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When experimenting with bi-wiring in the past I certainly noted greater transparency, a more realized top end, tauter bass and an enhanced sense of space. However I often also detected a loss of overall coherence. What initially seemed a greater sense of space over time smacked more of phase distortion than a more accurate portrayal. Essentially it’s a sense of sameness that pervades all recordings regardless of recorded space where instrumental and vocal images appear to swim about across the soundfield.

On the other hand some speakers do sound better bi-wired for reasons I am not exactly sure of although I suspect it depends on the crossover design. For example Vandersteen specifically design their crossover circuits for bi-wiring and strongly recommends that customers do double up on their cable runs. Point of note? If you choose to bi-wire, use two separate runs of exactly the same speaker cable and not a single internally bi-wired cable or suffer sonic consequences. So it was with a mix of curiosity and skepticism when I discovered that Mark’s tweeter run was a different gauge and metallurgy than the full-range Panatela I already had on hand.

I recently purchased a used pair of JM Reynaud Evolution 3 speakers which are bi-wire capable (my Green Mountain Audio Callistos are not). Their creator, the late Jean-Marie Reynaud, was a proponent of bi-wiring and specifically designed this speaker for it. As Sablon’s bi-wire sets are customized, I was asked for the Evolution 3’s crossover frequencies and if the midrange was connected to the tweeter or bass binding posts.

As I explained to Mark, the Evolution sports a rather unique crossover. Whilst a two-driver speaker, it is actually a three-way. The woofer has two voice coils. One attaches to the lower pair of binding posts via a 1st order parallel crossover (600Hz). The other meets the tweeter on the top posts via a 2nd order series crossover (3.800Hz). Series crossovers are rare enough but I am not aware of another brand that uses a driver with two voice coils [Gallo's Reference 3 used a series filter, dual voice coils on the woofer and offered an optional bass amp to drive the woofer's second coil from – Ed]. The closest would be coaxial designs from folks like Thiel, Tannoy or KEF but those really are two drivers mounted one inside the other.

After I received a custom set of Panatela, I connected them to the tweeter/midrange binding posts of the Reynauds and my existing full-range Panatela to the bass posts. I let them settle in for a couple weeks of run-in before placing my critical listening cap on although right off the hop I could easily hear sonic differences. Indeed I got more of the sonic and musical goodness of the full-range Panatela - a sweet silky top end, solid yet fluid and tantalizingly tactile bass, a rich warm midrange and a glorious sensation of venue,if there was one. Instruments took on more body and more real timbre. With voices it was as if a layer of fine scrim was removed as I noted far more inflection and nuance. Most striking was that everything sounded bigger and more spacious - more dramatic and compelling. Try as I might I did not hear signs of phase distortion or anything that adversely impacted coherence. In fact music sounded more together, coherent and tangible.

After a few weeks I reverted to the full-range Panatela with my custom bi-wire jumpers of DH Labs T-14 with Cardas spades. The soundstage and wonderful sense of air and space retreated, violins and voices didn’t quite have the breath of detail and clarity and drums and double basses, cellos and the like became somewhat less distinct. Drama and excitement took a distinct step back. The Evolution certainly was a speaker that worked well bi-wired. My old Meadowlark Kestrel 2s definitely sounded more coherent and correct single however. It seems that the effects of bi-wiring vary from speaker to speaker. Running my Reynauds bi-wired with Sablon Audio Panatela was definitely a step up in overall sonic and musical stimulation so much that I thought the additional $1.250 good value if one's speakers benefit from bi-wiring.