Banana Plugs - do we need them?

Discussion in 'Amps, Pre-Pros & Receivers' started by trevorgray, Mar 19, 2005.

  1. trevorgray Audioholic Intern

    trevorgray
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    Do banana plugs do anything other than make it easier to connect speaker wire? Or is it an excuse for Monster to make something and overcharge us for? I have read that speaker wire (being copper) has the ability to tarnish quicker (which I have seen after moving, unhooking and then rehooking my speakers to my receiver). Does a faded or tarnished connection really alter the sound that much? Most banana plugs I have seen are gold or at least gold plated which don't tarnish and should, theoretically, make a stronger connection. Is one brand of plug better than the other (i.e. Radio Shack versus Monster)? I am asking this after I just bought a 5 pack of monster banana plugs - I guess I am a sucker for those guys.
  2. Buckeyefan 1 Audioholic Ninja

    Buckeyefan 1
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    Banana plugs are all show and no go. The best connection is stripping your existing speaker wire for a nice clean lead, and tying them into your screw plugs in the back of your amp/receiver. Use a heavy ga. wire from Home Depot and save your money for movies and music. Just my .03 cents.
  3. BMXTRIX Audioholic Spartan

    BMXTRIX
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    I am a big fan of banana plugs, and there are other posts here that include images of the ones I like best, and that I got under the 'Rotel' brand name, though Rotel does not make them.

    Banana plugs make hooking up to your receiver a breeze. It takes a while to properly strip your cables and connect them into the banana plugs, but then it takes about 30 seconds to connect the plugs to your A/V receiver, no matter how tight the space is.

    I think spade connectors may work a little better on the speaker end of things as they don't protrude out the back of the speaker, but are flush. Bare wire is fine, but not always easy to get in and can be very difficult to get a perfect fit on, which may reduce the contact area and lead to a poor connection. Care has to be taken, and if you ever remove them, you have to start over again.

    As I said, I'm a BIG fan of banana plugs.
  4. mcwilson Audioholic

    mcwilson
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    Banana plugs purpose is to make connecting/unconnecting speakers - receivers quick and easy. If you're counting, my vote is for banana plugs. No more screwing and unscrewing speaker posts!
  5. zumbo Audioholic Spartan

    zumbo
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    I use banana plugs myself. I just plain like 'em. I have Ixos 206. They seem to be similar to the new Blue Jeans locking type.
    Ixos
    Blue Jeans
  6. 3beanlimit Junior Audioholic

    3beanlimit
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    I use them on the back of the preamp as it makes it easier to change things around if need be. Other than that, seems to me that compressing the wire with the wire nuts makes a better fitting than using bannanas.

    The one's I use on the back of the pre/pro are the locking type.
  7. Leprkon Audioholic General

    Leprkon
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    convenience is no doubt the main advantage of banana plugs, but the next most important issue is space.

    as manufacturers jam more and more connections on the back end of a receiver, feeding in plain wire and making a solid connection is becoming possible only for people with fingers like ET.

    the flip side of this is that many manufacturers are making their receivers the same size width and expanding the height and (more intrusively) depth.

    If you have an enclosed cabinet or a modern open cabinet that has a single pole up the back for support or cable management (see below), you might not have enough room to fit a banana plug. The legs on my Yamaha RX-V2500 are at the very edge of the shelf without banana plugs. I can't imagine how BMX and Ray and the other pro installers here deal with the more WAF-approved racks and stands.

    The tarnishing issue is going to be there, regardless. You'll just tarnish between the wire and the plug, rather than the wire and the receiver.

    I don't think there's a whole lot of advantage of electronically bare wire versus banana plug (assuming a good fit). It just depends more on if it can fit and if you need to swap around much.

    Attached Files:

  8. MBauer Audioholic

    MBauer
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    Big fan too

    As was mentioned the space behind the equipemnt is one key issue. Also it is much more convenient if you make any changes to your configurations.

    Electrically, it will make no real difference, except for the possibility of corrosion. That is why good connectors have a very thin gold plating, gold is a good conductor and it is not reactive (key point). Buying Banana plugs from Parts Express will get you a good price and a lifetime of use. Spades are also an excellent option. I buy good speaker wire at Home Depot, use my Parts Express Banana Plugs and they work great

    So, you don't have to spend a dime with Monster
  9. warpdrive Full Audioholic

    warpdrive
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    I've been using bare wire for years but I've just switched to Bananas. Soooo convenient. The better plugs will keep the connection even with real strong pulling....so don't skimp too much on them or you would have better off staying with bare wire.
  10. Takeereasy Audioholic General

    Takeereasy
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    yes to plugs

    I had to move out the entire entertainment center recently due to some water damage. Having Bananna plugs saves sooooo much time and effort when it comes time to reconnect your speakers. I wouldn't go back to bare wire. Like a prior post suggested I would go with parts express for this purchase. Cheap and good.
  11. NetGeek Junior Audioholic

    NetGeek
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    Bananas

    Although I too hate Monster & their business practices I really love their "quick lock" compression banana connectors. These connectors do not use a screw post or a binding post; you strip back the insulation and fan out the conductors on it's base and screw the plug top down which makes a very strong connection. I am using Belkin 5000 UE 12ga speaker cable from Blue Jeans and this cable has 20 thick strands instead of the usual fine wire threads used in speaker cable; I just could not get the screw-type bananas to work that good; I could tighten them down with pliers and would still be able to easly loosen them with my fingers and I would also break some strands if I screwed them on to tight. The Monsters are also very small and with the cable comming straight out the back of the plug it keeps the back of your receiver neat.

    Here is a link to them: http://monstercable.com/productPage.asp?pin=1272
  12. mtrycrafts Audioholic Slumlord

    mtrycrafts
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  13. Mega2000 Audioholic

    Mega2000
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    when i have to get behind my TV i have to disconnect my fronts and a process that took 10 minutes before w/o bannana plugs takes 10 secs.

    I JUST got mu plugs on ebay for like $12 for a set of 20. I didnt bother with the super spendy name brands at $10 a pair.
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2005
  14. Dumar Audioholic

    Dumar
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    I too like bananas.

    For those of you with a soldering iron (or crimping tool), these banana plugs http://www.partsexpress.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?&DID=7&Partnumber=091-1168 are a great value and provide an excellent connection. Note that they are gold plated and are made with 9 springs, which provides more contact area and a secure fit (lots of other bananas use fewer springs). I believe this traditional banana provides more contact area than the expanding pin type, and you just can't beat a solder joint.

    One draw back my be that they are not stackable, but then you guys don't bi-wire your speakers anyway ... right? ;)
  15. Rob Babcock Moderator

    Rob Babcock
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    I consider banana plugs to be safer than bare wire, too- with bare wire there's always a chance that a couple of loose strands can short out on something. Mostly though I use bananas simply for the convenience.
  16. timw Audiophyte

    timw
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    timw,
  17. Cygnus Senior Audioholic

    Cygnus
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    What is so bad about Monster products, other then the fact that they are extremyl overpriced (or is that just it? :p :rolleyes: :( )
  18. Duffinator Audioholic Field Marshall

    Duffinator
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    I like and use banana plugs. I occasionally do HT installs for family and friends and insist that they pay for banana plugs if they want me to do their install for free. I usually use these Monster plugs: http://ww1.onecall.com/PID_20781.htm for the back of the receiver/wall plates and most other areas that aren't visible. I use these Cobalt Locking Plugs if they are going to be visible and the person wants to add that nice little touch to their system: http://www.cobaltcable.com/product/loose_locking_banana_plugs.htm

    But I'll have to check out the bananas from Parts Express, I can always shrink wrap them for a nicer finish. On the crimp plugs I always solder them for a secure connection.
  19. Leprkon Audioholic General

    Leprkon
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  20. Topher Junior Audioholic

    Topher
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    I used these plugs from Radio Shack:
    http://makeashorterlink.com/?Y1A223BBA
    $5 CAD a pair & they work fine with 12ga wire from Home Depot (I think I paid $45 CAD for $100ft.) in my HK 325. You strip the wire, fan the strands, slide the wire in & crimp them.

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