The Benefits Of Bi-Amping Your PA System

Last week, we took a look at the differences between powered and unpowered speakers. In the end, we felt that the convenience of powered speakers made them the better choice for bands that tend to play smaller to mid-sized gigs – but if you’re ready to play larger venues or simply want the superior control that an unpowered sound system offers, you should definitely consider the benefits of a bi-amping as they tend to go hand in hand. Below, we take a look at what bi-amping entails, how it works and the benefits it gives to a sound system.

 

What Is Bi-Amping?

Going back one more time to our previous speaker article one more time, we noted that unpowered speakers require an external amplifier to give it power. With bi-amping, it simply means using two amplifiers with your PA system, where one of them powers the lower frequencies and the other handles the mid to high frequencies.

 

The Benefits Of Bi-Amping

The biggest and most apparent benefit of a bi-amp system is increased audio quality. By dividing up the frequencies between two amps, you essentially have twice the available power you would with one, resulting in better dynamics and higher fidelity. This added power also means you have the headroom to go louder while maintaining crisp and clean mids and highs, or retain plenty of low-end definition and punch at lower levels. While tri-amping is definitely an option (with the upper frequencies being further divided between mids and highs) they are not as common as many feel that the cost of adding additional amps don’t justify the benefits as much as going from single amp to a bi-amp.

 

How Bi-Amping Works

Aside from separate power amplifiers and speakers, you're going to need an active crossover system in order to split the audio signal coming from the mixer. You can take a look at the image below for a very simple example of bi-amping:

 

bi-amping

 

In a bi-amp configuration, the most common range split consists of 350Hz and below for the subwoofers and 350Hz and above for the loudspeakers. The reason why 350Hz is a common spot for splitting is because the amount of power it takes to drive the frequencies above 350Hz is about the same amount it takes to drive everything below it. Depending on their system and preference, some split the frequencies at different ranges. For example, you can split the frequencies at 250Hz if you feel the 250Hz to 350Hz range sounds better coming from your mid/high speakers instead of the subs. Once everything is connected, you can fine tune the volume of each speaker and subwoofer to your liking.

 


ashly crossover system

The Ashly XR1001 2-Way Stereo Crossover System (@ $250.00) features very low noise and distortion, active balanced inputs, a peak level indicator, a precision regulated power supply, protection against abnormal input or output conditions, and rugged mechanical construction. Conservative design and an unusually thorough procedure for quality control have earned Ashly a reputation for dependability in the recording, sound reinforcement, and broadcast fields.

 


DBX 223 crossover

With the DBX 223xs Crossover (@$ 180.00), you'll get great performance, ultra low-noise, rugged reliability and four decades of DBX knowledge and expertise in building the world's finest processors. The 223xs uses precision filters to separate the audio signal and direct the correct frequencies to your loudspeaker drivers. By directing only the specific frequency bands to each speaker driver the 223xs leaves your amplifiers free to use their full power on the usable signal eliminating distortion and giving your PA system a cleaner and better sound.

 


 

DBX 234xs crossover

DBX 234xs Stereo 2/3 Way, Mono 4-Way Crossover with XLR Connectors @ $240.00. With the DBX 234xs Crossover you'll get great performance, ultra low-noise, rugged reliability and four decades of dbx knowledge and expertise in building the world's finest processors. The 234xs uses precision filters to separate the audio signal and direct the correct frequencies to your loudspeaker drivers. By directing only the specific frequency bands to each speaker driver the 234xs leaves your amplifiers free to use their full power on the usable signal eliminating distortion and giving your PA system a cleaner and better sound.

 


 

 

It might take more time and equipment to get everything up and running with a bi-amp system but there's a reason many players feel it's worth it. If you're looking for higher dynamic range, better audio quality and more control over your PS system's sound, it's hard to argue against bi-amping your system! For further information, check out the video below:

 

 

If you're looking to upgrade to a bi-amp PA system, make sure you check out our selection of Live Sound Equipment. Whether you need an active crossover, an extra power amplifier, a subwoofer or loudspeakers, we have everything you need at a great price. And if you have any questions regarding the purchase of any piece of gear we carry, don't hesitate to chat with one of our friendly PAL pros by using the live chat feature below or by calling us toll-free at 1 877-671-2200!

 

 

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