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Do I Need To BI-AMP?

Dave Yantz

To start, Bi-amping is using two amplifiers to power your speaker enclosures with the same signal. Some pro speaker cabinets offer you a choice of bi-amping them or running them full range.

Do I need to do this ?

What are the advantages ?

What are the disadvantages?

What do I need to Bi-Amp My system ?


In the following text I will try to answer these questions for you.

Do I need to do this ?

To answer this question for you, we need to know your average crowd size at the parties you play and the speakers you use to play music for them.

For crowds under 200 people and your speakers are one cabinet design without Bi-Amp inputs.(speakers that are bi-ampable are clearly marked on the back with a High/low input as well as a full range input) You also do not use separate subwoofers. My opinion would be no.

The reason for this is today you can buy amplifiers that will give you plenty of amplifier headroom for a small DJ system. The main reason for Bi-Amping your system is to provide headroom for the system. The idea here is to be able to play music at the desired volume without running the system wide open. The difference between the desired volume level and the systems clipping point is called Headroom. If you find your running your system wide open at your events, you need more headroom to make the system sound better and more life like.(It also increases the dynamic range.)

 One way to do this is by Bi-amping.

What are the advantages ?

As stated above, headroom is the main advantage. But there are others. Another advantage is that you do not use the Speakers internal crossover (Also called a passive crossover) to separate the high frequencies from the low's. When you Bi-Amp the system you use a external electronic crossover.

Why is this an advantage ?

The speakers internal passive crossover uses a resistor to lower the power going to the high frequency speaker/driver. This wastes your amplifier power by turning the excess power to heat inside the speaker cabinet. An electronic crossover is used in-line before the amplifiers and all the power made by the amplifiers are used to make sound.

If you are using separate subwoofers with your system, Bi-amping is a must to insure your system has the headroom needed to be clean sounding at the volume it is designed to be played. The low frequencies are the ones that are very hard for the amplifier to reproduce, and using one amplifier with your top's and separate subwoofers will effect the sound of the high and mid frequencies as well as the low's.

What are the disadvantages?

Hauling two amplifiers with you in the rack. The added weight can be a problem. But Today there are many lightweight amplifiers that help out with this problem. Also you have just doubled the number of speaker wires needed. One for the mid/high frequencies and one for the low's per side. If you are using employees to set up the system some training will be needed to insure that they do not cross the wires.(Color coding the wires helps) It sounds bad when you mix up the speaker wires and you can possably damage your gear.

What do I need to BI-Amp my system?

Well, as the name suggests you need two amplifiers. When Bi-amping your system I recommend that your Subwoofer amplifier should be twice the size of the Mid/high amplifier to insure you have the headroom needed. You also need two speaker wires per side to run the different amplifier outputs to the correct speaker cabinet inputs. Mid and high frequencies to your top's(with a sub system) or high input on your bi-ampable cabinets, and the lows to your sub's (or the low input of your bi-ampable cabinets.

An electronic crossover.

This is put in-line before the amplifiers and after the mixer and/or sonic enhancer if you use one. Some of today's Amplifier manufactures include a electronic crossover right in the Amplifier! This is an advantage because this insures the crossover points are compatible with the amplifier and is designed to be used with that brand of amplifier.

Some External electronic crossovers (one rack space units) have user adjustable crossover points to match them with the speaker manufacture recommended crossover points. It is important that the crossover points are matched to insure the best sound possible from your system. They only need to be set once.

Have a tech topic you would like to see covered in this column ?

Drop me a E-Mail and you may see your topic in the next issue of the DJZONE!

Dave Yantz




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