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Thread: Bi-Amp ... how about Tri-Amp ?

  1. #1
    Join Date: Mar 2018

    Location: Bristol, UK

    Posts: 39
    I'm Roland.

    Default Bi-Amp ... how about Tri-Amp ?

    Hello,

    Years ago, I started my Hifi#1 with Arcam A90 which is a 90 (actually tested at over 100) Watt Integrated Amp, an older CD player, and nondescript Speakers...
    I don't remember which order I added to this system, but I soon added a P90 Arcam power amp, and was able to bi-amp the speakers, settling on B&W 704 floorstanders.

    Bi-Amping (the integrated amp drives the Treble, and the Power amp drives the Bass) works very well... basically, 200W going into each speaker.
    I've been told it's not about the Watts... well no, and maybe yes it is... all things being equal 200W is better, and far more relaxed a sound than 100W, as bi-amping demonstrated very clearly.

    Now this might sound dumb, as I've little experience in the matter... but would Tri or quad amping be feasible ? (since a used P90 would not cost much).
    I'm thinking A90 to drive treble L and R, and P90 L Bass, and P90 R Bass ? Is this what Monobloc Amps do ?

    Or let's just say I wanted a new system with 140W into Bass and 140W into Treble...(let's say more power than my latest Arcam A39 which is an integrated 120W amp) what equipment would currently do that ?

    Thanks in Advance, Roland

  2. #2
    Join Date: Oct 2016

    Location: Bolton, England

    Posts: 1,383
    I'm Andrew.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pandoraefretum View Post
    I've been told it's not about the Watts... well no, and maybe yes it is... all things being equal 200W is better, and far more relaxed a sound than 100W, as bi-amping demonstrated very clearly.
    I beg to differ - your example does not show that 200W is better than 100W. In fact, you won't get any more power into your system (or hardly any more) than you would with the single 100W amp.
    I don't dispute that your system sounds better bi-amped, but I do dispute that the improvement is due to simply "more power".

    Yes, you could use another amp as long as the stereo amp could be bridged into mono.
    No, you can't just put two power amps onto one speaker.

  3. #3
    Join Date: Mar 2018

    Location: Bristol, UK

    Posts: 39
    I'm Roland.

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    Hey thanks for the answer ; in reverse order:

    No, I wouldn't dream of 2 power amps into 1 speaker... strange idea
    ah now I know what bridging means (perhaps!)
    ahh, very good point.. it may not be due to more power... but bi-amping works extremely well in this particular case: I'm pretty sure P90 was designed with this in mind.

    Generally, not talking about my setup, I still think 200W is better than 100W... just as 80W is better than 20W.. if not, why doesn't everyone economise and stick with 45W ?
    I think high end probably starts with 250W not that you need it most of the time...

  4. #4
    Join Date: Apr 2012

    Location: Southall, West London

    Posts: 36,869
    I'm Geoff.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pandoraefretum View Post
    I think high end probably starts with 250W not that you need it most of the time...
    What some regard as true 'high end' may start at less than ten watts.

  5. #5
    Join Date: Mar 2018

    Location: Bristol, UK

    Posts: 39
    I'm Roland.

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    I was looking at some PS Audio clips.. they have 3x 1500W amps... and a few more in their music room #1

  6. #6
    Join Date: Jan 2009

    Location: Essex

    Posts: 18,489
    I'm openingabottleofwine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pandoraefretum View Post
    Hello,

    Years ago, I started my Hifi#1 with Arcam A90 which is a 90 (actually tested at over 100) Watt Integrated Amp, an older CD player, and nondescript Speakers...
    I don't remember which order I added to this system, but I soon added a P90 Arcam power amp, and was able to bi-amp the speakers, settling on B&W 704 floorstanders.

    Bi-Amping (the integrated amp drives the Treble, and the Power amp drives the Bass) works very well... basically, 200W going into each speaker.
    I've been told it's not about the Watts... well no, and maybe yes it is... all things being equal 200W is better, and far more relaxed a sound than 100W, as bi-amping demonstrated very clearly.

    Now this might sound dumb, as I've little experience in the matter... but would Tri or quad amping be feasible ? (since a used P90 would not cost much).
    I'm thinking A90 to drive treble L and R, and P90 L Bass, and P90 R Bass ? Is this what Monobloc Amps do ?

    Or let's just say I wanted a new system with 140W into Bass and 140W into Treble...(let's say more power than my latest Arcam A39 which is an integrated 120W amp) what equipment would currently do that ?

    Thanks in Advance, Roland
    Yes, that is what monoblocks do; they are single-channel amplifiers used to feed a single speaker, or drive unit. And no, it is not 'tri-amping' in the conventional sense: tri-amping uses three (stereo), or six mono amplifiers to feed the three sets of drive units in each speaker.

    http://theartofsound.net/forum/showt...-and-Bi-wiring
    Have you listened to this month's choice in the Album Club?

    Barry

  7. #7
    Join Date: Mar 2018

    Location: Bristol, UK

    Posts: 39
    I'm Roland.

    Default So for example

    My A90 has a Pre Out

    Does that mean I could use 2x Quad Elite QMP monoblocs with it ?
    Or since my IrDAC II has variable power out, could that be directly connected (without preamp) to 2xQMPs ?

    I'm thinking cheap way to get lots of power.

  8. #8
    Join Date: Mar 2018

    Location: South Africa

    Posts: 5
    I'm Dave.

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    Hi
    I bought a KEF B139, 110 midrange, and Scanspeak drivers and built them to a tested design (many years). The KEF B139 was placed into its own unit. This settup begged the use of biamping, which I did upon aquiring a pair of Musical Fidelity MA 50`s, then I had my Musical Fidelity 50 watt / channel preamp converted to seperately use the amps from the preamp, and used them for the bass, and the MA50`s for the mid and treble speaker units.
    I then hardwired my threeway cross-over to seperate the B139 speaker. You use a lot of speaker cable and need RCA splitters (as in photo) and a second pair of interconnects, but I believe the effort to be worthwhile, although I dont suggest it to be better than upgrading to a much better amplifier.
    41EQQXMEGTL._SX425_.jpg

  9. #9
    Join Date: Oct 2016

    Location: Bolton, England

    Posts: 1,383
    I'm Andrew.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pandoraefretum View Post
    Generally, not talking about my setup, I still think 200W is better than 100W... just as 80W is better than 20W.. if not, why doesn't everyone economise and stick with 45W?
    That's a good question. The answer is (probably) that the general hi-fi-buying public is totally convinced that more power is better, so manufacturers simply give them what they want. These days it doesn't cost a great deal more to produce a 100W than it does a 50W amp. Certainly the difference in production costs between a 60W amp and a 50W amp is negligible, but put the two side by side and I'm sure most customers would opt for the higher power version.
    But is it actually true that more power gives you better sound? I don't think it is. In terms of how loud it will go a 200W amp will only give you 3dB more than a 100W amp - hardly worth bothering about in my opinion. In terms of quality of sound, things aren't so simple. Basically, a higher powered amp has a higher maximum voltage swing at its outputs, and it can do that by having higher voltage power rails in its power supply. The higher voltage means that all the components have to be rated accordingly - higher voltage capacitors and higher voltage transistors etc. - which cost more money. Also, a 200W amp outputting 5W will dissipate more heat than a 100W amp outputting 5W, so the heatsinks have to be bigger and therefore more expensive. Is any of this extra expense actually giving you better sound? There's absolutely no reason why it should.
    My experience is that a good sounding amp comes from good circuit design. It's possible to design a good sounding 50W amp and equally possible to design a bad sounding 200W amp. Unfortunately it's impossible to tell from specs whether an amp is good or bad, and it's definitely impossible to tell from sales literature.

    BTW, a bridged amp is not the same thing as a monoblock. In a conventional amp, one of the loudspeaker terminals is connected to 0 volts (the black one) and the other terminal (the red one) swings positive and negative to drive the loudspeaker. A bridged amp (usually) uses two conventional amps connected together so that neither of the loudspeaker terminals is connected to 0V. Instead, one terminal is driven positive and negative by one amp while the other terminal is driven negative and positive by the other amp. That gives you twice the voltage swing you would have if you only used one of the amps.
    In practice this is usually done by using a stereo power amp which has a bridging switch to turn it into a bridged-mono amp. However, it would be possible to do it with any stereo power amp if you also had an outboard device to generate an extra, out-of-phase, signal in addition to the original signal.
    Hmmm... I wonder if there's a market for such a device
    I doubt it

  10. #10
    Join Date: Apr 2012

    Location: Southall, West London

    Posts: 36,869
    I'm Geoff.

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    I'm sure there are exceptions, but on the whole, the very powerful amps I've heard have been a bit disappointing.

    Some will swear by their 300B (or other) SET amps as being the ultimate in sound quality, but they can rather limit the choice of suitable speakers.

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