Biamping 101

Oh, the pain of being a "newby". I hear arguments for biamping and biwiring, but I question how benieficial - and how safe - the methods are over just buying higher-quality equipment.

I own a Hafler DH-500 amp, and will probably acquire another one in a few days unless someone here gives me a great reason not to - and am considering biamping a used set of PSB Stratus Goldi's or Thiel 2.3's.

I've read some postings about using external crossovers to biamp; are there recommendations on a specific crossover to use?

Also, how do I get the signal from the receiver/preamp to two different amps for the mains? I guess an overview of how the wiring should go would be quite helpful.

Thanks for entertaining and educating the newby.

Depends on whether you want to vertically or horizontally bi-amp. W.2 identical amps, you could do either, w/o an external x-over, IF your speakers are set up for bi-wires (I think Thiels are not). For horizontal, one amp drives the L & R woofers; the other the mid/tweets. In vertical bi-amping, one amp drives left side (one channel for woofs, one for mid/tweets), the other the right side. If you have two sets of outputs from your pre-amp, you can do it pretty easy, just run both lefts (or rights) to one amp for vertical, one left and one right to each amp for horizontal bi-amping. You will need Y cables for horizontal bi-aamping; for vertical you can use Y cables, or parallel the input jacks internally. However, you may want to consider going up the food chain and getting one better quality amp at the place where you are.

I suggest you look before you leap.

>>I question how beneficial ... the methods are over just buying higher-quality equipment.

Well, why go out and buy a second amp if you do not have a clear idea of what it will do for you and how it works? Sounds potentially costly to me.

Both approaches have their place and are valid in themselves. Bi-amping, in particular, offers advatages that cannot be had by upgrading. IMHO, bi-amping is far more beneficial tha bi-wiring.

However, in some situations I think it would just be better to get better equipment rather than bi-amping. I'm not familiar with your stuff so I can't speak to your situation.

>>I question how safe - the methods are

They are safe.

>>I've read some postings about using external crossovers to biamp

In order to bi-amp properly you really need an external xo and you need to disconnect part of the passive xo in your speakers (usually bass to mid networks/ high remains). This is one of the main advantages of bi-amping - putting an active filter in the small signal area of your system instead of a passive filter between the power amp's op stage and your speakers.

There are any number that work and you do not have to get fancy.

>>I own a Hafler DH-500 amp, and will probably acquire another one in a few days unless someone here gives me a great reason not to

My suggestion would be to have a clear undestanding of what you want to do BEFORE you go out and spend money. Saves time, effort and cash.

>>I guess an overview of how the wiring should go would be quite helpful.

Again, my advice is have a clear understanding of these things before committing yourself in one direction. Some of the nicest sounding systems I have heard have been bi-amped but some of the worst sounding have been too!

Rather that reinvent the wheel here I suggest you read this link a few times so you understand its basic points prior to your purchase.

Good luck!
I remain,

Excellent link for Biamping basics. Thanks for the same!
(once again I say this: you better change your moniker! You are hardly "clueless"!! :-) )
Hey, thanks for the kind words Bombay.
Happy Holidays!

I remain,
Buy the best integrated amp you can afford and a good pair of speaker cables keeping the length as short as convenience and aesthetics will allow. Then sell off the rest of your gear. The speakers you are considering are both very worthy of better amplification than you can get from the Hafler no matter how many of them you apply.
Plinius is a good place to look for ample power and quality sonics at a modest price.
There's a lot to be said for simplicity.
Clueless as usual provides many clues. Link is excellent, but of course only applies to horizontal bi-amping. Vertical bi-amping does not require an external crossover AND reduces crosstalk. However, Macro gives good advice. Bi-amping is probably something you should consider down the road. If you go with the Thiels, you might want to seriously consider upgrading electronics, as they can be ruthlessly revealing. Another good choice for an integrated at a lower pricepoint than Plinius would be AudioRefinement Complete (lower price badge from Yba). I've got one that puts out a very robust 50 wpc and it is very nice sounding and pretty smooth, which would work well with the Thiels.
Thanks for the great advice, all. I'm looking at upgrading electronics before getting the Thiels now. I've read elsewhere here that for the same money, one might be better off with a McCormack amp (looking at DNA .5 I think it is) along with a preamp rather than an integrated at the 1k-$1500 price range. However, I've read less than good things about McCormack's passive pre's, and I get the impression I'm paying for an expensive volume knob with a passive pre. What do you guys think? McCormack separates or a Plinius (looking at 8100, 8150, or 8150i). seems universally accepted that Thiels want alot of power. How can they be amply run with 50-100wpc amps?

Thanks again for helping me along!
I am just starting to get my bi-amped system together. I will be using a Behringer DCX 2496 active digital crossover, which goes between your pre-amp, or source, and the power amps. You can also use it to tri-amp, or to connect a subwoofer, bypassing all of the internal crossovers in the speakers and the one in the receiver or pre-pro. The Behringer is fully balanced, so you might think about getting amps etc, that are balanced as well. Check the archives, you'll find more info there. Sonny