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RCA jacks for valve amp speaker cables?
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Author:  zeerust2000 [ 09 Feb 2017, 18:36 ]
Post subject:  RCA jacks for valve amp speaker cables?

I'm building an EL84 based single ended stereo amp (cloned from a 1960s stereo I own). Is there any reason not to connect speakers via RCA jacks? Obviously, I don't want the connections to go open circuit, and they may stay untouched for years once connected. I'm wondering about long term reliability. Should I go for a more secure method such as those spring loaded connectors that grab the wire directly? Thanks in advance...:)

Author:  Geek [ 10 Feb 2017, 01:17 ]
Post subject:  Re: RCA jacks for valve amp speaker cables?

Hi, welcome!

Binding posts.

RCA connectors were used at one time in the lowest of the low end because they're cheap.

Spring loaded connectors have their own sets of problems and should be avoided as well.

You can get good posts for cheap and are the best option after years of development by the biggest names in the audio industry by trial of time:
https://www.tubesandmore.com/products/b ... old-plated

Cheers!

Author:  Peter W. [ 10 Feb 2017, 07:50 ]
Post subject:  Re: RCA jacks for valve amp speaker cables?

zeerust2000 wrote:
I'm building an EL84 based single ended stereo amp (cloned from a 1960s stereo I own). Is there any reason not to connect speakers via RCA jacks? Obviously, I don't want the connections to go open circuit, and they may stay untouched for years once connected. I'm wondering about long term reliability. Should I go for a more secure method such as those spring loaded connectors that grab the wire directly? Thanks in advance...:)


As a rule, I second Geek, as I very much distrust pure friction connections for (relatively) high-current applications such as speaker connections. Binding posts are good, and there are connectors that use both friction and clamping for banana plugs. Most decent banana plugs allow through-wire clamping as well.

For any such application, you want a positive clamping connection that is immune to cats, dogs, kids and vacuum cleaners.

Author:  zeerust2000 [ 10 Feb 2017, 16:08 ]
Post subject:  Re: RCA jacks for valve amp speaker cables?

Thanks Peter, thanks Geek. Yeah, that's what I thought. RCA plugs can turn intermittent over time. I'll get me some binding posts. :)

Author:  gofar99 [ 09 Mar 2017, 21:08 ]
Post subject:  Re: RCA jacks for valve amp speaker cables?

Hi, You say it needs to work for years...why not solder the terminals? I would probably do that. You only need to disconnect things if you intend to change them. I use binding posts and banana pins on things I need to move around (a constant thing around here). I would never use RCA jacks for speakers. They would be too easy to confuse with inputs and while you can get really good ones (I have several that lock in place and make great contact) the typical ones tend to develop corrosion and eventually cause intermittent contact.

Good listening
Bruce

Author:  Peter W. [ 10 Mar 2017, 07:19 ]
Post subject:  Re: RCA jacks for valve amp speaker cables?

Anything that is designed for the long-term needs to have some level of serviceability. Which, of course, is in direct conflict with the bean counters over in accounting. In a DIY environment, the bean counters may be entirely ignored as the cost-impact is over one or two items, not one hundred or two hundred *thousand* items. Once upon a time, very cheap all-in-one stereos came fully wired from the factory, truly plug-and-play. If/when there was a failure, the entire shebang had to be shipped for repair, and typically, that was directly into landfill.

For the purposes relevant to this venue, robust, secure and easy to use connectors are the way to go. And, if we are doing repairs for our own purposes, we can undo some of the 'expedient' choices made by OEMs - I routinely install transistor sockets, better switches, more effective fuses, and often upgrade transistors, diodes and caps where useful. A few bucks, a little effort and the results can be quite worthwhile.

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