4 Ways to the Best Speaker Crossover - "Active Speakers, Passive Speakers,
and Digital HTPC Crossover"

Definition of Speaker Crossover? The crossover splits the signal between tweeter, mid-range, and bass drivers in a loudspeaker.

~ sending those drive (speaker cones) units the signal that they are able to safely handle.

Without a crossover, you likely will burn up voice coils in the speakers.

passive crossover picture

The crossover must be designed for the specific speaker drivers in use.

The Four Best speaker crossovers

1. The passive speaker crossover (most commonly used crossover) splits the signal at amplified level where there are high voltages and loads- after the amplifier.

Usually, this occurs from within the speaker itself.

This is the way most commercial speaker systems are built and it is not the most efficient use of available technology.

Passive speakers are thought to be the most economical crossovers. You can skip the hassle and just buy a set of high quality complete surround sound speakers? -see this page.

If you have your mind set on building a passive speaker system the Sound Easy Speaker Crossover Software is a very good passive crossover program to help you build the crossover networks.


A high performance Crossover designed for High Performance speakers:

active crossover picture 2. The active speaker crossover splits the signal at line level where there are only low voltages and loads, prior to reaching the amplifiers.

This method is accepted as superior to passive crossover components used in typical speaker systems.

To see the active crossovers available go to Parts Express – Free Shipping Every Day on most orders over $98 (Restrictions apply).

Enter "active crossover" in the search field at the top right of the Parts Express page.

The Digital audio Speakers Crossover:

3. The digital speaker crossover splits the signal in the digital domain also prior to the amplifiers.

This unit takes an analog signal and converts to digital or takes a digital signal and then implements digital filters for crossover slopes.

Amazon link shows digital crossovers that can be used with an active speaker system. Filter slopes, time delay, and any imaginable speaker function can be adjusted digitally with the use of a computer program. Once set up, these speaker controllers need not be attached to the PC. They function as a standalone unit.

To see some of the digital crossovers available go to Parts Express – Free Shipping Every Day on most orders over $98 (Restrictions apply). Enter "digital crossover" in the search field at the top right of the Parts Express page.


Digital Software Loud Speaker Crossover:

Thuneau software crossover screenshot 4. Digital software crossover: This type of Digital software crossover: Taking Loud speaker performance to a Higher Level

Utilizes a home PC or HTPC to perform the algorithms and math for your speaker crossover slopes.

Any filter is easily introduced here.

Room correction, and loudspeaker crossover slopes also.

Uses IIR filter (Foobar 2000) and (Thuneau-Allocator Lite) or

A system such as Acourate Software uses FIR filters, which some believe to be better filters overall. I've used them both, and they both have their merits. FIR exhibit less ringing, but use more computing power. Sonically, I'm not sure you can tell much difference.

The 'ringing' is pretty hard to nail down, or even to make a determination that it isn't more pleasant to listen to. Still, if you're after the last bit of accuracy you would need to use FIR filter taps or a system that uses them such as Acourate Software for speakers. Acourate has an excellent reputation as well. Read more about using a computer to setup your HTPC software and speaker crossovers here.

Video for basic setup info using Allocator Lite...

All of the speaker crossover slopes are achieved in the digital domain.

None of the distortions and losses associated with passive crossover components exist.

Free Speaker Plans! Go to our Digital Audio Speakers and Speaker Plans page.

For more information about digital software crossovers and the HTPC read this article.

To help you to get a better grasp of how FIR digital filter technology works together to create the ultimate playback system.




Things You May Need to Build Speakers and speaker crossovers:

Articles You Can Find from this page

1. Go to digital audio speakers - "speaker blueprints" page. Free Plans!

2. Is 12 guage speaker wire enough? How big is too big?

3. Need computer speakers? Find one of the best computer speakers here!

4. More about crossovers and crossover network at digital speaker-crossover page.

5. What's so great about the digital-crossover?

6. Choosing a speaker crossover frequency using wavelength

1. Speaker Design Plans To see our custom speaker plans go to our digital audio speaker page.

2. Speaker box wood panels and materials for speaker construction such as birch ply, MDF, and HDF.

To see our custom speaker plans go to our digital audio speaker page.

3. Speaker drivers

(bass, tweeters, mid drivers)

4. Speaker Finishing veneer or paint for speaker cabinet exterior. If you plan to paint yourself additional hardware is necessary. Paint gun, compressor, hoses, filters, etc.

Or an auto body shop could usually paint them for you also.

5. Speaker cabinet hardware, damping material, stuffing, front baffle felt (wool is the best material, then fiberglass, etc.)

6. Cabling Wire & Cable - Parts Express a large selection of bulk reels to completed cables in every style and length.

7. Speaker Binding posts (one pair for each speaker driver)

8. Speaker Internal wiring (from binding posts to driver leads)Wire & Cable - A large selection of bulk reels to completed cables in every style and length.


Digital Software Crossover Parts for a HTPC style Speaker Crossover:

1. Digital Crossover: (software)- crossover program to split digital signal for each driver type.

2. External Digital to Analog Converter: Quality among these devices has really come up in the last few years. Pro quality firewire interfaces or sound-cards

3. Multichannel preamplifier (one output channel for each speaker drivers type within the individual loudspeaker)

4. Amplifiers (one channel for each speaker driver or way- same as multi-channel preamplifier)

5. Blu-ray player for HD video (this can be routed into the computer and uses the crossover program to split the signal for each tweeter, mid driver, bass etc.

6. Digital switch (allows you to use multiple digital devices such as a Blu-ray player, DVD player, CD player etc.

When looking for parts there are a number of vendors that will provide a good service as low prices. Personally, I use Parts Express for many of my purchases. I have always found them to be reliable. Find speaker components and parts at Parts Express – Free Shipping Every Day on most orders over $98 (Restrictions apply). Enter "digital crossover" in the search field at the top right of the Parts Express page.



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Why DIY your HTPC or Home Theater Computer?

Digital Crossovers and the HTPC

Why DIY or 'build your own' Home Speaker System?

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Parts Express: Your #1 Speaker Building Resource


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