Shorting the speaker wires

I just tripped on the right channel speaker wire which pulled the terminators out of the speaker. Sparks flew and my heart dropped. Bought the ARC 150.2 just 2 weeks ago here on Audiogon.

Live in Fresno so no dealer. Took it to a local electronics store who said no problem we will fix it.

The store was an utter mess.

Speakers are Linn .

The cables are ARC Litz and have lugs terminating on Monster X-terminators.

Suggestions for new termination?

Hi, my preference is banana connectors, spades always seem to come loose, for some reason. The connectors on my speaker cables are the ones provided on my Synergistic Research Resolution Reference FX's, and they are not locking. If you happen to trip, they would be more inclined, I would think, to just pull out without any damage. There are locking types made be WBT and others, so you can check them out. Hope your amp is ok.
Best of luck, Dan
??? Unless the bananas are of the locking type, I think they are less secure and more likely to short (more exposed metal) than spades. Their major advantage is convenience for reconnections.

When you reterminate keep one wire an inch longer on one end and an inch shorter on the other end. That way if they do pull out they don't touch.
I thought the Monsters were locking bananas. Hum........

Some DIY thoughts....

I've went through most types of connectors, including locking bananas (including the Monsters), non locking bananas of the cheap variety which have the + and - connectors encased in plastic so you only have one joint connector to each speaker. The latter will keep your wires apart and keep them from shorting out if pulled accidentially but they loose tension after a while. You can get those at your local electronics store and they are cheap. Another down side is that the cables ends will be bare and attach to the bananas with lugs which can loosen over time. Spades can work loose as can bare wire in 5 way binding posts. The best of the approved bunch was locking bananas. Properly used these are (or should be) fairly fool proof.

Here is a possible DIY solution for you which is fairly effective, cheap, and as far as I can tell has no sonic downside. At your local hardware/electronics store you can get solid copper connectors for heavy guage wire. Like spades connectors except they are not slip on U shaped but circular. The benefit is that once you attach them to your speakers (and amp) by removing the nut on the lug and slipping on the connector and replacing the nut you have got as secure a connection as exists. I connect these and the wires by connecting the bare wire ends to the connector using a vise (no soldering). Then I use a combination of electrician tape and heat shrink to protect the ends from either coming loose or making contact and shorting. The only issue is insuring the size connector matches the size of the post (some posts are bigger than others). I can't remember the size of you ARC wire, but if its is small guage, and for some reason I think it is, this might not work without soldering.

If you don't feel handy, simply get some audiophile grade locking bananas and make a rubber spacer and tape it between the bananas so that if they should get accidentially pulled out from the speaker they won't make contact and short out.

Hope that helps a bit.
The X-terminators are locking bananas but, apparently, they were not tight enough.


I feel sort of like an idiot in saying this but when did crossing my speaker wire terminations become a stereo system catastrophy. I blew the S*** out of an SS amp by doing just that a fews years back. Now I am hyper to the extent I can muster hyerpertude.
I still have this thinking from my first days as an audiophile that you can safely touch a "live speaker wire" and must have crossed them a few hundred times in the 1970s. To this day Ralph Karsten will drop a quarter on his binding posts -that stops the sound- but once removed causes no apparent damage. So my question is literally. When did I need to be worried about this?
I bought a McIntosh 2505 that had a difference in gain between the two channels at a discoount even by used standards. I then had one chanel go altogether for no obvious reason, but I am very certain it was not idiotic crossing of speaker wires. My friend's Dad fixes all things (has an EE and experience) and managed to get this piece back into it's original state of partial disrepair. My friend told me that I shorted the S*** out of it. I denied it. He couldn't help himself and insisted I did so repeatedly because his father whom I really do admire said I did.
I knew I messed up the other times this happened this has happened all of twice, in the last 7 years. It's not exactly bland. There is no mistaking the flames if you get my gist. I simply did not this time and haven't had other problems. I never had a directly voltage coupled output from the speaker posts to my knowledge. If crossing wires were as bad as they have apparently become or were, I should be quite dead by this method which as of this writing appears to be a very innefective technique.
Obviously I take nothing for granted anymore.
Yeah,I've done that on my Mark Levinson 27.5 amp,years ago.
I was using the Monster bananas and speaker cables.The bananas accidentally touched because the speaker cable was so heavy gauge that caused them to slip.Nothing happened to the amp ,there is a protection circuitry that kicked in and saved the amp,but since then I covered the bananas with shrink tube socks.
Hope your amp is fine.
Some amps are tolerent of shorting, and many are not.

Some amps also are not tolerent of having no load on the speaker terminals at all.

I have also seen a friend damage a speaker by hot swapping a RCA cable. The connection thump caused an arc in his Quads.

John C.
My CarverPro ZR1600 amps have Neutronic output terminals, which I have never used. I use the binding posts with bare wire terminations (or should I say non-terminations). The Neutronic connectors are a twist-lock design, with a contact wiping action when you mate them, and where there is no exposure of the metalic terminations. They are widely used for pro audio.

However, when I installed in-wall wires for a second system I used Neutronic connectors, jacks mounted in the wall and plugs on the speaker wires. I am impressed with these devices.
Well it's August 10th and the electronic repair store says they need more parts and have them on order.

Can someone suggest a thin, flexible, good value speaker wire.

Thank you.
08-10-08: Mendota9811
Can someone suggest a thin, flexible, good value speaker wire.
What do you have now? I take it that the thickness and inflexibility of the speaker cable you tripped on contributed to the spark-shooting damage you incurred?

What cable was that? For more flexible and easier to handle, there's Kimber 4TC or 8TC. Very neutral, fast, transparent, and harmonically right when broken in. Matches well with a wide variety of components.

For way thinner and more flexible, there's Crystal Cable, but at a much higher price.

There are also very light, thin, foil ribbon cables, but they might break when you trip on them, which could be as expensive as what you're facing.

I had a spark-shooting incident once too. Fortunately it only blew an internal protection fuse in my amp, so it was a same day cheap 'n' easy fix. Sorry. I guess that wouldn't make you feel any better.
Received the amp back and it sounds great. It took 2 weeks and $550 but I'm happy for not having to ship the unit to ARC.
Thanks for all the comments.