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In Reply to: RE: Bi-Wire Made a considerable improvement posted by JBen on February 20, 2012 at 08:24:04
If connectors are oxidized or dirty, sometimes just remove and reinserting them improves the sound.
On the other hand, because it inserts a resistance between the two halves of a crossover, bi wiring does make a measurable difference in the frequency response at the crossover point, so it really will change the sound. Whether that's for better or worse presumably depends on your system.
Consider I had anti-cables in place before Bi-Wire. The ports the Bi-Wire are in were previously jumpered together. It seems I can't get any positive comments on Bi-Wiring. The cables are basically the same as before except they are a Bi-Wire version.
I admit I have 64 year old ears and when I notice an large improvement, it may only be minor to you young Whipper Snapper's.
"I admit I have 64 year old ears and when I notice an large improvement, it may only be minor to you young Whipper Snapper's."
That doesn't make a dent in the Editor of one highly regarded High-End magazine.
Big base Hit in the sound will pull power away from the tweeter...All biwire setups can make a big diff...One diff. is you get more output out of your amp... Even Two bad wire well give better sound when biwired ..what ever bad wire is...All that matters is how it sound to You...I have found it to be ezest to hear with panel ESL type speakers...It works for me so i see no way it wont work for you..have fun
The articles I've read about it showed substantial frequency response differences at the crossover point. So I don't for a moment doubt that the difference is major. I suspect it's a lot easier to hear than many other tweaks that are recommended here. Whether it's an improvement or not in any poster's system would depend I think on the speakers and the room.
Also, wasn't Jim Winey enthusiastic about bi-wiring way back when? This from something I read years ago, an interview, I think.
"Also, wasn't Jim Winey enthusiastic about bi-wiring way back when? This from something I read years ago, an interview, I think."
Confirmed. I remember reading a review where it was either Jim or Wendell (can't remember which) that did the initial set up for the reviewer and said they used bi-wire pretty much by default. They declined to speculate on the reason why but said it was for the best.
Have to ask Wendell whether they still recommend it . . .
Not that it matters a whole lot, there exists details about biamping but not a single reference (that I could find) about bi-wiring in my Tympani-IVa Instruction Manual.
I don't think bi-wiring was around back then. It got popular a few years later, or at least that's the impression I have (I don't have a specific date, just a vague recollection).
...had his 3.6s set up that way, so I ordered my AQ cables in a bi-wire configuration. I started that way - a pair of spades on the amp end and two sets of bananas on the other, with each set having wire of a different geometry. It did eliminate a set of jumpers. When I ordered my 3.7s, the cables had to change - a change which occurred prior to my receipt of the 3.7s. There was a surprisingly discernible difference (that it was discernible was a surprise ;-), with my preference being for what had been familiar (but was 'familiarity' the actual cause of that preference?).
The 3.7s don't support bi-wiring, but it doesn't matter - I'd bet that the reduction in complexity more than offsets that loss. Mine are actually a wee bit simpler than stock, with the 'final adjustment' yet to be ordered (don't know why I'm procrastinating - just my nature).
I did do something crazy - my MMGs are bedroom speakers again. I thought of a way to make things fit - and it works. It had been a year since I did a thorough cleaning (meaning everything gets moved), so I figured I'd rearrange. It's a very nearfield arrangement, but they're a full 3' off the front wall - symmetry of reflection is not very good, but I don't think that's too big of a deal for such a nearfield setup. Sitting about 2' closer to the screen also made a profound improvement in legibility - damn aging (never needed glasses until a couple of years ago - and still don't need (a euphemism for 'wear') them).
Bedroom MMG's. Or one, the aliens could only manage mono.
...I really meant it!
Bet you don't need subs with that!
One of my REL Q150s is dead - plate amp (not a fuse). It had been almost 6 weeks since I'd used my hybrids - everything was in order then. The problem is that I built my frames to accept front-firing subs that are no more than 12" wide and 14" tall. Too much specificity sure does narrow one's choices. I can't tell you how many times I've painted myself into corners by going a bit too far with customization (you'd think I'd learn).
So far, I've only pulled the amp and broken it down - it's now in the queue for my time (I could be looking at it right now, eh?). I have to confess though - I'm slowing down. There was a time when I repaired crap like that for fun (funny, though, how widely the meme 'he can fix your broken xxx' spreads beyond one's immediate friends and relatives). Hell, 20 of my working years were packed with 80 hour weeks (and I suspect there's nothing unique about that) - the point is that I stepped off that merry-go-round. Now, I'd rather reach to my hip pocket than give up chunks of time - we forfeit our time (bust our asses) to build a cache from which to withdraw time (sit on our asses). Listening to music, however, isn't always about sitting on one's ass.
Of course, the problem is as it has always been - so many things to do. Every spring is deep cleaning time - the process is in full swing. My new configuration is a bonus. I had thought about it a few times, but as I started moving the furniture, a workable arrangement flashed in my head - mind you, it would only be workable for someone deserving the 'inmate' epithet.
Anyway, to get back to the issue - I'm down a sub, so I guess there's technically no winner in your little wager. On the other hand, you only said 'need' - I feel a strong need, so pay up!
The new countertops will be ready next week. I have work to do in the kitchen - so do you.
I finished the cleaning in the kitchen, thank God. Now all I have to do is put down some dropcloths and give it a couple of coats of paint. Then a single coat on two halls and two rooms and I am DONE. And can finally set up my speakers (I was about to say "again," but for the Tympanis, it will be a first). Not to mention move back into the bedroom, put together my HTPC which has been sitting in parts in the closet unbuilt for a year (of course if I were to buy all that stuff now it would be twice as fast and half the price).
I remember my MMG's as having pretty great bass when I got within about five feet of them and got the proximity boost. Don't know how deep it actually goes.
Know what you mean about slowing down. Even a couple of years ago, I could do physical work without a break, e.g., start in the morning and work until it was time to go to sleep, with a couple of brief breaks to wolf down some food. Now I get too tired.
It never really gets here. It's like painting the Golden Gate Bridge. By the time you finish, it's time to start all over again. A house is a constant populator of one's 'to do' list - I swear; there's always something. Still, every time I check something off the list, it feels great. Next week is going to be a pain in the ass, but I'm really looking forward to Friday.
Setting up the systems is the fun part. Well, that and then actually getting to listen to them (er, music through them).
For now, anyway, I rather like the slower pace.
This place is pretty much proceeding in quarters because it had been divided up into four apartments. Upstairs will be done once I finish painting, all it's missing at this point is the interior windows. Downstairs, the front hall is done, the living room is almost done, it's been rewired, plastered, and painted and the contractor is rebuilding the fireplace now. But I'm not going to be doing much of that, I did some of the wiring, skim coating, and painting upstairs, but I'm home renovated out! Time to focus on important things like playing with my speakers while the construction guys focus on the frivolous stuff, like floors and walls . . .
Plus he must be getting a great center image. I would bet the center solidity and forwardness is beating what the 3.7s are currently doing.
BTW, Waz, those are you version of the Mini-Maggies, like Macro-minis?
I'm planning to use my Tympanis as Mini-Maggies. :-) Only I'll be moving the desk into the room with the speakers, rather than the other way around. I'm actually curious to see if I can get some crosstalk cancellation when I'm using the monitor, the way I do with my Monsoons, which I found work best about a foot behind the monitor and right at the sides, as seen from my listening seat. It took me a while to realize that the monitor was acting as an ambiophonic barrier of sorts by preventing the direct sound from the left speaker from getting to my right ear, and vice-versa.
It's different, to be sure. It's not bad, though. In fact, it sounds quite good - digging 'The Goat Rodeo Sessions' right now.
macro-mini - I like the impossibility of the name ;-)
Josh, you got the wrong pix. This is Dawnrazor in his spare room, taken from in front of the other Maggie. His wife booted him out of their larger master bedroom because of his snoring, I think.
Waz has more taste than this. I'd expect to see at least a waterbed in there : - ))
One thing's for sure; that's way too formal for me.
D and I got the boot for the same reason - snoring. I had to leave the waterbed behind, but I don't care. I like the Tempur-Pedic better (although the most recent mattress I bought for the waterbed is quite comfy).
Couldn't be Dawnrazor. His monolith has a subwoofer!
I'll have you know that I do receive my AARP invitations very other day...pride is holding me back LOL!
Bi-wiring does have an unfair bad rep. It is a long story that probably does not apply to you.
In most cases, its typical benefits are not of a significant nature. Age has made me suspicious of those situations when it has shown me more performance boost than I expected. Invariably, in my case, other things turned out to also be at work. By catching what these were, I have been able to replicate the good experience later. Not always easy or feasible, but worth pursuing.
The pursuit of things like this does keep me young, at heart...wrinkles be damned.
Now, like Neolith said...could we get you interested in a well-known performance booster? Not Viagra! Bi-Amping.
Right now, I'm going to settle down and play as much as I can. I have to think about retirement. I told my boss, I have about 2.5 years left in me if not sooner, before I retire.
I'm getting ready to put my short-timer's calendar together.
Right, Josh. The thing that called my attention is the span of time. The bulk of any changes in sound character will normally happen over the course of the first hour or two of vigorous use. This is assuming apples and apples.
In other words, the comparison is with the very same type of cables; mounted and routed in the very same way. A switch in cable types, routing and/or terminations brings along more variables.
In any event, it appears that the change in character was late, AND sudden. With cables, I can understand long maturation periods of an evolving nature. However, if a sudden change happens after a long while, I start sniffing around my system for an unidentified opportunity that I somehow missed...assuming it is an improvement, in this case.
Very often, finding these has helped me avoid the pseudo-random nature of things that affect the system. Therefore, it all becomes increasingly predictable, which is what I'd like to help the OP achieve.
For example, I no longer make long-term observations that span the summer to cold months here. South Florida's A/Cs, alone, make a vast difference in power and background noise signatures between these seasons. So, each type of critical evaluation has to happen within the same season. At first, ignoring this led me to misguided conclusions.
You know, I haven't seen this mentioned much -- perhaps I'm the only one who's so clueless -- but half the time, when the sound changes, I don't know whether it's better or not! Imaging in particular I find problematic, because no matter what you do with two channel stereo, it's never right. Sometimes it's obvious that there's a problem, like when I listen with my speakers in front of the mantle and the sound bunches up. But often it seems to me that it's a choice between doing something wrong, and doing something different that's also wrong. And then there are all the variables. I *think* my Emotiva has very subtle grain in the highs, but is it really coming from the Emotiva? Because I'm using a different signal source.
How often are we really systematic? Even those guys on Hydrogen Audio are less systematic than they'd like to believe, I saw one thread in which they were condemning someone for claiming that he heard a difference between DAC's without ABXing them. So he asked if they had tried to ABX DAC's, and they said, no, there's no need, because you can't hear the difference between DAC's!
Critics do this too, they'll try a speaker with six different amps until they find one that they like, and then you're left wondering whether they're reviewing the speaker or the amp.
The best I can say is that over time, I've just discovered things that happen to work, sometimes by trial and error, sometimes by reading about them. Out of the tangle, threads start to emerge. In some cases it's been thirty years from the time I discovered something empirically and the time I learned why it worked.
Clearly, your are the only one so clueless, Josh. The rest of us have normal well-balanced hearing and are totally aware of how things should sound. Yeah, right! : - ))
Shortly after I got my MMGs, I figured that some things may not really "be" at points where they projected from. This was not just on the front stage. Depending on the recording, these little MMGs even displayed true surround from stereo sourcing. My doubts were more aggravating because of the TV being in the middle (which turned out to be a blessing in this room but I did not know it yet).
So, I started checking with 3 pairs of cans, at times. This helped a lot but did not answer all questions. Headphones cannot reproduce spatial clues on some material. More so, if it has unorthodox mixing, miking and/or special effects. Luckily, cross-checking my test music material in other systems eventually led to clarity about what I heard at home.
I was lucky in being able to decide on a core set of test music from the early beginning, which I still use. I did not plan on being systematic but discovered that I was so. And patient also; much more than I ever thought I was. The decision to select a core of music segments made all the difference. I was forced to judge changes based on what happened to these pieces (about 50 segments).
Which is why I know that the proponents of extremist ABXing often have it wrong.
If Josh knows how a segment of music has sounded both, in the same situation, as well as in various situations along time, I'll bet on him to best guage changes anywhere. The more at ease he is, the better he will be at it while listening (do hide that little bag of cannabis from him, please :)
His judgement as to what may be different is being helped by his much richer memory of details contained in that segment of music. As long as no external factors unduly impact his recollection of detail, he will know if something changed. He will know WHAT changed, often without the benefit of replay.
Whether "he likes the change or not" will not impact his judgment too much because his view is more objective: he can "see" the change . For now, he has a far better item to hold, a more defined: "what changed". He can decide if he likes it or not later.
The ABXers pretend that people make blind judgments while in unnatural listening settings, often with unknown material, and/or with the implied pressure of someone elses expectation. Give us a break, folks! The brain easily gets thrown off balance when it comes to this kind of change detection scheme. For lack of a better evaluation reference, we default to the basic instincts. It is THEN that too much undefined "likes/dislikes" influence can easily throw things off.
On the critics & reviewers, it is understandable as long as we know their limitations. Hopefully, if they keep a solid core of reference music, at the very least they have a key variable well in check. Still, some things do get stretched to the limits of believability, don't they?
My last experience with cannabis found me slumped in the hall after the party, convinced that I was about to die but terrified that if I went to the emergency room, they'd know I'd been smoking pot.
Pretty cool, actually, I was tripping the morning after, but the experience was so miserable overall that I said "never again." Some things are best left to the young, like drugs, food, sex, gun battles, and anything else that's fun. I am rarified now and beyond such petty concerns, my days spent in contemplation of the most magnificent artworks, and the deepest secrets of creation, also painting the kitchen and looking at porn.
I do have my own reference cuts, othing fancy, it just sort of happened because I'd change something and it seemed natural to listen to something familiar to see what had changed. Some of it unprocessed two-mic orchestral stuff, because it has a wide range of sounds and two mic because who knows what the guy behind the console has done with the multimiked stuff? But also piano, the instrument with which I'm most famliar, and some stuff I'm just used to, and some favorite recordings because I want to hear how they'll sound.
ABXing -- after years of potless contemplation, I've concluded that some things can only be heard on a *first* listen, others can only be heard with long-term listening, and others are best suited to short term switching, such as differences in frequency response. I think ABXing is a very coarse tool that's suited perhaps for simple psychoacoustic experiments (can you hear two clicks etc.) but doesn't work every well when listening to complex material like music. I think it is possible to overcome many, though not all, of these problems with very careful methodology, e.g., long-term prelistening, but I don't think most do that.
I think I trust some reviewers, not others. If they hear the same things I do independently, that gives me faith both in their perceptions and my own, simply because we heard the same thing. Usually, I find that that's the case, but some reviewers say things that I just can't believe. Like those TAS guys who were claiming that two bit-identical files sound different. Hello? Or else they contradict one another, like when the Absolute Sound reviewer praised the analog output of the Squeezebox Touch and the Stereophile reviewer condemned it.
But it's funny, when all is said and done, if I walk into a room and listen to acoustical music on ten different speakers, I'll know immediately which sound real to me. It's not an analytical judgment, it's not a comparison between speakers, it's just whether it sounds more like real music. It's intuitive and holistic. A lot easier than identifying this or that aspect of the sound. Maybe it's that analyzing this stuff analytically requires more skill. It's the difference between saying "Mmm, this is good" and being able to identify and quantify all the ingredients the way a friend of mine can -- he could have been a chef, because he can recreate any dish he's eaten.
By and large, the thing with reviews -- useful as they can still be -- is that the universe of variability is so huge! There are far too many possible permutations, even before each individual enters the formula. For example, like you said earlier, a reviewer could start checking which, from among several amps at hand, will do best with another piece of hardware for evaluation. We can't fault them for that but have to keep it in mind. Most of them are not out to fool anyone. It is just the nature of things that no absolute frame of reference can be attained.
Luckily, thanks to modern communications, there often are a multitude of sources to cross-reference things. All we need to know is what WE want, [not always easy] along with some determination to find it in people's descriptions.
The samples I chose early on are mostly at the beginning of a piece. Usually, not further than the first 2 minutes. Several, just a few seconds into the piece. All are both in the PC and in compiled CDs. It allows me to scan for the impact of changes very quickly.
Most are pieces that I truly like and never get tired of hearing. Several were also challenges to my MMGs at first. When the MMGs started delivering on most of these, I added more pieces to add further challenges to their capability.
For example, very early on I had no hopes that the MMGs would really do ANY serious bass. That's what everyone said at the time. "Get a good subwoofer and that's that." So, I did not add bass-challenging pieces to the testing group; I saw no point. Then, about 3 months after the first group of test pieces was defined, I had to start revising. The darn MMGs seemed to want to do more than I was led to believe. Today, they can fool people into thinking the subwoofer is on...including myself.
The collection grew a little more. Initially, it was about 30 segments. Now it is closer to 50. Some 4 CDs worth. With the PC, I can go through all of it in under 30 minutes if I need to. The salient benefit is how the repetition gets things embedded in our minds. Both, sound character and image positionings. The positionings, perceptual as they still are, are about the most easy to convey to people with similar hearing. You just point to a location and the other person will know. They do likewise, and you know. No ABXing needed.
I think the critics sometimes get into a circular situation in which they use one component to compensate for the flaws of another -- sometimes a colored component. For example, one amp manufacturer was complaining in a manufacturer's response that the reviewer had used a speaker with deficient bass, then said their amp was bass shy, when the amp was accurate, and the other amp had a high output impedance and was compensating for the bass deficiency in the speaker by underdamping the woofer.
There's nothing wrong with mixing and matching, of course, but there is a danger that it will slant a review. How often have we seen a reviewer say that a speaker does something annoying until he finds a component that tames it? Sometimes those are flaws in the speaker, e.g., cone breakup modes that haven't been properly suppressed by the crossover. Or even if there's nothing wrong with the speaker, how often are people who are complaining that their ribbon tweeters are too bright told they should get a tube pre? Nothing wrong with a tube pre, but I'd think the right way to handle that problem is by using a tweeter resistor or adding some HF damping to the room.
There aren't that many fundamentals below 50 Hz, are there? MMG's don't sound like Tympanis, though. :-)
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