Does bi-wiring really make a difference?

Discussion in 'AV Receivers & Amplifiers' started by fordster, Sep 3, 2004.

  1. fordster

    fordster
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    Excuse my ignorance here folks. I've been told (and read in magazines) that, whenever possible) you should bi-wire your speakers (assuming just one amp, lets ignore bi-amping for now). I have a Rotel RA-01 (which has A & B speaker outputs) and Quad 11L speakers (which are bi-wireable). As I understand it the benefit of bi-wiring is that the bass gets sent to one set of speaker terminals and the treble to the other which results in less "muddying" of the signal as the bass can tend to swamp the treble on the cable. However, how does it split the bass and treble to separate cable runs? Surely the bass and treble go down both runs of speaker cable but the terminals only accept either high or low frequency depending on which driver they are connected to? If this is the case surely the bass is still being transmitted across the cable?

    Or am I just stupid? (Probably :laugh: )

    I did try bi-wiring (but with fairly cheap cable) and couldn't tell any difference. I've now used more expensive (but still fairly cheap - £3.49/metre) and thicker cable but am currently only single wiring. Will I notice the difference now I've got better cable? The guy in the shop thought so but he would say that wouldn't he? :)
     
  2. Chrisp7091

    Chrisp7091
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    Yeah - this is a great question I'd like to hear some opinions on myself. I've been told by one dealer (in my home town of Sheffield) that its a waste of time and is just an expensive 'fad'. I havn't heard that from anyone else though.

    I'm wondering if it only makes a difference if your speakers are ideally placed (mine arn't)?. If they're not in just the right spot, won't this entirely obscure any benefits from bi-wiring?.
     
  3. alexs2

    alexs2
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    There's a lot of threads on this topic in the forums,and it may be worth doing a search using biwiring as your topic.....it should provide loads of opinions on it,certainly,with most of us saying that it CAN provide benefits,but not always....a lot depends on the amp,speakers,and cables,and if you've tried it and noticed no difference,then I wouldn't persist.
     
  4. Mr Cat

    Mr Cat
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    well, I've upgraded my bi-wired Gale XL315s (I did notice a difference when I bi-wired them incidently, having initially only used a single run of wire) to some monster cables...now I was wanting to bi-wire these but because they're terminated this wasn't possible...so, I used some of my Gale XL315 that I use for my centre speaker to make some jumper cables which I've used to replace the strips of metal and the sound is better - without a doubt.
     

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  5. cameronl

    cameronl
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    I can tell you my experience of it.....

    Arcam A32 intergrated (using as pre only)
    Halo A52 poweramp (5*125 watt per channel)
    Quad L12 speakers

    Sound in single wire form was fine to my ears. I replaced the gold bar with a bit of speaker cable for peice of mind as i didn't trust the gold bar.

    I biwired from my poweramp to the bass and trebble of my Quads using 2 seperate runs of silver aniversary cable that were the same size. This made an instant and definite improvement in the sound for me. What it 'seemed' to do was relax the bass and put more into the trebble.

    When I thought about this it made sense as I'd had my single wire running into the bass/mid and then my jumper speaker cable (or gold bar if you haven't done this) supplied the signal to the treble. Maybe if I'd distributed the signal out better in the first place things might have been better?

    Once I had split this process i.e. 1 wire going into the bass and 1 wire going into the trebble everything was much more evened out - it was no longer mainly the bass/mid that I was hearing but also the trebble as now the signal was evenly distributed between the 2 and thus it made everything much clearer.

    imho you will not get any gain with a rotel 01 and the Quad 11L. I initally tried the Quad 11L (before I swapped it over to the Quad 12L) with my Arcam A75+ (which imo is a better amp than the rotel). The A75+ struggled!

    I think biwiring will improve the sound of the Quads but only if the amp/poweramp is driving the Quads eaisly and still has power in reserve - imho the rotel will not be able to do this.

    I hope that helps answer your question.

    CaM
     
  6. AML

    AML
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    Hi there, Im also thinking of trying this as my speakers are only conected by a thin metal plate. Ill try using better speaker cable. One other thing, is it better to use banana plugs or not?
    Ive been using them but dont notice any difference!
    I noticed in Mr Cats thread that his configuration doesnt use them, so im wondering if they are just filtering out the sound!?

    Also if I use bana plugs, how should I bi-wire my speakers?
     
  7. Stereo Steve

    Stereo Steve
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    Replacing bars with jumpers is worth it. Biwiring is not unless your amp can't cope and needs more copper in which case thicker cables would be just as good.
     
  8. cameronl

    cameronl
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    banana plugs are useful for tweakers like oursevles. They don't make it sound better but they allow the easy unplugging and plugg in of speaker cables.

    for my setup I have 2 cables going into the same banana plug at the amp end and 2 seperate banana plugs at the speaker end. i.e. 3 banana plugs per speaker.

    CaM
     
  9. alexs2

    alexs2
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    Banana plugs also ensure a relatively reliable contact that's unlikely to degrade over time as the ends of a bare metal wire connection may do after a fairly short period.
    Very easy to get,and dead easy to make up,with either soldered or screw type plugs available from places like Maplins.
     
  10. Mr Cat

    Mr Cat
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    its best to use spades for jumpers i'd say - as you'd be placing 2 sets of cables in one binding post...I cheated by placing the cable through the top of the binding post...I mearly did this as I had some spare time and thought that I had nothing to lose...

    I did goto maplins to buy some spades - but they were utter sh*te - they were only 69p for about 12, but again, thought that I had nothing to lose...but they were to small for the binding post!!

    but you could use a normal banana plug, or bare wire for the end of the jumper that goes binding post by itself...if that makes sense!
     
  11. alexs2

    alexs2
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    Best of all are WBT...superb quality and virtually unbreakable,but I'd only advise them for more costly systems.
    True that some of the Maplins items are somewhat "flexible",but they do stock some decent ones,and also have Neutrik phonos,which I thought was pretty unusual!
     
  12. Mr Cat

    Mr Cat
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    do you know where I can buy some decent spades..???
     
  13. alexs2

    alexs2
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    Try www.russandrews.com

    They sell Kimber spades,which are good quality and very robust.
     
  14. Mr Cat

    Mr Cat
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    great! don't know why I hadn't thought of them in the first place :rolleyes: as Russ Andrews inspired me to make jumpers in the first place!
     
  15. fordster

    fordster
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    Wow, thanks for the quick responses everyone. Not sure what you mean by power in reserve? I can't even take the volume close to half way before it gets too loud for my ears to cope with! :D Does this mean I have plenty of power in reserve or are you talking in a different context?

    Also, does it make a difference if you connect to the HF or LF terminals when only using single wire?
     
  16. sk4nky

    sk4nky
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    would it be okay to biwire a pair of wharfedale diamond8.3's to a yamaha rx-v450 which has A+B speaker outputs?

    sorry to jump in on this thread but its on the same topic of what the original poster is asking.

    ta :)
     
  17. alexs2

    alexs2
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    If they have biwiring sockets,and you remember to remove the connecting bar(!),then there's no reason why not.
    Just don't expect any difference,as it's not guaranteed,but can sometimes produce a dramatic improvement.
     
  18. fama

    fama
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    A friend had his naim cable single wired ofcourse
    made up so that he could replace the jumpers on his speaker
    with cable
    why not try meantime leave the jumpers on the speaker
    and plug one cable into HF and the other into LF
    see if it makes a difference
     
  19. pez

    pez
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    "Once I had split this process i.e. 1 wire going into the bass and 1 wire going into the trebble everything was much more evened out "

    this is where i get confused, as i dont understand the difference between running 1 wire from the amp terminals to the bass driver and then another wire to the higher freq driver, and running 2 wires from the amp terminals to the speaker drivers. at the end of the day the current is split the same both ways no?

    pez
     
  20. sk4nky

    sk4nky
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    im not sure what biwiring sockets are but on the back of the speakers i have 2x black connectors and 2x red connectors with some piece of metal linking the two black and two red to each colour and on my reciever i have a red and black connector for each speaker for the "A" set and the same for a "B" set.

    so for example, on the back of the lefr front speaker, i'd connect 1 cable to both reds and another cable to both blacks, right?

    where would that go on the back of my reciever? the red cable from the speaker into the red A and red B and the same for black A and black B? or red cable into A and the black cable into B?

    how i know which goes where? :)
     
  21. John7

    John7
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    You would need to connect one (pair) of wires to the black and red speaker terminals marked "HF (high frequency) and the other pair of wires to the black and red speaker terminals marked "LF" (low frequency).

    You will then have 4 "wires" to connect to the amp.

    (note that this relates to one speaker only, so for stereo, you will have 8 wires going to the amp)

    The next part depends on how your amp outputs the L/R channel output. Some amps output the same signal to both A and B terminals simultaneously. Other amps require you to throw a switch like "A+B" to enable the B output in conjunction with A. You can still bi-wire, even if your amp only has a single pair of terminals for each channel.

    Now for the next part;

    "A+B" Terminals
    Connect the pair of wires that go to the "LF" speaker terminals to A
    Connect the pair of wires that go to the "HF" speaker terminals to B

    "A" Terminals only
    Connect both pairs of wires (HF and LF) to the amp speaker terminals

    Please note that you must keep each pair of wires "in-phase", i.e the Red (or +ve) and Black (or -ve) of the HF speaker go to the correponding Red and black terminals of the and likewise the LF speaker wires. Do not forget to remove the shorting links from the speakers, or you will hear no difference!

    You need to be able to identify the polarity of each cable at both ends and to which part of the speaker it connects to (HF or LF). Get this wrong and it will sound horrible. You can use insulating tape on each end of the cable to identify which is which.

    Here is a simple(!) diagram for the AB amp option - I will provide one for a single output amp if anyone wants it
     

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  22. sk4nky

    sk4nky
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    thanks for the pdf, nice and idiot proof for me to follow. im currently using some noname cable, should i upgrade to something from ixos or the jvc cable from dixons for better performance?
     
  23. John7

    John7
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    QED Silver Anniversary "bi-wire" would be a good choice for £9-10/ metre
     
  24. pez

    pez
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    what about cat5 cable?

    pez
     
  25. upop22

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    I've got a Yamaha RX 640 with speaker A & B outputs for the front speakers I've mission M34 in the post can I BIWIRE/AMP by using speaker outputs from A & B? I can't find anything on the net about it please help!
     
  26. sk4nky

    sk4nky
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    john7: can you do a pdf for a biwireable speaker but only 1 red/black terminal on the reciever.

    i figure i can use your first diagram to wire my fronts with A+B terminals and i need to do my centers with only a single set of terminals.

    ta :)
     
  27. NinjaKi11a

    NinjaKi11a
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    Yep you can bi-wire them, just follow the instructions above.

    I'm no expert, but I would have thought that when you turn your amp on it will default to Speakers A: perhaps the inconvenience of having to change the speaker outputs each time would outweigh the minor (if any) improvement in sound?
     
  28. John7

    John7
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    sk4nky

    Here is the diagram for stereo.

    For single (centre) speaker, just omit either the L or R pair of terminals

    upop22

    I`m not sure if M34 are bi-wirable. If they are, you should be OK. You will not be able to bi-amp unless your amplifier has speaker level inputs. It is preferable to use pre-outs for bi-amping anyway.
     

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  29. John7

    John7
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    Pez

    Do you have much experince using CAT5 cable? Have you compared it to standard bi-wire cable? How was the sound? Only asking coz CAT5 is very thin and some fairly hefty currents are pumped out to speakers, especially at bass freqs.

    I`ll have to give it a try with my AX5 and B&W 603 S3

    John7
     
  30. sk4nky

    sk4nky
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    for the yamaha rv-450 (at least), it remembers which outputs were selected before it was turned off.
     

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