Deceptive Connectors

Way back in the mid 1990s, I had bought some expensive "gold plated" "high-definition" banana plugs from a company called Audiosource. They had heft and weight, and used a good cold weld, by screwing into the copper. During those times, the sound quality was much improved over soldering the copper and feeding it through the hole in the banana plug post.

I had long since retired these connectors until I was working on my Earth Ground boxes and needed some banana plug connections. For one of the boxes, I needed a plug that could handle stiff, OFC 10awg copper wire. The Audiosource connectors couldn't handle anything more than 12awg. So I bought some cheap Media Bridge banaplugs off Amazon because they could supposedly handle 8awg wire (Note:  They don't) . They weren't all that expensive, so I didn't really think too much of them....until....

I was working on a ground wire using the old Audiosource plugs when I accidentally snapped off one of the folds of the actual banana plug and was horrified. It was plastic. They "gold-plated" plastic. I suppose that is one way to eliminate "skin-effect." So my eyes immediately turned to the Media Bridge plugs.  I ruined an old pair of wire cutters trying to cut into those plugs. I was *NOT* successful in breaking those plugs, at all; not even a little bit. So I pulled out a box cutter and started scrapping away....and it was coming up all copper. So the cheaper Media Bridge plugs are solid copper and gold plated.  Nice.

Moral of the story, cost does not always equal quality. :(


 Presently, I am mounting some binding posts to an amp build of mine. In this case, they are solid brass and that is fine with me. There are many choices out there, but as the OP found out, you had better be careful. I do not know the metal used in some of the binding posts or even RCA connectors except to say it sure as hell isn't copper! If stressed, it will not bend but actually snap off leaving a ragged edge behind. Not to mention it is silver in color.

I think that brass should be discontinued in all serious audio grade binding posts and cable terminations as it is known that copper is the better conductor.

Brass is better than whatever snapped off the connector that I mentioned. I do like to try and use copper connectors though. The real trick is to find a connector that is telling the truth about itself, HA!

 Since connectors are considered important by me and many others, let's just add one more very important and often overlooked case>>> the CIRCUIT BOARD that all this connects to. Yes, point to point wiring is used in a few units, but of course it is the circuit board that usually has the paper thing traces along with being low quality as well. I wince at some of the stuff that comes across my bench.


I have noticed that manufacturers do not mention what the connectors are actually made of. All they love saying is that they’re "Gold plated" and wrongfully tout that it’s better conductivity, when that’s not what the Gold is for. It’s supposed to act as an anti-corrosive agent over the underlying metal being used. Nickel is just worse and cheaper than Gold as a conductor and as a plating agent.

Circuit boards are a whole other animal. I remember when I was selling speakers, the DCM rep showed their Time-Delayed cross over in this beautiful clean circuit board with gold plated caps, and neatly wound coils. Then one day I opened my Timeframe 600s to replace a blown tweeter...and dear GAWD...the mess. It’s as if the person who put that cross over together had the runs and couldn’t hold it in while soldering and went ape-poop with the plastic glue gun. Then just slapped it to particle board and covered it in fiber glass fluff. :(



Way back in the day, I worked in an electronic shop and saw some good stuff, but mostly bad. Name brands too. The first circuit board that I said 'wow' at was in a Nakamichi CA-5 preamp. It was blue and the work was beautiful.

 The first time that I had the same reaction to a set of binding posts or RCA jacks was when I had just replaced the old ones and used Wonder Solder. Until I got to the Mark Levinson products, was the first time that I could pop the lid back on and feel some relief. Not a thing had to be done/upgraded.