Want to Build Your Own Speaker Crossover Network?

This really isn’t hard, and you can do it!

Use your computer to perform the functions of the speaker crossover network.

Learn how to build your own speaker crossovers using a typical PC. Use the computer to set up digital crossover slopes, play music, movies, and even add room correction.

You can even build your own HTPC (home theater PC) very easily.

How the PC or HTPC speaker crossover workstwo-way-passive-crossover

This is a start to finish breakdown of the different software and hardware functions and how they work.

• J River (or your media player) plays the media file; in this case let’s say an uncompressed WAV file that was burned to hard drive from a CD.

• Within the J River player it also can implement an up sampler that takes the output from 44.1 KHz up to 88.2 KHz. You have to set this up within J River, but I like this feature. This is in their output configurations tab.

• I set J River to output this signal to the ESI Juli@ digital output.

• The digital signal exits the computer via a digital coax cable (from the Juli@).

The Echo Audiofire 8

• The digital coax cable is plugged into an Echo Audiofire8 firewire interface box. (which is also plugged into the PC via firewire cable)

• The Echo firewire interface intercepts the digital signal from the coax cable (from the Juli@) and sends it back into two-way-active-crossoverthe PC through the firewire cable.

Thuneau Allocator Lite speaker crossover network software

• For the speaker crossover network I use Thuneau Allocator Lite software

o Thuneau Allocator Lite is a software program that can take its input from any ASIO interface on your PC

o I set the Alloc. Lite to take its signal from the digital input on the Echo Audiofire 8 (which is receiving the signal from the ESI Juli@).

o The Alloc. Lite software will take the two channel digital signal and split it into a 2 way, 3 way, or 4 way speaker crossover. Sending the right signal to each of the speaker drivers that they can handle.

– You need to follow the instructions that come with the Allocator Lite to properly set up the crossover slopes for each speaker driver.

– If you have built your own DIY speakers you need to choose drivers that will work well with one another. Study the frequency response and distortion characteristics of many drivers before choosing your final setup. Make sure you understand this process.

– You can also use a Thuneau Frequency Allocator (this is a different software product than the Allocator Lite, which is only crossover and room correction) to correct the phase of your speaker system.

The Frequency Allocator product has both the Phase Arbitrator and Allocator Lite built into it. So it can correct for phase while also correcting fortwo-way-active-crossover-digital room correction and speaker crossovers slopes.

• The Allocator Lite will then output (while still in the digital domain) the 6 channels of digital signal to a multi-channel firewire DAC.

You need one channel for each channel of acoustic output. I have a 3 way speaker system, so I need 3 channels for each stereo speaker.

o Which means I need a total of 6 output channels

o You can even do surround sound this way. You would just need more output DAC channels. And more instances of Allocator Lite crossover network software as well as a surround sound decoder.

• The 6 individual channels of digital output are sent back out of the PC via the firewire cable to the Echo Audiofire 8. (the firewire cable and devices can send the digital signal both ways, and in this case it does)

Digital to Analog Conversion

• The Echo Audiofire 8 then does a D to A conversion (within the firewire interface box), also known as a DAC. This is the first time that the signal is converted into analog.

The Echo converts the digital signal to analog, applies gain, and sends the signal to your amplifiers.

You can use the digital volume control of the PC to provide volume. I have a keyboard that has a volume control on it, just for convenience.

      o You can also use a multi-channel preamplifier so that you don’t degrade the bandwidth of the digital signal by using it for volume control. Digital volume controls do degrade the digital signal, whether this is audible or not, I cannot tell. On my system, it sounded better removing the analog preamp and running straight to the amps. Even if it did mean I was losing some digital resolution.

o There are some arguments about digital volume controls, but with an up sampled 88.2 KHz signal the loss is pretty minor. You have to decide if this is worth it to invest in an additional piece of equipment (analog multi-channel preamp).
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