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seandil's picture
Last seen: 12 years 2 months ago
Joined: Sep 11 2011 - 7:14pm
Speaker connectors: what to use and whether or not to solder and how?

Hi all,

  I read a group of posts from 2007, after Googling this topic, that where from this forum.

I am connecting a home theatre system.  I ordered some 'srew type' banana plugs, but am having second thoughts after reading comments from the old posts mentioned.  I have an old soldering gun and can go to There I can watch and learn how to solder speaker wire connectors to wire ends, if need be.  I thought that first I should ask questions here.

  I need to know what would give my system the best sound.  I ordered 10 gauge speaker wire. My speakers are Polk floor standing (with a screw out connector or "Pole connector" that could take a banana blug) and center channel speakers (the center channel has the 'push down' connection), followed by a pioneer 8 " sub woofer (this will just need RCA cables), and lastly; two Yamaha back channel speakers (also has push down connectors).  All are 'High' end stuff.  My receiver is a Denon 988.

  I planned on using the banana connectors (Nakamichi) to connect the speaker wires to the receiver end, and also to the floorstanding Polks.  I thought I would use banana pin type connectors for the back and center channel speakers.  All 'Screw type' of course.

  Now I read that just stripping the speaker wire, and connecting the "bare wire" to either end gives the best sound until oxidation occurs.  People suggested 'tinning' the stripped speaker wire ends with some kind of solder, and then soldering each of the ends to a spade connector.  Another person said tinning would reduce conductivity, and to simply screw down the naked wire into a 'screw type' connector using a banana plug, and put some silicone sealant over the finished connector.  In other words hook it all up with out soldering, and then seal it up to prevent oxidation?  Someone else said to 'tin' the stripped end, and then place in a 'screw type' banana connector to prevent oxidation.  Another said this was bad due to conductivity issues. Another said to seal the screw type plug after connecting with heat shrink using a soldering gun? So its treat the naked speaker wire and connect it all up or connect a seal with something?  Others said to use 'tinned' bare wire, and lastly to solder spade ends on?

I am confused and a novice, but I can learn and love to do this kind of stuff, as long as its the right way while at the same time, it works and lasts.  What would you all suggest.

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jackfish's picture
Last seen: 10 years 1 month ago
Joined: Dec 19 2005 - 2:42pm
for that setup

bare naked wire will work just fine

unless you have really long runs, 10 gauge wire is really overkill

seandil's picture
Last seen: 12 years 2 months ago
Joined: Sep 11 2011 - 7:14pm
Thanks for letting me

Thanks for letting me know,

  I do have runs that are long.  I googled this question and it said to use 10 gauge wire for distances involved.  I bought some nachimichi banana plugs before I read this forum.  What's confusing is that people say 'bare wire' corrodes, and should be 'tinned' with solder.  However; the solder is not as good a conductor as the bare wire, and reduces the conductivity of the wire.  Sort of a damned if you do, and damned if you don't kinda thing.  I'm going to use what I bought, but was just wondering how to seal it up to keep the 'bare wire' inside the plugs from corroding?  I think I will just use a silicone sealant? 

Anyone else feel free to comment please.

JohnnyR's picture
Last seen: 10 years 3 months ago
Joined: Sep 10 2011 - 10:12am
I always solder the bare wire

You aren't going to notice any conductivity issues. It's much better to have a reliable tinned connection than have to keep taking a bare wire connection apart every few months to clean it up. Too much is made about solder when there are hundreds of soldered connections inside your preamp, amp , cd and dvd player to no end. The best connection is a soldered connection. Crossovers inside a speaker are soldered for best performance.

JoeE SP9
JoeE SP9's picture
Last seen: 1 week 12 hours ago
Joined: Oct 31 2005 - 6:02pm
Solder or not

I had a 6' pair of DH Labs Q-10 Signature cables. I cut them in half and connected Kimber Postmaster spades to the cut ends. I used Radio Shack Silver bearing solder ($5.69 for a 4 Oz. roll) to tin the bare ends before crimping on the spade lugs. Radio Shack Silver bearing solder is a real bargain when compared to stuff like Wonder Solder.

roadster's picture
Last seen: 8 years 5 months ago
Joined: Apr 16 2008 - 4:51am
Tinning cables...

... with silver content solder for better conductivity is my recommendation. Use a high grade copper cable...the cheap stuff will discolor eventually and degrade connectivity. As recommended, above, there's no need for additional connectors...that's just another source of trouble. The fewer chains in the link the better. 

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