Banana plugs provide a nice and solid connection and added convenience. When trying to connect speaker wire into the back end of a receiver in a tight space, banana plugs are convenient by simply plugging them in. Another reason I highly recommend using banana plugs is because they prevent cross termination of stray strands that can blow the system. The gold plating on these plugs also offer corrosion resistance which prevents poor signal transfer and potential damage to your equipment. I’ve been doing audio installations for years and they are the key to ensuring you are getting the best quality sound out of your system.
BTW don’t get your banana plugs at retail stores since they are a ripoff! The place I get mine are outstanding quality for a much lower price. They supercede the majority of plugs in the market in therms of quality, which are priced very high. I also get the 14 gauge speaker wire from the same place and it works great with these plugs.
What is a Banana plug?
A banana plug is one of several methods used to terminate your speaker wire.
Why use a Banana Plug? Your Speaker and receiver can still use bare wire right?
Well yes, you can still use bare speaker wire, but banana plugs add convenience and some believe it improves the electrical transmission between the wire and what ever component you are connecting to. Convenience is a big plus with these since they are easily plugged into the receiver. This is great because most people have a receiver that is tough to access and it can be awkward trying to install with bare wire.
How do you implement a banana plug into your audio system?
- You first want to separate the ends of your speaker wire into individual conductors.
- Then you want to use wire strippers to remove about half an inch of shielding around the wire so that pure copper is exposed.
- Insert the copper wire into the shaft of the banana plug.
- Put the cylindrical shell back on.
- Once finished with all of your terminations, it’s time to make the connections.
- Start Plugging them in!
This concludes the banana plug installation tutorial. I hope I cleared up some of the complexities of these things!
14 AWG Speaker Wire
Should you select different speaker wire gauge depending on distance from the amp to the speakers and the application? Yes you should. Standard speaker wire is only 16 gauge and to be honest, that is not very thick in diameter.
I would go by this guide when selecting speaker wire:
- If the distance from the amp to the speaker is less than 80 feet go with 16 gauge speaker wire.
- Between 80 and 200 feet go with 14 gauge speaker wire.
- Go with 12 gauge for over 200 feet.
However, if you have a very robust/hardcore audio/video setup, I would just go with 14 or 12 gauge no matter what length. This is because the thicker the wire is, the stronger the signal is going through and the clarity will be there. If you just have a mediocre setup, 16 AWG should be more than adequate. Also remember, the thicker the wire, the lower the resistance which will lesson the load on the amp.
If you want to go a step further with your home theater audio setup, then you should consider installing banana plugs binding post wall plates. These will give your home theater a clean and professional looking installation. Today, I will go some of the options you have with these wall plates.
3-Gang 7.1 Surround Sound Distribution Wall Plate
This home theater wall plate is really awesome. All connections are already labeled, so as long has you have a 3 gang box to mount to, you are all set! Works great with speaker banana plugs (for front side and backside) Note: This is actually an “8.2″ wall plate as it has rear center speaker in addition to rear surrounds (left and right) and also has 2 subwoofer connections.
2-Gang 5.1 Surround Sound Distribution Wall Plate
Works great with 5 speakers and it also has an RCA connection for a subwoofer.
High Quality Banana Binding Post Wall Plate for 4 Speakers
If you need 4 speakers (8 input/outputs) in a single wall plate this is the way to go. Very easy to use with or without soldering.
High Quality Banana Binding Post Two-Piece Inset Wall Plate for 3 Speakers
This plate is ideal if you need to connect 3 speakers (6 input/outputs).
High Quality Banana Binding Post Inset Wall Plate for 2 Speaker – Coupler Type
Same as the other plates, but is good if you only need to connect 2 speakers (4input/output).