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Sibilance after Bi-wiring

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TrevC

Well-known member
Jun 12, 2013
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Hi,
The issue of biwiring is that you double the capacitance and inductance of the cables as seen by the amplifier.

Depending on the cable, the capacitance per metre can be quite high, and some amplifiers may not be completely stable with such an increased capacitance.

Regards,
Shadders.
I've only encountered this once when a customer was using that woven multicoloured enamelled stuff and it caused the amplifier to oscillate and heat up and the tweeters to blow. It all had that hot electrical smell afterwards. I wouldn't expect a problem with normal figure 8 type cables but the lesson is clear. Don't buy overpriced "audiophile" cables.
 
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plus 1

Well-known member
Dec 5, 2019
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I recently decided to experiment with bi-wiring. I bought a set of Canare 4S11 Star Quad cables with locking bananas (2 on one end 4 on the other).

I had been using regular 14AWG OFC cables with banana plugs (along with the standard jumpers that came with my speakers).

After connecting the new cables to my Cambridge CXA81 and Wharfedale Diamond 11.4s, I noticed an increase in sibilance. It’s quite annoying sometimes.

Sibilance was present before, at least on some recordings, but only at what I would consider to be normal levels.

Any idea why?
maybe the new cable was not burnt in ?
this might help !
 
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Longchops

Well-known member
Oct 15, 2020
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If I break in speaker wires by playing the Eagles for 500 hours nonstop, will the wires form a connection with band and reproduce their records flawlessly?
I suppose the eagles are not really ideal for a test, they can burn in any time they like, but they can never leave

(sorry, lol) Your speaker wires might have an eagle shaped musicality after that too. Have to buy new ones....

Some of the stuff in the world of hifi is truly ludicrous. Being new to the forum I find it reassuring that everyone seems to be singing from the same hymn sheet in that regard. Stage 3 mods, £150 kettle leads, oxygen free speaker wires, speaker wire spun from a virgin's pubes....

Makes me wonder who that stuff is marketed at, as its clearly not us who is buying it, and surely we are supposed to be the target market for this crap.

LOL
 
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Adam W.

Well-known member
Aug 19, 2020
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After some experimenting I have come to a conclusion.

Using the Canare 4S11 four conductor cable (2 bananas into 4) causes excess sibilance.

Using two sets of standard 14AWG OFC cables connected to A and B outputs on the amp causes excess sibilance.

Using one set of standard 14AWG OFC cables connected to one output (A or B) on the amp PLUS the supplied plate/jumper that came with the speakers fixes the sibilance issue.

The difference isn’t subtle, it’s quite noticeable.

I feel, for whatever reason, the plates/jumpers that came with the speakers are somehow reducing sibilance. Maybe it’s something else.

Is there an explanation for this?
 

Gray

Well-known member
Nov 27, 2015
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I wonder what happens when you single-wire using only 2 of the Canare cores with the plates?
Going by what you've found, there should also be no sibilance.....which would leave one obvious explanation.......
 

Adam W.

Well-known member
Aug 19, 2020
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I wonder what happens when you single-wire using only 2 of the Canare cores with the plates?
Going by what you've found, there should also be no sibilance.....which would leave one obvious explanation.......
I will try it later.

What is the explanation?
 

Gray

Well-known member
Nov 27, 2015
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I will try it later.

What is the explanation?
Make sure the 2 loose plugs at the speaker end don't short together if you try it.

Any audible effect of the linking plates themselves is so unlikely that I can't believe I'm actually saying this but; presumably, when single wiring, you've been connecting bananas to the lower (LF) pair of speaker terminals with the plates bridging to the upper (HF) terminals.
Try single-wiring with bananas feeding HF direct and the plates bridging down to LF terminals. You will be comparing the sound of the tweeter fed direct and via plates......any effect on HF?

Final explanation depends what you find with these experiments.
 

Adam W.

Well-known member
Aug 19, 2020
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Make sure the 2 loose plugs at the speaker end don't short together if you try it.

Any audible effect of the linking plates themselves is so unlikely that I can't believe I'm actually saying this but; presumably, when single wiring, you've been connecting bananas to the lower (LF) pair of speaker terminals with the plates bridging to the upper (HF) terminals.
Try single-wiring with bananas feeding HF direct and the plates bridging down to LF terminals. You will be comparing the sound of the tweeter fed direct and via plates......any effect on HF?

Final explanation depends what you find with these experiments.
You’re correct.

I single wired the speakers by feeding HF direct, as you suggested, and the amount of sibilance increased.

There is no real problem with sibilance otherwise.

I don’t really understand why any of this would happen. I have bi-wired speakers in the past and not experienced anything like this.
 

Gray

Well-known member
Nov 27, 2015
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......I have bi-wired speakers in the past and not experienced anything like this.
But in this most recent test you weren't even bi-wired.
Therefore the links made a difference to what you report hearing.

Here's a suggestion. You and your wife have a piece of paper each, numbered 1 to 10.
After each of 10 plays of the same segment, your wife leaves the room.
You put banana plugs in the upper terminal pair on a random 3 out of the 10 times.
Ask her to write 'better' or 'worse' after all ten times.
If she correctly puts worse for the 3 times............(everyone here will be astounded).

If she complains, remind her that she married you for better or worse ;).
 

Adam W.

Well-known member
Aug 19, 2020
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Alternatively, if you had a problem and you've made it go away then the job's a good 'un!
Yes, I will stick to using single wire and the supplied plates. No problems whatsoever with this method.

But in this most recent test you weren't even bi-wired.
Therefore the links made a difference to what you report hearing.

Here's a suggestion. You and your wife have a piece of paper each, numbered 1 to 10.
After each of 10 plays of the same segment, your wife leaves the room.
You put banana plugs in the upper terminal pair on a random 3 out of the 10 times.
Ask her to write 'better' or 'worse' after all ten times.
If she correctly puts worse for the 3 times............(everyone here will be astounded).

If she complains, remind her that she married you for better or worse ;).
Apologies for the confusion. My most recent test was with a single wire configuration connected to the HF binding posts with the supplied plates. It resulted in more sibilance.

Again, I don't know why that would be the case.

Single wire connected to the LF binding posts along with the supplied plates fixes the issue and provides the best sound quality free of excess sibilance.
 

plus 1

Well-known member
Dec 5, 2019
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And so, for you, the undeniable conclusion is that those 2 short pieces of metal reduce sibilance. Not a bi-wire issue, but certainly a mysterious one.
dare i ask if those short pieces of metal were swapped for 2 short pieces of speaker cable... would the sibilance return ?!
 

Adam W.

Well-known member
Aug 19, 2020
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Believe me, this all sounds very silly to me. I don't have an explanation as to why sibilance lessens when single wired with the supplied plates.

I've used different speaker wires throughout the years and never experienced any differences. I have biwired speakers in the past and not experienced any differences.

I'm fully aware that I may well be hearing a difference that isn't really there. That's what logic is telling me.

However, I do feel that the issue is real, at least somewhat... to me.

I am happy with using single wire with the supplied plates.

I don't think bi-wiring, at least in my case, has any real benefits.
 
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Rupert the Super Bear

Active member
Aug 8, 2020
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Bit late to the thread. Is it possible the new speaker cable is just more revealing? It's an easy mistake to make with hifi gear, you buy better quality i/cs or s/cs, you expect heaven, instead things sound edgy - sibilance part of that problem. It's probably not the s/cs in themselves, it's just the combination doesn't work. It wasn't so many years ago nearly everybody seemed to buy trusty VDH D102 i/cs - they sounded very natural, they also took the edge off a lot of budget kit. I'm not saying your Cambridge amp is "budget" by the way.

I remember having a Marantz PM 17 and CD 17 Ki set up years ago. A lovely combination but it took me ages to find the right i/c, eventually settling on a pair of VDH Thunderline. I demoed some Ecosse i/cs at one point and they were amazingly revealing - but I couldn't play either Joni Mitchell or Maria Callas if you get my drift - both singers sounded metallic, horrendous. Many years later I think that it was just a bad combination - plus the ubiquitous Chord Odyssey s/cs that were sold by the mile then. The silver in the speaker cable exacerbated the problem too.

Always trust your ears. Ignore the cable doubters, trust your own instincts - don't worry about yourself or your own perceptions - if you hear something, you hear something. Talk to a good dealer or swap notes with other music nuts, even old farts like me.

By the way, I've bi-wired for years. If the terminals are there on the speakers, use them. My current speakers are tri-wired. No sibilance.
 
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Longchops

Well-known member
Oct 15, 2020
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The problem of thibilance....

It honestly sounds like something is broken in your setup. RTSB is right, different cables do make a difference to the sound, but better quality ones tend to be made of better quality materials which usually roll off and dampen the high frequencies that you appear to be hearing, I don't think its that....

Compared to the studio monitor speakers I use you hifi people seem to favour amp/speaker combos with absolute thunderclap levels of gain. I really don't get it tbh. Frankly I'm not thurprised OP its having problemth. thath what your thithtems soundth like to me normally anyway. Maybe its just too much gain somewhere
 

TrevC

Well-known member
Jun 12, 2013
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19,070
Thibilance or sibilance distortion is exclusive to turntables, or to be more accurate the stylus mistracking, more noticeable at the end of a side. An over emphasis on 'S'sounds is usually the recording or speakers.
 

manicm

Well-known member
May 1, 2008
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Thibilance or sibilance distortion is exclusive to turntables, or to be more accurate the stylus mistracking, more noticeable at the end of a side. An over emphasis on 'S'sounds is usually the recording or speakers.
1. I've had experience with bad sibilance - a NAD C521i CD player to be exact. This was not down to any recording or speakers. Could have been a system mismatch, but it was down to this absolutely horrid CDP. It wasn't just the sibilance, it had also had poor stereo seperation.

And this was in comparison to my old CD Player, and subsequently reverting to a Pioneer DVD player for both movies and music.

Within a month I had 3 different disc players. I got the NAD later as a fourth disc player later that year and sold it faster than I bought it.

We need to respect other's experiences without resorting to dogma. Hifi often isn't an exact science.

2. Now I don't disagree about recordings - they can be testy but the sibilance can be managed in a good system - they certainly were in all my systems except when I brought the NAD turd in - which brought sibilance in every CD I played.

One such recording that can really test how refined a system should be is David Bowie's Scary Monsters And Scary Creeps. I have the excellent 1999 remaster but the recording is decidedly treble bright, and David's singing lisps no end. This CD will make or break a system. My B&W 685s handled it with aplomb despite their reputation.
 
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