There is a bit of a myth that says that the Cable Wars didn't really start in earnest until Bob Fulton came along with his first custom numbers back in the late 70s. That's true in the sense that the price of wire went up like a Roman candle after FMI and Monster got going, but it's not as if we weren't sensible to the differences that wires made before making and marketing wires became an industry.
I can remember that even back in the early 70s my audiophile chums weren't using zip cord to hook their Hadley amps to their IMF Monitors. Oh, no. They had some "secret source" who supplied them with four-gauge high-quality-copper wire--stiff as rigor mortis--the bare ends of which they kind of hard-wired (if you can call applying massive swaths of electrical tape "hard-wiring") to the Hadley's outputs and the IMFs' inputs. They didn't believe in solder or connectors of any kind--just bare naked wire.
What brings this to mind is Tara Labs new Omega Gold speaker cable--which is the highest resolution, lowest-coloration wire of any kind that I've ever heard in almost forty years of listening. I thought the original Tara Labs Omega was the cat's pajamas, but this stuff...well, it's the cat's tuxedo. I'll be reviewing Tara's new Omega Gold (and its equally wonderful new interconnect, Zero Gold) in the not-too-distant future. Yes, the stuff costs a fortune. And if you have a fortune, yes, it's worth it, IMO. But that's not the point of this blog.
What ties the past to the present here is the fact that Tara's wire isn't terminated with a spade or a banana or any kind of lug or plug. It's as bare as the four-gauge wire my pals used back in the 70s! When's the last time, I ask you, you saw an ultra-expensive audiophile cable with tinned tags of bare wire at either end? I haven't seen them on a high-end cable in years. But Tara's unterminated cables do raise an interesting question that, frankly, I can't answer: Is the phenomenally transparent, high-resolution sound of Tara Labs Omega Gold due entirely to its internal architecture or is it also due, in significant part, to the fact that it doesn't have a connector of some sort on either end? In other words, are we all missing a (slow) boat that Tara has caught when we don't use unterminated speaker cable?
Like I said, I can't answer this question, save to speculate in a commonsensical way that not soldering a connector to a wire is probably "better" than soldering a connector to a wire, in that you don't have a plethora of different metals meeting up where the music meets the road (so to speak).
I'd certainly be interested to know if you guys have some thoughts on this subject. But, for God's sake, don't go tearing the terminations off your MIT or Transparent or Nordost because Tara Labs ain't using them. Everything in a quality cable is designed for a reason, even if that reason is convenience (and, trust me, a tinned length of bare wire is NOT as convenient as a spade).