Affordable Bi-wire Speaker Wire options

My Polk Audio RTI A5s, A3s, A1s, and CSI A6 all have 4 binding posts allowing for bi-amping.

Because they are equipped with jumpers, only two of the four binding posts need to be connected to the amp. There are mixed opinions on by-amping speakers, but I don’t have dual mono block amps so that is a moot point for me.

Besides the bi-amp option, the speakers allow for bi-wire connection to the amp. I recently wired my RTI A5 speakers with Furez 10 gauge 2 wire speaker wire.

MediaBridge (sold thru Amazon) has both 14/4 ($53) and 12/4 ($80) 100 foot rolls of multi-strand OFC CL2 speaker wire. Douglas Connection has both 12/4 (12 gauge, 4 wire) and 14/4 (14 gauge, 4 wire) speaker wire and Blue Jeans Cable only lists 14/4. The MediaBridge 12/4 is less than half the cost of the 12/4 wire sold by Douglas. The Douglas Furez wire uses 6 bundles of thinner stranded wires and one bundle of thicker bundled wire.

Since I have extra MediaBridge 12 gauge wire, I decided to make my own 12/4 speaker wire for my two RTI A5s. I was curious to see if this would improve the sound quality over the Douglas Connection 10 gauge, 2 wire Furez wire. A big issue with bi-wiring is having large enough banana plugs to accommodate connecting two 12 gauge wires into one banana plug. The MediaBridge banana plugs I have are rated to accommodate 8 to 18 gauge wire and were just barely able to accommodate two 12 gauge wires. I’ve been very happy with the MediaBridge plugs, both their cost and performance. They form very snug connections and sound the same as connecting bare wire to the amp and speaker terminals.

Bi-wiring with multi-strand copper speaker wire is an affordable upgrade within the reach of most.

After hooking the RTI A5s up to 12/4 MediaBridge CL2 OFC multi-strand wire, I played Fourplay’s Fourplay album. Bail Run and the other tracks that feature the bass guitar sounded wonderful. This is very subjective, but the speakers seemed to have an even fuller bass and mid-range sound with the 12/4 setup. The speakers did sound wonderful with other gauges of wire. It would take a while to switch back and forth - I would need to pull the 12/4 wire and switch over to the 10/2 and put back the jumpers to do quick side by side comparisons.

Another upgrade I may do is buying copper banana plugs. Douglas Connection has some of these with wide enough openings for two 12 gauge wires and Audioquest (sold thru Amazon) have some wide opening plugs as well. If you don’t do the 12/4 or 14/4 wire, another option is to make your own jumpers using copper spade plugs from Douglas or Audioquest and 10 or 12 gauge copper wire. I don’t know if any of these changes (including 12/4 speaker wire) make a substantial, discernible difference. If you are happy with how your system sounds maybe just stand pat. The biggest change in sound for me is when I switch out the speakers. Switching to a different amp made a much bigger change in sound than changing the gauge on the speaker wires.

Maybe others have had different experiences with bi-wired speakers. We each have different listening areas and equipment. So, I can't speak for everyone else.

Comments

  • rednedtugentrednedtugent Posts: 10,277
    If you have the stuff, please report back on your findings. :*
  • gp4jesusgp4jesus Posts: 976
    "We" may take some heat for this but... ...I'm not surprised. I'd prefer to take the details* to your favorite squawk device as its late and they're* too numerous for a reply.

    I'll leave you to my sig or "Triamped" RTi A7 or CSi A6 threads.

    Tony
    Samsung 60" UN60ES6100 LED
    Outlaw Audio 975 Pre/Pro
    Samsung BDP, Charter HD Rcvr, Xbox 360, Dennon LDP, Phillips CD chgr

    Canare 14 ga - LCR tweeters inside; CC outside
    BJC 10 ga - LCR mids, inside & out
    8 ga Powerline - LR woofers, inside & out

    LR: tri-amped RTi A7 each tower's woofers has its own Rotel 98X amp, M & T has its own P'sound HCA-1000
    CC: Rotel RB985 -> tri-amped CSi A6
    Audio Pro SWs: front - B1.39: rear - Evidence
    Surrounds: Hafler XL280 -> RTi A3*
    Power Conditioning & Distribution:
    3 dedicated 20A feeds; APC H15; 4 Furman Miniport 20s
    *Bi-amped, Summer, 2017 I hope
  • deronb1deronb1 Posts: 3,750
    Signal Cable bi-wire
  • NightfallNightfall Posts: 6,911
    Try replacing just the jumpers with short couple inch sections of wire, you'll hear the same improvements I think.
    | Front - Dynaudio Emit M20 | Center - N/A | Rear - Polk Monitor 4 | Sub - N/A |
    | AVR - Yamaha Aventage RX-A1020 | Preamp - Dared MC-7P | Amp - B&K Reference 4420 |
    | Turntable - Yamaha PX-3 | Cartridge - Dynavector DV-20X2H | Digital Source - AURALiC Aries Mini |
    | TV - LG 60" 4K | Gaming - Xbox One - PS3 - New 3DS XL - Nvidia Shield TV |

    This body holding me reminds me of my own mortality
    Embrace this moment, remember, we are eternal
    All this pain is an illusion
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