Monoblock setup inquiry


So I'm somewhat of a newbie, but I've taken the plunge down the rabbit hole and have almost completed my system.  I'm running source(mix of vinyl and tidal)--> DAC/Phono--> Freya+--> Aegir--> Kef R3.  Currently I'm running one Aegir which is slightly underpowered for the R3's, but I have another Aegir on the way and I'm planning to run them as mono blocks. 

I've done quite a bit of research on how to set them up and can't seem to find a straightforward answer.  It seems that there's a couple different methods..Horizontal vs. vertical and bi-amping vs bi wiring.  To be honest I think I'd be ok with the simplest setup.  I'd like to dedicate one amp to Right channel and one to the left, and bi-wire if it will improve performance.  

So I have a couple questions..

1. From Pre-amp to amp do I simply connect 1 single Rca from Right output into R input on the amp to the right channel and same for the left? Or should I use both red and white cables to the Amp for the right and both for amp to left channel as my preamp has 2 RCA outs(a total of 4 connects 2 white 2 red)?
(Ive included a link with pics of amp preamp and speakers for clarity)

2. I understand that If I want to use the amps as simple mono blocks I should connect speaker wires to the top 2 red terminals on each amp and connect to speaker, but I'm wondering will I see any improvement if I chose to bi-wire the speakers? Are these amps even capable of bi-wiring? it seems that the outputs on the amp don't distinguish between HF or LF output? does that matter? 

3. And if I do bi-wire should I use a different set of speaker cables that have good performance with HF and a set that has good performance with LF? or will I still see improvement if I use 4 of the same cables?

I would personally take advantage of the additional power of bridging each stereo amp to mono rather than bi amp .....YMMV
Sounds like a good opportunity to try them all and learn about the speakers and amplifiers. If you do, please do report back on your outcomes...

That said, I find a single amplifier running each speaker (full-range) to be best *in my system*. I lose coherency with different channels running the two sections of my speakers in a vertical bi-amp setup. I never tried the horizontal bi-amp due to insufficient speaker cable length.

@yogiboy  Thanks, that link helps a lot.

@oddiofyl the specs for the Aegir give it 80W at 8 ohm when used as mono.  Do you know how that will be different if I vertically bi-amp? Would it be correct to assume 40W for HF and LF for each speaker?

I am leaning towards vertically bi amping as I think I will see more benefit with separating High and low frequencies rather than just throwing more power at the speakers.  I typically don't push them too hard and listen at reasonable volumes.  Although I could be wrong as I have no real world experience with this and am going solely based off what I've gleaned from various discussions on this forum related to this topic.  I am however all ears if you want to explain your position any further..
Don’t forget to unlink the HF and LF on the Kefs before you hook everything up.  
@cal3713 thanks. I probably will try some different combos to see how the system responds.  Will report back eventually

@yogiboy definitely will unlink the HF and LF posts.  My preamp actually has paired outputs (2 2 red and 2 white connection ports) which I believe are both active at all times(I could be wrong).  My plan is to use 2 red RCA cable to the right channel amp and 2 white to the left channel amp, if that doesn't work then ill go with Y-adapters. 

@millercarbon Why do you suggest integrated? I was under the impression that separate components are better..

3,539 posts
10-18-2020 6:58am
Take a look at this, it should show you how to bi-amp. You don't bi-wire if you are bi-amping your speakers!


You know it's funny my experience, everytime, not some of the time EVERYTIME. Horizontal vs Vertical. 

Horizontal works much better. WHY? I like valves(tubes) in the pre amp position and the monitor (mids and highs) position. 

I don't like using valves to reproduce (most) of the bass. When I get a valve that does GREAT bass, there is always something missing, in the mids or highs. I quit trying and came up with a solution about 25 years or so ago..

300-500 hz down I like SS, with DSP and Servo below 80 or so.
With Silver wire / Teflon covers.

The mids (tubes) I drives with SC copper/tungsten, wrapped with pure 99.9999% silver wire (Mexican silver manufactured in Israel) .01, 3 wraps per inch. for a 10" run, NO INSULATION. They are in wooden enclosures with 10" turret boards. Up to 12 different combinations per turret, board..
I just settled on the copper/tungsten/silver combo.. for the mids.

Just the opposite of the way most folks use copper and silver cable...

Because of that combo, there is not  a timing issue like SS over SS driven horizontal. BUT TRUE Tube bliss and SS BASS baby...BOOM BOOM in the ROOM ROOM...

In the information he (the reviewer) spent little time as to WHY vertical was better in his opinion. Honestly, I don't think they knew. When I read a cable he just happened to have laying around, made it sound "acceptable", I kinda knew, something was up..

A good cable is a good cable.. or it's bad..Especially doing the testing he was doing... You want a generic cable, with a know signature.
Copper, Silver. Alu, or clads of any of the aforementioned. DON'T mix the cables, the mixture of cable compositions, is pure "TWEAK".
Not good for testing at all...BUT great for the finishing touches..

Enjoy in any case.

Post removed 
Congratulations and have fun.

Never presume one method superior for all systems. Audiophiles have vastly different priorities,  and will advise accordingly.  

Try the different methods and pick. 

My preference after many systems:
Mono with bi-wire, then
Vertical passive biamp,  then
Horizontal passive biamp 

But with a new rig it is wise to revisit all, if possible.  If nothing else, it teaches a wee bit of the vastness of the performance spectrum.

Triple check connections. 

Assuming active biamping unavailable. 
Never just go with one suggestion  when you can try several to learn, and find your optimum.   :)

Your speakers have internal crossovers so you might as well bridge those amps and get the extra power out of them. Nice set up BTW.
I also have a Freya+ and 2x Aegirs, Note that you need to use XLR connection for monoblock mode. As for which sounds best, you need to try it out which works best for you, but for me:
Monoblock sounds cleaner and slightly more defined, but slightly leaner as well.
Vertical/Horizontal/single sounds the same to me, but is slightly richer vs monoblock.
I would probably choose monoblock mode for the R3.
@douglas_schroeder  how is mono with bi-wire different from vertical Passive bi-amp?

@abasia Where did you find the info on using XLR for monoblock mode? I've scoured the web and read the Aegir manual(surprisingly unhelpful) and haven't been able to find much info about setup instructions.  Also related to my previous question If I use the XLR cables for mono block mode would there be any benefit to bi-wiring?(or using 2 cables from each amp to HF and LF posts on speakers?) Also on the Freya+ are both SE out terminals active? would I use those to do either vertical or horizontal amping?

I think there may be some confusion as bi-wiring from what I understand is technically using 2 different types of speaker cables one that handles HF well and one for LF.  I have no intention of doing that, just using 4 of the same cables to isolate each HF and LF to each channel. correct me if I'm wrong..
To start out I would use one amp for the bass/ low and the other for the tweeters/ high since the new amp will not match the old one for a few weeks. After the break in you can play with the connection options. I prefer one amp per speaker so you do not get cross talk from a channel. Bi-amping can help by removing EMI from the crossover. These are not strong amps so I would not bi-amp and just use jumpers. Please do not use the heavy metal jumpers that might have come with the speakers especially with these amps.  Use real speaker wire instead. Not sure if you can go XLR. If you can it will increase the power from 3db to 6db and remove any interference from the cables. Good choices on the equipment from Shiit Audio. 
glaspmart, you will see in the specs that in Mono mode the power rating changes significantly, doubling into 4 Ohms (and again into 2 Ohms with amps that are more suitable to drive less efficient speakers and ones with difficult impedance curves). Doubles again to 400wpc in Mono, and that’s a big difference in output from 100wpc. Pay attention to the speakers you would pair with this amp, as 1. It’s not rated for 2 Ohm speakers, and Mono is only rated for 8 Ohm speakers. IOW, it’s not a workhorse, and could be strained to use in either of those situations. Most amps are well built enough to work in those conditions, but if pushed, could cause damage to itself and/or speakers. Respect the specs.

Doubling the Output makes easily perceived changes in listening; macrodyanmics are improved, bass seems more powerful and cleaner, but not necessarily more "plump"; more headroom, which makes the amp seem to be loafing/having an easier time of it; soundstage usually opens up more and seems larger/deeper, etc. Often there is a sense of more solidity to the images.

There is often also a perceptual decrease in absolute resolution, and for that reason, some prefer biamping. Some may feel the change imbalances the frequency spectrum, and so would opt for less power and what they consider more top to bottom coherence.

Every amp is a discrete experience, and while most amps from same manufacturer are fairly easily assessed (i.e. Usually a more robust, upper end stereo amp bests two lower end mono block units - Yes, I have tried that comparison several times), no one knows absolutely which would be better performing once amps of different build (i.e. stereo, mono, etc.) are compared from different manufacturers. Generally, the upper end brands are far superior, but one simply must compare to make any definitive statements - and then, it’s a matter of preference. But, usually far superior amps garnish a lot of fans.

You simply must compare all the amplifier modes if you want to get the best result that you enjoy the most. Do not simply take advice from others who have completely different systems and have different preferences as though it’s universally superior for your setup and preferences.

Any of these could be preferred:
Different amps
Upper end models
Stereo bi-amp/ Mono with bi-wiring
Different Integrated amp
The one(s) you own in various configurations

Bi-wire is simply running to different sets of cables out from the amp (either from one or two sets of output posts on amp) to two pair of speaker inputs. If you want to use only one set of speaker cables, then you use a "jumper" between the two sets of speaker input posts. As might be expcted, there is also a difference in sound when comparing these two methods, and even changing speaker cables or mixing them in doing so confers yet another change.

There are MANY options and results to explore. Or, you can set it up one way and forget it, but you will likely not have the best sound by ignoring all the options.

BTW, amps perform in seemingly radically different ways with various speakers. I have had products I thought I knew pretty well, having used them in many rigs with four or five speaker systems of different genres. Then, I paired it with a completely different genre of speaker, and... WOW, the performance leapfrogged that of amps of a different genre. Did the less costly amp typically do so, no, not at all- so do NOT expect budget amps to pull off things like that typically. It took a particular type/technology of speaker and building dozens of systems to do so. So, one in about 20 systems was a shocker. Will the average audiophile find that? Perhaps, if they want to build 20 systems. The idea that anyone who buys a budget amp is going to get that kind of result is nonsense. Because of reasons such as that, when people make declarative statements about what is universally best, they are often wrong. 
From the FAQ section of Schiits website on the Aegir amps.

"Wait. How does the monoblock mode work?
It’s not a mode. It’s just the natural result of driving each channel with one half of a truly balanced signal. That’s why you need a preamp with balanced outputs. And that means REAL balanced outputs, not just XLR connectors. Freya is a truly balanced preamp, for example."
Semantics, really. Instead of having both Single Ended and XLR, it's single ended in stereo and XLR in Mono. When you run an amp in stereo and vertical bi-amp, it is a different mode than Mono, even if mfgr. doesn't discuss it as such with their amp. 
Mono connection information is in page 4 of the manual (Mono Connection heading). but essentially, 1 XLR per amp, connect +speaker to R+ of amp, and -speaker to L+ of amp.
With this, you will not be able to use 2 pairs of wires to bi-amp; and would only be possible to bi-wire.

All the preamp outputs of the Freya+ are active (2 RCAs and XLR) at the same time. You can use the RCAs as your bi-amp source.


Sounds like you are referring to the Vidar. The OP is talking about the Aegir. Totally different amp.


To use the Aegir as a monoblock, you will need to use XLR connections, just so you know. And BTW, the scuttlebutt is that the Aegir loses some of it's magic when bridged mono. Proceed with caution.


I had a Freya and it was definitely quieter Balanced vs SE.  I also felt it was more dynamic.  Get some good XLR cables.  Keep it simple, forget the bi-wiring at this time and just enjoy.  
Are there any audiophile friends in your area? Might be best to have them take a look and offer options. 
It's not difficult, but better to have someone with experience to help you out as you set things up.
Thanks everyone.

Im probably going to go the Mono-block route with XLR cables, and leave it at that.  Might tinker in the future if I get bored.  

But now Ive got to figure out how to properly integrate a subwoofer..seems like people really like REL?
@glaspmart That’s the best route. I did the straight mono-blocks (different brand of amp) and never looked back. My amps have a switch though, no special cabling.

The RELs are a easy choice. They use the Neutrik Speakon connector, so you just run their cable to the speaker connection along with the speaker (in parallel). The filters and amp in the sub do the rest. It gives a very smooth sound. I love the way it sounds and despite what @millercarbon says it’s much better that an integrated for me. You can generally ignore what he says, he’s just a troll.