The Black Rhodium Blog
Speaker Links – Why Do We Need Them?
By Graham Nalty, proprietor of Black Rhodium
Most loudspeakers have 4 (and sometimes more) terminals for connection to your amplifier. But most loudspeaker cables have only two connections. Why?
The reason is that the sound quality of a loudspeaker can be dramatically improved if individual drivers are supplied from separate amplifiers. Whilst this is an expensive solution, it can be more practical than many alternatives and is favoured by the real purists.
A much less expensive solution is to feed the loudspeaker drivers separately by separate cables from the same amplifier. Compared with using a single cable between amplifier and loudspeakers, this does give you a cost-effective upgrade to your sound. Individual voices and instruments seem better separated from each other as in a live performance and the overall enjoyment of the music is increased.
In order to cater for BiWiring and also BiAmplification, loudspeaker manufacturers now usually fit 4 (or more) terminals to separate the crossover circuits to the drive units in the loudspeakers.
A couple of decades ago, BiWiring was extremely popular and most cable suppliers offered a large choice of 4 core loudspeaker cables to be used with BiWiring. I can well remember a time when the most popular loudspeaker cable I sold had 4 cores for BiWiring.
In the meantime, designs of loudspeaker cables have advanced technically with screening against external interference (more necessary now due to computers and other digital electronics) and vibration damping being found extremely effective in delivering a more musically pleasing sound.
BiWiring using a second pair of loudspeaker cables becomes much more expensive. At first loudspeaker manufacturers used to fit metal plates between the terminals so that the loudspeaker can play music straight out of the box. These are not popular as the sound can be improved by linking the terminals with a short length of loudspeaker cable.
The popularity of speaker links has steadily grown whilst BiWire cables are being chosen less and less.
Just as loudspeaker cables sound different, so do even the very short lengths of cable used for loudspeaker links. If you choose to upgrade your loudspeaker cables, you will also benefit from upgrading your loudspeaker links. A higher quality set of loudspeaker links will certainly improve sound quality.
When connecting your loudspeaker cables to a 4 terminal loudspeaker it is best to connect your speaker cable to the terminals for the bass and mid-range drivers and you speaker links from these terminals to the to the treble driver terminals.
The reason is that the bass drivers that produce the low and middle frequencies of your music require much greater electrical current than the treble drivers which produce high frequencies.
When choosing loudspeaker links for your music system, the best way, and which gives you best value for money is to choose your loudspeaker links to match the quality of your loudspeaker cable. For example, if you are using Twist loudspeaker cable, you best loudspeaker links will be Twist Links. Or if you have Bolero loudspeaker cable, then your best choice would be Bolero Links.
Black Rhodium now offers a full range of high quality SpeakerLinks for loudspeakers fitted with BiWire termination.
All the new SpeakerLinks have been designed specially to match the current range of Black Rhodium loudspeaker cables, but can be used successfully on any loudspeaker with 4 or more terminals.
Black Rhodium SpeakerLinks will work very well with all speaker cables and 4 terminal loudspeakers and for the most cost effective choice use the links that we recommend for Black Rhodium cables of similar price to your speaker cable.
SpeakerLinks are normally connected from spade to 4mm to give the best possible options for connecting to different loudspeakers.
SpeakerLinks or 'jumper' cables connect the LF (low frequency) and HF (high frequency) connection terminals on the back of your speakers together, an upgrade over the often cheap metal jumpers supplied with most speakers. These let you use standard (non biwire) speaker cable with biwireable speakers.
All links can be supplied spade to spade or 4mm to 4mm at the same prices on request. Check out our range below.