Spades or Banana Plugs?

Hi all,

I have the option to use spades or banana plugs on either end of my system. Given the choice is there any audible difference between connectors? Intuitively I would say no but I was wondering what other people’s experience has been?

Also, if you have preference, why?

Currently running Kimber 8TCs with spades on both ends between a Bryston 4B cubed amp and Focal Sopra 2s. Looking to upgrade the Kimbers.

Thanks, Alan.

I’ve read some on the subject, for example on the website of the mfr of my speakers (ZU Audio).
Most of what I’ve read makes a case for using spades and so I do, although I doubt my hearing is good enough to tell. They say they prefer spades, I ticked the box for spades.

I use spades too on both ends of my Kimber Kables. More contact area and you can tighten the connection well too.

While I can’t comment on a difference in sound I would recommend considering how the connection will work for your specific gear. I have purchased both for different systems and I have minor regrets for each.

In my home theater I purchased bananas and I neglected to consider how far the cables would extend off the back of my AVR. Even with an extended back on my Salamander rack the cables flex a little more than I would like. I wish I had bought spades for my home theater.

I have the opposite regret for my stereo system. I purchased spades and I didn’t realize how low the binding posts are placed on my amps. If I wasn’t using amp stands with the amps pushed all the way back the cables would be bending at a severe angle. Additionally with the way the binding posts are positioned on my speakers, the cables would look and lay better with bananas.

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I find Banana so much easier. I find the spades come loose at times. I like Banana better. IMO there is not sound difference.

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Yeah, after thinking about this some more it seems physical aspects are the primary drivers. Height of the binding posts, flexibility of the cables, accessibility of your gear to get a tight connection, if you frequently swap gear etc… Sound quality is not a noticeable factor as long as there is good contact.

Speaking of contact does anyone clean their ends? If so what do you use?

Thanks, Alan

Hi Alan… I’ve used DEOXIT D-Series for cleaning old connectors and Gold G-Series for continuing protection.
A little goes a long way. I’ve been using the same mini bottles for years and years. It’s great for electrical connectors on vehicles too.

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I use bananas all around in Biwire and triwire configuration

Might get the small bottle with brush applicator. Thanks for the tip @calord!

Bananas have more potassium and fiber, spades are the highest rank therefore trump bananas.

Ease of use is me. Bananas.

Bruce in Philly


I have used both. Bananas are far more convenient. Is there a difference in sound quality —- I couldn’t say.

I go commando…bare wire…


+1 Ease of use too for me. I went Bananas.

I do bare wire when I can, spades if I can’t.

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For me any connection is a potential bad connection, so I prefer bare wire to spades, and spades to banana plugs

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Locking bananas are the most practical (either spades or banana plugs can come lose or simply lose contact) and most convenient.

Spades have to be retightened in time and can take up too much space if posts are closely spaced or recessed. Tightening the post lugs can result to breakage of poorly made posts if over tightened (careful with those wrenches).

Bare wire makes for a poorer contact and harder to de-toxify compared to spades or banana plugs. Agree that all connections should be avoided, thus I have a very simple system with no single ended or speaker connections (all XLR).

Funny! I wonder who gets it.

We are pretty adept with heavy-handed humor. :slight_smile:

You mean who is old enough to get it. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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