A show of hands please - bi-amping question

norks27

Novice Member
Hi all,

Just a quick one for those who bi-amp their Arcam amps.

Integrated Amp, e.g. A32, handling the High Frequency
Power Amp, e.g. P35, handling the Low Frequency

How many who bi-amp follow this pattern or do some prefer the integrated amp to supply the low frequency and the power amp to supply the high frequency?

I'm far too lazy to try the combinations myself but I'm curious as to how others have set up their bi-amped system and why. I never myself questioned how I would set it up, it just seemed logical to have the integrated amp power the high end but I'm not sure why I arrived at this decision or even if it is logical. Perhaps it does not make a blind bit of difference.

Thanks for reading,
Richard
 

Druboo

Novice Member
Hi norks

When my system had the A22 and P35/3 this was how I bi-amped my fronts, with the centre bi-amped between the P35's 3rd channel and the AVR300. Never tried it the other way around, so I cant comment if there was any difference.

I see you have the AV8 and the A32. Is this in the same system or are you running a separate stereo system?

Rgds
 

Michael_B

Novice Member
For what it's worth, as an experiment I tried out the configuration you first suggest (A32 high, P35 low) and I have to say that it made no audible difference to the sound of my 703 speakers when playing at reasonable listening volumes to any source material, be it pop, jazz or classical, compared to the usual bi-wired feed from the A32.

Perhaps if I had turned it up to neighbour-irritating levels, I might have noticed some improvements in sound reproduction due to bi-amping. However, for the levels I listen at, the A32 seems to drive a pair of 703s with no issues at all. Thus, I am not particularly disposed to purchasing another box of electronics in order to bi-amp the front speakers, and will leave my existing P35/3 to power the centre and rears.

I did read somewhere that bi-amping is usually surpassed in performance terms merely by purchasing a better quality single amp, at twice the price of either of those used in any bi-amp configuration :)

Cheers,

Michael.
 

norks27

Novice Member
Hi norks

I see you have the AV8 and the A32. Is this in the same system or are you running a separate stereo system?

Rgds
I use the processor mode of the A32 to power the fronts via the AV8 and for 2ch playback the DV139 is connected to the A32. I guess it is a hybrid system of sorts, but it's all one system.
 

Druboo

Novice Member
I use the processor mode of the A32 to power the fronts via the AV8 and for 2ch playback the DV139 is connected to the A32. I guess it is a hybrid system of sorts, but it's all one system.
Thanks

That was how I was running my AVR300 and A22/C31. With the arrival of my AV9 which I'm in the process of setting up I'm hoping to retire the AVR and the pre and let the AV9 handle stereo duties, along with bringing the sub into play in stereo :D

Is it that you are running 7.1 and require the A32's amps?
 

norks27

Novice Member
Thanks

Is it that you are running 7.1 and require the A32's amps?
The AV8 feeds the A32 and P35 to supply the fronts and the remaining P35/3 powers the rears and centre. Bi-amped fronts for 2ch and 5.1 and the rears and centre are just powered by the P35/3. Hope that makes sense.
 

RAW.hu

Novice Member
I have an A32 and a P35. I use 'mixed' cabling: the A32 drives left bass and right treble, and the P32 drives the left treble and right bass. This mode sounds far better than when one of the amps drives bass and another drives treble on both speakers. The reason is that about 90-95 percent of power need to drive the bass-mid section, and 5-10 percent to drive the treble. When one amp drives both bass section, it must supply the 90-95 percent of power. If you use 'mixed' cabling, both of them must supply only 50 percent.

You can easily check this in your bi-amped config: swap the bass and treble cables in one of the speakers (keep an eye on polarity), and listen it.
 

SO8

Member
I use the P35 for the low frequency + A32 for the top end.

FWIW I tried them the other way round a while back .... and could hear no difference.
 

ianmacd

Active Member
I use the processor mode of the A32 to power the fronts via the AV8 and for 2ch playback the DV139 is connected to the A32. I guess it is a hybrid system of sorts, but it's all one system.
I do the same for my AVR300. It had been suggested before that the AV8 (and now AV9 I guess) was a better stereo preamp than the C31. Not sure how accurate that is. It may be worth as an experiment putting the A32 in poweramp mode only and feeding directly from the AV8 and feeding the 2ch from the DV139 to a spare (if you have one) 2ch input to see if it sounds better.

I am particularly interested in this as I was also planning on getting an AV9 at some point and dropping the preamp part of the A32 in favor of the AV9 (or later ;) ) dong preamp duties.

Ian.
 

proux

Novice Member
I have an A32 and a P35. I use 'mixed' cabling: the A32 drives left bass and right treble, and the P32 drives the left treble and right bass. This mode sounds far better than when one of the amps drives bass and another drives treble on both speakers. The reason is that about 90-95 percent of power need to drive the bass-mid section, and 5-10 percent to drive the treble. When one amp drives both bass section, it must supply the 90-95 percent of power. If you use 'mixed' cabling, both of them must supply only 50 percent.

You can easily check this in your bi-amped config: swap the bass and treble cables in one of the speakers (keep an eye on polarity), and listen it.
That sounds logical, has anyone else tried it?

In response to the OP, Arcam actually recommend using an integrated for HF, and power amp for LF. For complex reasons I do the opposite (A32 - P25/3), but didn't hear an obvious change from when I had it the "correct" way round.
 

norks27

Novice Member
That sounds logical, has anyone else tried it?
Never tried it myself, just stuck with what you described, integrated - high end and power - low end.
 

jlms4

Standard Member
Hi, as i only have power Amp to biamp my fronts :
I use the P35 for LF of my Kef 104/2, and the P35/3(with the same toroidal power as the P35) for the HF and the LF of the Kef 200C .
The sound is better in the bass with the P35/3 on the 200C LF than with the P85 (used for the HF)
But, it seems to be obvious to plug this way and i think the use of the power amp for the LF is better, ans will be almost better if the bass speakers are hard to drive or to control .
Good luck in your listening tests.
 

Michael_B

Novice Member
Surely the power amplifier element of an A32 and a P35 are identical, in that a P35 is basically an A32 without the preamp and input selection section[1]? I get the feeling that people have a psychological tendency to consider a power amplifier to be capable of 'delivering more' than an integrated amplifier of the same specification, merely because it has the word "power" in its description :rolleyes:.

I have carried out various bi-amp experiments with my A32/P35 for the front speakers (B&W 703), and noticed no improvement/difference. Given my listening room, and preference for listening at levels that avoid physical pain, I tested various material (pop, rock, jazz and classical) only upto a volume level of 55-60 according to the A32 display. If there had been a noticeable improvement I would have happily entertained the idea of an additional P35 for stereo listening, especially given the stock-liquidation prices currently around as the new models are released. Nevertheless this was not the case...

I would imagine that more is to be gained from improving the quality of sources (and/or indeed loudspeakers) rather than spending on additional power amplifiers, unless one's existing speakers are exceptionally power-hungry to start with. And as I understand it, the larger B&W speakers are not known for having measly requirements in terms of current.


Michael
[1] Or an A32 is just a P35 with added preamp, if you so like :).
 

videoaddikt

Standard Member
I went to a little extra trouble to wire up bi-amp cables between my Arcam AVR350 and Dali Ikon 6. I also bi-wired my center channel (Dali Vokal 2).
Since I have a 5.1 system, delegating ch. 6&7 to this task seemed like a no-brainer.
I've been too lazy to try them not bi-amped. Besides being very pleased with the results at this point.
 

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