Types of Speaker Connectors – How to Choose and Install

The majority of speakers do not come with a speaker wire. When choosing speaker cables for your home cinema system, there are many factors to consider.

We’ll answer these questions and point you in the direction of the speaker cable that, in terms of quality and efficiency, optimally transmits the audio data from the amplifier or AV receiver to the speaker. In addition, we demonstrate how to successfully connect speaker cable. You don’t have to be a technical to perform anything properly if you understand the basics.

Now let’s get into this.

Why Should You Use Speaker Wire Connectors?

Cables for speakers do not include polarity indicators as speaker terminals do (red for positive, black for negative). Not all speaker wires are made with two-tone insulation or have positive and negative ends that are readily identified (e.g., text, dashed lines, or stripes). If you’re still unsure, swap out the speaker wires and see if it helps. It is unnecessary to check, worry, or second-guess when colored connections are used. Multi-channel home audio systems rely on speaker wire connections to function properly.

Speaker wire connectors make it simple to connect and detach speakers from receivers and amplifiers. The strands of bare wire should be twisted together before they can be inserted into a spring clip or binding post. The wire must be re-straightened and the process must be restarted if you miss and mush/fray it. In contrast, speaker wire connectors protect the exposed wires by housing and shielding them, making audio hookups a lot simpler.

Do check out How to wire a 4 channel amp to 6 speakers also.

Speaker wire connectors simplify audio cords in more ways than one. Your stereo speakers will get the best sound if the tips are correctly placed. When you link your equipment together using speaker wire, it seems more orderly, sophisticated, and well-kept. Unfortunately, there are certain speaker and amplifier backsides that don’t seem all that appealing. The people you want to impress are the ones that are interested about your plans.

Preparing Speaker Wires for Connectors

To prepare the speaker wires for the connections, grab a set of wire/cable strippers. A pair of scissors or a tiny knife can be used in place of the strippers, however real strippers are strongly advised for safety reasons. Before going on to the next end of the speaker wire, make sure you start and complete each one (i.e., attach the connectors). The following are the stages of getting ready:

  1. Make a clean cut at the speaker cable’s end to eliminate any exposed copper wire.
  2. Allow a distance of approximately two inches between the positive and negative wires (terminals). As a result, you’ll have plenty of space to work.
  3. Set the wire stripper’s cutting edge approximately half an inch up from the end of a single wire. You should use a wire stripper that is labeled with various cutting sizes if your cable has varied diameters.
  4. Make a tight clamping motion with a wire stripper to sever the jacket/insulation, and then spin the tool around the wire to ensure a clean cut is made.
  5. To reveal the bare wire, use a wire stripper to remove the cut portion of the jacket. Be cautious not to inadvertently cut through the copper below while you do so.
  6. Gently twist the copper wire between your thumb and fingers so that all of the strands remain connected.
  7. Then, using the second wire, repeat the procedure.

Connectors can be attached to your speaker cable now that it has been forked and exposed ends are present. To ensure that your audio equipment is correctly in-phase, locate and match the right polarities (positive and negative) on the cables and connections.

Connector Installation

Connectors are installed in a variety of ways based on the specific design of each manufacturer. It’s possible to get them in a number of different ways depending on whether you want to use spades, banana plugs, or pin connections.

  • A standard speaker wire connection must be unscrewed for a few turns before locking into place (some can completely separate). This kind calls for you to feed the bare speaker wire all the way to the bottom. As soon as you can no longer push the wire into the connection, reattach the connector’s top. The naked speaker wire is wrapped tightly into the connector as you tighten it, ensuring a secure connection. When you gently pull on the wire, it should remain in place.
  • Connectors for speaker wire that “self-crimp” split into two pieces. Feed the bare speaker wire into the bottom part of the connection until the copper strands are sticking out of the top of the connector using this kind of connector. You’ll now fan and bend the strands back over the tip, taking care not to obstruct the screw threads with your work. The bottom half of the connection screws into the top half, and the copper wires are clamped in place.
  • Speaker wire connections that use a “open screw” design feature a hole in the connector itself. Wires can be fed through the bottom (like with the previously described varieties) or via a hole in the side of these sorts of connectors. Remove the connector’s components one at a time until the side gap is large enough to accommodate the bare copper wire. Connect the speaker cable and secure it by tightening the connection (you can see the parts sandwiching together). The cable is linked via the side, making these connectors ideal for daisy-chaining speaker wires.
  • Speaker wire connections are also available with just an open screw. Spring-loaded connectors allow speaker wire to be inserted by squeezing the connection between the thumb and fingers. The connection clamps shut and secures the wire in place once you release the grip.
  • The installation of certain “screw locking” speaker wire connections necessitates the use of a tiny flathead screwdriver. We can distinguish between “inner” and “outer” connections because of the two components they have. Remove the inner connection component and use the screwdriver to remove the two embedded screws. Once you’ve reached the end of your speaker cable, stop feeding speaker wire into it. To keep the wire in place, use the screwdriver to tighten the embedded screws. Connect the connection by placing the outer half over the inner part and screwing the two halves together (by hand).

What Types of Speaker Connectors should I Use?

Speaker cables come with three kinds of wire connectors: banana plugs, spade connectors, and pin connectors. Each one is straightforward to set up and just requires a few common hand tools. You must first look at the terminals accessible on your equipment in order to select the appropriate kind.

Different kinds of connectors on stereo equipment’s backs are possible. There may be many types on a single occasion (e.g. receivers and amplifiers). If your speaker uses spring clips, for example, you’ll need a set of pin connections. Banana plugs or spade connections are good choices if your receiver/amplifier has them. Take a look at these Best Banana Plugs.

Know the gauge of your speaker cables before buying any kind of connection. AWG (American Wire Gauge) sizes range from 12 to 18, although certain connections may accommodate wires as big as 24 AWG (American Wire Gauge). So, before ordering, double-check your sizes to be sure they’ll work together.

Binding Posts

There are binding posts on all amplifiers and speakers, both low-cost and high-end versions. They’ll be the most frequent ones you run across. The speaker cable can be connected to them in one of two ways:

Disconnect the red or black speaker wire and put it into the post hole (or use a spade connection to attach it to the post) before replacing the cover.

Feed it into each post’s wire-entry hole, one by one. Banana plugs are required for this. There can be a plastic cap on the end of the receiver that has to be removed first. As a result, bare wire or spades or banana plugs can be used for this kind of connection.

Binding posts on speakers cannot have a hole for a banana plug at the other end. However, this is more frequent on amplifiers than on other devices. Alternatively, you can use his connection to screw in bare wire and then tighten the screw. You can also use a spade connection and wrap it around the post before tightening it up to prevent it from moving.

Spring Clips

Budget amplifiers and speakers – as well as all-in-one systems – are more likely to use spring clips. As a result of this, they can be found in a wide range of devices. To connect the speaker wire, just insert the clip’s bottom end into the hole above. With this kind of connection, you can utilize bare wire or pin connections.

It’s time to choose how to terminate the ends of your speaker wire now that you know what kind of connectors you have.

Connecting Speakers with Bare Wire

Bare speaker wire can be used with any connection type. This is the simplest approach since no additional equipment is required. The only thing you must do is

  1. The positive and negative wires should be separated by at least one and a half to two inches, depending on the size of your receptacle. To separate the core insulation, you’ll either need a good knife or a lot of pressure. To avoid cutting through the insulation and exposing bare wire farther down the cable, use care while handling the cable. The exposed wire at the end is all that’s required.
  2. Each wire should have approximately a tenth of an inch of insulation removed. This can be accomplished using a wire remover or a sharp knife.
  3. Make sure there aren’t any copper strands hanging free by twisting the exposed wire together.
    Again, make sure no loose copper strands are hanging out before inserting the copper wire into the speaker/amplifier connections.
  4. Make a little tug on the wire to ensure that it is securely attached to the connection.

It’s okay to use bare wire if it’s the quickest and most efficient method to accomplish your objective. This isn’t anything about which I’d worry myself sick. Connector attachment, on the other hand, has benefits.

Terminating Speaker Wire with Banana Plugs

My preferred method of attaching speaker wire is using banana plugs. You’ll have to purchase them as an add-on to your cable if you want them. Each wire requires two banana plugs, one on each end. Then then, that’s supposing you’re going to connect your amplifier and speaker using banana plugs. It’s possible you won’t want to or won’t be able to.

There are many methods to connect a banana plug to a wire. Many have screw-in connectors that just need the use of a tiny screwdriver to attach to the cable. You can use this approach since it’s simple. Some plugs are self-crimping, in which case tightening the plug’s cap will clamp the cable.

For others, soldering can be required. If you don’t mind breaking out the soldering iron, this is the route to go.

When attaching speaker wire to screw clamp banana plugs, follow these steps:

  1. Twist each wire tightly to eliminate any loose insulation strands after stripping it of 12 inches of insulation.
  2. To thread each banana plug onto the wire, unscrew the cap from the plug and thread it onto the cable.
  3. Tighten the screw on the plug after inserting the bare wire and securing it with the screw.
  4. Replacing the cap was easy.

Once the plugs are in, the binding posts can be attached. Some banana plugs attach to the cable in a different manner, so be on the lookout for them. However, the basic concept remains the same. Until you’re stumbling around the rear of an amplifier attempting to connect bare wire to a binding post, you won’t realize how much simpler banana plugs are to use.

While soldering isn’t required, it’s an option for those who want a stronger connection. Screw-in banana plugs don’t need soldering as long as you’re cautious while connecting them together. The connection can weaken with time, so if you keep reconnecting the two of them, keep an eye on it.

The bottom of many banana plugs has a female connector. You can now connect another banana plug to it and use it as a power source. If you want to connect more than one speaker to a single terminal, this is a good option. This isn’t something you’ll have to do very frequently, but when you do, it can be very beneficial. For instance, if the front left and right speaker terminals are required to supply a high-level subwoofer input. Binding posts have a 4mm-diameter end and banana plug pins fit perfectly into it.

Using Spade Connectors with Speaker Wire

When terminating your speaker wire, consider using spades as an alternative to crimping. If you’re connecting wires using spades instead of banana plugs, you’ll need four spade connectors per wire.

Either an angled or a straight spade connection is available. Whichever one you choose shouldn’t make a huge difference. However, depending on the situation, one can be more convenient than the other. These banana plugs are connected to the speaker wire using a variety of methods including soldering, crimping, or even a screw connection.

In order to crimp a connection to a wire, you bend the connector’s end using a tool and then tighten the clasp. If you don’t want to deal with soldering the wire, this is a viable option. To ensure a strong joint, use a crimping tool. The tighter the connection, the more tempting it is to simply go for the pliers, but this will not provide the same results.

A spade crimped connection should not need soldering if done correctly. Unscrew each binding post and press it into place once you’ve connected the spades to the wire. Putting the cap back on will ensure that they are well-secured. When compared to bare wire, this provides a more stable and secure connection.

When connecting a wire to speakers that are mounted extremely near to a wall, spade connections are suitable. If that’s the case, banana plugs can be out of the question. The wire will drop straight down when connected to the connection with a spade connector since it is at a 45 or 90-degree angle.

Terminating Speaker Wire with Pin Connectors

As the name implies, pin connections are like little banana plugs. In fact, you can hear them referred to as banana plugs in certain circles.

The pins that come with them have a diameter of approximately 2mm. Either the pin is straight or an angled pin is available. To connect the pins to the wire, remove the insulation and use tools like spades or banana plugs to do so.

Connecting them to the wire is often accomplished via the use of crimping or soldering. They can, however, have a screw-in connection, much like the pin connections shown above. Insert the bare wire and tighten the screw once it’s been slightly undone. Pull the speaker wire carefully to ensure a solid connection.

Spring clip connections often call for speaker wire terminations of this kind. To use, just press the clip all the way down and put the pin through the hole. Alternatively, you can use them with binding posts by putting them through the post’s center hole and then tightening the cap on top. However, this isn’t how you’d normally use a connection of this kind.

Instead of utilizing bare wire, pin connectors provide a cleaner connection and improve the likelihood of a long-lasting one. Also take a look at 16-gauge vs 14-gauge speaker wire.

In conclusion

Now, you might be confused by the concept of connecting speaker wire to your connections. When you get down to the nitty gritty, it’s not that tough to understand. However, it can be confusing until you completely understand all of your choices.

If you want to keep things simple, use bare wire, or add banana plugs, spades, or pins. You can’t get it wrong because there isn’t one. Don’t be afraid to go with your gut instinct. Do what feels appropriate for your system.


Check out this section for better understanding about Types of Speaker Connectors.

Is it true that speaker connectors make a difference?

It turns out that the wires don’t make a difference at all. The results from noise, impulse response, and practical listening all pointed to the same conclusion: the speaker, TS, and coathanger cables worked so well that there was no discernible difference between them and the consumer versions, good or bad.

Which connection is better for speakers?

In terms of connectivity, banana plugs are hands-down the finest option. It’s not uncommon for new banana plugs to be larger than the binding post hole they’re meant to fit in. To get them in, you may have to use some force. Some people may be concerned, but don’t be. Everything will go according to plan.

Can you place two speaker cables in the same receiver hole?

Only two options exist for connecting two loudspeakers to a single amplifier: in parallel or in series. An 8-ohm impedance speaker may be connected in parallel with most others.