How to Bi-wire an Amp With Banana Plugs

Written by matt gerrard
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How to Bi-wire an Amp With Banana Plugs
Standard speaker wire can be used for bi-wiring, but twice as much will be needed. (speaker wire image by Paolo from Fotolia.com)

Bi-wiring home audio loudspeakers is a great way to experiment with getting the most from your home stereo system. Some argue that spreading the signal across more conductors results in less noise and a stronger signal. The results differ from person to person, depending on the set-up, but some hear a complete transformation of their system, suddenly able to hear frequencies that were lost before. All the steps of bi-wiring can be easily undone, so no permanent modifications will be made to your equipment.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • 16 banana plugs (4 for each speaker, 8 at the amplifier connections)
  • Additional lengths of speaker wire
  • Wire cutters/strippers

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Run lengths of speaker wire from amplifier to speaker, ensuring you have enough. There will be four lengths of wire going from the back of the amplifier to each speaker, eight in total. If you plan to use cable wrap or another wire-bundling solution, it can be a good idea to apply it at this time, as it helps to keep each bundle of cables at a manageable single length.

  2. 2

    Remove the jumper bars from the binding posts on the back of your speaker. There should be four connections, with a small metal bar connecting the two pairs. If you unscrew the binding posts completely, you will be able to lift off the metal jumper bar. Put them to one side and save them, in case you wish to return to a mono-wired system later.

  3. 3

    Strip about 3/4 inch of insulation from one of the speaker wire ends, unscrew the threaded part of your banana plug, insert the wire, and tighten. Ensure that there are no frayed or protruding fibres from the edges of the thread. This is particularly important when bi-wiring, as it will be more crowded at the back of the speaker, with more exposed metal objects that could cause a short. Repeat with all 16 connections.

  4. 4

    Connect the banana plugs at the speaker end first, starting with the high-end connections, situated at the top. Ensure that all the wires are screwed securely into the connectors, and no components are in danger of touching when all 4 bananas are plugged in.

  5. 5

    Ensure that everything is powered off then connect your wires to the amplifier. Many amplifiers now come with multiple output binding posts to accommodate bi-wiring. If yours does not, banana plugs can be 'stacked' onto one another. Simply plug one set into the amp then the second set into the back of the first. Check all the connections one last time, then test. Should any of the bass or treble signals sound weak or muffled, check the appropriate connector.

Tips and warnings

  • It's vital that you not let any of the connectors or wires touch one another. It could potentially damage your equipment or be dangerous to you.

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