To biwire or not to biwire, that is the question??
Thanks for taking the time to read. I have sifted through the mound of information regarding biwiring but have yet to come to a clear yes or no on the matter.
My question is as follows: Using a single 2CH amplifier run to speakers that are set-up to biwire utilizing a biwire cable (2 connections amp end/ 4 connections speaker end)should return no greater result than running a single wire to that same speaker and utilizing jumpers??? My reading suggests that unless you are bi-amping, simply taking the source of the signal at the amp, (2 connections) and splitting that into (4 connections at the speaker) is not positively affecting the sound?? Bi-amping on the other hand may return an improved sound as the signals are isolated and could affect the resistance of the load?
So I guess what my reading has indicated is that if you are only running a single amp (2 connections) to a bi-wire ready speaker (4 coonnections) you are really paying for a cable that has additional ends but should return no great end product as the signals are technically not distinct as in the case of using 2 ampsor an amp set up for bi-amping?
Any thoughts are welcome as this seems to be an endless debate???
The way I understand it is that the more separation you have between the two (biwire) signal paths, the better. So two pairs of speaker cables from an amp with a single pair of outputs, to a biwire speaker, should sound better than one pair of cables plus jumpers. In my experience, this has been true, for whatever reason and however unlikely it seems to be. It could be that it's because you are using the same type of wire for both connections and/or that there is less interaction between the signals since the cables paths are physically separate over a longer distance. At any rate, it does seem to sound marginally better.
I used to think the idea that the metal bar strap/jumpers that come with biwire speakers sound bad was ludicrous, but then I tried some van den Hul jumpers that really do seem to improve the bass over stock straps. Why? Again, no idea. I just go with the flow.
By the same token, separating the signal even more by using two separate amps yields even greater improvement. This too has been my experience. It is the same idea behind balanced dual-mono amplifier and preamplifier designs I suppose.
First let me tell you a joke that seems to mirror your conclusion: A lab professor has taught a frog to jump on command. On "jump" the frog jumps 20ft.; as measured by the assistant. The professor decides to alter the experiment and removes one leg. On the 'jump' command w/3 legs the frog jumps 7ft;as measured. Further,a second leg is removed. On the 'jump' command the frog w/ 2 legs,jumps 2 ft. The 3rd leg is removed. On 'jump' the frog jumps about 3 inches. Now the 4th leg is removed and on the 'jump' command the frog just stays there.
Analysing his data the professor concludes: a frog w/4 good legs jumps 20ft. A frog w/3 good legs jumps 7ft. a frog w/2 good legs jumps 2ft. A frog w/ 1 good leg jumps 3 inches. A frog w/ no legs is deaf. Not all but most speakers w/ biwire capability, sound much better w/2 seperate runs of wire. One of the keys being the low run allows the speaker to 'see' its own unincumbered run of wire / not having to share. Buy 2 sep.runs of the same wire and analise your own data. This is just a joke. I assure you--NO frogs were harmed in preparing this post.
Some speakers sound better bi-wired, some do not. the only way to find out is to try both methods. Cables should be of the same brand and model.Many speaker manufactures offer bi-wire because that is in fashion like balanced interconnects, but do not believe it sounds any better. Some speaker manufactures design with bi-wire in mind and the speakers sound better bi-wired. The best method is to try both and decide for yourself which you prefer.If you prefer a single run,replace the factory jumpers with a pair of same brand jumpers as your speaker cable.
The science suggests that by utilizing a single wire that is biwired (2) connections to (4) connections that you are lowering resistance at the point of the crossover and the binding posts and pushing that all the way towards the amplifier, not sure I buy that, but the theory sounds good....
I guess the only real way to get an answer here is to attempt to run single wires with jumpers and then run biwired cables and go back an forth. Problem there is that different wires will sound different, different speakers will work 'better' with certain types of wire and so on........
I see many offerings for jumpers here on agon and some of then get quite expensive. I ask myself why would someone purchase single-wire cables and then go through the trouble of purchasing jumpers when the alternative of just purchasing biwired cables is there from the start.
My local high end shop suggests the following:
Purchase the highest quality of single-wire you can afford and then utilize jumpers (aftermarket, after you have thrown away what comes with the speakers). They feel the science of biwiring without utilizing 2 amplifiers or amps not designed to bi-amp is more sales that fact.
What I have found is that everyone seems to have an opinion.
Nissancrazy- the science behind biwiring has little to do with (DC) resistance but more to do with the effect of magnetic fields. When using one cable to drive each speaker the strong magnetic field of the bass signal modulates the weaker magnetic field of the mid/treble signal causing distortion. Biwiring, with two SEPARATE wires to each speaker, can but not always mitigate this distortion. It does so by passing the bass signal in one cable and the mid/woofer signal in the other cable. A few inches of separation between the two cables is all that is normally required. NOTE; a single biwire cable provides little or no separation.
Additionally, if the system itself is of not high enough resolution, the positive effect of biwiring may not be heard. As always, IMHO.
Thanks again for the information. It would seem that to get the potential benefit of biwiring that either two runs of cable need be used or a amp set up to bi-amp, dual mono or actually 2 amps.
Based upon the feedback here it would seem that using a single cable that is biwire is not really getting you any more than the single nonbiwired cable.
Utilizing 2 runs of cable for each speaker would seem to be the best way to go.
Would the suggestion be to simply tie them together at the amp end (twisting the cable together)or maybe use one cable with spades and one with banana connection to avoid twisting the cable together at the amp end?
If you choose to go bi-wire: Use a cable that has two discrete pairs of conductors(full length) or two separate cables. You will gain nothing with regard to sound otherwise. Adding another pair of connectors to a single pair conductor cable is a waste of time. All you're doing is replacing the jumper with more wire that way. In some instances I suppose the wire may be better than the jumpers, but that would have to be a very low-end system. Most debates are pointless. It comes down to: If your system can resolve it, and you can hear(or will admit)a benefit: It's worth the effort! Here's a page with some further insights: (http//:www.soundstage.com/synergize/synergize031998.htm) Personally; I've been actively bi-amping for the past 28 years with excellent results.
Nissancrazy ... in my own experience, your second suggestion works best. That is - assuming a 5-way amp binding post - have one set of cables with spades the other with bananas. Each cable is allowed its own signal path. My understanding is the whole idea is to keep the runs separate. So one should avoid a single jacket cable containing double runs. Similarly, I would think that twisting cable together might compromise the signal.
Speakers with crossovers optimized to recieve Isolated inputs will benefit from bi wire supposedly if not then it is not any better. I think its a fad, everyone seems to be doing it and they don't know why. I didn't get any better result when bi wire, now I have shunyata andromeda not bi wire and love it
Beerdraft- The reason why biwiring works is explained above by myself (only with two separate cables). The reason why biwiring does not work is explained above by Rodman99999 (system not resolving enough to begin with).
Richard Vandersteen has sold more speakers, by a country mile, than any other manufacturer other than Arman Bose. There is no fluff in any of Richard's speakers. They're meant to be bi-wired; that's why the two pair of terminals are there. Again, IMHO.
Very good info, I don't own Vany's and not familiar with them. My speakers have 4 post but bi wire isn't reccomended, bi amping on the other hand is, other wise just use jumpers or upgrade jumpers. I did bi wire with seperate cables once, in my setup I noticed no diference. Very good info above though and I respect it but It didn't work in my set up at all.
I had my Pathos Classic One II bi-wired to Paradigm signatures with high end audioquest cable, big bucks for 2 - 8' runs. I decided to move the system and wanted to have the speakers further apart so I changed to less expensive but heavier gauge audioquest, single run with the factory jumpers. It sounds significantly better. I thought maybe it was placement so I move the system back to make a fair comparison and it was the cables.
I went from single runs to bi-wire on Vandersteen Signature 3As and the difference was huge. Bi-amped them and they took on another level of separation I'd never heard from them before.
Celestions didn't like bi-wire, Revels did, Dynaudios didn't.
Thanks for all the great feedback here. It seems that the ultimate end is going to be the product of the electronics and speakers one utilizes more so than a universal standard that can equally be applied across the board.
agree with trial and error. i added some jm reynaud cantabile speakers to my system and found some big differences in sound with how i wired them. this was the first bi-wire speakers i've had, and had no idea on the best way to set these up. first round was using a single wire cable from the amp to the high frequency connections on the speaker with the factory jumpers to the low frequency terminals. the sound was extremely bright and fatiquing. after 2 days, i switched the single wire cable to the low freq terminals with the jumpers in place for the high freq terminals. this was much better- more bass, very enjoyable sound. due to the differences i discovered, i decided to bi-wire them and found even more improvement. more clear, with a more balanced sound.
I've heard many different opinions on this. Vienna Acoustice, for example, doesn't even allow bi-wiring on their speakers. Dali, on the other hand, allows for tri-wiring even though you can't find tri-wired cables. I have a pair of Soliloquy floorstanders with Tara The one bi-wired cables and they're my all time favorite cables. I've owned many. Would The One's sound as good or better single wired? I'm not sure.
I've bi-wired my various speakers for years and really believe the benefits are substantial. I think it is crucial to actually use two sets of cable per speaker vs. a single cable with bi-wire ends. The added clarity and dynamics in my system are clearly audible and even though the Co. that makes my speakers no longer believes in the benefits( according to their dealer) I suspect it is more in the way of cost-cutting than anything else.
So if you bi-wire using 2 different sets of wires, do the wires need to be the same brand or at least the same gauge? I just bought Paradigm studio 40's and the dealer gave me some wires that are double runs in one jacket. I have them single wired with the factory jumpers, and he told me that if I wanted to bi-wire I could just unwind them and connect them seperately to my terminals.
Sprink, If you look at my system pics, you will see how a true bi-wire should be IMHO. That is a single same gauge and same manufacturer run per terminal. In my case I use Highwire's and run an identical pair in a 8' configuration. This allows for the same connections at each end, in my case spades. Unwinding the runs in a double jacket might not be a very good idea, are these cables the same gauge and composition in each cable?
Same composition, different gauge. That's why I was asking. It seems to me that the wires should be at least the same gauge. The dealer threw these cables in for free, so I wasn't going to complain, they were a lot better than the ones I had. I've only had these speakers for a week so I just have them wired to the lower terminals with the factory jumper in. I may play with that a little when I get some more hours on them.
I don't think bi-wiring is a myth, I have used bi-wires on my speakers for years, using them on my Hales prior to my current SF Guarneri's. In all instances, I feel this config is better than single runs. The speakers seem to project air and micro detail better and IMHO a level of grunge is removed, Your mileage may vary.
For speakers that have crossovers designed for bi-wiring it's almost always superior. It keeps the electromechanical energy of the woofers separated from the tweeters until it's at the very low impedance of the amp, where it's dumped harmlessly. The key is the design of the crossover. The louder you listen, the more complex the music and the more bass content the more you'll notice a difference.
Bi-amping brings on it's own set of complicating factors and is generally not to be taken lightly.