Bi-Amp Crossover Advice

I have 3 questions:

1)to finally bi-amp my Maggie 3.6R's I need a crossover and I am trying to decide between a Bryson 10b, Marchand 44 or Marchand 126. I plan on using the 2 amps and a sub, so I want to run one amp to the high/mid section of the Maggies and the other amp to the bass panel. Then I want to use the crossover to sum the low frequency and send to the sub (probably below 38hrz). I am shying away from the Marchand 126 because I have read several reviews that say it can color the sound, and I don't want that. I want to hear the amps, not the crossover. So any comments on the Marchand vs the Bryston??

1) I am keeping my Cary CAD 500 MB's for the bass panels, and either using the Cary 120s or (2)McIntosh MC275's bridged. I am leaning towards the Cary for continuity and cost. I am just wondering if 120w per channel is enough for the high/mid's? I am also thinking about the Rogue 150 MB's? Opinions on this set up? I like the idea of the McIntosh amps, I have always loved them, and even if the bi-amping doesn't float my boat, I would prob keep at least one of them, just because they are such awesome amps.

3) With the cost of this "improvement" should I just upgrade my amps to the Bryston 28sst instead? Net cost would be about the same>

I have the 3.6 and have tried them in biamp, stero, monoblocks, and they always sound musical. I use the Marchand XM44 and it is splendid, the XM26 is way too dark and veiled in comparison. The XM44 gets out of the way. I think you should consider the Bryston amplification as it is just magical on the maggies. All you need is the 14BSST though. The 28BSST will only add 3dB for a lot more money. These speakers are not for loud sessions, but for finesse. The Bryston are the best sounding SS amps on these speakers (Magnepan)period. In fact, they sound more tube like than my tubes. They are sweet, full bodied, and make me think I should have just bought the 14BSST, forgot the Marchand and lived with the simplicity of passive Xovers. In fact, I am using the 4BSST, and it sounds splendid until the lights flash (about 95dB spl large room) reminding me the 14BSST would have been a better choice, but the sound is so complete, with no grain, zero SS edge. I have tried the Pass preamp, the EAR 834, Music Reference RM5 MKIII, and the Quicksilver Full function modified, and the EAR and Quicksilver were the best, followed close by the MR, then the Pass. The Pass was just a bit lean. I have also tried the 20k CAT legend, and the CAT was great, but the Quickie was right there as was the EAR. Jallen
Macdadtexas, if you want the crossover to be "out" of the sonic chain, I recommend the Bryston X-over then. I have not found a better x-over for my MG-20's. The Pass Labs x-over is a step above sonicly, but retails for around five or six thousand dollars, they come up used every so often.

Jallen, no disrespect to your position that Bryston amps are the "best" sounding SS amps you can use on Maggies, however that leaves out system synergy and personnal taste. I have had Bryston amps power my MG-20's and have always found that, to my ears, Pass Labs amps always sound more musical to me in my system.
Why not use a Dahlquist LP-1.It can be easily upgraded and isn't bad in stock form.
Are you talking bi-amping, in which both amps get the entire signal, and then feed the crossover, or do you want to go active? By going active I mean: the signal from the preamp is fed to an active crossover, which feeds the poweramps (each amp getting a limited frequency spectrum), which are directly connected to the Maggies.
Satch, I am talking active. Both the crossovers I mentioned are active x-overs.

Jallen, I have used the Bryston 14bsst in my system previously, and it is a special synergy. But to be honest, not the best amp I have used. My current Cary CAD 500 MB's I feel are a level above, and I thought the Innersound MonoBlocks were in the same league.

That is good info on the 28 Bsst's though, thanks.
Mac said, "I want to run one amp to the high/mid section of the Maggies and the other amp to the bass panel. Then I want to use the crossover to sum the low frequency and send to the sub (probably below 38hrz)."

Would you not then need a three way crossover?


"If the first 100db suck, why continue?"
The LP-1 is passive on top/active bottom.It sports L+R high/low outs and two summed/mono outputs (2 stereo/2 mono for subs).
I have 3.6R's and use the XM44 crossover. 120 watts on the mid/highs should be enough unless you need "headbanger" levels. I have 150 tube monoblocks on the mid/highs but have used as little as 75 watts. I use a 300 watt SS amp on the bass panel.
Works really well.
If you want to save a few bucks and can solder, the XM44 is available as a kit. I enjoyed putting mine together.

I have experimented with bi-amp the 120s and the 500MB and was disappointed. I did not use a x'over. I used the balanced and unbal outputs on my cary slp-05. The 120s did not provide me with the sparkle that I was looking for. An upgrade to the BEAST - 28b-sst may provide you with better results. The resale on the 120s is not that great either.

Thanks, that's good info. I'm thinking more and more about, THE BEASTS. They sure look good.
And now to burn the barn regarding crossovers- I have not read anyone describing the real differences between what seem to be the 'big three' quality active crossovers: Bryston B10 standard balanced, Marchand XM44 balanced, and the Rane AC22/23. The Bryston is $3K, and only has gain for mid/high, not the low end. You must rely on your pre amp for that. It has something very few x-over's offer: adjustable crossover slopes, although not as steep as the other two. You are paying for that and it also takes up some real estate inside the chassis. I have read where others point to that 'lack of crowded circuit board' as a weakness of the XM44 in direct comparison to the 10B. To me it is a little gimmicky for wht it brings to the table in non-studio use. Maybe that is why no others have it, nobody is asking for it? James Tanner will not say it but that feature has a negative effect on the signal. Compared to not having that feature anyway. It is also only a two way stereo x-over, you need a pair to go 3 way, $6K!!! The Marchand XM44's ($1,300) down side is the frequencies are fixed based on what you order- once you get it you cannot change frequencies without buying new modules at $100 each plus labor to remove/install new ones unless you are savvy. I do believe that the XM44's balanced frequency module is sonically suprerior and a bit more accurate than any available rotary/adjustable scheme thatmakes contact with several circuits of different value. Take a look at the Marchand modules on their site. Just compare the module to Bryston's rotary multi- frequency scheme. Now imagine if you had a module of the XM44's quality (and size, 2.5 by 5 inches) for every available frequency on the Bryston 10B standard's two frequency knobs. The 10B would become a MASSIVE component costing much, much more. The XM44 has gain for each channel and you can order slopes that are much steeper that the 10B, 48db per octave. The Rane is the most flexible, with gain for each channel, adjustable freqs for each channel, even adds delay if you need it. Rane is balanced only. You must order the Marchand as 2, 3 or 4 way, the Rane is variable 2 or 3 way but I think you need a pair to go 4 way. Rane $450, Marchand XM44 3-way balanced $1300, Bryston 10B $3000. A perfect crossover would combine the Bryston and Marchand- ditch the variable slopes, have gain on each channel with adjustable frquencies. The Rane has that although it does not have the premium parts, low noise or low distortion specs as the Bryston and Marchand. If you are a set-it-and- forget-it guy and you know what freqs and slopes you need, the Marchand is the answer. If you like to fiddle, tweak and expiriment the Bryston or Rane is the ticket, depending on budget. The Rane and it is really quiet and a solid performer if you just want to wade in slowly it is a good value and the most verastile should you change your system. The Rane has the option of being switched to either 2 or 3 way stereo in a single unit, the others do not. To my ear the XM44 and 10B are both dead quiet and I can't pick out which one has the more 'trasparent' sound or better dynamics. IMHO there is defintely not a $2,000 difference (for 2 way stereo XM44 as 10B is 2 way stereo also), that part is a no-brainer. So there you have it, a year of switching cables and long listening to maybe help you make the call. It was fun but of the 3 contenders, one is a permanent member now, bi-amping Magnepan 3.6Rs with Bryston 4BSSTs, guess who won? I suppose it's obvious I ordered the XM-44 with frequency modules and slopes for the Maggies. Besides it has that cool retro sci-fi look also...but I don't want this to be a plug for Marchand here. 3.6R owners, make the move and get that cheezy little box off the rear your speakers.
by Lingbopper
Buy one "quality" amp to run the 3.6's! Bi-Amping is over rated.

I have tried the Bryston and it is not a great xover. I also tried the expensive Pass XV1 and gave up! To Bi-Amp correctly you need two identical amps, because at the crossover point "both" amps are running, and any difference will show up as distortion.

You also need much more cabling, and an excellent active xover that can be set in 0.5 dB steps with proper filter types.

IMO you will not beat the stock 3.6 xover after long term careful listening. The slight advantage of lower IM distortion and increased dynamics, is overtaken with the typical drawbacks.
An Active crossover that is worth checking out is the Accuphase F-25. Accuphase is THE crossover choice in Japan. They have been making active crossover since the seventies. I have an F-25 and it is an excellent unit.