I have really been torn in the past week in how I should improve my Home theater stereo System. I presently own the following gear:
Oppo Blu-ray Player Yaqin Tube Buffer (w/ 6SN7 Tung Sol Oval plate Tubes) Cambridge Audio DAC Magic NAD C-375 Integrated Amplifier PSB Synchrony Two loudspeakers Nordost Red Dawn Ics Audioquest VDM-X Digital Cable
An experienced audiophile and design engineer who designs speakers and custom electronic gear has told me that in order to improve my sound drastically I need to Bi-amp my speakers. Since PSB speakers have separate crossovers for the tweeter/mid and bass, that I could take advantage of this and bi-amp them and really make them sing.
I was told that I should buy a another amplifier and use the Pre outs of the NAD C-375 Integrated amp and even tailor my sound by selecting the appropriate amp with the same power wattage. I am thinking of getting an NAD C-275 or the Vincent Audio SP-331 Power Amp to connect to the Pre outs of my NAD C-375 and bi-amp my speakers with two sets of Harmonic Technology Melody cables running shotgun to my speakers.
I also plan to upgrade my digital cable to the HT Digital Silver cable and maybe the HT Silway link Silver to my DAC to NAD C-375 connection over my present Nordost Red Dawn.
My dealer friend disagrees with my approach that bi-amping will improve my sound as he said he conducted a similar setup with the PSB Synchrony Ones in his store and did not hear any differences. I am wondering if he is just wants to steer me in the direction of getting a Rogue Audio Preamp and NAD C-275 combination, which I have considered as well.
Any expertise and advice in this situation would be greatly appreciated. I unfortunately cannot tryout these situations or go listen to them in a store due to my location and have to rely on people’s advice.
Yes, it does make a difference but results vary widely and according to your taste so it is almost impossible to offer generalizations. The literature on this is exhaustive and there is little agreement on most aspects; but most would tell you that you will hear a difference. Better, worse, just different; take your pick; every thing you do in this line is likely to give different results and they are largely unpredictable.
My $.02 on your using Tung Sol Round Plate in a tube buffer. I think it is a shame to use those precious nearly extinct tube for that purpose. A tube buffer is just that, a buffer, where the tubes aid in matching impedances between to other pieces of gear. In your set up I failed to see a real need for a tube buffer at all. Instead get a 6SN7 based preamp if you really want to hear what those extremely valuable tubes can do. Try them in a gain stage if they are not burned out or microphonic. If microphonic they can also have a significant but less well heard impact as driver tubes. Another thought would be to buy an integrated with a tubed preamp section although I don't know any off the top of my head any hybrid SS integrated that uses them as the preamp gain stage. Many all tube integrateds use them as drivers or possibly phase splitters and inverters but not usually. Any of those chioces will have a big impact on your sound. As for biamping I think if you get the right external active X-over you can use SS amps for the woofers and tube amps on top. This is a logical but evidently difficult approach to improving sound.
Biamping is a novice's dream. But actually not a good idea for the unaware. I would never recommend a person go biamp. Only if they know what they are doing, and are certain of what the are doing, THEN yeah, good. Way too many folks want to biamp and do not know what it entails, nor what the results will be. At best it is just as good as spending the money on a single much better amp, and average, one cannot tell any difference, and at worst it sounds crummy AND you blew the money for nothing. So my adviceis to skip biamping, unless the person who said 'do it' is gonna let you audition the setup and at no cost to you if you decide it is not for you. I would definitely spend the money to upgrade on a better (single amp, or a pair of monoblocks) amp, and sell your old one. This question of biamping comes up really often, and the same advice is appropriate for nearly all folks asking about biamping. Some folks DO biamp very successfully, and praise the results. But for the average person it really is not a good idea. (if you want to try it, and can spend the money with no regrets, and like to fool around with your stuff then go for it. Otherwise forget it.)
Mechans, trust me, I thought the same thing. I got the tube buffer to economically introduce tube sound into the digital sources. I have already gotten an RMA# for the Tube Buffer as I am thinking of sending it back, and my heart feels I should get a Rogue 99, which can use those precious 6SN7s. I also have a pair of Sylvania WGT/As as well to compliment that Rogue Preamp.
I am thinking along the same lines that this bi-amp represents a huge risk for potential great disappointment given the money I would have to invest. I think logically I am much safer in getting either a Rogue Integrated Amp, or Rogue 99 Preamp and Solid State amp combination.
I use to own BAT gear some years back and crave that tube heaven again. I use to own a BAT VK-60 amp and a BAT VK-3i preamp, along with a MMF 7.1 Turntable, and Vandersteen 2ci speakers. Trying to slowly get back to that level. I just have given up on Analog and using only digital sources now.
I have heard great biamplified systems, both active and passive, and I have also heard great monoamplified systems (many more of them). The great monoamplified systems never made me think, "Now what this system needs is biamplification."
Which leads me to conclude that UHF Magazine was right when they wrote "one great amp will beat two lesser ones", and that there is some great advice in this thread.
I agree with Elizabeth 100% on this. If you are stuck on Bi amping, I would recommend active crossovers. This takes out the input/output voltage and impedance matching issues that is the abundance of the problem. You can then dial in frequency and volume and is much easier to match. Good active crossovers are expensive. I think you will find as already suggested that a better amp would make more of a difference. Good Listening, Tim
I am sorry, as I have not used this site in over 8 years and I need to catch up on things. I also have not been involved in the subject of bi-amplification until a week ago, so I wanted some expert and experienced advice, and I appreicate all the inputs provided to get me up to speed and make a good decision on how to proceed. My heart was always telling me to just stick to mono amplificiation.
I guess the purpose of my thread was to initiated conversation about biamping and the way I should go which I hope would include people's opinion about my audio gear choices, synergy issues. Did not mean to aggravate anyone. I thought it would be fun and informative to have dialog. Is their a level of expertise or audio IQ necessary to initiate a post forums? Just wondering. Just as someone pointed out about the 6SN7 tubes, confirmed my beliefs that I needed to get rid of my Tube Buffer, but it was not the subject line. I appreciate the inputs and knowledge gained through dialog.
I understand your interest in this topic and your desire to hear other people's opinions but, let me ask you, did you search anywhere for an existing or past discussion? It is a common topic of discussion with numbing repetition.
I currently don't have any interest in doing biamping at the moment and I would check other threads before opening a new thread and I don't know Rlh157 from Adam. Maybe I should have suggested that he could find a wealth of information in past threads, but no harm was done and someone did learn a few things by this thread and will now look into past threads for more info. I would just hate to see someone embarrased and give up on audiogon. I haven't been posting long myself even though I have been in and out of this business since 1979,(I'll be going to my 20th CES this year), I have been giving very practical advice and find even when I quote facts, that I am regularly challenged. On the other hand, even being in or around this business for as long as I have, I did learn 1 hard fact on these forums and have changed an opinion or two of my own and overall have found most people cordial and personable. This has been a good experience and I hope others find the same. And Kal, I can make you a promise, the subject will come up again. Good Listening, Tim
The non OP-question discussion above: If YOU CARE about other folks, then answer the OP question. If you do not care about the OP, then skip complaining, OK? Just ignore the post. One COULD have mentioned that a LOT of useful advice on this topic has been posted. But to start ('itty-bitty') flaming away does NO ONE any good (except the 'flamer' gets the smug feeling of 'dissing someone.) And to the OP: do not worry about the stuff moaning about your post. It is a fair post, irregardless of 'some' opinions posted. From your friendly AudiogoN "Politically Correct" one woman police patrol. LOL!!!
Thanks all, and FYI, I did look up a few posts on the topic of bi-amping on several websites, and saw how controversial the topic was, which led me to want to get opinions from Audiogon members as well, and information about how to improve my audio system. Your comments help re-affirm my thoughts on the matter, but I thought some folks would also give me feedback on my choices of amps. (i.e.) Whether they felt the Vincent SP-331 Amp was a better choice over the NAD C-275, and whether they thought I had some synergy issues.
I think biamping means 1. using your amp twice a year or 2. not caring much about specific male/female connections.
It does seem like a lot of trouble for home stereo (if you have a 6,000 square foot listening room with gigantic speakers, certainly biamp), and insults all those fine engineers who designed your crossover filtering, although it rewards the sales people by using twice as many amps. I was told by the dude (Alan Yun?) who designed my Silverline Preludes to not even "bi wire" 'em...less coherent he said. I ignored his advice and after spending time in my wire museum with my heat gun and solder I discovered...well hey now...he was 100% correct (he was talking about the Preludes specifically, and I have a friend who uses these biwired and loves it...so who knows?). But I do now have an extra set of perfect wires. Biamping is great for efficient (read LOUD) pro PA stuff because you get more bang for the buck for large venue purposes...otherwise...meh...although it might double your hobby time fun!
I did exhaustive research online prior to posting here on this same topic a couple weeks ago. The problem is there is so much conflicting information that you never really feel like you know what the right answer is. So us newbies to this hobby post here to get expert advice from you 'old-timers'. :-)
Look at it as a compliment that we seek your expert advice, as opposed to an annoyance.
I have tried both passive and active bi-amping with Magnepan 1.6's. It was an experiment to learn more about audio. It took several months of research, over a year of shopping for another amp and electronic crossover at the right price just to give it a go. Then a week to gut the passive crossovers, rewire, and reassemble the speakers.
What I learned with the Magnepan speakers -
Passive biamping made a small, but noticable improvement.
Active biamping made a tremendous improvement.
As others have pointed out - Active biamping is not for the faint of heart and will require some research and work. Not just to find the gear and get it hooked up correctly, but to find the proper crossover settings, as the passive frequencies and slope may not be the best for active. Also, your system may not benefit as much as mine did with the different speakers and amplifiers you have.
For me, a grand experiment that taught me a lot and ended up successful.
11-22-10: Manoterror I did exhaustive research online prior to posting here on this same topic a couple weeks ago. The problem is there is so much conflicting information that you never really feel like you know what the right answer is.
That is because, unless you decide who to believe or you experiment yourself, there is no answer, only debate. For all the information floating about on the Internet, including this forum, very little is qualified for you.
Kal; as my mother use to say, "there is nothing new under the sun". So why bother? Bob reynolds; great link. While I did not understand all of it, I understood enough to understand many of the advantages of bi-amping. I also got insight into bi-wiring and speaker design. Great read.
I was reading most of the posts and they were well written. However, what I didn't see (could have missed it) is that it really depends on your system, room and ears. Also, as I have posted several times, it you can borrow equipment from dealers and take it home and listen, that solves the problem for you. Bi-Amping works for me. However, if your stereo amp is basically an arc welder, and can drive both speakers (including the separate drivers) well, then it is "typically" a non issue. But, one must understand what bi-amping does. Typical stereo amps, have a single power supply which in lots of cases is the weak link of most amp designers. Bi-amping not only shortens the wire length of the speaker cables, which is very important because if IxIxR (power/heat) losses, but also allows the separate amps to work a lot less. If you can go to your friendly neighborhood dealer, hand that person your credit card and "borrow" another amp (for bi-amping), with cables for about a week and listen, you will see/hear for yourself. I will not go back to single stereo amp for my system, unless, it really can handle the speakers and sounds as good or better than my bi-amp system. But, I also have separate power outlets to the panel for each amp and also for my low level components. (this really made a very large difference). My advice to my audiophile/music loving friends and associates, is to always sample and listen first in your home with your music. I just happened to develop a very good relationship over the many years with my favorite dealer in San Diego, CA (Stereo Design) and I live in LA. I can take equipment home for a week or so and listen. If I like it, they have my credit card info. If I don't, I return it and no charge is made.
I will not buy sight unseen or without hearing it first in my home.
Thanks Minori for that insightful and common sense approach to bi-amping. I totally agree with you. Investing such money should involve a person being able to listen for themselves in their particular listening room since many factors are involved.
That is part of my problem, Currently living in Las Vegas (which does not have many High End Dealers), I am not in the position to be able to borrow equipment and try stuff out. I too, had a excellent relationship with a dealer in San Diego (Stereo Unlimited), and I did not even need a credit card to borrow equipment. FYI, I been to Stereo Design when I lived in San Diego. Nice store as well. I still connect my Dealer friend in San Diego, who has been in the business for over 35 years who actually did a step up for me to see if he could hear a difference, and he said he did not. Still I understand to do bi-amping correctly involves a pain staking approach.
Yes, I also believe you just need a Amp that can basically Arc weld, which reminds me of the Electronics Kinetics Eagle 2C amp I use to own back in the day that had a cult following. That was definitely an arc welder, lol.
Trying things for yourself is just wrong. You could be defying the opinions of audiophiles who's impeccable tastes have been developed through years of gear swapping and tweaking, some going without food for days to pay for a more revealing $1,200 power cord. By enjoying music on your own played through gear choices not approved by the "unseen hand" of the audio Seekers of Absolute Truth, you risk having fun at their expense, and do you really want to generate that sort of enmity? To enjoy home audio experimentation with inexpensive used gear, single wired speakers, class d amps, untreated wall surfaces, or a lack of sufficiently clean AC current is clearly a fool's game and will certainly lead to chaos and the end of the world as we know it.