Speaker cable terminations. Bare copper wire or other devices

G’day, Gang,

I am back and have reveled with my new to me modified Celestion SL6Si speakers with their ribbon tweeters and kevlar midrange/bass driver.

Being an industrial electrician amongst other more mathematical technical employments. When terminating signal wires and power cables we use a system of bootlace ferrules and copper crimp lugs. Though when using contactors for electric motor applications we generally use bare copper wire and the same for domestic light and power switches.

Now when it comes to audio, in the past I have just placed a small twist on the speaker cable and inserted it into the post and clamp arrangement on the rear of the speaker.

I am using Naim speaker cable and after trimming the insulation back the untwisted wire fits snuggly into a 4mm grey bootlace ferrule which I will supply a link to.

Should one use such a device or similar? I should point out at this stage the bootlace ferrule or crimp lug are professionally crimped using expensive industrial crimping tools. Not cheap eBay stuff. Or do we just strip back the black insulation on the NAIM audio cable and present bare copper into the speaker terminal. You may have spring-loaded terminals. Though in my case I have binding posts with a hole through the middle of the stem.

Here is an example of what I am trying to picture in your mind. The post in this example takes a 4mm banana connector in the end, Though it also has room for the bare or terminated copper cable to enter through the hole in the post and be made tightly clamped in the whole by the turning of the binding nut/thingy.

I hope this makes sense.

Warm regards,


There is a recent thread on this topic on another forum where I posted the response below.

In my case, it is not so much about oxidation with bare wire connection to speaker binding posts. It’s the tightness of bare wire connection that isn’t good in comparison to banana plugs. Over time, the connection with bare wires will become loose, resulting in a poor sound quality.

I recall my system sounding considerably off at one point of time. I checked all cabling to see if the power cords are touching the interconnects and speaker cables. I also checked the rack to see if anything was amiss. I later found the culprit to the poor sound - the connection at the speaker terminals was loose as I could turn the nut to complete one full circle before it’s tight again. Yes, a full 360 degrees circle which is crazy. After the nuts were tightened at all binding posts, it’s all glory again.

After that incident, all my speaker cables come terminated with spades or bananas. Banana plugs are my favourite. The connection with terminated speaker cables will not become loose with time. It’s tight and secure. It is also much easier and convenient to use terminated wires than bare wires, and they look better too. Lastly, all good speaker cables come factory terminated.

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I agree that bananas or spades are preferable over bare wire. My current NACA5 is factory terminated with soldered bananas but I don’t have a clear preference for either. I’ve used spades for many years without them ever coming loose. This depends largely on the quality of the speaker terminals (WBT in my case).

A thing to consider regarding spades or bananas is how they connect to the speaker cable. Many use one or two set crews. This connection is not much different from bare wire in the speaker terminal unless used with well crimped ferrules. Or matching ferrules like WBT offers. They are longer, matching their spades & bananas.

Ferrules directly in the speaker terminals seems a valid option too, never tried that.
Regarding ferrules in general, it’s beneficial to avoid 3 - or even 4 - different (plating) materials mating in a single connection. This is the case when using the common hardware store nickel plated ferrules like the ones in your link. This means 1. bare copper wire > 2. nickel plated ferrule > 3. gold plated speaker terminal. In many cases, standard ferrules are not even made from copper as the base material but from brass (or alike), adding a 4th material to the connection.

If the speaker terminals are gold plated, it’s much better to use either copper/gold plated ferrules or bare ‘red’ copper ferrules. This limits the connection to 2 materials.

Hope this is useful.

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Dear RVL and Ryder,

Thank you for your input, they are very much appreciated.

I have purchased this set to see how it fits the turrets on the speaker terminals. I may use them or may not. I do have a high-grade industrial crimping tool that will do a professional crimp on these spade connectors. My NAIM speaker cable is terminated in bananas at the amplifier end and bare copper at the speakers.

Link to connectors to size turrets and see if they fit. May, or may not use.

Then where I purchased the NAIM XS2 from they have these connectors:

I also did manage to track down a pair of WBT connectors both in silver and copper:

As stated all except the first spades listed use screws to fix the speaker wires in the spade connectors. I wonder if this is a marketing decision as most consumers would not have a pair of industrial electricians crimpers purchased from specialist hardware wholesalers that only sell to companies and tradesmen.



Mitch, please don’t post commercial links here in the Hifi Corner. Images are fine, just so long as they are not links to any commercial site. Thanks.

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I don’t agree with this. All *expensive * speakers cables come factory terminated, yes. It’s adds perceived value if a fancy plug is included and helps to justify sometimes eyewateringly high prices.
Not all plugs are suitable for all speakers so it is often preferable to choose a connection method that suits both cable and speaker. Naim’s NACA5 is great if you use the plugs supplied with the Naim kit it connects to. You can cut it to the exact length required to keep things neat before soldering on the plugs. It’s a shame that many dealers lack basic soldering skills these days as that is the only way of connecting them.


It took me years to self-learn how to make up NAC A5 cables using SA8’s to my satisfaction. Soldering being the most consistent and reliable method in any case. Self-determination through trial & error (with careful listening) and knowledge shared from this forum gave me the best results i desired. In my experience NAC A5 can be rather fussy in how it’s terminated…get it right however and Bingo! “That’s it!”


I almost have given up asking for help on what spade connectors I should use as my posts keep on being edited for valid reasons though it makes it so difficult to show forum members what I am talking about.

So hopefully this description does not have any hidden links and members can copy and search this information to see the spade connectors I am writing about.

  1. Spade Connectors
    Quality Spade connectors able to fit posts between 5.5 and 8.0mm.These brand New, quality spade connectors, enable a versatile and conveniant connection to your amplifier and speakers. Perfect for quality Hi-Fi and Home Theater loudspeaker systems which have binding posts that won’t accept banana plugs.


  • Heavy duty 24K gold plated crimp type spade connector
  • Suits 5.5 to 8.0mm posts and cable up to 4mmÿ area
  • Crimp or solder terminating for the best connection
  • Coloured PVC boot
  • Can hold 12awg cable
  1. WBT WBT-0681 Ag Spade

  2. WBT WBT-0681 Cu Spade

  3. AudioQuest SureGrip 100 Spade Connectors (Gold)

Any advice would be most welcome.

Please Google the listed product names that are available to me in Australia and please list your recommendations.

At the moment I am going with product number 1. The rest seem too much work to post pictures of as I do not know-how.

If NAIM supplied spade connectors or others I would have used their links. Though as far as I know, they do not.

Warm regards,


In relation to crimping, Chord have released a product called ChordOhmic banana plugs, which is professionally crimped by the dealer, and supposed to be as good as factory fitted. So it would seem the idea of crimping is not a bad thing


You can post images if it helps people to understand what you mean. Use screenshots if necessary, it’s quick and easy and avoids live links which are against forum rules.

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The aviation industry decided that crimping was the way to go many years ago.

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It looks as though it’s either bare wire or spades in this case.

It’s a good idea, though far from essential, to match the material of the spade to that of the terminals. So just find out what the terminals are made of and get the matching spades.

The copper WBTs are really expensive, 160AUD for four. The screw connections are fine but I imagine wouldn’t be as good as either soldering or cold welding. Standard crimping, where you squeeze the joint with pliers, won’t be as good either.

You option 1 look perfectly reasonable to me. While they can be soldered or crimped, as I said above the crimping you can do at home won’t be as good as soldering. There is a lot of wire in NACA5 and you should ensure both that it will fit, and that you have access to sufficiently capable soldering skills.

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Certainly not. A good crimp is far better than a bad solder joint. And I find it almost impossible to solder 10 gauge speaker cable to thick copper spades or bananas. Well I’m certainly not capable of it and I don’t think a lot of dealers are either.

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I’m doubtful that it would even be possible to crimp the spade in the picture above once it’s full of NACA5. Soldering is probably the only answer.

Yes you’re right. I think it would be impossible to do it with those particular connectors. Connectors for crimping would have to be especially selected I guess. I have some that worked very well that I got from eBay.

Agreed, and it’s a shame that some dealers apparently can’t be bothered to solder properly. I suspect this is why some cable providers have come up with crimping systems, including Chord and QED for example. Of course they have to come up with a fancy name for their own special version, but it’sreally just crimping using a decent electric powered crimper.

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That’s why I don’t feel so bad about not being able to solder very well. BJC does that special connection for their connectors to speaker wires. I forget what they call it, but it’s high frequency vibrations I believe that Bond the two parts and really make it as one.

Yes, correct. I should have mentioned “most” good speaker cables come factory terminated, not all. It’s a general statement.

Good point on the lack of soldering skill or technique of some dealers. Few cable manufacturers have stressed on the importance of the quality and method of soldering, and for this reason only factory terminated cables are offered by these manufacturers. One of such cable manufacturers even indicated on their site that an unusual solder and soldering technique are used in the termination to preserve the quality of the cables.

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Of course, the Naim way has always been to use solder, and it’s the only option if you use the plugs they provide. All the more reason why Naim dealers should be capable of using a soldering iron.
Interesting perhaps that Richard Shahinian (of loudspeaker fame) insisted that solder should be avoided at all costs and recommended bananas with a simple screw tightener for his speakers.


That is odd, regarding Shahinian, but there must be something to it. The main reason I don’t have NAC A5 speaker cables is because of the difficult soldering required. The speaker cables I made with very solid crimped ends are doing fine for now and when we move house in a few years I’ll get some witch hat phantoms at whatever length I require at the time. Probably 5 to 10 m.