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Can I use a bi-wire speaker cable as a single wire?

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  • Can I use a bi-wire speaker cable as a single wire?

    My existing aging single-wire speaker cable needs to be changed. I have a pair of bi-wire speaker cable and would like to use them as a single-wire without removing the SHL5 bi-wire links. That means the four banana plugs connected to all four terminal in each speakers without removing the brass link. ( note - each wire came with 1 pair of spades at amplifier end and 4 bananas plug at speakerís end)

    Is it ok to do this?

    ST

  • #2
    Originally posted by STHLS5 View Post
    My existing aging single-wire speaker cable needs to be changed. I have a pair of bi-wire speaker cable and would like to use them as a single-wire without removing the SHL5 bi-wire links. That means the four banana plugs connected to all four terminal in each speakers without removing the brass link. ( note - each wire came with 1 pair of spades at amplifier end and 4 bananas plug at speaker’s end)

    Is it ok to do this?

    ST

    Hi ST,

    I did exactly the same some time ago with Kimber 8TC, which was prepared for biwiring, with single spade connectors to the amp, double routing and terminations to 4 binding posts (all with banana plugs) with jumpers on. I don't remember any audible differences. An expert told me that the double wires arriving at the four bridged binding posts, plus the total wire capacitance, might create some instability problem with the amp's driving behaviour, but only if it was very weak powered... I don't know, I didn't notice anything to worry (amp is a Mac MA6500 integrated). I left it working this way for months & months, until I changed my cables with newly released Kimber 12TC single wires. You said something about ageing, which I doubt. I often listen to music at a friend's house through a thoroughly serviced system with almost 20 year old cables, and they function perfectly, so I'm not at all sure if a decent speaker cable ages... Let's have some HUG members' opinions on that, shall we?
    Regards,
    Thanos
    Last edited by Thanos; 10-03-2010, 04:33 AM. Reason: spelling & adding something

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    • #3
      Over the years the insulation of my Audioquest has hardened and the wire got bend accidentally. So far I don't think it is affecting the sound but the other wire is a 6N OFC and I wanted to try it out. I am very bad at telling any difference between different wires which some say if the amp is big enough it would be immune to slight differences in wires' properties.

      ST

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      • #4
        It seems to me, logically, that the arrangement you describe would be no different electrically than if you re-terminated the cable to a single pair of banana plugs and connected them to the bridged speaker terminals that way. It's the same amount of wire running into the same electrical load.

        I'm happy to be corrected if I'm wrong, however.

        Comment


        • #5
          Same thing with bi-wiring. What difference would it make splitting the signal at Amplifier terminal or at speakers terminal. I have given up on bi-wiring long time ago when I wasn't really able to tell the difference. Then one day as I was listening for difference I thought there were differences btw bi-wiring and single wire just like balance and unbalanced interconnect. Now, strictly using single wire and unbalanced. :)

          ST

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          • #6
            Normally I wouldn't recommend bi-wiring and bi-wire cables but as you have the cable already, why not use them as they were designed to be used and remove the brass strip ?

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            • #7
              Originally posted by hifi_dave View Post
              Normally I wouldn't recommend bi-wiring and bi-wire cables but as you have the cable already, why not use them as they were designed to be used and remove the brass strip ?
              Now that's the truly sensible answer!

              However, it occurs to me that if I'm right in thinking that having the same cable terminate in two plugs or four (at the speaker end) should make no difference so long as you're using the bridging straps, then it seems to me that your cables provide the perfect opportunity to test whether you can actually hear any benefit (or even a difference) between the sound with straps on, and strapless.

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              • #8
                One real danger of using the brass link with bi-wiring is the accidental wrong connection between +ve and -ve. Other than that I need experts opinion if something can go wrong with the speakers crossover. But as Thanos said I think it could be perfectly safe to use.

                ST

                Comment


                • #9
                  So long as you connect the plugs correctly nothing can go wrong but I don't see the point. If you've got bi-wire cable, use it as such. If you were buying new cable, I would advise a single run of good cable rather than a double run of something cheaper.

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                  • #10
                    I have tried several bi-wire cables (Cardas QuadLink, Nordost Red Dawn, AudioQuest Type 8) with my M30 and have always preferred retaining the link in place and using the cables 'shotgunned', using all four conductors for both high and low instead of separate. I guess the lower resistance of the cables combined has more influence than the bi-wiring itself...

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by garmtz View Post
                      I have tried several bi-wire cables (Cardas QuadLink, Nordost Red Dawn, AudioQuest Type 8) with my M30 and have always preferred retaining the link in place and using the cables 'shotgunned', using all four conductors for both high and low instead of separate. I guess the lower resistance of the cables combined has more influence than the bi-wiring itself...
                      I wonder also if this is because, when you bi-wire and split the terminals, each half of the cable is actually working into a different load? It seems to me unlikely that the cable driving the woofer+filter combination is going to "see" the same impedance, etc. as the tweeter+filter combination. I don't know enough about what's happening electrically to know if this is in fact the case, however.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by garmtz View Post
                        I have tried several bi-wire cables (Cardas QuadLink, Nordost Red Dawn, AudioQuest Type 8) with my M30 and have always preferred retaining the link in place and using the cables 'shotgunned', using all four conductors for both high and low instead of separate. I guess the lower resistance of the cables combined has more influence than the bi-wiring itself...
                        I don't think wire resistance is of any consequence whatsoever. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speaker_wire, jump to the Resistance section.
                        The resistance of 16-gauge or heavier speaker connection cable has no detectable effect in runs of 50 feet (15 meters) or less in standard domestic loudspeaker connections for a typical 8 ohm speaker...

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                        • #13
                          Geez - if I didn't know how busy Alan is, I'd almost wonder if he had written that Wikipedia entry!

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by yeecn View Post
                            I don't think wire resistance is of any consequence whatsoever. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speaker_wire, jump to the Resistance section.
                            Sadly, this is an opinion stated as FACT! Believe your own ears and try comparing a 16-gauge with a 10-gauge wire yourself...

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by garmtz View Post
                              Sadly, this is an opinion stated as FACT! Believe your own ears and try comparing a 16-gauge with a 10-gauge wire yourself...
                              I am more inclined to believe what is stated in Wiki as being the objective fact, i.e based on principals of electricity and precise, tabluated measurements. If somebody wants to dispute the calculation and the resoning, I would be very interested to know.

                              But whatever one can or cannot hear - that is much more subjective, and cannot be qualified and quantified objectively. As such - it is entirely up to the individual how he/she feels about it. I don't think there much room for objective discussions.

                              As for me, I have spent enough time trying to hear the differences between lossy vs lossless compressions, Dolby Digita, vs DTS, different sound cards/DAC, with/without voltage regulator, different headphones,... But at the end - music is my passion. I listen via all sort of systems - headphones at work, a cheap active speaker in my computer room, car system, P3 connected to a mini hifi systems, and of course C7 in the living room. An inferior system will not stop me from enjoying my favouriate music.

                              I do have a length of tiny wires from my old speaker. It is connected to the B output of the amplifier for occasionaly AB comparisons. Maybe one day I will compare it with the much ticker wire that came with my C7. For now - I couldn't care less.

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