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Why aren't electronic crossovers more popular?

Mojo Warrior

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I have not yet decided on a DIY speaker build but it seems that crossovers are the most problematic part of speaker design and performance.

Electronic crossovers are available, relatively inexpensive ($100-200) and are professional grade. Some boutique speaker designers offer "upgraded" crossovers that are sometimes many times more expensive than the actual speaker. The forums are replete with modifications to existing crossovers.

Many popular passive loudspeakers have dual binding posts from the factory.

It doesn't seem that difficult to produce 4, 6 or 8 channel amplifiers with electronic crossovers and DSP in a single box. Heck, home theater receivers are 90% there already.
 
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Doodski

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I used a electronic crossover for some years in my home system. It was quiet, did not hiss to any degree that was noticeable and sounded great. I would do it again but DSP is the way to go now.
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Jim Taylor

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I have not yet decided on a DIY speaker build but it seems that crossovers are the most problematic part of speaker design and performance.

Electronic crossovers are available, relatively inexpensive ($100-200) and are professional grade. Some boutique speaker designers offer "upgraded" crossovers that are sometimes many times more expensive than the actual speaker. The forums are replete with modifications to existing crossovers.

Many popular passive loudspeakers have dual binding posts from the factory.

It doesn't seem that difficult to produce 4, 6 or 8 channel amplifiers with electronic crossovers and DSP in a single box. Heck, home theater receivers are 90% there already.

Basically, it's people's ideas of "odds". Driving a speaker with a passive crossover, you have only one amplifier channel per speaker system. Passive crossovers are quite robust, so you have a satisfactory arrangement. Not perfect, but satisfactory.

A 3-way speaker system will require 6 channels of amplification and the line-level crossover. So you just went from 2 possible failure points to seven possible failure points. You can tell people on the street that the electronics are very reliable until you're blue in the face; they just don't like those "odds".

As for boutique speaker designers offering upgraded crossovers that are very expensive ..... you need to prove to yourself that those "upgraded" crossovers are financially worthwhile. After all, for the cost of some of those "boutique" crossovers, you can upgrade to a much, much better speaker system. Jim Taylor
 

Doodski

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A 3-way speaker system will require 6 channels of amplification and the line-level crossover. So you just went from 2 possible failure points to seven possible failure points. You can tell people on the street that the electronics are very reliable until you're blue in the face; they just don't like those "odds".
Speaking from experience the increase in connection cables and speaker cables makes for issues in what was my tri-amp'd system. There was no hum or ground issues but there was a loud snap sound when I touched a cable and it fried one of my matched tweeters. It was not sooper expensive to replace but it was inconvenient and I never received another matched pair of tweeters after that. I was running MIT and Monster cable interconnects. One of the MIT cables was the one I touched when the snap sound occurred. So there is that aspect.

Another aspect is AC power. Powering up meant the lights dimmed and a intriguing sound could be heard like a large spring being twanged. Lots of power can be drawn and consumed by a multi amps system. Heat is another consideration. So one requires lots of space for the gear, shelving, table, desk, wall unit etc etc are needed.

Then WAF factor was not good. She looked at it like it was some sort of parasite. Never wanted to listen to it and generally was remote and aloof about it. It consumed a large part of the living room with 4 foot high speakers with large black Altec horns sitting on top and big deep wall unit/book case full of gear.

But I liked it and it sounded fantastic so she just had to deal with it. :D Sacrifices will be made!
 
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Holmz

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... I was running MIT and Monster cable interconnects. One of the MIT cables was the one I touched when the snap sound occurred. So there is that aspect.


So I suppose youi should keep your mitts of the MITs?

I have been thinking about Tri-Amping lately.
 

Doodski

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So I suppose youi should keep your mitts of the MITs?
Hehe. MIT has become snake oil oriented. It used to be good proper stuff and no snake oil.

I have been thinking about Tri-Amping lately.
I recommend it. It really gives a lot of control over the drivers. I loved my tri-amp'd system. It sounded fantastic with KEF constructor series woofers and tweeters and Altec Horns sitting on top for mids. @dualazmak has a pretty wild multi amp's system and he seems to enjoy his immensely.
 
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Holmz

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...
I recommend it. It really gives a lot of control over the drivers. I loved my tri-amp'd system. It sounded fantastic with KEF constructor series woofers and tweeters and Altec Horns sitting on top for mids. @dualazmak has a pretty wild multi amp's system and he seem to enjoy his immensely.

I might start with a 2 channel Hypex that has the DSP to do the XO freq+slopes.
Any general pointers?
 

Doodski

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I might start with a 2 channel Hypex that has the DSP to do the XO freq+slopes.
Any general pointers?
Put caps on your tweeters for safety. I never had a issue running without caps when listening but that one day a spike took one out. I recommend get some big horns for the mids. Altecs, JBL and others are cool. There are peeps here that know all about various brand of horns. Me, I just know the Altecs.
 
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Holmz

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Put caps on your tweeters for safety. I never had a issue running without caps when listening but that one day a spike took two out. I recommend get some big horns for the mids. Altecs, JBL and others are cool. There are peeps here that know all about various brand of horns. Me, I just know the Altecs.

Derek and Clive I like listening to, but other than that I avoid the ‘orns.
 

kipman725

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Just use multicore cables and neutrix NL8 on active systems then its still a single cable per speaker. Equipment racks do take up a lot of space but if you have the budget 8 channel DSP amps are available:

A cheaper lower power bareboard solution:
 

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gene_stl

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I might start with a 2 channel Hypex that has the DSP to do the XO freq+slopes.
Any general pointers?
Capacitors AND fuses. SMALL fuses. if they pop you can upsize them. but start small. You don't want the voice coil protecting the fuse. You can oversize the capacitor a little and it will become invisible or close to it.
 

Dion_Sinewave

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Speaking from experience the increase in connection cables and speaker cables makes for issues in what was my tri-amp'd system. There was no hum or ground issues but there was a loud snap sound when I touched a cable and it fried one of my matched tweeters. It was not sooper expensive to replace but it was inconvenient and I never received another matched pair of tweeters after that. I was running MIT and Monster cable interconnects. One of the MIT cables was the one I touched when the snap sound occurred. So there is that aspect.

Another aspect is AC power. Powering up meant the lights dimmed and a intriguing sound could be heard like a large spring being twanged. Lots of power can be drawn and consumed by a multi amp's system. Heat is another consideration. So one requires lots of space for the gear, shelving, table, desk, wall unit etc etc are needed.

Then WAF factor was not good. She looked at it like it was some sort of parasite. Never wanted to listen to it and generally was remote and aloof about it. It consumed a large part of the living room with 4 foot high speakers with large black Altec horns sitting on top and big deep wall unit/book case full of gear.

But I liked it and it sounded fantastic so she just had to deal with it. :D Sacrifices will be made!
I‘ve lost 3 (!!) SEAS Excell tweeters so far during testing with my 4 way active setup..Including their lovely beryllium model that cost me $2,000AUD (matched pair)
 

levimax

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I have a DIY tri-amp system and it is a lot of fun and sounds good and gives me lots of things to play with and upgrade. If you are going to go DSP crossovers I would recomend a PC as most stand alone processors like a mini DSP will run out of processing power for crossovers and room EQ. I use analog active crossovers and Rephase / REW for fine tuning FR and rooms EQ but if I was starting over I would go full DSP as it is much more flexable. Regarding caps to protect the tweeter I decided not to and for 10 years have not had an issue. My reasoning is that a good quality cap big enough to offer reliable protection is fairly expensive and will cause phase issues and tweeters arent that expensive. To me a "clean" signal path from amp to driver is one of the main reasons to tri-amp. Other reasonable people will disagree. In any case have fun.
 

Holmz

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I‘ve lost 3 (!!) SEAS Excell tweeters so far during testing with my 4 way active setup..Including their lovely beryllium model that cost me $2,000AUD (matched pair)

They sell 50W power resisters in 8 ohm.
 
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