Bi-Amping Your System to Power up Playback

In bi-amping, you use two amplifiers or channels to power your speakers, one for low frequencies and the other for high, gaining greater control over sound quality.

Audiophiles looking for ways to step up sound quality and get the most out of their home audio setup should explore the possibilities of bi-amping. Using two amplifiers to power your speakers can unlock new dimensions in your music-listening or home theater experience.

The advantages of bi-amping speakers

Bi-amping is about delivering more power to your speakers and revealing their full potential to produce rich, clear audio. You can use this capability to add depth to a pair of bookshelf speakers or the front speakers in a surround sound system. Check your speakers to see if they have two sets of input terminals so you can assign one set to either channel.

If your AV receiver has additional channels that you're not using, you can devote those spare outputs to bi-amping. It's also possible to use two different amplifiers, with one driving high frequencies in multiple speakers while the other handles the low frequencies.

By allowing separate drivers in each speaker to each have their own channels, you isolate those frequencies. The tweeter and woofers get more power and have greater headroom to prevent distortion. As a result, you achieve enhanced control over the sound quality.

Setting up a bi-amped system

Speakers that can be bi-amped often feature five-way binding posts to make the process easy and straightforward. Just be sure to remove the jump plate that connects these terminals prior to bi-amping your speakers.

If you're using one receiver, check the menu for a bi-amping option and adjust the settings accordingly. For separate amplifiers, make sure they're delivering balanced power to the speakers and you're not straining their limits.

When bi-amping, you can choose between active and passive crossover arrangements. In passive bi-amping, each amplifier channel sends a full-range signal, taking advantage of passive crossovers built into the speakers to separate out the frequencies.

An active crossover setup calls for removing the passive crossover from the signal path. Instead, you use external crossovers to split high and low frequencies before sending the signals through separate amplifier channels and then to the speakers. While the active approach may have advantages for overall performance and minimizing distortion, it also involves a higher level of complexity and more equipment. If your speakers have well-built crossovers, there may be little advantage to expending the extra effort on an active setup.

Definitive Technology crafts home audio equipment that puts you in full control of your listening experience. With speakers designed to suit any listening area, you can customize the perfect system to get the most out of your favorite music and movies.