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A Basic Guide to Speaker Wire Connectors

A Basic Guide to Speaker Wire Connectors

Installing speakers can be confusing, especially if they do not come with wire or speaker wire connectors.  You will have to determine what type wire you need, the right guage, the right material and which speaker wire connectors will fit the situation.  There are a few basic types of speaker wire connectors to choose from, and you will need to determine which type is compatible with your speakers.

The most common type of speaker wire connectors are banana connectors.  These are available in a number of different sizes to fit many different types of speakers.  Banana style speaker wire connectors are the type most often seen in speaker wire that comes with the connectors already attached.  There are both single and dual prong banana connectors available, as well as larger and miniature versions of these popsular speaker wire connectors.  

Another type of connector you will run across are angled speaker wire connectors.  These are designed to work in tight spaces where there is not much room for the connector to stick out at the back of the speaker.  These are perfect for when you can’t reach behind easily to plug the speakers in.  These are most commonly pin connectors, which are a thin connector that are also very commonly used.  You may also find angled connectors in other types.  One of these is spade connectors, which are a less popular type.  Spade style speaker wire connectors might be a little harder to find if that is what you need, but the internet is an excellent source.

Good speaker wire connectors will be gold plated to allow for the best connectivity.  In the higher end versions you will see 24 karat gold plating.  You may also see copper as one of the commonly used materials in speaker wire connectors; this is usually to allow for flexibility.

There are a few methods of connecting the speaker wire connectors to the wire itself.  Many types of connectors are crimp-on connectors, some manual and some self crimping for easier attachment.  There are also some that use a screw to hold the speaker wire in place.  You will also encounter twist on attachments.  Any of these options can work successfully, and each has their proponents.  The screw on type of speaker wire connector attachment, however, is often considered to be a bit more secure and less likely to come loose.

Speaker wire connectors can range in price from very cheap to rather pricey for what they are.  Often a middle of the road choice is a good one, but it depends on just how much of an audiophile you are and how picky you are about your connectivity and quality.  In many cases it is a good idea to go with the same brand of speaker wire connectors as the wire you are planning to use; they are designed to work together and use the same materials in their construction.

The best speaker wire connectors are those that fit your system, are easy for you to install, and provide good connectivity and sound.

Photo courtesy of Jordanhill School D&T Dept.

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