What is a speaker connector?

Hi-Fi systems, loudspeakers, and other audio devices use speaker connectors.

They are used to link speakers and amplifiers together.

Because of how they are made, they make a strong electrical connection between your equipment and the speaker wire.

How to Pick the Best Connectors for Speakers

Each speaker connector is simple to set up and only needs a few basic tools.

To choose the best kind, you need to start by looking at the terminals on your equipment.

Also, the back of your stereo equipment can have many different kinds of connections. Sometimes, like with amplifiers and receivers, there are more than one type on each. So, you will need a pair of pin connectors if your speaker has spring clips. Also, if your amplifier or receiver has binding posts, I suggest you use either spade connectors or banana plugs.

Also, it would be best to know how thick your speaker wires are before buying any connectors. Even though they made a lot of connectors for the most common wire sizes (12–18 AWG), some are for larger or smaller wires, so pay attention to the sizes to make sure they work together.

Different kinds of speaker plugs

1.Binding posts

Binding posts are connectors that are attached to the chassis. They make it easier to connect bare wires, spade plugs, pin connectors, or banana plugs.

The most common type of connector is the binding post.

They are on all kinds of amplifiers and speakers, from cheap ones to ones that cost a lot.

You can use bare wire or banana plugs or spades at the end of the speaker wire when using binding post connectors.

How to link:

  • Take off the red (+) or black (-) cap.
  • Put the bare speaker cable through the hole in the post or put a spade connector around the base and tighten the cap.
  • Put one end of the cable into each hole on the side of each post. You will need to connect banana plugs here. Some receivers have a plastic cap on the end that you have to take off first.

If a speaker has binding posts, the end may not have a place to put a banana plug. Some have, but it happens more often in amps.

With binding post connectors, you can either put a bare wire in the hole and tighten the screw, or you can put a spade connector around the post and tighten it with a screw.

Binding posts are better than simple screw terminals because they have better contact and use these connectors.

I would recommend the Monoprice High-Quality Banana Binding Post Two-Piece Inset Wall Plate for 2 Speakers.

2.Banana Plugs

Single-circuit connectors like banana plugs are often used to test lab equipment.

Banana plug connectors have a standard diameter of 4mm, which makes them a good fit for the end of a binding post.

They are made with spring-like sides that make sure a good connection even after being connected many times.

Most of the time, they link to binding posts.

When used to connect speakers, they make a strong electrical connection that can carry a lot of current.

If you want to use banana plug connectors, you will have to buy them separately from your wire. You’ll need four banana plugs for each wire, two for each end.

How to link:

  • Make sure the power is off on your receiver first.
  • Twist each end of the copper wire that is sticking out so that the strands stay together.
  • Make sure the hole is open by unscrewing the bottom of the banana plug. There are many different kinds of banana plugs, but most of them have a place for the wire to go and a screw to hold it in place.
  • Put the wire that is twisted into the hole.
  • To make sure the wires are tight, screw the bottom of the banana plug.
  • Connect the red (positive) banana plug to the right red jack on the receiver.
  • Do the same thing with the black (negative) speaker wire, plugging it into the black slot on the receiver.
  • Lastly, to connect the speaker wire to your speakers, put the red plug into the red binding post and the black plug into the black critical post. Now you don’t have to be afraid to turn on the receiver and change the settings.

Also, banana plugs can be connected to the cable in different ways. Most of them have screw-in connections that need a small screwdriver to hold the wire in place. This is a simple way to do it.

Also, some are self-crimping, which means that when you tighten the plug’s cap, the cable will be held in place.

Some may need to be soldered. So, you should only choose these connectors if you have a soldering iron on hand.

But there are banana plugs with screw-in connections that work just fine without soldering as long as you are careful when connecting them. The problem with this is that they may become less tight over time. So, if you regularly reconnect them, you need to check the connection.

The bottom of most banana plugs will have a female connection. So, you can connect another banana plug to it. This is helpful if you need to hook up a lot of speakers to the same terminal.

You might not have to do this often, but sometimes you have to. For example, if you need to connect a high-level subwoofer input from the left and right front speaker terminals, you can do that.

I would tell you Monoprice 5 pairs of high-quality gold-plated banana plugs for speakers

Connected hi-fi audio cables

3.Spade Connectors

There are different kinds of these connectors, but crimp-on connectors are the most common.

These connectors look like metal forks that can be used with either screw terminals or binding posts.

Most of the time, they come as a set.

Spade connectors make sure that all of the wire strands are caught in the connection and help keep the wire ends from coming apart.

How to link:

  • You can connect these like banana plugs by soldering, crimping, or screwing them into a place. Crimping is the process of using a tool to bend the end of the connector so it fits tightly on the wire. If you don’t want to solder the wire, this could be a great way to do it. Also, make sure you use the right tool for crimping.
  • Once your spades are attached to the wire, unscrew each binding post and push it into place. Tighten the cap once more to keep them safe.

Instead of using a bare wire, it’s better to use a spade connector because it makes the connection more stable.

When speaker wires are close to the wall, spade connectors work best.

I would recommend the TICONN 100 Pcs Nylon Spade Quick Disconnect Connectors Kit.

4.Connectors for Pins

Pin plugs are smaller banana plugs having a similar origin. Sometimes, you might find them as banana plugs. But unlike banana plugs, they don’t have a spring contact.

Most pin plugs have pins that are about 2 mm in diameter. Most of the time, the pin is straight, but sometimes the pin is at an angle.

They only work with binding posts that have a hole in the middle where the pin can go. They didn’t use them as speakers because of this, but they did use them.

As with banana plugs and spades, strip some of the wire’s insulation and connect the pins to the bare wire.

They also use crimping or soldering to join them together. They might also have a screw-in connection, though.

How to connect them:

  • Loosen the screw a little.
  • Put the bare wire in.
  • Make the screw tighter again.
  • Pull the speaker wire gently to make sure the connection is strong.
  • Most of the time, this speaker wire end is perfect for spring clip connections. So, push down on the clip and put the pin in the hole.
  • Even though it’s not how they’re usually used, you can also use pin connectors with binding posts by putting them in through the hole in the middle and tightening the cap.

Pin connectors are safer than bare wires and make it more likely that the connection will be strong.

I’d suggest that you look for the Monoprice 109438 High

5.RCA Adapters

People often call RCA plugs, Phono plugs, and Cinch plugs by the wrong name, “Aux cables.”

RCA stands for the Radio Corporation of America. In the early 1940s, they worked on making this connector for home audio equipment.

Because they were cheaper, they eventually took over the market from the “1/4” phone connectors.

Because they are cheap and easy to use, they are still the most common connector for home audio. Still, they need to work with the jack that goes with them.

How to link:

  • Remove the insulation from each end of the wire so that there is 3/8 to 1/2 inch of bare wire showing. Use the color codes to figure out which leads are good and which ones are bad.
  • Remove the shells from the plugs of your RCA connectors and slide the covers over the wires.
  • The positive end of the speaker wire should be soldered to the middle pin of your RCA, and the negative end should be soldered to the outer lead.
  • Let the solder cool, then slide the shell over the solder joints and screw them to the RCA jack.
  • To finish the connection, do the same thing on the other end of the speaker wire.

The worst thing about them for professional audio is that the cable can be easily broken if it is stepped on or kicked.

I would recommend the 15-foot-long RCA/phono cable from KabelDirekt.

6.”1/4-inch Phone Plugs”

They are made to be used on manual phone switchboards. But they are no longer useful for that. They can now be used for a wide range of professional audio connections.

You can also call them TRS connectors, which refers to the three contacts (tip, ring, and sleeve) on a stereo version of the connector. The pointy part is the tip, the part after the first black hoop is the ring, and the part after the second black hoop is the sleeve. The tip and ring are the signals for the left and right channels, and the sleeve is the common ground.

Before the Speakon connector was made, people used two-conductor phone connectors to hook up professional speakers.

The most common use of a stereo jack connection is as a headphone output on keyboards, pianos, recording equipment, guitar amplifiers, mixing tables, and hi-fi systems.

Sometimes, this plug is called a “balanced 1/4” jack. Balanced audio connectors use TRS plugs (you need a balanced connection at each end) to make a mono/single-channel connection that is much less susceptible to noise from the outside, especially when running long cables.

If you used them with the right jack, it would help.

I recommend the LinkinPerk 3.5mm 1/8′′ TRS Male to 2X 6.35mm 1/4′′ TS Male Mono Stereo Y Adapter.

7.Connectors for Speakons

Speakon connectors are the newest type of audio connectors, and they sound like an alien race coming to take over the world.

Neutrik made them, and they were the first connectors that were made specifically for professional audio speakers.

Speakon connectors are used all the time in audio equipment.

You can get them with either two, four, or eight poles.

The two-pole and four-pole designs are physically interchangeable, so a two-pole plug can be plugged into a four-pole jack using only one of the two circuits.

On the other hand, the eight-pole design is more important from a physical standpoint than the two-pole and four-pole designs.

How to link:

  • Unscrew the case from the Speakon connector by turning it counterclockwise, pulling the chuck out, and unplugging it from the case.
  • Remove about 3/4 inch of the cable’s outside insulation to get to the two wires inside. The black one has a minus sign (-), and the red one has a plus sign (+).
  • To get to the bare wire, remove about 3/8 inch of insulation from the inner wires.
  • Place the housing on the wire so that the threaded side faces the bare ends of the wire. Then, connect the chuck to the wire so that the round side faces the inside of the bushing.
  • Twist the end of the positive wire a little and plug it into the “1+” Speakon terminal on the plug. Screw it to make it tighter.
  • Do the same thing with the end of the negative wire, and then plug it into the “1-” Speakon terminal. Also, use a screwdriver to make it tighter.
  • Slide the chuck into the housing, put the housing over the insert, and tighten the casing by hand.

If you try to tighten the casing with pliers or other hand tools, the plastic could break.

Speakon connectors are better than “1/4” phone connectors in three main ways:

  • They can move more electricity.
  • They are parts that lock together.
  • When you connect and unplug the connector, the contacts don’t short out.

They were made to take signals with a lot of power.

They have both male and female plugs and sockets.

Most of the time, the female pins fit into male panel sockets and are held in place by a twist-lock mechanism.

This makes them the best for live sound applications, like connecting power amplifiers to loudspeakers, which is one of the most common uses. So, they are very common.

I would suggest the Dekomusic 2Pack 50 ft Speakon to 1/4′′

8.XLR Connectors

Different audio and video devices, like professional speakers, could use these connectors.

Their size is about 2cm, and they have anywhere from 3 to 7 male pins or holes (female).

Because they are balanced and safe, XLR connectors are used in a wide range of audio and music applications.

As a general rule, female plugs receive output signals from devices (like a microphone), and male plugs go into inputs (like an active studio monitor or a microphone pre-amp on a mixing desk), with male plugs going into female plugs or vice versa.

Because of this, the most common XLR connector is the mic lead, which has a male XLR pin on one end and a female XLR plug on the other.

They can be used in microphone cables, audio interfaces, public address systems, monitor speakers, and so on.

Their popularity is both a plus and a minus for them. Also, if you need to replace a cable, it’s easy to do so because they are often used in microphone cables, but it’s also easy to mix up the wires.

Cables with XLR connectors can’t carry enough current to be used professionally in large theaters and outdoor venues.

I’d suggest the TICINO XLR Female to 1/4 Inch (6.35mm)

Do the connectors for the speaker wires make a difference?

Almost all speakers and home audio systems have color-coded terminals that show which way the wires should go. Positive (+) terminals are red, while negative (-) terminals are black. But this doesn’t hold true for speaker wires.

Not all speaker wires have two colors of insulation or labels that make them easy to find. For example, the positive terminal is shown by text, stripes, or dashed lines.

If you’re always not sure, you can quickly test the speaker wires. But if you use colored connectors, you won’t have to worry about that.

People who have home stereos with more than one channel can avoid headaches and confusion by using speaker wire connectors.

Because they plug into the speaker terminals, the main benefit of speaker connectors is that they make it easier and faster to make connections. When put together correctly, they make sure there is a strong and reliable electrical connection and reduce the chance of a short due to stray wires touching other binding posts.

Also, using good connectors is a clear way to reduce high-frequency noise.

Speaker connectors make plugging in and unplugging your sound equipment much easier.

How to prepare speaker wires for connectors

Tools needed:

  • Wire and cable strippers. You could also use a knife or scissors, but I strongly suggest strippers because they make things safer.

It’s important to start and finish each end of the wire by putting on the connectors before moving on to the next.

Steps to get ready:

  • Cut the end of the speaker cable so that the copper wire doesn’t stick out.
  • Carefully put about two inches of space between the positive and negative ends of each wire. This will give you enough space to work.
  • Choose a single wire and move the wire stripper’s cutting edge about half an inch up from the end. If your wire stripper has tags with different sizes of holes for cutting, choose one that fits the size of the wire.
  • Clamp down on the wire stripper to cut the insulation, and turn the tool around the wire to make a clean cut.
  • Using the wire stripper, peel off the cut piece of insulation, but be careful not to cut the copper below, which would leave the wire bare.
  • Put a small, gentle twist on the copper wire with your thumb and forefinger to keep the separate strands from coming apart.
  • Start the whole process over again with the other wire.

After separating the speaker wires and leaving the ends open, you can now fix the connectors.

Also, make sure you notice and match the correct polarities (positive and negative) of the wires and connectors so that your audio equipment is in phase.

Conclusion

Speaker wire connectors are helpful because they make it easy to connect and disconnect the speakers from the stereo or amplifiers.

You should also know that the bare wire is not reliable if the space between the terminals is closed off, because the strands can short circuit with other cables. Because of this, it is easier to plug a connector into terminals than a bare wire.

 

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