Why Do Quality Speakers Have Two Input Terminals?

Bi-wiring high-end speakers will drastically improve their audio performance.

High-quality speakers distinguish themselves in a variety of ways: high-end materials, detailed engineering and precise manufacturing. Combined, these factors produce far better sound than lesser equipment.

Having the best audio equipment available is critical, but properly configuring those speakers is crucial to achieve an immersive home theater experience. In order to get the best audio performance out of high-end speakers, you must take advantage of both input terminals.

The purpose of dual-input terminals

Don't be mystified by the existence of two input terminals with your high-end speakers. Manufacturers include dual-input terminals so that consumers can bi-wire their home theater systems, improve audio fidelity and create a fuller sonic landscape.

The default setting for many home theater setups is to run one dedicated cable from the amp to each speaker. That single cable carries both high and low frequencies. To trained ears, this approach invariably dulls sound quality, muddying midrange and treble tones.

Bi-wiring your home theater sound system separates high and low frequencies into distinct cables, offering a rich, full soundscape. As Audio Advice noted, bi-wired setups provide better audio clarity and resolution. The difference in sound quality is even more noticeable in larger spaces where sonic nuances are more likely to be lost in single-wire speaker arrangements.

Consider also that human vocals fall into the middle range, meaning it can be more difficult to hear movie dialogue when watching bombastic Hollywood blockbusters in your home theater. Everyone has had the experience of straining to catch lines of dialogue during a frenetic action sequence filled with explosions, gunfire and car crashes. Bi-wiring solves that problem and brings midrange audio to the fore. Ultimately, audiophiles achieve a more balanced range of sound, where voices ring out clearer than ever.

What to know about bi-wiring your speakers

You'll need twice as many speaker cables to bi-wire your home theater sound system, but be wary of combining different cable types. Even minor differences could have a profound impact on the resulting sound quality. For best results, use cables of the same brand, model and length. This avoids differing electrical properties that could negatively alter your audio.

You can further enhance home theater sound quality by bi-amping your high-end speakers. This approach involves dedicating distinct amps to isolate high and low frequencies into separate channels. Pairing two amplifiers means neither one has to work as hard to produce a full range of sound, thereby decreasing distortion.

Whether you choose to bi-wire your home theater system — or opt for a more traditional setup — Definitive Technology provides the high-quality speakers and equipment to meet your audio needs.