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How daring are you with your system? Have you ever tried to bi-wire it? Bi-wiring means to split the output power from your amplifier into two separate speaker cables: one for the top end and one for the bottom end. You can also tri-wire, of course, but that's rarely done. So, how important is bi-wiring? And do you need to have two inputs on your loudspeakers to have it effective? Bill Low reminded me that a simple change of wire positioning, on a loudspeaker pair with separate inputs for bass and treble, can make a noticeable difference. He tells a story of going to a dealer's showroom, playing music for the staff on their reference system, then going around to the rear of the speaker, making a quick 'mystery' change they all noticed for the better. What he did was simple: move the speaker cables from the bass input terminals to the tweeter input terminals, when the two are tied together with a set of jumpers. Indeed, I've performed this experiment myself on several occasions, each time enjoying a noticeable improvement. So when we take that 'trick' a step further and use two pair of speaker cables to connect the amp and loudspeaker together, the results can be even more dramatic. In Music Room One I have a treasured pair of MG Audio Planus III speaker cables that are in a 'shotgun' configuration. To me this is the best of both worlds: two parallel speaker cables, each separate until the very last moment, terminated into one set of spade lugs at the amp and loudspeaker ends. And here's what's interesting and perhaps misunderstood. Shotgun is not bi-wire despite the fact there are two speaker cables in both cases. The term bi-wire is only accurate when separated by high and low frequency inputs on the loudspeaker, thus separating and isolating the currents in the wire. Shotgun is merely doubling the speaker cables but I find that approach better sounding. But if you're not up for the expense of bi-wire or shotgun style, at least pay attention to Bill Low's trick if your speakers have separate binding posts: go high first.
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Paul McGowan

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