Passive Biamping: How much improvement?

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by Jigesh Patel, Jun 18, 2003.

  1. Jigesh Patel

    Jigesh Patel Stunt Coordinator

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    I am a bi-wiring non-believer. Said that, I want to know if passive bi-amping could really make any difference to already a well performing HT set up.
    I am thinking to add two more channels (upgraditis acutis) to Sherbourn 5/5210 and make it 7/2100. However, I might still be sticking to 5.1 set up at least for a couple of years. So I was thinking of passively bi-amping my front L-R Paradigm Studio/40 v.2. These speakers don't allow me access to internal cross-overs so active bi-amping is out of question.
    I read in the Paradigm speaker manual that vertical bi-amping improves stereo separation for music and horizontal biamping gives more "space/air" to sound. Since Sherbourn is mono-multi design, I guess I already have some separation and may be I will go for horizontal bi-amping.
    The question is, how much real-life difference a passive bi-amping can make to my already nice (in my view) current set up? My listening habit is 70% HT and 30% non-classical music. Denon 3802 is the receiver as prepro and SVS 25-31PC+ subwoofer if it's relevant. I would appreciate inputs from those who experimented in biamping or any web links for more information.
    Thank you.
    Jigesh
     
  2. Alan Pummill

    Alan Pummill Screenwriter

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    Jigesh,

    About a year ago, I bought a used Carver AV-705x, 5 channel amp off of e-bay. At that time, I was using a Pioneer Elite VSX-09TX Flagship receiver. My intentions were to bi-amp my front Paradigm Monitor 7's with (4) of the channels, and run the CC-350 center channel with the 5th channel. I used the VSX-09TX for my rear speakers. But shortly after I got the Carver hooked up, one of the amp channels stopped working, so I ran the center with my receiver. The addition of the amp made the fronts really sound great!!

    About a month and a half ago, my receiver was damaged in an electrical storm. I decided at that time to purchase an Outlaw 950 pre/pro, since my receiver was older and didn't have 5.1 inputs to mate up with my Pioneer Elite DV-47Ai DVD, SACD, DVD-A player. While I was waiting delivery of my new pre/pro, I had the Carver fixed. (blown fuse...$17.50)

    I am now running all (5) channels with the Outlaw and Carver combo, hence I can no longer bi-amp my mains. I have actually heard an improvement in sound quality. Is it the Outlaw??? Was bi-amping really contributing anything??? IMHO, passive bi-amping doesn't benefit the sound of a speaker!!! Hope this helps!!!
     
  3. chung_sotheby

    chung_sotheby Supporting Actor

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    When you say passive biamping, you know that this can only be accomplished by completely getting rid of the internal speaker crossovers from the amp to speaker path? Biamping uses an external crossover to send one section of the whole signal to each driver. The only difference between passive and active biamping is the type of crossover used to split the signal BEFORE it reaches the amplifier. Once the signals are split, each piece of the signal goes to a single amplifier channel, which then feeds the signal directly to the driver unit. If you are unable to seperate the drivers from the internal speaker crossover, then you cannot biamp. Just using a single amp channel to send a signal to each set of binding posts is called Fool's Biamping, since you are still using the speaker's internal crossover.

    As for the improvement in your system, there will probably be a slight improvement, but it will probably not be worth the price of another set of amp channels. As always with audio, the law of diminishing returns takes place when biamping (JMHO, though).
     
  4. Andrew Pratt

    Andrew Pratt Producer

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    Why not try it with four channels from the amp now and see if you hear a difference in 2 channel? I'm bi amping my mains and it was quite a noticeable improvement in sound stage depth but then my mains are fairly demanding for power.
     
  5. Jigesh Patel

    Jigesh Patel Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks a lot, Alan, Chung and Andrew for your views.

    Chung:
     
  6. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    i don't think removing the strap results in the drivers being electrically isolated from each other. you could always dash off an email to Paradigm to confirm.
     
  7. chung_sotheby

    chung_sotheby Supporting Actor

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  8. Jigesh Patel

    Jigesh Patel Stunt Coordinator

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    Chu and Chung:

    Thank you for clearing out my misconception.

     
  9. TylerR

    TylerR Auditioning

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    While chung is adament that you must bypass the internal x-over to properly biamp, increasing headroom can greatly improve dynamics and of course help with overall output.

    Biamping with seperate passive x-overs is a completely idiot suggestion...
     
  10. Michael R Price

    Michael R Price Screenwriter

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    Uh, the strap simply connects the woofer and tweeter sections in parallel. Just as there is nothing wrong with removing the strap to bi-wire, there is nothing wrong with removing the strap and connecting separate amplifiers to the two posts. You might not find much of an improvement, though.
     
  11. Craig_Kg

    Craig_Kg Supporting Actor

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  12. TylerR

    TylerR Auditioning

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    Thats absolutely incorrect craig....
     
  13. Craig_Kg

    Craig_Kg Supporting Actor

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    why Tyler?
     
  14. TylerR

    TylerR Auditioning

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    Baucause, unless I'm misreading, you are suggesting that all multiple channel amps without mulitple seperate ps's will not make more power with 4 channels driven as opposed to 2 channels. This simply isn't the case...
     
  15. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    In the vast majority of cases, they're there because the public, or some portion thereof, demands it and not for any positive benefit. No sense in alienating potential customers as it's cheap to implement. Those that want that feature and enjoy the techo-speak are happy. Those that don't, it's irrelevent. Like including a cigarette lighter in a car. If there's a benefit, I think it has more to do with being able to provide additional power to a speaker that can use it.
     
  16. Brett DiMichele

    Brett DiMichele Producer

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    FYI Guys..

    A real Bi Amp Passive Internal Crossover has completely

    isolated networks for High Band and Low Band(Or if the

    Internal XO Network is TriAmpable it will have completely

    seperated High Band, Mid Band and Low Band.

    Removing the Shorting staps breaks the crossover down into

    these seperated sections and thus using 2 channels of amp

    per speaker (In Bi Amp Configuration) sends more power to

    one particular section of the network.

    To say this is not true Bi Amping is ridiculous IMHO. This

    method of seperating the XO Regions allows you loads of

    flexibility to do things like mingle Tube gear and S.S gear

    or add more power to one particular section, or just add

    more power on all sections of the XO.

    There are immense benefits to be gained here!
     
  17. Brett DiMichele

    Brett DiMichele Producer

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    As far as "Active Biamping" where the drivers are singly

    connected directly to the amplifier and between the source

    and amps resides an active external crossover. This would

    only be adviseable if the speakers were designed from the

    start to be used in such a setup.

    To take a prebuilt set of speakers and eliminate the stock

    Passive Networks entirely and rely on Active Externals like

    Marchand or DBX Driveracks, should only be done by experts.

    You have absolutely no clue how the designers did the stock

    XO's and with Active's all you can do is adjust the Slope

    and the Frequency. You have no way to configure them for

    Baffel Step Compensation, Time Alignment etc.

    If the speakers wern't designed and provided with external

    active's then I think it's a bad idea to try and impliment

    them with existing speakers.
     
  18. Jigesh Patel

    Jigesh Patel Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks a lot Tyler, Craig and Brett for clarifying a number of issues including that of the strap removal - in fact, Paradigm's manual also implied the same but when a counter opinion was posted here, things became a bit hazy for me...
    Also,
     
  19. Andrew Pratt

    Andrew Pratt Producer

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    Removing the plates should seperate the internal cross overs from each other allowing you to use two amp channels. This should improve the dynmaics of the speaker since you're now sending more power to each driver and unless the multichannel amp is very poorly designed it will be able to send more power then just using two channels. Ideally yes moving the crossovers before the amps would lower the work load on the amps since they'd only amp the freq's required but that's not to say there isn't any point in trying passive bi amping. Besides since he has a multichannel amp already just try it and see if its worth it to you...the proof's in the pudding as they say.
     
  20. chung_sotheby

    chung_sotheby Supporting Actor

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