Most studio owners have to do some electrical wiring. Always check local codes to make sure you’re follow safety and legal guidelines. Traditionally, spliced wires are twirled together and bound by wire twist nuts. The twist types are problematic because a good bond requires the correct sized cap. Otherwise, they’re prone to coming loose, which makes a rework difficult. Not to mention, they never seem to do a good job joining solid-core and twisted-pair wires.

I would have never thought about reviewing electrical parts if it weren’t for a studio situation I encountered. I needed to terminate an XLR into a TT patch cable on the spot. The recording was going well, and a premade cable failed. I didn’t have time to waste 30 minutes looking for one, or to solder a replacement cable. Fortunately, an electrician told me about WAGO Lever Nuts. They’re an ingenious way to join wires. Available in two to five slot models, a Lever Nut is a small, compact splicing connector with levers that resemble a Starburst candy or a mini-pitch pipe. Each cable slot runs beneath an orange lever. Lift the lever, insert the cable, and push the lever back down. Most of the casing is transparent, permitting visual confirmation that the wire sufficiently penetrates the channel. Plus, there are test slots on both sides of each connection to check voltage, and if something goes wrong simply lift the lever and try again.

Back to the session: I happen to own the Capri Tools CP20010 self-adjusting wire stripper/cutter [Tape Op #142] and some Lever Nuts. I cut donor TT and XLR cables, exposed the wires, stripped them using the CP20010, and used three Lever Nuts to clamp the wires (ground/positive/negative). Done. The total time was around five minutes. This splice was a temporary fix, but keeping a session moving is an unsung studio requirement. WAGO’s 221 Series works with 10 to 24 AWG (0.14 to 6 mm) wires – solid or twisted. A word of caution: There are many look-alike brands, but they don’t work as smoothly as the WAGO version, and I’ve had several imitations fail due to quality control issues. Available in assortment packs, or by capacity. WAGO even offers free samples from their website!

Tape Op is a bi-monthly magazine devoted to the art of record making.

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