Russ Andrews Spring Clip Adaptors Review
David Price reckons that classic hi-fi fans will find these little widgets invaluable…
Spring Clip Adaptors
£25 per pair
Although pretty much every amplifier since around the nineteen nineties has come fitted with 4mm 'banana plug' speaker sockets – or binding posts that accept both them and bare wire – this wasn't always the case. Instead, most amplifiers, and indeed loudspeakers, used spring clip terminals up to the mid to late eighties.
These things are now widely derided and viewed as 'hi-fi heresy', but they did their job well enough. Not every speaker cable needs to have four hundred strands and be as wide in diameter as a hosepipe – most such things then and now fit comfortably into those old spring clip terminals. So the problem isn't necessarily that they don't work, but that you can't use modern cables – invariably pre-fitted with banana plugs at both ends – with them.
As a collector of old and weird (also known as 'classic') hi-fi, I think these Russ Andrews spring clip adaptors are one of the most useful products ever invented. I can now buy an ancient nineteen seventies amp, poke the 'wire' end of the RA adaptor into its spring clip terminal, and shove my modern speaker cable's banana plug into the RA adaptor. In short, I don't have to re-terminate my speaker cables to use old kit.
About ninety-nine percent of audiophiles simply won't care about this product because it solves a problem they don't have – but that one percent who do have it will be ecstatic. Previously, I made my own speaker adaptors out of decent cable and sockets, and soldered them together without managing to burn myself. But as with all soldering, it's fiddly – and the Russ Andrews product is a ready-made, off-the-shelf solution.
Also, it's high quality, too, using decent quality 4mm speaker sockets, so-called 'Hyper-Pure' copper and Teflon-insulated Kimber cable. The latter, I really rate – I bought 10 metres of the stuff to rewire a pair of classic Wharfedale E70 speakers recently, and it dramatically improved the sound. Compared to my own ' homemade' spring clip adaptors, I found the music had better definition, stronger bass and smoother treble – it was a subtle effect but well worth the money.
A set of two (i.e. for one channel, at one end of the cable) is £25, and the price goes up in multiples of this, the more you need. So a complete set to convert standard banana plug-wearing cables to an amp and speakers with spring clips is £100. That's pretty good value considering you'd otherwise have to re-terminate and/or butcher a set of perfectly good cables to get them to work with your classic amp and speakers.
A tiny proportion of hi-fi nuts will love these – and the rest don't need them. Russ Andrews spring clip adaptors are excellent for the job in hand, if required, sound good and are well made. What's not to like? Recommended, then.
David started his career in 1993 writing for Hi-Fi World and went on to edit the magazine for nearly a decade. He was then made Editor of Hi-Fi Choice and continued to freelance for it and Hi-Fi News until becoming StereoNET’s Editor-in-Chief.
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