Bananas rule, spades drool. End of discussion.

I just checked my speaker connections. All using bananas, all nice and tight.

The number of times I’ve had spades get loose instead though.....

Point is, and it really is kind of a tongue in cheek thing, bananas beat spades for long term reliability in almost all setups.  If you have to use a Cardas or Mundorf speaker terminal to ensure your spades stay tight it kind of proves my point.


……Thank you Eric and for being a long time and very appreciated contributor here, I had to call you out on this one . This one I had to roll my eyes on . Keep them coming but ……go enjoy the music and the big game today 

Yes. You are correct about spades loosening up. But looking at bananas I could never get behind them because I just couldn’t imagine the Banana having as much contact area as spades. They look really convenient to me.


Oh, there is a game today? Basketball? Football? Never mind… not that interesting to me.


I respect your opinions even though I don't always agree with them, but this time I agree 100%. In my experience they are much better and less trouble.

@ghdprentice - TBH, I don’t care _that_ much about the subject, but a tight banana beats a loose spade every day of the week. 😁

The reason I thought to post this was I just realized how my connection problems went away when I switched to bananas.  I haven't had cabling problems for a couple of years exactly because I don't use spades.

A long time ago I mentioned I was for bananas and my oh my some feathers got ruffled. Good to see that's no longer the case. Spade connections that I've used  all worked themselves loose over time. Gremlins love messing with spades.

All the best,

Erik you went bananas. The spades in my system, both on pass amps and Wilson speakers, are as tight as nun’s ponytail. Never ever had spades work themselves loose. In any of the iterations of my system. 


Chuckle.. yeah, I have not had a spade come loose on a Pass amp… oh, I think it is those enormous hand cranks they have on them. I really appreciate those… 👍 Pass.

@audphile1 ​​​​@ghdprentice for the win….no such thing as a gas tight connection with a lowly banana….. i use Pamona or an expanding WBT if no other solution exists or on the test bench…

I was always told by vendors: naked beats both. Is that true? (Yes, I know that wasn't the point above, just curious)


Post removed 

Cold welding is the ultimate expression of “ naked “…..

remember, “ always wear sunscreen “…..

Of course, Enid Lumley went one better and soldered pretty much everything…. but even solder has various camps, cultists, etc…..

After a career of frustration in rewrapping naked wires and tightening spades, along came bananas to the rescue. Sold me immediately and forever. If I am missing something other than needless hassles, the proof thereof is, shall we say, not yet evident.

Purifi and Benchmark measured the different types of connectors and found the bananas the worst measuring. There was an article/interview about this when Purifi was releasing their first amp module. Benchmark also mentioned the same in some article they wrote. They like SpeakON the best.

don’t blame the spade…it’s the coarse thread el cheapo “ 5 way binding post “…

I prefer spades more. Newer had a problem with Cardas spades. Tight, reliable connection. However bananas could be very weak. Ones I accidentally pulled the cable just a little bit and one of banana connectors got bent. When I tried to straighten it up it cracked and broke. 

Locking Bananas (WBT Type) give you the confidence in their connection.

2 allen head set screws secure the speaker wire to the fitting. The threaded rod expands the leaves of the split banana for secure connection, reverse to disconnect. Color coded is handy.





It’s okay to vent. Just let it all out - we’re here for you...


OP, I could have sworn a couple years ago or so you asked AG members for a good clamp/no solder spade recommendation.  Change of heart or bad experience?

Hello erik_squires!  Just think about how much contact area there is betwen a banana plug and sleeve it goes in compared to a spade lug tightened down on a quality terminas that sandwhiches it in btween two metal surfaces. The idea is to get the signal from the amp into the speaker, right? With the minimum resistance to the flow of current, right? If you experiment a lot, bananas are quick and easy. You can "stack" them and hook up bunches of speakers in a jiffy. These days, I use locking bananas for my serious setups; no ferrous metals in the signal path. But, if I didn't experiment a lot, I'd use spades. No question. Enjoy the music!

FWIW...I use spades on both ends of my Venom-X cables. With a good "snugging" by hand I never had them come loose.

@tomic601  Brings up a good point, and that is that a lot of spades and the speaker connectors are not given a lot of thought. 

Focal for instance used nickel plated binding posts, which is a very hard material.  Using it with hard spades results in a situation where they will never grip for long. This is why we assemble machine screws with split ring washers, so the spring keeps the screw tight.  No give, no reliability.

WBT makes what I think are the most reliable spade connectors, which use a type of spring to ensure the spade and post stay tight. 

Yes, it's true we want maximum contact area, but have you ever taken apart a female IEC (power) connector, or wall outlet?  The actual contact area at the plug is very small, comparable to the contact area of a good banana.

Lastly, solder is never used in high current installations like power transmission for a reason.  It's brittle and doesn't conduct all that well.  Cold well and tight crimps are the way to go.

There are such things as SOCKETS to TIGHTEN stuff. 

On my FIRST DIY speaker, I simply used copper screws and nuts. As with EVERY bolt on your car, proper tightened with a socket and a wrench, they never come loose, and provide gigantic contact area. 

SO, we we can twist off that childish hand know, figure out what thread size we need, we can then just order us nice nuts. For purist who buy pixel dust by the pound, we could even do soft copper or aluminum (nah, gold) WASHER (to be confirm to the uneven contact surface of the spade; same reason your oil drain plug or banjo bolt on the car have a soft metal washer) and put a stainless nut on.

Since I abstain pixel dust, and constantly plug in/out/move/change my system, I just suffer the terrible sound those bananas provide. 

@akgwhiz  I remember asking for a no solder banana recommendation, and I might have even asked for a spade.  Eventually I went with some affordable silver plated bananas recommended to me by another A'goner and they were perfect for the 12 and 10 gauge cables I needed to make.

I want to put in a vote of agreement with E_S, with one qualification…BFA bananas, not the regular spring loaded kind, whose metal quickly fatigues. Screw-lock or Cardas’ with the little rubber plug to maintain contact are OK too.  The problem with spades is the increased chance of causing shorts due to the lack of any standardization in how they fit.  Old school barrier terminals fitted with correct spades are great, but not what most of us have.

BTW, I'm sure you can get good spades to stay tight... but if you ask me over all the time I've been working with speakers, plugging and unplugging them and troubleshooting them, bananas have been head and shoulders more reliable.

Let me go a little Youtube snake oil on you all:

With banana plugs the electricity doesn't bend!! The electrons coming off the wire keep going straight, ,but with spades it has to do a 90 degree turn!! Of course this affect sound staging because of all the phase noise. 



I like this topic. So, serious question for you: 

What about banana plugs that compress and get looser over time?

I agree with Erik having found a loose spade or two. I will second locking bananas as the best solution and one that I believe bumps up the surface area in contact with the speaker. The spade issue has always stuck me as something fairly easy to fix with a spring or lock washer, but then there will we will need 7n OCC gold plated versions of those too.

@hilde45 - I’ve never encountered one in the wild.  I have no way of statistically examining a sample of every connection ever made to a speaker.  All I can do is talk directly about my experience and I've never had a banana come loose just because. 

I can't say that about spades, at all.

I have seen the cords pull out of a banana plug at a dealer, but that was nothing to do with the banana to speaker side, and I'd expect it had more to do with the wear and tear dealers put on their cables while switching demo speakers.

I've had only one connection ever get totally loose and it involved a spade connection.  I currently run banana jacks.  That one time was pretty funny because I totally missed what happened and my travails involved an incredible coincidence.  I almost never fiddle around with my system so I would never expect a loose connection.  I do move my interconnect from my speaker amp to my headphone amp when I want to listen to headphones.  On this one occasion, I forgot to switch the interconnect back to the main speaker and I turned on the mono bloc speaker amps.  When I noticed this error I turned the amps off and made a quick switch and I did not wait before turning the mono blocs back on.  I saw a flash in the rectifier of the right side amp, and then no music from the right speaker.  I turned the amp off, and not wanting to risk any further damage, I took the amp (Audio Note Kageki) to my local dealer.  At the dealership the amp worked flawlessly.  I brought it home, hooked it up and it didn't work.  That was when I actually tried to diagnose the problem as not involving the amp.  It turned out that one of the spades to the right speaker was loose, but because it was fitted into one of those modern binding posts with a plastic hood to protect people from exposed wire, the speaker cable hung in place as though it was connected.  The odds of the wire slipping off just before I saw the unrelated rectifier flash was extremely small, yet it happened and threw me off.

With you on this one.  Bananas are much more convenient  to install with our ever increasing cable sizes.  Especially with how close makers design their speaker posts so darn close together.  Give us some space guys.  No matter how tight you tighten smooth gold, copper, silver or rhodium spades they tend to want to spin risking a potential contact with a neighbor. I cracked a speaker post base trying to keep spades from spinning.  Haven’t suffered SQ using bananas that I can notice.

+1 @erik_squires totally agree. I used to be a bare wire advocate but after going to banana connectors I’m a believer. 

@larryi had a tube related experience where I was moving my amp around installing speaker cables fussing with close binding posts with spades.  Fired up my amp and tube preamp all was good.  Added isolation springs under my amp and my right channel had a slight noise and went silent.  Moved amp and  checked speaker post and spades had spun and were touching.  Checked all cables and interconnects and couldn’t get the channel back = thought I blew the channel.  Arranged to have it sent to mfg to repair and right before I was going to send  it I thought let me check my preamp tubes.  Turns out one of my brand new NOS 6SN7 tubes failed without noise exactly when I was adding my iso springs.  What are the odds on that…surprised me and lesson learned.

I also like bananas specifically the WBT Type are what i use due to being able to tighten them.

Spades are a pain to connect and to keep tight. Lets not even get into the fact there is no standard size so its a hit or miss if they will fit on your application. we all know how equipment manufactures like to use various sizes because they can.  How many of you have stuck one of the legs of a spade into the hole of the binding post because it would not fit around the stud? 

Bare wire has always given me issues in most 5 way type binding posts anyway, The bare wire is in a guillotine and if you over tighten they sheer off the wire or bend, kink the wire strands. This is not an ideal connection and also loosens quickly and causes issue to the bare wire, Also bare wire corrodes and you loose connectivity there over time. Obviously this happens to all metal connectors regardless of type but the individual wire strands have far more surface area then tined or with a connector.


yup agree bananas are the ones I prefer.

@dekay for the fashion plate win !

For the record, i’m not a fan of IEC power connectors…. Now, give me a freakin Hubbel Hospital grade outlet with incredible clamping force…..

@glennewdick I’ve had both WBT and Furutech locking bananas. I’m not sure if the Furutech’s I got were fake or not but the WBT’s were absolutely better.

The Furutechs were made of thick pot metal, deformed when expanded, and the diameter of the banana was rather on the small side.

Another A’goner recommended these, and I use them exclusively. The spring and barrel construction is pretty thoughtful. The barrel ensures a long wide contact with the socket, and the spring keeps it plenty tight. I have 8 of these with heavy cables pointing straight up and they are just as tight now as they were 2 years ago.  For safety you really must use the heat shrink sleeves which are included.



It is when two spades at once atop one another have to be installed that I find the problems with loosening start. The likelihood of two stacked spades coming loose in time is much higher. My Rel subs require such a connection ("high level,") and I have to check on it periodically. Recently though I added a new power amp to the lineup that made the Rel's play too loud at even low settings on the volume knobs. Rel's advice in this situation is to use only one of the spade connectors and tape the other spade. Much better on all counts

I test a lot of amps with my speakers. Bananas get compressed, bent, and broken on a semi regular basis. Admittedly, I'm an experimenter these days and for most people, they just plug it in occasionally.

I like'm bare and naked with neither spades or bananas. Cheapest winner of both


@czarivey  And that IMHO has the highest likelihood of causing shorts, so got to be careful. :)

I've rarely, if ever, have had problems with spades loosening in 50 years of using them with half a dozen pairs of speakers.  Hardcore audiophiles remove their speaker cables to clean the connectors periodically, so that's an opportunity to tighten whatever connectors are used.  Aside from that, I don't mess with my speaker cables, and I have no problems.  That was true even when I had two spades on each end to accomodate biwiring.