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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Currently I have an Anthem PVA7 in my home theater setup. I was considering biamping my main or front speakers with either a 2 ch or 3 ch power amp. In doing so, do I need to use the exact same amp, ie PVA2 (2 ch), or could I use a more powerful amp such as Anthems MCA20. What are all the things I must consider if I decide to do this? I am currently very happy with the PVA7. Would I notice considerable differences if I biamp, or am I just wasting money?
 

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You don't necessarily need to use the same amp, but it should have the same gain as the other. If the amps have different gain, the output from the biamped speaker sections will be out of balance. If the gain is not the same, it would be advantageous to have some way to adjust the levels between the two different amps.


The biggest thing to consider is that if you want more power, you need to buy a more powerful amp. When you biamp in this manner, the watts do NOT add together - this is a very common misconception.


In a passive biamp setup, your maximum output/clipping level is essentially no more than that of the lowest-powered amp. This is because both amps must reproduce the entire voltage swing of the full range signal.


Using 8 ohms speakers and 100wpc amps as an example, I think you'll see what I mean.


To produce 100 watts with 8 ohm speakers requires about 28 volts. So, that is about the limit of what you can get out of the amp, 28 volts. If you biamp with another 100 watt amp, that second amp still has the same 28 volt output so there isn't really any increase in useable output.


However, you were to get a single 200 watt amp, then your output could go to around 40 volts. So, as you can see, a singe 200 watt amp provides a meaningful increase in output vs. two 100 watt amps in passive biamp config.


My advice? If you want more power get a more powerful amp - at least twice as many watts as you have now. Don't waste your time and $$ with a passive biamp setup, spend both on a more powerful amp.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by whoaru99 /forum/post/0


You don't necessarily need to use the same amp, but it should have the same gain as the other. If the amps have different gain, the output from the biamped speaker sections will be out of balance. If the gain is not the same, it would be advantageous to have some way to adjust the levels between the two different amps.


The biggest thing to consider is that if you want more power, you need to buy a more powerful amp. When you biamp in this manner, the watts do NOT add together - this is a very common misconception.


In a passive biamp setup, your maximum output/clipping level is essentially no more than that of the lowest-powered amp. This is because both amps must reproduce the entire voltage swing of the full range signal.


Using 8 ohms speakers and 100wpc amps as an example, I think you'll see what I mean.


To produce 100 watts with 8 ohm speakers requires about 28 volts. So, that is about the limit of what you can get out of the amp, 28 volts. If you biamp with another 100 watt amp, that second amp still has the same 28 volt output so there isn't really any increase in useable output.


However, you were to get a single 200 watt amp, then your output could go to around 40 volts. So, as you can see, a singe 200 watt amp provides a meaningful increase in output vs. two 100 watt amps.


My advice? If you want more power get a more powerful amp - at least twice as many watts as you have now. Don't waste your time and $$ with a passive biamp setup, spend both on a more powerful amp.

Thanks. I fully understand what you are saying. Now, let's say I were to get another amp of the same power to biamplify things. Would I notice any improvement in sound quality?
 

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I've tried passive biamp with a number of different amps and speakers and I've not detected any improvement in sound quality.


I can only speak from my experience, so, my opinion is "no improvement".
 

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I agree with whoaru (except for the gain part), if you want the benefits of biamping, you need to crossover before the amps, BUT this can result in a whole nother set of issues.


Best just to get a bigger amp if necessary.


BTW, 'who' great point on the voltage issue.
 

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I've tried "passive" bi-amping with two different Yamaha receivers, I can't say there was [no] difference in sound characteristics. Also, I can't exactly explain the difference either, just seemed like the bass response was much more noticeable, or deeper. Is this because there's essentially just more head-room?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks everyone. Now, what are your thoughts on bi-wiring? Any noticeable improvements in adopting that method?
 

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the only time you will notice a difference with bi-wiring is when you are using speaker cables that were to small to begin with for the length of run you are using. if you use at least 14 gauge wire there shouldnt be any need to bi-wire. it does look cool though imo.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluemark81 /forum/post/0


Thanks everyone. Now, what are your thoughts on bi-wiring? Any noticeable improvements in adopting that method?

Looks impressive, but as with bi-amping, I've not heard any differences.
 

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I setup biamping from my Yamaha Receiver as well and to me it made a significant improvement. The bass is better and music fuller overall. If you have the setup to biamp I think you definitely should do it. However, I also agree as mentioned that using a bigger amp is definitely better than biamping with 2 smaller ones.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by dakar80124 /forum/post/0


I setup biamping from my Yamaha Receiver as well and to me it made a significant improvement. The bass is better and music fuller overall.

exactly! I had the same experience, I liked it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dakar80124 /forum/post/0


If you have the setup to biamp I think you definitely should do it.

exactly!

Quote:
Originally Posted by dakar80124 /forum/post/0


However, I also agree as mentioned that using a bigger amp is definitely better than biamping with 2 smaller ones.

true. Once I switched to a separate amp it was a completely different experience, it's just more efficient.
 
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