A POINT OF VIEW: Bi-wiring

Paul McGowan .....

Just when you thought I had abandoned everything high-end and gone over to wireless except the AC cord, along comes a post about adding more: bi-wiring. Bi-wiring is the practice of feeding the upper frequencies and the lower frequencies with separate speaker cables, from the same power amplifier (as opposed to bi-amping which is the same thing except with two power amps and cables).

Over the last few weeks I have been asked, somewhat out of the blue, my opinion on bi-wiring.  Good practice or market hype?

Good practice.

On those speakers that provide two sets of binding posts, one for the top end and one for the bottom end, I never use the jumpers or metal straps they come with to connect the two together.  I always bi-wire and recommend you do the same.  In this case, more is better.

Why does this work?

Technically I am not too sure but here’s what I do know.  Having spent time designing many cables (both power and audio) I can confidently suggest that a good engineer can design speaker cables tailored for the least loss at specific frequency ranges (despite what those who believe all cables sound the same think).

It’s much harder to design a single speaker cable that equally serves all frequencies.

If for no other reason, choose a speaker cable that isn’t just two of the same but one that has been specifically engineered to maximize performance at the appropriate ferquency range.  It’ll make a great improvement to the performance of the system.

And, oh yes, make sure you’re not thinking about using cables to tune the system’s performance – after all, it’s just wire.