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Is bi-wiring really going to make any difference?

admin_exported

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When you wire up speakers in standard single cable runs, the speaker's own crossover splits the signal to the bass drivers and the treble drivers. This means there is usually a visable bridge in place at the speaker terminals keeping both drivers connected.

On mid range speakers upwards the option almost always exists to seperate out the bass and treble drivers at the speaker end, by bi-wiring. Thing is, this is basically like moving the bridge back to where the amp has the connection to the speaker cable. The same amplifier channel is still powering the treble and bass drivers, you just have double the thickness of cable to take the signal to the speaker. Is this where the benefit lies? Wouldn't using a better speaker cable in the first place have the same effect?

Now I can see obvious benefits in bi-amping - you have an independant amplification channel powering each driver, this should add weight and clarity to the sound. But bi-wiring doesn't do that, it just means you've spent double on cables.

So does it help and how much does it help? Educate me please!
 

Thaiman

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Jul 28, 2007
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Good post!

People have so many different results on this subject so we will never get to the bottom of it. As for me a single run with good quality jumpers will sound better than a biwire configuration all imho.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
another argument is that instead of having "double the thickness" of cable, what you have in fact got is double the distance for the sound to travel, therefore causing more information to be lost along the way....
 
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Anonymous

Guest
One would expect an easier path for the signal down two sets of cables but that would be it unless the cable itself supplied some damping / smoothing and having effectively a long cable length between the Treble and Bass drivers might reduce their impact on each other. Could this be so?
 

Andrew Everard

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But you don't have a long cable length between the treble and bass drivers, just the same length to each from the amp...
 
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Anonymous

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You do if you bi-wire. to trace the line of any interference from the bass driver to the treble driver you'd have to go back down the cable to where the two runs meet (at the amp) and back up the other run to the other driver. Therefore the drivers become seperated by the length of both sides of the run. Don't they?
 

Thaiman

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Biwire = Bi(more)wire!

I am not feeling like writing techie stuff today, leave you guys to it.....good luck
 

rich51080

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In my system i find biwire to be exactly the same as single wire. To my ears the sound is exactly the same with no advantages at all. I agree with Thaiman that biwire = buy more wire.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
i just finished cooking for 140 people at work so im not gonna go thec on it just gonna say i was biwiring and now im not ! just got myself e decent cable!

p.s.

if it makes no diference to your hears then it's not worth it

and

there is no point to biwire with crap cables if u biwire do it wright and u will hear some diference ( on high end sistems i think! not on budget sistems)
 

Anton90125

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Sep 1, 2007
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Indeed it does make a difference! And not a subtle one at
that!

The first time I was exposed to bi wiring when my friend
offered to convert my Rogers LS6 to a bi wired configuration back in the early
90s. I was very sceptical because at first glance it looks electrically the
same. Anyway my friend and me decided to do mono testing. We first confirmed
both my LS6s sounded identical (Mono signal/AB switching). Predictably (given
that they are Rogers) they did. My friend converted one speaker and we repeated
the mono AB switching. The difference was there as plain as black and white.
The difference was not like the typical "hifi" improvements you sometime get
with tweaks but there in your face. This test did not check for phase changes
ie we weren't testing for changes in stereo properties- that came later. We next tried various cables for bass and
treble lines. This too yielded results as compared to the non-converted
speaker. We quickly decided the best combination of cables (which I can not
remember given it was over 15 years ago).

My friend then converted the second speaker and we did some
stereo listening- wow!

The bass was tighter (less boominess), top end was sweeter
and the stereo soundstage deepened. Again the changes were not small. At this
point we had other people listening who also agreed that they could hear a
difference/improvement.

I am amazed that there is such a dichotomy with regards to
weather bi wiring works??!!.

I now have different speakers (Townshend Glastonbury's Mk1)
and have managed to get some Townshend DCT Isolda cable from Ebay. I was so
impressed with the sound that I started reading the various forums/websites.
Some so venomously anti biwiring that I started doubt my results of 15 years
ago. I checked the effect of going single wire. So just using the brilliant
Isolda and some wire jumpers I listened to my Glastonbury's- I couldn't listen
for long. The two things that struck me were there was now a nasty treble
"sheen" to everything and a boomy bass. Compared to what I was used to, this
sound was unacceptable. I quickly went back to my Isolda/Linn cable combo. The
thing I found really insulting in some of the forums was that a sound
difference that to me (and everyone
around me) was black and white was down graded to a trick of the mind and only
a Double Blind Test (DBT) was acceptable. This would be a valid argument if the
differences were small but my experience with biwiring was anything but small.
The proofs were equally dodgy ranging from third hand accounts of DBTs to
mathematical proofs with highly idealized models (assumptions made to make the
maths easier). The danger is to mistake scientific skeptism with dogma which a
lot (not all though) of anti biwiring people do. To me HiFi is about sound (Music
actually) and my enjoyment of it. It not about
getting kicks from measurements using dummy loads etc..

I did notice a nice possible explanation as to why biwiring
works:

http://www.geocities.com/jonrisch/biwiring.htm
 
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Anonymous

Guest
Very very interesting. Perhaps the bi-wiring helps to isolate the bass and treble drivers from each other and in so doing prevent them interfering with each other. Will give it another look! Thanks Anton!
 

Darth Vinyl

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Jun 19, 2006
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Hi..............

Yes, I too have found a difference with bi-wiring my system. Using identical lengths of good quality speaker cable in both a single run then bi-wire, I found that the bass was more distinguishable and prominent in the latter set up. The rest of the equipment stayed the same throughout. Both runs of bi -wire cabling to each speaker are now identical in length and are as short as practically possible, which I have read is also crucial to obtain a "optimum" set up.
 

Thaiman

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Jul 28, 2007
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I bet you couldn't tell the different if you were blind folded and some one else swap cables around! but here is a very good artical about To Bi or not to Bi
 

mk666

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Aug 26, 2007
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Just wondering. My Marantz PM4000 stereo amp has got two sets of speaker outputs. I used them to bi-wire my Mission M71s. I mean, is this still called bi-wiring ? Or is it bi-amping ?

I guess it's something else then using your rear channel outputs on the surround receiver to bi-amp the speakers, isn't it ?
 
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Anonymous

Guest
the surround channels are only used for effects that are behind you on multi channel receivers. unless you use splitters to split a stereo signal to the front and rear inputs on a 5.1 channel analogue input.
 

JoelSim

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Aug 24, 2007
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Don't bother with biwire. Get yourself a power amp and biamp. It makes a huge difference
 

Anton90125

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Sep 1, 2007
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Yes, I have seen the site. It is very interesting. It also serves as a good example of assumptions being made to make the mathematical analysis easier.

For instance the treble and base drivers are described as "Radiation Resistance".
I don't understand the relevance of this, as this is a term used with regard to antennas.
Also the author is treating this Radiation Resistance as a pure resistance. As we all know drivers have inductance so must be treated as impedance with frequency and phase consequences. The mathematical model is getting more complicated now we are introducing frequency and complex numbers!

Also interestingly the author conclusions is a bit inconclusive:
"this does not establish that the bi-wired arrangement will inevitably then be "better" than using a single cable. That would depend upon the circumstances of use, and the preferences of the listener."

Since it is not establish that the bi-wired arrangement will inevitably then be "better" it also follows that it also not establish that the bi-wired arrangement will inevitably then be same or worse for that matter. Not really concluded anything!

This analysis also ignores another property of drivers in that they are also motors and generate a back emf, which the amplifier has to deal with. One bit of research I read on the net was that biwiring allows the amplifier's damping factor to be more effective with dealing with this back emf. This would therefore result with less driver ringing giving a tighter sound (particularly in the bass). Exactly the improvement I hear.

I am prepared to take your bet! - fiver? Being disabled I can not actually get behind the speakers to change any wires. Back 15 years ago my friend did the wiring changes for me. Often I did not know how the cables were connected. One thing I did notice back then when I started with HiFi was that it was dead easy to tell the difference when moving from a superior sound to one that was inferior. It was much harder moving the other way. You needed to repeat the test many times with various types of music to really get a handle on what you were hearing. But I am sure you all already know this.
 

Anton90125

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Sep 1, 2007
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It all depends on your budget. Bi wiring does make a difference. However if you can afford to bi amp then go for it as that yelds even bigger dividends. I used to have 2 VTL 30/30 valve amps coupled to a bi wired (by my Father) pair of Celestion SL600 s. The improvement in stereo image and depth was quite staggereing. I would have liked to go "active" as the next logical step but unfortunately never got the opportunity. A pleasure I still have to experience though I heard active systems at various Hifi shows, it not the same as hearing it at home.
 

Thaiman

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Jul 28, 2007
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[quote user="Anton90125"]Bi wiring does make a difference.[/quote]

Yes, it would make a different to my wallet!

[quote user="Anton90125"] The improvement in stereo image and depth was quite staggereing. [/quote]

A few months ago I went to the high-end speakers manufacture for a demo. The set up in demo room was a set of gears that worth over £30,000, the sound was totally amazing in everyway. The speakers set up however was not bi-wire. If the in-house engineer was to believe in such a way he certainly would have done.

Another thought here is If bi-wire can make such a big improvment to the sound, why some of the best name in speakers world doesn't even give you a chance to wasted any more money. some of the high end model from Focal, Sonus Faber, Opera and all of Dynaudio and AVI have just a single set of plugs....Who am I to argue!

I know it's hard to believe what I say here and I am totally understand why you hear what you think you can hear.

Bi-amping is a different matter although from my experienced a better amp usually delivers the musical goods better than two lesser ones.
 

Anton90125

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Sep 1, 2007
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[quote user="Thaiman"]
[quote user="Anton90125"]Bi wiring does make a difference.[/quote]

Yes, it would make a different to my wallet!

[quote user="Anton90125"] The improvement in stereo image and depth was quite staggereing. [/quote]

A few months ago I went to the high-end speakers manufacture for a demo. The set up in demo room was a set of gears that worth over £30,000, the sound was totally amazing in everyway. The speakers set up however was not bi-wire. If the in-house engineer was to believe in such a way he certainly would have done.

Another thought here is If bi-wire can make such a big improvment to the sound, why some of the best name in speakers world doesn't even give you a chance to wasted any more money. some of the high end model from Focal, Sonus Faber, Opera and all of Dynaudio and AVI have just a single set of plugs....Who am I to argue!

I know it's hard to believe what I say here and I am totally understand why you hear what you think you can hear.

Bi-amping is a different matter although from my experienced a better amp usually delivers the musical goods better than two lesser ones.
[/quote]

Well, some of the best names in speakers also have bi wire capabilities. What does that prove?
Also I believe Sonus Fabor do bi wire: http://www.stereophile.com/loudspeakerreviews/874/index.html

As for weather one engineer bi wires and another does not- again what does that prove?

Now -" I hear what I think I hear" that's an interesting statement. Obviously I hear what I think I hear, "I hear what I think I didn't hear" is plain stupid!??? And it is good that you understood it.

Now we go back to the black & white /day & night difference others and I have heard. This cannot be explained away by saying I imagined it. If this were the case (given the magnitude of the difference) I would have a serious time relating to reality in general. I don't believe this is the case.
As I said in a previous comment, when I did my first test with bi wiring on my roger LS6, my friend did the connecting as I could not. Half the time I did not know how he connected the cables (single/bi wired) except by the difference in sound. Going from the bi wired to single was easy to tell- 100% accuracy. Going from single to bi wired harder but I still got better then 50% right. Other non-hifi people later on also participated in the test and had similar results. None of us would claim to be "golden ears" (some forums derogatory term for people who say what they hear).

I cannot explain why some people cannot hear the difference especially when is so stark.

Thaiman, most things in hifi will make a difference to your (and everyone else's) wallet- that's the nature of most hifi. I got my Isolda from EBay and my wallet is still on life support!

I believe I am correct and you believe you are. The nature of this Boolean situation means there is no common ground so we will have to agree to disagree.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
Well I was scepticle about Bi wiring until one day I had a spare set of wires so I tried it. I couldnt believe the difference. I still don't really understand how it works and sounds so much better, but theres no doubt that it does.

Sound is more spacious, instruments are easier to distinguish between and sound fuller. If you are a musician, its a little bit like switching on a Chorus effect but without hearing any distortion to the sound.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
I've read various articles recently, each simplifying systems enormously to make the modelling easier and following one train of thought and there seems to be 'evidence' to support bi-wiring and to deisprove it.

The one bit of advice I WILL follow is that from the manufacturers of my speakers - they recommend that you DO bi-wire.

Similarly, the manufacturers of my amp even print on the box it came in to 'run it in' before best performance is achieved.

I can't profess to understand the reasons why, but then there's (obviously) lots I don't understand - but it doesn't mean its not true or some conspiracy.

I will however, keep asking stoopid questions on this forum so you can all help educate me in the art of hfi though!

Good debate, very interesting!
 

Thaiman

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Jul 28, 2007
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[quote user="Anton90125"]Also I believe Sonus Fabor do bi wire[/quote]

I did say "some of the high end model"!

Many speaker manufacturers did it as consumers expect 'good' speakers to have the bi-wiring facility...... 2 and 3 sets of binding posts simply to make people think the speaker is "proper hifi", to me it just a trend and marketing trick!
When you bi-wire you are still drawing the same power from the same single amp - how can this help ?
surely that any electrical connection carried over quality cable operating well within its design parameters will be completely unaffected by the number of lengths of cable used. It simply cannot make a difference to any noticible degree.

[quote user="Anton90125"] Now -" I hear what I think I hear" that's an interesting statement. Obviously I hear what I think I hear, "I hear what I think I didn't hear" is plain stupid!??? [/quote]
Sorry if you taking that as an insult! (which I have not mean that way) I was talking from my experienced. I was once biwire my system, I used to hear a difference, but then I found out that I was hearing a difference because I wanted to hear a difference.
bi-wiring is probably the biggest con in the history of audio!
 

Anton90125

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Sep 1, 2007
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[quote user="Thaiman"]Many speaker manufacturers did it as consumers expect 'good' speakers to have the bi-wiring facility...... 2 and 3 sets of binding posts simply to make people think the speaker is "proper hifi", to me it just a trend and marketing trick![/quote]

That is pure conjecture. Unless of course you have proof of that you would like to share with us.

[quote user="Thaiman"]When you bi-wire you are still drawing the same power from the same single amp - how can this help ? [/quote]

While I have studied physics to degree level, I am very rusty (20 years ago). I do know there is more to biwiring then just power. May I suggest that you look at the site I suggested earlier: http://www.geocities.com/jonrisch/biwiring.htm . I don't know how technical your are but take a look at :
http://www.geocities.com/jonrisch/page7.htm
If you can logically/technically pull it a part I will be all ears!

[quote user="Thaiman"]Sorry if you taking that as an insult! (which I have not mean that way) I was talking from my experienced. I was once biwire my system, I used to hear a difference, but then I found out that I was hearing a difference because I wanted to hear a difference.
bi-wiring is probably the biggest con in the history of audio![/quote]

This is your opinion which you have every right to air and as such is fine. But it is not fact and must be seen in that light.
The bottom line is if a person hears a difference that is his/her reality just as much as the person who doesn't hear anything.

I have read more hard scientific evidence in favour of bi wiring then against it. Most of the noise on the internet against it consist of people stating opinion as fact based on scientific dogma or limited technical knowledge. People disscussing DBTs that were supposedly carried out by other people with no reference to who actually did the test,how they did the tests,what stats they used (if any) to test the statistical significance of the alleged results. Or my personal favourite heavily simplfied/ idealised mathematical models which don't correlate with reality. And finally the people who really (honestly) don't hear the differences in much the same way we don't hear much above 20KHz. That does not mean there is no sound at that rarefied level (ask bats and dogs!).
 

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