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  1. #1
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    Finally Bi-Amped my Clearfields

    I have had 2 amps since I have had the Clearfields, which are bi-amp/wireable, but never tried it. My 2 amps do not match in input sensativity or quality so I was not sure what to expect. The Clearfields use a 6.5" woofer along with a 6.5" Mid and 1" tweeter so deep bass has always been lacking.

    My two amps are an Odyssey Stratos with Cap Upgrade and the other is a Counterpoint NPS-400 Hybrid. Two totally different beasts. The CP is high in detail and the Stratos excels at chest thumping bass, with the right speakers.

    I hooked the Counterpoint to the Mid-Tweets and the Stratos to the Woofers. Cabling is also a big mismatch where the speaker cables going from the Stratos are Tara Labs Prism Bi-wire, connected back as a single pair, and the cables from the Counterpoint are Synergistic Research. Same thing goes from Pre to Amps, CP is using Synergistic and the Stratos is using AudioQuest Sidewinders.

    At first powerup, the bass was grainy and didn't sound all that great. The rest of the gear had been on all day and the Stratos had not been used in months. I let it warm up for a few hours before sitting down to listen. With ear at the speakers, you can hear the mis-match in Amp quality right away BUT, it wasn't night and day. As much of a Giant Killer the Stratos was touted as being, it does not come close to the resolution of the Counterpoint. At a price dif of $1100 vs $4500 when new, one really would not expect it to be any other way. You can also hear the differences in the vocals between the woofer and mid drivers. But all that said, I am getting a more live sound to everything I played.

    Initial observations are:

    More bass as expected since the Stratos has always been a basey amp.
    Effortless driving of either set of drivers. The full power of the Stratos to drive 2 6.5" speakers as well as all the power of the Counterpoint to drive only the mid-tweets so niether amp seems to struggle.
    All around more live sound to each thing I played.

    I'm going to play around some more by switching cables and switching which amp is driving uppers/lowers.

    All around a fun little experiment. Lets me know just how good the Stratos is for a $1k amp and just how awesome my Counterpoint really is when it comes to detail and separation of instruments.

  2. #2
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    What you described is often called passive bi-amping aka active bi-wiring as there are still passive crossovers in the network, True bi-amping uses active crossovers and yields even better results.

  3. #3
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    Bla bla bla! we went through this on my thread and every biamp thread, must we muddy up everyone's thread with the same discussion on what is official biamping? The thing is there is no distinction in terminology, the manufacturers of speakers uses "biamping" so we use it as well until something better comes along. With that being said I'm sure most here know the differences.

    Quote Originally Posted by Poultrygeist View Post
    What you described is often called passive bi-amping aka active bi-wiring as there are still passive crossovers in the network, True bi-amping uses active crossovers and yields even better results.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody View Post
    Bla bla bla! we went through this on my thread and every biamp thread, must we muddy up everyone's thread with the same discussion on what is official biamping? The thing is there is no distinction in terminology, the manufacturers of speakers uses "biamping" so we use it as well until something better comes along. With that being said I'm sure most here know the differences.
    Thanks Mr P. I know exactly what I was doing. My Clearfield manual spells it out very well along with stating that outboard crossovers are not needed because they optimized the internal wiring to deal with it.

    The manual also goes on to explain how to use 2 amps to split top and bottom as well as 2 amps using left for top and right for bottom, x2 speakers, which I thought was the interesting method if you have two identical amps.

    Anyway, I am enjoying the effect of having the pluses from both amps shine through in one speaker. Regardless of the method I used, and it's technical definition, I can clearly hear the changes that it made. All the bass that the Stratos has to offer along with the killer detail of mids and highs that the CP delivers.

    Last night I spun the Rippingtons - Sahara disk. Kim Stone has a really low bass line that is very hard for most systems to play back clearly. I think it was the best this disk has ever sound in my house. All the detail of the many items of percussion that Steve Reid plays came out distinct and separate from the rest of the instruments while Kim Stone's bass line was clear, detailed and again separate and not just mushed into the rest of the music. I had not played that disk for years and forgot just how good it is.

  5. #5
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    This may help you understand the difference and it's not small.

    BiAmp (Bi-Amplification - Not Quite Magic, But Close) - Part 2

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Poultrygeist View Post
    This may help you understand the difference and it's not small.

    BiAmp (Bi-Amplification - Not Quite Magic, But Close) - Part 2
    Thanks, I have read similar and understand that I am still using the internal crossover.

    In reading that link, and your comments, it almost appears that you are both saying that it does not matter what amps are used, I won't hear it.

    Well if that is the intended message, it's cow pies. If I mis-understood, enlighten me.

  7. #7
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    Update after a weeks time

    Good Bad or Different, all hard to say but you can clearly hear the signature sound of each amp coming through.

    Although I will most likely switch back to a single amp so I can add my sub back, I have enjoyed the sound quite a lot from this experiment. I have yet to swap the amps from top to bottom and may still do that for fun.

    Last night I got a massage in my listening room with the table setup so my head was in the sweet spot at just about a perfect triangle. The imaging was scary as I laid face down with the speakers at my feet yet hearing the sound as if it was above my head or coming from everywhere. It was scary at times depending on the track and I kept lifting my head to be sure what way I was facing. This probably has nothing to do with bi-amping but until I reverse the setup and get another massage, I won't know.

  8. #8
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hyfi View Post
    Good Bad or Different, all hard to say but you can clearly hear the signature sound of each amp coming through.

    Although I will most likely switch back to a single amp so I can add my sub back, I have enjoyed the sound quite a lot from this experiment. I have yet to swap the amps from top to bottom and may still do that for fun.

    Last night I got a massage in my listening room with the table setup so my head was in the sweet spot at just about a perfect triangle. The imaging was scary as I laid face down with the speakers at my feet yet hearing the sound as if it was above my head or coming from everywhere. It was scary at times depending on the track and I kept lifting my head to be sure what way I was facing. This probably has nothing to do with bi-amping but until I reverse the setup and get another massage, I won't know.
    Is the sound cohesive? i.e. does it sound like you're listening to music with treble and mids produced by one amp and bass by another or does it sound like one amp?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ajani View Post
    Is the sound cohesive? i.e. does it sound like you're listening to music with treble and mids produced by one amp and bass by another or does it sound like one amp?
    It is surprisingly cohesive and probably more due to the internal crossover but with ears against the speakers, you can hear the differences between amps from the lower woofer to the upper midrange speaker.

    Short answer is yes, the bass exhibits the characteristics of the Stratos while the mids and highs exhibit the characteristics of the Counterpoint.

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