Benefit of bi-wire speakers? - AVS Forum
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Old 01-18-2012, 10:18 AM - Thread Starter
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Guys, the title says it all. I happen to have some bi-wire cables laying around and wonder if it worths a hassle trying to bi-wire my speakers. Is there any pros and cons biwiring? As everyone here seems to try improving performance, so i thought i would post it here first. What a point of manufacture to provide the bi-wire option especially with high end speakers makers? Thanks.
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Old 01-18-2012, 10:33 AM
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If you've got the cables go ahead and try it. You have nothng to lose but a little time. If you notice a benefit then it was well worth the effort.

I think the majority of people who use the dual terminals on speakers biamp them instead of bi wiring.

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Old 01-18-2012, 11:40 AM
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There is NO advantages of bi-wiring. Use thick enough cable and you will be good.

Dual terminal are for bi-amping, which might improve sound in some cases.
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Old 01-18-2012, 12:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tvuong View Post

Guys, the title says it all. I happen to have some bi-wire cables laying around and wonder if it worths a hassle trying to bi-wire my speakers. Is there any pros and cons biwiring? As everyone here seems to try improving performance, so i thought i would post it here first. What a point of manufacture to provide the bi-wire option especially with high end speakers makers? Thanks.

What are you trying to improve ?
What gear do you have ?
In spite of the testimonials you can find in support of bi-wiring, there is simply not an electrical engineering case to support any performance improvement.

Regards,
Charlie

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Old 01-18-2012, 01:34 PM
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In theory bi-wiring can improve the sound in that it's possible your speakers are connected in series and some frequencies can be filtered prior to getting to a speaker that otherwise wouldn't be with bi-wiring. Your speaker would have to have bad crossover circuitry.

In practice, i've never heard a noticeable difference.
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Old 01-18-2012, 02:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tvuong View Post

Guys, the title says it all. I happen to have some bi-wire cables laying around and wonder if it worths a hassle trying to bi-wire my speakers. Is there any pros and cons biwiring? As everyone here seems to try improving performance, so i thought i would post it here first. What a point of manufacture to provide the bi-wire option especially with high end speakers makers? Thanks.

Are you sure you're not confusing the two terms? Bi-wiring is running two wires to the exact same post from the amp/receiver to the speaker. So two wires from the negative post on the amp/receiver to the SAME negative post on the speaker. same thing for the positive posts. Bi-amping on the other hand, is running a single wire from the negative post from the amp/receiver to the first negative post on the speaker same for the positive post, then running a another set of wires from a different amp to the second set of posts on the same speaker. You MUST remove the shorting plates connecting the two set of posts on the speaker though.

Bi-wiring (running two cables to the same posts) is pointless. Just use the proper size cable to begin with and you'll be fine as another poster had mentioned.

Bi-amping has its benefits, but only if properly implemented. This means removing your speaker's internal passive crossovers, running an active crossover and using a separate amp channel per set of posts on the rear of the speaker. Separate amp channels on a receiver capable of bi-amping does not qualify as separate channels here as they are both sharing the same power supply and are not truly discreet channels. Not only that, but you'll be sending out the full frequency range out to both speaker posts which largely negates the benefits of bi-amping.

I say you may be confusing the two terms since you mention having extra "bi-wires" lying around. I'm assuming these are just four or more wires in the same jacket. Then you go on to mention high end speaker manufacturers making the option for "bi-wiring". Bi-wiring is not an option that needs to be made available by the manufacturer, but bi-amping does. You can bi-wire ANY speaker from the lowest cost to the most expensive. Heck, you can bi-wire a cheapo set of headphones. Bi-amping, on the other hand, requires the manufacturer include two sets of binding posts (two negative and two positive) for a total of four.

Sorry for the babbling, but I hope I was clear in my explanations.
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Old 01-18-2012, 02:42 PM
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There are really no well proven benefits to bi wiring. It just takes twice as much wire with the same results as normal wiring. What many people forget about bi amping is that it's a completely different thing. The only way to do this properly is to completely take the speaker apart and remove the entire crossover network from inside the speaker. Then external crossovers must be used to adjust and distribute frequencies properly between the high frequency tweeter and low frequency drivers of the speaker. Then the dedicated amplifiers also need to be calibrated properly. Bi amping is not as simple as removing the jumper plate on the speaker and then connection two amplifiers to the speaker.
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Old 01-18-2012, 03:32 PM
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I bi-wired or bi-amped my towers. Just because there were amps available on the receiver, the speakers had facility for it and I had some extra wire on hand. Did it do me any good? Who the hell knows?
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Old 01-18-2012, 03:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Secret Squirrel View Post

Bi amping is not as simple as removing the jumper plate on the speaker and then connection two amplifiers to the speaker.

Passive biamping is that simple. Beneficial? Possibly. There have been a few good discussions regarding this, here, in the last few months.

"All men are frauds. The only difference between them is that some admit it. I myself deny it."
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Old 01-18-2012, 03:50 PM
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I'm sorry, old man, but you seem to be the one who is confused, or you didn't say what you meant.

The whole POINT of bi-wiring is to run one pair of wires from the amplifier output terminals to the BASS section of the speaker and a separate set of wires from the amplifier to the TREBLE section of the speakers. That is why the speaker manufacturer provides two sets of connections, so the two sections of the speaker can be connected separately.

That way the current driving each half of the speaker travels through a separate set of wires and the two cannot intermodulate.

Richard Vandersteen, the owner and designer of the repeatedly acclaimed Vandersteen speakers, has a discussion on his website where he discusses the reasons why he strongly recommends bi-wiring, but not necessarily bi-amping (except under certain conditions). It is interesting reading, even if it doesn't convince you.

Bi-amping usually means using one stereo amplifier to drive the treble half of both speakers, and a second stereo amplifier to drive the bass half of both speakers.

Some people like driving the treble section with a tube amplifier, and the bass section with a much more powerful solid-state amplfier. All sorts of experiments are possible.


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Originally Posted by duc135 View Post

Are you sure you're not confusing the two terms? Bi-wiring is running two wires to the exact same post from the amp/receiver to the speaker. So two wires from the negative post on the amp/receiver to the SAME negative post on the speaker. same thing for the positive posts. Bi-amping on the other hand, is running a single wire from the negative post from the amp/receiver to the first negative post on the speaker same for the positive post, then running a another set of wires from a different amp to the second set of posts on the same speaker. You MUST remove the shorting plates connecting the two set of posts on the speaker though.
Sorry for the babbling, but I hope I was clear in my explanations.

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Old 01-18-2012, 03:50 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks all. I just keep my system as is instead of messing around. And yes, I do know the difference between bi wire and bi amp.
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Old 01-18-2012, 04:00 PM
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Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

I'm sorry, old man, but you seem to be the one who is confused, or you didn't say what you meant.

The whole POINT of bi-wiring is to run one pair of wires from the amplifier output terminals to the BASS section of the speaker and a separate set of wires from the amplifier to the TREBLE section of the speakers. That is why the speaker manufacturer provides two sets of connections, so the two sections of the speaker can be connected separately.

That way the current driving each half of the speaker travels through a separate set of wires and the two cannot intermodulate.

Richard Vandersteen, the owner and designer of the repeatedly acclaimed Vandersteen speakers, has a discussion on his website where he discusses the reasons why he strongly recommends bi-wiring, but not necessarily bi-amping (except under certain conditions). It is interesting reading, even if it doesn't convince you.

Not sure if I know you or you confuse with with someone else, but I don't think I would be considered an old man.

Running two wires from the same output posts on the amp/receiver to the separate high/low post on the same speaker with the shorting strap removed has the same effect as connecting them both to just the high post or just the low post with the shorting strap installed. How do the wires know how to separate the frequencies when they are both connected to each other? They will both carry the full frequency coming out of the posts on the amp/receiver. It's not like there is some frequency traffic cop built into the wires to direct frequency traffic to the correct posts on the speaker.
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Old 01-18-2012, 04:08 PM
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Originally Posted by ap1 View Post

There is NO advantages of bi-wiring. Use thick enough cable and you will be good.

Correct.

Quote:


Dual terminal are for bi-amping, which might improve sound in some cases.

Dual terminals allow for bi-amping, but if you bi-amp without bypassing the passive crossovers you've lost much of the benefit of bi-amping anyway.

Bi-wiring is one of those things that makes sense if you don't thoroughly understand how speakers work, and as most users don't that's how it gained popularity. Now even manufacturers who know fully well that it does nothing still put it in their cabs for fear of losing sales because they don't have it.

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Old 01-18-2012, 04:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Bill Fitzmaurice View Post

Correct.

Dual terminals allow for bi-amping, but if you bi-amp without bypassing the passive crossovers you've lost much of the benefit of bi-amping anyway.

Bi-wiring is one of those things that makes sense if you don't thoroughly understand how speakers work, and as most users don't that's how it gained popularity. Now even manufacturers who know fully well that it does nothing still put it in their cabs for fear of losing sales because they don't have it.

+1

I had just typed up a whole long response reiterating the same thing, but somehow it didn't go through. Better that someone more well known and respected on this board like you say it though. You carry much more weight than I ever will.
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Old 01-18-2012, 04:22 PM
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That traffic cop is called a CROSSOVER!!!

The crossover components in the speakers' HF section blocks the LF current, which could be damaging to the HF speakers, and therefore that LF current does not flow in the wires hooked to the HF terminals, because there is a blockage that prevents it from taking that path.

The crossover components in the LF section similarly block all HF current, so that current cannot flow through the wires connected to those terminals.

With both sets of posts on the speaker shorted together, all of the current flows through one set of wires and the crossover SEPARATES and directs the current to the correct place AFTER it enters the speaker cabinet.

Bi-wiring is essentially a way of extending the internal wiring of the speaker all the way back to the amplifier terminals, so that the current separation starts there, as soon as it leaves the amplifier.

Basic electrical principles. A current can only flow in a complete CIRCUIT, not just part of a circuit. If it is blocked at any point, it cannot flow at any point in the circuit.

The bass wires and speaker components form one CIRCUIT with only LF current (in bi-wiring), and the HF wires and speaker components form a second CIRCUIT with only HF flowing.


Quote:
Originally Posted by duc135 View Post

Not sure if I know you or you confuse with with someone else, but I don't think I would be considered an old man.

Running two wires from the same output posts on the amp/receiver to the separate high/low post on the same speaker with the shorting strap removed has the same effect as connecting them both to just the high post or just the low post with the shorting strap installed. How do the wires know how to separate the frequencies when they are both connected to each other? They will both carry the full frequency coming out of the posts on the amp/receiver. It's not like there is some frequency traffic cop built into the wires to direct frequency traffic to the correct posts on the speaker.

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Old 01-18-2012, 04:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

That traffic cop is called a CROSSOVER!!!

The crossover components in the speakers' HF section blocks the LF current, which could be damaging to the HF speakers, and therefore that current does not flow in the wires hooked to the HF terminals.

The crossover components in the LF section block all HF current, so that current does not flow through the wires connected to those terminals.

With both sets of posts on the speaker shorted together, all of the current flows through one set of wires and the crossover directs the current to the correct place. Bi-wiring is essentially a way of extending the internal wiring of the speaker all the way back to the amplifier terminals,

If that does not make sense to you, you need to learn some basic electrical principles.

I think you need to read up on your basic electronics principles. I may not understand all aspects of electronics, but the basics I do have a grasp of.

Yes, but that traffic cop (crossover) is downstream of the wires. How does that help with filtering what wire gets what frequencies.

The crossovers sit behind the speaker posts inside the speaker box just before the drivers. How is it supposed to block the unwanted frequencies from flowing through the wire to the posts? That's like me saying that me wearing a raincoat will prevent the water from coming through the water hose. I may not get wet if someone sprayed me with it, but that water has already come through the hose.
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Old 01-18-2012, 04:41 PM
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You are absolutely, completely wrong. I taught electronics and electrical engineering for over 30 years, and right now you would be failing my first-semester fundamentals course. So far you seem to be correctly grasping nothing.

You need to REREAD what I said above. You do NOT understand the basic concept of a circuit.

Your water analogy is defective, and only adds to your confusion. An electrical circuit is a closed loop, and your hose is NOT.

Read post #15 3 times slowly, and if you still need help make an appointment to see me during my office hours...lol.

But seriously;

Any Electronics Fundamentals textbook will help you to understand, if you will spend the time to read it carefully. I highly recommend the one by Raymond Floyd; it is very clear.


Quote:
Originally Posted by duc135 View Post

I think you need to read up on your basic electronics principles. I may not understand all aspects of electronics, but the basics I do have a grasp of.

Yes, but that traffic cop (crossover) is downstream of the wires. How does that help with filtering what wire gets what frequencies.

The crossovers sit behind the speaker posts inside the speaker box just before the drivers. How is it supposed to block the unwanted frequencies from flowing through the wire to the posts? That's like me saying that me wearing a raincoat will prevent the water from coming through the water hose. I may not get wet if someone sprayed me with it, but that water has already come through the hose.

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Old 01-18-2012, 04:49 PM
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Wow.

So when I put a low pass filter in a circuit, the node in front of the low-pass filter is already filtered?

For every new thing I learn, I forget two things I used to know.
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Old 01-18-2012, 04:54 PM
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Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

The bass wires and speaker components form one CIRCUIT with only LF current (in bi-wiring), and the HF wires and speaker components form a second CIRCUIT with only HF flowing.

wrong

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Old 01-18-2012, 04:55 PM
 
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Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

Bi-wiring is essentially a way of extending the internal wiring of the speaker all the way back to the amplifier terminals, so that the current separation starts there, as soon as it leaves the amplifier.

And what audible effect does this have on the produced soundwaves?

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Old 01-18-2012, 05:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

That traffic cop is called a CROSSOVER!!!

The crossover components in the speakers' HF section blocks the LF current, which could be damaging to the HF speakers, and therefore that LF current does not flow in the wires hooked to the HF terminals, because there is a blockage that prevents it from taking that path.

The crossover components in the LF section similarly block all HF current, so that current cannot flow through the wires connected to those terminals.

With both sets of posts on the speaker shorted together, all of the current flows through one set of wires and the crossover SEPARATES and directs the current to the correct place AFTER it enters the speaker cabinet.

Bi-wiring is essentially a way of extending the internal wiring of the speaker all the way back to the amplifier terminals, so that the current separation starts there, as soon as it leaves the amplifier.

Basic electrical principles. A current can only flow in a complete CIRCUIT, not just part of a circuit. If it is blocked at any point, it cannot flow at any point in the circuit.

The bass wires and speaker components form one CIRCUIT with only LF current (in bi-wiring), and the HF wires and speaker components form a second CIRCUIT with only HF flowing.


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Old 01-18-2012, 05:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

You are absolutely, completely wrong. I taught electronics and electrical engineering for over 30 years, and right now you are failing my first-semester fundamentals course. So far you seem to be correctly grasping nothing.

You need to REREAD what I said above. You do NOT understand the basic concept of a circuit.

Your water analogy is defective, and only adds to your confusion.

You being a teacher means nothing to me. It does not automatically make you right. I've taken plenty of classes where the teacher was wrong and I called him/her out on it. Teachers are human also and can make mistakes. I do not claim to know everything, but your statement that the crossover will prevent the two wires connected to same speaker post on the amp/receiver to send different signals just because it's connected to different posts on the same speaker is flawed.

Your statements taken individually are correct, but when taken into context together, they are not. Unless you physically move the crossover to the amp/receiver posts, the full frequency signal will travel through the wire until it passes through the crossover. Only the wire between the crossover and the drivers will have the benefit of the filtered signal. No matter how many wires you run from the amp to the speaker binding posts, every single wire down to the individual strands left of the crossover will get a full signal. Bi-amping may effectively bring the internal wiring to the amp/receiver post, but it brings the internal wiring on the left of the crossover, not the right side.

_____ ____ ______
| | full signal | | filtered signal | |
| AMP |-----------| XO |---------------|drivers|
|_____| |____| |______|

I am done with this tangent. If you cannot see the flaw in your theory, you might consider a new profession. The OP has already acknowledged there will most likely be no benefit and will skip the exercise. His/Her questions have been answered.

Edit: Crap! apparently the site drops multiple spaces so my illustration does not show up right.
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Old 01-18-2012, 05:11 PM
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Like I said; I taught electronics and electrical engineering for 30 years, and there are plenty of textbooks to back me up, yet you think that I somehow failed to learn the fundamentals and you know better. Do you really think that makes any sense?

Calling me wrong about basic electrical principles makes as much sense as calling me a Martian.



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wrong

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Old 01-18-2012, 05:13 PM
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I really did do my best to explain, and yet you persist in your incorrect understanding of basic electrical principles. If you sign up for the first semester course in electronics at your local college, I am sure that you will see what is wrong with your arguments rather quickly. If you were in my class I would have you do a couple of lab experiments that would demonstrate clearly to you the errors in your thinking.

I am also sure I could draw you a circuit diagram and make it clear to you, but we don't have that opportunity, and I am done with this discussion. I have tried and you just don't understand.



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You being a teacher means nothing to me. It does not automatically make you right. I've taken plenty of classes where the teacher was wrong and I called him/her out on it. Teachers are human also and can make mistakes. I do not claim to know everything, but your statement that the crossover will prevent the two wires connected to same speaker post on the amp/receiver to send different signals just because it's connected to different posts on the same speaker is flawed.

Your statements taken individually are correct, but when taken into context together, they are not. Unless you physically move the crossover to the amp/receiver posts, the full frequency signal will travel through the wire until it passes through the crossover. Only the wire between the crossover and the drivers will have the benefit of the filtered signal. No matter how many wires you run from the amp to the speaker binding posts, every single wire down to the individual strands left of the crossover will get a full signal. Bi-amping may effectively bring the internal wiring to the amp/receiver post, but it brings the internal wiring on the left of the crossover, not the right side.

_____ ____ ______
| | full signal | | filtered signal | |
| AMP |-----------| XO |---------------|drivers|
|_____| |____| |______|

I am done with this tangent. If you cannot see the flaw in your theory, you might consider a new profession. The OP has already acknowledged there will most likely be no benefit and will skip the exercise. His/Her questions have been answered.

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Old 01-18-2012, 05:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

Like I said; I taught electronics and electrical engineering for 30 years, and there are plenty of textbooks to back me up, yet you think that I somehow failed to learn the fundamentals and you know better. Do you really think that makes any sense?

Calling me wrong about basic electrical principles makes as much sense as calling me a Martian.

OK, you're a Martian who doesn't understand how a biwirable/biampable crossover and speaker operates.

"All men are frauds. The only difference between them is that some admit it. I myself deny it."
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Old 01-18-2012, 05:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

Like I said; I taught electronics and electrical engineering for 30 years, and there are plenty of textbooks to back me up, yet you think that I somehow failed to learn the fundamentals and you know better. Do you really think that makes any sense?

Calling me wrong about basic electrical principles makes as much sense as calling me a Martian.

Again, your credentials and experience does not automatically make you right. It gives you more credibility, but definitely not the final word. We are all human and are capable of error and inaccurate recollection.

What you point out about LF/HF circuits are correct for the connection between the XO and the driver, but is incorrect for the connection between the amp/receiver and the XO which is what bi-wiring involves. There is nothing in that part of the chain that could control which wire gets what frequencies. The signal leaving the amp/receiver is full bandwidth on both wires (with the exception of any filtering by the receiver itself, but that filter applies to all wires connected to the post in discussion) until it gets to the XO which is located inside the speaker box.
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Old 01-18-2012, 05:29 PM
 
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Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

Like I said; I taught electronics and electrical engineering for 30 years

Of which a core course is Logic..and fallacies like "Appeal to authority", casting grave doubt on your claims.
Now, about the audible effects of this buywiring....???
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Old 01-18-2012, 05:32 PM
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Please go to the Vandersteen website and look up Richard Vandersteen's discussion of the benefits of bi-wiring. It will almost certainly answer your questions, and if not, he will answer your questions on his running Q and A pages when you fill out the form and submit it online; he is very good about responding promptly.

He has designed and built some of the finest speakers in the world over the past 40 years, and his Model 2 is considered to be the best-selling high-end speaker of all time. If he isn't an expert, nobody is!

If you don't believe what he says on the subject, you are definitely not a person that can be brought to the truth easily.

He strongly recommends bi-wiring and his explanations make sense to me both as an engineer and as a listener.

Anything I could say would merely be a repetition of his explanation.


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Originally Posted by AJinFLA View Post

And what audible effect does this have on the produced soundwaves?

cheers,

AJ

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Old 01-18-2012, 05:35 PM
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Originally Posted by beaveav View Post

Wow.

So when I put a low pass filter in a circuit, the node in front of the low-pass filter is already filtered?


Yes, in a way. Electricity works off demand. Say you had a 12v car battery with a 100w 12v bulb hooked up to the terminals, and at the same time a mW car alarm with its own wires to the terminals. If you measured each run of wire it would just show the individual load of the component that it was attached to... not the same current draw even though they are both connected to the same terminals.

Likewise for two individual cables feeding off each side of a crossover on a speaker. Each cable's load is only the draw of the frequency it is attached to.
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Old 01-18-2012, 05:41 PM
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Kiwi, thanks for the attempt at answering my question, but I asked it as a rhetorical question, ie, I wasn't looking for somebody to actually try to answer it. I though my point was clear, but I guess it wasn't.

For every new thing I learn, I forget two things I used to know.
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