Banana Plugs for Speakers. Use gold plated banana connectors for your banana jack, or speaker post.
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Banana Plugs for Speakers

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If you have a home theatre system, or any sort of sound system for that matter, you will more than likely have speakers connected via speaker cable (as opposed to wireless).

Usually, the cable is stripped at each end for insertion into binding posts (or a multi-use banana jack) on the receiver (or amplifier), as well as at the speaker end.

This can get a little fiddly, and sometimes connections are not the best. But this is where the banana plug, or banana connector, comes in handy.

Banana Plugs

Banana Connectors

Usually, banana plugs for speakers consist of a cylindrical metal pin about 25 mm long, with a diameter of 4 mm, and that is inserted into a matching 4 mm socket, or binding post, to make a contact. The pin, which may be gold plated for better conductivity (also looks better), has one or more lengthwise springs that bulge outwards slightly, pressing against the sides of the binding post socket, thus improving the contact and preventing the plug from falling out.

The curved shape of these springs is probably the origin of the name "banana plug", which was originally invented in 1924 by Richard Hirschmann.

At the other end of the plug there may be a hole which accepts a length of insulated speaker cable, which is either screwed, soldered, or crimped into place.

The plugs I use have multiple ways of affixing the cable, and may be piggy backed on top of each other. I choose to slide the speaker cable into a horizontal hole near the top of the pin, after which the back of the plug screws down on the exposed wire to make a nice, firm connection.

Now, you may be thinking, "gold plated banana plugs - expensive". BUT, like anything, it depends on where you buy them. The majority come from China and cost mere cents to make - but if you go to a store like Dick Smith or JayCar (for example), you'll pay about $5.00 PER banana plug connector.

I buy mine online from Selby Acoustics in Victoria. You can buy a set of 12 (as shown above) for about $20.00 - a bargain when EXACTLY the same plugs cost $4.95 in JayCar Electronics! All my speakers (9) are connected with banana plugs, and it makes it so much easier when moving things around, checking speaker polarity (for correct phasing), and also for what is arguably a better connection.

The first photo above shows a dozen gold plated banana plugs sitting on my mouse pad.

Banana Plug The second photo shows the back of my Yamaha Aventage RX-A3000 with the 18 connectors plugged in. That's 2 x front, 1 x centre, 2 x rear, 2 x rear surrounds, and 2 x front height (for 3D effects). The large grey/silver cable at the top of the photo is for the subwoofer. The white pieces of paper were simply used as a guide when I connected the AV receiver.

The third photo shows the back of one of my surround speakers with the banana plugs connected to the bottom banana jacks. The extra binding posts at the top are used for bi wiring (running two lots of speaker cables to one speaker).

So, in a normal 7 channel setup, you would need 28 banana plugs, or if you run front height or presence speakers, as well as rear presence speakers, another 8 plugs will be required.

Further reading

  • Power Amps - how to buy; The decision process which led to the Audiolab 8200MB
  • RX-A3000 Yamaha - review of the top Yamaha Aventage AV Receiver
  • Aventage - Yamaha AV Receiver RX-A2000 - AV Receiver Reviews
  • Marantz SR6005 AVR - AV Receiver Reviews
  • 3D Television - all you need to know, but were afraid to ask
  • Harmony One Remote Control by Logitech - all the control you need in your home theatre!
  • Power Monitor - Clipsal EziAudit accurate power usage meter for your appliances

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