When setting up your audio system, it can be very disappointing when one of the wires are too short to connect your devices.
And though you can fix this problem by spending a few dollars on new cables, you can still use your old wires to accomplish the task at hand by simply using splice connectors to join the wires.
As far as splicing is concerned, there are several techniques that you can use. These methods have their strengths and weaknesses, but they do not affect the audio quality of your speakers. The only problem is, you can easily compromise the structure of the wires.
How to Splice Speaker Wires
Splicing speaker wires is quite easy, once you have the necessary tools. below, we will show you how to quickly and easily splice speaker wires. Before however, here is a list of the tools you will need:
- Spool of speaker wire (this should match the gauge of existing wire)
- Electrical crimp connectors (should also matching gauge of existing wire). For example, check out our guide on how to crimp 4 gauge wires by yourself.
- Wire stripper
- Measuring Tape
- Heat source (e.g. blow dryer)
Now that you have everything, here are the steps you should take to splice your speaker wires:
Measure Wire Length and Cut: The first step is to measure the length of wires you will need based on speaker and other device placement in the room. Once you have done so, cut the speaker wires to your suit.
Strip Wires: Use your wire stripper to strip away the plastic coating around the ends of the wires you intend to connect.
Attach Crimp Connectors: Now attach the crimp connectors by taking the bare wires and inserting them into opposite sides of a crimp connector. Check out our guide on speaker wire connectors to learn more about crimp connectors. An alternative here is to solder the wires for a stronger connection. If you don’t know-how, you can follow our guide on how to solder speaker wires. The most important thing is that you have a strong connection and the speaker wires do not touch. You can check out our guide on what happens if speaker wires touch to learn more.
Apply Heat: Now, apply heat to shrink the connectors using your heat source. This is not absolutely necessary but is a great idea to fully seal the connectors and prevent water from seeping in of the connectors from falling off.
Speaker Wire Cutting Tips
To cut wire, just insert the wire and slightly close the tool until the wire is securely held in place & can’t move. Then squeeze very firmly. The wire should “snap” lightly and will be cut.
While you can get by with utility scissors (don’t use standard scissors used for paper or fabrics!) you’ll have to insert the wire right at the inside of the blades and cut very carefully.
Scissors aren’t a good choice and the wire can even get jammed inside.
Speaker Wire Connector Types
Let’s Explore these Splicing Methods and the best speaker wire splice connectors that exist. Every year electricians find better ways to connect speaker wires, these are the best speaker wire connector types available today:
1. Twist and Electrical Tape
This method is the easiest and most popular way of connecting wires when setting up your home audio system. In fact, it is commonly used to fix headphone wires with electrical tape.
It involves connecting two wires by twisting them and wrapping the joint with electrical tape. It is very easy to splice speaker wires and wrap them with electrical tape.
However, this technique is very unreliable and therefore not recommendable when working with electronic devices.
That’s because the splice will easily separate when exposed to any amount of tension.
This is especially true for larger wires. They are harder to twist and will easily separate. This is why you should use a good set of wire twist pliers.
Moreover, electrical tapes tend to loosen with time, as the adhesive breaks down. That is very common if you use this technique to connect wires in a dusty, hot or wet area. However, it recommendable to use the best 3M electrical seal tapes if you must use the twist-and-tape method.
Best Electrical Tapes On Amazon
2. Insulated Butt Connectors
Commonly Known as butt splices, these connectors feature a metal tube in a plastic sleeve. Their main advantage is that they result in the most attractive appearance that any splicing method can achieve.
As such, this method is the best choice if physical space and aesthetics are an issue of concern. For instance, you can use it to connect full range speakers with wires running through your ceiling or under the carpet.
Because butt connectors are normally subject to such conditions (within the ceiling or under the carpet), its important that you purchase good, sturdy connectors such as Sopoby Butt Connectors.
The only downside to using butt splices is that they don’t maintain physical contact between the wires.
That’s because these connectors allow you to insert each wire halfway, maintaining the continuity of the electrical current through its body.
It’s also important to note that butt connectors are only compatible with stranded wires and should not be used with solid-core wires under any circumstance.
Best Insulated Butt Connectors On Amazon
3. Crimped Caps or Sleeves
Also called pig-tail sleeves, these speaker wire connectors come in various sizes to fit the specific gauge of wire that you are using.
Just like with other connectors, you should avoid stripping the wire too far to ensure that the sleeves cover the stripped area.
When using crimped caps, you will need to have proper crimping tools. You can perform the splice by stripping both wires and sliding them in the sleeve, before using the crimping tool to fasten them together. It’s not necessary to twist the wires together, but it will still work if you choose to do it.
This splicing technique is very sturdy if done correctly, but it’s also bulky and unattractive. That means that this method is best suitable for out-of-sight applications.
Best Crimped Caps On Amazon
Why Crimp Connectors Are One Of The Best Ways To Splice Speaker Wires
- When done properly, it’s very reliable and the wire won’t come apart.
- Easy to do – only takes a few minutes.
- Not affected by temperature changes & time.
- Crimp tools & connectors are widely available and affordable.
- There are only a few steps involved: cutting the wire (if needed), stripping the wire, and preparing the wire & crimping the connectors.
Why Splice Speaker Wires?
There are a few reasons you may need to splice speaker wires. The main one is you need a longer speaker wire from two or more wires.
It’s important however that you consider the gauge of the wires and the length because speaker wire length can affect audio quality. Check out this guide on how far can you run speaker wires to learn more.
Now that we have seen the various types of wire splice connectors available, you can go ahead and hook up your audio system. Also, we hope we helped you if you were wondering how to join speaker cables together.
These wire splicing techniques are also useful in hooking up car stereos and other electronics around your house. For telephones, you will need specialized splicing devices. Keep in mind that you may require some additional knowledge on the correct way to accomplish the task at hand.
Additionally, you can check out a more in-depth look at speaker wire connector types.
Norvan Martin is the founder of BoomSpeaker.com. He is a professional Electronics Engineer and is passionate about home theater systems and AV electronics. BoomSpeaker was created as an online hub to share his knowledge and experiences as it relates to home theaters and home audio electronics.