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Choosing the right termination for speaker cables

Jonathan Kings |

Choosing the right speaker cable for your system can be daunting enough, but once you have painstakingly chosen your ideal cable, you can be faced with another choice. What ends do i put on my new speaker cable?

You can, of course, have the cable un-terminated and use bare wire. This is fine for most applications and sound systems with push speaker terminals will accept nothing else. Most applications and sound systems today will accept a selection of bare wire, 4mm banana connector or spade connectors.

QED have a range of Airloc terminations if you choose to terminate your speaker cable. The new Airloc Forte represents the very pinnacle in speaker termination technology.

The new Forté plug pin section is designed to maximise contact area throughout the wide tolerance range encountered in 4mm amplifier and speaker sockets. Here, some are quite tight whereas others are loose, so the spring loaded Forté blade is designed to fit into smaller and larger sockets with equal insertion force.

This means that the contact area is maximised and the connection remains uniformly tight.



Airloc™ is a form of cold weld system that can be used to permanently attach QED Forté™ banana plugs or spade terminals to our entire range of speaker cables.One of the main reasons for choosing a QED speaker cable is the superior d.c. resistance characteristics offered by our exclusive use of 99.999% oxygen free copper conductors. It seems a shame then to ruin all this attention to detail by neglecting the most vulnerable area of the speaker cable chain - that of the physical interface between cable and amplifier or speaker terminals.



Seen under a microscope the surface of a typical copper strand is very rough and so using normal screw type terminals - as found on binding posts or cheap banana plugs - electrical contact is only made in a relatively small number of places. Add to this a layer of oxidation - which is inevitable if copper is exposed to the air for even a short time - and the combined resistance of the cable and its termination can creep back up to levels present in a more inferior cable.

By using a cold weld crimp type termination Airloc™ plugs squash the conductors and plug together to improve contact area and reduce resistance.cutaway



As can be seen in the graph below, by the time the full pressure has been applied the resistance of the joint has reached a minimum value.


Now, because all the air has been removed from the joint there will be no oxidisation of the contact surfaces so the low resistance will remain for the lifetime of the cable. During the cold weld process the cable and plug become one solid piece of metal.

AV4Home stock a wide range of speaker cables, see options to add the airloc termination to the cable.