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Speakon?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by MrFortuneCookie, Sep 10, 2001.


  1. I've heard the term Speakon used before reffering to the connector or connection from a head to a cab. What can you guys tell me about this new connection, so i belive it's new? Is it better? How so? Just basically the lo-down on it. Thanks.
     
  2. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur GollihurMusic.com

    Mar 22, 2000
    New Joisey Shore
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music
    Speakon is a relatively new type of connector typically used for speaker/amp connections. It has a lot of advantages over the usual 1/4" and banana plugs and jacks.

    Neutrik apparently developed it, but Switchcraft is now supplying their own version that can mate with Neutrik's- in fact, they recently got summary judgement in their favor after Neutrik sued them. I'd like to try the Switchcraft because, unlike the Neutrik ones than have sleeves that have to be pulled as you turn them (and not all are the same), Switchcrafts have a lock lever similar to XLR connectors.

    Among other things, they are locking, handle higher current than the usual 1/4", have no exposed poles that can shock you, and they have from 2 to 8 poles so a single connection could let you biamp a cabinet without screwing up and sending the wrong frequencies to a driver and frying it.
     
  3. And.. they are field repairable without a soldering iron. They are also air tight to prevent noises and leaks.
     
  4. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur GollihurMusic.com

    Mar 22, 2000
    New Joisey Shore
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music
    The new Switchcraft version of the Speakon plug only has soldered connections. I just got a bunch of them in along with cable so I can make cables for customers; I sell EA cabs and Acoustic Image stuff, and both have Speakon connections.

    Switchcraft won the lawsuit Neutrik filed (it was dismissed).

    The advantage they have over the Neutrik speakon plugs is that they don't have the turn and lock feature, which I find to be a total PIA when reaching around and plugging them into the back of my Euphonic Audio cabinets - instead, they have a little push-lever like XLR connectors do, so they're much easier to deal with under all circumstances, especially when using the Braille method.

    However, while they work well with my EA and Acoustic Image stuff, I just plugged one into the back of my QSC power amp, and it appears that the amp's connection is sunken slightly, so the Switchcraft speakon connector doesn't lock. Since that bridged end cable usually stays connected on my rig, I'll just use a Neutrik on that end. But I was disappointed.

    Regardless, I like the Switchcraft ends and will swap all my speaker connectors to that flavor.

    Anybody needing a cable or backup, email me off list.
     
  5. VHS vs BETA all over again.

    FWIW, I run Speakons and have no difficulty with the twist lock feature. It has a sliding lock that is slid to the rear (away) before the connector can be twisted and removed.
     
  6. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur GollihurMusic.com

    Mar 22, 2000
    New Joisey Shore
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music
    Yes, but not all of them are made that way; I like the ones with the sliding lock best, but there are two other flavors made by Neutrik that aren't as good IMHO.
     
  7. Would it be a major job to have an amp tech convert my older Ampeg cabinets, my older Ampeg SVT-III head, and my newer Peavey Firebass II head to these type of connectors?

    From all that I hear and read, this thread and many other comments, these are the only way to fly.

    Thanks.
     
  8. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur GollihurMusic.com

    Mar 22, 2000
    New Joisey Shore
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music
    I'm not sure about the heads; that could involve punching out the chassis to accommodate the bigger connectors, although perhaps an alternate mounting method could be devised.

    Cabinets are no problem; one of my suppliers has metal plates for single and dual mountings of Speakon jacks, so I would think your tech would also have access to them.
     
  9. lo-end

    lo-end

    Jun 15, 2001
    PA
    2 questions:

    Where can you get speakon connectors, and what is the thickest gauge speaker wire you can use? I've heard 12 gauge, but Im not sure...
     
  10. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur GollihurMusic.com

    Mar 22, 2000
    New Joisey Shore
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music
    I have some of the Switchcraft ones in stock; contact me off-list bob@gollihur.com. I have excellent quality 12 gauge cable, and made three cables last night using 12 gauge for my own rig, which puts out up to 2400 watts. I think 12ga is sufficient; that's what I've been using for the last year or so.
     
  11. I prefer the slide lock ones too. That is what I always had used when hooking up PA systems. It wasn't until this weekend I tried a pull and twist type and I must say it was more of a pain, especially when you have a bass in your hand or whatever. But that is such a small thing but hey whatever makes life easier.

    I noticed a change in the sound quality too when using speakons instead of a 1/4". But hey maybe my ears were playing tricks on me?
     
  12. I got Speakon ends at Mars music. You can get them at different places, but I've never looked.

    My cable is 12 gague, two conductor. I've seen them with 10 gague cable. And a friend of mine, who's a DJ/sound tech, wired his PA with Speakon. He uses 3 and 4 conductor 12 gague. So you can use some really heavy stuff with Speakon plugs.