Speakon cable Vs. 1/4"

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by smgleitch, Apr 7, 2011.

  1. smgleitch


    May 19, 2009
    Napoleon, OH
    I am sure this has been discussed, but I cant find a answer to my specific question so I will ask.

    Someone said that speakon cables sound better than 1/4". Is this true. My understanding before was that the advantage was simply they stayed locked in place.
  2. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY
    No. They sound the same but are better, safer, more secure connectors.
  3. Bongolation


    Nov 9, 2001
    No Bogus Endorsements
    Yes, but I would have loved to have heard the bubba-physics explanation of how and why they sounded better. :D
  4. BrBss

    BrBss Supporting Member

    Jul 9, 2010
    Well you see, in high power situations, the current throught the cable incduces a magnetic field. The magnetic field at the jack creates a force between the jack and the plug. Because the 1/4 inch jacks are not secure, they will oscillate slightly at the frequency of the magnetic field, which means you are losing some power into this movement. The Speakon connections lock the plug into place, so maximum power is transferred.


    But BurningSkies is correct; the speakons are better connectors, but they won't sound different.
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  6. smgleitch


    May 19, 2009
    Napoleon, OH
    I couldn't come up with any good expiation for why they would actually sound better. Just heard a guy say it and though that seemed odd. Thanks
  7. Bob Lee (QSC)

    Bob Lee (QSC) In case you missed it, I work for QSC Audio! Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jul 3, 2001
    Costa Mesa, Calif.
    Technical Communications Developer, QSC Audio
    The cables are the same. Speakon connectors are more secure and durable than 1/4" plugs.
  8. chucko58


    Jan 17, 2002
    Silicon Valley, CA, USA
    I paid for all my gear myself. Well, me and MasterCard.
    The biggest difference (besides cost) is that the act of plugging in a 1/4" phone plug can cause a temporary short. The Speakon doesn't have this problem.
  9. Anyone that plugs/unplugs a speaker while my amp is on is gonna get a slap whether or not it's a speakon connection.
  10. Speakons are capable of handling more current which makes them better suited for high powered amplifiers. Below ~300w the advantage is simply the secure connection and eliminating the risk of a short.
  11. Foz


    Jul 26, 2008
    Jax FL USA
    Well if you run enough power through it the 1/4" phone connector becomes a bottle neck [1k watts???] which could yield an audible difference in performance - but I reckon the typical user would never see these levels in a instrument cab.

    The more practical advantages are as mentioned above. no short potential & locking connection - also they are field replaceable / repairable [with a screwdriver] and as some TB'er put it - Speakons are the future - convert your stuff whenever possible and you'll have an easier life hooking it up to new/different stuff.
  12. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
  13. Robby Hoinsky

    Robby Hoinsky

    Dec 28, 2010
    New Haven, CT
    Art of Noise Audio, fEARful™ builder
    if by sounds better you mean it won't ever in a million years cut out on you, then yes, they sound much better.

    Speakons are the cat's meow, bee's knees, and cable terminator.

    If there is ever a speakon fan club, i call member number 1 :D

  14. smgleitch


    May 19, 2009
    Napoleon, OH
    I am only running 500 watts. So would buying a cheap speakon cable vs. an expensive one make much difference. I have only ever used the 1/4" cables but now both head and cab have the new connectors and since I spent a lot on the cab and head think it is time to upgrade the cable. Is there a brand who you guys would recommend. I cannot see getting Phil Jones cables but maybe something of better quality if there is really any point to it.
  15. Richard G

    Richard G

    Jun 16, 2009
    thanks for the thread i was going to post the same question...also i have been finding myself having to use speakon adapters as one of my heads is a genz benz and is strictly speakon but cabinets in rehearsals are 1/4 sometimes speakons but mostly 1/4...i think i noticed some speakons are able to take 1/4 straight into the speakon regardless adapters are needed for 1/4....1/4 to speakon....cooupling etc...
  16. gjbassist

    gjbassist Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2005
    Kansas City, MO
    Make your own. It's much cheaper and very easy.
  17. greenboy


    Dec 18, 2000
    remote mountain cabin Montana
    greenboy designs: fEARful, bassic, dually, crazy88 etc
    Hard to remember when I first started using Speakon. Ages ago. Amazing that it's a topic still. Should google some DJ forums and see if the functions crowd is still not fully migrated.
  18. As long as it has Neutrik ends and 16 or numerically smaller ga wire, cheaper is better. Caveat: Some have a preference for the push button ends over the twist lock type.
  19. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD

    Feb 20, 2005
    Seweracuse, NY
    I can't remember when they started using them in regular production/consumer gear.

    I pretty much used the same amp for about 12 years before moving to an amp that was an old design as well...So I didn't get the memo on Speakons until about 5 years ago.
  20. Plstrns


    Feb 4, 2010
    I put a speakon in my 89' Ampeg 810e 12 years ago, and it was considered sacrilege :)
  21. Foz


    Jul 26, 2008
    Jax FL USA

    I suggest you learn to make em - I use 14 gauge speaker wire for highest power rating still easy to assemble but 16 gauge would be fine for your described use.

    For the ends I use Neutrik Speakon NL4FX for the higher power rating versus the NL4FC but either will work for you.

    Neutrik NL4FX - Google Search

    also you'll need a set of wire strippers and a screwdriver.

    ...or just snap up a generic professional made equivalent like the Hosa brand - this would work fine.

    Amazon.com: HOSA SPEAKER CABLE W/SPEAKON, 3FT: Electronics