Moving my PMC Twenty26 speakers earlier I disconnected the speaker cables and in doing so broke the solder joint at the speaker end. Bit of a shoddy job really.
I could re-solder myself but wondered if screw down banana plugs were a possibility and if there were any recommendations.
As always, help greatly appreciated from esteemed forum members.
Soldering is always preferable in this sort of situation - it’s stronger, more reliable, doesn’t really suffer from oxidation… apart from the faff of soldering it in the first place, there’s really no downside.
I would always use a proper soldered connection. Having said that, a badly soldered joint is probably worse than a crimped joint. If you don’t have the skills, get a decent dealer to do it for you. Some dealers are very good at it, others are not, which I suspect is why some cable brands such as Chord and QED have developed proprietary high pressure crimping systems.
I have compared screw connection and soldered, for audio quality soldered won hands down.
The difference was so great that it could easily be detected on a Denon RCD-M39 / Wharefedale Diamond 9.1 micro system!
If yer a good solderer then that’s definitely the way to go. However, a good screw-down, or crimp, is way better than a bad solder joint.
My main speaker cables have very good crimped Spades at the speaker end, and very good BJC screw-down Bananas at the amp end, and they sound great. (High quality 9 awg wire).
But even if you know someone who can solder them, that would be best. And maybe use Mundorf high silver content solder.
If you go the screw-down route, check out Blue Jeans Cables DIY bananas. Excellent design for $4 each.
Whilst I prefer to solder, because I am confident that i can do it well, I have worked in industries that would only use crimping, probably because, its heat free, quick, more reliable and given the right crimps and tools it is claimed to provide a better joint. For most of us though soldering is probably the best solution that is readily available to us. It just needs a little practice.
I’ve used screw clamp connectors, but however tight I screwed them they would be loose some months later. It will of course depend on the screws/threads, but also on the cable - single core or stranded, how thick the conductor(s) is/are, and how soft the wire is. I ended up soldering. Soldering is easy if the iron has a high enough heat capacity, which can be a the limiting factor with thick cable and heavyweight connectors, when a small iron may be useless.
Crimping will always give a more consistent result. And does not introduce the potential for additional resistance die to the solder or flux.
I challenge the word “always”! Crimping if done properly, yes, but not if done poorly - and generally that means using the right crimping tool applying the right force, and the cable and connector receptacle being appropriately sized for one another.
Hideous screw on plugs have become such a scourge that here in Japan, you cannot get a solder banana plug by any means anymore. Not online, not in bricks and morter and not ordered through a dealer.
The idea that soldering is so hard as to give up and go for overpriced bling styled screw ons is just barmy. I had to order plugs from overseas. Fortunately, about GBP80 will buy an assortment of Deltrons in various buckets sized both gold, nickel and silver to last a lifetime… so that’s what I did
But honestly, it seems solder plugs are slowly on the way out. Premade up cables from Atlas, for example, all use crimps. And while a crimp is admittedly excellent, the cable does oxidize as I have seen my own Atlas cables around the crimp turn dark brown over 6 years.
But as for bejeweled screw ons costing $400 for a set of 4 go, it turns out no one ever lost money overestimating the stupidity of some audiophiles. Honestly, bare wire to a terminal’s lug nut is better than a screw on plug.
I guess the qualification bit about always is that the tool is calibrated and used by a competent person!
I have seen serious issues with crimp connectors, Cables pulling out too easily and in both cases it was due to batches of out of tolerance crimp connectors, both were discovered after they were delivered.
One was destined for a large airliner, Btw it has probably now Been retired from service! For fairly obvious reasons the majority of industries still prefer crimped connectors.
When i was in the RAF it was one of the tasks we had to carry out regularly. Calibration of crimping tools we had a lot of different types but if it failed we couldn’t use it until we had replaced the jaws with ones that passed the calibration. No calibration no go !!!
Yes we had a cable test rig too, which basically Pulled a sample of joints apart whilst being monitored. Very boring.
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