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Rant.. Neutrik Connectors Without 1/4” Connectivity

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by 57pbass, Feb 19, 2020.

  1. 57pbass

    57pbass Supporting Member

    It seems like there’s a transition taking place in the amp/speaker market with regards to the types of connectors that are being used. It seems like many are moving away from the 1/4” type and using Neutrik types. This is a great thing. Some of the Neutriks I have experienced accept a 1/4” jack and some unfortunately don’t.. which aggravates me.
    This should be a standard on amps and cabs with so many mixing old and new gear.
    Really frustrating. I know there are adapters available.
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2020
    Lowtonejoe and sing-modulator like this.
  2. BassmanPaul

    BassmanPaul SUSPENDED

    The 1/4" Phone plug was originally designed and spec'd for use in Telephone switchboards. It's rating is in the order of 48V DC at a couple of hundred milliamps. With the advent of more and more amplifiers with greater than a couple of hundred Wacts it is way beyond it's capabilities. When withdrawn from the socket the tip and sleeve are momentarily shorted. If accidentally pulled out, we know how clumsy singers and drummers are LOL, this can damage SS amps fairly readily. Especially with amps that are permanently in Bridge mode. When used with such amps the tip AND sleeve are live with respect to ground and twice that to each other. This can become a significant shock hazard. Drape a microphone over the amp so it contacts the sleeve sticking out of your amp or cabinet and goodbye bass amp.

    For all these reasons I switched to SpeakOns years ago for all my bass and PA amplifiers. It's just a matter of changing one's mindset. :)

    One last thing is that SpeakOns don't allow you to confuse speaker and signal cables.
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2020
    Obsesspool, EddieV, Matt R and 48 others like this.
  3. StayLow


    Mar 14, 2008
    I have no use for the Speak-On connectors on amps, so if they don't offer a 1/4" option such as the connectors that accommodate both then I simply forgo the amp.

    Of course I'm talking regular bass amps here, not 2000w power amp installations for PA or whatever. I realize some will say it's a safety "feature" or that its mandated by law in some jurisdictions. Doesn't matter to me. If I'm worried about disconnections that's why God gave us duct tape.

    Locking 1/4" is a good middle-ground solution? I've seen cabs with those. I'm not a fan, but far preferable to Speak-On for me.

    Can't stand strap locks either. Have had basses fall due to strap lock failure, but never once with a simple rubber washer over the end of the strap... and I rock out when I perform, even if it's pop or reggae.
    RJI777, DJ Bebop and 57pbass like this.
  4. BassmanPaul

    BassmanPaul SUSPENDED

    You are welcome to your opinion Brother but eventually no amplifier will have 1/4" phone sockets. You won't have a choice. Wait until you blow a nice amplifier - I feel you'll change your mind quickly. :)

    If you run sufficient power into a Phone connection you could well melt the socket and even cause a fire.
  5. BassmanPaul

    BassmanPaul SUSPENDED

    With strap locks you have to check the tightness of the centre screw every so often. Just like you should with regular strap buttons.
    AudioTaper, gozbass, spvmhc and 10 others like this.
  6. Don't use an adapter, get a proper SpeakON end on your speaker wire.

    Those SpeakON/1/4" jacks/sockets are called Combo connectors & they're a different pigment than the non-combo ones:


    The combination ones were used for a while, for people transitioning, but I suppose now some manufacturers think that everyone had enough time to transition.
  7. TWolf


    Jan 20, 2011
    The Deep South
    Duct tape, really? ...Ok, to each his own I guess.
    chupacerveza, mcnach, equill and 6 others like this.
  8. JTE

    JTE Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    Dude, I did HVAC for a long time (Dad was an HVAC contractor so I grew up in it) and I got no use for duct tape. It's awful stuff, doesn't really work well for duct work and even less well for anything else.

    Now real gaffers' tape is different.

    Back to the topic. The 1/4" phone jack/plug was a reasonable choice back in the 20th century when this amplification thing started. But the problems clearly detailed above make Speakons simply a better choice,and the electrical safety issues cause the manufacturers to use them. Regulatory rules in some locations demand them, consumer safety rating companies, e. g. Underwriters' Laboratory (UL), CSA, etc. drive the use.
  9. Warpeg

    Warpeg Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2005
    Are there amps being produced that still have 1/4" speaker jacks?
  10. mikewalker

    mikewalker Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2017
    Canada, Eh!
    Some of the older ones that are still in production, sure ...

    :) here are four examples all still available today:
    DJ Bebop and pellomoco14 like this.
  11. Passinwind

    Passinwind I know nothing. Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    The Trace Elliot Elf comes immediately to mind.
    grinx, jdwinva, BOOG and 4 others like this.
  12. For the Elf it was the best way to fit a connector on that tiny chassis, SpeakON would have gone over the edges.

    If people are swerving SpeakON they're just creating a problem for themselves & being far too traditionalist.
    It's the same reason we're still not using the Metric System very much in the U.S..

    i.e.: there's something better, but people refuse to use it for almost zero reason
  13. cableguy


    Jun 4, 2009
    North Bend, WA
    1st world problems I guess. I build my own cabs now and it speakon only. But I do carry a 1/4 to speakon cable for when the need arises with a backline cab.
  14. turcmic

    turcmic Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2006
    Montreal, QC
    Speakon connectors are also good for people who mix instrument cable and speaker cable. Save on duct tape and amp repair, buy speakon jacks and plugs.
  15. 707GK


    Jun 13, 2013
    Northern California
    This is a normal feeling when transitioning plug connections on any wired system. (ie USB, lightning cable, S-Video, HDMI, etc.)

    It’s frustrating for the consumer but eventually the manufacturers need to take the leap instead of half-arsing it, so to speak. I think SpeakONs have been fairly standard for a while now. Maybe 10 years? I would say people have had their chance to make the transition by now.
    chupacerveza, wcriley and DJ Bebop like this.
  16. daveman50


    Feb 24, 2007
    Albany NY
    Ampeg PF-50 and PF-20. (Low-wattage tube amps.)
    chupacerveza and PSPookie like this.
  17. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa, Product Support-Genz Benz
    For those building higher powered amps for the international market, SpeakOn is by far the most universal choice for safety regulation compliance. It's also short circuit proof and locking which reduces the chance of failure when a 1/4" speaker plug gets pulled out, this is of additional concern to companies that offer long warranties.

    There's also the issue of the tip or sleeve of a 1/4" plug accidentally contacting any grounded object, since neither the tip or sleeve are at ground potential in a bridged topology amp (most class D amps are internally bridged) and this could damage the amp. Also, on the higher powered amps, you can get a good jolt when holding the plug when there's a signal present. I have designed amps that swing over 150 volts peak which most folks would find very objectionable.

    Then there's the current... at 2 ohms especially, it's not uncommon to find peak currents (at least in the amps I have designed) of 25 amps. This is enough current to exceed the allowable current density at a 1/4" connector. This comes up in safety compliance because this can result in heating of the contacts and arcing with the potential for fire. Not a big issue in smaller amps, but becomes significant as the power of the amp grows. This is the specific reason why I don't use the combination connectors.

    If somebody won't consider an amp without SpeakOns, than there are many amps that must be crossed off their list... and the list will grow more once the new global safety regulations come into effect at the end of this year. Since I won't consider designing an amp without SpeakOns, they might as well cross the Subway line off the list and I won't be offended in the slightest.
  18. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    You can probably guess from this thread why Neutrik started making the green combo connectors long after they had launched the Speakon. ;)

    I own a few cabs that have both Speakons and 1/4", they were made before combo connectors were available.
  19. StayLow


    Mar 14, 2008
    MarkBass still offer dual connectors I believe. I have several of their amps and all have the dual connectors. Best solution to keep everyone happy.
    selowitch likes this.
  20. 9Thumbs


    Jul 3, 2013
    Near Boston
    I have one cabinet with Speakons(and phone jacks), all the rest are old enough to drink in all 50 states. Is there an angled speakon? I like angled plugs into the back of cabs, they are less likely to catch on something.
    gozbass and Ostie like this.

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