Bi wire = bi amp?

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by st170dan, Dec 6, 2011.

  1. st170dan

    st170dan
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2010
    Messages:
    164
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Ratings:
    +3
    Hi, first of all my apologies for starting this thread - there's probably loads of threads on this but what I have read is leaving me with more questions than I started with! I have some Acoustic Solution speakers that I have bi-wired to my Cambridge Audio A5 amp. My question is - if an amp accepts bi-wiring is it bi-amping? Or are the 2 separate? My speakers have 2 medium cones, 1 small cone and one tweeter so I feel bi-amping would be a good thing on these speakers?
     
  2. amcluesent

    amcluesent
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2002
    Messages:
    5,240
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Location:
    Glasgow
    Ratings:
    +1,167
    Nope, you need two amps
     
  3. formbypc

    formbypc
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2010
    Messages:
    1,579
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Ratings:
    +105
    The clue is in the words;

    As a human, you are a biped. You get around on two legs.
    A bi-cycle has two wheels.
    Bi-wiring involves two sets of wire.
    Bi-amping involves two amps. You only have one.

    Search google images for "biamping biwiring" - there's loads of diagrams detailing the difference.
     
  4. st170dan

    st170dan
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2010
    Messages:
    164
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Ratings:
    +3
    Ah OK, I thought perhaps it was possible to have 2 amps built into one or something. So going on from what I've learnt in one of my previous threads, I'm not getting any advantages from having my system bi-wired atm?
     
  5. Mr Pig

    Mr Pig
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2008
    Messages:
    2,754
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    103
    Ratings:
    +255
    What bi-wiring and bi-amping do have in common is that they are both largely a waste of time! It's a way to get money out of gullible people who confuse quantity with quality.

    The same is true of MP3, surround-sound and the X-Factor.
     
  6. st170dan

    st170dan
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2010
    Messages:
    164
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Ratings:
    +3
    The theory behind bi-amping sounds good, whether it is or not I wouldn't know!
     
  7. peritus

    peritus
    Banned

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2010
    Messages:
    425
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Ratings:
    +30
    In all honest you're probably holding back your speakers capabilities in bi-wiring them as well.

    You amp isnt the most powerful in the world so it'd be better for you to run a single set of cables to your speakers and just replacing the speaker cable jumper bars for some of the same cable
     
  8. st170dan

    st170dan
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2010
    Messages:
    164
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Ratings:
    +3

    What do you mean by this?
     
  9. st170dan

    st170dan
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2010
    Messages:
    164
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Ratings:
    +3
    Starting to get a little bit confused? Why would they put terminals on the back of the amp to bi-wire if bi-wiring it would be disadvantageous to the speakers?
     
  10. peritus

    peritus
    Banned

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2010
    Messages:
    425
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Ratings:
    +30
    Some people feel that bi-wiring helps, in 'some' cases it can but in most cases (I've found personally) that it detracts from the sound and holds back the speakers a little

    A 2nd pair of terminals is there usually for folks who may want to power another set of speakers elsewhere etc...
     
  11. formbypc

    formbypc
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2010
    Messages:
    1,579
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Ratings:
    +105
    The idea of bi-wiring is that you connect both sets of cable to one set of terminals at the amp, and the two sets of terminals at the speaker.

    If you're connecting one set of cable to (say) Speaker A and the other to Speaker B terminals, then setting the amp to Speakers A+B, I'm not convinced you're getting the best effect.....
     
  12. BlueWizard

    BlueWizard
    Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2007
    Messages:
    22,626
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Ratings:
    +4,309
    Woo-hoo!

    I've got graphics!

    This came up in another thread recently, so I took the time to create some graphics that show the difference between Bi-Wiring and Bi-Amping.

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    In the top photo we see Standard Wiring one amp, one speaker with the Speakers Terminal Jumper Bars (yellow) in place.

    Next, Bi-Wiring, one amp, one speaker, but two speakers wires with the Terminal Jumper Bars removed.

    The last graphic shows Bi-Amping, where two amps are connected together to allow them both to drive the same speaker, again, especially in this case, the Speaker Terminal Jumper Bars MUST be removed.

    In some cases, the extra amps for Bi-Amping can be the unused channels of a Surround Sound amp.

    Others are free to copy and use these graphics.

    Steve/bluewizard
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2011
  13. steveledzep

    steveledzep
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2009
    Messages:
    485
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Location:
    Swansea
    Ratings:
    +56
    You have Acoustic Solution speakers ! It doesn't matter how you connect them. Single wire, Bi-wire or Bi-amp they'll always sound crap !!! Get some decent speakers and just single wire them and enjoy the improvement !
     
  14. John7

    John7
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2004
    Messages:
    2,848
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    136
    Ratings:
    +998
    Harsh, but probably true :eek:
     
  15. st170dan

    st170dan
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2010
    Messages:
    164
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Ratings:
    +3
    Haha, I've had them donkeys years, approximately 12 years. I have to say replacing my hifi speakers is not a priority for me atm and isn't likely to be for some time yet. I have my speakers wired up like the guy in this thread

    http://www.avforums.com/forums/hi-f...udio-a5-inconsistent-instructions-manual.html

    Only I haven't removed anything from the speaker terminal. What's these jumper bars you keep mentioning?

    So should I look to re-wire my set up as per the first pic? I have 8 speaker outputs on my amp (4 +, 4 -) which I had presumed meant I had to bi-wire them ie to the 4 terminals on each speaker. Given that the 2nd pic shows 2 terminals going to 4 terminals and I have 4 terminals am I technically bi-wiring? Sorry for all the questions, just trying to make sure I understand. :smashin: If this is the case, I'm not really sure what the extra terminals on the amp are for - unless they are for connecting a sub woofer when bi-amping?
     
  16. st170dan

    st170dan
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2010
    Messages:
    164
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Ratings:
    +3
    A very crude diagram of my wiring

    [​IMG]
     
  17. st170dan

    st170dan
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2010
    Messages:
    164
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Ratings:
    +3
    Just realised one of my questions was answered here. This would make sense but my amp doesn't have the ability to switch speaker sets. I just have 8 terminals on the back.
     
  18. Mr Pig

    Mr Pig
    Well-known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2008
    Messages:
    2,754
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    103
    Ratings:
    +255
    Because idiot buyers demand it. Back in the eighties a number of respected speaker manufactures started putting extra terminals on the backs of their speakers, despite knowing it was pointless, because dealer feedback told them they were loosing sales because if it.
     
  19. BlueWizard

    BlueWizard
    Distinguished Member

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2007
    Messages:
    22,626
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    166
    Ratings:
    +4,309
    I assume, for the speaker shown, you are using the Speaker-A and Speaker-B terminals? That's fine, but it is pointless unless the Jumpers are removed from the speakers, and of course, both Speaker-A and Speaker-B have to both be turned on.

    I wouldn't buy wire in order to Bi-Wire, but if I had spare wire laying around, it is worth trying out. Just don't expect much from it.

    Steve/bluewizard
     
  20. st170dan

    st170dan
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2010
    Messages:
    164
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Ratings:
    +3
    What's the jumper you keep mentioning? I've not removed anything so I assume they are still in place. By the sound of it it sounds like I need to rewire these speakers, which I will do when I get some spare time.
     
  21. st170dan

    st170dan
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2010
    Messages:
    164
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Ratings:
    +3
    Just had a look at my speakers, I want to try leaving them bi-wired but removing this jumper bar to see how it sounded. However I couldn't find anything connecting the terminals. TBH I'm not entirely sure what I'm looking for but there was no bar - all 4 terminals were independantly wired to the circuit board. i tried doing some pics but I only have a camera phone and it's rubbish in poor light, had to do them in night mode, hence extra crap quality:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I'll be amazed if you can make anything out there!

    I could really do with getting this sorted as I'd like these to be wired correctly and performing to the best of their ability - even if they are Acoustic Solutions speakers!!
     
  22. fyonn

    fyonn
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2002
    Messages:
    1,013
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Warrington, UK
    Ratings:
    +164
    whoa there, if there's a jumper bar, it'll be on the outside, no need to go opening those fella's up!

    the jumper bars just connect the two positives and the two negatives together, thats all.
     
  23. st170dan

    st170dan
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2010
    Messages:
    164
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Ratings:
    +3
    OK, I opened them up because I couldn't see anything connecting them on the outside. I'll do another pic tonight to show you.
     
  24. fyonn

    fyonn
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2002
    Messages:
    1,013
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Warrington, UK
    Ratings:
    +164
    Right, lets think of some examples.

    a) a simple 2 way speaker with 1 pair of binding posts. 1 tweeter, 1 woofer. you connect a single pair of cables to the binding posts and behind the panel, each post splits the signal into 2 equal signals, one going to the tweeter, one going to the woofer. the one going to the tweeter goes through filter to remove all the low frequency signals, and the one going to the woofer goes through a filter to remove all the high frequency signals. this bit is called the crossover. then the cables go straight to the driver itself and presto, sound

    b) a 2 way speaker with 2 pairs of binding posts. one set for the high (tweeter), one set for the low (woofer). both these pairs of binding posts are connected to crossovers and then the drivers as in the example above, but there is no connection to each other so if you single wire the system then you'll either only get the low frequencies or the high ones depending on which post you connected to. so bi-wireable speakers always come with jumper bars (or really short cables) which connect the high and low positives and the high and low negatives together. this way if you want to single wire them then you'll get a full signal but if you want to biwire them then you should disconnect the jumper as otherwise the biwiring is pointless.

    this is what people meant. it sounds like your jumpers have been mislaid or lost. don't worry about it, they're easily replaceable with short runs of speaker cable if you only want to single wire, and if you're biwiring then it doesn't matter.

    hope that helps.

    david
     
  25. st170dan

    st170dan
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2010
    Messages:
    164
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Ratings:
    +3
    Thanks, that's helpful. There is definately nothing externally connecting the terminals so I guess they must be removed. I bought these from new but set them up literally when I got them, a good 12 years ago or so. I wanted to try experimenting with the wiring as I have always had them bi-wired but recently learnt on here that I may not be getting the best from them bi-wired. I then learnt about the jumper bar - perhaps I did remove it all those years ago. Each speaker has 2 woofers, 1 smaller woofer and 1 tweeter and my amp accepts bi-wiring, so thought this made sense initially. I guess I'd need to bi-amp ideally.
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2011
  26. formbypc

    formbypc
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2010
    Messages:
    1,579
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Ratings:
    +105
    So you have 4 terminails for each speaker; 4 left, 4 right.

    That must be 2 positive (+) 2 negative (-) each side.

    There must be some form of labelling to distinguish between the pos/neg pairs? I don't have a manual for the amp. You might do. What does it say?
     
  27. fyonn

    fyonn
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2002
    Messages:
    1,013
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Warrington, UK
    Ratings:
    +164
    As others have said, the benefits of biwiring are controversial. some thing it's an excellent upgrade, others think it's snake oil. some speaker manufacturers give you the ability to biwire, some speaker manufacturers will sell you speakers that cost over £5k and only have a single set of binding posts.

    if you want to know if you can hear the different, cut a short length of speaker cable and short the two positives together and the two negatives and then single wire the system together and see if it sounds the same to you.

    incidentally, the question about bi-amping.. I think many would say it's as controversial as bi-wiring. I think most would agree it's worth doing if you run an active crossover before the power amps, and then have the amps wired directly to the drivers. that's worth it, but passive bi-amping..? questionable...

    dave

    PS. okay, so active crossovers you ask? the crossover described above is whats called a passive crossover. it's powered by the signal coming in from your amp and it takes up power, probably half the power coming off your amp is powering the crossover not making noise.

    an active crossover is one that runs at line level (i.e. the phono's out of your pre-amp) and runs of mains power and thus takes nothing off your signal. the line level signal then goes into your power amp, is amplified and then straight into a driver in your speaker. this means that the amplifier is only amplifying signal for that driver, not for any other driver, it also means you need an amp channel for every driver. so in your case, you'd need 4 stereo amps :)
     
  28. st170dan

    st170dan
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2010
    Messages:
    164
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Ratings:
    +3
    This is correct, there is labelling on the amp to tell you if each channel is left or right and positive or negative. I think I might have a play this weekend at single wiring it and adding some cable to jump the terminals - I'll see how it sounds. If I don't like it I'll change it back.
     
  29. formbypc

    formbypc
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2010
    Messages:
    1,579
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Ratings:
    +105
    There's a manual PDF at Cambridge's website, and I'd suggest that the OP should be wiring the single A5 amplifier (?) as per either Figure 2 or Figure 5, depending on whether or not the biwire terminals on the speakers are linked or not.

    Some figures state integrated amplifier in the heading, but actually show a pre/power combo....... hmmmm very confusing.

    Took me a while to figure, but if your biwire terminals are in place on the speakers, you connect to the outer sets of terminals on the amp. If you remove the biwire links on the speakers, then from left to right its

    HF Right
    HF Left

    LF Right
    LF Left

    If you're single-wiring it, just strip more insulation from the cable and use the one cable to bridge LF and HF at the speaker end - like this - there's no need for separate jumper cables. Neg to Neg, Pos to Pos at speaker end

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2011
  30. st170dan

    st170dan
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2010
    Messages:
    164
    Products Owned:
    0
    Products Wanted:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Ratings:
    +3
    The amp does say integrated on it. Not sure what that means or if that changes anything?

    Great pic, cheers
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2011

Share This Page

Loading...