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Putting Banana Plugs on my Acme...


BenLoy

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I have one of the old Acme B2's that just has 1/4" inputs. I'd like to put in a set of banana plugs to better handle the 1200 Watts of current I'll be running into it.

 

Anybody attempted this mod themselves? Is it better left to a pro?

 

Is greenboy lurking out there? :rolleyes:

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Hmmmm..... if you are gonna go thru the trouble of switching out a connector..... I'd have to recommend switching to a 'Nuetrik' connection.

 

Much better connection.....solid , better cable relief, and no 'wrong' way to connect....as with Banana's.

 

JMO :)

PJR

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You mean a Speakon? Downside of speakons is that the connectors are expensive and unsoldered, but they're simple and you can't put them in wrong and they're way better than 1/4" jacks. Banana plugs are best in an audiophile sense, but Speakons are the standard for PA systems.

 

Alex

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I'm more interested in knowing why you believe banana plugs will better handle the power?

 

A speaker cable sized 1/4" phone jack will work just as well as banana plugs, with less chance of being accidentally removed.

 

If you really want to improve the input jack on your speaker cab, replace it with a Neutrik Speakon connector. It's the standard connector for PA speakers, available in two conductor, 4 conductor, and 8 conductor versions. Either of the first two will fit the bill for your purposes. In fact, are becoming the standard for high powered bass amps as well.

 

One of the biggest plus' of Speakons are the simple twist-lock connection and easy, solder or solderless connection.

 

Here's some pics. The first is a 2 pole receptacle and cable connector. The second are 4 pole connectors. Their outside dimensions are identical.

 

http://www.neutrikusa.com/products/images/speakon/2-pole.jpg

 

http://www.neutrikusa.com/products/images/speakon/4-pole_cable.jpg

It's easiest to find me on Facebook. Neil Bergman

 

Soundclick

fntstcsnd

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1/4" connectors are not designed to withstand a lot of power. they have a maximum after which they cannot dissipate heat quickly enough to minimize heat resistance.

 

banana plugs are designed to handle a lot more current; they perform better at all power levels.

 

and i think it's debatable whether being soldered or unsoldered is a better connection. solder is about the worst conductor that still is useful -- one could argue the sound degradation is a lot less with an unsoldered connection. of course, there is the potential for a lot less contact area if it's not soldered, so one could argue the sound degradation is a lot less with a soldered connection. see?

 

robb.

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You could also contact Andy at Acme and see what he has to say about it. I think that his current cabs have 1/4", Speakon, and banana plugs. At the very least he might be able to recommend to you the brands/types of jacks/connectors he's using now.

spreadluv

 

Fanboy? Why, yes! Nordstrand Pickups and Guitars.

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Originally posted by robb.:

1/4" connectors are not designed to withstand a lot of power. they have a maximum after which they cannot dissipate heat quickly enough to minimize heat resistance.

 

banana plugs are designed to handle a lot more current; they perform better at all power levels.

 

and i think it's debatable whether being soldered or unsoldered is a better connection. solder is about the worst conductor that still is useful -- one could argue the sound degradation is a lot less with an unsoldered connection. of course, there is the potential for a lot less contact area if it's not soldered, so one could argue the sound degradation is a lot less with a soldered connection. see?

 

robb.

Show me some evidence. We're not talking about a 5,000 watt concert sub-woofer here, and frankly, I don't believe your assertion that, "...they (banana plugs) perform better at all power levels."

 

Even if your statement regarding heat resistance is true, it would hardly be met under 500 watts of power. At 1200 watts you might have a point. But again, show me some proof.

 

Regardless, for a PA amp/cabinet or a Bass guitar amp/cabinet, the Neutrik has no price/performance equal. You couldn't get me to rely on banana plugs, onstage.

 

A true example; I used to do hundreds of small entertainment shows for Opryland Productions, mostly on the park grounds or in the Opryland Hotel. One of the few off grounds gigs I worked was at a downtown church. In the middle of the gig, an amp channel went down. The boneheads at Opryland sound services were more interested in security than service-ability in the field. They locked the amp rack with security screws. Not a thing I could do. What was the cause? A banana plug came loose and fell out!

 

Now, even though you'd have access to fix this on your bass rig, do you really want to trust a non-locking plug on a gig? Not me.

It's easiest to find me on Facebook. Neil Bergman

 

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fntstcsnd

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One advantage of banana plugs over quarter inch jacks is that they do not short when putting them in or out. This makes a big difference in high power situations.

 

I've never used speak-ons.

 

Using either banana plugs or speakons keeps you from using a guitar cable to connect speakers which also is important in high power situations.

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Yes, you would need to solder the panel mount. Not a big deal, but if you're a novice, let someone show you how to do it. Soldering ain't brain surgery, but there is a finesse to doing it well. You could destroy the connector if you overheat it.

 

Originally posted by Sweet Willie:

You could also contact Andy at Acme and see what he has to say about it...

Andy ? at Acme ?

 

Do you mean Acme Recording in Chicago?

It's easiest to find me on Facebook. Neil Bergman

 

Soundclick

fntstcsnd

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I use both Neutrik Speak-Ons and banana plugs.

 

Neutriks are convenient unless you are using a bridge-able amp, in which case they are no longer convenient, since you have to have a different connector for the bridged output end. If you sometimes bridge and sometimes don't, you need two different cables. Since you can't tell by looking at the outside which connector you are using, you have to label the cables carefully, rely on the labels, and remember to use the right end of the right cable in the right place. The potential for error is real when in a hurry on a marginally lighted stage, or when someone else does the setup.

 

Banana plugs are not as advanced a design as Neutriks, but they let you see exactly how you are hooked up. You need to pay attention to polarity when plugging them in, but in dim light you can do that by feel (ridge on one side of the plug). Good quality banana plugs and jacks have plenty of contact area for any sane audio voltage/power level. They have stood the test of time since General Radio invented them back in the 1930s.

 

Speak-Ons arose out of European requirements that no bare metal carrying significant voltage+current can be out in the open where it can be touched, a bit over-cautious IMHO. (My guess is this European caution arises from the use of 220v mains for home wiring, which'll kill you pretty quick, versus 110v mains in the USA, which'll scare you but not kill you quite so often.)

 

Both banana plugs and Neutrik plugs use screws to tighten on the wire end, and need to be checked and re-tightened fairly often. You can't rely on thread-locker, since the copper conducters seem to compress over time.

 

For jacks, IMHO everything should be soldered.

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Originally posted by Ben:

I use both Neutrik Speak-Ons and banana plugs.

 

Neutriks are convenient unless you are using a bridge-able amp, in which case they are no longer convenient, since you have to have a different connector for the bridged output end.

Where did you get this notion? Amplifiers that can be bridged which have speakon outputs have a separate, speakon for bridging. The cable does not change in the least. If you're using and adapter, the same wiring would be used whether the bridging output is speakon, 1/4", or banana. (The only difference would be making sure the adapter is plugged in the correct output. This assumes you know how to wire a speakon correctly. Banana is the most unreliable in this instance, as most amp manufacturers straddle one lug from the left channel, and one from the right channel. Pretty easy to plug incorrectly, reversing the polarity.)

 

Originally posted by Ben:

...Both banana plugs and Neutrik plugs use screws to tighten on the wire end, and need to be checked and re-tightened fairly often...

Not true, if you assemble them correctly. Touring rigs are on the road, many times for months at a time. The cables are thrown around stages, dragged across floors and around other gear, dumped into cable trunks and failures are relatively rare. Those that do fail are usually outright abused. A well assembled Neutrik Speakon will take a lot of abuse with no ill effects. It's not a problem to check your cables when you use one or two. Sound companies on the road do not have the luxury of opening each speakon and retightening.

 

In the early versions of speakons they included a copper cap for the conductor ends. This did become a liabiltity as you could tighten all day and they'd still fall out. If you have caps, don't use them.

It's easiest to find me on Facebook. Neil Bergman

 

Soundclick

fntstcsnd

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Mr. Sound, lighten up!

 

Speak-Ons are nice but banana plugs have their place, too. I was speaking from personal experience about loose wires, in both banana plugs and Speak Ons.

 

I got the "notion" about needing separate Neutrik cables when I had a QSC PLX amp. You need a cable wired 1+ 2+ at the amp end, instead of the normal 1+ 1-. Go to the QSC website and check out the owner's manual, page 11.

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Sorry if I sound a bit stern. I've seen too many accidents and blown amps/speakers caused by speaker disconnects with both 1/4" and banana. It's simply not worth it, IMO, to use anything but a speakon so long as it fits, physically, in the gear.

 

I see. QSC doesn't provide an independent bridging output, so you end up straddling the channels by using the left (upper) channel speakon, which in stereo mode is actually wired for left on 1+ & 1-, and right on 2+ & 2-, allowing the user to send both channels on one NL4 (speakon) equipped, 4 conductor cable.

 

Most amps I've worked with have a separate speakon for bridging output. The simple answer is to buy/make an adapter for bridging that connects 1+ to 1+ and 2+ to 1-, and as you stated, mark it as such. Simple enough.

 

Peace. :)

It's easiest to find me on Facebook. Neil Bergman

 

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fntstcsnd

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no problem.

 

don't let my silence on the 1/4" connector deal imply that i've given up. i haven't had the time to find some documentation. really, though, it stands to reason. even with 12 gauge wire, it gets pretty hot in there, and i shouldn't have to tell you that as conductors heat up, their resistance increases. it only stands to reason, but let me find where it says that they're only designed to handle 600W tops. something like that.

 

regardless of the actual number, wouldn't you want to use better cabling, anyway? my speaker cable is 8AWG. the resistance between amp and cab greatly reduces damping factor (perceived bass). it's not so much for the power as it is to absolutely minimize the resistance between the amp and the cab. it improves sound across the frequency spectrum.

 

robb.

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