Amplifiers - Question John Dawson - Andrew please

matengawhat

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Aug 17, 2007
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i really don't want to get in to the whole bi-amping debate but was wondering based on a performance question what would potentially give the better results - biamping a pair of speakers with a 50w amp and power amp or biwiring the same speakers with one 100w amp. Or if someone can explain to me how the whole watts with amplifiers and speakers works?
 

Andrew Everard

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Depends whether the speakers are especially power-hungry. In the biamp configuration the speakers will still only be 'seeing' 50W apiece, so the larger amp may well give you better dynamics and also 'go a bit louder'.
 

matengawhat

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so if the speakers are efficient the higher the wattage the better the dynamics and the louder they will go to some point i guess until distortion kicks in
 
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Anonymous

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The other side of the story is that biamping may give you clearer and more defined treble and bass. It seems to be a black art but my old Arcam Alpha 8 and 8p on MA S4i speakers worked better in biamp mode than pre/power.
 
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Anonymous

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matengawhat:can you bi amp with amps with different power ratings if you use the weaker one for the treble or will it be really mismatched?

The most important thing is for the treble and bass amplifiers to have the same gain or you will get a mismatch in the outputs from the actual speaker drivers.

If the amplifiers meet that requirement (and if they are from the same maker they probably will) then some mismatch in power levels is OK, especially at "normal" listening levels. If you can you should connect the more powerful amplifier to the bass drivers though as this is where most of the heavy lifting is done.

HTH.

John Dawson (Arcam)
 

matengawhat

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john - you can prob help on this - arcam solo movie 50w with a p35 power amp 100w - was just going to use the power amp to biwire the speakers - could i use the two together to bi-amp?
 
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Anonymous

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To the best of my knowledge you should be able to bi-amp this combo successfully, with the P35 probably best used as the bass/mid-range amplifier and the Solo's L and R amplifiers for the treble drivers.

Let us all know how you get on.

Cheers

John Dawson
 
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Anonymous

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Andrew Everard:Depends whether the speakers are especially power-hungry. In the biamp configuration the speakers will still only be 'seeing' 50W apiece, so the larger amp may well give you better dynamics and also 'go a bit louder'.

How do you know how power-hungry your speakers are? My speakers say they can handle 50-200 watts @4ohm but my current amplifiers don't seem to be able to drive them as well as I have heard them perform. My amps are Arcam 290/290P (75watts @ 8ohm?) bi-amped and my speakers are KEF Reference 103/4's. I'm looking to replace the amps but haven't got a clue how to go about choosing a replacement. Any suggestions on what I should be looking for?
 

Andrew Everard

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The sensitivity, and how the impedance varies with frequency, provide a much better idea of the demands the speakers will put on the amplifier
 
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Anonymous

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Andrew Everard:The sensitivity, and how the impedance varies with frequency, provide a much better idea of the demands the speakers will put on the amplifier

Andrew, thanks for the answer, but how do I find that out and do you know how sensitive the KEF 103/4's are? I know they are getting on a bit now, but I'd still like to find the right amp to drive them. I bought them at the Bristol HiFi show some years back (possibly 1998) and I think they were being driven by Meridian amplification. Does that help in any way to determine what they need? I know I need a home demo but I don't know what I should be asking for a home demo of!
 
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Anonymous

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The KEF 103/4s have a sensitivity of 91db@1watt@1m. Bloody good speakers they were!

You might want to click here for more details.
 
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Anonymous

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reading the replies does this bi-amping thing mean that i could bi-amp 2 cambrige 640a amps together to play through kef iq7 speakers to get a bit more volume .....as I was thinking of upgrading my existing 640a amp to a 840a but this way would maybe be a cheaper option.

murray
 

fr0g

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JoelSim:
I guess it depends on volume or quality. Biamp for the latter.

ÿ

Not necessarily.
I would say for a given budget from new, a single amp for the total budget would usually beat 2 cheaper amps.
Also, if the speakers are particularly power hungry, and insensitive, then bridging would be more beneficial.
Also, I probably wouldn't bother biamping small standmounts.
 

Thaiman

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Jul 28, 2007
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1 good amp will sound better for the money!

example: 2 x Arcam P90 + Arcam Pre 31 = £2500, for the price you could buy......

1 x Naim SuperNait (or Krell 400Xi or Musical Fidelity A5.5 or Sugden A21SE...etc)
 

JoelSim

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fr0g:JoelSim:
I guess it depends on volume or quality. Biamp for the latter.

ÿ

Not necessarily. I would say for a given budget from new, a single amp for the total budget would usually beat 2 cheaper amps. Also, if the speakers are particularly power hungry, and insensitive, then bridging would be more beneficial.Also, I probably wouldn't bother biamping small standmounts.

ÿ

My ProAcs sound pretty good biamped.

ÿ
 
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Anonymous

Guest
Hughes123:The KEF 103/4s have a sensitivity of 91db@1watt@1m. Bloody good speakers they were! Thanks for the info but I'm afraid I don't understand these things at all. Does the figure you give mean they are sensitive or not sensitive? I'm told they are hard to drive. Does that mean they are not sensitive? I love the speakers so I really want to get the best out of them. Any idea what amp(s) I should be looking at? Have been thinking of a Naim Nait 5i or Leema Pulse but don't know if they would drive them OK. Just read an article on sensitivity of speakers and the types of amp to drive different speakers and it went straight over my head!
 

Big Chris

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The higher the figure, the more sensitive they are.

91db is a good figure, Should be easy to drive.
 
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Anonymous

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John Arcam Dawson:
matengawhat:can you bi amp with amps with different power ratings if you use the weaker one for the treble or will it be really mismatched?

The most important thing is for the treble and bass amplifiers to have the same gain or you will get a mismatch in the outputs from the actual speaker drivers.

If the amplifiers meet that requirement (and if they are from the same maker they probably will) then some mismatch in power levels is OK, especially at "normal" listening levels. If you can you should connect the more powerful amplifier to the bass drivers though as this is where most of the heavy lifting is done.

HTH.

John Dawson (Arcam)

This I find interesting and slightly confusing. I currently bi-amp my PMC's with the A32 connected to the treble and the P85 to the bass. I've tried it the other way round for a brief period when i first got the A32 but felt that there was more detail on offer when in the current configuration. I might switch around again to see what effect this has but I always understood that the better quality electronics (the A32) should be connected to the treble?
 

drummerman

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Jan 18, 2008
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I look at it this way ... better to have one good amplifier than two slightly inferior ones. If the inferior ones are good ones its better to have an even better one than the two good ones!

Imo, with the complexities of passive xovers its a gamble whether bi-amping will make a positive difference. I have'nt said it for a while but I have'nt heard many systems that sounded better bi-amped. Separating the Pre-amplifier from the powersection ie. proper pre-power makes more sense.

All you Arcam bi-ampers please dont reply to my post. Just my opinion and I know how much better your systems sound bi-amped in your opinions
 

matengawhat

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Aug 17, 2007
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drummerman thought would answer anyway - i run a mf A5 pre and two arcam p35 powers in a pre power setup - i have them rigged up currently using one power amp per speaker. i had a long chat with a guy at arcam the other day and he suggested that they would actually sound better sonically daisy chaining the two power amps instead of using them in a mono config and biamping - not tried yet something for the weekend - i let you know how i get on

i do agree though that 1 better amp will be better than an integrated and a power but still think the two together sound better than the integrated on its own - i used to use a kandy amp and power setup - i think its a good way to upgrade without doubling the price to buy a new integrated but if buying both at same time i would buy a better integrated instead of the two. i went for my setup as cost me just less than 1500 for goods than rrp is over £3k and i am sure it will beat any 1500 integrated - or at least i hope it will.
 

drummerman

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appreciated and if you enjoy your system more this way then I'm certainly not going to argue with you.
 

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