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Speakon connectivity??

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by mustbampeg, May 2, 2010.

  1. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine

    There just is no excuse anymore for all amp and speaker manufacturers not to use the new dual function speakon connectors that will accomodate either cable end.

  2. I'll stand behind you on this point! The new Peavey IPR1600's I just bought have dual use connectors. It's somewhat hidden in the manual, but they are there! And that's a $299. poweramp!!!
  3. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    I discovered these first on the MarkBass F1; then the Mesa M6.

    I've had gigs where "I showed up with the wrong cable" (idiot!) and had to beg the sound crew. How dumb does that make you feel...jeez;)

    All amps-and cabs-should use these.
    In cases where the amp/cab has two 1/4 and two speakon, I would think it actually saves labor and parts costs.
  4. billfitzmaurice

    billfitzmaurice Commercial User

    Sep 15, 2004
    New Hampshire
    Owner, Bill Fitzmaurice Loudspeaker Design
    How many drummers do you have? :smug:
  5. One official and two should have beens :D
    The actual drummer does hate them the most!:cool:

  6. Happens more frequently than you would think.

    I actually had a situation a couple of years ago.........

    The mains and subs on our PA where 1/4 inputs that were not the sealed type.

    The sound pressure inside the cab at high volumes would push the cable back out of the socket. Sometimes just the cab would stop working, other times it would short out and cause the power amps to be tripped into protect mode.

    Kind of sucks to have stop playing, shut the amps down and restart them, then continue playing. Even if you were working with a soundman, the audience would lose the PA until it was corrected.

    If it were to happen with an older amp that not have short circuit protection, you could lose the amp.
  7. mtizzle


    Mar 23, 2008
    Understandable. Thanks.
  8. Bingo.

    when I had bannana jacks to 1/4 " speaker cables, I wrapped the metal shell with electrical tape to keep from accidentally shorting it out. One time someone running a mike cable behind my amp to keep it out of the way dropped it. It was plugged into the mixer, so if it had hit my 1/4" plug, and the plug wasn't insulated with electrical tape, it would have shorted out my amp. Good amps have protection circuits, but I'd rather not put them to the test if I can avoid it.

  9. fourstringburn


    Jun 30, 2009
    New Mexico
    Sound wise, there is no difference between the 2 connectors. (1/4 in. and speakon)
    As already pointed out speakons are better connectors because of their locking feature. As for current handling, that is more dependent on the wire gauge. The higher the current and longer cable run, a heavier gauge cable is required. 1/4 in., banana plugs, and bare wire posts were used in high current apps long before speakons came around.

    The OP's amp is not high power so there is nothing wrong with using a 1/4 in. to speakon cable or a speakon to 1/4 in. adapter.

    What do I use? 12 and 21ft. 12 gauge speaker wire with all speakon connectors of course!
  10. Actually 1/4" are only rated for 2 amps, bananna's 15 amps, bare wire and binding post the limit is the size of the wire, speakons are rated at min 20 amps. High power PA's of the past quickly went to anything other than 1/4" plugs and jacks. To many burnouts of jacks and plugs (lived through this little trouble).
  11. couldn't agree more!

    wow, craziness.
  12. fourstringburn


    Jun 30, 2009
    New Mexico
    sounds viable, but we are talking lower power bass amps here...
  13. Yes and as such unless you are getting more than 1500 watts it means little.

    The bold is why I posted the info, 000 gauge wire if you fit it in a 1/4" connector will still be limited to the current cap. of the 1/4" plugs and jacks. :) 1/4" were burning up with 3000 to 5000 watt PA's.
  14. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa, Product Support-Genz Benz
    There certainly is and for good reasons too...

    1. Speak-On only is legally required on products that are to be sold in EU (and many other) countries on larger amps that can swing voltages exceeding the LVD threshold, and in addition, with connectors whose shells are not at ground potential. Any amp using a bridged output stage falls into this catagory. 1/4" plugs are not touchproof. Another issue to be considered is that it's generally not allowed (for a US manufacturer) to sell a product in the US that is held to a higher safety standard elsewhere. The manufacturer is expected to build the domestic products to the higher international standard if selling internationally. Obviously, this is not adhered to by everybody (yet).

    2. Speak-Ons do not short the output of the amp when connected/disconnected. 1/4" connectors are one source of amp failure when the plug becomes undone.

    3. A 1/4" plug falling onto a stage with metal structural components connected to building ground can cause amp failure.

    4. Speak-Ons stay connected on cabinets with high SPL at low frequencies.

    5. Speak-Ons are hard to confuse with other 1/4" cables of all types on a stage.

    6. Speak-Ons are much higher current, leading to less intermittent connector failures.
  15. fretwear


    Mar 7, 2007
    Eugene, OR
    I just got a MB LMIII, it comes with one speakon and one 1/4" out, 2) GK neo112 cabs, one speakon and one 1/4 " each. This leaves no way to use all speakon cables. I'll either have to mod the new equipment and void the warranty or buy/ build a speacon splitter box or cable. Or just go with the 1/4" cable for the second cab. This seems to be a case where less isn''t more after all!
    A search didn't yeild many opptions for splitters out there, anyone have any links to speakon splitters, a short snake would be ideal.
  16. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    Okay guys, sorry for the question on something that clearly is well understood amongst the masses here. I'm not a noob and I've done my thread searching and even traded emails with my amp manufacturer, but before I go back to them, maybe someone here can make this simple for me.

    I have had for some number of years a Euphonic Audio iAmp 200 Combo. There is a speaker cable sticking out of the combo cab about 2" with a 1/4" jack that fit into the one 1/4" speaker out on the head.

    I picked up a used iAmp 500 Head on eBay (which I understood to have 2 speaker outs and be rated at min 2 ohms) so that I could use as a combo or to combo + 4 ohm extension cabinet. The heads, as some of you know, are interchangable in and out of the combo with a few screws.

    Sold my iAmp 200 Head to a fellow TBer, who loves it and all is well.

    PROBLEM- The iAmp 500 has 2 Speakon jacks for Speaker outs. One labeled 1+ and the other labeled 1-.

    I've known these existed. I have an Acoutic Image head that has a combo jack (speakon or 1/4"), but have never really needed to understand or deal with.

    What I've done so far:

    I emailed EA and asked them what my best course of action was and they sent me to a part on line that I ordered for about $4. As near as I can tell, it will repleace the 1/4 jack on the combo speakerwire with a male SPEAKON connector. It hasn't come yet, but I'm watching the mail for it.

    I have a speaker cable that is Male SPEAKON on one end and 1/4 Jack on the other and I have a Male/Female converter on my combo speaker cable now, so that I can play with the amp. My idea was that later on I could use this cable to reach out to a speaker cab of my choice (provided it had a 1/4" jack).

    Stupid Question #1 - Can someone explain the whole 1+ 1- thing to me? Should I use one of these exclusively for the speaker in the combo cab and leave the other open for the extension cabinet or is it not that simple?

    Stupid Question #2 - You know what? I'll save that for now.

    Stupid Broad Based Question - Is this just the issue of a connection end compatibility issue or am I dealing with some different wiring paradigm here? I've read this and other threads and I've talked myself in and out of that idea. I get what people say these are better based on shielding and locking, but I'm trying to figure out if I'm missing something obvious that is more significant than that and specifically, how do I deal with my current amp situation?

    Thanks, again sorry for the uninformed question. I'm usually better on topics than this.
  17. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa, Product Support-Genz Benz
    Both Speak-Ons are wired 1+/1-, which refers to the internal connector configuration. This is by far the most common.

    There are 4 terminals as this same connector is used for bi-amping in the PA world, and generally 2+/2- is used for the high freq. They are not used in most full range applications.
  18. The best reason for the change is safety. 100W into 8Ω is a tad over 28V. If you bridge a 100W stereo amp, full out you get double that. If you grab the phone plug you will get a shock. Think about bridging to get 1000W or more the shock hazard increases really quickly. You cannot touch the contacts on a Speakon - problem solved!

  19. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    Okay, so that sounds like I replace the connector tip with the part I ordered and plug it into either speaker out and use the empty one for an extension cab, just like I would have had they been 1/4" jacks. Right?

    Thanks for your answer. I started out thinking about this quite simplistically, then the more I read, the more I started worrying that maybe I was missing something.
  20. somegeezer


    Oct 1, 2009
    Are the speakon outputs a mixture? On my Laney cab I have speakon inputs which are also 1/4 inch. Might be the same for your amp.

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