Bi-wire or not bi-wire? And cable source? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 68 Old 11-29-2015, 08:50 AM - Thread Starter
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Bi-wire or not bi-wire? And cable source?

Bi-wire or not bi-wire? My speaker manual says bi-wire (it is B&W)...

And where to get a reasonably priced cable to try? I have nice cables now and not sure if I want to spent a lot of money just to try if bi-wiring will do anything. Checked monoprice and do not see any... Any good brand that does not charge an arm and a leg?
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post #2 of 68 Old 11-29-2015, 09:06 AM
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You can use any suitable speaker wire. All it does is to put the two wires in parallel. I would not bother. It is marketing.
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post #3 of 68 Old 11-29-2015, 09:13 AM
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Bi-wire is totally a waste, not only you will waste your speaker wire, you also waste your valuable time.
Bi-amp is also a marketing gimmick but it might worth a try if you have extra wire.
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post #4 of 68 Old 11-29-2015, 09:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tinhvo View Post
Bi-wire is totally a waste, not only you will waste your speaker wire, you also waste your valuable time.
Bi-amp is also a marketing gimmick but it might worth a try if you have extra wire.

I will respectfully disagree with the comment about bi-amping being a marketing gimmick. I did it with my now-extant Denon AVR-1912, and now with my NAD T758. I find it is very effective in increasing the SPL from the L-R mains for a given setting on the receiver's volume level.
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post #5 of 68 Old 11-29-2015, 09:30 AM
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Originally Posted by KenM10759 View Post
I will respectfully disagree with the comment about bi-amping being a marketing gimmick. I did it with my now-extant Denon AVR-1912, and now with my NAD T758. I find it is very effective in increasing the SPL from the L-R mains for a given setting on the receiver's volume level.
And I bet the wire you used (elevated off the floor of course) also made a difference..... don't forget your power cord!!!!!

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post #6 of 68 Old 11-29-2015, 09:42 AM
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Originally Posted by N8DOGG View Post
And I bet the wire you used (elevated off the floor of course) also made a difference..... don't forget your power cord!!!!!

Well, I did say that I *respectfully* disagreed.


Oh my.


BTW, the results are something I can hear, see on the volume control of the receiver, and measure with a handheld SPL meter. It is a 3dB increase with the NAD.

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post #7 of 68 Old 11-29-2015, 10:04 AM
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Bi-amping can make a difference, if you use less than capable amplifiers and play high SPL.
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post #8 of 68 Old 11-29-2015, 11:37 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Cvetan1 View Post
Bi-amping can make a difference
Yes, if the signal is split into high/low frequency pass bands before being amplified and there is no passive crossover in the speaker. This is called active bi-amping, and it's SOP in pro-sound. Your average AVR and consumer grade speakers don't have this capability. What they do is called 'passive bi-amping', and it accomplishes absolutely nothing. There are those who think it does something, as there are those who think that bi-wiring does something. In those cases they hear a difference because they expect to hear a difference. This is called 'placebo effect'.

As to why both AVR and speaker manufacturers offer this feature, it's so they won't lose a sale to a customer who doesn't know any better.
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post #9 of 68 Old 11-29-2015, 11:44 AM
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Yes, correct as usual. I should of called it "Active bi-amping". Thanks for the correct explanation.
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post #10 of 68 Old 11-29-2015, 11:51 AM
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Wiring

Quote:
Originally Posted by ld100 View Post
Bi-wire or not bi-wire? My speaker manual says bi-wire (it is B&W)...

And where to get a reasonably priced cable to try? I have nice cables now and not sure if I want to spent a lot of money just to try if bi-wiring will do anything. Checked monoprice and do not see any... Any good brand that does not charge an arm and a leg?


Richard Vandersteen, who is one of the most respected speaker designers in the country and has his own research and design facilities at his factory in California, is a strong proponent of bi-wiring, especially for larger speaker systems. He bases this on over 30 years of actual extensive listening and scientific research, not just an off-the-cuff opinion. His speakers regularly win awards and polls at audio shows, so he apparently knows a thing or two.

I suggest that you bi-wire. B and W also have done many years of research and no doubt also have good reason to recommend it.

I any case, I suggest that you use pure copper 12 gauge speaker wire, which you can get from Monoprice at a very reasonable price. For example, Monoprice #2789 is a 100-foot spool of pure copper speaker wire for $30.

I also suggest that you use the gold-plated spade lugs available from Audioquest for your terminations and solder them on (Audioquest #1014 lugs; $6 per pair at Needle Doctor).

I have Vandersteen Treo speakers that cost $7000, and have tried out many expensive speaker cables, which sound no better to me than pure copper wire. Mine are bi-wired.

Last edited by commsysman; 11-29-2015 at 12:12 PM.
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post #11 of 68 Old 11-29-2015, 12:32 PM
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I believe he also has market in speaker wire.
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post #12 of 68 Old 11-29-2015, 12:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by commsysman View Post
Richard Vandersteen, who is one of the most respected speaker designers in the country and has his own research and design facilities at his factory in California, is a strong proponent of bi-wiring, especially for larger speaker systems. He bases this on over 30 years of actual extensive listening and scientific research, not just an off-the-cuff opinion. His speakers regularly win awards and polls at audio shows, so he apparently knows a thing or two.

I suggest that you bi-wire. B and W also have done many years of research and no doubt also have good reason to recommend it.

I any case, I suggest that you use pure copper 12 gauge speaker wire, which you can get from Monoprice at a very reasonable price. For example, Monoprice #2789 is a 100-foot spool of pure copper speaker wire for $30.

I also suggest that you use the gold-plated spade lugs available from Audioquest for your terminations and solder them on (Audioquest #1014 lugs; $6 per pair at Needle Doctor).

I have Vandersteen Treo speakers that cost $7000, and have tried out many expensive speaker cables, which sound no better to me than pure copper wire. Mine are bi-wired.
I see lots of "appeal to authority" logical fallacy here.

Has Mr. Vandersteen published any of his "scientific research" regarding bi-wiring?
What credentials does he have to engage in scientific research?
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post #13 of 68 Old 11-29-2015, 01:02 PM
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The only time bi-wiring does anything is when you are dumping 2kW+ into the speaker, because you need thicker cable, and doubling the cable gives you that.

The only other time bi-wiring is needed is when you are also bi-amping with external crossovers.
The B&W Nautilus "snails" not only work this way, they REQUIRE this way.
Which of course is twice as expensive on the electronics-side; but hey... if you are spending $40k on the speakers who cares how much the amps cost...
The Nautilus requires dual quad-amping, which is 4-8 times more expensive! 8 monoblocks or 4 stereo amps!

All other B&W's since the mid 90's (other than the snails) have internal non-defeatable crossovers, which isn't optimal for bi-amping.

I built my own speakers, and just like the B&W "snails", requires multi-amping with external crossovers.
But that's more because I'm an OCD anal control-freak with mommy issues. haha!
Your mileage may vary...

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post #14 of 68 Old 11-29-2015, 01:17 PM
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Good information here. I decided to not bi-wire my NHT speakers because it made no difference with my setup.
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post #15 of 68 Old 11-29-2015, 01:18 PM
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I tired bi-wiring and I did it enthusiastically after reading that it made a difference. I was excited to experience the improvement that bi-wiring would make in my system. But to my dismay it didn't make any difference. I tried really hard to convince myself that it was better but try as I might I just couldn't lie to myself. Truth is…bi-wiring doesn't make a difference (at least not in my experience).

Now…bi-amping might be a completely different story but I'm not even going to investigate it.

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post #16 of 68 Old 11-29-2015, 03:30 PM
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My KEF R500 & R200Ccenter speaker an be bi-wired and/or bi-amped. On the terminal posts they are marked as "LF" and "HF" pairs, with an internal contact mechanism. If you tighten the middle thumbscrews clockwise, you have internally connected the posts for positive & negative, respectively. If you back off the thumbscrews counterclockwise, you have disconnected the positive and negative pairs of terminals. No jumpers needed.


I can only assume that because they have marked the lower pair as LF you could feed that with low frequency signals to just the two woofers, and the upper HF pair feeds only the midrange and tweeter. Because they are each a three-way speaker with crossovers at 500hz and 2.8khz, the upper HF pair would still employ the 2.8khz internal crossover and the LF pair could be fed all signals below 500hz. It would take a high end pre-amp or power amp internal crossover or an external crossover to separate signals for true bi-wiring, my NAD receiver isn't so equipped and I can't imagine any real sonic advantage to doing so.


Reassigning unused rear surround channels of an AV receiver for bi-amping (as I have done) has minimal effect as it's only adding 40 to perhaps 80 watts per channel to the L-R mains at more reasonable volume. Doubling up from far more powerful true separate component power amps would have a more profound effect in bi-amping.
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post #17 of 68 Old 11-29-2015, 03:48 PM
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Long story short, buy-wiring is for sad people who like to spend money on audio but have no critical listening skills of which to speak.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Fitzmaurice View Post
Your average AVR and consumer grade speakers don't have this capability. What they do is called 'passive bi-amping', and it accomplishes absolutely nothing.
It might accomplish something - an increase in one's energy usage due to the extra circuitry in use. But nothing useful.

Quote:
Originally Posted by commsysman View Post
Richard Vandersteen, who is one of the most respected speaker designers in the country and has his own research and design facilities at his factory in California, is a strong proponent of bi-wiring, especially for larger speaker systems.
No wonder his speaker brand sounds so colored. He focuses on nonsense instead of things that actually matter.
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post #18 of 68 Old 11-29-2015, 04:28 PM
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The first two posts are what you need to know, Bi-Wiring does nothing for sound at all, unless you are using too small of wire to begin with, because that's all it is, just increasing the size of the wire to the speaker by running two, regardless of if it's going to the separate drivers.

As far as the Bi-Amping issue, yes active Bi-Amping (using individual crossovers for each amplified signal) can make a difference, but that's because of being able to adjust the crossover for that individual driver or driver array, not because of power.
Passive Bi-Amping from the same source (different amp outputs from the same AVR or amp) will also not really change anything, but the placebo effect is a real thing, if you try it and think that it makes a difference, then why not, it's your gear and your money, if you hear a difference, that's all that matters.
The one place that passive Bi-Amping may truly give you a difference is using two different Amp sources, (completely separate amps) there "may" be an actual difference in sound simply because, different amps have been known to have different sound signatures, so yes, you "might" actually be able to tell a difference.
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post #19 of 68 Old 11-29-2015, 05:24 PM
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If that is so with bi-amping, how is it that when I reassigned to two unused rear surround channels in both my Denon AVR-1912 and current NAD T758 I found measureable differences?


With the Denon, at a reading of -3 to -1dB on the display, it went into protection mode. After bi-amping (or pseudo bi-amping as you profess), it seemed a little louder and no longer went in protection mode. With the NAD it wasn't going into its "soft clipping" mode at -5dB on the display but after setting the bi-amp, adding the wires and setting the jumper on the speakers it now measures 3dB higher volume at the same setting, as measured with my son's handheld SPL meter.


I do NOT pretend to know what I'm doing as I have no formal training, but I followed instructions in the receiver's owner manual and got the desired result. Is that all placebo effect?
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post #20 of 68 Old 11-29-2015, 06:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KenM10759 View Post
If that is so with bi-amping, how is it that when I reassigned to two unused rear surround channels in both my Denon AVR-1912 and current NAD T758 I found measureable differences?


With the Denon, at a reading of -3 to -1dB on the display, it went into protection mode. After bi-amping (or pseudo bi-amping as you profess), it seemed a little louder and no longer went in protection mode. With the NAD it wasn't going into its "soft clipping" mode at -5dB on the display but after setting the bi-amp, adding the wires and setting the jumper on the speakers it now measures 3dB higher volume at the same setting, as measured with my son's handheld SPL meter.


I do NOT pretend to know what I'm doing as I have no formal training, but I followed instructions in the receiver's owner manual and got the desired result. Is that all placebo effect?
What gauge wire were you using?
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post #21 of 68 Old 11-29-2015, 06:43 PM
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Cool

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Originally Posted by beaveav View Post
I see lots of "appeal to authority" logical fallacy here.

Has Mr. Vandersteen published any of his "scientific research" regarding bi-wiring?
What credentials does he have to engage in scientific research?
I don't mean to nit-pic, but the argumentative or logical fallacy is called improper appeals to authority (or variations thereof).
http://web.cn.edu/kwheeler/fallacies_list.html

If the poster had said that bi-wiring works because President Obama used bi-wiring, that would be an example of improper appeal to authority. But to cite someone with presumably legit credentials in the field is a perfectly legitimate way of supporting an assertion.

We would all do well to remember that we haven't heard EVERY example of bi-wiring with EVERY set of speakers in existence. Bi-wiring might not work with my little speakers in my tiny room, but it might work with someone else's giant speakers in their giant room. Not every AVR has a setting for bi-amping, but mine does. Who among us has heard everything? Not me.

If anyone wants to know my credentials, I am just a regular guy with pretty good ears, but probably not the best out there. I have a critical ear for music and I am pretty honest with myself about what I can hear. I can hear a difference in bi-amping with my speakers, but the differences are subtle. If I bi-amp or not, after I got used to them, I would still like my speakers (and my music) about the same.

Last edited by wvu80; 11-29-2015 at 06:54 PM.
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post #22 of 68 Old 11-29-2015, 06:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by commsysman View Post
Richard Vandersteen, who is one of the most respected speaker designers in the country and has his own research and design facilities at his factory in California, is a strong proponent of bi-wiring, especially for larger speaker systems. He bases this on over 30 years of actual extensive listening and scientific research, not just an off-the-cuff opinion. His speakers regularly win awards and polls at audio shows, so he apparently knows a thing or two.

I suggest that you bi-wire. B and W also have done many years of research and no doubt also have good reason to recommend it.

I any case, I suggest that you use pure copper 12 gauge speaker wire, which you can get from Monoprice at a very reasonable price. For example, Monoprice #2789 is a 100-foot spool of pure copper speaker wire for $30.

I also suggest that you use the gold-plated spade lugs available from Audioquest for your terminations and solder them on (Audioquest #1014 lugs; $6 per pair at Needle Doctor).

I have Vandersteen Treo speakers that cost $7000, and have tried out many expensive speaker cables, which sound no better to me than pure copper wire. Mine are bi-wired.
Richard has controversial ideas, such as first order crossovers, phase alignment, etc. And he has a following of people who buy into his ideas. A friend of mine does exactly that. He recently upgraded to the Vandersteen 7a's or whatever they're called. He "auditioned" a variety of amps before buying his Ayre amp, which just happens to be what Richard says works best with his speakers. It's a 200WPC, cost three times what my 300WPC Bryston cost, and has been back to the factory once already. I'm in the objectivist, all amps sound the same, don't believe in biwiring camp. And, I've never been impressed with Vandy speakers. I haven't heard them for many years as there is no local dealer, but that's fine, too. When we bought our B&W's, we got the top of the line. That price point would have been for Vandersteen 5's or something. I think the new 7s are MSRP $65K, and not pleasing to my eye.

Bottom line, don't bother with biwiring or fancy cables. My 800D2's are connected to my Bryston 4B SST2 with Home Depot 12 gauge pure copper wire. I bought a spool of Monoprice OFC 12 gauge stuff, but haven't bothered to install it yet.

Last edited by Jon Middleton; 11-29-2015 at 07:30 PM.
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post #23 of 68 Old 11-29-2015, 06:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Middleton View Post

Bottom line, don't bother with biwiring or fancy cables. My 800D2's are connected to my Bryston 4B SST2 with Home Depot 12 gauge pure copper wire. I bought a spool of Monoprice OFC 12 gauge stuff, but haven't bothered to install it.
You really should go ahead and install the Monoprice wire. It is much more airy and smooth than that cheap Home Depot stuff.

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post #24 of 68 Old 11-29-2015, 06:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wvu80 View Post
I don't mean to nit-pic, but the argumentative or logical fallacy is improper appeals to authority (or variations thereof).
http://web.cn.edu/kwheeler/fallacies_list.html

If the poster had said that President Obama used bi-wiring, that would be an example of improper appeal to authority. But to cite someone with presumably legit credentials in the field is a perfectly legitimate way of supporting an assertion.
Well, we agree on one thing: That's some serious nit-picking. Not only that, it's also not entirely correct itself.

Appeal to authority means saying something is correct just because an authority says so.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argument_from_authority
http://www.nizkor.org/features/falla...authority.html

commsysman claims that Vandersteen is an authority (though he is only a self-proclaimed authority); Vandersteen claims bi-wiring makes improvements; therefore commsysman thinks bi-wiring makes improvements.

The fallacy is that just because somebody says so, authority or not, doesn't make it so. Evidence is needed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wvu80 View Post
We would all do well to remember that we haven't heard EVERY example of bi-wiring with EVERY set of speakers in existence. Bi-wiring might not work with my little speakers in my tiny room, but it might work with someone else's giant speakers in their giant room. Who has heard everything? Not me.
If you understand the science and engineering principles involved, you don't need to hear every setup to know something is true. I don't need to drop every rock on earth to know that they will all fall toward the ground.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wvu80 View Post
If anyone wants to know my credentials, I am just a regular guy with pretty good ears, but probably not the best out there. I have a critical ear and I am pretty honest with myself about what I can hear. I can hear a difference in bi-amping with my speakers, but the differences are subtle. If I bi-amp or not, after I got used to them, I would still like my speakers (and my music) about the same.
How do you know you hear a difference? What methodology did you use in your experimentation?

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post #25 of 68 Old 11-29-2015, 07:02 PM
 
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Originally Posted by ld100 View Post
Bi-wire or not bi-wire? My speaker manual says bi-wire (it is B&W)...

And where to get a reasonably priced cable to try? I have nice cables now and not sure if I want to spent a lot of money just to try if bi-wiring will do anything. Checked monoprice and do not see any... Any good brand that does not charge an arm and a leg?
IMO this is a good brand of cable that does not charge an arm and a leg. I have tried them and pretty much agree with this review. The owner of the company is a guy named Frank Dal. Tell him what you need and he will bend over backward to help and all of his cables come with a 30 day audition. As for bi-wiring I tried it on a pair of Mission speaker towers and it did seem to help.

http://www.stereotimes.com/acc020204.shtml
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post #26 of 68 Old 11-29-2015, 07:07 PM
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Absurd to suggest bi-amping through the passive crossover network could have no effect.

I'd agree that it probably wouldn't be a big upgrade, but its definitely a substantially different circuit
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post #27 of 68 Old 11-29-2015, 07:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Manic1! View Post
What gauge wire were you using?

14 gauge, sheathed Monoprice cable
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post #28 of 68 Old 11-29-2015, 07:16 PM
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Just to sum-up.


The only time bi-wire will do something, is when the speaker use two crossovers.


After reading this tread, there might be a very few speakers, that have two internal ones, or do they? it could be just a selling gimmick. No one would know for sure, unless they check inside the cabinet.


In general, it is more for DIY that will be building a speaker that way, and use custom external/internal ones.
Like a friend of mine that built his speakers using 3 active external crossovers and 3 power amps, this is a lot wires


Other than that, a waist of money and time.


Ray
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post #29 of 68 Old 11-29-2015, 07:23 PM
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Originally Posted by beaveav View Post
Well, we agree on one thing: That's some serious nit-picking. Not only that, it's also not entirely correct itself.

Appeal to authority means saying something is correct just because an authority says so.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argument_from_authority
Ha! You use Wikipedia as a source? You lose, I win I win!!!

/silly section
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You should know I always post with a smile on my face. I took enough college courses to know how to argue, and when to argue, and I was scientifically trained. If I challenged every source and demanded citations for every statement made, nobody would ever talk to me on this board. And I wouldn't blame them.

This is the AVS Discussion board, and I have a lot of respect for other people's opinions, even when they don't agree with my own. I have come to realize there are majority opinions, and there are minority opinions. Rarely are opinions ever in 100 percent agreement.

And please don't throw "science is always right" at me. I'm just old enough to remember when "science" told me Pluto was a planet.

For the record, I think your opinion represents the majority opinion, which I agree with in this case. Trust me, I am not always in the majority opinion. But I don't dismiss out of hand others who say they can hear differences in speakers, bi-amped/wired or not, because I know that if I listened to their speakers in their living room with their audio equipment, I might agree with them.

But since I don't, I'll note their opinions and file it under "people on the internet who are sharing their experiences, different from mine."
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Last edited by wvu80; 11-29-2015 at 07:27 PM.
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post #30 of 68 Old 11-29-2015, 07:28 PM
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All speakers esentually have separate crossovers for each driver set, wired in parallel

A two way speaker has a high pass filter for the tweeter and a separate low pass for the woofer, these are then wired in parallel for non BUY- wire applications
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