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  1. #1
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    Question BiWiring, does it make a difference

    I've been doing some reading on Bi-Wiring speakers and it seems this is another controversial area as to whether or not it really improves sound. What do you guys think? I do believe that Bi-Amping does make a significant difference but Bi-Wiring is a different animal. The reason I ask is because I may want to Bi-Wire my Monitor Audio speakers. I can buy a pair of Bi-Wire cables from blujean for about $20 if I buy the bare wire.

    I'm having trouble believing that by hooking up 2 speaker wires to the same terminal of your amp and then putting one set to the woofers and the other to the tweeter is going to magically make the high frequencies go down one set of wires and the low frequencies go down the other set. BUT WHAT THE HELL DO I KNOW ANYWAY
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  2. #2
    Forum Regular audio amateur's Avatar
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    I say it's BS. I don't see physically how it can make any difference.
    Then again, could be wrong.

  3. #3
    Suspended Smokey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackraven
    I'm having trouble believing that by hooking up 2 speaker wires to the same terminal of your amp and then putting one set to the woofers and the other to the tweeter is going to magically make the high frequencies go down one set of wires and the low frequencies go down the other set. BUT WHAT THE HELL DO I KNOW ANYWAY

    You do know enough

    Electrically, biwiring is meaningless. As you said, once 2 speaker wires touch each other at terminal, they both become electrically equivalent.

    There is only one advantage to biwirirng and that is slightly decreased cable resistance due to having double run. But on the same note disadvantage are many such as combined effect of two cables (rather than one) on the signal. And most importantly, two run of wire mean now there two ways noise and interference can get in thru the cable.

  4. #4
    Super Moderator Site Moderator JohnMichael's Avatar
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    My OML 1's are biwired with Audioquest Slate cable. There is great improvement over a single cable and the jumpers. I did try the wire jumper and did not find that an improvement. The Slates are terminated as one cable at the amp end and at the speaker end of the eight solid core cables 4 take care of the high frequencies + and - while the other four handle the bass + and -. I have read reasons why bi wiring is beneficial but for me the sound is all I need. Try it you might like it.
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  5. #5
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    If you can try it for $20, I say go for it! It's the only way you'll truly know. If your ears like it, then it doesn't matter what anybody else's experience is. If you hear no difference, then it was an inexpensive experiment.

  6. #6
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    For $20 for a pair of quad 14g cables for bi wire use I just might give it a try. Monitor Audio says in their manual that you will get better sound but Bi-amping will give you the most improvement.

    I have read professional reviews on bi-wiring and some have said that a high quality heavy gauge wire will give you the same improvement in sound.
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  7. #7
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smokey
    You do know enough

    Electrically, biwiring is meaningless. As you said, once 2 speaker wires touch each other at terminal, they both become electrically equivalent.

    There is only one advantage to biwirirng and that is slightly decreased cable resistance due to having double run. But on the same note disadvantage are many such as combined effect of two cables (rather than one) on the signal. And most importantly, two run of wire mean now there two ways noise and interference can get in thru the cable.
    I've never heard a difference. A few of my audio friends swear by it - they've invited me over and told me to listen to the obvious difference, even repeated certain sections of an audio track in a crude a/b to try and prove it to me. I didn't want to be rude but I couldn't hear the difference.

    Bi-amping, is different. But bi-wiring? Not this guy. But I've got tin ears.

    If they're willing to go to all that trouble, I really believe that they believe they hear something. I'd say it's worth the belief of sonic improvement if nothing else.

    Here's a decent writeup on the subject.
    http://www.pcavtech.com/techtalk/biwire/index.htm

  8. #8
    Meh. Brett A's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mtbrider
    If you can try it for $20, I say go for it! It's the only way you'll truly know. If your ears like it, then it doesn't matter what anybody else's experience is. If you hear no difference, then it was an inexpensive experiment.
    I agree. Try it. You might not even have to spend $20. My B&W 683s are bi-wired with single runs of 4-lead OFC bulk speaker cable I got from my local shop for $0.60/ft.

    Despite all the controversy and articles that are out there, I find bi-wiring makes a noticeable and important difference. I wish it didn't (so I could buy one nice single run of cable), but I can't make the A/B difference go away. I can't deny it. I've tried.
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  9. #9
    Forum Regular FLZapped's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnMichael
    My OML 1's are biwired with Audioquest Slate cable. There is great improvement over a single cable and the jumpers. I did try the wire jumper and did not find that an improvement. The Slates are terminated as one cable at the amp end and at the speaker end of the eight solid core cables 4 take care of the high frequencies + and - while the other four handle the bass + and -. I have read reasons why bi wiring is beneficial but for me the sound is all I need. Try it you might like it.

    The wires don't care about the frequencies and the amplifier is still handling all of them and still seing the total impedance of the speakers....

    -Bruce

  10. #10
    Forum Regular FLZapped's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brett A
    I agree. Try it. You might not even have to spend $20. My B&W 683s are bi-wired with single runs of 4-lead OFC bulk speaker cable I got from my local shop for $0.60/ft.

    Despite all the controversy and articles that are out there, I find bi-wiring makes a noticeable and important difference. I wish it didn't (so I could buy one nice single run of cable), but I can't make the A/B difference go away. I can't deny it. I've tried.
    I agree, if you want to try it, go get some wire from Home Depot.....

    Just understand that the bi-wiring equation would have about 6 or so variables to solve for.It's a total crap-shoot as to whether or not you'll actually have any audible improvement.

    -Bruce

  11. #11
    Suspended Smokey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kexodusc

    Here's a decent writeup on the subject.
    http://www.pcavtech.com/techtalk/biwire/index.htm
    Damn Kex, those are some complex formulas

    But it look like have reached the same conclusion as we are discussing here. It seem mathematical expression for single wire or biwire setup are the same and electrically equivalent

    Thanks.
    Last edited by Smokey; 04-12-2008 at 06:44 AM.

  12. #12
    Forum Regular filecat13's Avatar
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    Hot topic, cold subject, debated to death.

    Spend the $20 and see for yourself.

    One recommendation that I make for all speakers with two sets of binding posts is to consider removing the metal straps and replacing them with speaker wire when you go the single-wire route. Those straps tend to be problematic over time.
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  13. #13
    Forum Regular hermanv's Avatar
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    Some years back I was shopping for speakers. I heard some (Snell I think) that I liked. I asked the store if they would please bi-wire the speakers for me as that's how I normally run my system. They did and there was enough improvement that the store owner asked the salesman what it was we had done.

    Now the same day, same store a different brand of speakers also interested me. The store said they supposed I would like these bi-wired as well. They did, but there was no change.

    So, bi-wiring can be system or speaker dependent, one size will not fit all.

    I have never heard a claim that bi-wiring made things worse, claims that it made things better were quite common but obviously subjective. I would tend to err on the side of it can't hurt.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smokey
    Damn Kex, those are some complex formulas

    But it look like have reached the same conclusion as we are discussing here. It seem mathematical expression for single wire or biwire setup are the same and electrically equivalent
    Complex? Shirley you jest..

    Rudimentary math such as shown on that link will not find the difference.

    Nor will Spectral analysis which is magnitude only. Only spectral correlation which preserves the time dependency correlation from the amp terminals to the speaker terminals can see the difference.

    Cheers, John

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by FLZapped
    The wires don't care about the frequencies and the amplifier is still handling all of them and still seing the total impedance of the speakers....

    -Bruce
    The amp yes. But the dissipation loss in the wires is significantly different. Not the RMS loss, that is identical. The instantaneous loss however, changes.

    Cheers, John

    ps..hey there bruce, how's it going? Still able to count to 10, or have you been experimentin again..

  16. #16
    Suspended Smokey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jneutron
    Complex? Shirley you jest..

    Rudimentary math such as shown on that link will not find the difference.

    Nor will Spectral analysis which is magnitude only.
    Hi John

    Doesn't Spectral analysis also include frequency?


  17. #17
    Forum Regular FLZapped's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jneutron
    The amp yes. But the dissipation loss in the wires is significantly different. Not the RMS loss, that is identical. The instantaneous loss however, changes.

    Cheers, John

    ps..hey there bruce, how's it going? Still able to count to 10, or have you been experimentin again..

    So? Can you show this is audible? Any real difference as compared to a single wire pair that is of an equivalent guage? As long as the wire loss isn't significant enough to be audible, this is a non-sequitur.

    Just another set of variables to solve for.....

    And in the end, the same amp is STILL doing all the work.

    -Bruce

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smokey
    Hi John

    Doesn't Spectral analysis also include frequency?

    Yup yup yup.

    Spectral response is all about frequency..If I recall correctly, those white line thingy's have sumptin ta do with frequency...

    Seems to me that the height of those line thingy's mean sumptin...oh yah, magnitude..

    Where on that plot is the phase of the individual components of the frequencies?

    If you recall, there are an infinite number of waveforms that could show that spectra.

    If I delay the first or second harmonic by 30, 50, 90 degrees...that spectra will be identical...the waveform won't, but the spectra will.

    There must be correlation as well. Phase of each component is rather important, and that is lost in a magnitude only FFT spectrum.

    edit:the short answer seems too glib..sorry..

    Imagine that is the spectra of a signal that is mono, you are listening to it.. The image is center stage.

    Now, delay one channel 100 milliseconds..In what way is that spectral display any different?

    Answer: It is not.

    Now, delay one channel 10 milliseconds...or 1 millisecond, or 100 microseconds..

    Spectra will be identical.

    But it certainly wouldn't sound the same, would it?

    What happens if something delays only part of the spectrum in one channel? Again, the spectrum will be the same.

    But the soundstage image will not.

    That is why FFT magnitude only analysis is unacceptable for stereo reproduction determination...it is the wrong tool for the job.

    Cheers, John
    Last edited by jneutron; 04-18-2008 at 06:45 PM.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by FLZapped
    So? Can you show this is audible? Any real difference as compared to a single wire pair that is of an equivalent guage? As long as the wire loss isn't significant enough to be audible, this is a non-sequitur.

    Just another set of variables to solve for.....

    And in the end, the same amp is STILL doing all the work.

    -Bruce
    If the listener is sensitive to the wire loss as a result of modulation product, that causing localization shift (smearing), then yes it is audible.

    And yes, there are real differences with respect to a single wire. Whether or not it is audible, I am not worried..

    I actually can't figure out what your last sentence meant..are you still plucking wires there Bruce?? (you thought I'd forget??)

    Cheers, John
    Last edited by jneutron; 04-18-2008 at 06:40 PM.

  20. #20
    Forum Regular hermanv's Avatar
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    Cable wars, fun for the whole family?

    It is hard to have this discussion 1 paragraph at a time, if you read my posts in other places on this forum, you will soon find I am an avid supporter of the cables do make a difference school.

    The folks that disagree generally start with "Then why can't I measure it?". In fact we can measure all kinds of differences between two cables, first order such as inductance, capacitance and resistance, second order such as group delay and dielectric absorption. There are others such as velocity of propagation (turns out that electricity in a cable rarely flows at the speed of light, unless the cable is made in a certain form factor and then I believe the fastest is around 0.95c. I'm sure John is more up to date with this than I am ).

    One significant problem is we can't quite correlate these measurements to how a cable sounds. And the fact that the complex impedance of the load (the loudspeaker) varies a lot from design to design and frequency to frequency, presumably causing a given cable's sound to be somewhat dependent on the loudspeaker manufacturer.

    When we do measure cables we do it with DC or with one or more sine waves, maybe even white noise. We don't ever use music, you can't, the changes in music over time are greater than the differences in the cables we are trying to measure.
    How about looking at it a different way? Both Dynaudio and Sonus Faber make first class expensive speakers. They don't sound the same. The specification sheets are somewhat different, but even so you would be damn hard pressed to predict ahead of listening how either speaker would sound from their spec sheet.

    While the physics of how human ears work limits the differences in how we hear, training certainly has a significant effect on our ability to discriminate and/or remember differences. Most musicians have "perfect pitch" yet their ears are probably the same as yours or mine. Just like a wine aficionado can train his pallet, I believe any of us can train our hearing. My acoustic memory used to be quite short, I believe I can now remember a specific acoustic coloration for days. I am not special, I trained myself while trying to design a state of the art speaker (since I can't hope to afford the Sonus Faber or others at that quality level). So I might hear quite different things than you hear when listening to a cable. "Golden ears" is often used as a derogatory term, I believe almost anyone can learn to substantially increase their acoustic discriminating abilities.

    Whether or not you choose to become sensitized to things that don't bother you now, is quite a different question.
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  21. #21
    Forum Regular O'Shag's Avatar
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    Hi BlackRaven,

    I can't say whether it will be effective for your application, but it's worked very well for me in the past. The Monitor Audio GR60 shows marked improvement when bi-wired, even more when tri-wired. Things improve even more with bi-amp or tri-amping, but thats something else. You can try it and see how it works for you. You don't actually need a Bi-wire cable specifically. You can bi-wire by running two identical lengths of prefereably the same type of speaker cable from the same binding posts on the amp to the same terminals on the speakers. I suspect that some speakers respond more readily to this approach than others, but its always worth a try. If those S1s haven't shown any improvement by now, and your still in the 'Return' timeframe, I would do just that. In other words they should have broken in a little by now if you've been using them regularly.

  22. #22
    Man of the People Forums Moderator bobsticks's Avatar
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    I agree with something Shaggy said. The only real and substantial improvement I've seen in this area was when bi-amping. I'd suggest exploring that alternative, especially since you're using Maggies. I'm thinking the increase in current can only be good.
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  23. #23
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    O'Shag, I going to sell the S1's on audiogon. I'm going to buy a pair of NHT classic 3's or B&W 685's or move my MMG's up from my basement and buy a cheap pair of infinity Beta's for the basement.. So if any one wants a pair of new Monitor Audio S1's for $375 with free shipping, let me know! They list for $600 new.
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  24. #24
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    I would think Bi-Wiring would make a difference. If you think about it, all you are doing is removing the jumpers at the speakers and extending them to the receiver connection. The speaker's crossover is a configuration of different series and parallel values of resistors, capacitors and inductors. Depending on how long the wires are and what values of resistance, capacitance and inductance they represent, they could change the change the effects of the crossover, outside what the engineer intended.

    If the wire was completely transparent with no electrical values at all, or has values whose effects fall outside the audio range, then there should be no audible difference. It would be the same as re-installing the jumper. But as we all know, different diameters and lengths of wire have different values of resistance, wire layout and geometry has different effects on capacitance and inductance. Whether the change is good or bad is in the ears of the beholder.

  25. #25
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    The distances involved in removing the jumpers are so small that resistance, capacitance does not come into play.
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp,
    Thorens TD-145 TT, Bellari phono preamp, Nagaoka MP-200 Cartridge
    Magnepan QR1.6 speakers
    Luxman DA-06 DAC
    Van Alstine Ultra Plus Hybrid Tube DAC
    Dual Martin Logan Original Dynamo Subs
    Parasound A21 amp
    Vintage Luxman T-110 tuner
    Magnepan MMG's, Grant Fidelity DAC-11, Class D CDA254 amp
    Monitor Audio S1 speakers, PSB B6 speakers
    Vintage Technic's Integrated amp
    Music Hall 25.2 CDP
    Adcom GFR 700 AVR
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