Best Speaker Cable Termination

Some of you may wonder what the best way is to terminate speaker cable.  According to the experts (Mark Fleischmann, audio editor of Home Theater magazine, and Robert Harley, editor-in-chief of the Perfect Vision and The Absolute Sound magazines) spades are the audiophile choice for binding-post termination because they provide the greatest amount of surface contact.  They can be tightened down to form a connection of low electrical resistance.  Banana plugs are the next best option and may be preferred if you swap out or change around speakers frequently, or if your connections on the speaker or receiver only allow for this type of connection.  Pin terminations are the least best option and should be avoided because they provide the smallest amount of surface contact.  Robert Harley states “that stripping a cable to bare wiring and sticking the wire in the receiver’s terminals isn’t a good idea.  First, the bare wire will oxidize over time and degrade the connection.  Second, stranded bare wire introduces the possibility of stray strands touching the + and – terminals simultaneously and shorting out your receiver.  Finally, a chemical reaction takes place when two dissimilar metals are in contact with each other, increasing the contact point’s electrical resistance.”  It is a good idea, when possible, to ‘tin’ the ends of your cable with a few drops of solder as this will help reduce the amount of oxidation that can get into the cable and will otherwise extend the life of your cable regardless of what type of termination you have.


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