Because of the low impedance nature of the Westlake Audio crossover network, care must be taken in the selection of the associated equipment used in the system. Some amplifiers and speaker cables may perform adequately with higher impedance loudspeakers but are unable to handle the load requirements of the Westlake Audio loudspeaker. The perceived sound quality of the system will vary dramatically with the selection of associated equipment.
Westlake Audio loudspeakers have been designed for the lowest amounts of distortion possible. Used with the proper equipment, the Westlake Audio loudspeaker will produce a well-defined soundstage with excellent stereo imaging and clean, tight bass.
Westlake loudspeakers have a nominal input impedance of 4 ohms (varies with model) with a minimum impedance of 2 ohms (varies with model) at certain frequencies:
Use only amplifiers rated for 2 or 4 ohms and amplifiers that have high current operation.
Presuming similar distortion specifications between different solid state amplifiers, choose the amplifier with the lowest output impedance available; a high power rating may or may not be an indicator of a low output impedance. The above applies only to solid state amplifiers and does not apply to tube amplifiers.
Amplifiers can give off stray magnetic fields that can enter the speaker crossover network through the air core inductor and likewise, crossover inductor may feed back to the amplifier:
Place your amplifier at least 3 feet from the speakers to avoid interaction.
Specific brands of amplifiers have different operational characteristics that will affect the perceived sound quality. Auditioning as many amplifiers as possible with your loudspeakers will help to obtain the best sound possible. In general, your amplifier should have the widest possible power bandwidth, lowest distortion and noise (both mechanical and electrical) and lowest output impedance.
For recommendations of specific brands of amplifiers, contact your Westlake dealer or the Westlake Audio technical staff.
Use the shortest cable length possible while maintaining a safe distance between speaker and amplifier.
Do not coil excess cable together.
Use the largest gauge speaker cable that is practical to reduce the amount of cable resistance.
Determining the Proper Speaker Cable Assembly:
Determine how the amplifier(s) will be connected to speakers (see section below on speaker cable wiring options)
Measure the length of speaker cable needed
Order speaker cable based on these parameters
Westlake Audio offers a complete line of speaker cable assemblies forboth single wire, bi-wire, and passive bi-amplification connections - see speaker cable product sheet.
Speaker Cable Wiring Options:
Westlake Audio loudspeakers have separate terminals for high frequency (HF) and low frequency (LF) which allow for three different options for connecting the loudspeakers to the amplifier(s).
The speakers can be wired with a single speaker cable using the supplied jumper wires for HF and LF, the speakers can be bi-wired using a bi-wire cable assembly with separate leads for HF and LF, or the speakers can be passively bi-amplified using two stereo amplifiers and single wire cable assemblies for HF and LF of each loudspeaker.
For the Maximum Level of Performance, Westlake Audio Recommends Passive Bi-amplification Whenever Possible
Single Wire Configuration:
Single-wiring uses one amplifier channel to power each loudspeaker. A single wire carries both HF and LF information. Jumpers connect the high frequency and low frequency sections of the speakers' crossover network at the loudspeaker.
With this method of connection, care should be taken to assure that the jumper spade lugs remain directly under the terminal strip while the terminal strip screw is being tightened on the jumper spade lug and the speaker cable spade lug.
Although simple and cost effective, the single-wire configuration is not the recommended connection as one wire must carry both HF and LF information. These two sections of the band interact causing small but audible distortions.
(See Figure "A" for Diagram)
Bi-wiring uses one amplifier channel to power a loudspeaker while having separate speaker cables leads for the high frequency (H.F.) and low frequency (L.F.) sections of the speakers' crossover network.
Bi-wiring should not be confused with passive bi-amplification, which requires the use of additional amplifier channels. See section of instruction manual on passive bi-amplification.
(See Figure "B" for Diagram)
Passive Bi-amplification uses two stereo amplifiers to power a single pair of speakers.
One amplifier is used for the right speaker and one amplifier is used for the left speaker. Separate amplifier channels are used to power high frequencies (H.F.) and low frequencies (L.F.) of each speaker.
No active crossover is needed.
(See Figure "C" for Diagram)
Figure A - Single Wire Configuration
Figure B - Bi-Wire Configuration
Figure C - Passive Bi-Amplification
All BBSM models have separate inputs to the high (H.F.) and low frequency (L.F.) sections of the crossover. This allows for bi-wire or passive bi-amplification system set-ups. The proper connection variations are:
Single Amp/Single wire Configuration (figure A). Connect the + and - speaker cable to the corresponding input terminal marked L.F. Use the supplied jumpers to make the connection between the L.F. and H.F. inputs.
Single Amp/Bi-Wire Configuration (figure B). Using a "bi-wire" cable assembly, such as a Westlake Audio BWI-Series cable system, connect one set of the + and - speaker cable to the L.F. input and the other + and - pair to the H.F. input.
Dual Amp/Passive Bi-Amplification Configuration (figure C). A stereo amplifier (or 2 monaural amplifiers) per channel. Using high quality speaker cable connect the + and - of one of the amplifier channels to the L.F. input and the other amplifier channel to the input marked H.F.
What Are the Benefits of a Single Wire Configuration?
A single wire configuration has no benefit other than cost. While cost effective, significant improvements can be obtained by bi-wiring with no additional cost other than the bi-wire assembly itself.
Equipment Required for Single Wire Configuration
One stereo amplifier or two mono-block amplifiers
One pair of single wire (WI) cable assemblies
What Are the Benefits of a Bi-Wire Configuration?
All speaker cables have a magnetic field that surrounds the cable as well as a specific electrical impedance. There is a tendency for the high and low frequencies to interact causing distortion of the original signal.
Bi-wiring reduces interaction in the speaker cable by physically separating high and low frequency information into two separate cable leads. This physical separation of the signal reduces the magnetic / electrical interaction that would occur if the whole signal were carried on a single cable.
A bi-wire cable assembly also has twice as much conductor which reduces the common or shared resistance of the cable assembly.
Equipment Required for a Bi-Wire Configuration
One stereo amplifier or two mono-block amps
One pair of bi-wire (BWI) cable assemblies
What Are the Benefits of Passive Bi-Amplification?
Passive bi-amplification extends the benefits of bi-wiring into the amplifier. Bi-wiring reduces interaction in the speaker cable only. H.F. and L.F. information travels along the same path inside the amplifier.
With passive bi-amplification, high and low frequencies are physically separated from each other in different amplifier channels reducing interaction of high and low frequencies inside the amplifier as well as in the cable assemblies.
Due to the low impedance nature of the Westlake crossover network, passive bi-amplification will produce better sonic results than a mono-bridged installation with the same amplifiers.
Equipment Required for Passive Bi-Amplification
Two stereo amplifiers or four monoblocks having the same gain +/- 0.1 dB (Using identical amplifiers will ensure each amplifier channel has the same gain)
Four single wire (WI) speaker cable assemblies
Additional interconnect for second amplifier ("Y" cable or equivalent)
Additional Connection Guidelines:
Do not attempt to connect speakers to system without all power in system turned off and unplugged from AC outlets.
All Westlake loudspeakers use terminal strips or five way binding posts for the best electrical connection between the loudspeaker and the speaker cable available - speaker cables with spade lug terminations should be used with the terminal strips.
Speaker terminal strips, cable connections, and amplifier binding posts should be cleaned prior to each cable being installed to ensure the best possible electrical connection. Westlake Audio SDPR contact cleaner, alcohol or other contact cleaners are suitable for this task.
Speaker cables should not rest on AC power cords or interconnects.
For bi-wire or passive bi-amplification, high and low frequency leads should be separated from one another as far apart as practical.
Speakers should be disconnected from system periodically and the terminations cleaned to remove any oxidation that may have formed.
Double check all connections after installation for proper tightness of screws and/or binding posts.