Pre/Pro which has bi-amping capabilities

J

joeschmoe

Audiophyte
I have been using my Pioneer Elite SC-65 (using it as a pre/pro) to bi-amp my Bryston Mini-Ts via an Anthem PVA-7. The Pioneer Elite SC-65 has in it's programming the capabilities to drive/send the low frequencies to the woofers on the front speakers using the "normal" and the upper frequencies to mids and tweeters by configuring the surround channels.

I am using this as a 5.1 configuration!

I'm looking to update my Elite SC-65 as it's starting to act up. I would like to find a pre/pro that does something very similar that the SC-65 and not just use a Y-adapter as a cheap fix. (See attached screenshot of the SC-65 manual)

There is noticeable difference between standard connectivity from the SC-65 through the Anthem PVA-7 to the Mini-T's versus the bi-amping through the SC-65 and the Anthem PVA-7 to the Mini-T's It's truly noticeable the difference it makes. Just tonight I had to reset the SC-65 to factory default so I listened a while in stand configuration then re-did everything to bi-amping (changed software in the SC-65 and wiring to the speakers) really noticeable and much enjoyable in the bi-amp configuration.

So what would be a good pre/pro to replace the Pioneer Elite SC-65 with something that has true bi-amping within the unit?
 

Attachments

Irvrobinson

Irvrobinson

Audioholic Spartan
Hmmm... a bi-amping question on Christmas Eve. Bah! Humbug!

Seriously, there's about a 99% chance bi-amping will not provide an audible improvement in your system. If you want to do it anyway, and you're convinced what you heard was not imagined, Y-adapters are a perfectly workable solution.
 
Irvrobinson

Irvrobinson

Audioholic Spartan
:rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes:
Merry Christmas!

Yes I do hear a significant improvement with b-amping!
Bi-amping does no harm, so have fun. Just don't invite any electrical engineers or physicists over to your house, because if they see the dual sets of cables they'll give you crap about it.
 
Grassy

Grassy

Full Audioholic
I always thought that it was bi wiring that was non different. I have been told of good results with bi amping. I have never gone down that road though and know very little but I would love to hear a system set up that way.
 
S

Spdmn256

Audioholic Intern
Hmmm... a bi-amping question on Christmas Eve. Bah! Humbug!

Seriously, there's about a 99% chance bi-amping will not provide an audible improvement in your system. If you want to do it anyway, and you're convinced what you heard was not imagined, Y-adapters are a perfectly workable solution.
If the receiver allows for active bi-amping and you’re literally sending different frequencies to the different drivers, rather than muddle them together to all drivers, why would that still not create an audible difference? That’s part of the reason people add subwoofers (aside from the obvious ability to reach the lower frequencies and add power); to reduce the demand on the mids. Or am I missing something?
 
Irvrobinson

Irvrobinson

Audioholic Spartan
If the receiver allows for active bi-amping and you’re literally sending different frequencies to the different drivers, rather than muddle them together to all drivers, why would that still not create an audible difference? That’s part of the reason people add subwoofers (aside from the obvious ability to reach the lower frequencies and add power); to reduce the demand on the mids. Or am I missing something?
You're only missing that for most speaker loads in most rooms with most amps there won't be an audible difference. There are complex speakers with very low impedance in the bass octaves, difficult electrical loads, and complex crossovers that present a challenging electrical load to the amp channels, and if the speakers can safely sink a lot of power in a very large room played very loudly bi-amping might make an audible difference. But I think that's a 1% or less occurrence system, and the rest of the time speaker loads are easily within single amplifier limits, and even peak power draw is seldom above 50 watts, even for millisecond-duration peaks.

Nonetheless, if bi-amping turns you on, cool. It normally does no harm.
 
Grassy

Grassy

Full Audioholic
Are you actively filtering or using the internal passive filters of the speakers?
Bi amping will always make a difference because you are feeding the speaker with more power than that of a single amplifier channel.
The true benefit happens when you lose the power robbing passive components and employ active (before the power amps) filters. Not cheap and not the easiest plug and play solution, but a difference you will feel as well as hear. That’s my 2 cents worth from what I was told by a friend with more knowledge than myself.(hehe) As far as replacing your pioneer,there should be plenty of help on this forum.Merry Xmas mate and to all here.
 
Verdinut

Verdinut

Audioholic Ninja
I have been using my Pioneer Elite SC-65 (using it as a pre/pro) to bi-amp my Bryston Mini-Ts via an Anthem PVA-7. The Pioneer Elite SC-65 has in it's programming the capabilities to drive/send the low frequencies to the woofers on the front speakers using the "normal" and the upper frequencies to mids and tweeters by configuring the surround channels.
So what would be a good pre/pro to replace the Pioneer Elite SC-65 with something that has true bi-amping within the unit?
Pre-pros don't come with electronic crossovers to actively use two amplifiers in a bi-amping configuration. Actually, all pre-pros need to be connected to a separate electronic crossover to allow you to bi-amp some loudspeakers but not all.

Note that active bi-amping is most useful when the crossover frequency between the woofer and the high frequency driver(s) is below 400 Hz. The advantage here is that you don't have an inductor in series with the woofer which would represent a high resistance, added to the resistance of the cable between the amp and the speaker cabinet. The high resistance inductor would have the effect to reduce the amplifier damping action (Damping Factor) which is of most importance at low frequencies. In my opinion, if you want a tight bass, active bi-amping is the only way to go with low filtering frequencies.
 
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Irvrobinson

Irvrobinson

Audioholic Spartan
Are you actively filtering or using the internal passive filters of the speakers?
Bi amping will always make a difference because you are feeding the speaker with more power than that of a single amplifier channel.
The true benefit happens when you lose the power robbing passive components and employ active (before the power amps) filters. Not cheap and not the easiest plug and play solution, but a difference you will feel as well as hear. That’s my 2 cents worth from what I was told by a friend with more knowledge than myself.(hehe) As far as replacing your pioneer,there should be plenty of help on this forum.Merry Xmas mate and to all here.
The part about passive crossovers isn't correct. You're not feeding the speaker with more power, you're sending the speaker the exact same power, just from two amps rather than one, each in a different frequency range, as determined by the input impedance of the passive crossover at the crossover frequencies. You are in theory presenting the two amplifiers in a bi-amp configuration easier loads, but like I said, most speakers in most rooms with capable amplifiers aren't a very difficult load.

Active bi-amping is a different animal altogether, but unless the speaker was designed that way, not recommended.
 
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JerryLove

JerryLove

Audioholic Samurai
The Pioneer Elite SC-65 has in it's programming the capabilities to drive/send the low frequencies to the woofers on the front speakers using the "normal" and the upper frequencies to mids and tweeters by configuring the surround channels.
Are you sure about that? Did you match the crossover point and slope for the speaker? How would that even work?

Are you positive it's not simply sending the full signal out both outputs? That seems more likely.
 
JerryLove

JerryLove

Audioholic Samurai
Note that active bi-amping is most useful when the crossover frequency between the woofer and the high frequency driver(s) is below 400 Hz. The advantage here is that you don't have an inductor in series with the woofer which would represent a high resistance, added to the resistance of the cable between the amp and the speaker cabinet. The high resistance inductor would have the effect to reduce the amplifier damping action (Damping Factor) which is of most importance at low frequencies. In my opinion, if you want a tight bass, active bi-amping is the only way to go with low filtering frequencies.
I am going to start a campaign to outlaw the term "active bi-amping".

I assume you mean "amping a speaker with an active crossover" which, in the case of a 2-way design, just happens to involve 2 amps (well, two channels per speaker).

My active speakers are 4-way; so I have 4 2-channel Yamaha P-series amps powering them.

There are some advantages from an amp standpoint (since the crossover no longer needs to convert energy into heat to the same degree, there are some gains); but really, it's about what the active crossover brings to the table... not the amp.

If you really want a neat one: take a look at the back for a McIntosh XRT2k. Unless I misunderstand what I'm seeing, the woofers are run in parallel with separate posts. So when you run separate amps for the woofers (up to 4) you raise the resistance and lower the power draw. In short: you can get more power by adding more amps (which are all feeding the same frequencies).

So, I guess, that would be a valid multi-amp-benefit on that particular speakers.
 
Verdinut

Verdinut

Audioholic Ninja
I am going to start a campaign to outlaw the term "active bi-amping".

I assume you mean "amping a speaker with an active crossover" which, in the case of a 2-way design, just happens to involve 2 amps (well, two channels per speaker).

My active speakers are 4-way; so I have 4 2-channel Yamaha P-series amps powering them.

There are some advantages from an amp standpoint (since the crossover no longer needs to convert energy into heat to the same degree, there are some gains); but really, it's about what the active crossover brings to the table... not the amp.

If you really want a neat one: take a look at the back for a McIntosh XRT2k. Unless I misunderstand what I'm seeing, the woofers are run in parallel with separate posts. So when you run separate amps for the woofers (up to 4) you raise the resistance and lower the power draw. In short: you can get more power by adding more amps (which are all feeding the same frequencies).

So, I guess, that would be a valid multi-amp-benefit on that particular speakers.
For me. there is only one definition for active bi-amping and that is the use of an electronic crossover between a preamplifier and one or several power amps, depending on the number of filters incorporated in the crossover.

Connecting two amplifiers to a speaker without the use of an electronic crossover is a passive bi-amplification and doesn't bring any improvement in an audio chain, unless an amplifier has insufficient power to attain a desired SPL and a second more powerful one is used to feed the low frequencies. We then have to ascertain that the speaker drivers can take the higher power fed.

As for the McIntosh XRT2k, I am not familiar with it. The ideal solution would be to have access to that preamp's user's manual.
 
JerryLove

JerryLove

Audioholic Samurai
For me. there is only one definition for active bi-amping and that is the use of an electronic crossover between a preamplifier and one or several power amps, depending on the number of filters incorporated in the crossover.
My point is that it is redundant. You have to have one-amp-per-channel in an active crossover. You might as well talk about six-legged ants.

Connecting two amplifiers to a speaker without the use of an electronic crossover is a passive bi-amplification and doesn't bring any improvement in an audio chain, unless an amplifier has insufficient power to attain a desired SPL and a second more powerful one is used to feed the low frequencies. We then have to ascertain that the speaker drivers can take the higher power fed.

As for the McIntosh XRT2k, I am not familiar with it. The ideal solution would be to have access to that preamp's user's manual.
It's a speaker, not a preamp.

I think it's the exception to the multi-amping passive speaker rule; since the amps end up running in parallel.

To (accurately) flip it around. The XRT2k has 4 passive subwoofers in one enclosure. You can bridge them and run them all off one amp; or you can run one amp-per. The per-sub power handling is 500W, so you can fully drive this with 1x 2kw amp (at 2 ohm nominal) or with 4x 500w amps (at 8ohm nominal).

I admit, I'm guessing a bit about their configuration here.
 
Verdinut

Verdinut

Audioholic Ninja
My point is that it is redundant. You have to have one-amp-per-channel in an active crossover. You might as well talk about six-legged ants.

It's a speaker, not a preamp.

I think it's the exception to the multi-amping passive speaker rule; since the amps end up running in parallel.

To (accurately) flip it around. The XRT2k has 4 passive subwoofers in one enclosure. You can bridge them and run them all off one amp; or you can run one amp-per. The per-sub power handling is 500W, so you can fully drive this with 1x 2kw amp (at 2 ohm nominal) or with 4x 500w amps (at 8ohm nominal).

I admit, I'm guessing a bit about their configuration here.
Thanks for clarifying the point about the McIntosh product.

In my HT system, each of the 3 front speakers is actively bi-amped using QSC DCA 1222 2 channel Digital Cinema Amplifiers with the use of QSC XC-3 Crossovers specifically built to fix to each amp. The active filtering at 200 Hz is between the subs and the mid-woofers.

My system: https://forums.audioholics.com/forums/threads/my-7-channel-system.111234/
 
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JerryLove

JerryLove

Audioholic Samurai
Thanks for clarifying the point about the McIntosh product.

In my HT system, each of the 3 front speakers is actively bi-amped using QSC DCA 1222 2 channel Digital Cinema Amplifiers with the use of QSC XC-3 Crossovers specifically built to fix to each amp. The active filtering at 200 Hz is between the subs and the mid-woofers.

My system: https://forums.audioholics.com/forums/threads/my-7-channel-system.111234/
That is a very cool (and impressive) looking system. If I were better at finishing projects I start, the new HT would be DIY designs and a similar vein would not have been unlikely. However, the theater itself is enough of a project; so (the mains at least) are from a manufacturer.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Seriously, I have no life.
I have been using my Pioneer Elite SC-65 (using it as a pre/pro) to bi-amp my Bryston Mini-Ts via an Anthem PVA-7. The Pioneer Elite SC-65 has in it's programming the capabilities to drive/send the low frequencies to the woofers on the front speakers using the "normal" and the upper frequencies to mids and tweeters by configuring the surround channels.
No, hate to tell you, but your Pioneer does not send the different parts of the speaker different parts of the frequency band; both signals are full range. The picture you attached merely gives you a way of attaching the two sets of speaker terminals; you could switch the high/low wires with same result. AVRs just split the signal over two sets of speaker terminals. One exception was the Onkyo 818 a few years back, it had an actual active crossover for bi-amping.

As to pre-pros that do the same thing, i.e. provide the same signal like that, that's fairly easy to do, just split the signal at the pre-out to two amps for each channel. Or insert a dsp unit that perhaps you could actually provide different ranges to the speakers with.

Might want to read this https://www.audioholics.com/frequent-questions/the-difference-between-biamping-vs-biwiring

Personally I'd just use a more powerful amp than bothering with the passive bi-amping thing.

ps It wouldn't surprise me, since several avrs have this feature, that several pre-pros would as well but you could always fall back on splitting the signal if you really just want separate amps for the terminals provided on the speakers.
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Slumlord
If the receiver allows for active bi-amping and you’re literally sending different frequencies to the different drivers, rather than muddle them together to all drivers, why would that still not create an audible difference? That’s part of the reason people add subwoofers (aside from the obvious ability to reach the lower frequencies and add power); to reduce the demand on the mids. Or am I missing something?
What you missed, imo include the following:

- biamp or not, different frequency ranges will be sent to the drivers as determined by the characteristics of the crossovers, not the amplifiers.
- With active biamp, the amplifiers (at least 2 per channel) are getting different frequency ranges as determined by the characteristics of the active crossovers.

Not sure what you meant by "muddle them together.." so I shouldn't comment on that..

Also imo, passive biamp, won't likely produce audible improvements, but it depends on other factors so in some cases the difference may be audible to some people. Active biamp is more likely to produce audible difference but difference does not automatically mean better. It still depends on how it's done.
 
Grassy

Grassy

Full Audioholic
What’s the difference between bridged and bi amped as My 10 channel poaa1hd can be bridged to 300 watts in a 5.1 setup.Otherwise it’s 150 watts per channel.
 

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