Advice/Tips for bi-amping

iaxel

Well-Known Member
Oct 25, 2016
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I've recently purchased a new (dynamic) speaker (which I'll disclose it later) from a famous brand.
The speaker has an option of bi-amping.
It has a separate, passive, crossover for a single amp and bi-amps configuration.

Anyway, I've been playing with the idea and with some gear.
The crossover separates the bass drivers and the mid-tweeter.
I'm currently using my CH A1.5 to drive the bass and playing with my Riviera AIC-10 (headphones and speakers amp) for the mid-highs.
Naturally, I need to match volume-levels, as the Riviera is an integrated and does not have a preamp bypass input.
So far, the results are very promising, it sounds like the speaker got a "wake-up call" and sounds much more dynamic, with stable bass and a larger stage.

I have yet to try additional power amps in connection with the CH L1 (i.e. L1 -> A1.5 and L1 -> <another power>).
Electrically the best match would be adding another A1.5 and bi-amping both.
However, as I am able to "play" I may consider hybrid or tube options for the mid-high frequencies.

Would love to hear advice and tips from those who tried bi-amping before.
What to look for, how to choose...
Thing is, most purchases I may not be able to audition.

Budget scratches that of the CH A1.5 (~30K CHF), but I prefer to spend less.
 
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The safe choice always is to use identical amps for bi/tri amping.
I suppose if the bass crossover frequency is really low and the cut off order high, timbral differences between different amps won't be too obvious.
Apparently many people are not overly sensitive towards the issue and enjoy a veritable mish mash of class D, non switching amps and tubes.
 
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Would love to hear advice and tips from those who tried bi-amping before.
What to look for, how to choose...
Thing is, most purchases I may not be able to audition.
Single-amping and single-wiring is musically superior to bi-amping/bi-wiring.
It is always better to do single-amping with one superior amp than bi-amping with two inferior amps.
So I recommend not to buy a second amp for bi-amping but to upgrade to one superior amp and do single-amping.
Please try it and you will agree.

Matt
 
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Single-amping and single-wiring is musically superior to bi-amping/bi-wiring.
It is always better to do single-amping with one superior amp than bi-amping with two inferior amps.
So I recommend not to buy a second amp for bi-amping but to upgrade to one superior amp and do single-amping.
Please try it and you will agree.

Matt
I recommend buying 2 superior amps, it will outperform one superior amp every time ! ;) Use the same amps/signal and speaker cable for all outputs !
 
We are deep into diminishing returns territory.
Meaning, for the price of 2 so-called “inferior” amps I almost certainly will not get a overall “superior” amp. Maybe different, but not superior.
My current impressions are that bi-amping creates a leap in sound quality that I doubt a x2 (in price) “superior” amp will come close to.
 
I recommend buying 2 superior amps,
When you stick to one manufacturer you most certainly find one amp for the price of these two which then gives you superior results with single-amping. Roy Gregory tested this with CH amps (10 series vs 1series, have a look at post #15) :cool:

Matt
 
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When you stick to one manufacturer you most certainly find one amp for the price of these two which then gives you superior results with single-amping. Roy Gregory tested this with CH amps. :cool:

Matt
You have to buy double up on the best amps that they make ! ;)
 
You have to buy double up on the best amps that they make ! ;)
AFAIK, RG compared a CH10 series set-up vs a CH1 series set-up with multiple amps. The former was superior and less expensive. (One CH M10 single-amp outperforms two M1.1 bi-amp and is cheaper) :cool:

Matt
 
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There is a lot of “play value” in the biamping sandbox. I enjoyed my time there. It is a fond memory. My guests were impressed too. It was a pretty cool system

I don’t think you can resist it. The lessons learned first hand are best.

My current thinking is in agreement with Matthias. But I would not spoil the fun of the journey. You could end up a lifelong fan.
 
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AFAIK, RG compared a CH10 series set-up vs a CH1 series set-up with multiple amps. The former was superior and less expensive.

Matt
Yes, you need 4 CH10 amps to do it right ! ;)
 
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There is a lot of “play value” in the biamping sandbox. I enjoyed my time there. It is a fond memory. My guests were impressed too. It was a pretty cool system
Thank you.
Can you elaborate? Which amps did you combine and how did you reach the conclusion that a single amp is better?
 
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I have yet to try additional power amps in connection with the CH L1 (i.e. L1 -> A1.5 and L1 -> <another power>).
Electrically the best match would be adding another A1.5 and bi-amping both.
However, as I am able to "play" I may consider hybrid or tube options for the mid-high frequencies.
IMHO, I would replace the L1 with a L10 (if possible) and go with the A1.5 single-amping.
Later on if funds allow I would replace the A1.5 with a M1.1 or a M10 (also single-amping).

Matt
 
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This my understanding - two monoblock pairs of the same amplifier. I kinda thought it was a rule -- but hey ...
That is one approach, but you can also vertically biamp a pair of stereo amps, and you can horizontally biamp stereo pairs and mono block pairs or quads of the same gain. A common approach is to do powerful solid state for the bottom and sweet tubes for the top.

It is a true tweakers’ paradise. And a real serious extension of the size of the available hole into which money can be thrown.

Some low end speaker manufacturers encourage it by adding the extra binding posts and straps. This gives them the appearance of more serious gear than is warranted. Some high end speaker manufacturers frown on it (Wilson, for example). Many do not, and provide the hardware.

If nothing else, it is fun to experiment. And to the OP, no I am not going to elaborate beyond the statement that the lessons you learn yourself will be best believed. From custom cables to gain matching, enjoy!

edit for those unfamiliar with the concept: On page 43 of this ML manual, different options for passive biamping are discussed.
 
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Currently auditioning the Ypsilon Phaethon integrated, powering the mid-highs to wonderful results.
 
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That is one approach, but you can also vertically biamp a pair of stereo amps, and you can horizontally biamp stereo pairs and mono block pairs or quads of the same gain. A common approach is to do powerful solid state for the bottom and sweet tubes for the top.

It is a true tweakers’ paradise. And a real serious extension of the size of the available hole into which money can be thrown.

Some low end speaker manufacturers encourage it by adding the extra binding posts and straps. This gives them the appearance of more serious gear than is warranted. Some high end speaker manufacturers frown on it (Wilson, for example). Many do not, and provide the hardware.

If nothing else, it is fun to experiment. And to the OP, no I am not going to elaborate beyond the statement that the lessons you learn yourself will be best believed. From custom cables to gain matching, enjoy!

edit for those unfamiliar with the concept: On page 43 of this ML manual, different options for passive biamping are discussed.
MBL discourage using internal bi-wiring and recommend separate cable runs for each part of the passive crossover, they even have diagram describing the wiring for bi- amping even the 101 E in the manual. My Martin Logans also sound much better with separate identical cable runs, compared to internally bi-wired cables. :)
 
My limited experience in the bi-amping rabbit hole:

I found that vertically bi-amping stereo amps produced better results than horizontally bi-amping or running the amps in mono. I think it boils down to the needs of your speakers and how they react to different configurations.
 
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