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It is entirely speaker / system dependent.....full stop.
without taking a bi-wire loom for an A-B in-house bake-off, you will never know if a bi-wire is an improvement or a marketing o,scebo. Otherwise, all the blind responses herein are nothing more than anecdotal with no assurance that it will actually work in your system.
So ask your dealer for a weekend loaner for the cables and put it the litmus test, with the understanding that if you do change, he gets the sale (don't stiff him by then buggering off to the used ads in AGON)
+1 akg. Very speaker dependent. I have compared single vs. shotgun biwire Satoris on my Soliloquy 6.2s and prefer the biwire, but the difference is not night and day. On my cables, the high frequency cable is a standard Satori cable and the midwoof cable is specifically designed for that purpose -- not sure how much that is driving the difference between bi and single wire. I believe Robert at AZ will custom build a shotgun pair for your specific purposes and speakers, but you might want to check on that. If you're in the NYC area you're welcome to borrow mine for a bit.
What actually made a bigger improvement than biwiring was adding thin wire jumpers in the banana connectors ALONG WITH biwiring (this was recommended to me by a cable designer that I tried with great skepticism). This tightened the bass up noticeably and improved imaging to the point that I wouldn't listen without them. I got mine a while back from Stereovox (now Black Cat?), and IME this is a cheap (and relatively obscure) tweak everyone should try if they can.
Anyway, hope this helps and best of luck. BTW, great speakers. Ironically my final decision was between my 6.2s and the RM22s, and it was a VERY tough decision. My next speakers will almost certainly be JAs.
@vinylbliss I own Joseph Audio speakers and I kind of "bi-wire" them. Before I did so I asked Jeff Joseph if he recommended it. He said he didn't think it made much of a difference. I like the effect, but the way I'm approaching it is not transcendent by any means. I only did it because for not much more money I could get the end of my speaker wires to be quad wires on the speaker end (allowing one pair low and one pair high attachment) and single wires to the positive and negative poles on the amplifier. I don't consider this a true bi-wire, which as others note is two separate cables independently from the speaker to the amplifier.
I’ve talked this over with several local dealers who I respect and got diametrically opposed opinions on this issue. But the folks at Acoustic Zen and Used Cable are big supporters of “true“ bi-wiring (by that they mean using two cables to each speaker). Based on that I took the plunge and purchased a pair of “shotgun” bi-wire Acoustic Zen Satori cables. As I have used these cables before in “mono” format I will report back my impressions of the difference.
Thanks to all for their input.
This thread got me interested in trying bi-wiring yet again. I'd tried it in the past but didn't think there was much benefit if any at the time (different system components than now; different wire). Tried it this weekend running Cardas Parsec cable to lower posts and Clear Day double shotgun wire to upper posts of Prelude Plus speakers. (I know - some experts say not to use different cable types. We appreciate expert opinions.) Amp is a Hegel H200 (two pairs of outputs for each channel) in HT by-pass mode using a Freya pre amp in JFET buffer mode. This time around, I did think bi-wiring made a difference; very similar to the comments of @will62 - more air, detail, a bit more separation for instruments and voices, and better imaging (more stable, better defined, more 3D). I'm not saying it was a huge night and day difference but improved enough such that music sounded "better". Didn't hear anything that could be considered a downside. If interested, rather than agonize over theory, it's worth experimenting and trusting your own ears.
This is a fascinating but highly technical analysis of the science behind bi-wiring. https://www.qacoustics.co.uk/blog/2016/06/.../bi-wiring-speakers-exploration-benefits... I don't know anything about Q Acoustics except that they make speakers in the UK (and we all know how smart the Brits are when it comes to hi-fi!). Given that they don't make or sell speaker cables, perhaps their conclusion that there is some benefit to true or external bi-wiring is an unbiased view of the issue. To be honest, most of the article is far too technical for me to understand. Perhaps there is an engineer out there in Audiogon forum-land who can interpret this for the rest of us? But of course at the end of the day ghosthouse nailed it - you have to trust your ears and what works for your system in your living space may not work for others..............
My speakers, like yours, are relatively high efficiency designs, and my uneducated guess is that as a result we may hear less benefit from doubling the cable size than might be heard when connected to lower efficiency speakers (and/or amps with higher output impedance?). That said, and as I mentioned previously, I still get a small but still tangible benefit in my system, but I'll be interested in your findings. Obviously make sure cables are fully broken before making any definite conclusions.
The main reason for this post is to reiterate that this may be a good time to try the aforementioned banana jumpers in addition to the biwires once you have a handle on the biwire effects. These are just 3" thin single wires you'd use to bridge each the two positive and negative speaker posts together. I'm not really sure why this works, but it provided a much greater benefit in my system than just biwiring alone. FWIW.
I have never heard of using jumpers simultaneous with bi-wiring but I will give it a try after the shotgun cables are broken in and report back. I sent Joseph Audio an email about bi-wiring a few days ago but have not heard back. FWIW, I note that at least one of JA's newest models (Profile) only has one pair of terminals.
The Cable Co. advisor also suggested trying bi-wiring with jumpers in place. Apparently this is something Chris Somovigo (StereoVox, BlackCat Cables) advocates. I tried it in the course of recent bi-wiring experimentation and did not like what it seemed to do the sound. The sound lost impact and became a little recessed. Went back to single wire for a while and then the next day, removed jumpers and tried bi-wiring as described in an earlier post on this thread. Bi-wire without jumpers is what's in place today. FWIW
Ghosthouse is correct. Chris was the one who got me to try this using his jumpers, and in my system it was all positive. Just shows how this cable stuff is really so system dependent. I too thought biwiring required removing jumpers, but that's not the case. In my setup I have shotgun biwire cables with spades, so my jumpers are terminated with bananas and bridge the lower and upper positive terminals and same for negative -- just to be clear on how this works. At the very least it's a cheap and easy tweak to try, and if it works you won't listen without them anymore.
Thanks so much for the suggestion – I never would’ve thought of trying jumpers with bi-wiring! I will need to wait for my new shotgun cables to break in before trying the jumpers as well. I have good quality jumpers but not on the level of the Acoustic Zen Satori cables. The folks at Acoustic Zen tell me that they do offer Satori jumpers though......
passive biamping is more noticeable then bi-wiring because usually amplifier are more nonlinear than wires.
However it is a matter of fact (Ohom's law) that in both approach
the current is divided; high freq. current flows in one mean (cable or amp) and the low freq. current flows in the other.
If the wires were perfect then there would be no difference. but if wires distort then bi-wiring decreases intermodulation between high freq. and low freq. signals. So it is more plausible that biwiring is more audible with low quality cables. In other words. biwiring is more effective with low quality cables. An amplifier is much more non linear that a cable so biamping (passive) effects is by far more audible that biwiring. Those who hear difference between cables are likely to hear also differences when they bi-wire their system.
I was told by people here, that when using jumpers, try using, on one side (pos or neg) the upper one and the other, the lower one. They say it sometimes results in improvement over using both on the lower or higher posts.
I tried it that way, and going with both to the upper posts but it turned out that it sounded best the way the JBL instructs to: using the bass or lower posts. You just have to experiment.
Eventually, I found the best way was to thread the wire through the lower post's eyelet up to the upper one, using just the speaker wire itself. If it's too thick, just make an "S' shape with the wire going around the lower post to the upper post and tighten down the posts.
It's the most coherent sound I ended with.
All the best,
I've gotten very good results with "diagonal" bi-wiring using jumpers. FOr example the red speaker cable connector goes to the red treble terminal and the black goes to the black bass terminal, then the jumpers connect the other terminals. This is Nordost's preferred connection method--they no longer make bi-wire cables, shotgun only....
Stringreen has ended the discussion: if the speaker is designed to be bi-wired, then bi-wiring will optimize sound reproduction. But, a cable capable of being bi-wired (designed to be bi-wired) is in order. The classic example of a bi-wired speaker is the Tannoy Westminster Royale SE/GR series … which is (SE version) the speaker I use. Cardas bi-wires cables BECAUSE THEY ARE DESIGNED in such a way as to be capable of being bi-wired. I'm poised to replace my Cardas with MIT Magnum M1.5, which MIT bi-wires if ordered in a bi-wired configuration. If a cable isn't designed to bi-wired, it cannot be satisfactorily bi-wired.
Andynotadam … but Nordost will bi-wire their cable if requested. I asked them this question about two weeks ago ($600USD)' to bi-wire a set of Vahalla 1 non-bi-wired cables. They can do so because the cable has the capability of being bi-wired. Not all cables are capable of being authentically bi-wired.
I've revisited the topic of bi wiring now that my system has changed since I last posted my observations. What I've found is this:
Before I settled on my present system, using the bottom two posts gave the best results (with jumper cables). It is also the way JBL recommends the way to do it when using a single set of SCs.
Using the top two seemed to confuse the sound and rob it of it's naturalness.
Using the bottom terminal for the Plus cable and the top, opposing side for the Neg cable audibly improved the sound, making me wonder if going full bi wire (or using another pair of SC) would result in bigger gains.
If lazy, I would have stopped right there as the sound was more alive, believable, and fuller sounding. Scrounging through my older cable sets I came up with some Tempo Electric 16GA solid silver SCs with bare wire ends and used those for the top terminals and my Cabledyne Ulitmates (10GA) with locking banana plugs for the bottom two bass terminals.
What I got was the most believable sounding presentation yet. It's more relaxed and natural sounding compared to before. There was so much MIA in regards to background playing, singing, etc. that this new set up revealed. The only downside, if it is that, is a lessening of the bass in regards as to how forceful it can sound. It's there and it's detailed, complex and full of timbre and grit but it doesn't overpower like it used to. It could be that it's now properly presented compared to before. In fact, the bass I'm getting is eleciting sympathetic vibrations higher up the scale than before and at lower SPLs.That seems to indicate it's a lot more accurate.
It seems that some speakers are truly bi wirable and not done for the sake of gimmicks. I called the dealer where I got them from and they assured me that they are truly meant to be bi wired to sound their best.
Now I'm at that point where do I settle with the awkward look of the competing wires or go for a set of SCs that are purpose made and look the part. A high end dealer I conferred with just laughed and said he'd just keep it the way it is and not be in a hurry and just enjoy the music.
One more thing I noticed is that after hours of playing, my integrated runs cooler to the touch, barely getting warmer and I thought, if anything, it'd run a bit warmer because of the extra load that another set of SCs would bring to the equation.
All the best,
Cool experience @nonoise. If you have the opportunity, try running cables of identical topography to your speakers or even better, identical pairs of cables to your speakers. IMHO the best deal in speaker cables right now is Wireworld. I got two 8 foot pairs of Equinox 8 cables made of the purest copper currently available for a mere $1400.00. In the 3 and a half years I’ve had my speakers I have the most spacious, detailed and musical sound ever. I consider that a deal at the price. Good luck with your system.
Enjoy the music.
@hifiman5 , Funny you should mention trying out cables of identical design as I'm teetering on the edge of doing just that. After talking to my high end dealer friend, he reminded me that every cable out there is going to sound different, system to system, so I'm heading for some good old trial and error.
I'm in the solid core silver camp but I'm leaning towards the Audioquest Rocket 44 bi wires as a starting point. They use 4 solid, long grain copper runs per side (double barrel) and are ideal for bi wiring whereas their other types that use a single casing aren't, even it they're higher up in their line up.
I just went through another lengthy listening session and am still somewhat floored by the amount of musical info that was being masked by the use of single run SCs and jumpers. The bass is now back to it's former, formidable self and the transition from the bass on up is so coherent now. Thanks for the input and encouragement.
All the best,
@nonoise If you are looking at Audioquest cables go for the PSC+ conductors if possible. I used to biwire with Volcanos on the mid-treble and Calderas on the bass. The Volcanos were all PSC+, the Calderas were PSC. When switching them and putting the Calderas on the mid-treble, the music acquired an “edge” that wasn’t there before. I tried this at a friend’s with different speakers and components and we both heard the same thing. When switching back, the music returned to its previous beauty.
The good news is that MusicDirect has PSC+ Audioquest speaker cables on sale for half the original retail cost! If you haven’t already done so I would urge you to check their Clearance cables out. Purer conductors= purer music.
Enjoy the music!
For maximum benefits, separate cables should be used for bi-wiring, one for bass and one for midrange/tweeter. Also, the two cables should be separated 3-4 inches to minimize cable interaction. For my Vandersteen 2CEs. I used Kimber 8TC for bass and 4TC for midrange/tweeter. Heavier gauge is needed for bass because of the higher current demand of the woofer.
Thanks to both of you for the valuable input. When researching, I found the Rocket 44 to use PSC and PSC+ in their design and Audioquest has a paper on bi wiring stating the best way is to use separate cables. The next best is to use cables that can be modified for bi wiring, like their Rocket series, and to avoid designs that use a single casing (even their own, more expensive lines).
As I've already stated, I'm using 10GA on the base and 16GA on the mid/tweeter and I'm getting the most divorced sound from my speakers that I've experienced. Last night, I wanted to hear how the theme song to Breaking Bad would fare and ended up listening to the entire soundtrack. It was a kaleidoscope of coherence, if that's a thing. All over the place with effects yet focused, full and engaging, and seamless throughout.
I've already spoken to Musicdirect since they've been my go-to for my gear and those offers on the Rocket series cables are very tempting.
All the best,
Bi-wire or not to bi-wire is something to test.
When doing so the I suggest replacing the original metal bar connecting the binding posts on the speaker with a better jumper to get a true A vs B comparison.
The metal bar connecting the jumpers are not exactly the epitome of design on any speaker nor something where materials have been meticulously evaluated and selected.
The first thing I did when I got my speakers was to remove the brass jumper plates to try out some good cable jumpers and noticed the improvement.
As for not hearing an improvement, I've read that not all bi wirable speakers have the crossovers properly designed to do that which can result in not hearing a difference.
What I'd like to hear is a side by side demo of the JBL L100 and the limited L100 Classic 75 which is bi wirable. Only 750 pair will be made.
All the best,