Here’s a question we get asked a lot: Which speaker wire connection is best? Bare wire, B, or Spades? For purists, bare wire is best, followed by spades and then bananas. They all have their advantages and shortcomings.
You’ll want to remember when connecting speaker wire the goal is a good mechanical “crush” where the speaker terminals connect to the speaker wire. Meaning, you want the speaker wire end, or connector, to be slightly crushed at the connection point. This will provide the best transmission of sound through the connection point. Obviously, the easiest way for this type of gentle crush is with bare wire. The bare wire simply needs to be inserted into the terminal and tightened up. The downside to bare wire is that with larger gauges and stiffer conductors, some speakers and amplifiers just don’t have enough room to accommodate a performance speaker cable.
With Spades, they usually just slip under the binding post and the terminal is tightened down on the spade. It usually takes a little more force to get a good crush on a spade, but the advantage to this connection is it saves the end of the conductor from becoming distorted and spades make it a little easier to move the wires between different speakers or amplifiers.
Unfortunately, not all speakers or amplifiers can connect to spades, either because of the terminal type or just the amount of space between the terminals. Banana connectors are very nice (and our preferred connection) as they offer a nearly universal fit to speakers and amplifiers as well as a good connection. Just make sure a high quality banana connector is used. Audioquest CF-BFA’s are excellent banana connectors as they are designed to allow the best sound quality with outstanding convenience.