Anyone tried bi-amping?


(Music and Shawarma Lover) #1

Anyone ever try this? Since my Magnepans have an external crossover, it was very easy. I use a Krell KAV-250A for the bass and a Classe CA-200 for midrange/treble. The active crossover is a Marchand XM-9.

I really felt that the Maggies opened up relative to a single amp and using the passive crossover.

The one challenge was that the crossover is only single-ended and I was experiencing a lot of noise/interference with the interconnect from the preamp to the crossover. Finally I found a Henry Engineering Matchbox HD so that I could use a balanced connection that rejected all of that noise and then fed a single ended connection to the crossover. Now it’s dead silent!

I would encourage such tinkering. Sure, maybe it is not that different from just upgrading amps, but I really like the extra control I get by using the crossover and the gain pots on it. Gave the Maggies some new life!


(Marco de Jonge) #2

Sure :). Bi-amping by itself : I don’t think there’s any advantage to that. A lot of costs, and little-to-no return at all.

But when combined with additional active filtering like you did : yes, that can really be worthwhile. Especially when you need to filter quite low in frequecy.
Because that is something, that’s nearly in-achievable to do ‘right’ in a passive way.
Caveat is : you can never replicate the original passive filter curves, and thus you will be changing the response of your loudspeaker.
You’d better understand what you are doing, or else be prepared for unpredictable results :).

Additional bonus in that case is, that you get much better control over the balance between low(mid), and (mid)high. Ah, I see you wrote that yourself already :).

What Maggies do you have, and where do they cross over approximately ? (the last ones I saw, were probably in 1990 or so…). I indeed believe that something like this could benefit from more impedance-independent, passive filtering. Good memories about those Magnepans BTW :slight_smile: !


#3

I used to bi-amp some Magnepan Tympani iD’s with great result. By coincidence, I was also using a Krell KAV-250 (2 channel) on the low end, but an Audio Research VT100 on the high-frequency panels. The electronic crossover was a modification of an old DIY design with sulzer style power. The bottom end became much tighter when I added the bi-ampin g.

Great combo, but we moved to a house with a tiny living room, and the speakers had to go.


(Music and Shawarma Lover) #4

Agreed, biamping without taking out the passive crossovers isn’t doing anything. With an active crossover, it’s been a noticeable difference and I have been really enjoying it. And much better now with the noise floor greatly improved by going balanced.

I have rebuilt Magnepan 3.3Rs, done by John Van L of Van L speakerworks in Chicago. Phil Marchand recommended crossover at 220 so those are the modules I have in.

I also have a couple of REL subs going, so really I am tri-amped!


#5

Sounds like a great setup. I’ll bet it makes the whole room come alive!


(Chris ) #6

My Meridian DSP speakers are Tri amped by design and each amp is designed specifically for the speaker it drives. This allows DSP crossovers and Bass alignment amongst other things.


(Music and Shawarma Lover) #7

It is for me. I realize my gear is mostly older, vintage stuff. But as a younger man I could not afford more than stuff from big box retail. And so when I could get my hands on — even older – Magnepans, Krell, Levinson, it was a major upgrade. And it is pretty fun to try to squeeze the last bit of performance out of those pieces relative to spending 2x for new gear. I have friends that would never buy used gear and I understand where they are coming from, but I think I have learned a lot by having access to a greater variety of less expensive premium gear from a decade or two ago.

Going balanced to transport the preamp signal to the amplifiers was a huge shift. I had long (15 ft) RCA interconnects in as a temporary solution (the crossover being single ended) and not only did they pick up TV noise, I think the signal was also weakened. When I went back to the balanced signal, and only 2 ft RCA interconnects at the other end of the balanced cable, not only did the noise abate, but the signal sounds stronger and snappier. Not sure how else to put it. That said, I am still not a premium interconnect cable evangelist.

Some day. Gotta get the kids through college first :slight_smile:


(Chris ) #8

I delayed gratification until I was 60 and a great deal came my way… Enjoy the music on whatever system you have…


#9

I’ve also gone the used equipment route, and found the benefits far outlay the very occasional issues.

As Chrislayeruk said “. . . Enjoy the music…”!


(Music and Shawarma Lover) #10

Oh I have tried. It is just very hard to keep from going behind the rack. Maybe I need a seatbelt!


(Mr Fix It ) #11

I’m using Linkwitzlab.com lx521 with 4 channels per speaker, soon to be 5 in lx521.4 conversion with asp crossover…all analogue. My Orion’s are also 4 channels per side and the Pluto and LXmini are 2 amps per side. I only run box speakers for HT duty. All DIY builds bar the Orion’s that I got 2nd hand.


(Music and Shawarma Lover) #12

So how many amps to you have to turn on before you hear everything? Wow!


#13

How would you characterize the 521’s sound? I’m really curious given Mr. Linkwitz’s (RIP) expertise.


(Mr Fix It ) #14

Just 8 channels…a lexicon DD8 does the job with a trigger cable from my preamp. I have 5 of these amps…3 are Savant 8125 Branded but internally the same. A pair will do duty for the extra 2 channels for the .4 asp upgrade and the other 6 channels for the LXmini optionally with 2 subs.

All the Linkwitz designs sound amazing and if you can get a listen might change your listening forever.


(Mr Fix It ) #15

Punchy when needed but able to deliver unbelievable results in a good sized room…sadly my room is on the small side but I love them…and I can honestly say I built them myself, likewise for the Pluto and LXmini which I also built.

These take nothing away from older designed Orion’s which are brilliant in their own right but can’t compete when higher spl levels are wanted with some listening sessions. For jazz and vocals the Orion’s are sublime.

I can never go back to box style enclosures for pure listening enjoyment.


#16

Congrats on building something you can enjoy!


(Mr Fix It ) #17

Sorry @James_I not quite Biamping - well its kind of for the LXMini…but if you want to properly Bi-Amp then going active crossovers is the best way. MiniDSP has many options but keeping in the digital domain is your best bet.

of course bi-amp means buy amp and buy wire too :stuck_out_tongue:

https://www.minidsp.com/products/streaming-hd-series/shd


(Music and Shawarma Lover) #18

That looks like it would be a fun toy to play with! However, it looks like a box reducer…make my room look less like the Death Star. I’ve gotten used to that look…


(Marco de Jonge) #19

I asssumed those Maggies to have have cone drivers for anything low-freq…But upon searching : they don’t; even low is planar it seems.

I would think that that’s a lot easier to filter in a passive way, than regular speakers (Or said in a different way : I would not expect massive improments by active filtering, alone.)

I should audition those; curious how something like that sounds :).


(JOHN COULSON) #20

Been there done that - most important with electrostatics BUT active crossovers are the best path. I never had much success with passive crossovers.