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Warning! Do Not Buy Cheap Speakon Cables

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Keyser Soze, Sep 14, 2020.

  1. Keyser Soze

    Keyser Soze Supporting Member

    I see myself as a cagey veteran, not a guy who makes rookie mistakes. But sometimes my inner cheapskate prevails and I impulse-buy something whose use is not gonna end well, is gonna blow up in my face and make me feel ashamed. I do something that, as my mom used to say, "I should know better."

    I get these emails, "Stupid Deal of the Day" type things, from various places I've done business with. There is a large company who carved out their space in the marketplace selling computer cables for cheap. They lasso'd the enterprise market and became a giant company. They have broadened their product line to all kinds of electronic-related products, including musical instrument amps and cables and now just about every kind of consumer electronics.

    Their sale item that bit me was; Two 3' Speakon Cables for $9.99 shipped. "Spares," I thought. "I can use some spares."

    When they arrived, I thought, "Lemme try 'em out, make sure they're OK." So I unplug the Speakon between my Acoustic Image amp and my EA Wizzy cab and insert the speakon into both, reaching around the back in both cases, doing it by feel. Power it up, no sound. Hmmmm. Try the other one; same thing, no sound. Weird.

    So I think, "Let me try them in my Mesa Subway 800+ into my Fearful 112 cab." So I plug one in, fire up the amp; Bingo! Sound. "Lemme try the other one," I think. I unplug the cable from the cab. When I try to unplug it from the back of the amp; it won't budge. It'll only turn 1/8th of a turn, not 1/4 like it's supposed to. I try -- gently but firmly -- for a few minutes and get nowhere.

    "Lemme call my tech," I think, so I do. His shop's closed. Hmmm, Google is my friend.

    Uh-oh. Lots threads about Speakons getting stuck. Cheap Speakons getting stuck. And no happy endings about removing them. I see TB's beloved @Killed_by_Death warning folks not to buy cheap Speakons. Too late for me.

    I have a brainstorm. PM our sage TBer @agedhorse, who designed my amp. Surely he's gonna know about this issue, what to do.

    So I PM him. And he responds very quickly. With his permission, here's his reply, only slightly abridged;

    What has probably happened is that the internal contact assembly on the plug came loose or was bent or improperly formed during manufacturing and has become intertwined with the mating contact assembly. I posted a picture of what the damage to the amp’s connector looks like.

    Removing the connector is difficult without damaging the amp’s sheet metal, and the now damaged amp’s connector(s) must be replaced.

    I have built some special tooling to do this without damaging the amp. It’s called the "Xonoxoxo (insert the manufacturer of MY cable here) plug removal tool" and it’s seen more use than I wish.

    He tells me to send him the amp, which I do. He fixes it very, very quickly and now it's on it's way back across the country to me.

    @agedhorse (Andy) saved my butt. Now I'm trying to save yours:

    Warning! Do Not Buy Cheap Speakon Cables

    I hope Andy will chime in with the appropriate clarity, which I lack. but in the meantime;

    Warning! Do Not Buy Cheap Speakon Cables
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2020
    60bass, Andy V., motornap and 74 others like this.
  2. Al Kraft

    Al Kraft Supporting Member

    May 2, 2016
    Northern Virginia
    +100...and let me say that the cost difference between a genuine Neutrik connector and the knock-offs I've seen not only won't buy you a breakfast special at the local diner, it wouldn't even make a fair tip for your server for the bargain breakfast!
  3. Jim C

    Jim C I believe in the trilogy; Fender, Stingray, + G&L Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bethesda, MD
    Thanks for the reminder!
    Keyser Soze likes this.
  4. ILIA


    Jan 27, 2006
    I've never considered it, but now I know why I don't. Thanks for the story.
    Keyser Soze likes this.
  5. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    Yeah, I know. Not saying I won't do something dumb to save a buck. Anything with a locking connector is worth spending a little extra on. Not even a little extra, just the going rate. But I'm glad it worked out. At least the only harm to your rig is a mechanical part that can be replaced without too much grief. Thanks for the warning.
    Slaymus and Keyser Soze like this.
  6. basscooker

    basscooker Commercial User

    Apr 11, 2010
    cincy ky
    Owner, ChopShopAmps
    Does anyone know if any amp manufacturer's models have output connectors that aren't Neutrik? Met a guy once that had a Neutrik cable that wouldn't connect to my MB200. Confirmed the connector had the logo. Is someone knocking off connectors with convincing brand marking? Who knows.
    Keyser Soze likes this.
  7. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    The cheap comes out expensive.

    Check TB first before you buy.

    But there's something to say about when you try it on a cheap amp and it doesn't work, you then try it out on an expensive amp.

    Well IMHO - when it doesn't work in a simple example, just send them back - no sense troubleshooting any further.
    Shpigel, Rabidhamster and Keyser Soze like this.
  8. bikeplate

    bikeplate Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2001
    Upstate NY
    Cheap is cheap for a reason
    Bassdirty, nbsipics, Al Kraft and 2 others like this.
  9. Al Kraft

    Al Kraft Supporting Member

    May 2, 2016
    Northern Virginia
    To the best of my knowledge most every area from the fashion industry to aircraft parts have to screen for knock-offs that sometimes include brand markings. Most manufacturers I work with have QA process checks in place to screen for these kind of things from suppliers/sub-vendors.
    MCF, quickfix, Rabidhamster and 4 others like this.
  10. Wild_Bill_57

    Wild_Bill_57 Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2017
    Cincinnati, OH (45044)
    A proper Neutrik Speakon NL-4 Or NL-2 connector is about $4.00 it’s not worth it not to buy the real deal. You should be able to “roll your own” cable for about $10.00 2x Speakon and 5ft of 14/2 SJOOW Rubber cord. No soldering required, anyone could make them.


    are both great sources for genuine connectors
    wave rider, MCF, Doug Parent and 11 others like this.
  11. basscooker

    basscooker Commercial User

    Apr 11, 2010
    cincy ky
    Owner, ChopShopAmps
    I trust the GK has a legit part, but his cable connector looked exactly like mine. Mine works. His didn't on my amp but did on my cabs and his amp.
    Keyser Soze likes this.
  12. Al Kraft

    Al Kraft Supporting Member

    May 2, 2016
    Northern Virginia
    I'm a GK fan, but when I got my Neo 112 II cabs years back they came with cables (the 4 connector version you can use with the bi-amp feature). They were not Neutrik cable ends. One cable had connector that didn't fit right in about half the speakon jacks I tried it on including the cab it came with and some of my GK heads.
  13. Wild_Bill_57

    Wild_Bill_57 Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2017
    Cincinnati, OH (45044)
    When I was using GK gear, the supplied 4 conductor cables went straight in the trash. They were not Neutrik connectors. I wasn’t going to risk it. You just know they will fail, and at the worst possible time.
  14. fauxtoe

    fauxtoe Supporting Member

    Apr 20, 2018
    Southern California
    That was going to be my answer. Order some of the Neutrik connectors and replace the ones on the bad cable, or just buy new cable. Super easy to make!
  15. Agreed.

    There's a difference between cheap and economical
  16. In Thailand they have a saying:

    Sum Num Nah = serves you right

    There's ample warning from us on here about this very thing.
    MCF, Bassdirty, Al Kraft and 4 others like this.
  17. 74hc


    Nov 19, 2015
    Sunny California
    If the cable is good, and the proper gauge, you can buy a couple of Neutrik connectors and fix it yourself. The Neutrik Speakon connectors are very easy to attach.

    However, if one is into the oxygen-free, nothin but nitrogen, Monstastic cables, then it's best to throw it in the trash.
    Keyser Soze likes this.
  18. keyboardguy

    keyboardguy Supporting Member

    May 11, 2005
    LoveThatBass and Keyser Soze like this.
  19. telecopy


    Dec 6, 2009
    What about Rean by Neutrik? Cheaper.
  20. Yup!
    The elderly pony has warned us ad nauseam about the perils of using unbranded, knockoff
    Neutrik Speakon type connectors.

    I had been reading up on Mesa stuff here on TB before I bought a WD 800 but, though out the threads I was reading, this came up a lot. To the point that I checked and rechecked my cables to make sure I had the real deal.
    No need to break or burn up my new amp :)
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2020

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