts which make it a real hair pulling event to put spades on all the connections. whoa.

If I indeed loved a set of spkr wires, maybe I’d opt into cutting off the spades and going with bare wires. but even using bare wire there are concerns. loosening. oxidation. shorting. breakage.

as for operating on wiring, they make tools specifically designed to strip insulation off most sizes of wires. at least those one would encounter in this hobby. they run from $10 to $25 and are at most any hardware or Adult toy Store, eg., lowes, Home depot, etc. they have dedicated ‘holes’ for inserting the wires and once closed, do a fine job of cutting thru the insulation without cutting into the conductors.

obviously, special strippers will cost more.

usually from $20 to $50 a dance.

RWV .

the Cardas design is unique and elegantly effective, but converting your gear to them most likely difficult, certainly expensive.

gas tight spades far superior to bananas IMO
a low mass spade that can deform is also good, consider the AQ or the excellent Anticable copper


Note that heavy speaker cables can put some stress on bananas, and nobody needs a stressed banana.
@jetter Here is a picture of the binding posts on my Aerial Acoustics:

https://images.nikonians.org/galleries/data/3564/IMG_1124.JPG

As you can see they are 1/2 hex nuts with openings for banana clips. As you can also see there is very little room for everything in there.

And for what its worth I do not like the terminal ends of these Transparent cables. Each of the four ends needs to be longer. Of course if I cut the spades off and put bananas on they will be another 1/4 inch shorter.

@blindjim I’ve got all the tools. I’ve done a little electrical work (house, car, tractor). Having said that, I seem to have a mental inability to really comprehend electricity. Everything I do is by cookbook. I can follow the directions and do the work but I don’t understand it all.

@wolf_garcia They have a pill for that. ;-)
n80 thanks for the picture, now I got you on the hex nuts and as an aside I guess live a sheltered audio life and cannot believe how thick your speaker cables are to the connectors.  Mine are that thick except about 6 or 8 inches from the connector they taper down to be protective but with a much thinner and flexible insulation.
Unless someone is in some way physically disabled, I just can't take the "problem" seriously.  Is this an elaborate joke?
@onhwy61 Well, it isn't an elaborate joke.

But in a way it probably is humorous because it might just be my take on things. I work on a lot of stuff. Cars, tractors, plumbing, carpentry....as often as I can, if something needs to be fixed, fabricated or built I do it myself.

That being the case I get exposed to both objects and the tools to fix them that are well designed and a joy to use/work on. That makes my day.

On the other hand, most stuff and many, many tools are simply poorly designed. And what's worse is that better design in so many cases would cost absolutely nothing extra in either resources or function. So I appreciate good design and have little patience or regard for poor design.

In this case I can cite three different tower speakers at three different performance levels and all of them are tedious to hook up. 

Someone above said the tight spacing is necessary to avoid stronger EM. I don't know if that is valid or not. Seems a bit of a stretch. Others suggested the design was for the manufacturers benefit. That might be true too. But for $5000 and up speakers I'd expect the manufacturer to think about the customer a little. Another suggestion was that this is just the way it has always been done. That is the most plausible explanation and the saddest one.

No, this is not a weighty issue. But it seems like it is one that could go away entirely if one designer had the sense to recognize that he could make something better, very easily.
@jetter It sounds like your cables were more thoughtfully designed. Like I say, the actual wire gauge looks to be 8-10 AWG. The rubber covering it is loose around it and much larger around which seems unnecessary since for part of that stretch the wire is actually exposed.

I’ve seen these cables for sale used for over $1000. If I were spending that much right now (god forbid) I’d be looking for something better designed.