Banana jacks & cables?

Anyone here built a synth with bannana jacks and cables?

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I haven’t used banana jacks in electronics but I’ve performed a number of experiments investigating their physical properties. They bring a lot to the party:

  • Inexpensive.
  • The jacks come in several different forms, including terminal posts which will simultaneously allow a plug connection and a spade connection.
  • It’s easy to make up cables using ordinary speaker wire.
  • Many banana plug designs can be used easily to piggy back multiple connections, so you get “passive mults” at no extra cost.

Some people find these single wire connections difficult to understand, as they’re used to each cable coming with its own return path. There is discussion of how banana jack module designs work electrically in the fast prototyping thread. The key is that each module must provide an electrically sound return path to ground. Introducing an external signal also requires the external device to have a signal path to ground which it shares with the synth. I discuss how one would do this using an adapter cable in the aforementioned fast prototyping thread.

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One other benefit, is that you do not run the risk of connecting a patch wire to gnd as often happens if you use jack plugs and insert them in a socket.