TSR cables ... XLR cables ... banana cables; the world of professional audio has no shortage of options when it comes to connecting two pieces of gear. Even among specific equipment, such as loudspeakers, you have more than one choice. I'm talking of course about standard speaker cables and SpeakOn connectors. Also known as 1/4" input jacks, these cables have been the dominant form of connecting power amps to speakers for years, but over the last decade or so, SpeakOn connectors have been gaining plenty of ground. And no, Speakon connectors aren't a ploy from manufacturers to make you buy more cables. In fact, they actually offer plenty of advantages over the tried and true 1/4", so much so that more and more manufacturers have decided to rely solely on Speakon connectors for some of their loudspeakers while removing support for the traditional 1/4" jack altogether. Below, we detail some of the top advantages of Speakon connectors and why they should be an integral part of your professional audio setup.

 

The Benefits of SpeakOn Cables

First and foremost, SpeakOn cables are ONLY used for connecting amps to speakers. That might not seem like a big deal, but you've also probably noticed that the cables used to connect instruments to an amp look identical to a 1/4" speaker cable. And while you can definitely plug in an instrument cable into a speaker, doing so is a quick way to trash your gear as they are not created to handle the same amount of juice. By working exclusively for speakers, it's impossible to accidentally use the wrong cable -- something that can happen more often than you think on a dimly lit stage!

We've all been there in one form or another. You're in the middle of a killer set, ready to unleash your pièce de résistance -- the face-melting guitar solo! Too bad your leg got caught on a cable and disconnected the loudspeaker as you ran to the front of the stage. Instead of onstage perfection, all you get is an awkward silence. With SpeakOn Cables, you don't run the risk of accidental disconnection due to their highly secure "twist and lock" setup. Unfortunately, you still need to be careful around instrument cables!

SpeakOn Cables are also safer. With 1/4" jacks, the contacts are exposed which means they can cause shorts or even electrocute a very unlucky sound guy who grabs the wrong spot on the cable. On the other hand, SpeakOn cables have completely shielded contacts, making the real risk of accidental shocks virtually impossible. And when you consider the amount of power being sent from the amp to a typical loudspeaker, being accidentally electrocuted in this way can easily cause some serious damage.

Another benefit of having completely shielded contacts is that they are not subjected to the elements nearly as often as those on traditional speaker cables. Having exposed contacts means that they are subject to dirt and corrosion which will eventually cause the cable to fail. Not only that, but the "twist and lock" style of SpeakOn cable connections actually makes them self-cleaning, as every time you connect and disconnect the cable they essentially remove any possible build up.

 

Final Thoughts ...

While a typical 1/4" speaker cable will get the job done, you can't deny that the fact that SpeakOn cables definitely feel like the modern solution to connecting you an amp to a loudspeaker. With so many advantages over a typical 1/4" cable, there really isn't any reason you shouldn't embrace the design. And just in case you stumbled on here because you recently realized your current cables don't work with your new speaker, we just so happen to have great deals on all of your pro audio needs -- including SpeakOn cables!

 

D'Addario SpeakOn Speaker Cables

D'Addario SpeakOn speaker cables feature Neutrik connectors to ensure positive connection into speaker terminals. D'Addario SpeakOn cables feature ultra-fine stranded premium-quality copper 14 AWG conductors, offering maximum signal transfer and flexibility. Available in 3 feet, 5 feet, 10 feet, and 25 feet cable lengths.

 

Features

  • Neutrik connectors to ensure positive connection into speaker terminals
  • Ultra-fine stranded premium-quality copper 14 AWG conductors
  • Maximum signal transfer and flexibility
  • Limited lifetime guarantee