Tri-Amping?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by SquishySounds, Aug 30, 2017.

  1. SquishySounds

    SquishySounds Yo mama so fat Thanos had to snap twice. Thread Starter

    Location:
    New York
    [​IMG]
    I'm familiar with bi-amping (using two power amps for each loudspeaker) because every pre-amp I've ever seen has two sets of outputs for twin amps. But now I see loudspeakers with three sets of inputs. Who even makes a pre-amp with three line outputs? Is this an old thing and I'm just hearing about it? Does somebody make speakers with even more inputs?
     
  2. 808_state

    808_state Former Resident

    I have Yamaha NS-690 mk-1's which are in fact tri-ampable. Haven't tried it yet. I think it requires an active crossover of some sort and I suppose up to three amps if you want take it all the way.
     
  3. Preamp -> external crossover ->3 frequency limited bands -> 3 power amps -> say woofer, midrange and tweeter separately.
     
  4. robertk

    robertk Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ecuador
    That's how you do it. And lots of money on cables. And lots of bucks for the crossover network as well.

    Me, technically I actually have a 4 amp setup---but you can get away with self powered subs. Saves a bunch && there are quite a few good ones out there. This is the system I use to drive ribbons.
     
  5. jcmusic

    jcmusic Forum Resident

    Location:
    Terrytown, La.
    My system is tri amped one amp for the woofers, one amp for the mid horns, one amp for the tweeters, and the subs have their own amps.. Also using a pro audio xover to control everything sounds great!!!
     
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  6. harby

    harby Forum Resident

    Location:
    Portland, OR, USA
    I think we will start seeing more consumer gear where the equation is:

    Digital Pre -> Digital cable -> Powered speaker with line level or DSP crossover network and D-class amps per-driver.

    This is already fairly common in powered pro monitor speakers.

    This makes sense in many ways.

    -It doesn't take much more in components to make a 2x100W amp than a 1x200W amp,
    -You can have near-perfect crossovers, with 48dB/octave slopes and no phase shift,
    -Passive crossovers don't have to be uniquely designed for the impedance and reactance compromises of particular transducers,
    -You can eliminate all of the passive components and the insertion losses they cause, along with their cost,
    -Digital crossovers of incredible complexity are just math, easily performed by $1 chips, and eq, time delay, and other optimizations cost no more to add digitally.

    I've got an Infinity crossover here that has the tweeter padded with an 8 ohm resistor. Half of the amp's energy never makes it to the speaker. With active crossovers as part of the design, you can use the most efficient individual drivers available, even if not matched, and specify less amp power.
     
  7. jcmusic

    jcmusic Forum Resident

    Location:
    Terrytown, La.
    [​IMG]
    I am using a Pro Audio xover from Xilica, it is their XP 4080 model and here are the results one can achieve with it and some time spent measuring your room... This is my Tri amped system...
     
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  8. blair207

    blair207 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Fife, Scotland
    I use a Cyrus 7 integrated amp with pre amp outputs with two Smartpower mono power amps. The 7 powers the high frequencies and the Smartpowers do the lows.
     
  9. Warren Jarrett

    Warren Jarrett Audio Note (UK) dealer in SoCal/LA-OC

    Location:
    Fullerton, CA
    No preamps have 3 line outputs, and that is not how you tri-amp. It is not even how you tri-wire.

    To tri-wire, you find a heavy speaker cable (with many conductors that are easy to split into thirds), connect one end (all the conductors) to your stereo amplifier's output, split the other end into 3 sets of conductors with 3 pairs of spades, and run them all separately to the 3 pairs of speaker terminals.

    To tri-amp, you run one pair of interconnects from preamp line out to the input of a 3-way electronic crossover. Then you will have 3 pairs of RCA outputs to run to 3 stereo amplifiers, and three separate pairs of speaker wires.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2018
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  10. Drewan77

    Drewan77 Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK/USA
    DEQX processors are also preamps Warren & I use the HDP5 + HDP3 in my 5 way system. Each has 3 line outputs.

    [​IMG]
     
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  11. Warren Jarrett

    Warren Jarrett Audio Note (UK) dealer in SoCal/LA-OC

    Location:
    Fullerton, CA
    Oh, right, I was only thinking about "audiophile preamps" for use with 2 channel stereo. My mistake for thinking only in terms of my audio world, and answering directly what I interpreted as the OP's intention.

    But even the one you showed above, has so many outputs because it has an internal active crossover. So please give me some credit for being correct, not wrong. If you think I should have included all types of "preamps", well then I totally agree, there are multi-channel line-outputs galore on some of them. In terms of the OP's question, 3-or-more line-outputs on one preamp wouldn't all be carrying the same output signal. They would have been through some type of internal processing for independent purposes.

    And the preamp shown above, with its built-in electronic crossover would indeed be another solution to run the speakers the OP showed us, using all of his speaker jacks. :thumbsup:
    The B&W Matrix 800 speakers I now use in The Audio Home room 1 have 4 pairs of binding posts per speaker, and I am using all of them: top woofer, bottom woofer, midrange pair of drivers, and tweeter. So, I am using a BIG pair of Audio Note mono amps to run the midrange and tweeters, bi-wired (this requires 1 pair of interconnects from my 2-way electronic crossover to the main amps, and 4 lengths of speaker wire). Then I am using a 4-channel amplifier for the two woofers per speaker, one channel of amp for each woofer (this requires 2 pair of interconnects from the 2-way electronic crossover to the 4-channel amp, and 4 lengths of speaker wire).

    So this would be called bi-amping the speakers, active bi-wiring the woofers, and passive bi-wiring the midrange/tweeter section.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2018
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  12. Warren Jarrett

    Warren Jarrett Audio Note (UK) dealer in SoCal/LA-OC

    Location:
    Fullerton, CA
    Actually, the more accurate and complete description is that I am "Active horizontal bi-amping the speakers", "Passive vertical bi-amping the woofers" (which can also be called "active bi-wiring the woofers"), and "bi-wiring the midrange & tweeters". :crazy:
     
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  13. Drewan77

    Drewan77 Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK/USA
    Without wishing to be pedantic, my 5 way setup is audiophile 2 channel Warren. 3 way active open baffle plus 2 subs below 50hz.
     
  14. Warren Jarrett

    Warren Jarrett Audio Note (UK) dealer in SoCal/LA-OC

    Location:
    Fullerton, CA
    Then why did you choose, twice now, to be pedantic? Both comments seemed to express being either sensitive or defensive about something, directed towards me. Why? Please believe me, I am not the enemy of your wonderful preamp, Stereophile LOVED it... I was just trying to answer the OP in a way that, it seemed to me, applied directly to his question and to his application.

    In my limited, focused audiophile world, an "audiophile preamp" does not include complicated signal processing. But my world is not the entire world, so I understood and acknowledged that your correction was indeed "my mistake". If we really need to pursue this further, please PM me.

    Great word, to describe your comments though. Here are some definitions that I found in on-line dictionaries:

    "... It's a negative term that implies someone is showing off book learning or trivia, especially in a tiresome way."

    "... Caring too much about unimportant details and not enough about understanding or appreciating a subject."

    I would never choose to use this word, about myself or anyone else. It is quite derogatory.
    :wantsome::blah:
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2018
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  15. Drewan77

    Drewan77 Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK/USA
    Warren I apologise wholeheartedly if I have offended. That's not my intention.

    The word I used was referring to myself in attempting to clarify my earlier comments.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2018
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  16. Warren Jarrett

    Warren Jarrett Audio Note (UK) dealer in SoCal/LA-OC

    Location:
    Fullerton, CA
    Its no problem at all. We are just sharing ideas in a forum, and I both enjoyed and learned from your comments. I defended myself, but not intending any harm either. :tiphat:
     
  17. SandAndGlass

    SandAndGlass Twilight Forum Resident

    With all that being said, I realize that there are some speakers which are designed specifically to be bi-amped or tri-amped.

    My take on things is that, In commercial audio, always bi- amp, tri-amp, plus your sub.

    In the home, with most (not every!), audiophile "intentional" audio systems, even the ones that have digital front ends, after the DAC, a better choice will be to use a pure analog chain, right up to the speaker. This, of course, rules out the use of any DSP.

    I have vintage Altec Lansing, A7, Voice of the Theater, commercial speakers and while I would run them with an electronic crossover (I do have a Berringer unit in a separate portable audio rack, for that specific purpose), I have never connected the electronic crossover to the A7's.

    After I initially made this decision, the A7's sat quietly for two full months, while waiting for the custom made crossovers from ALK Engineering to be built.

    So, even though my speakers are designed for commercial use, I keep the system 100% analog. And, that is what you give up to use an electronic crossover.

    I do have a commercial subwoofer that can sustain bass and sub-bass to a SPL of 133-dB, and I do power that with a commercial Crown XTi-2000, which runs in bridged mono mode up to 1,600-Watts.

    Since my speakers serve a dual purpose, for use in HT and Stereo, I use a separate 4k processor to decode the 5.1 sound. Because the Crown amp has a manual volume control and is situated in a modest 19" commercial audio rack, behind the TV, I turn the volume knob all the way up on the Crown.

    When not playing DVD's or Blu-ray's, I run a pair of RCA's off of the preamp outputs, to an unused analog input on the processor. That way I can accomplish a few things. One is being able to use the processor's base management feature to decode the full range signal and separate anything below 40-Hz, goes through the processor's base management feature, which acts as the electronic crossover and allows the LF signal to exit through the processor's LFE's channel, utilizing the same connections as were set up for the HT.

    So I do use some DSP, but only to power the sub.

    The added value to this, is being to separately and continuously control the volume level of the sub, using the processor's remote control.

    I usually have the sub-bass volume level set at a universal system level of 62, but if the program material is extra bass heavy, I can lighten up on the sub, and if it needs a bit of a boost, I can bump it up a notch or two.

    I find that commercially recorded music, is all over the charts, when it comes to bass levels.

    Just my 2ยข...

    Pure analog audio, ALK crossover in front, custom built crossover in the rear to power the added super-tweeter.

    [​IMG]
     
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  18. Randoms

    Randoms Aerie Faerie Nonsense

    Location:
    UK
    [​IMG]

    The Linn Kairn, excellent pre-amp from the 90s had three line outs.

    They also did a version with M/M and M/C inputs.
     
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  19. Randoms

    Randoms Aerie Faerie Nonsense

    Location:
    UK
    [​IMG]

    Linn K600 tri-wired cable - perfect for tri-amping!

    As has been mentioned, passive tri-amping doesn't come close to a well set-up active system.
     
  20. klockwerk

    klockwerk Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ohio USA
    The expensive speaker cable guys are gonna love this.
     
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  21. levimax

    levimax Well-Known Member

    Location:
    California
    A DSP electronic crossover is not required to bi-amp or tri-amp. Many active electronic crossovers are "analog filters" so you are not giving up "analog purity" to use them. Active electronic crossovers are much better performers (lower distortion, lower phase shift, easier load for amp to drive, steeper roll off curves, more efficient) than passive crossovers (which in my opinion are by far the "weakest link" in the audio chain). The "hard part" of bi-amping or tri-amping is getting the levels right, it is not "plug and play" and you do end up having to play "speaker designer" a little bit but with the new tools like "REW" and cheap calibrated USB microphones it is not as hard as it used to be. If you enjoy DIY and learning, the benefits you can get with active crossovers and multiple amps are very worth while. Enjoy.
     
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  22. Randoms

    Randoms Aerie Faerie Nonsense

    Location:
    UK
    I used to run Linn Akurate 242s actively. 5 way, 10 speaker sockets per speaker, requiring ..... 40 speaker plugs!
     
  23. SandAndGlass

    SandAndGlass Twilight Forum Resident

    I completely agree with you that passive crossovers ARE usually the weakest link in the chain, due to poor designs and inferior parts.

    Which is why I use crossovers from ALK Engineering, as these are top shelf!

    Even back when I was sixteen and I had my first set of A7's custom built, I was using 800-cycle "frequency dividing networks", which is the terminology that Altec applies to their crossover networks, I didn't care for them then.

    Any time used thir attenuation knob to reduce the HF to the horn's, to better match the bass output, the sound became muddled. I always kept them at zero HF attenuation.

    The beauty of the ALK crossover's are that they present a constant impedance back to the amplifier, where most do not.

    They also have a series of jumpers on the autoformer, which allows you to set the correct degree of HF attenuation, to balance out the LF.

    You are quite correct with your statement about not being a "plug and play" solution. These are good words of advice that someone should consider, doing any custom crossover solution.

    I spent weeks, dialing in the correct degree of attenuation. ALK provides you with a list of jumper settings to match your required degree of HF attenuation. Even getting to the point of finding one setting two bright and the next setting was a bit dull. I thought that I need something between these two settings. As I was looking at the chart, I was noticing a pattern to the jumper settings. It occurred to me, that, what if I set this jumper here and that jumper there, would I get something that is between the other two settings I tried.

    BINGO!

    IT WORKED! The result was directly in the middle and sounds perfect.

    I'm sure that many on the forum, think of the A7's as P.A. speakers, which they are not. They are theater speakers, which people use for PA systems. While this is a huge improvement, over what they may have been using before, as they are usually configured, they are P.A. speakers.

    Consider that those who have heard and are familiar with these "rough" P.A. applications, where the A7's are being driven by dry sounding SS amps and using the original Altec frequency dividing networks. So I do understand their positions, based on hearing them in commercial P.A. applications and "knowing" that they can not possibly be used as an "audiophile" speaker in a home setting.

    I thought the same way myself!

    But, I had some ideas, and they worked. Having made a two way system into a 3-way system with the addition of another crossover and a JBL super-tweeter, and then bringing in the commercial, passive horn loaded subwoofer, has completed the transition into a four way system.

    On top of that, that entire system is driven (past the DAC) into a 4-way system, that is incredibly detailed, beyond anything that even I could have ever imagined.

    I doubt that even Altec, had no idea the potential of the equipment that they built. Sure, they had tube amplification, way back when, but they were still utilizing their own inferior crossovers, they never know how good their own stuff actually was.

    So, I get you loud and clear on the crossover thing. :)
     
  24. jcmusic

    jcmusic Forum Resident

    Location:
    Terrytown, La.
    You mention what you give up when using a electronic xover but, you failed to mention what is gained!!!
     
  25. Warren Jarrett

    Warren Jarrett Audio Note (UK) dealer in SoCal/LA-OC

    Location:
    Fullerton, CA
    He hasn't answered so I will answer in my interpretation. What you give up, when using an electronic crossover that uses digital logic, instead of analog circuit is: "100% analog". Some of us, particularly who play records and/or RtR tapes more than digital sources, don't want our analog recordings converted to digital, in our audio system's signal path.
     
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