For a budget - True bi-wire or bi-wire?

Simple question. I have a speaker with four binding posts and monoblocks with four binding posts(for each channel). If I have a given budget for cables (say $1000), am I better off buying two pairs of identical $500 cables and do a true bi-wire, or buy a $1000 single pair of a typical bi-wired cable (i.e. no separate cable runs, but a biwire that is simply split at the speaker end)?. This is not about any particular calbe I have in mind. It bold down to how does the improvement I get from more expensive cable compare to improvement trough true bi-wire
You have four options:

- More expensive single cable with jumpers on speaker side
- single biwired cable
- shotgun cable (two runs joined at amp's side)
- two separate runs.

Shotgun might be better than two separate runs because it might be taylored for particular speakers (woofer and tweeter) and is most likely better than internally biwired cable. Is it better than single run of more expensive cable? It depends on speaker itself. Some speakers sound much better biwired while others sound the same. Remember that single cable will require quality jumpers for speaker to replace stock brackets.

Two separate runs would allow you to sell one if you buy speakers with just one set of posts (non-biwire) or you don't hear any difference.
Your question presumes that in any given system a $1000 cable set will outperform an identically wired $500 cable set. I would not rule out the possibility that in many cases the reverse might be true. The only way to tell is by trying.

Also, be aware that some users have reported significantly WORSE sound when bi-wiring, compared to single-wiring, particularly in the bass. See the following threads, for example. Near the end of them, I proposed a possible explanation:

-- Al
Edorr, please forgiving me for butting in but I have a question which relates to the issue of bi-amping that I would like to direct to Al and may be of importance to all. I notice that the damping factor of many high end SS amps such as Pass and Krell is 200 even up to 400. The damping factor of several Ice amps such as Bel Canto and W4S is greater than 1000. As you defined in your related post this is advantageous in bi-amping. Is this an advantage in bi-wiring as opposed to bi-amping and why? Thank you.
I have Magnepan 3.6 speakers. I use a Bryston 4B-SST2 amp. I 'biwire' (two separate sets of wires connected at the amp end to separate inputs at the speaker end).
I would not bother to have one set of wires with two sets of connectors at the speaker end.
I would go for either the two sets of wires conneted to the amp, or the better set of wires.
It's totally up to you.
I have used Kimber 8TC for years, and stick to it. So two sets of Kimber 8TC makes perfect sense for me.
I use WBT connectors at the amp end of the speaker cables. The WBT connectors have set-screws to hold sleeves crimped on the wires. I can make the crimps on each wire, or both of the set, so I can make them as is always together, or, just be able to release the set screw and the cables separate, no problem.
Tgrisham, that's an interesting question, to which I can't give a definitive answer, but I can offer some thoughts.

To the extent that high damping factors may be advantageous with a particular speaker in a bi-amped configuration, I would expect that the high damping factor would also be advantageous in a bi-wired configuration, but to a somewhat lesser degree.

However, my feeling is that the extremely high damping factors that Class D amps commonly offer are overkill, and the sonic differences those amps may have relative to other amps are most likely due to other factors. And with some speakers, a high damping factor will actually be disadvantageous.

First, consider that damping factor = amplifier output impedance divided into 8 ohms. A ten foot run of very heavy 10 gauge speaker wire has a resistance of approximately 0.02 ohms for the 20 foot round-trip that the signal has to make. That means that even if the amplifier has an infinite damping factor, the damping factor seen by the speaker would be limited to 8/0.02 = 400. And that neglects the resistance of the connectors and the wiring inside the speakers, as well as the possibility that the speaker cables may be narrower in gauge or longer.

Damping factor can be important for two reasons, as I see it: Damping of back-emf from the speaker drivers, particularly the woofer, and interaction of amplifier output impedance with the speaker's variations of impedance with frequency.

In both a bi-amped configuration and a bi-wired configuration, back-emf energy from the woofer will be conducted directly back to the amplifier, where it can be effectively damped by the amplifier, assuming the amplifier has a reasonably good damping factor. In a single-amp'd, single-wired configuration, a small but conceivably significant fraction of the back-emf may be conducted across the jumper, or through the speaker's internal wiring if the speaker has only a single pair of terminals, to the mid/hi drivers, where that fraction of it will not be effectively damped and where some of it (at frequencies that are in the crossover region) may be re-radiated as sound. That may or may not be subjectively preferable.

To the extent that the amp does not provide complete damping of back-emf in the bi-wired configuration, some small fraction of the back-emf energy may also reach the mid/hi drivers, through the wiring from the amp to those drivers, which is why I indicated that bi-amping might provide marginally greater benefit in terms of damping.

The second factor I mentioned, effects on overall frequency response resulting from interaction of the speaker's impedance vs. frequency characteristics with the amp's output impedance, I would not expect to differ significantly between a single-wired configuration, a bi-wired configuration, and a bi-amped configuration (assuming identical amps). The most significant factor in that regard would be whether the particular speaker design was voiced based on the expectation that it would be used with a very low output impedance/high damping factor amp, such as most solid state amps, or with a high output impedance/low damping factor amp, such as some tube amps, or with some compromise in between.

Note that Atmasphere's very highly regarded OTL tube amps have damping factors on the order of 2! Which means that they will tend to deliver a power level into the speakers which is relatively constant as a function of the speaker's impedance vs. frequency variations. While a more conventional low output impedance/high damping factor amplifier will deliver an output which is constant in voltage relative to those impedance variations, while delivering increased amounts of power at frequencies for which the speaker impedance is lower. See Ralph's paper on this subject here:

The common sense bottom line, imho: Amplifier/speaker synergy is critical; damping factors above a couple of hundred or so (and possibly well under that) are useless and are not the reason for the sonic signatures that Class D amps may have; and bi-wiring is largely a matter of trial and error and user preference.

Best regards,
-- Al
Al - don't forget about crossover components. Woofer is most likely in series with inductor that has resistance in order of 0.08ohm limiting damping factor to about 100. Icepower class D amps have DF=4000 at low frequencies - an overkill.
Yes, good point Kijanki. Thanks!

Best regards,
-- Al
Thanks for the detailed response. As I have learned, it is trial and error. That makes any review of amplifiers superfluous unless you have the same speakers as the reviewer!
In my experience bi-wiring has more to do with the xover and whether the manufacurer intended the speaker to be bi-wired. A good example is Dunlavy speakers. John Dunlavy was not a believer in bi-wiring, however, after numerous requests from reviewers and dealers John installed a second set of binding posts to accommodate bi-wiring. I experimented with single wire and bi-wire on my SC-IVs with several types of wire and I always preferred the sound with single wire. On the other hand Vandersteen speakers sound better bi-wired, so it really depends on the design of the speaker.

There are only two genuine wiring methods, true Single wiring and true Biwiring. Every other by-product of this is a pseudo configuration.
If a speaker is built for true biwiring, meaning separate crossovers for each pair of terminals, it will sound far superior in biwiring configuration. In such a situation even a decent set of two separate run wires (true biwiring) costing say about $500 in total would easily outperform a single wiring set costing $1000 or even more.

Whereas if your speaker is not built with true biwirng as part of the design, even though it might have multiple set of terminals, you would never benefit from biwiring, you are much better off buying a nice pair of single wiring set.
In fact it can sound worse with biwiring as well.

You need to ask your speaker manufacturer whether the speaker is designed for true biwiring. IF he suggests you biwire, you can be pretty much sure that he has done it internally.