How to Connect a Speaker Cable | Arendal Sound

How to Connect a Speaker Cable

June 14, 2024

When setting up a sound system, one of the fundamental tasks is connecting speaker cables. In this guide, we’ll explore different methods of connecting speaker cables, including banana plugs, spades, and using bare wire directly in the terminals.

Banana Plugs: The Convenient Choice

Banana plugs are a popular choice for connecting speaker cables due to their convenience and ease of use. They consist of a cylindrical metal pin with a banana-shaped prong that securely fits into the corresponding jack on the back of the speaker or amplifier. To connect a speaker cable using banana plugs, simply insert the plugs into the appropriate terminals, ensuring a snug fit. This method provides a secure connection that minimizes signal loss. Finding the right banana plugs for your cables that fit your speakers can be a challenge.

Unfortunately, they are not standardized and fitment can vary quite a bit.
The easiest and safest bet will always be the so-called BFA Bananas.


They are hollow and can be made to fit easily. Even if they lose some tension over time you can bend them back into shape. There are different variants with isolation, screw-in types, solder types, and fancy-looking housings. Just pick the one that is most convenient for you. 

Try to avoid the typical spring cage bananas. They have vastly different sizes and lose tension very quickly. 


Spades: Stability and Durability

Spades, also known as spade connectors, offer another reliable option for connecting speaker cables. These connectors feature a flat, fork-like design that provides stability and durability. To use spade sticks, loosen the terminal screws on your speakers or amplifier, slide the spade connectors underneath, and tighten the screws to secure the connection.
Please see: Spade Connector Size for 1723 Speakers


Bare Wire: Back to Basics

For those who prefer a more traditional approach, connecting speaker cables using bare wire is a viable option. This method involves stripping the insulation from the ends of the speaker cable to expose the bare wire, then inserting the wire directly into the terminal and tightening the screws to secure it in place. While not as convenient as banana plugs or spades, using bare wire can be effective, especially if the speakers are hung up on the wall and the space is limited between the speaker and the wall.


Tips for a Secure Connection

Regardless of the method you choose, there are a few tips to ensure a secure connection and optimal performance:

  • Proper Stripping: When using bare wire, ensure you strip the insulation carefully to expose the right amount of wire without damaging the conductors. Make sure no bare strands are sticking out and touching anything else than the terminal. 
  • Tightening Terminals: Whether using banana plugs, spades, or bare wire, always make sure to tighten the terminal screws securely to prevent any loose connections that could affect sound quality.
  • Matching Polarities: Pay attention to polarity when connecting speaker cables, ensuring that positive and negative terminals are matched correctly to avoid phase cancellation and maintain proper stereo imaging.
  • Minimize Cable Length: Keep speaker cable lengths as short as possible to minimize signal degradation and interference, especially in larger setups or environments with potential sources of electromagnetic interference.

By following these guidelines and choosing the method that best suits your preferences and setup, you can confidently connect your speaker cables and enjoy crisp, clear sound from your audio system. Whether you opt for the convenience of banana plugs and spades, or the simplicity of bare wire, proper cable connection is essential for achieving the best audio performance.