As far as my two cents are concerned, I cannot really hear much of a difference. However, with spades you will generally get a tighter and better fit with the right kind of tools, hence a bit less chance for oxidation of the contacts. The cognoscienti generally prefer spades to bananas for better sound. But I find, I can get the same from bananas, if I can get them to fit really well and I take the trouble to clean my contacts regularly.
After posting this message I also submitted the question to LAT International and here is their response: SPADES ARE BETTER BECAUSE THEY HAVE MORE AREA OF CONTACT.
I think that a good set of locking banana's are a good alternative to spades. I've got a few sets of cables with locking WBT banana's and have GREAT confidence in the quality of connection that they make. Prior to using these, i had large reservations about banana's.
As our pal across the water stated, much of any connection is based on how "clean" it is. You might be surprised how dirty contacts get even though they appear to be "clamped" together. Sean
Any votes out there for bare wire? Having gone from the fanciest spades "backwards," I can't find any reason to reverse course, at least in my system (CJ Prem. l2s to Gallo Ultimates via Mapleshade wire). Just my 2 cents.
I doubt it makes any audible difference which you use. In a double blind listening test, I wonder if anyone would know?
Bare wire is great until is oxidizes to the point where the signal is degraded. The problem with speaker wire is you are transfering a current across a mechanical connection. Therefore my vote goes for whichever connector can be fastened the tightest and provide a good contact area to the speaker terminal.
Bare wire gets my vote! Makes a good argument for purchasing bulk, IF you can find what you want. Spades would be my second choice. Though they are less convenient than bannanas, a tight connection is always assured. I've experienced variation in fit snugness with bannanas, though generally they're an OK choice except for stiff/heavy cables and/or near wall speaker placement.
Bare wire is the choice within 2...3 hours of listening. After it covers with oxide film. How about to solder bare wires firmly to the binding posts? That will take care of such problem.:)
My choice is a gold-plated binding posts connected with gold-plated spades. Yes, it is more expancive than bare wire yet it's more convenient.
Any other combo (bannanas, spades covered with other metal than gold, bare wires, connection with different conductors) doesn't make any difference.
Re bare wires oxidizing and compromising the sound, I understand the theory, but it sure hasn't worked out in practice. I've used them this way for a year (at least) and for a while was periodically cleaning them with Kontak but couldn't detect the slightest difference.
I submitted a question directly to Ray Kimber at audioasylum with respect to bare wire (am using Kimber 8TC) and he clearly pointed out that once secured onto the binding post, the oxidization occurs but not at the point of contact. If it's ok with Ray Kimber, I figure it's ok with me and have been using bare wire connections at my speakers with very good results-a big improvement over the Deltron bananas (which are, granted, fairly cheap). I also switched at the amp end from bananas (Deltrons) to Kimber post master spades (a lot more expensive) with what I would feel to be worthwhile results. I just couldn't make the bare wire connection effectively at the amp (holes through binding posts too small), or I'd be bare wire all the way.
Funny, that nobody mentioned hardwiring the stuff. The old Quads for example, the predecessors to the 63, of HQD fame, had such horrible and flimsy posts,( as did the earlier 63s) that your best bet was to solder your speaker-cables (you had the choice of Fultons or later those marketed through Mark Levinson, the man, and made in Switzerland by the way, )right to the internal wiring, doing your best to keep clear of the transformer, which still held a hell of a wallop,if you forgot to shunt them to ground and did not wait long enough, after unplugging the speaker from the powerline. Just reminiscing...
I use silver spades and a Craftsman wrench to tighten the posts. Takes a kind touch on the wrench, but that extra 1/8 of a turn really helps with a "gas tight" bond on the connection. The downside is the spades really get mashed and are only good for a couple of tightening sessions.
For those who think the metal used in the connection doesn't make a difference -- I would argue!! But if you can't tell the difference, good for you!! One less thing to worry about (for you).
When I used Kimber 4 and 8TC and other raw wire, I never used spades due to the importance of the connection to the spade. I did use the "wrench" on the binding post. Again, you want a good gas tight bond on the connection surface area.
I would never buy spades or banannas for a cable that didn't come MFR terminated, otherwise I request silver connections.
There is no question that I can hear the detrimental effects of a spade fork terminal on my equipment. The first time I knew there were problems, was when Brisson/MIT released the first super high quality gold spade. I saw they were adaptable to 2 different bolt sizes and had heavy plating over copper. They could accept wire down to # 8 guage. I bought about 20 of them from Steve McCormack of the old "Mod Squad" in California. Anxious to hear an improvement over my cheap Thomas & Betts fork terminals, I crimped them on the wire I use so not to introduce solder to the mix. Both amp and speaker ends were done. I sat down to listen and could not believe my ears. The sound of my beloved system was degraded at a surprising level. I made very sure that I locked on to the sound that I heard. I literally would shut down the system after 20 minutes of listening since the magic was gone. (no this is not some lunatic imaginary problem that many claim is in our head). The goosebumps were gone, so I knew it was absolutely REAL. Upon restripping my wire, I figured I might as well try bare wire to see what that sounds like. WOW!!!!! All, and I mean ALL artifacts of brightness, or in the case of the MIT lug, dullness, were gone. The difference was HUGE. Detlof, you would have eaisily heard this also, so dramatic the difference on the Quad.
Believe me, this is a very important story in the life of a audiophile in pursuit of the most Natural sound.......Frank
Frank, your findings remind me of what good old Auntie Enid, Enid Lumley of yore used to say (she wrote for TAS and later for IAR, was much ridiculed for her findings then, many of which are accepted as common place now, a true pioneer she was and a golden eared one, if there ever was one)
She said, that gold plated spade-fork connectors sounded awful. She used to sandpaper her connectors down to the pure copper level to get the right sound she was after, which would point pretty much into the direction, you are pointing out. I think I'll start experimenting ....
Thanks Frank and Cheers!
Are you saying that the cheap "Thomas & Betts fork
terminals" sounded better than the high quality gold
spades? You say that the sound degraded when you
went from your old spades to the new ones. I just
wanted to see if I read this right?
Hi Eastside, You read it correct. While the Thomas & Betts fork added unnatural artifacts to the sound, the MIT fork did the opposite. It dulled the sound and robbed the system of the NATURAL sound of the reference. The reference being the sound of the bare wire with no fork.
By the way, if anyone wants to really hear a pretty dramatic improvement, they should go out and purchase the Edison-Price binding post for their speakers and install them in place of the stock ones. Be prepared to be amazed after proper break in time. ALL parameters are improved.....Frank
Can anyone really hear the difference? How many people have identical types of speaker cables laying around with different connections on them and are able to do A/B comparisons?
Bare wire (which should have tinned ends as in AudioNote Kondo applications) sounds like the best solution but.. should it be wraped around the binding post or inserted through the hole?
As far as I am concerned as long as the wire makes a good contact - doesn't come off - I'm happy.
There are far too many other things to worry about in this hobby.
Frank is dead right! ( to these here pair of ears )
bare wire or Edson Price, just as Auntie Enid used to say.
And the difference is there to be heard....just another 2 cents...
Funny thing, Detlof. Alot of what Enid stated back when she was writing, holds absolutely true today. What incredible resolving power her ears had. All this when the entire field considered her lunatic. She is responsible for things like component/wire "break-in" relevance, metals/plating, electric and so many other things commonplace in today's high end circles. What were her rewards for all of these proclamations and discoverys? Ridicule and critcism by people who just either could'nt hear or refused to believe due to a closed mind.
Just what are people doing being involved in ultra high-end, if not to keep the pusuit of the "absolute sound"..........Frank
Right Frank, I suppose that was also the reason that Enid Lumley finally gave up and dissapeared from the high end. She did such a perfect dissapearing act, that nobody seems to know about here whereabouts and what she is up to. As you say, her hearing must have been incredible. Not only could she hear differences in sound with different VTAs measured almost in my, she also maintained ( rightly probably to HER ears ) that you would have to find the right spot of an LP in placing it on the turntable and that every LP had a sweet spot within its 360 degrees, where you had to put your cartridge on to start playing it, for best sound.