I'm wondering why using bare leads with speaker cable is not more common. There is really never a case when any kind of terminator is going to result in clean conductivity since even if said terminator has more surface area to contact the binding post, it is still soldered to the wires at a single point.
Are speaker cables terminators just audiophile baggage?
I'm going to try some unterminated cables for my speakers.
At the very least I think it will likely be an improvement with HE speakers where voltages & currents never get very high anyway.
The era of having basic stranded wire that you can just twist and screw on to your speaker and amp binding posts is no longer here. Most speaker wires these days are made up of esoteric materials and complicated geometry which make it impossible to connect without terminations.
Depends on the cable. For example now I have the Nordost Frey. It would be tough but not impossible to put all the strands through the binding post. Also they are silver and would oxidize too fast. That being said I ran unterminated copper stranded bi-wire cables for over 20 years. Until I took my speakers to different dealers to compare I had no reason to terminate them (except I would cut them back a couple of inches every few years). Then it became a nice convenience.
That's a great question Paul. I have Morrow Audio SP-2 Speaker Cables in both of my systems, and one pair is unterminated wire. When I bought my second pair of cables from him, Mike Morrow told me that unterminated wire is flat out the purest connection available. He put some silver solder on the bare wires and I'm using them in that state in my dining room rig. They sound great BTW.
Makes a difference. I've been using DIY copper foil speaker cables & jumpers with 1/4" punched holes. This works nicely with Cardas no-stress clamp-style binding posts. With Merlin VSM this has eliminated ten solder joints and ten spades per speaker.
I like bare wire connections, BUT one must be careful. Multi stranded heavy gauge wire requires some torque when tightening down the nuts. It needs more compression than is readily apparent. What appears tight can be loose the next day and fairly easily disconnected resulting in a potential for a short. I routinely check the connections at the speakers or amps. The only down side is you can't simply disconnect the wires if you are having an electrical/component emergency. A rare occurrence, but......
Newbee - stranded wires should not be tinned (unless done in factory). There are two reasons for that:
- Tinned stranded wires break easily, because stress point on the border of isolation is created (solder stiffens wire but stops short of going inside). It is just against common thought that tinning makes wire stronger.
- Connection is not reliable because solder "gives" over time (it is called cold flow). In some states (for instance Missouri) it is illegal (against code) to tin stranded wires.
This is clearly stated in BSEN 60950-1:2006 Information Technology equipment - Safety, Para. 3.3.8.
"3.3.8 Stranded Wire The end of a stranded conductor shall not be consolidated by soft-soldering at places where the conductor is subject to contact pressure unless the method of clamping is designed so as to reduce the likelhood of a bad contact due to cold flow of the solder. Spring terminals that compensate for the cold flow are deemed to satisfy this requirement. Preventing the clamping screws from rotating is not considered to be adequate."
Stranded wire, flattened provides under pressure oxygen free connection while flattening increases contact area.
That's minor point and people do what worked for them before, but I absolutely agree with you that one has to be careful and examine connection from time to time.