Author Topic: Passive Speaker Connectors  (Read 3246 times)

CyberHippy

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Passive Speaker Connectors
« on: March 19, 2013, 10:34:55 PM »
Heh, I recently rescued a couple of 10" Apogee monitors from a friends garage, threw some drivers in them from one of my bass cabs, and realized I'd have to create a couple of speaker cables just for those monitors because the connectors are…





wait for it…




Female XLR's.

Couple of minutes with my bag of replacement Neutrik's and the soldiering iron & they were up & running.

Gawd they sound great, but XLR connectors for passive speakers? I can only guess that they wanted to sell their own cables with them...

RoadRanger

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Re: Passive Speaker Connectors
« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2013, 10:39:05 PM »
That was actually quite common on higher end gear in the days before SpeakOns :) . Most stuff was 1/4" or banana plugs / binding posts.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2013, 10:41:12 PM by RoadRanger »

CyberHippy

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Re: Passive Speaker Connectors
« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2013, 03:55:44 PM »
I hear that - some of the old passive Meyer speakers I work with at L'Audio North use funky oversized four-prong XLR-style connectors for bi-amping, never seen them anywhere else.

Google Image Search shows that four-pin XLR's come in a variety of pin layouts, his are like this:



but much bigger.

RoadRanger

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Re: Passive Speaker Connectors
« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2013, 04:07:41 PM »
I hear that - some of the old passive Meyer speakers I work with at L'Audio North use funky oversized four-prong XLR-style connectors for bi-amping, never seen them anywhere else.
Yes, around the time that SpeakOn came out there was a competing series of connectors from Cannon (I think ?), those are what you have there :) . I've also seen regular AC power twistlocks used. I've even seen regular two prong 110V extension cords used but many unfortunate accidents with those cooking speaker cabs x( .

Greg C.

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Re: Passive Speaker Connectors
« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2013, 01:13:36 AM »
Back before there was any sort of standards for speaker connectors, people used whatever they could. Banana plugs, 1/4", XLRs, etc. For higher powered applications, some companies used multi-pole NEMA twist lock AC connectors which is now of violation of the National Electric Code since it would be possible to accidentally plug an AC source into your speakers or amp rack's speaker outputs ;) The Canon "EP" connectors were the first higher current connector which was like a giant XLR connector to be standardized for speaker use by EAW back in the late 80s. They go up to 8 pins for a 4-way box. That what my rig uses. I'll eventually swap them out for Speakons because the EPs don't hold up as well. Then the Speakons came out from Neutrik and those became industry standard. Still, some companies use a more proprietary Socopex multi-pin connector for combining multiple wires to create thicker wire gauges for longer cable runs and higher box counts for some of those big line arrays (like the new L'Acoustics K1 systems).
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sam.spoons

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Re: Passive Speaker Connectors
« Reply #5 on: April 25, 2013, 03:52:03 PM »
I have an old Quad 522 studio power amp, it's ex BBC and has male XLR speaker outs, a BBC mod. The BBC had a few mods including underrated O/P fuses to limit the continuos output, apparently (from an ex BBC engineer friend who just serviced it) the theory was they'd blow before terminal damage ocourred to the monitor speakers and it was cheaper to repair the amps than the speakers. Not sure if it worked though.

Greg C.

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Re: Passive Speaker Connectors
« Reply #6 on: April 25, 2013, 04:13:22 PM »
I have an old Quad 522 studio power amp, it's ex BBC and has male XLR speaker outs, a BBC mod.

If they were going to use XLRs as outputs, they should have used females as having exposed contacts like that can result in a shock or a short if junk gets into the socket. The EPs are giant XLRs. The backplane on my amp racks uses the female EPs for that reason. I can see how they would make that mistake since males connectors are traditionally for output. Or they might have been concerned someone might plug an XLR line input into the output. In any case, I'm glad nobody's doing it anymore.
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sam.spoons

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Re: Passive Speaker Connectors
« Reply #7 on: April 25, 2013, 08:04:35 PM »
I have an old Quad 522 studio power amp, it's ex BBC and has male XLR speaker outs, a BBC mod.

If they were going to use XLRs as outputs, they should have used females as having exposed contacts like that can result in a shock or a short if junk gets into the socket. The EPs are giant XLRs. The backplane on my amp racks uses the female EPs for that reason. I can see how they would make that mistake since males connectors are traditionally for output. Or they might have been concerned someone might plug an XLR line input into the output. In any case, I'm glad nobody's doing it anymore.

Agreed, and I will get around to changing them sometime but as it's a fixed install it's not really too much of a problem.

The EAW 850's have female output and male on the inputs but they are carrying significant voltages compared to my old Quad.
« Last Edit: April 25, 2013, 08:08:38 PM by sam.spoons »

Greg C.

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Re: Passive Speaker Connectors
« Reply #8 on: April 25, 2013, 08:14:46 PM »
Agreed, and I will get around to changing them sometime but as it's a fixed install it's not really too much of a problem.

The EAW 850's have female output and male on the inputs but they are carrying significant voltages compared to my old Quad.

Yeah, the Rat Trap 5s I have with my EP8 connectors also have both genders on the back. But I use the male as the input so that the females are always output for pass-through/daisy chaining. Those boxes are 4-way amplified with good sized amps, so there is significant voltage on the pins for the 15s and 10s which could hurt a bit if you touched them. The pins for the 2" and 1" compression drivers might give you a slight tingle. ;)
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