7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Well-made, but not a great design
, 24 Aug. 2013
This review is from: AmazonBasics 24k Gold Connector Banana Plugs 24 Pack 12 Red / 12 Black (Electronics)
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You can pay a small fortune for decent banana plugs, particularly from the "serious" hi-fi brands. On the other hand, I have had problems with dirt-cheap ones in the past, which tend to use small, feeble grub screws that disintegrate as soon as you try to tighten them. Amazon's own-brand offering is very cheap - around a pound a plug, which is about what you would pay for the cheapest plugs from Maplin and the like.
First impressions are very good - the plugs are solid and heavy - no information on what they are made of, but I suspect it is brass with the usual microscopically-thin layer of gold used for hi-fi purposes! They are a solid single piece with slightly flexible bananas, which gripped nicely onto the sockets on my amp with just enough force to hold securely, but without being ludicrously hard to plug in or remove.
The snag is the way a cable is attached. There is a large hole drilled through the plug, and a heavy thumb-screw at the back to tighten down onto it; this is drilled with a 4mm socket so plugs can be piggy-backed, which is a nice touch. You can either pass the cable from one side of the plug to the other, or pass it through the 4mm hole and out one side. But don't even consider this unless you have seriously thick cables - 79-strand would be a bare minimum. Standard bell wire just falls straight out; the size of the holes is such that the plug can't be tightened enough to grip it. However, once you have thick cable, the weight of it will be enough to start working the cable loose if you use the side entry; the trouble with thumb-screw connections is you can't do them up quite as tightly as grub screws.
The design also means, however you choose to connect the cable, that you will have a "tail" of bare wire sticking out of the side of the plug; really not a good idea given the generally catastrophic effect of shorting the speaker terminals on an amplifier!
Finally, it is bizarre in the extreme that these plugs come in packs of 24, i.e. enough to fit 6 mono speaker cables. The vast majority of surround sound systems use either 5 or 7 channels, so with this set, you will either have 4 plugs left over, or be 4 plugs short.
Within their limitations, these plugs are fine for the price - but make sure your cables are thick enough to make use of them, and make sure you are very careful with the excess wire you will have hanging out of the sides.
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