Things You'll Need
- Wire strippers
- Hex (Allen) wrench, 1.5 mm
- Small flat-head screwdriver
Speakon plug connectors were invented by the Neutrik company in 1987 and have become the professional audio industry's standard for speaker and amplifier connection. There are several types of Speakon plugs, but the simplest to wire is the 2-pole NL2 connector. The NL2 uses one pole for connection of the positive wire (1+) and one for the negative wire (1-). The plug is marked internally with the pole number and requires basic wiring skills. The Neutrik Speakon is comprised of four parts: housing, insert, chuck and bushing.
Unscrew the bushing from the Speakon connector by turning it counterclockwise, and pull the chuck and insert from the housing.
Strip about 3/4 inch of outside insulation from the cable to expose the two inner wires. The black wire is the negative (-) and the white wire is the positive (+).
Strip about 3/8 inch of insulation from the inner wires to expose the bare wire.
Insert the bushing onto the wire with the threaded side facing the bare wire-ends, and insert the chuck onto the wire with the rounded end facing the interior of the bushing.
Twist the end of the positive (white) wire slightly, and insert into the Speakon terminal on the insert marked "1+." Tighten securely with the hex wrench or screwdriver.
Twist the end of the negative (-) wire slightly, and insert it into the Speakon terminal on the insert marked "1-." Tighten securely with the hex wrench or screwdriver.
Place the housing over the insert, slide the chuck into the housing, and hand-tighten the bushing. Don't use pliers or other hand tools to tighten the bushing because the plastic may crack.
Start with freshly stripped bare wire for best results.
If using a solder-type Speakon connector (as with some non-Netrik brands), you must solder the wires to the terminals.
Entrust more complex wiring for the Speakon NL4 or NL8 to a professional repair shop. Because these connectors are used in multi-amped pro-level audio applications, the wiring must be properly matched to other components connected by the Speakon system to work properly.
The Speakon NL4 may be used in lieu of the NL2 by using the same 1+ and 1- wire terminals, but is only compatible with NL4 chassis connectors. The NL8 is only compatible with NL8 chassis connectors.
Using shielded audio wire in place of unshielded speaker wire may result in poor sound quality and potentially dangerous voltage and impedance conditions for your equipment.
Make sure that the chassis-mounted Speakon connectors on your speakers and amplifiers are similarly wired and compatible with the Speakon plug you are wiring. Mismatched wiring will cause loss of sound and can damage equipment.
Matt McKay began his writing career in 1999, writing training programs and articles for a national corporation. His work has appeared in various online publications and materials for private companies. McKay has experience in entrepreneurship, corporate training, human resources, technology and the music business.