Do banana plugs make a difference?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by BigBohn, Nov 26, 2001.

  1. BigBohn


    Sep 29, 2001
    WPB, Florida
    I am totally stumpted. I want alot of power in a power amp, and low distortion with high damping factors, yet the poweramps Im looking at have banana plugs and no Speakons or 1/4s. i.e. Crest CA12 and Crown K2. Would banana plugs affect my sound or power transfer? Are Speakons or 1/4s better or worse? Help!

    I've heard reviews that the QSC PLX poweramps have switch powering or something? I've heard that because they don't have toroid construction, that they're low end fails and doesn't have the same consistency or sound as a toroid-transformer poweramp. What do you think?

    The poweramp would eventually power 2 Eden D-410XLTs, so keep that in mind. Each Eden takes 700W RMS, so a total of 1400W RMS. Does anyone know if the Eden 410XLTs have banana plug receptors or only 1/4s???

    Thanks, and please help me out. I'm a confused little boy.:confused: :p
  2. Speakon is the ticket. Banana plugs are illegal in Europe due to safety laws (Joris correct me if...)

    For me Banana plugs are an exposure to getting yourself killed if you are bridging. Bad ju-ju, due to LOTS of voltage and amps.

    The Speakon has a very large surface contact area that is many times larger than a standard 1/4" phone plug. They are field repairable with only a set of dykes and a screw driver.

    If you bi-amp, the Speakons will handle 1,2, or 4 pair depending on the type of connectors you use. Very good for having a bi-amp signal running in a single, 4-conductor cable. WWW.SpeakerHole.Com has some nice pricing on the 15' 4-conductor ones at about a dollar a foot.
  3. The Eden D410 xlt's have both 1/4 inch and banana plug jacks. I just use the 1/4 inch jack, never tried the banana. I'd be curious to know if there is a difference in sound or power.
  4. The Eden D410 xlt's have both 1/4 inch and banana plug jacks. I just use the 1/4 inch jack, never tried the banana. I'd be curious to know if there is a difference in sound or power.
  5. BigBohn


    Sep 29, 2001
    WPB, Florida
    Interesting. But I would be only putting out at max like 2000 watts. Is that justifiable by having to use Speakons? From what I've heard across the forum, thats not alot of power. Now if I was running a Crest Pro 10001 @ 10000w, then I'd look into Speakon.:D
  6. sorry about that. Yikes , after reading bgavin's post, Im not even gonna mess with the banana.ouch.
  7. Bruce,

    bananas are not illegal here. I bought a kilo of 'm last thursday ;)

    Seriously, banana plugs are not illegal. They should be, though. A 1000 watts 8 ohms amplifier (not very uncommon) can put out about 140 volts peak, at about 11 amperes RMS (run a check on that). Serious death threat.

    My own amp has bananas (I put XLRs on it) and can put out about 80 volts peak.

    In the venue I work at I installed a 2x900 watts Master Audio amp a few weeks ago. It has bananas. I taped the (unisolated, gold plated) connectors.

    Good banana plugs with multi springed contacts have better conductivity than Speakons.
  8. MikeyD


    Sep 9, 2000
    Hmmm - though I've been doing a lot of safety analysis for my job, I should point out that the shock hazard from an amplifier speaker output would be worst when it's cranked up all the way with a signal present. This isn't a good time to be connecting or disconnecting speakers anyway. If there is no signal (or the gain is down all the way), it seems highly unlikely that enough voltage would be present to create a problem.

    I agree that bananas aren't the safest design, but for applications under 1000 watts, I wouldn't worry excessively. If a lot of people were getting injured by them, I'm sure most manufacturers would have stopped providing banana jacks. There is too much liability at stake. Given the power amps I have, I wouldn't stop using the ones on my Eden cabinet (if I had banana connectors). One just has to use some sense and not be stupid when using high-powered gear.

    - Mike
  9. beadg5

    beadg5 Guest

    May 28, 2001
    Baton Rouge, La. USA
    I only use the bananas on my eden rig. Never had a problem.
  10. BigBohn


    Sep 29, 2001
    WPB, Florida
    sounds good. 1 question, can I daisy-chain with banana plugs or is this out of the question? If it is, would it be OK to just hook the first 410XLT from the poweramp with bananas, then daisy-chain that 410XLT to the other 410XLT with 1/4"s?

    I'm a very cautious-when-necessary type of guy, so I'm not stupid enough to pump 5000 watts thru a poweramp, wet my finger, then stick it in to see if I can see any cool colors:rolleyes: :p . I've heard things that the banana plug allows a better transfer of power in personal bass rigs like this, rather than 1/4" phono-type plugs and Speakons. Hmmm, well, guess I'll just have to hang a sign on the back of the poweramp saying "DO NOT TOUCH! ENOUGH VOLTAGE TO MAKE DEAD MAN STAND! STAND ATLEAST 20 FEET AWAY OR DIE FROM SHOCK!!", not to mention the barbwire I'll wrap around my rack case. Well, its all in the name of good tone, so I'll do it!:D
  11. I've been trying to dig out where I saw it printed, but having no luck.

    Our PA has exposed gold plated banana plugs and that just bugs the crap out of me. QSC amps have "touch-proof" binding posts which is fine, but those posts accept banana plugs which can be very exposed. Add in a young player who is bridging his output, and there is the very real possibility of a fatality.

    Dunno about bananas vs speakons, but both would have to be carrying enormous amounts of power before an advantage could be determined. Both are far superior to the 1/4" phone plug in their contacting area.
  12. Nightbass


    May 1, 2001
    Seattle, WA
    Hey Bruce, is this what you were looking for?

    Meanwhile, Bigbohn, like the man said, you won't be seeing high voltages at the output of your amp unless you're playing extremely loud, and that's not the time to be fiddling with the banana plugs. That aside, either good bananas or Speakons will serve you well. I posted a bunch of reasons why pro sound guys use bananas a while back; maybe a search will find it.

    As far as daisychaining, the first cable (the banana) has to handle the current for both cabs, while the second cable (1/4") only has to handle current for the second cab, so your idea would be fine. However, I'd recommend 12GA bananas for both.

  13. lo-end


    Jun 15, 2001
    Yeah, bananna plugs are what I would use. All the pro sound tech dudes swear by them. Use speakons for the preamp and cabs and banannas for the power amp. Thats what Id do. If the preamp and cabs dont have speakons, then use 1/4". Simple!
  14. If you're going to put the amp in a rack, you could get a plate with speakons or EP-4s (I hate speakons :D) mounted on it and use bare wire in the binding posts. You can loosen the plastic parts and the post has a hole in it. You poke the bare end through the hole and then screw the cap back on. This gives a very secure connection to the amp. This type of thing is exactly the reason all pro power amps have bananas/binding posts. The amps get put into racks and patchbays corresponding to the inputs on the cabs are added to the racks. It just makes it easier to deal with. Imagine running single cables to a bunch of 4 way boxes. 4 cables per box as opposed to one 8 conductor cable and an 8 pin output jack on the amp rack.
  15. Yessir, that is exactly what I was looking for! Much appreciated...


    Or bridging. That is where I see folks getting into trouble with smaller amps. The voltage swing is twice normal when running in bridged mode.
  16. Captain Awesome

    Captain Awesome

    Apr 2, 2001
    Are 1/4"s just as lethal?
  17. BigBohn


    Sep 29, 2001
    WPB, Florida
    Buddy, I think they would be even more dangerous because, for all I'm aware of, there are NO locking or securing mechanisms for a 1/4" from a poweramp to a cabinet. That's a helluva lot more dangerous, because if you accidently step on the binding post wire, it'll most likely stay in because its like, well, bound into the poweramp. But if you fall flat on your face onto a 1/4" cable from the poweramp, you better have your will written up because that equation equals death. Not recommended. Use bananas!:D
  18. BigBohn


    Sep 29, 2001
    WPB, Florida
    Is it possible to daisy-chain 2 cabs, say 1st an Eden D410XLT and 2nd a Eden D118XL, even though they both have binding post/banana plugs?

    Should I run it in stereo?

    If I do run it in stereo, to maximize the full wattage of the Mackie 2600, should I get the 410 in a 4 ohm model? I believe the 118XL only comes in 8 ohms.

    Can 1 cabinet in a stereo setup be 8 ohms while another be 4 ohms?

    Thanks in advance.:)
  19. FalsehoodBass


    Jul 22, 2001
    Denver, CO
    dude.. the makcie has speakons... and they make speakon to bananna cables... just use that.. and then hook your top cab to your bottom cab... unless you need stereo chorus.. it'll work fine...
  20. Ok I'm scared! :D