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  1. #1

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    Default Bi-amping question

    Suppose you have the following scenarios for your front speakers:

    A. highs are going to a separate 100 wpc amp; lows are going to a 70 wpc receiver

    B. highs are going to a separate 100 wpc amp; lows are going to a 110 wpc receiver

    C. no bi-amping; fronts are powered by a 110 wpc receiver


    (Let's assume all things being equal, i.e., each receiver defines watts the same way, the 100 watt amp is the same, etc.)

    Which scenario is best for SQ and why?

    I guess what I'm really trying to understand is whether there's an improved SQ due to more watts for the highs as in Scenario B vs. Scenario A. My assumption is that the tweeter doesn't require as many watts as the midrange/woofer. Is that correct?

  2. #2

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    More watts for the woofers is the best. The tweeters power handling is only a fraction of that of the woofer. You shouldn't have a problem with power handling though because the voltage signals for the higher frequencies are also much lower.
    Graham

  3. #3

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    YES. See Gatemplin's response. I'll add that you also want your "higher quality" (note: I said quality not power) amp running the critical mid/highs. The human ear can tolerate alot of distortion in the bass region, but is very sensitive to distortions in the mid/high ranges.

    Transport: Oppo BDP-103/USB HDD (flac)
    DAC/Preamp: Benchmark DAC/PRE
    Power Amp: Parasound HCA-1500A
    Speakers: Harbeth Compact 7ES-3 Monitor
    Cables: Kimber Hero/8TC; DH Labs D-75

  4. #4

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    Early,
    Is this just for a 2-channel system, or is it for a home theater system? I could think of a couple potentially better options than A through C if it is for home theater. Regardless, having extra amplification above that available from a receiver opens up a lot of possibilities. Generally though, put the big power to the largest drivers.

  5. #5

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    Is this just for a 2-channel system, or is it for a home theater system?
    It's for HT, but I play music in 2-channel mode on the same system.

    More watts for the woofers is the best. The tweeters power handling is only a fraction of that of the
    OK, so if the highs don't require that much power, is there any advantage to bi-amping to a 100 wpc amp when you have a receiver with equal or greater power than the amp? Why not option C?

  6. #6

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    You will never get the power amps aboard a receiver to sound as good as a quality stand alone power amp. That's why.

    Receivers are a compromise. Some may sound very good indeed, but not as good as separates. People may not like that statement, but there it is.

    George Grand (of the Jersey Grands)

  7. #7

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    George is absolutely correct. Bi-amping with a receiver is like putting Walmart tires on a Corvette. I don't mean to offend, Its just that even when bi-amping with top-shelf equipment, the effect/improvement can be very subtle, and quite possibly not worth the expense.

    Get into bi-amping later down the road when you've got deeper pockets and your "dream" system put together--then it will pay some benefits.

    I don't bi-amp or bi-wire anymore, i experimented with it for a few years, but went back to a standard setup. It just wasn't worth the expense.

    Keep in mind these are my opinions/observations. if you've already got the extra amp, what the hell, give it a try. If you like the improvement, then it was the right thing to do.
    Last edited by steveinaz; 05-12-2004 at 11:25 AM.

    Transport: Oppo BDP-103/USB HDD (flac)
    DAC/Preamp: Benchmark DAC/PRE
    Power Amp: Parasound HCA-1500A
    Speakers: Harbeth Compact 7ES-3 Monitor
    Cables: Kimber Hero/8TC; DH Labs D-75

  8. #8

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    Originally posted by steveinaz
    George is absolutely correct. Bi-amping with a receiver is like putting Walmart tires on a Corvette. I don't mean to offend, Its just that even when bi-amping with top-shelf equipment, the effect/improvement can be very subtle, and quite possibly not worth the expense.

    Get into bi-amping later down the road when you've got deeper pockets and your "dream" system put together--then it will pay some benefits.
    I'm gonna have to disagree here...

    I've changed multiple things in my system, DVD Player, receiver, cables, etc...I've also recently added a second amp to bi-amp my RTi150s.

    Of everything I changed, bi-amping those beasts made the biggest difference by far. Does my setup sound as good as separates? Well of course not, to say so would be ludicrous...but to say that bi-amping doesn't add anything isn't entirely accurate either...

    To me, one of the best times to bi-amp is when you don't have alot of money to spare. It's a fairly inexpensive way to get a hige uncrease in sound.

    Early, to answer your original question:

    Your assumption below is correct. You want more power going to the lows. Another thing to consider is that you really want all the tweeters running of the same amp or receiver, as alot of the detail is carried there and you want the same source to be driving the tweeters in all the speakers...that way the amp characteristics, etc are the same across all the speakers...
    Main HT
    Magnepan 1.6QR fronts, POlk R15 surrounds, Pioneer SC-25, Parasound Halo A23, Oppo BDP-105, Panasonic TC-P60ZT60, Sony PS3, Apple TV

    Bedroom System
    Polk Blackstone TL3, Polk PSWi225 Wireless Sub, HK 3490 Integrated, Oppo BDP-103, Sharp Aquos 32" TV, Apple TV

    Office Rig
    27" iMac w/Amarra, AudioQuest Dragonfly 1.2, Focal XS Book, Schiit Valhalla, Cypher Labs Theorem 720, Philips Fidelio X1, Sennheiser HD600, HiFiMan HE-500, B&W P7, LG 47LM7600, Sony PS3, Apple TV

  9. #9
    Spaceman Spiff
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    Receivers are a compromise. Some may sound very good indeed, but not as good as separates. People may not like that statement, but there it is.
    Personal experience would allow me to agree with George. I went from a 75wpc Marantz receiver to 60wpc adcom amps. The sound quality increase was quite noticeable.

    I bi-amped on the cheap. All 4 of my Adcom 2-channel amps cost me less then the one Marantz receiver. It can be done inexpensive and you'll achieve better sound.
    If...
    Ron dislikes a film = go out and buy it.
    Ron loves a film = don't even rent.

  10. #10

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    Originally posted by steveinaz
    The human ear can tolerate alot of distortion in the bass region, but is very sensitive to distortions in the mid/high ranges.

    The above is true.
    If I were to biamp I personally would try the higher power amp on the highs and the lower power amp on the bass first. The cool yet frustrating thing is you can try all of the above and decide which sounds the best.
    Vinyl, the final frontier...

    Avantgarde horns, 300b tubes, thats the kinda crap I want... :D

  11. #11

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    Originally posted by madmax
    If I were to biamp I personally would try the higher power amp on the highs and the lower power amp on the bass first.
    ?! ... The mids and highs should also require a lot less power to be properly driven ...

  12. #12

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    How about to Bi-wire your speakers into the high power AMP and give the same treat to both highs and mids.

    ;)
    Panasonic TH-50PX80U Plasma HDTV
    Polk Audio RT800i (fronts)
    Polk Audio CS400i (center)
    Polk Audio F/X1000 (side surrounds)
    Polk Audio RTi6 (back surrrounds)
    Velodyne CHT-15 (subwoofer)
    Yamaha RX-V1400 (Pre/Pro)
    NAD C272 (2-ch Amp)
    Adcom GFA-7605 (5-ch Amp)
    Toshiba SD-3109 (DVD/CD player)
    Malata DVP-580 (Multi-region DVD player)

  13. #13

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    How about to Bi-wire your speakers into the high power AMP and give the same treat to both highs and mids.
    Are you referring to a separate 2-channel amp for each speaker? Too costly.

  14. #14

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    No just one 2-channel AMP and use your receiver as a pre/pro.
    Panasonic TH-50PX80U Plasma HDTV
    Polk Audio RT800i (fronts)
    Polk Audio CS400i (center)
    Polk Audio F/X1000 (side surrounds)
    Polk Audio RTi6 (back surrrounds)
    Velodyne CHT-15 (subwoofer)
    Yamaha RX-V1400 (Pre/Pro)
    NAD C272 (2-ch Amp)
    Adcom GFA-7605 (5-ch Amp)
    Toshiba SD-3109 (DVD/CD player)
    Malata DVP-580 (Multi-region DVD player)

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