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Bi amp or pre amp

admin_exported

New member
Aug 10, 2019
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Hi all, I'm new to hifi's and have got a question or two I'm hoping someone can answer.

I have just bought the Arcam alpha 10p power amp and the alpha 10 intergrated amp, when I bought them I was told that I could use the intergrated amp for the high frequencies and the power amp for the low/mids.

I have spoken to a friend who's said the guy doesn't know what he's talking about as you would only do that if you've got two power amps and to just use the integrated amp as a pre amp, he has went on to say that the signal is seperated if I have a pre amp and it will sound better anyway than if I just had the integrated amp on it's own. I liked the idea of each amp running the different frequencies and I've been told by a few people that not only is that fine but it will sound much better?

I don't know if any of this info makes a difference but I'm looking to buy a pair of B+W's 683's with Chord carnival speaker cables, my friends mentioned Bi wiring the setup but I've heard that it makes no difference.

I have tried to find a book (hifi's for idiots) or something similar but with no luck.

I'm looking to buy my cables soon and would like to get it right first time as they cost a fortune if you have them terminated by Chord.

I was also wondering if it's worth Chord terminating them or if it's fine to get a professional outfit to do them.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
 

The_Lhc

New member
Oct 16, 2008
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Your friend is the one who doesn't know what he's talking about, you should be fine bi-amping in the way you suggest.
 

WinterRacer

New member
Jan 14, 2009
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Both are right, but the first is more right :)

You can use your integrated either as a pre-amp and let the power amp drive your speakers alone. Alternatively, you can bi-amp with the integrated and the power-amp sharing duties to drive your speakers.

To bi-amp, the pair of amps have to have the same gain (which yours are) and usually you'd use the more powerful amp for the L+R woofers and the less power amp for the L+R tweeters. Your amps have the same power rating so it doesn't really matters which way round you do it, but probably worth following convention.

One thing to consider is if it's worth the extra box and extra cable to bi-amp. Given the healthy power rating of the integrated you may find no benefit at all for bi-amping. In most cases, the tweeters take such a small amount of power, that taking the tweeter load away from the amp driving the woofers is inconsequential.

I'd suggest you try out integrated alone, use the integrated as a pre and then bi-amp using both and see what works for you. If it was me, I'd lose the power-amp.

Hope that helps?
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Thank you very much to both of you for your advice, he is a bit of a know it all but does get it right most of the time hence my confusion with the information I was given. I've taken on board what you've said about the power amp and the tweeters using next to nothing. I will have a little play around once I've got it together and see what I think. Thanks again. :)
 

WinterRacer

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Jan 14, 2009
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Your welcome :)

Your friend would be right if the integrated & power amps were different makes and/or the amps had had differing amounts of gain - probably just a misunderstanding.
 

jiggyjoe

New member
Aug 21, 2010
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I would Bi-amp for best performance. Im not sure how the crossover is split on the 683's high/mid on the upper terminal or just the tweeter.

On my Rx6's the upper mid bass driver and tweeter is driven by my power amp, and the lower bass driver driven by the integrated and the sound is a whole lot better than one amp on its own.

Bi-amp works really well with arcam amps as it gives them a lot more 'get up and go' to their sound.

worth listening to your amps with some monitor audio speakers as well if you can they gel really well together.
 

bluedroog

New member
Mar 4, 2010
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Bi-amp all day long. For two way speakers I’m not always convinced it’s value for money to bi-amp in a horizontal configuration but in a three way speaker like these then it makes sense. I’ve had a Google image and it looks like the 683’s only have bi-amping terminals rather than tri which offers less flexibility, I think this is what Joe was getting at. Presumably one set would be for the treble / mids and the other for the bass, it would make more sense that way. In which case to have the integrated powering the treble and mids and the power amp the bass you’d get the best results and it would be a worth while exercise.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Thanks everyone for the advice, Iv'e looked into Signature cable if that's what you mean The_Lhc and I would have to put on a balaclava to get them unless you just meant the connectors. lol. Thanks again.
 

basshound

Well-known member
Sep 23, 2007
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18,590
Have you thought about ditching the integrated and getting a pre-amp for a pre/power combo? In my system the pre/power combo out performed a bi-amping setup. As for cables it`s a very thorny subject around here but my opinion is get a reasonable quality cable, probably no more than a few pounds per metre and forget about bi-wiring.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Sorry The_Lhc, not sure why you have "No signature worth mentioning"???? but I thought you where talking about the Chord signature cables and being a bit funny cause I was moaning about the cost of cables being terminated by Chord. :)
 

gibbo410

New member
Apr 14, 2016
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Hi all, I've got a problem, well I think I have one lol, I've got a arcam 9 integrated amplifier and a arcam 9 power amplifier and a pair of Royd abbot speakers, I'm trying to bi-amp, I'm using the integrated amp as just for the tweeters and the power amp as the bass drivers, the problem feels like I've lost a lot of bass and the sound feels too wide if you get what I mean lol, only When bi-amp, it's all fine when I just use the power amp, could it be just my sperkers or should I try the power amp for the tweeters and the integrated amp for bass drivers ??? It's driving me crazy lol
 

TrevC

Well-known member
Jun 12, 2013
244
83
18,870
gibbo410 said:
Hi all, I've got a problem, well I think I have one lol, I've got a arcam 9 integrated amplifier and a arcam 9 power amplifier and a pair of Royd abbot speakers, I'm trying to bi-amp, I'm using the integrated amp as just for the tweeters and the power amp as the bass drivers, the problem feels like I've lost a lot of bass and the sound feels too wide if you get what I mean lol, only When bi-amp, it's all fine when I just use the power amp, could it be just my sperkers or should I try the power amp for the tweeters and the integrated amp for bass drivers ??? It's driving me crazy lol
There's absolutely no point in biamping in that way because the maxiimum power available is limited to that of the lower powered amplifier. Just use one amplifier and don't bother.
 

gibbo410

New member
Apr 14, 2016
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Thanks for the reply but why do they say it sounds better to bi-amp ???, is it because of my setup and speakers, I do like the sound very much just from the power amp on its own, sorry but what do you mean about maximum power available is limited ?? Thanks Matt
 

spiny norman

New member
Jan 14, 2009
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gibbo410 said:
sorry but what do you mean about maximum power available is limited ??
GIven that the Alpha 9 and Alpha 9P have the same output, the comment isn't really relevant. The problems you describe suggest to me that something is amiss in the connections between the two amplifiers and the speakers: I'm sure you have the jumpers between the terminals removed, but are you sure you haven't got the bass cables wired out of phase? That would cause a loss of bass, as the sound from the two speakers would tend to cancel each other out.
 

gibbo410

New member
Apr 14, 2016
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Thanks again, the jumpers between the terminals removed, do u mean the U link ?? And if so no I haven't remove it, could that be the problem?? And I have gone over the speaker cables again and they are fine.
 
K

keeper of the quays

Guest
Anonymous said:
Thank you very much to both of you for your advice, he is a bit of a know it all but does get it right most of the time hence my confusion with the information I was given. I've taken on board what you've said about the power amp and the tweeters using next to nothing. I will have a little play around once I've got it together and see what I think. Thanks again. :)
Your friend sounds like me! Bit of a know all but gets it right most of the time? Lol..i get it right all the time! Gets peoples backs up! Im going to start posting stuff which is nonsense in future...perhaps ill become more popular? Hahaha..
 

davedotco

New member
Apr 24, 2013
20
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gibbo410 said:
Thanks again, the jumpers between the terminals removed, do u mean the U link ?? And if so no I haven't remove it, could that be the problem?? And I have gone over the speaker cables again and they are fine.
For the sake of clarity, it's the links on the speaker terminals that should be removed when bi-amping, so that each section (bass, treble) are driven independantly. Check that and also be extra careful with the phase, more connections to make so more possibilities of making an error.

Whether bi-amping in this manner has any value is open to discussion. The second power amplifier does not really add very much, if anything, certainly it does not increase the effective power of the system and of course the quality remains the same.

Since you already have the amps, do give it a try, expectation bias will encourage you to believe that the extra amplifiers adds a bit of weight and, well, power and this does seem to work for some listeners. An alternative view is that using the integrated purely as a pre-amp gives a quality upgrade as it's power supply is now powering the pre-amp section only.

To be honest, I doubt there are huge differences to be made in any of these configurations, but it is worth trying for yourself, nothing beats personal experience in this instance.
 

gibbo410

New member
Apr 14, 2016
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davedotco said:
gibbo410 said:
Thanks again, the jumpers between the terminals removed, do u mean the U link ?? And if so no I haven't remove it, could that be the problem?? And I have gone over the speaker cables again and they are fine.
For the sake of clarity, it's the links on the speaker terminals that should be removed when bi-amping, so that each section (bass, treble) are driven independantly. Check that and also be extra careful with the phase, more connections to make so more possibilities of making an error.

Whether bi-amping in this manner has any value is open to discussion. The second power amplifier does not really add very much, if anything, certainly it does not increase the effective power of the system and of course the quality remains the same.

Since you already have the amps, do give it a try, expectation bias will encourage you to believe that the extra amplifiers adds a bit of weight and, well, power and this does seem to work for some listeners. An alternative view is that using the integrated purely as a pre-amp gives a quality upgrade as it's power supply is now powering the pre-amp section only.

To be honest, I doubt there are huge differences to be made in any of these configurations, but it is worth trying for yourself, nothing beats personal experience in this instance.
yes I have removed the terminals from the speakers, but anyway you're right, I'm gunna leave it alone cos I do like the sound that comes from it very much, all it is because I've seen a lots of people post things about it, so I thought I'll give it a try, many thanks for your support.
 

davedotco

New member
Apr 24, 2013
20
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0
gibbo410 said:
davedotco said:
gibbo410 said:
Thanks again, the jumpers between the terminals removed, do u mean the U link ?? And if so no I haven't remove it, could that be the problem?? And I have gone over the speaker cables again and they are fine.
For the sake of clarity, it's the links on the speaker terminals that should be removed when bi-amping, so that each section (bass, treble) are driven independantly. Check that and also be extra careful with the phase, more connections to make so more possibilities of making an error.

Whether bi-amping in this manner has any value is open to discussion. The second power amplifier does not really add very much, if anything, certainly it does not increase the effective power of the system and of course the quality remains the same.

Since you already have the amps, do give it a try, expectation bias will encourage you to believe that the extra amplifiers adds a bit of weight and, well, power and this does seem to work for some listeners. An alternative view is that using the integrated purely as a pre-amp gives a quality upgrade as it's power supply is now powering the pre-amp section only.

To be honest, I doubt there are huge differences to be made in any of these configurations, but it is worth trying for yourself, nothing beats personal experience in this instance.
yes I have removed the terminals from the speakers, but anyway you're right, I'm gunna leave it alone cos I do like the sound that comes from it very much, all it is because I've seen a lots of people post things about it, so I thought I'll give it a try, many thanks for your support.
I'm not trying to turn you into a 'fiddler' but trying a few things out for yourself rather than relying on what others say will teach you a lot. The knowledge that you gain will be of great use should you need to change, upgrade or move your system in the future.

There is nothing wrong with playing hi-fi, just don't let it take over from the music...*dirol*
 

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