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Bought new speaker cables and I'm biwiring now! Whoo-hoo!

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by KeithH, Nov 4, 2001.

  1. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    My girlfriend and I were browsing through Tweeter last night with no real purpose in mind when I came to the speaker wire/cable section. I have been using Monster XP speaker wire for all of my speakers, which is Monster's basic wire. When I say basic, I used 50-foot rolls to wire my speakers. Well, on a whim last night, I bought a pair of 10-foot Monster MCX-IS Biwire speaker cables for $85 to biwire a pair of Totem Arro floorstanders in my main system (they were not biwired with the Monster XP wire before). I had to buy three four-packs of Monster banana plugs to screw onto the ends of the new speaker cables for $12.50 each to complete the job, so for $122.50, I was good to go. I know that many people here don't think too highly of Monster products, but my feeling was that for relatively little money, I would try new speaker cables and try out biwiring. If I didn't like result, I could always return the speaker cables.
    Getting the speaker cables set up with the banana plugs and connected to my speakers and NAD C 370 integrated amp couldn't have been easier. I played a handful of SACDs on a Sony SCD-777ES and SCD-C555ES that I am very familiar with and was thoroughly astounded by the results. The soundstage is much wider and deeper now. It's hard to explain, but the music is far more enveloping now than before. Admittedly, I changed two things at once here. I am using a new speaker cable and am biwiring, so I can't say for sure that biwiring is "all that", but I am extremely pleased with the results anyway.
    I bought the Totem Arro speakers in August and in September, I blew a driver when listening to James Taylor's "Gaia" off of Hourglass. (Extremely low frequencies at one section did it, and I am now using a subwoofer to prevent that from happening again). I brought the speakers back to the dealer so that they could get a replacement driver and install it. When I went back to the dealer to pick up the speakers, they had them set up in a sound room so I test them out. I brought the Hourglass CD so I could hear "Gaia", which has become a reference track for me, and was astounded by how it sounded in the store on a system comprised of an Integra DPS-9.1 DVD-Audio player, Rotel separates, MIT inteconnects, and MIT biwire speaker cables. I walked out feeling as though my system came close, but was not quite up to par. When I biwired the Totem Arros last night, I heard what the system in the store was providing (maybe not exactly to the last detail, but you get the idea). In listening to "Gaia", the harmony vocals are much deeper and layered with the Monster biwire cables than they were with the old Monster wire (again, no biwiring). As I said, I am astounded by the results.
    My local dealer suggested a few weeks ago that I buy a 10-foot pair of MIT biwire speaker cables for $400, including banana plugs. Would those cables be better than the Monster cables I bought? I would hope so given the price difference (recall, $400 vs. $122.50), but for only $122.50, I am thrilled with the sound. The system sounds much better than it did with the cheap Monster XP speaker wire. I may have to biwire a pair of Energy e:XL 25s I am using in my second stereo system now. Does it ever end?
    I guess the only drawback with biwiring as far as I am concerned is that I can't biamp. I've always had a thought in the back of my mind of adding an NAD C 270 power amp to the NAD C 370 integrated amp, and it turns out the current issue of What Hi*Fi? has an article on biamping and reviews (positively) the NAD C 370/C 270 combo. One can't biwire and biamp at the same time. I don't think it matters, however. As a result of how I have to connect my subwoofer into the system, I don't think I could biamp anyway. I may be wrong, however, as I haven't investigated it too much. I am so pleased with the current set-up, that I probably shouldn't. [​IMG]
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    [Edited last by KeithH on November 04, 2001 at 10:33 AM]
     
  2. Saurav

    Saurav Cinematographer

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    Oh no! Welcome to the Dark Side, Keith [​IMG]
    IMO, you'd gain more from bi-amping than biwiring. If I were you and I could get my hands on a C270 for a few days with the option to return it, I'd give it a shot. Basically, you're increasing the amount of amplification power available to each speaker - that has to help somehow, right?
     
  3. Brett DiMichele

    Brett DiMichele Producer

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    Keith,
    You made a set of cables using MC wire for a very decent
    price. I went even further than that and spend about $50.00
    to make my Bi-Wires start to finish using Sound King 99.999%
    OFC 12Ga from http://www.partsexpress.com
    [​IMG]
    If it sounds like I am tooting my own horn it's because I am
    very pleased with what *you* can make at home with some time
    and very little money.
    Good work on your own Bi-Wires!
    ------------------
    [​IMG]
    Brett DiMichele
    My Home Theater Site!
    [email protected]
     
  4. Karim Nogas

    Karim Nogas Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi Keith,
    Bi-wiring is a very good tweek that I found greatly improved the sound from my Mirages. It's an inexpensive step that everyone should try.
    Enjoy the setup!
    ------------------
    You don't need a centre channel.
     
  5. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Saurav,
    Yeah, I figure biamping would be better than biwiring, but of course, at a greater expense than the $122.50 I shelled out on the Monster biwire speaker cables. I am so thrilled with biwiring that I will stick with that for now. One thing I might do down the road is biamp the C 370 with the C 270 and then use the biwire cables I just bought for my second system. I have Energy e:XL 25 floorstanders with an NAD C 350 integrated amp in the second system. NAD doesn't make a power amp to mate with the C 350, so unless I were to buy another C 350, I would not biamp that system. Biwiring would be nice, however.
    I am not sure I can biamp my main system because of how I have the subwoofer integrated into the system. As you probably, NAD integrated amps do not have direct subwoofer inputs. So, I bought what is known as an Energy Active Crossover Network (EAC) to bridge the C 370 and Energy e:XL-S10 10" subwoofer. The EAC allows me to dial in the crossover frequency. To integrate the EAC, I run RCA cables from the pre-outs on the C 370 to the inputs on the EAC. Then I run RCA cables from the outputs on the EAC to the main ins on C 370. Thus, I no longer use the stock jumpers on the C 370. To connect the subwoofer, I run a cable from the "XOVER INPUT" on the subwoofer to the subwoofer input on the EAC. Now, with the EAC in place, can I biamp? For example, would the following scenario work:
    * pre-outs on C 370 to pre-ins on C 270
    * main outs on C 270 to inputs on EAC
    * outputs on EAC to main ins on C 370
    * connect the subwoofer to the EAC as before
    Now, I am assuming there are "main outs" (or whatever they are called) on the back of the C 270 that would connect to the main ins on the C 370 if no EAC were being used. I have not seen the back panel of the C 270 to confirm this.
    As an alternative, what about this scenario:
    * pre-outs on C 370 to inputs on EAC
    * outputs on EAC to pre-ins on C 270
    * main outs on C 270 to main ins on C 370
    * connect the subwoofer to the EAC as before
    Does it matter which scenario is followed so long as everything is bridged together? I imagine it would matter. Again, I don't know if it is even possible to biamp with the EAC. Thoughts?
    Brett,
    You made very nice speaker cables there. DIY cables may be something I get into down the road, but I am happy with the Monster MCX-IS biwire cables.
    Karim,
    Based on my experience, I agree that everyone should try biwiring. I am enjoying it!
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  6. PaulKH

    PaulKH Second Unit

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    Real dumb question (ahem)... can ANY speaker be 'bi-wired'? Does this require to sets of connectors on the back of the speakers?
    My front speakers are OLD (but I still like them), and I too have Monster XP running all over.
     
  7. Saurav

    Saurav Cinematographer

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    Hmm.. I see your problem.
     
  8. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Paul, to biwire, your each speaker must have two pairs of binding posts. One pair feeds the tweeter, while the other pair feeds the driver. On a biwire speaker cable, you have two pairs of leads (four leads) that go into the speakers instead of the more conventional one pair (two leads). One pair of leads is labeled "high pass" for the pair of binding posts feeding the tweeter, while the other pair of leads is labeled "low pass" for the binding posts feeding the driver. Many speakers have each pair of binding posts labeled for the tweeter and driver, but if the binding posts are not labeled, it seems that the pair for the tweeter is usually the upper pair.
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  9. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Saurav, thanks for the information. I am not in a rush to biamp, and research in this area is warranted. I could always to talk to the dealer I bought the EAC from. The salesman I have dealt with is very knowledgable and is familiar with the NAD product line, even though they don't sell NAD.
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  10. Chris PC

    Chris PC Producer

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    Out of curiosity, could you cut 2 identical lengths of 10 or 12 gauge wire and sum them at their ends to connect into the amp and speakers? You would reduce the impedance, but you wouldn't be bi-wiring. Would it be worth it?
     
  11. JerryW

    JerryW Supporting Actor

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    Yep, it's a cool tweak ain't it? My Interludes really came alive after I Bi-Wired `em. A real boost in soundstage width and low end punch... but I must confess, I didn't Bi-Wire conventionally.
    My first set, the set connected to my woofers, is a custom 48 lead 22AWG Plennum braided Cat5 cable. OFC, w/ PTFE/Teflon insulator (kick-ass dielectric) for each strand, RS Gold Bananas, 10' long. Paid about $50 for all materials.
    My second set, for the tweeters, is a braided 16AWG 3 conductor SPC (silver plated copper). Each conductor is FEP/Teflon insulated and RS Gold Bananas are used to terminate. It's also 10' long. Paid about $75 for all materials.
    I tell ya, for the little I paid, these really sound great. My hi-end extended noticeably (without becoming harsh) and the low-end became noticeably punchier (as said before).
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    September 11, 2001
    "Those who died will always be remembered.
    Those who killed will never be forgotten.
    We who remain will not let it happen again."
     
  12. Trevor Schell

    Trevor Schell Supporting Actor

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    My Parasound HCA-3500 is automatically set-up for Bi-wiring because of the double post construction.
    Imaging is amazing as if all 7 speakers were being driven.
    Very nice effect.
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    Trevor..[​IMG]
    My HomeTheater S.E. Sonically Enhanced
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  13. Clinton McClure

    Clinton McClure Casual Enthusiast
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    I've been running my Paradigm Monitor 9s bi-wired for almost 2 years now and would not go back. It is a great simple inexpensive tweak. (Cost me about $25 to biwire both monitors.) [​IMG]
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  14. Chip E

    Chip E Screenwriter

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    Hello,
    my name is Keith, and i'm an HT-Aholic.. HI KEITH!. Lol pal, i'm glad to "hear" you hear a difference...my PSB Stratus series speakers are very biwire friendly too. I'm gonna give it a shot as well.(it's been on my mind)
    Your positive results only make me more sure to try it. I'm going to email Doug at www.CatCables.com and have him make me a set of bi-wire Betty's.. Actually, he made me "6" audio interconnects (BlueTigers) for my SCD-C555ES this weekend...should have those Wednesday.
    - Chip
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  15. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Chip, audioholic is more like it. Will my upgrading ever end? Since August, I've bought speakers for both of my stereo systems, the 'C555ES, a crossover box to connect my subwoofer to my stereo amp in the main system, a phono pre-amp to connect a turntable to the stereo amp in my main system, and biwire speaker cables for the main system. Biwire speaker cables are next on the list for the second system. At least I sold two Sony CDP-CA80ES CD changers and a pair of Energy e:XL 16 bookshelf speakers. Of course, one 'CA80ES was replaced by the 'C555ES and the e:XL 16s were replaced by e:XL 25s. However, the second 'CA80ES was replaced by nothing. I actually have an empty shelf in a cabinet in my second system! That may be the first step on the long road to recovery! Yeah, right. [​IMG] By the way, I haven't even begun to upgrade interconnects. I don't plan on doing that for awhile. I am still using Monster interconnects and will go with the Monster biwire speaker cables for now.
    EDIT: One more upgrade I am considering is replacing my Energy e:XL-C center speaker with an e:XL-C2. I ought to make a list of potential (read: eventual) upgrades. Not sure if I have enough paper though. The ream sitting near the printer may not be enough. [​IMG]
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    [Edited last by KeithH on November 05, 2001 at 07:00 AM]
     
  16. Thomas_Berg

    Thomas_Berg Screenwriter

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    do most mid-to-high end speakers have 1) banana inputs and 2) support for bi-wiring?
    i have to put off my PSB Image speaker purchase for another year and was looking for something cheap (like the JBL NSP1 package) to tide me over. i'd really like, if nothing else, to have binding posts that take banana plugs...
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    My HT
     
  17. Chip E

    Chip E Screenwriter

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    Thomas, i'm sure the JBL's have binding posts too accept banana's. Biwireable?...doubt it but maybe.
    - Chip
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  18. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Thomas, most quality speakers have binding posts to accept banana plugs or spade connectors, as opposed to spring clips. These days, it seems that speakers with binding clips often come in lower-grade home-theater-in-a-box systems. I suppose very inexpensive separate speakers still come with spring clips. Anyway, some, but not all, quality speakers enable biwiring. Often within product lines, I see that bookshelf speakers do not allow biwiring, but floorstanders do. A salesman that I often talk to at a local high-end dealer said that one should not discriminate speakers based on whether or not they can be biwired. It seems that many people feel that expensive speakers are only good if they can be biwired. The salesman said that is not true. This is obviously his opinion, but he said if a speaker cannot be biwired, it may still be a quality speaker. It just may be designed in such a way that biwiring isn't necessary. My feeling is buy speakers that sound good to your ears, but do look for speakers with two sets of binding posts. That will allow you to consider biwiring and even biamping.
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  19. Thomas_Berg

    Thomas_Berg Screenwriter

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    i've called a few e-tailers for info, but none seem to know or have a pic of the back of the JBLs. i was on their website not too long ago and the links there dont do anything! can someone else try http://www.jbl.com
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  20. Chris PC

    Chris PC Producer

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    What about my wacky idea of 2 sets of speaker wires per speaker connected together? Like 2 wires for each + and - connection. You'd have to join the two wires where they connect to the amp and do the same where they connect to the speakers.
    ??
    [Edited last by Chris PC on November 05, 2001 at 07:43 PM]
     

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