How to Solder Speaker Wire
The running debate since the dawn of high fidelity stereo speakers has been how to join the wires and the speakers. My answer when using a spade connector or banana clip is:
- Slide an appropriately sized shrink wrap tube onto the wire,
- Strip the wire end,
- Pre-Tin the wire end with the appropriate solder - KappZapp7™ solder for a copper wire and copper connector, or KappAloy9™ solder for an Aluminum wire and Copper Connector,
- Crimp the wire into a spade connector or a banana clip,
- Solder the joint/crimp with KappZapp7™ solder for a copper wire and copper connector, or KappAloy9™ solder for an Aluminum wire and Copper Connector, and
- Shrink wrap the crimp/solder joint area to prevent oxidation of the joint area.
This preference is based on my years as a nuclear submarine office in the Newport News Shipyard. In the nuclear Navy, as in the space program, every electrical connection is critical. If you take the time to do it right, you’ll get years of service and exceptional performance. See the accompanying “How to Solder to NASA’s Specifications”. Below you will find step by step instructions on how to solder speaker wires for general repair and extension purposes.
- Appropriate Kapp solder
- Matching Kapp flux
- Soldering iron
- Wire strippers/cutters
- Correct gauge speaker wire
- Heat shrink tube
- Heat gun or other source of heat for the shrink tube
Recommended Solders and Fluxes
- KappZapp7™ for Copper to Copper paired with Kapp CopperBond™ Flux
- KappAloy9™ for Aluminum to Aluminum or Copper paired with Kapp Golden™ Flux
Procedure for soldering speaker wire directly to speaker tabs
- Power down the sound system and disconnect it from the electrical outlet. Be sure there is not electricity running through the sound system before proceeding.
- Measure the distance you want your speaker wire to reach then cut the wire to that length.
- Prepare the ends of the new wire by splitting them a few inches down, then stripping the ends. Be sure to place your heat shrink tube on the wires prior to soldering.
- Heat your soldering iron to the appropriate soldering temperature and apply a minimal amount of Kapp flux to the wires. It only takes a very small amount of flux to break the oxide coating and draw the solder into the joint. A Q-tip can be used to wet the wire surfaces and the tab surfaces.
- Place the soldering iron below the wires to heat them to soldering temperature.
- Once the wires have reached the appropriate temperature the flux will begin to boil and turn brown. Simply touch the solder wire to the speaker wire and tabs to solder them. DO NOT melt the solder by making direct contact with the soldering iron. Doing so will result in an ineffective joint.
- Once you have adequately soldered the wires allow them to cool. Once cool, remove any flux residue with a damp rag or Q-tip. Drt the joint thoroughly, and slide the heat shrink tube over the joint and shrink it using the heat gun or other source of heat.
- Connect the new speaker wire ends to the amplifier.
- Plug your sound system back into the electrical outlet and enjoy.