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Why Bi-wire?

Or, to include my own bias in the question, “Why does bi-wiring work?”

Some speaker manufacturers provide for bi-wiring, some do not, and a few of those that don’t seem pretty dismissive of the whole idea.

It sure works for me! When I built my current speakers (details below) I made them bi-wirable so I could mess around with it. I expected to make extensive listening tests, but the difference was so obvious that I decided in five minutes that bi-wiring was better, in my case at least. Bi-wired, the speakers were much more dynamic, and the sound opened up spatially in the most remarkable way. It was not close.

So I wonder two things: 1. Why does bi-wiring work? I’ve read several explanations, the most plausible of which (to me) is that it lets less of the woofer’s back-EMF into the tweeter.

And 2. Why do some speaker manufacturers downplay the efficacy of bi-wiring? Is it because bi-wirable speakers are by definition bi-ampable, too, and they’d rather not give their customers the ability (in a horizontal bi-amp setup) to change the tonal balance of their products? Or could some kinds of speakers sound worse when bi-wired?

TIA, gents!


[FYI my home-brew speakers are smallish, 2-way, sealed-box units with 6” paper-cone Vifa woofers and cloth-dome Scan-Speak tweeters. Crossover is 1st-order at 2.8 kHz, and there is a Zobel network on the woofs. Bass alignment is somewhat over-damped, Q = ca. 0.63.

The wires are 24’ runs of Sound King 10G. Level-match was checked with a volt-meter. The wire was not doubled-up for single wire listening, I just discoed the tweeter wires and strapped the terminals together.]

Edits: 81/02/00 81/02/00

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Topic - Why Bi-wire? - markrohr 04:33:21 08/11/03 (24)

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