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Bi-Wiring speaker cables considerations

blanc

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Hi,

I’m thinking of buying a pair of Bi-Wiring speaker cables with 2 connectors on one side and 4 connectors on the other side. Are there special considerations in comparison with conventional speaker cables? Do expensive cables provide more advanced sound quality?
 

mj30250

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DVDdoug

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Bi-wiring is useless, except you essentially have lower gauge (thicker) cables for less resistance and that could make a difference with very-long cable runs, etc.

Schematically, the circuit is the same. (A schematic shows the electrical connections without regard to the physical location of parts & connections.)

Bi-amplifying (with a line-level active crossover instead of a passive crossover) can potentially have some advantages. But in a typical home setup, it doesn't. And most home speakers don't allow you to bypass the built-in passive crossover so you end-up with two crossovers and the speaker is not going to perform "as designed".)

Do expensive cables provide more advanced sound quality?
No. Lamp cord from the hardware store is fine (as long as it's marked so you can keep the polarity straight). The only consideration is resistance (lower is better) and that's rarely a factor. Wire usually has a resistance of a few Ohms per 1000 feet (depending on the wire gauge) so for short runs it's insignificant compared to 4 or 8-Ohm speakers.
 
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JeffS7444

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Do expensive cables provide more advanced sound quality?
No, but improvements can seem big and obvious until you precisely level-match your before/after comparisons.
 

Ken Tajalli

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Bi-wiring is useless, except you essentially have lower gauge (thicker) cables for less resistance and that could make a difference with very-long cable runs, etc
+1
Schematically, the circuit is the same. (A schematic shows the electrical connections without regard to the physical location of parts & connections.)
Bi-amplifying (with a line-level active crossover instead of a passive crossover) can potentially have some advantages. But in a typical home setup, it doesn't. And most home speakers don't allow you to bypass the built-in passive crossover so you end-up with two crossovers and the speaker is not going to perform "as designed".)
Bi-wirable speakers usually have split Xovers, so you could connect say, a meaty bridged-amp for Bass driver and say a standard lower power, say a class A, for the tweeter.
No. Lamp cord from the hardware store is fine (as long as it's marked so you can keep the polarity straight). The only consideration is resistance (lower is better) and that's rarely a factor. Wire usually has a resistance of a few Ohms per 1000 feet (depending on the wire gauge) so for short runs it's insignificant compared to 4 or 8-Ohm speakers.
"Wire gauge" is so American! ;)
But yes, I have used solid-core house wiring loom for donkeys years.
 

sergeauckland

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+1

Bi-wirable speakers usually have split Xovers, so you could connect say, a meaty bridged-amp for Bass driver and say a standard lower power, say a class A, for the tweeter.
Sadly that won't work, as the voltage going into each amplifier is the same, i.e. the full signal, so the lower power amplifier will clip long before the higher powered amplifier. What you're suggesting is fine if the crossover is done electronically before the power amps, and the loudspeaker's passive crossover is bi-passed.

S.
 

Ken Tajalli

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Sadly that won't work, as the voltage going into each amplifier is the same, i.e. the full signal, so the lower power amplifier will clip long before the higher powered amplifier. What you're suggesting is fine if the crossover is done electronically before the power amps, and the loudspeaker's passive crossover is bi-passed.

S.
Yes good point, need to consider that. Also both amps need adjustable gain.
But the difference between a 200W amp and a 50W amp, is in the power output only, each amp receives the same voltage swing, when you bridge, you get 4x output power.
However, connecting a bridged amp and a non-bridged amp with common ground would cause an issue, hence the split xover.
Or did I get it wrong too?
 
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sergeauckland

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Yes good point, need to consider that. Also both amps need adjustable gain.
But the difference between a 200W amp and a 50W amp, is in the power output only, each amp receives the same voltage swing, when you bridge, you get 4x output power.
However, connecting a bridged amp and a non-bridged amp with common ground would cause an issue, hence the split xover.
Or did I get it wrong too?
A biwireable loudspeaker usually doesn't common the grounds, so you could use a bridged amp for the bass and a single ended amp for the treble, but they still would have to have the same output power and gain if they're to work with a passive crossover.
With an active crossover before the amps, they can be of any power and gain, (with the LF Amp being of higher power) as the crossover normally has adjustment for gain of the amps and loudspeaker driver sensitivity. The tweeter is often more sensitive than the bass driver.

S
 

pseudoid

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The question whether bi-wiring (2x-to-4x) provides any measurable improvements or not is a separate question than whether paying an 'excessive' price (for them) justifies any possible improvements.
I decided to splurge and purchase a 'reasonably' priced set of bi-wires only because some hardware changes in one of my set-ups necessitated the change of speaker cables. They had the correct (but different) types of connectors at both ends and they were sheathed properly for W.A.F.

Did I hear any difference after the change? HECK, NO!
Was the purchase satisfying? HECK, YES!
:cool:
 

Ken Tajalli

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With an active crossover before the amps, they can be of any power and gain, (with the LF Amp being of higher power) as the crossover normally has adjustment for gain of the amps and loudspeaker driver sensitivity. The tweeter is often more sensitive than the bass driver.
With an active xover, it would be an active-speaker (as opposed to powered-speaker, some would mistake for active).
That, would be a whole different kettle of fish, beyond the scope of this thread.
Tomato or tomay-to!
split xover, means not sharing any wire between bass and treble, hence the need for two jumpers for single amping.
We agree that there maybe a point to bi-amp speakers (don't wanna call them biwirable), there is no point in biwiring.
 

DOuG pRATt

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I bi-amp a pair of KEF Q100's in my home theater setup, with a passive subwoofer between the Onkyo receiver and the speakers. The sub is a lowly Radio Shack Optimus Pro SW-12 I bought about 30 years ago, after Corey Greenberg rhapsodized over its "meaty sub-woofing" in a review. I re-foamed it five years ago and, after pulling the shims from the voice coil gap, installed a new vented dust cap. The KEF-supplied foam plugs are inserted in the Q100 ports. One amp output goes directly to the mid/bass drivers, and the repurposed Zone 2 amp output goes through the SW-12's crossovers on its way to the tweeters. I tried the reverse arrangement, but it sounded pretty much the same as not bi-amping. The blending with the sub is better with the mid/bass running full range. I wouldn't have needed to bring the passive sub back into service, except when playing 2-channel music the Onkyo receiver sends nothing to the powered subwoofer. That was not the case with my previous home theater receiver, a pre-HDMI Kenwood THX model, that doesn't limit the sub to acting on Low Frequency Effects. The Kenwood was a great deal for its time. A good friend of mine, who was working at Dolby Labs at the time, recommended it to me.
 

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terryforsythe

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Bi-wiring is useless, except you essentially have lower gauge (thicker) cables for less resistance and that could make a difference with very-long cable runs, etc.
I agree.


Schematically, the circuit is the same. (A schematic shows the electrical connections without regard to the physical location of parts & connections.)
I agree.


Bi-amplifying (with a line-level active crossover instead of a passive crossover) can potentially have some advantages. But in a typical home setup, it doesn't. And most home speakers don't allow you to bypass the built-in passive crossover so you end-up with two crossovers and the speaker is not going to perform "as designed".)
If you go active, remove the passive crossovers. Easy to do with most speakers. Significant improvements can be achieved, but there is the added cost of the active crossovers and additional amplification, so it probably is not worth it for most people.
 

tengiz

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Sadly that won't work, as the voltage going into each amplifier is the same, i.e. the full signal, so the lower power amplifier will clip long before the higher powered amplifier. What you're suggesting is fine if the crossover is done electronically before the power amps, and the loudspeaker's passive crossover is bi-passed.

S.
While this should be the default rule of thumb, there are still nuances, right?

It's usually the LF section that demands more power, which means that given two amplifiers with the same maximum output voltage swing but different maximum current draw, it makes sense to use the 'beefier' (with the higher maximum current) amp for the LF section.
 
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blanc

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Thank you for your advice.

In the attachment you’ll find two pages from the manual of the amplifier.

Page 1: two speakers option

Page 2: Bi-Wiring and Bi-Amping option

Question: is it possible to activate speaker1 and speaker2 at the same time to make a Bi-Amping wiring? Can the amplifier be destroyed this way?
 

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sergeauckland

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Thank you for your advice.

In the attachment you’ll find two pages from the manual of the amplifier.

Page 1: two speakers option

Page 2: Bi-Wiring and Bi-Amping option

Question: is it possible to activate speaker1 and speaker2 at the same time to make a Bi-Amping wiring? Can the amplifier be destroyed this way?
That is just SO wrong. There is NO distortion from having the low and high frequency currents in the same wire. There can't be, because of the Superposition Principle.
Similarly, using two power amps won't improve anything, as the linearity of any half-decent amplifer is so high that again the Superposition Principle applies.
That text is purely a sop to dealers so they can sell more cable or amplifiers, which I'm sure is appreciated. It's technical nonsense, and they know it is.

S
 

Keith_W

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That text is purely a sop to dealers so they can sell more cable or amplifiers, which I'm sure is appreciated. It's technical nonsense, and they know it is.

I am surprised and disappointed that Arcam would spread misinformation in their manual. I guess I will not be recommending Arcam products to anybody, ever again.
 

wwenze

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A more general statement: Things that can be done at the user level are typically useless.

Engineers today are careful enough to design things that maintain their performance even when used by a chimpanzee.

Even if the concepts are backed by science and even used by designers: Bi-amping is used in active monitors because they provide more value-for-money, star-quad cables emit less noise / absorb less noise. But by the time the products reach the home user, any tweak will not provide audible benefit.
 

Holmz

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With an active xover, it would be an active-speaker (as opposed to powered-speaker, some would mistake for active).

Usually “Active Speaker” implies built in amplifiers.
“Active Crossover”, always implies something done before amplification.

That, would be a whole different kettle of fish, beyond the scope of this thread.

… And hence, the @sergeauckland post seems somewhat relevant.

Tomato or tomay-to!
split xover, means not sharing any wire between bass and treble, hence the need for two jumpers for single amping.
We agree that there maybe a point to bi-amp speakers (don't wanna call them biwirable), there is no point in biwiring.
 

Ken Tajalli

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Usually “Active Speaker” implies built in amplifiers.
“Active Crossover”, always implies something done before amplification.



… And hence, the @sergeauckland post seems somewhat relevant.
And there is the rub!
The two differing definitions of Active Speaker systems.
One is (yours) that any powered speaker is Active.
The other is that, it is active only if the crossover is active.
The notion of active vs passive, is determined by the crossover topology employed.
So a bi-amp ed, otherwise passive speaker is still a passive system.
I endorse the latter definition.
 
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