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Is there anything intrinsically wrong with bare-wire speaker connection?


Bronal

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I'm thinking of dispensing with spades or banana plugs for the speaker cable connections for my second system.  I'll use bare wires instead - just like the old days.

 

I'm wondering what the downside of this method of connection is (if any), and if there is one whether I'd hear it anyway.  After all, it is the most direct method of connection between cable and amp/speaker.

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Guest Muon N'

You might need to check the tightness of the binding post once or twice in the following 3 or 4 weeks (depending on wire) after initial connection.

 

Just that I have noticed this need with bare wire connections.

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The only adverse effect from bare wire ... is that it's exposed to the air and will get copper oxide on its surface.

 

Which means you either have to:

  • clean the oxide off - every six months or so
  • or keep cutting off the bare ends and re-stripping.

Andy

 

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32 minutes ago, Bronal said:

Thanks for the tip.  I assume from your reply that you use bare wires with no adverse effects?

I do.

 

17 minutes ago, vivianbl said:

I use bare wire at the amplifier end- because I can! emoji2.png

I use WBT banana plugs at the speaker end- because I can’t use bare wire there☹️

 

Same.

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Guest Muon N'
26 minutes ago, Bronal said:

Thanks for the tip.  I assume from your reply that you use bare wires with no adverse effects?

Have in the past and the adverse effects were as I mentioned, but I prefer to use ones like these, cheap and effective.

 

multi.jpg.c658138409ca47ff90cef1ecbf7fba4a.jpg

 

 

 

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I should have mentioned that the cable is Duelund WE Replica, which I believe is tinned copper.  I have read that it sounds better when unterminated.

 

As I get older I am getting more sceptical about certain dogmas relating to hi fi.  OK, copper oxidises over time, but I understand it is still a better a conductor than anything except silver (which tarnishes, is that the same thing?).  I notice many spades and bananas are gold-plated over brass or sometimes copper.  What is the point of that, except that gold doesn't tarnish or oxidise.

 

Let's face it, I can always put connectors on down the line I feel the bare-wire setup isn't working.

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Guest Muon N'

Connectors are convenient, but then some old amps have those silly clip connectors and bare wire is unavoidable with those. Was testing a friends 70's Rotel amp after fitting new PS caps and I had to trim down my speaker cable ends to connect them.

 

What do you know, I have no connectors on the WE cables I have in there, so little use I forgot :)

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If you treat it with de-oxit gold after stripping it should last much longer than just bare copper.  Of course if it's tinned then there's probably no need.

I plan to de-oxit my new, bare copper cables.  I may consider fitting spades later but for now bare will do.

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5 hours ago, Bronal said:

I'm wondering what the downside of this method of connection is (if any), and if there is one whether I'd hear it anyway.

Corrosion

Soft metal

Relatively low contact area

3 hours ago, Bronal said:

As I get older I am getting more sceptical about certain dogmas relating to hi fi.

Good  :)  

Quote

OK, copper oxidises over time, but I understand it is still a better a conductor than anything except silver (which tarnishes, is that the same thing?).

Lots of "audio wisom" doesn't seem to be based on sound thinking (pun not intended).

 

"better conductor" ie. resistance.... isn't really what we should be concerned with.   Pure resistance won't cause distortion.    The oxidation is impedance, which isn't so simple (also pun not intended).

 

Silver "tarnishes" .... the point of this is that the "tarnish" which forms on silver isn't silver oxide (silver won't oxidise at room temperature).   Silver oxide is a great conductor .... tarnish is not at all.

 

 

I think the termination of cables, is the biggest issue affecting cables.   I would suggest some type of professionally attached connector.

 

 

Quote

I notice many spades and bananas are gold-plated over brass or sometimes copper.  What is the point of that, except that gold doesn't tarnish or oxidise.

I don't see the point of gold plating... it's too soft, and the conductivity isn't so important.

 

Quote

Let's face it, I can always put connectors on down the line I feel the bare-wire setup isn't working.

:thumb:

Edited by davewantsmoore
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4 hours ago, Bronal said:

I should have mentioned that the cable is Duelund WE Replica, which I believe is tinned copper.

 

If it is tinned copper - then it won't oxidise.  So yes, bare wire is OK.

 

But my view is that tinned - or silver coated - copper sounds worse than plain copper.

 

So you choose your poison.  :lol:

 

Andy

 

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1 hour ago, Wimbo said:

and are also an extra high resistance point. 

Are they really higher resistance than bare wire in a typical 'binding post' ?!???

 

It's been a long time since I've measured this due to the popularity of active speaker, and/or speakon connectors.... although what I have measured was significantly in favour of a good banana plug (expanding type, and ultrsoncially welded to the wire).

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22 minutes ago, Ittaku said:

Silver oxide is a much better conductor than copper oxide though, but tinned copper won't oxidise.

... but silver oxide doesn't exist on your audio cable.

 

1 hour ago, andyr said:

If it is tinned copper - then it won't oxidise.

... but isn't the tinning quite soft? .... and thus doesn't go well squashed in a binding post?

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I don't remember amp/speaker binding posts and spades/bananas being around until the early 1980s.  Also, until then, people seemed perfectly happy with various types of copper wiring.  Presumably all the science behind amp/speaker connection was known about long before then, so, question: why did it take so long for spades, bananas and fancy cables to come into use?

Edited by Bronal
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3 hours ago, davewantsmoore said:

 

Relatively low contact area

 

 

Dunno about this one Dave.  If you push the wire through the little hole in the stem of the binding post (see photo) and then do up the post, then not only is there plenty of contact area, but also a great deal more pressure between the wire and the post on all sides of the wire thus making a better connection than either a spade or banana it would seem.

 

Image result for eti cablepods

 

 

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Guest Muon N'
18 minutes ago, Bronal said:

I don't remember amp/speaker binding posts and spades/bananas being around until the early 1980s.  Also, until then, people seemed perfectly happy with various types of copper wiring.  Presumably all the science behind amp/speaker connection was known about long before then, so, question: why did it take so long for spades, bananas and fancy cables to come into use?

Advancements for one reason or another, I can never go back to those horrid spring terminals, and I hate bare stranded wire, too easy for some to get a stray strand that bridges between terminals in some cases.

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