Benefits of BI-Amping - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 51 Old 07-31-2007, 05:04 AM - Thread Starter
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I just got brand new RTI6 yesterday, and they are bi-amp capable. And i have a onkyo 605 to power that which is also bi-amp capable. So was wondering on what the real benefit is when it comes to bi-amping. Is it going sound even better?
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post #2 of 51 Old 07-31-2007, 05:17 AM
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This topic has been covered a lot, both bi-amping and bi-wiring (the benefits and differences).

Do a search for bi-amp or maybe ask on the Official Onkyo 605 thread under "AMPS, Receivers and Processors".
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post #3 of 51 Old 07-31-2007, 10:24 AM
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If you only have a single amp, you're talking about bi-wiring as opposed to bi-amping. Bi-amping means you run one amp channel to a pair of terminals on a speaker, and another amp channel (which is being fed the same signal from the pre/pro) to the other pair of terminals, after removing the jumpers on the speaker.

Bi wiring is simply removing the jumpers on a speaker, and running two pairs of wires from the amp channel to the speaker, one pair for each terminal.

Bi amping can have an effect on the sound, if for no other reason than you're feeding more power to a speaker. Bi-wiring can also be referred to as 'buy wiring', as it's dubious whether there's any difference. Never hurts to try it though. Just make sure you remove the jumpers between the pairs of + and - terminals on the speaker before trying it.
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post #4 of 51 Old 07-31-2007, 10:40 AM
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"Bi-amping means you run one amp channel to a pair of terminals on a speaker, and another amp channel (which is being fed the same signal from the pre/pro) to the other pair of terminals, after removing the jumpers on the speaker."

This is Fool's bi-amping not real bi-amping and despite initial appearances does not actually feed more power to the speaker though more power is turned into heat. If you feed a single channel of fullrange amplification of, oh 50 watts say to a passive crossover 50 watts is available above the crossover point and 50 watts is available below it.

Now if you feed 2 fullrange channels of 50 watts, one into the low pass leg of a passive crossover and one into the high pass leg we have the same thing---50 watts available below the crossover point and 50 watts above it.

Real bi-amping with an active or passive filters between preamp and power amplifiers can have the effect of lower distortion and better dynamics since the high pass amp is fed no low frequency signal to begin with, among other things.

The only speakers that benefit by bi-amping are those that bypass the passive crossover when being bi-amped and such speakers are very rare.
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post #5 of 51 Old 07-31-2007, 11:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deneb View Post

If you only have a single amp, you're talking about bi-wiring as opposed to bi-amping.

He IS talking about bi-amping (albeit passive bi-amping, or as Tom likes to call it, Fool's Bi-Amping) by using his receiver's capability to assign the unused Surround Rear amps for bi-amping duty.

And as pointed out, passive bi-amping is not really anything like actively bi-amping.

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post #6 of 51 Old 07-31-2007, 12:05 PM
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The basic gist I got was unless you can split the signal (frequency) being sent from each channel on your receiver to match the crossover frequency on your speakers, the only benefit you will get is you can turn them up louder. And you can't on that receiver.
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post #7 of 51 Old 07-31-2007, 12:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Brennan View Post

"Bi-amping means you run one amp channel to a pair of terminals on a speaker, and another amp channel (which is being fed the same signal from the pre/pro) to the other pair of terminals, after removing the jumpers on the speaker."

This is Fool's bi-amping not real bi-amping and despite initial appearances does not actually feed more power to the speaker though more power is turned into heat. If you feed a single channel of fullrange amplification of, oh 50 watts say to a passive crossover 50 watts is available above the crossover point and 50 watts is available below it.

Now if you feed 2 fullrange channels of 50 watts, one into the low pass leg of a passive crossover and one into the high pass leg we have the same thing---50 watts available below the crossover point and 50 watts above it.

Real bi-amping with an active or passive filters between preamp and power amplifiers can have the effect of lower distortion and better dynamics since the high pass amp is fed no low frequency signal to begin with, among other things.

The only speakers that benefit by bi-amping are those that bypass the passive crossover when being bi-amped and such speakers are very rare.

Thanks for the primer! I didn't realize there was more to bi-amping that I thought.
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post #8 of 51 Old 07-31-2007, 12:18 PM
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Passive biamping will let you turn it up a little more because you don't have the load presented by the tweeter at the bass frequencies and the woofer in the treble. But this load outside of a drivers frequency range is not nearly as high as the driver responsible for that range. So you won't be getting anywhere NEAR 3dB. If you're lucky, you might get 1dB.

Bass is most of the power in your signals so even if your tweeter doesn't distort as much when cranked this way, the woofer still will and you'll not be gaining much.

Basically, just backing up what Tom said.

Active crossovers are the real benefit because they don't eat up amplifier power and they only send the power where it needs to go.

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post #9 of 51 Old 07-31-2007, 06:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Insomniac View Post

The basic gist I got was unless you can split the signal (frequency) being sent from each channel on your receiver to match the crossover frequency on your speakers, the only benefit you will get is you can turn them up louder. And you can't on that receiver.

No receiver can do that.

And you have it a bit wrong. You don't try to match a speaker's internal crossover points when you actively bi-amp it, you completely bypass the speaker's internal crossover, altogether. With active bi-amping you send a pre-amp level signal to an external crossover which dictates the crossover frequencies. Once the external crossover splits the pre-amp level signal appropriately into the selected frequencies, the "crossed-over" signals are sent through amplifiers for amplification and directly on to the speaker's drivers. There are several benefits to active bi-amping and one of them is that the amplifier only amplifies certain frequencies instead of the entire full-range signal. With passive bi-amping the amplifier is still amplifying a full-range signal and the speaker's internal crossover is still responsible for filtering that amplified signal into the appropriate frequencies. This wastes amplifier power.

There is a whole lot of info on the internets about all this stuff.

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post #10 of 51 Old 07-31-2007, 07:09 PM
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Originally Posted by deneb View Post

Bi-wiring can also be referred to as 'buy wiring'


Thats a good one
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post #11 of 51 Old 08-01-2007, 06:05 AM
 
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Originally Posted by sivadselim View Post

No receiver can do that.

And you have it a bit wrong. You don't try to match a speaker's internal crossover points when you actively bi-amp it, you completely bypass the speaker's internal crossover, altogether. With active bi-amping you send a pre-amp level signal to an external crossover which dictates the crossover frequencies. Once the external crossover splits the pre-amp level signal appropriately into the selected frequencies, the "crossed-over" signals are sent through amplifiers for amplification and directly on to the speaker's drivers. There are several benefits to active bi-amping and one of them is that the amplifier only amplifies certain frequencies instead of the entire full-range signal. With passive bi-amping the amplifier is still amplifying a full-range signal and the speaker's internal crossover is still responsible for filtering that amplified signal into the appropriate frequencies. This wastes amplifier power.

There is a whole lot of info on the internets about all this stuff.

How do "Fmods" figure in as crossovers? Are they a worthwhile way to truly biamp a speaker?
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post #12 of 51 Old 08-01-2007, 07:07 AM
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Originally Posted by sivadselim View Post

No receiver can do that.

And you have it a bit wrong. You don't try to match a speaker's internal crossover points when you actively bi-amp it, you completely bypass the speaker's internal crossover, altogether. With active bi-amping you send a pre-amp level signal to an external crossover which dictates the crossover frequencies. Once the external crossover splits the pre-amp level signal appropriately into the selected frequencies, the "crossed-over" signals are sent through amplifiers for amplification and directly on to the speaker's drivers. There are several benefits to active bi-amping and one of them is that the amplifier only amplifies certain frequencies instead of the entire full-range signal. With passive bi-amping the amplifier is still amplifying a full-range signal and the speaker's internal crossover is still responsible for filtering that amplified signal into the appropriate frequencies. This wastes amplifier power.

There is a whole lot of info on the internets about all this stuff.

Thanks for the clarification. I thought if you matched the internal crossover then there wouldn't be any lost power. I didn't realize you still have to remove/bypass the internal crossover as well. So now it really is a giant gimmick in my opinion if you have to modify a speaker that is advertised as bi-amp capable.
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post #13 of 51 Old 08-01-2007, 10:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Nuthed View Post

How do "Fmods" figure in as crossovers? Are they a worthwhile way to truly biamp a speaker?

Too limited in configurability. Besides, you still need to remove the crossover in the speaker.

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post #14 of 51 Old 08-01-2007, 11:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Insomniac View Post

Thanks for the clarification. I thought if you matched the internal crossover then there wouldn't be any lost power. I didn't realize you still have to remove/bypass the internal crossover as well. So now it really is a giant gimmick in my opinion if you have to modify a speaker that is advertised as bi-amp capable.

Removing the speaker's internal crossover is actually pretty easy; you simply remove the crossover and run wires directly from the speaker's binding posts to the speaker's drivers. Although many speakers that have internal crossovers were not really intended to be actively bi-amped. But removing a speakers crossover alone won't allow you to properly bi-amp with a receiver's extra amps. Until they make a receiver that has the capability to adjustably "cross over" the signal prior to the amplification stage (and no one's going to make one), that's just not going to be possible with a receiver, especially run-of-the-mill HT receivers. The adjustable and highly tweakable external crossover and the dedicated outboard amplifiers are the big dealio. Active bi-amping is NOT something someone does "on the cheap", and is usually reserved for seriously higher-end systems.

There ARE people who would argue that there ARE benefits to "passive bi-amping", and almost all multichannel receivers now have the capability to reassign the extra (when running a 5.1 system) 6th and 7th channel surround amps for not only Zone2 duty, but for passive bi-amp duty, as well.

Passive bi-amping is a little bit less silly if you use dedicated amps (which have their own individual power supplies) to do it. But you could also argue that that would be even sillier, as you'd be wasting your nice amps on something that's frivolous.

Of course, "passively bi-amping" DOES simultaneously provide you with the mythological benefits of bi-wiring.

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post #15 of 51 Old 08-01-2007, 01:08 PM
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Passive bi-amping is a totally different practive than fool's bi-amping. Passive bi-amping is like active in that the signal is split between the preamp and power amps and only high or low pass signal is sent to the power amps.

It's just that passive rather than active filters are used between preamp and amps. This practice dates back to at least the 1950s.

I don't hold with encouraging those who engage in the dubious practice of fool's bi-amping by letting them co-opt a specific term of long use with a different meaning.

If you go to Audio Asylum high efficiency forum and do a search on Kurt Chang and active crossovers you'll see how Kurt uses the unneeded amp channels of his Panny and JVC HT receivers with active crossovers to do proper bi-amping.
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post #16 of 51 Old 08-01-2007, 01:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Brennan View Post

Passive bi-amping is a totally different practive than fool's bi-amping. Passive bi-amping is like active in that the signal is split between the preamp and power amps and only high or low pass signal is sent to the power amps.

It's just that passive rather than active filters are used between preamp and amps. This practice dates back to at least the 1950s.

I don't hold with encouraging those who engage in the dubious practice of fool's bi-amping by letting them co-opt a specific term of long use with a different meaning.

If you go to Audio Asylum high efficiency forum and do a search on Kurt Chang and active crossovers you'll see how Kurt uses the unneeded amp channels of his Panny and JVC HT receivers with active crossovers to do proper bi-amping.

But around here, for clarity I suppose, we use the term "passive bi-amping" instead of "fool's bi-amping". Perhaps your nomenclature will "catch on".

Without even looking at Kurt's methodology, I'm guessing he uses his receiver's pre-outs to run a pre-amp level signal to his external crossovers and then loops the crossed-over signals back into his receiver's multichannel, or maybe other analog, inputs. Correct?

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post #17 of 51 Old 08-01-2007, 02:28 PM
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Originally Posted by sivadselim View Post

But around here, for clarity I suppose, we use the term "passive bi-amping" instead of "fool's bi-amping". Perhaps your nomenclature will "catch on".

Without even looking at Kurt's methodology, I'm guessing he uses his receiver's pre-outs to run a pre-amp level signal to his external crossovers and then loops the crossed-over signals back into his receiver's multichannel, or maybe other analog, inputs. Correct?


I understand why you're using the term and I respect it, I jsut gotta get the passive line level filter thing out there because it really is a good way to go. I hope "fool's bi-amping" catches on , I first ran into the term years ago from some other fella, DJK maybe.


That's pretty much what Kurt does, goes back into some analog inputs, he adds passive output controls in there somewhere too because of a gain mismatch with the Behringer digital actives he uses. I've seen and heard his rigs and they sound very good. Well most of them do.
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post #18 of 51 Old 08-01-2007, 02:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Brennan View Post

Passive bi-amping is a totally different practive than fool's bi-amping. Passive bi-amping is like active in that the signal is split between the preamp and power amps and only high or low pass signal is sent to the power amps.

It's just that passive rather than active filters are used between preamp and amps. This practice dates back to at least the 1950s.

I don't hold with encouraging those who engage in the dubious practice of fool's bi-amping by letting them co-opt a specific term of long use with a different meaning.

Not to pick out Tom specifically, since he didn't invent or introduce the term, but the use of arrogant and condescending terms and taking a tone of superiority is one of the reasons the average consumer or enthusiast doesn't even engage "experts" on topics like these.

Sadly, I get the impression that the some folks prefer it that way.

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post #19 of 51 Old 08-01-2007, 02:42 PM
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Originally Posted by sivadselim View Post

Until they make a receiver that has the capability to adjustably "cross over" the signal prior to the amplification stage (and no one's going to make one), that's just not going to be possible with a receiver, especially run-of-the-mill HT receivers. The adjustable and highly tweakable external crossover and the dedicated outboard amplifiers are the big dealio. Active bi-amping is NOT something someone does "on the cheap", and is usually reserved for seriously higher-end systems.

It is totally possible I am wrong, but I don't believe this is true. I have the Panasonic SAXR57 - you can pick them up for around $320 or so. It is a 100w Digital Amp 7.1 Receiver, and has both a "Dual AMP" and a "Bi-AMP" option. With both of these turned on - I can Bi-Amp my speakers, so that 4 separate amps are running to the left and right mains. ( two amps for each speaker - high and low end ) - And it DOES have a way to set the crossover inside the Receiver. ( albeit kind-of lame. It is just a slider that you can set - Example " LOW --------|--------- HIGH" - and you can move the bar up or down to match your speakers. (I have some older magnepan MG1c's that have bi-amp inputs already on them - sounds really good) - I do wish I could set the crossover point more exactly - but this works quite well.

For more info - see the manual of the SAXR57: http://service.us.panasonic.com/OPERMANPDF/SAXR57.pdf

Amazon - http://www.amazon.com/Panasonic-SA-X.../dp/B000FYZQSW
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post #20 of 51 Old 08-01-2007, 03:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Cclear View Post

It is totally possible I am wrong, but I don't believe this is true.

You're wrong.



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Originally Posted by Cclear View Post

I have the Panasonic SAXR57 - you can pick them up for around $320 or so. It is a 100w Digital Amp 7.1 Receiver, and has both a "Dual AMP" and a "Bi-AMP" option. With both of these turned on - I can Bi-Amp my speakers, so that 4 separate amps are running to the left and right mains. ( two amps for each speaker - high and low end )

You are correct. Your receiver does have some very novel capabilities that I am VERY familiar with. It is still a "passive bi-amp" as your receiver has NO crossover capabilities (aside from its ability to crossover the subwoofer) and the speakers' passive, internal crossovers are still most definitely being utilized.

Your receiver doesn't just have the ability to passively bi-amp with 4 amps, but it can even do so with 6 amps ( ); 3 amps for each speaker - two for the low frequency section of each speaker and one for the high-frequency section of each speaker.










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- And it DOES have a way to set the crossover inside the Receiver. ( albeit kind-of lame. It is just a slider that you can set - Example " LOW --------|--------- HIGH" - and you can move the bar up or down to match your speakers. (I have some older magnepan MG1c's that have bi-amp inputs already on them - sounds really good) - I do wish I could set the crossover point more exactly - but this works quite well.

That adjustment doesn't have anything to do with any crossover within the receiver. That adjustment simply sets the relative output levels of the amps involved and is necessary because when your receiver is in "Triple Amp" bi-amping mode, there is an assymetric amount of amplification going to each section of the passively bi-amped speaker; two amps for the low-frequency section, one amp for the high frequency section.



As I said, I am intimately familiar with your receiver's capabilities, as I was recently forced to learn all about it in order to participate knowledgably in a recent thread that became somewhat sidetracked by a very interesting and informative discussion about the Panny digital receivers and their unique capabilities. I would encourage you to please read my numerous and in-depth responses at the end of THIS thread, as I absolutely do NOT want to type all of that info again. As you can see, I familiarized myself quite thoroughly with the inner workings of the Panny digital receivers and came away quite impressed. I also now consider myself to not only be an expert in how each of the Panny digital receivers operates, but also in all the idiosyncracies between the various models' instruction manuals. Any questions?

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post #21 of 51 Old 08-01-2007, 03:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Tom Brennan View Post

I understand why you're using the term and I respect it, I jsut gotta get the passive line level filter thing out there because it really is a good way to go. I hope "fool's bi-amping" catches on , I first ran into the term years ago from some other fella, DJK maybe.

However, Tom, if you do a web search on the terms "passive bi-amp(ing)" and/or "passive crossover(s)", what you'll find is that, for the most part, even in some of the high-brow discussions that you'll hit upon, my (and many others here) usage of the term "passive bi-amp" is, for the most part, the widely-accepted and general usage for the term(s).

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post #22 of 51 Old 08-01-2007, 03:30 PM
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Originally Posted by sivadselim View Post

You're wrong.

Hahaha.. Totally happy to be wrong. Thx for the link to the other thread - that explained a lot about my receiver.

I totally love my panny. Really does a great job on the Maggies, notorious for needed a lot of power. Very clean sounding receiver.

It is interesting as I learn more and more about crossovers, bi-amping, ect... Thx again.
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post #23 of 51 Old 08-01-2007, 03:35 PM
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Hahaha.. Totally happy to be wrong. Thx for the link to the other thread - that explained a lot about my receiver.

I totally love my panny. Really does a great job on the Maggies, notorious for needed a lot of power. Very clean sounding receiver.

It is interesting as I learn more and more about crossovers, bi-amping, ect... Thx again.

As I said, in the course of that thread's discussion, I became completely intrigued by the novel power steering (haha) capabilities of those receivers. So much so that I almost bought one when it was going for only $179 at J&R. I have no idea what I would do with it, as I have no need. I just wanted one! I have since recommended those receivers to numerous posters here in these forums.

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post #24 of 51 Old 08-01-2007, 04:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Tom Brennan View Post

Passive bi-amping is a totally different practive than fool's bi-amping. Passive bi-amping is like active in that the signal is split between the preamp and power amps and only high or low pass signal is sent to the power amps.

It's just that passive rather than active filters are used between preamp and amps. This practice dates back to at least the 1950s.

I don't hold with encouraging those who engage in the dubious practice of fool's bi-amping by letting them co-opt a specific term of long use with a different meaning.

If you go to Audio Asylum high efficiency forum and do a search on Kurt Chang and active crossovers you'll see how Kurt uses the unneeded amp channels of his Panny and JVC HT receivers with active crossovers to do proper bi-amping.

You're going to have to take it up with the manufacturers if you want people to distinguish between the different types.
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post #25 of 51 Old 08-01-2007, 04:19 PM
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Originally Posted by sivadselim View Post

Removing the speaker's internal crossover is actually pretty easy; you simply remove the crossover and run wires directly from the speaker's binding posts to the speaker's drivers. Although many speakers that have internal crossovers were not really intended to be actively bi-amped.

My guess would be doing that voids your warranty? If so, they weren't really designed to really bi-amp. Well, maybe they are and it's the rest of us who want to assume it makes the speakers sound better.
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post #26 of 51 Old 08-01-2007, 04:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Insomniac View Post

My guess would be doing that voids your warranty? If so, they weren't really designed to really bi-amp. Well, maybe they are and it's the rest of us who want to assume it makes the speakers sound better.

No, most speaker manufacturers do not expect their consumers to be interested in removing their speakers' crossovers, however people DO do it.

The sound that can be achieved with an active bi-amp setup, because of it's (usually) attendant use of high-end equipment and the inherent "tweakability" of the system, is superior to that of our "normal" setups. The people who are really "into it" would absolutely never go back to using the passive, internal crossover of a speaker.

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post #27 of 51 Old 08-01-2007, 04:52 PM
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One thing to note is that many speakers have EQ filters built into their passive crossvers to "voice" the system. And some have passive circuits that do phase control.

If bypassing such a passive crossover the intended sound of the system will be changed unless one mimics the EQ or phase control with one's own active EQ or passive circuits.

My Altec 605s are actively bi-amped but I use a passive RC circuit between the high frequency amplifier and the treble driver terminals to voice the speaker by flattening a midrange rise, thus in effect extending the highs.
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post #28 of 51 Old 08-01-2007, 05:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Tom Brennan View Post

"Bi-amping means you run one amp channel to a pair of terminals on a speaker, and another amp channel (which is being fed the same signal from the pre/pro) to the other pair of terminals, after removing the jumpers on the speaker."

This is Fool's bi-amping not real bi-amping and despite initial appearances does not actually feed more power to the speaker though more power is turned into heat. If you feed a single channel of fullrange amplification of, oh 50 watts say to a passive crossover 50 watts is available above the crossover point and 50 watts is available below it.

Now if you feed 2 fullrange channels of 50 watts, one into the low pass leg of a passive crossover and one into the high pass leg we have the same thing---50 watts available below the crossover point and 50 watts above it.

Real bi-amping with an active or passive filters between preamp and power amplifiers can have the effect of lower distortion and better dynamics since the high pass amp is fed no low frequency signal to begin with, among other things.

The only speakers that benefit by bi-amping are those that bypass the passive crossover when being bi-amped and such speakers are very rare.



You are in error in your reasoning. If you assume that the amplifier in question has enough current capability to properly drive a certain speaker in the first place, then your reasoning is valid.


However a lot of receivers have weak amplifier stages, and do not supply enough current to drive certain speakers properly in the first place. Bi-amping (2 amplifiers no filters) does indeed permit the maximum current capabilities available to the speaker to be increased by a factor of two. Voltage remains a constant.


Bi-amping in this manner works when there is a mismatch of the speaker and the amplifier. In other words, the speaker in question is simply too hard to drive from a receiver amplifier stage in question.


As far as active and passive bi-amping is concerned, the words active and passive have the meaning that you have used. Plain old bi-amping (no filters) is simply using two amplifiers to drive to two parts of one speaker. Simple meaning to simple English words!


I have used bi-amping, but I tried it with a 4 way speaker and a "weak" receiver. I did use an external subwoofer amplifier (LP filtered at 150 Hz), but I left the speaker's passive crossover in place. It worked very well (at zero cost).


That being said, if I had a typical 2 way speaker, I would never waste my time with bi-amping!
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post #29 of 51 Old 08-01-2007, 05:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sivadselim View Post

No, most speaker manufacturers do not expect their consumers to be interested in removing their speakers' crossovers, however people DO do it.

The sound that can be achieved with an active bi-amp setup, because of it's (usually) attendant use of high-end equipment and the inherent "tweakability" of the system, is superior to that of our "normal" setups. The people who are really "into it" would absolutely never go back to using the passive, internal crossover of a speaker.



Superior? That depends on the capabilities of the user in question.

Remember that Dirty Harriett thread? Do you think that she was cabable of adjusting an active crossover system? Not a chance in you know what (IMO)!
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post #30 of 51 Old 08-02-2007, 12:28 PM
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I am in a similar, yet not, situation as the OP.
I have an Onkyo 805 which I connected the FR & FL speaker outs to my small satellite enclosures and the SBR & SBL speaker outs to the accompanying subwoofer enclosures of my mains. These are usually (mfr recommendation) attached to the FR & FL outs in parallel, either by running two sets of wiring out to each (allows separate placement of satellite & woofer in the room) which is how I've always had them wired, or one wire (two conductor) to the woofer and on to the satellite. Anyway, following Onkyo's instructions, I went into the menu and set the 805 to Bi-Amp. I must admit there was no earth-shattering difference.
From what has been written here, I think I'm doing passive biamp, but did I actually do fool's biamp?
The reason I decided to try "biamp" is that my HT seating is such that I sit against the back wall and was led to believe adding the 6th & 7th speaker to have a 7.1 system would be problematic at best. So it seemed like a waste to just let those two amps sit unused...
Thanks in advance for your response(s).
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