From what I've read rather than direct experience (of all but the last option) in order of increase in SQ & assuming a single Xover:
An active system where the amplification is part of the speakers.
A dicreet active system where the Xover is before the power amps.
(the 2nd option does have the benefit of more power amp choice & potentially more upgradeability)
Bi-amping where each driver has its own amplification but still uses the speakers Xovers.
Biiwiring where both runs to each speaker are connected together at the amplifier but the current drawn down each cable will be according to the demands of the Xover/drivers requirements. Most engineers will dismiss bi-wiring as there is no explanation how it could possibly work other than reducing the cable's resistance but increassing the capacitance & inductance at the same time. Both active combinations make the most sense on paper & I'm sure the owners of such systems will add that they sound better in practice also.
Although my current speakers are single wired with cable jumpers rather than the cheap & nasty supplied plates, I have experimented with bi-wring my Arros & previous speakers. My conclusions were that bi-wiring did improve imaging a bit but my Arros lost a little cohesion in the process (the sound across the frequencies sounded less well-integrated). Bi-wiring my factory-mod'd SL6s worked well & beyond my expectations. So how well bi-wiing works depends on the speakers & possibly also the amplifier (and whether or not science can explain stuff alters your perceptions).
Every dealer I've spoken with on the subject has always said the same: spend your money on better single runs of cable.
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Bill,i was told by a very trusted retailer that bi amping with my avr(using the spare suround back ch)would make no difference,could you expand on this,out of interest?
A passive crossover consists of inductors, Capacitors and Resistors, and is chosen by the designer to get the best compromise with the drive units and cabinet.
As the HPF and LPF are connected together there will always be interaction between them, which the designer will try and alleviate as much as possible. (The more expensive speakers generally use better components for better compatibility)
When you separate the HPF and LPF you remove this interaction thus the HPF and LPF can do their own thing without interference so should therefore give a bit better sound. (How much will depend on the speakers and amps used)
The second part of the equation is the amp itself, if it is reproducing plenty of bass then it is consuming large amounts of power from the power supply which can affect how pure the power is for the rest of the frequency range, If you separate the bass and treble into their own channels there will less chance of them interfering with each other, (If you can use separate amps completely than you will reduce the interference even further) thus giving a much more controlled sound.
How much difference the above makes will be dependent on the speakers and amps used, but there will always be some difference.
Hope this helps
Thanks for this Bill, very helpful (not least because its very understandable for those of us less technically minded!). Having read the manual for my AV amp I have the option of biamping all three front channels. The front mains can be biamped using the front height channels (currently not in use) and the centre channel can be biamped using a rear surround channel (also not in use as am currently running 5.1). I will give it a go with just the front mains as am planning to go 7.1 with rear surrounds when we move house next year. Given that it means pulling the rack out and getting speaker cables resplit and re-resoldered I think this may be a bank holiday weekend job though!
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Forget Bi-wiring as while it may alter the sound, it will not be as the designer intended, thus producing an inaccurate sound.
Whereas I am somewhat sceptical about the benefits of Bi (Tri)-wiring, the Kef manual specifically shows how to do it, which they wouldn't do, if the designers felt it would be detrimental.
Unless the manufacture says that Bi-Wiring will improve the performance, then it is included purely for those that wish to experiment, and to reduce the chance of damage to the amplifier. (Getting your connection crossed (When you don’t understand what Bi Wiring is about) can cause damage to an amplifier)
So to get a worthwhile result a seperate power amp should be used to bi amp?(my oppologies for being a pain in the rear)
Hi-Fi is all about opinions, which often conflict.
.......and mine is that you need to take the AVR's Pre-amp out of the loop, for 2 channel, as it will be the weak link. You are likely to get an improvement, but maybe not a VFM one ie. compared to getting a stereo amp.
In your case, I think you have done the right thing, so I wouldn't worry.
I just want to understand the concept and how it can work,what is involved.
Great legable description Bill,just wish whfi would use yourself,cno and a few others to construct a few indepth sticky's,help us without the technical understanding out a great deal,plus then we may be able to construct question's that may even be of interest to you audiophiles
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