How to Connect Speaker Wire to Speakers

By Nichole Liandi

Proper connections are vital for the best performance of home audio gear. One of the most important connections are the speaker wires. If done incorrectly, signal quality can suffer, and performance of your home audio system may be compromised.

Things You'll Need

  • Wire stripper

Step 1

Establish the polarity of your wire. It's absolutely essential that your wires are connected with the proper polarity so that your speakers play "in phase." Simply put, the lead of your speaker wire that is connected to the positive output of the amplifier must connect to the positive input of the speaker, and likewise with the negative lead. Examine your speaker wire. Most have markings on the cable to show which lead is which, or the wire is color coded. There's no difference between the leads in construction, but just be consistent with which one you use.

Step 2

Examine the type of terminals on your speakers. Most current speakers use either binding post terminals or push-button terminals. Binding post terminals have a knob that is twisted to reveal an opening for the speaker wire. Insert the lead and then twist down to secure it tightly. Push-button terminals have a tab that is pushed down to reveal an opening for the speaker wire. Push the tab down, insert the wire and release to secure. Some older speakers have screw terminals that are loosened with a screwdriver; loosen it, slide the wire underneath and then tighten the screw.

Step 3

Strip the insulation from the leads of your speaker wire so that 3/8 to 1/2 inch of bare wire is exposed. Insert the wire into the speaker terminal as appropriate, depending on the type. Connect the right speaker outputs of your amplifier to the right speaker, and the left to the left speaker.