Has biwire speaker cabling become "old" ?


I notice some makers are not stocking biwire termination. Has biwire gone out of favor ? Was it sonically meaningless ?
Have speaker makers dropped it ? Do us owners of biwire built speakers need to resort to jumpers or aftermarket biwire cables now ?
garn509
I don't know, but I am bi-wiring my Legacy Focus SE's with two pairs of stereo speaker cables (took the jumpers out) and it sounds great (smoother and tighter in the bass). I think it's a bit more musical as well.

The interesting thing is that the single-crystal cryo-treated copper wire and dielectric material for each pair is the same, but the pair going to the mids and highs is a lighter gauge and costs about half the price of the pair feeding the woofer sections. I'm using 6' runs.
Whether or not biwire has any value is debated. Some believe it only has value if two pairs of cables are used, and that internal biwire cables are useless. I did read an interview long ago with a very well known speaker designer who said it was easier to design his speakers for biwire than to explain why it was useless to do so...
Audiophiles are a fickle bunch, things become popular, then lose popularity, then cycle back around again. I've biwried, and not biwired, they both work.

The biwire does sound good, but for me, at this point in time, I'm having more success running a higher quality (re: more expensive) single wire run with a quality jumper. I wish I could afford to biwire with the cables I have, but sadly, I can't.
I had a conversation with John Dunlavy a few years ago on this very topic. His position was that the only way a second set of cables would be of any value is if they had the exact electrical characteristics as the first. Since this is hard if not impossible to achieve, it would be much better to spend the extra money on better first run cables. Even then he was very skeptical about high price exotic cables that made claims that could not be empirically measured.
I don't get your post. You're using biwire speaker cables in your own system. What's your opinion on the matter? Do you hear any differences?
I"m with Z on this one. Every designer is different. My Proacs all sounded better bi wired, but ONLY when using the same wire for all the runs. My new Vandersteen's have to be bi wired. He's designed them that way and he'll even tell you that you are better off running less expensive cable to bi wire than get an expensive single cable for one connection.

This is one of those times that it makes sense to find a dealer you trust and who knows your system do you can listen to the difference in their store or they can loan you cables for you to try.
I'll biwire if my cables are setup for it but can't claim I hear any difference.
Just remember if you use a jumper at the speaker terminals and measure resistance with an ohm meter you find a short. If you remove the jumpers and run biwire cable from a single set of binding posts at the amp end, you will still measure a short at the speaker terminals. Electrically the two points are identical either with jumpers or with biwire cables. It makes me wonder what sonic difference the extra wire could make.
IMO some speakers do benefit from bi wiring and some to a lesser degree. I've been trying to find a 1 meter pair of top of the line bi-wire cables for my tube mono-block amps. They are just too hard to find in a 1 meter length terminated. I'm puzzled on that front. I simply don't like my system with the jumpers in place. I've tried inexpensive to expensive jumpers and my system seems to have a restrictive soundstage vs bi wiring my system with the same type wire. Even when I try different wiring on the woofer and the 40" Ribbon I get different sound characteristics. My speakers are Apogee Centaur Majors and my Mono-blocks are Lang M70 push pull parallel amps with a Dynaco Lineage but with 4 EL34's and a 6SL7 and 6SN7 octal front end.
I have bi-wired every speaker that I've owned that could be bi-wired, but never heard any difference in sound. Bi- amplifying is the only way I heard a difference. Just try it both ways and see (hear) what you like best.
For short distances within home audio applications and audio-signal it doesn't matter. I used single wire-run threaded through both upper and lower binding posts instead of jumper, now I have bulk Kimber 4tc where 3x3 wires are hooked up to bottom binding posts and 2x2 wires hooked up at upper binding posts and it doesn't matter simply due to very small degree of magnitude to be somehow noticable.
Not sure if I hear any difference between types of connection when length of speaker wire is increased by 10x per each speaker.
In terms of the initial question, I have not noticed that there are less biwire speakers, but that cable companies are offering less internally biwired cables in favor of double runs or jumpers, though many cables are easy to reterminate to be internally biwired. so maybe internally biwired cables are currently out of favor...
"03-19-15: Polk432
I have bi-wired every speaker that I've owned that could be bi-wired, but never heard any difference in sound. Bi- amplifying is the only way I heard a difference. Just try it both ways and see (hear) what you like best."

I do hear the difference in biwiring most of the time, and now that I use just Vandersteens, its 100% of the time. Its a big difference. But if you don't hear the difference, why waste the extra money on getting biwire cables?
My 25 yr old Spendor S100's are configured for TRI-wiring and I've been doing so for over a decade! I recall hearing a difference for the better when I 1st went 'tri' over a decade ago but haven't felt the need to experiment in quite some time. Honestly, I'm one of those audiophiles that 'plateaued' a while ago. To me, my rig sounds glorious, so now I concentrate on spending my money on the music.
I'm with Z on that one. It usually is keeping the skin effect off the lower end cables and many other things that cables deal with. I was only able to afford a pair of AQ Castle Rock bi wired, but I've heard the same speakers I own with TWO separate runs of the same cable in the same system and HOLY COW is there a difference. It wasn't slight to me either. Anytime you can keep signals separate it's usually a good things. The signals are different on each run and it's night to keep them away from each other if you can. Higher resolution systems will shows the differences most of the time.
When one's system reaches a certain level of transparency, running your speakers bi-wired is worthwhile. This means not only are your components compatible with each other, EMI/RF is not a major problem, system cabling is off the floor and neither coiled nor bundled, racking and support are sturdy, contacts are clean, clean AC power is available, the room isn't plagued with standing waves anymore, and lots of other little things that have a bigger impact collectively have already been addressed. Until then, you will probably be disappointed with the return for bi-wiring.

I have been bi-wiring for 25 years after hearing how much better everything sounded. I economized on speaker cable by setting my amps back-to-back with the speaker terminals and bought the best possible wire in the shortest possible lengths. I started with Cardas Hexseries that ran about $2500 for 2 1/2 meter pairs. These ran between Atma_sphere 100w OTLs and a pair of Snell B-types. They end in Rhodium plated spade lugs. The Binding posts on the speakers and amps had been upgraded to Edison Price. The system had very good analog sources over the years and sounded outstanding to me all that time, But, I could never hear the difference when I experimented with things like running only one speaker cable, until after I had retired and could only afford relatively cheap tweeks and changes to the system. It was only after I had cleaned up some of the nasties I listed above that the system became transparent enough to show that bi-wiring is best.

I retired the Cardas cables two years ago in favor of a really superb 1m biwire set of flat solid silver ribbon biwire cables from Ridge Street Audio. These are designed to maximize sound purity through simplicity in design. They are designed so that the bass leg is significantly larger than the one for the mids and highs.

Unfortunately, due to a recent speaker upgrade - I retired the Snells this Winter with a pair of Genesis 6.1. The new speakers are meant to be run full-range from a single set of binding posts. The best sound is said by the manufacturer to come from letting the speaker's electronics split the highs from the speaker cable rather than running an RCA or balanced interconnect. So, I have now put another superb set of cables on the back shelf.
Funny thing, my Dunlavy speakers have bi-wire terminals. If he didn't believe in them why did he put them on his speakers?
Funny thing, my Dunlavy speakers have bi-wire terminals. If he didn't believe in them why did he put them on his speakers?
Rja

Because some marketing types told him audiophiles demand it.
Anytime you can keep signals separate it's usually a good things. The signals are different on each run and it's night to keep them away from each other if you can. Higher resolution systems will shows the differences most of the time.
Ctsooner

Not sure where you got this information, but if you are biwiring using only one amp, the signal is identical on both cables.
03-20-15: Rja
Funny thing, my Dunlavy speakers have bi-wire terminals. If he didn't believe in them why did he put them on his speakers?

Speaker designers do this for many reasons. Bi-amping is a higher priority reason that speaker manufacturers use multiple binding posts than bi-wiring though. Another reason is marketing, and meeting consumer demand.
Believe it or not, some people won't buy speakers if they can't bi-amp/bi-wire.
I'm here to learn. Thanks for the info, although most posts were off topic. I thought the purpose of biwiring on the speaker end was to improve crossover performance. I have four year old Chord Rumour biwires with four conductors each.
It seemed that a quick low budget upgrade to the entire system in front of the speakers would be a speaker cable upgrade, such as to Chord Odyssey or perhaps entry Cardas or
Nordost. I was surprised to see that Odyssey and Rumour are now two strand only at Chord. They say better results are gotten with jumpers. A quick check of online retailers does not show one instance of Nordost Leif Series being offered in biwire even though these cables have multiple conductors. Cardas is hit and miss with offering biwire.
So, is this lack biwire availability a cost cutter or a result of evidence that biwire (and bi-terminal speakers) is ineffective, that it was/is a cosmetic trend only ?
Last year Nordost stopped offering internal biwire, stating it was too sonically compromised, and instead offered an increased range of jumpers for biwire.
My perception has been that anecdotal reports which have appeared here and elsewhere about biwiring are highly inconsistent. Some report substantial benefits, some report no difference, and some report significantly degraded sonics.

As examples of the latter, in this thread and this one three different people reported significant perceived (and in one case measured) loss of bass when biwiring. I offered a hypothesis in those threads as to why that might have been, but one which was speculative and perhaps not able to account for the degree of the reported effects.

In any event, as is often the case in audio the question of biwiring seems to be system and listener dependent, and to not have a great deal of predictability. FWIW, I'll note that the designer of my present speakers, the generally highly regarded and certainly not inexpensive Daedalus Ulysses, has chosen to provide them with just a single pair of terminals.

Regards,
-- Al
So, is this lack biwire availability a cost cutter or a result of evidence that biwire (and bi-terminal speakers) is ineffective, that it was/is a cosmetic trend only ?
No real answer, but a lot of opinions. IMHO, the best answer and I quote well respected poster, Almarg,

"It may or may not make a difference. If it makes a difference, it may or may not be for the better."

Some manufacturers specifically design their speakers to be biwired, and others have just added the connections as a means of "audio fashion".

IME, I achieved better results with single wire and jumpers as opposed to biwire, and as I was trying the options, I found this article that seem to describe the difference I was hearing.

BI-WIRE, NOT ONLY AN ADVANTAGE

Bottom line is you try different configurations, and go with what you like.
Thanks, Tony (Tls49). Our posts went up within a few seconds of each other. As others may not realize, my statement you quoted was from some earlier threads on this subject.

Best regards,
-- Al

Yes, posting at the same time, and you are welcome. Always enjoy reading your responses. Al, I am curious as to your opinion of the link in my post.
"03-20-15: Timrhu

Funny thing, my Dunlavy speakers have bi-wire terminals. If he didn't believe in them why did he put them on his speakers?
Rja
Because some marketing types told him audiophiles demand it."

Is it possible, however unlikely, they put 2 sets of terminals on the speakers for something other than marketing purposes? Maybe he didn't believe in biwiring, but he did believe in biamping.
03-20-15: Tls49
Al, I am curious as to your opinion of the link in my post.
Thanks for providing the link, Tony. Definitely worthwhile reading, IMO, for anyone interested in the subject. And it is refreshing to see effects addressed and analyzed in a quantitative manner, rather than a claimed effect simply being asserted to be audibly significant without regard to its quantitative degree.

I note, interestingly, that his summary of the potential advantages of biwiring focuses on minimizing interaction between drivers, but makes no mention of another potential advantage that is often cited, namely reduced interaction between high and low frequency currents that is alleged to occur within the cable itself, when single-wired. An effect that I have yet to see analyzed in a quantitative manner that would support a reasonable possibility of its being audibly significant.

His concluding point, about biwiring potentially resulting in audibly significant phase shifts at mid-range frequencies, and thereby contributing to what he refers to as the "capriciousness" of biwiring, strikes me as an excellent point which I have not seen stated before. I ran some quick calculations based on typical values for cable inductance and for capacitors that are used in the high-pass sections of crossover networks. And it does seem as he indicates that in a biwire configuration a couple of degrees or so of phase shift in the mid-range could occur with many speakers as a result of that interaction.

And of course adding to all of the capriciousness and unpredictability resulting from the competing advantages and disadvantages he describes, is that having a system behave in as technically ideal and accurate a manner as possible will certainly not always be subjectively preferable. Either in itself or due to the possibility of compensating for other issues that may be present in the system or the room.

Thanks again. Best regards,
-- Al

Al, thank you very much for your comments.
Is it possible, however unlikely, they put 2 sets of terminals on the speakers for something other than marketing purposes? Maybe he didn't believe in biwiring, but he did believe in biamping.
Zd542

Pure speculation on my part.
I recently read a review of a Vienna Acoustics speaker where the author mentioned how pressure was put on the manufacturer to ad an extra set of binding posts for biwiring. The pressure was coming from the American importer because in his opinion American audiophiles demanded biwiring.
I was very upset when I realized my speakers were tri-wired...
Curious if the pressuring importer also sold cables...
This is obviously a topic many people have questions about (myself included) based on the number and variety of responses. I recently recabled my Avantgard Trio horn speakers changing from the manufacture recommended biwire cable to a single high quality cable and then running a jumper to the powered subs. The result was much better sound which I attribute solely to the higher quality cable, not the configuration. I suppose if one could compare the biwire arrangement with the same cable used for the single run, the experiment would be complete. But that would have been outside my budget, essentially doubling my cost. Bottom line, in this case the single run cable array was the better option.
Silverline Audio recommends biwiring for all their speakers in their somewhat generic setup suggestions. When I found a used pair of Preludes years ago I found that one driver wasn't working so I called Silverline to see about a replacement (it was a wiring issue so I ended up not needing one) and Alan Yun (the owner/designer) answers the phone...a fun conversation ensued where he tells me the Preludes specifically should NOT be biwired as they're more "coherent" single wired. I tried both ways, and he was right...my conclusion is that it is taste and/or speaker specific, and nothing should be assumed without listening closely.
Wondering Wolf if Alan told you why he has biwire connectors on the speakers if they specifically should Not be biwired...
"03-22-15: Jl35
Wondering Wolf if Alan told you why he has biwire connectors on the speakers if they specifically should Not be biwired..."

To biamp.
Hard to imagine many speakers at that price point are actually bi-amped. Does having the second set of terminals and then using a jumper, degrade the performance you would get from a single terminal/single cable?
03-22-15: Jl35
Does having the second set of terminals and then using a jumper, degrade the performance you would get from a single terminal/single cable?

That's hard to say, since I've never heard any speakers that offer both options, single pair of binding posts and double pair of posts.
It would make for an interesting experiment though.
Just curious if that by offering the extra terminals to the very few who will bi-amp, that performance to those who single amp will be compromised...seems logical that adding extra cables and extra terminals will degrade performance, but logical doesn't always hold out...
My guess is that people want to biwire things regardless of how they sound so Yun stuck the posts on to satisfy customer choice issues, or he just had biwire panels hanging around and figured he's use them. I'm willing to bet a VERY small percentage of hifi freaks biamp speakers so I doubt that's the reason. He also warned me to be careful not to lose the jumpers...that was pretty funny.
Timrhu...good point about Dunlavy speakers having bi-wire terminals. On my SC-Vs I did a bi-amp arrangement with two Audio Research D200s and Audio Magic speaker cable. Sounded great. Now using higher grade single run Audio Magic cable with Marantz Reference monos it sounds even better.

Dunlavy probably would have said, "I told you so"!
New to the conversation, (actually just listening in).  I'm no expert on the subject that for sure. I would agree that all manor of connections would make changes in the sound. Full disclosure, I run Audioquest Gibralter single biwire. Also switch off with Nordost Blue Heaven Leif with Norse Jumpers. I like them both but the AQ has the edge, for my system. 

I'm finding humor in the fact that what ever way we decided to connect our speaker cables, we still end up hanging them on what are usually cheap binding posts. And who knows what cable is connecting my paradigm binding posts to the speakers.
N
As someone very suspicious of many tweaks ("special" fuses, magic dots, wire suspension bridges…blah blah), I was surprised at the results  from building a pair of what I thought were way cool jumpers to try in place of the stock gold plated metal bars on my Silverlines. My high quality solid core shrink wrapped well sorted little masterpiece jumpers sounded like crap. Back on went the stock little flat jumpers that are simply better. The end.
Wolf, I had a similar experience on my center channel in my HT setup.   It is set up for tri-wire so I built little jumpers out of some Anaylsis Plus oval 12 and it did not sound as good as the brass supplied ones.....out they came!  Who would have thunk it!
Richard Vandersteen explains bi-wiring advantage on his website.
timrhu
2,713 posts
03-20-2015 7:58am 
Anytime you can keep signals separate it's usually a good things. The signals are different on each run and it's night to keep them away from each other if you can. Higher resolution systems will shows the differences most of the time.
Ctsooner

"Not sure where you got this information, but if you are biwiring using only one amp, the signal is identical on both cables." <<<  your response to my original post.


Actually you are incorrect.  Because of reflected impedances the high frequencies curent will travel up the wire connected to the mid/tweeter and the low frequencies curent up the wire connected to the woofer. All frequencies are present but not the same amount of current in each wire.

So much info to process.  I'm certainly a novice compared to the folks in this discussion. It appears that my single biwiring may be causing a phase shift according to Nordost? According to Audioquest,  they recommend the best solution for biwiring is two separate identical runs of cables. However they still offer single biwire options on their cables? Has anyone heard from Mr. Cardas regarding this matter?

I'm going to do a true biwire with two identicle runs of cable. Can I get some suggestions on brands and AWG?
Levinson no.334 
Paradigm Reference studio 100v2
N

forget gauge.  That doesn't really matter.  Geometry and product are more important etc....  Personally I'd try Audioquest or Cardas.  Both are nice.  AQ is very neutral up and down the range and you need the DBS unit to get the best sound.  Type 44 or something like that can be a starting place.. Just look at their site.  Cardas can be darker at times.  Not a bad thing in high end audio.  It's a really nice cable.  Don't drive yourself nuts as the cable isn't as big a difference maker as spending the extra money on upgrading a full component. Too many folks lose site of this when building a system.  Richard Vandersteen had some great talking points about this topic at a seminar he did last year at Audio Connections.  He's actually coming back in May I believe.

Nordost to me can suck the life out of the sound.  I have friends who own stores who swear by it though.  Personally I have heard the Odin mk II I think they are on in a full Macintosh/Wilson Sasha 2 system and I didn't love it at all.  I couldn't live with it. I felt it sounded better with Transparent cable.  I won't buy from Transparent because Karen and her husband stole their designs from Bruce Brisson of MIT when they started out.  MIT was always very good cable for the levinson, but personally I'd stick with AQ or Cardas (who makes the OEM wires for MANY of the top audio wire brands).
yes...seperate cables for each run...not ganged together. 
Disclaimer: I’m a dealer for some of the products mentioned.
I am actually now using a crazy looking short quad wire system after previously running from jumpers/cables off a single wire and feel there is a sonic benefit. 3 of the 4 are bare wire however (insulated with clear pvc tubing) since I wanted to test the setup before springing for 4 sets of cables and was so satisfied I havent gone to expensive cables yet)
Both my amps and speakers have dual terminals so I decided to make use of them. (amps are PS audio BKH 300 monos and speakers are TAD CR1)
I’m actually running 2 sets of cables off each of the amps terminals. One terminal powers the velodyne subs high level input with another run for the enigmacoustics super tweeter and the other terminal powers the TAD’s mid/high terminal and additional run for the TAD’s woofer terminal. All the (16 Guage?) bare wire is doubled up.
I should post a pic of this Frankenstein set up for laughs. At some point I will experiment with 4 sets of short expensive cables to see if they can Improve upon the fine strand bare prototype wire I’m using that I was given to test for manufacturer.
I just read the Vandersteen website "faq" on biwiring. Very informative. 
Thanks for your guidance! 
N