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Thread: Biwire terminals and sound differences?

  1. #81
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    Quote Originally Posted by hifi_dave View Post
    The very best way to get over the question of whether you can hear a piece of wire or not is to open up the speakers and connect the HF iand LF nternal wires onto the same terminals. The result is better sound and is something I have done for years with all my demo speakers having bi-wire connections. However, it isn't something I would do with a Harbeth because the construction of the back panel is so beautifully executed, that I wouldn't dare open them up.

    You will note that more and more manufacturers are going back to single wiring on their speakers.

    To do what is described above (open up the back of the speaker such as the C7 and connect the HF and LF internal wires, etc so as to avoid the need for the external jumpers)- is this somethihg which a qualified technician can do easily?

  2. #82
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    Quote Originally Posted by s.a.b. View Post
    is this somethihg which a qualified technician can do easily?
    Please don’t try this at home…you have been warned. In fact you should stop reading now, instead...

    “For the most liquid, silvery, shimmering and fluid sound from your system use mercury as speaker wires. Your sound system will be "mercuric".

    1. buy gas hose tubing.
    2. buy approximately 5 kg of mercury (known as quiksilver in some countries)
    3. buy gas hose end stops and clamps
    4. buy file.
    5. Cut rubber tubing to match distance between amp and speaker
    6. Use your bath tub to fill rubber tubing with mercury using a kitchen pouring spout (please dont reuse this for cooking)
    7. Take care not to get any mercury on your skin as it will make you really stupid (and need a major electroshock from a car battery charger….In fact. Playing “Placebo” into a bank of 12 stacked Brystons 28B’s at their peak output with the thickest gauge speaker cable connected with car battery jumpers to anyone’s brain will not reverse the damages already done).

    This is not my original and was actually an April Fool’s joke (in guess?, yes their April edition) in a local electronics magazine more than 20 years ago.

  3. #83
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    Quote Originally Posted by s.a.b. View Post
    To do what is described above (open up the back of the speaker such as the C7 and connect the HF and LF internal wires, etc so as to avoid the need for the external jumpers)- is this somethihg which a qualified technician can do easily?
    kittykat is right. Don't do it.

    Anyway, you don't need to on the C7 (assuming you mean the new ES3): it's single wire.

    I'm firmly convinced based on Alan Shaw's posts, and on hearing the entire Harbeth lineup in the same room, that it doesn't make a damn bit of difference whether you single- or bi-wire. That is to say, I heard them all single wired, but those with bi-wire terminals sounded just as wonderful as the single-wired models.

  4. #84
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    Quote Originally Posted by EricW View Post
    kittykat is right. Don't do it.
    it's a strange thing this desire to modify and 'chase the dream'.

    Let's step back from this particular example of DIY modification a moment and apply a little common sense. Harbeth is a commercial company. If we can sell more then we will be stronger. If it is possible to improve the performance of our speakers even a small amount by fiddling about with the bi-wire links that would then conceivably increase the number of speakers we can sell. It would also be extremely easy (and satisfying) design work for me, completed in an hour. So, cost reduces and sales increase - the perfect situation! I haven't implemented such a change because a) it won't make any difference at all to the sound so won't increase sales b) it will reduce consumer choice in those models that (still) have bi-wiring terminals and links.

    If you open your Harbeth speakers the warranty is obviously voided so please don't do it.
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  5. #85
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    I had a nice proposal from a very "high end" supplier here, to get rid of my humble Kimber speaker wire and buy some really "top end" Dutch wire, actually for bi-wiring set up. This, according to the advisor, would bring my system to a new dimension, a new heaven, where no "man has ever reached before", I mean in my L/R... They are made from pure silver, maybe with elements of gold in it, very special coats, etc. etc. I had to sit down (when I heard the price -with an excellent discount for me.....), and the tears in my eyes were not because I found my destination in life... They were from considering that I had to sell some things first, in order to find the money (actually half the money). My Toyota, my two most expensive watches, my dad's decorations from the war, and some jewels of my mother's heirlooms...
    As you understand, I promised him that "I'll do my best to find the money, because I don't want to lose this bargain of my life...".
    But the international crisis, especially the Greek one, kept me poor. I didn't make it... And here am I, again, listening to my old set up, mono-wired through my humble old wire, losing this opportunity for nirvana.
    I became a little sarcastic about this all, until a friend explained to me that -in case of austerity, even poverty- I still could rip off the new wire, cut it to pieces, go to a jeweller, make some dozens of fine rings, cufflinks, earings,etc., and go out and sell them myself, 'cause the prices of precious metals and jewels keep high and stable against the descending Euro...".
    Thank you for reading my touching story,
    Thanos
    P.S. All this story, still going strong, about bi-wiring Vs single-wiring and the difference in sound, gets me nuts, so please excuse me... Yet, I still get crazy!
    Last edited by Thanos; 28-05-2010 at 10:29 PM. Reason: add

  6. #86
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    serious? ...for the "top end" Dutch wire" that will bring your system to a new dimension, a new heaven, where no "man has ever reached before"....

    how about 99% silver and 1%gold from Murdorf or from Neo-Tech try this first before you take the plunge; i bet you don't have to sell your watch, your house, your car

  7. #87
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    I have been using the same few pieces of speaker wire for 25 years. When I bought my MB Quart speakers in Germany the HiFi shop supplied the cable in the deal and the lengths were quite long. I have moved from military quarter to military quarter many times and have chopped those wires so many times. It has been chopped in various ways to suit different houses, but on rooting around in my "spare wires box" I have always found two lengths that will serve. I trim the ends to get back to bright copper and attach the wires to the binding posts. I don't suppose the copper has de-natured over the years!

    Go into any Do It Yourself shop in Germany (or even a large supermarket) and you will see speaker wire for sale by the metre. Two kinds: 2mm^2 and 4 mm^2. I have the fatter stuff, and it will continue to serve till the day I die - unless I have an infestation of rodents and they eat the insulation!

    Bi- wiring? I don't own a speaker with more than two terminals.

  8. #88
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    Wowie, that is a sad story but you don't need to sell the Crown Jewels to buy a good cable.

    I have never been a fan of Silver or Gold plated cables, preferring instead a cable formed from high purity copper. This, I find, has a more neutral sound than these 'exotic' cables which would be worth almost nothing as scrap value.

    The make up of the cable is almost as important as the conductor inside. A few thick strands of high purity copper encased in Teflon or, better still, paper or cotton, is what you need for a strong, clean, dynamic cable and this needn't cost much at all. You could even make it yourself.

  9. #89
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    Quote Originally Posted by hifi_dave View Post
    Wowie, that is a sad story but you don't need to sell the Crown Jewels to buy a good cable.

    I have never been a fan of Silver or Gold plated cables, preferring instead a cable formed from high purity copper. This, I find, has a more neutral sound than these 'exotic' cables which would be worth almost nothing as scrap value.

    The make up of the cable is almost as important as the conductor inside. A few thick strands of high purity copper encased in Teflon or, better still, paper or cotton, is what you need for a strong, clean, dynamic cable and this needn't cost much at all. You could even make it yourself.
    Thanks Brian and Dave,
    I was just kidding. I'm perfectly happy with my Kimbers, I have them 7 years now, I bought them with a 30% discount. I was initially drawn into this almost meaningless (at least for Harbeth owners) discussion about bi-wiring, jumpers and cables, then I found how much time I've lost... Harbeths -after many, even costly, experiments- do play almost identical either bi-wired or single-wired. I did although find some essential differences between cables, but (having a rather good memory) I do remember Dave's earlier comments, Alan's too, about the analogy between cable cost and system cost.
    I shall totally vote for the above suggestion by Hi-Fi Dave, which absolutely represents my opinion too. Thanks Dave, and I would most certainly have you for my personal dealer and advisor if I lived there. I'm always carefully reading your comments since the beginning. Hi-Fi dealers should be like this, everywhere, to take care of their customers' economies.
    Yes, at last, just like my friend Brian, I walk the same path, using my good old stuff with economy.
    Cheers from ( a well above 30 degrees C) Athens,
    Thanos
    Last edited by Thanos; 29-05-2010 at 01:35 PM. Reason: corrections

  10. #90
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thanos View Post
    Cheers from ( a well above 30 degrees C) Athens,
    Just 30 in Nicosia in our jamariea (conservatory/sun room/glass-house), but the sun is off it. I am sitting in our north facing lounge in a sarong with a fan blasting at me! A few more degrees before we wimp out and out and pu the aircon on!

    My Samsung Q210 13" laptop can overheat and lock up - my wife's Dell laptop is bigger and keeps cooler - my trusty Quad 405 power amp doesn't get fussed at all!

    I am surprised what Dave says about cable insulation. Can dielectric effects really make a difference at audio frequencies and such low impedances?

    I once read that Quad turned up at a HiFi show and prominently coupled their electrostatic speakers to their amp with a Black and Decker extension lead.

    (For those not in the know, Black and Decker sell cheap electric drills and power tools.)

    A forever sceptical Brian.

  11. #91
    honmanm Guest

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    Brian, if your laptop is a few years old & used in a domestic environment, it may have sucked up fluff that has clogged its heat exchanger. The sign of this is when the computer's fan is going like crazy but there is only a small movement of hot air from its exhaust. A few laptops have a removable panel on the bottom that gives access to the fan assembly - unfortunately most need to be dismantled before you can get to it. If you can, you will see an amazing layer of felt that has built up, and which can be gently peeled off.

    405s (well any old Quads) are wonderfully rugged, I knew a chap who built knockoffs to sell to discos - the boards would blacken with the heat, but those amps would soldier on.

    Some people use solid-core mains cables as speaker cable - it works surprisingly well. It would be worth looking into the effects (or not) of dielectrics at audio frequencies, that might shine a light on the cable foo.

    Although the last time I paid actual money for speaker cable was 20 years ago, for the last two years I've been using cable belonging to a friend which is quite a bit like Dave's recipe - it is basically CC-OFC copper enamelled transformer wire. Doesn't seem to make any contribution to the sound of the system regardless of the equipment in use. Dave's recipe sounds even more promising as the only downside of this stuff is that it is stiff and springy.

  12. #92
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    Quote Originally Posted by honmanm View Post
    Brian, if your laptop is a few years old & used in a domestic environment, it may have sucked up fluff that has clogged its heat exchanger.
    Thanks for the tip. The laptop is only 18 months old and the airflow seems decent, but what you advise is worth bearing in mind.

    There is no removable panel over the fan.

    I have many times vacuumed out the desktop PC, so I well know the problem.

    We are presently having a new kitchen fitted, and an electric rather than a gas cooker - now if there is any 45Amp cable left over I could try it on my 405 outputs!!! 1.5m either side would do it.

  13. #93
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    That transformer wire makes great speaker cable, incons and even digital incons. It is best in a large gauge and if you carefully wind four strands into a 'star quad' configuration using a slow running electric drill, it is stunning. You could pay hundres and get worse.

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