Bi-Wiring and Bi-Amping - Thoughts and Experiences

(Daniel Beyer) #1

I know for me, I went with a custom bi-wiring cable from Blue Jeans on the newest pair of speakers. I definately like it better than using a connecting bridge.

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Showing (off) your Roon setup - description and photos
Showing (off) your Roon setup - description and photos
#2

Hmm, I wonder if this is worth starting a thread about. I don’t want to muddy this thread.

Bi-wiring/amping has always left me conflicted.

(Daniel Beyer) #3

Done
/10char

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#4

Here is my conflict/confusion about bi-wiring/bi-amping.

I have read that bi-w/bi-a is a holdover from the old days of inefficient speakers and under powered amps. That it has no place in most of today’s systems.

I read conflicting opinions on the benefit of greater wpc. Some hold that it improves the SQ, albeit most of this info is in amp adverts. Others say wpc only provides more volume, which seems to be the consensus.

For me, bi-wiring/bi-amping occupies the same territory as sub-woofers. There if one needs them, but best not to ‘muddy’ the SQ waters.

The conflict is when people, whose opinions I have come to respect, say that these approaches make a difference. A difference how?

Comments?

(Martin Webster) #5

In theory, at least, bi-wiring changes the impedance of the load on the amplifier–most notably at the cross-over frequency–and therefore the frequency response. Assuming you can hear this, it does not mean one method is better than the other.

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(Daniel Beyer) #6

As mentioned, I will eloborate for myself. The last two sets of speakers I purchased both had dual posts to enable bi-amp/bi-wire. The first pair had a bridging plate between the posts sets, I replaced that with Audioquest BiWire Jumpers. There was a slight difference in sound quality. I didn’t spend a lot for them and they looked better than the ugly plate.

When I got my latest speakers, I decided to get Blue Jean cables made for bi-wiring. It sounds great, but, I’ve never bothered testing the sonic differences. I was just happy to have a neat looking system plugged up. Enough so, that eventually I will get the same speakers for the other speaker pair, when they start getting more use.

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#7

I have a set of speakers with this feature and never tested them but did do some research on this and what I have read around the web is that bi-wiring was referred to as buy-wiring. This from audio electronic sales folks.

However they had different takes on Bi-Amp. It seems to be the way to go because you are actually designating separately the wattage and frequency to a particular speaker or speakers in the cabinets.

Never tested any of this out.

–MD

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#8

i had a pair of jmLabs speakers with dual posts for bi-wiring – i was using them with a bi-wire configured cable for quite some time. at some point, i switched to a single-wire speaker cable and used jumpers (made from the same conductor wire as the speaker cable) to connect to the other set of posts. i liked the SQ of this configuration quite a lot better than the bi-wired cables.

the speaker i use now only have the one set of binding posts.

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(Davidyny) #9

I’ve had five audio systems over the last 35 years. In general, from my experience, I would rank in order of improving sound for speakers with more than one set of terminals:

  1. Using jumpers made from the same cable as the single run of speaker cables
  2. Using 2 runs of the same brand of speaker cables, bi-wiring from a single pair of monoblocks
  3. Bi-wiring (or tri-eiring) from two pairs of monoblocks.
    The cost of each set up increases quite significantly, but there has been for me a very easy to hear increase in performance.
    If you can afford it I would recommend that you try it.
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(Tom Keenan) #11

I recently bought a pair of Bluejeans cables (Canare 4S11) with 4 bananas at the speaker end. I wanted something thicker than the 16AWG I’d been using for 15’ runs, and with more reliable terminations. I wasn’t expecting audio nirvana from bi-wire, per se. But I thought having 4 X 14AWG conductors would be easier to connect (more flexible) than 2 X 10AWG (or 12 AWG). You do pay much more for jacketing and terminations. Plus, I wish I’d ordered spades for the speaker ends instead of banana plugs. The biwire does not flex and hang down as straight against the speaker backs as I’d hoped. All in all, I don’t think it is worth the extra cost/fuss. Not for my system (and ears) anyway.

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(Trevor Cameron) #12

“How is bi-wiring working for you considering you have 350wpc at your disposal without?. I’ve heard pros/cons on bi-wiring and bi-amping.”

… Slim, to be upfront here, I can’t quantify a positive difference in SQ. I’ve tried single and bi-wired on this system and in reality I reckon it’s a placebo SQ thing going on sometimes.

I find comfort in the following thinking, ‘high current’ bass signal is traversing a separate path/cable to the fine detailed treble signal and plus no nasty jumper plates at binding posts.

Also, the Silver Speaker cables were not that expensive and so for ‘bling’ factor … I say why not.

Regarding the WPC thing, in my experience, lots of power/grunt in reserve shines at low volume in the most sublime ways. On some tracks I listen to, it’s a profound difference, e.g. A kick drum still sounds and feels exactly like a kick drum even at low volume settings. Power = Control. Some what analogous to driving a large displacement high torque V8 vehicle, needing no throttle input while letting out the clutch.

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#13

Aha, but I don’t think it’s the WPC, per se. I think it’s the headroom and that’s probably a result of other components in the amps, i.e. capacitors (?).

An anecdote -
In the 70’s Adcom amps made their bones by having gobs of headroom. A dealer demonstrated this to me by turning an Adcom amp off while the music was playing. The music kept playing for 4-5 seconds more, albeit at a lower volume. This ‘reserve’ couldn’t have been because of WPC since the power had been cut.

Then again, maybe headroom is only important for transients.

Thanks.

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(Trevor Cameron) #14

I reckon you are correct here, more accurately described as headroom over raw power.

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(Gary Aigen) #15

I have Artemis Eos 2.1 speakers which allow a multitude of different wiring configurations as they have upper and lower speaker boxes each with 4 connectors. I have had these for many years and have tried many ways of wiring them.

My preference became to connect my amp to the bass cabinet and then used a 1m set of jumpers from the bass to the mid and then another set of short jumpers to the tweeter, this was my preference for years. I tried many sets of jumpers from the mid to tweeter and heard differences and had my favorites.

Now, I bi-wire from my Levinson amp to the mid/tweeter box. I use two sets of AQ Rocket 88’s as a bi-wire pair. Beats all of the jumpers that I tried by a margin. If I was to go back to jumpers, I would reverse the flow and attach the amp at the tweeter and jump down.

I also bi-amp using a JL Audio CR-1 crossover and a set of Wyred-4-Sound mAmps for the bass cabinets but that is another story.

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(Ged) #16

Capacitors. My old exposure amp would go on for ten seconds or more as the case was chock full of caps.

(Chris Brown) #17

The other thing that bi wiring buys you is the ability to use different speaker wire on each of the drivers.

Until recently I was bi amping my Martin Logan ESL-X’s with 4 runs of Chord silver plated copper cable, driven by 4 channels of a 6 channel, 100WPC amplifier. The mid/high ES panel SQ was very sweet and pulled out the delicacy of jazz drum brushwork and the very high notes in Bach’s Toccata and Fugue. However, I always felt the bass was lacking some control and wasn’t quite as tight as I would like it. The ElectroMotion ESL-X’s have quite large, twin cone bass units and I am limited on my speaker placement options.

I was then able to pick up two, suitably long runs of Linn K400 cabling (two pairs of cables per run), which I was planning to use to connect all four channels. On connection, though I found a good improvement in the bass range, I lost some of the delicacy form the mid/high panel that I had with the Chord silver plated copper cable.

So now I’m running with the Chord cables to the mid/high panels and the K400 to the bass units, which provide me with the best, to my ears anyway, overall balance to SQ.

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(Ken Kyser) #18

In my experience, upgrading the jumper bars at the speaker will give the biggest improvement.
I believe the brass bars are the worst. Ideally, the jumpers would be of the same wire as the speaker cables, but good factory jumper wires can be ok. I replaced the bars on my KEF reference speakers and the difference was quite noticeable in imaging and soundstage. Bi wiring (which is not bi amping) will effectively reduce the resistance by half, and can help the amplifier. This means two separate runs of wire, not just double terminations on the speaker end. Thanks, Ken.

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(Stephen Graham) #19

I would only add that some speaker manufacturers do recommend bi-wiring. Vandersteen is one that comes to mind.

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(Martin Webster) #21

This is incorrect. The input impedance of the speaker will be the same whether bi-wired or not. Simply moving the jumper off the speakers and back to the amp makes no difference.

Now if you were to connect two 8Ω speakers to the amp then the resulting impedance would be 4Ω. But this is not the same and connecting the LF and HF sections using bi-wiring. You aren’t taking into account the crossover network.

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(Bruce Young) #22

My experience with B&W 802 D2’s and the older 802 Nautilus speakers with either Krell or Jeff Rowland amps was - bi-wired improved the sound noticeably.
I have read much on this as well. Most advice has been the opposite of my experience. Your mileage will vary depending on speakers, amps, and cabling for sure. But I’ll never go back to single runs with these speakers. BWY

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