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Help with Bi Wiring please

Jason W

Novice Member
Hi, i'm about to setup a Pioneer SXN30AE and a pair of Q Acoustics 3050

The speakers can be bi-wired which i have never done before, just want to make sure my intended way of wiring them is correct

I've drawn a simple diagram using only the right speaker, using green as the negative cable

Is this a correct way of bi-wiring?

I know the speakers are 6 ohms, but confused if the resistance changes when bi-wiring, and not 100% sure what this means either, can someone explain?


Diagram

 

noiseboy72

Distinguished Member
Your diagram is correct, but bi-wiring is of no benefit. You amplifier only has 2 channels of amplification, so all you are doing is doubling up the thickness of the wire. If you are using at least 1.5mm cable, it is more than thick enough and bi-wiring will show no difference.

Bi-amping is a different prospect. Here you use additional amplifier channels to separate the drivers. Impedance doesn't change very much whether you bi-wire or bi-amp.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
Save your wire. Bi-wiring is of no real value and some speaker manufacturer just add the second pair of binding posts as a fashion item rather than being of any benefit.
 

dante01

Distinguished Member
Bi-wiring is no different to using thicker wire and the thickness of wire you need is determined by the length required. There's basically no benefit to bi-wiring speakers.

You may find this article of interest:

Conclusion
So we leave off with the question is bi-wiring or bi-amping audibly better than a single cable or single amp connection? As we previously discussed bi-wiring audible benefits are usually negligible assuming you've already started out with a low gauge speaker cable to begin with. Bi-amping can offer an improvement in sonics, and dynamics depending on the equipment and implementation. However, when dealing with very top shelf amplification and loudspeaker components and crossovers, a single amp, passive speaker connection can still offer incredible fidelity often equaling or rivaling similar active alternatives.

and this:
 
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Jason W

Novice Member
OK thanks all, for now i've just wired it up as normal and kept the bridges in.

Just out of curiosity, the second lot of connections on the pioneer amp that i have, if i used them wouldn't that technically be bi-amping, as the power is coming from a separate terminal? (As in the SXN-30 is designed to power 4 speakers is desired)
Or does it need to be a totally separate amp to be classed as bi-amped?

Apologies if it's a stupid question
 

noiseboy72

Distinguished Member
It's not a stupid question.

Some amplifiers have separate amplifier channels for each output, but yours is a stereo - 2 channel amplifier with a switched set of outputs. You can easily tell this as the stated minimum impedance for each output increases if you are using 2 sets of speakers, hence, the drive is being shared across them.

Bi-amping requires totally separate amplifier channels for each driver. Lots of AV receivers offer this, using spare amplifier channels - IE: a 7.1 amplifier where 2 of the surround channels can become bi-amp channels.
 

Jason W

Novice Member
It's not a stupid question.

Some amplifiers have separate amplifier channels for each output, but yours is a stereo - 2 channel amplifier with a switched set of outputs. You can easily tell this as the stated minimum impedance for each output increases if you are using 2 sets of speakers, hence, the drive is being shared across them.

Bi-amping requires totally separate amplifier channels for each driver. Lots of AV receivers offer this, using spare amplifier channels - IE: a 7.1 amplifier where 2 of the surround channels can become bi-amp channels.
Ah right that makes sense, thanks :)
 

TurntableNewbie

Novice Member
I had a similar question but with the Pioneer A10-AE and Wharfedale 9.1s.

I was looking to set up my wiring following Jason W's figure but reading the articles and opinions shared here I'm not sure it is worth it now. Hmm....

Can I ask two silly questions?
1) if the wiring is set up following OPs figure, how does that affect impedance? The Wharfedales are 6 Ω (so 3 Ω load on the amp - just trying to get my head around electronics). The Pioneer manual states that the amp impedance should be changed to 4 Ω when using 6 Ω speakers, "You have to change the setting on this unit if any of the connected speakers have 4 Ω or more to less than 8 Ω impedance. Change the speaker impedance setting to 4 Ω". Is this still true when wiring follow Jason W's diagram? Or, should 6 Ω speakers not be wired up to two channels as the back of the A-10AE states 8-32 Ω when A+B terminals are both wired up?

2) dante01's post was very informative. So using channels A + B on the Pioneer A-10AE is not an example of passive bi-amping becuase it is a stereo (as per noiseboy72's answer)?

Sorry for the silly questions, only it has taken a long time to save for an 'adult' Hi-Fi system and I don't want to blow the speakers or cause any damage to the amp.
 

noiseboy72

Distinguished Member
The impedance doesn't change when you bi-amp or bi-wire. This is because the impedance is a product of frequency as well as resistance, so the power required at a specific frequency remains largely unchanged.

With Bi-wiring all you are doing is inserting another length of wire between the amplifier channel and the speaker. The crossover is the same, so nothing will really change. If you Bi-amp all you are doing is sending a full range signal to each driver. The crossover and characteristics of the driver will simply ignore out of band information and not consume power at those frequencies.

The impedance switch on most amplifiers reduces the power supply rails so that the output power remains about the same for lower impedance speakers (Watts = Volts x Amps and Amps = Volts / Resistance (In this case Impedance, but let's not complicate things)) so by reducing the voltage the total power output potential is reduced. This protects the amplifier from trying to deliver more power than it is able to.

The A10AE will state speakers 8-32 Ohms when both terminals as it will assume 2 full range speakers with a combined impedance. 2 x 8 Ohm speakers will present a 4 Ohm load, so this is the minimum the amplifier is design to drive. A Bi-wired speaker is always treated as 1 speaker, not 2 a pair.
 

TurntableNewbie

Novice Member
The impedance doesn't change when you bi-amp or bi-wire. This is because the impedance is a product of frequency as well as resistance, so the power required at a specific frequency remains largely unchanged.

With Bi-wiring all you are doing is inserting another length of wire between the amplifier channel and the speaker. The crossover is the same, so nothing will really change. If you Bi-amp all you are doing is sending a full range signal to each driver. The crossover and characteristics of the driver will simply ignore out of band information and not consume power at those frequencies.

The impedance switch on most amplifiers reduces the power supply rails so that the output power remains about the same for lower impedance speakers (Watts = Volts x Amps and Amps = Volts / Resistance (In this case Impedance, but let's not complicate things)) so by reducing the voltage the total power output potential is reduced. This protects the amplifier from trying to deliver more power than it is able to.

The A10AE will state speakers 8-32 Ohms when both terminals as it will assume 2 full range speakers with a combined impedance. 2 x 8 Ohm speakers will present a 4 Ohm load, so this is the minimum the amplifier is design to drive. A Bi-wired speaker is always treated as 1 speaker, not 2 a pair.
So if I understand correctly, the Wharfedale 9.1s (or other 6 Ohm speaker) will be fine with the A10AE going into terminal A only at the 4 Ohm setting. But the 'Bi-Wiring' configuration in OP's diagram would require 2 x 8 Ohm speakers, and hence isn't recommended for the 6 Ohm speakers?
 
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noiseboy72

Distinguished Member
Nope, it makes no difference. Bi-wiring is pointless with this amp as it only has 2 channels of amplification and the load presented to that channel of amplification will not change regardless of how you connect the speaker to it.

Use the 4 Ohm setting if you are a bit heavy handed with the volume control, otherwise for a 6 Ohm speaker the 8 Ohm setting is fine.

To reiterate, Bi-Amping and Bi-Wiring does not change the impedance of the speaker as seen by the amplifier, so you can just go by the value stated by the manufacturers. You only need to worry if you decide to connect a 2nd set of speakers. In that case a 2nd pair of 6 Ohm speakers is pushing it a little, as the load presented will be about 3 Ohms, which is under the minimum impedance the amplifier is safely rated to drive.
 

gibbsy

Moderator
In reality you will not hear any difference in bi-wiring or passive bi-amping. Bi-amping from a separate amp is a different story. It seems that many speaker manufacturers put four binding posts on their speakers as a fashion accessory.
 

Jamie

Distinguished Member
What's diamond wiring??
A quick Google suggests it's a made up name to indicate using the top terminal for positive and the bottom terminal for negative. Either leaving the links in place or replacing them with a bit of wire.
Can't see it making any difference but I dobadmit I tend to use diagonally opposite terminals on my speakers just for a bit of extra physical separation.
 

knotscott

Standard Member
Here's a an excellent explanation of the benefits of bi-wiring along with some supporting data. It's so easy to do, and costs relatively little compared to many aspects of this hobby. I'd definitely give it a shot....can't hurt, could make a notable difference.

 

dante01

Distinguished Member
The benefits of bi=wiring are effectively no different to those associated with using thicker speaker wire. There are in fact no such benefits at all unless the required length of the wire denotes the use of thicker wire in order to reduce the impedance accordingly.

Here are the recommended cable distances (+20%) one should use for various speaker cable gauges and speaker loads:

by default 2020-05-10 at 02.28.42.png




Bi-wiring is a snake oil philosophy publicised and promoted in the nineties to correspond with mainstream speaker manufacturers making their products bi-wirable. Over normal distances bi-wiring has no benefts associated with it and over longer distances, you'd be better catered for by simply using thicker wire of the correct gauge for that distance.

Don't confuse bi-wiring with bi-amping. They are not the one and the same thing!


It is also worth noting that many of the manufacturers who were initially promoting bi-wiring their products now suggest you don't and even say that you'll get less favourable results by doing so. This is despits still including 2 pairs of terminals on their speakers.

All you are doing is sending the exact same full range audio to the exact same crossover onboard the speakers using 2 runs of wire as opposed to one. You can get the exact same result using a single run of thicker wire.

The only truly effective manner in which to bi-amp is active bi-amping and this involves using speakers with no integral crossover circuitry of their own. The filtering is done externally prior to the amplification.

by default 2020-05-10 at 02.21.15.png



You'd need a reasonably large sum of money to be able to facilitate this plus extensive knowledge of how to achieve it if ever wanting to persue such a endeavour. AV receiver do not facilitate such configurations, but then again, neither do most stereo integrated amps or affordable stereo setups.
 
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noiseboy72

Distinguished Member
I read through the article linked to and so far as I can tell if just demonstrates that in a Biwire system low frequency currents won't flow in the high frequency wiring. I would have thought that would be obvious to anyone.

The article is poorly written from a science point of view and does not provide any technical information on things like the test equipment used, length of wire, cross section etc. It mentions a current probe but fails to mention what that consisted of.

This type of article is written purely to support the sale of biwireable speakers. The red flags are where it starts to suggest that the high frequency information is not flowing into the low frequency cable. Quite obviously it is, but the speaker is not demanding any significant amount of current, that's all.

It mentions intermodulation distortion reducing from about 40db to 35db below the fundamental. In an audio speaker system this would be inaudible and would have no effect on the reproduced sound.

Bi-amping has measurable gains in terms of reducing the effect of back EMF - the thing that can produce audible imd but biwiring cannot have an effect on this, as it is dependent upon the amplifier to control this effect and the method of connection is irrelevant.

I still remain totally unconvinced about biwiring but if people think they can hear a difference, perhaps they were blessed with the golden ears that otherwise passed me by...
 

dante01

Distinguished Member
I read through the article linked to and so far as I can tell if just demonstrates that in a Biwire system low frequency currents won't flow in the high frequency wiring. I would have thought that would be obvious to anyone.

The article is poorly written from a science point of view and does not provide any technical information on things like the test equipment used, length of wire, cross section etc. It mentions a current probe but fails to mention what that consisted of.

This type of article is written purely to support the sale of biwireable speakers. The red flags are where it starts to suggest that the high frequency information is not flowing into the low frequency cable. Quite obviously it is, but the speaker is not demanding any significant amount of current, that's all.

It should be noted that the article you are refering to is the piece published by Q Acoustics extolling the virtues of bi-wiring which knotscott posted a link to and not the article posted by Audioholics that I posted.

The Audioholics article suggests that bi-wiring is pointless and has no nenefits associated with it apart from those I've already outlined in relation to cable thickness:

Bi-wiring
In order to bi-wire a speaker, you need 2 separate lengths of 2 conductor cable. Both cables are connected to a single pair of terminals at the amplifier, while at the speaker end you remove the jumper straps and connect one cable to each pair of binding posts. So what difference does it make? In short: “not much”. While it is possible for bi-wiring to make a small impact in terms of changing the impedance properties of the total load seen by an amplifier, in the real world, using speaker cables of appropriate gauge (and consequently, very low resistance), the difference is practically nil. In general, our advice here is to save your money, though outside of cost, there is no harm to be done.

If you're contemplating on using a 12 AWG cable in a single cable connection vs two pairs of 12AWG cable in a bi-wire connection, go with the latter option since the overall resistance seen by the amplifier (at the crossover point of the loudspeaker) will be slightly lower. However, you can accomplish more to reduce cable resistance simply by using both sets of 12AWG cable in wired in parallel to both speaker terminal inputs, or by using a single lower gauge cable run to your speakers.
 
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