Connectors from cross-overs to drivers question

I recently built a pair of the CSS Audio 1TD-X monitors, the sound of which has exceeded my expectations.  The metal connectors that were supplied that clip on to the tabs on the drivers were pretty crappy and very difficult to crimp the wires to.  

Two questions.  First, can anyone recommend better connectors?  Second, I saw a tool somewhere that looks a bit like pliers that strips the covering off the connecting wire, and perfectly crimps the wire to the connector with one squeeze. I suppose I could solder the wires to the driver tabs, but I am not that handy with a soldering iron and it seems to be a delicate place to solder for a nimrod like me.    Cheers, Whitestix 


With the proper tool a crimp is a very good connection. But a cheap soldering iron, some flux and some solder will work on most electric joints. Learn to solder, it's not hard.  

DIYaudio is a better place for builders. Otherwise I agree with @russ69 

I don't know about 1 squeeze solutions, but Haisstronica has become my absolute favorite connector and crimping tool.  Note that there are 2 different crimpers, one for insulated and one for bare terminals.

I can't tell you how much better these are than anything I could buy before, which were a lot of different types from Amazon and Parts Express.

Just get a decent soldering iron and solder away.  Just don't leave it on the terminals too long.  I doubt you will hear a difference though.

Soldering is not that hard even for nimrods like us!



That's the tool was was looking for, thanks.  I guess I will get the soldering iron out. I have never finished a soldering job without burning myself and doubt this time it will be any different. However, soldering the wire to the driver tabs will take the cheap connectors out of the signal path.  

Thanks to other for responding.

If you’re going to solder electronics for connectors silver solder with rosin core so no flux needed, for one of the best and to use on circuit boards is silver solder with a silver core and separate flux. You can use that for connectors and connections also but it’s a little more expensive than silver solder with a rosin core 

Find someone who knows how to solder to teach you.  If you don’t know what to look for, you’ll end up with “cold” solder joints which will cause you no end of aggravation in the future.

And you definitely don’t want to use those cheap clips if you care about sound quality.


I have decided to solder the connections and your solder recommendation is appreciated.  What temperature do you recommend for this solder?


I worry both about damaging the driver with the heat of the soldering iron as well as cold solder joints.  I will find somebody to tutor me on the task.  I see guys in soldering vids seemingly just touch the soldering iron to the union of the wires and I  seem to have to keep the soldering iron on the union for way longer than they do, often melting the plastic coating on the wire. I have been using 60/40 rosin core solder so that might be why?  Thanks for your response.


The biggest mistake I see people make with soldering irons is thinking they can "creep up" on it.

This can be especially bad with low watt irons on heavy terminals. There are some tricks to get around this though.


First, it is essential that the tip is properly prepared and tinned. If the tip is not properly tinned, you can not transfer the heat to the part and it will require too much contact time. There are plenty of good videos on this subject, they all pretty much have the same theme, add solder and scrub it in with a brush or brass wool until it is evenly coated.


Soldering also requires really good contact with the part, so do not be afraid to use some real pressure and twisting/scrapping motion to get the tip in good contact with the part.


Start by tinning the wire, get a good even coat, try not get too blobby. Next apply the tip to the terminal, dab the solder around where the tip meets the terminal until it starts to flow and get a thin coat. Now touch the iron to a wet sponge, this will cool the tip and force the iron to run at full heat, apply the wire to the terminal and put the iron against the wire until the solder starts to melt, and then drag the iron around until it contacts the terminal and melts the solder there. Remove the iron and do not let the wire shift even in the slightest until it changes color.


I have a nice Hako iron, and I run it about 450C when I do this work. This is way higher than typical soldering temps, but it lets me get in and out very quickly. Being quick is the key, so either run at very high temp, or use a high watt iron.


For audio stuff, I use Cardas silver solder. If you see it cheap on Amazon or Ebay, is almost certainly counterfeit.

The iron temperature is dictated by the type of solder you are using.  The person who teaches you to solder can walk you through that.  Only more expensive soldering irons have temperature displays. 

I’ve built a couple of big 3-way speaker kits with a 35 watt iron with no problems.

The term 'silver solder' refers to a very high temperature solder requiring a propane torch. That's not what you want.

Instead you might try a resin core solder with a small proportion of silver, like WBT brand solder. It's very good but pricey, and I use it exclusively.

Always solder the leads to the drivers. It makes a better connection and if you don’t, corrosion can build up between the clips and the leads or the clips can fall off. I bought a roll of resin core, silver solder years ago. I believe it’s only 4% silver, the rest is Tin and Lead, so it melts really quickly.  There’s a bunch of videos on YouTube on how to solder.

All the best.

The WBT solder is 4% silver and is lead based so it melts at low temperature and is easy to use.  It is expensive.  Even more expensive is the 6% silver solder from Audio Note.  Their solder is lead free-mostly tin, silver, copper and antimony-which makes it compliant with European environmental laws, but it is a bit harder to tell if you have a good solder joint (it does not have the shiny silver look of a good job of soldering). 

Both brands of solder is certainly overkill for this one particular job.  If one is building a whole amp or the like, it may make sense to use such ultra-premium parts as silver solder, but for just this one job, stick with regular solder.

@joshua43214 I love your post here on soldering. Thanks, this is something I’m really trying to work on. Good explanation. 


I got the soldering iron out and soldered those crossover leads to the driver tabs -- no more crappy connectors in my speakers.  I actually think the speakers sound a little clearer and more robust in the LF.  Incredibly, I did not burn myself once!


The downside of my efforts was this.  I have thin Sorbothane sheets on top of the my stands and the bond between them and the bottom of my speakers was stronger than the glue bond on the speaker veneer.  I used the iron-on glue recommended by Peter Rawlings and wonder if the usual pressure-sensitive glue provides a better bond?  At any rate, I will use just tiny squares of the Sorbothane on the speaker stand tops in the corners.

Thanks for the great advice and encouragement.  Whitestix