- Issue Time
- Aug 5,2023
This article introduces the frequency divider in terms of its type, composition, working principle and actual application.
Overview: What Is A Speaker Crossover?
A speaker crossover (audio crossover)is a critical component in audio systems used to divide audio signals into different frequency ranges and send them to appropriate speaker units, such as woofers, midrange, and tweeters.
The main purpose of a crossover is to ensure that each speaker unit only reproduces its designated frequency range, resulting in clearer, balanced, and high-quality audio performance.
This article introduces the frequency divider in terms of its type, composition, working principle and actual application.
Table of Contents
l Types of Speaker Crossovers
l What parts does it consist of?
l How It Works: Working Principle
l What Types of Speakers Need The Crossovers?
l Are All Speakers Equipped with Crossovers?
l Differences Between Speakers With and Without Crossovers
Types of Crossover For Speakers
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1. Passive Crossovers
Passive crossovers are the most common type, consisting of capacitors, inductors, and resistors.
They are placed inside the speaker cabinet, splitting the input signal into various frequency ranges and directing them to different speaker units (such as woofers, midrange, and tweeters).
By the way, there are tweeters with built in crossover in the market。
This is also for better treble performance.
Passive crossovers are suitable for traditional speaker systems.
2. Active Crossovers
Active crossovers are electronic devices placed in the audio signal path, receiving the audio input signal, splitting it into different frequency ranges, and processing each range individually.
Active crossovers include filters, amplifiers, and other electronic components.
They offer precise control over frequency response and allow independent adjustment of volume and phase for each speaker unit.
Active crossovers are used in professional audio systems and high-end setups.
For users who have high sound quality, there are some active crossover for home audio.
3. Digital Crossovers
Digital crossovers utilize digital signal processing (DSP) technology to digitize and process the audio signal for frequency splitting.
They provide higher flexibility and accuracy, enabling complex filtering and equalization functions.
Digital crossovers are used alongside digital signal processors in advanced audio systems and professional audio equipment.
4. Active Filters
Active filters are a specialized form of active crossovers where the filtering stage includes an amplifier.
This amplifies the post-crossover signal, enabling it to directly drive the speaker unit, reducing signal loss and distortion.
Active filters are used in high-end audio systems and professional audio setups.
Different types of crossovers cater to various audio systems and application requirements.
The choice of crossover type depends on system design, budget, and sound preferences, thus influencing the final price of the speaker.
3-way Frequency Crossover Circuit Connection
Structural Composition: What parts does it consist of?
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1. Input Interface
Audio crossovers have multiple input interfaces for connecting audio signals from sources like amplifiers, mixers, and audio playback devices.
2. Filter Components
Filters are the core components of a crossover, used to split the input audio signal into different frequency ranges.
Filters can be electronic components like combinations of capacitors, inductors, and resistors, or algorithms in digital signal processing (DSP).
Filters come in various types such as low-pass, high-pass, band-pass, and notch filters, designed to select specific frequency ranges.
3. Crossover Network
The crossover network connects the output of filters to their corresponding speaker units.
Based on the frequency range, the audio signal is directed to the appropriate speaker unit equipped to handle that range.
4. Output Interface
The output interface sends the post-crossover audio signal to the respective speaker unit.
Each output channel corresponds to a specific frequency range, ensuring the correct sound segments are delivered to the corresponding speakers.
5. Control and Adjustment
Audio crossovers feature controls for adjusting frequency ranges, slope (filter steepness), and volume balance.
These adjustments optimize the system's sound performance and match the characteristics of the speaker units.
6. Power Supply
Audio crossovers require a power supply to operate various electronic components and signal processing stages.
Crossovers come in diverse forms with varying characteristics and functions, adapting to the requirements of different audio systems.
2-way Frequency Crossover Circuit Connection
How It Works: Working Principle
The working principle of a speaker crossover is to divide the input full-frequency audio signal into distinct frequency ranges and then send each range's signal to the appropriate speaker unit.
This achieves more accurate sound reproduction and optimizes audio effects.
The crossover's operation involves the following steps.
1. Frequency Splitting
The crossover receives the full-frequency audio signal from the source (such as an amplifier).
Initially, it divides this signal into distinct frequency ranges, such as low, mid, and high frequencies.
2. Filter Processing
Each frequency range's audio signal passes through a corresponding filter, which processes it accordingly. Different types of filters are employed, depending on the needs.
These include low-pass, high-pass, and band-pass filters.
These filters reduce or eliminate unwanted audio content outside the desired frequency range.
3. Slope Setting
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4. Allocation to Speakers
After filter processing, each frequency range's audio signal is assigned to the appropriate speaker unit. For instance, bass signals are sent to the woofer, midrange signals to the midrange speaker, and high-frequency signals to the tweeter.
5. Impedance Matching
Crossovers can also match the impedance of the speaker units, ensuring suitable signal transmission and stability.
6. Phase Correction
Advanced crossovers can correct any phase differences that may occur between different frequency ranges, ensuring consistent sound timing.
The crossover divides the input full-frequency audio signal into distinct frequency ranges and send each range's signal to the appropriate speaker unit.
This ensures more precise, balanced, and high-quality sound reproduction.
It aids in optimizing a speaker's sound performance, allowing each speaker unit to operate at its best and providing an enhanced auditory experience.
Passive Subwoofer Crossover
What Types of Speakers Need The Crossovers?
All multi-driver speaker systems benefit from the use of crossovers, as they help optimize audio performance.
Here we list the common 4 types of the speaker that use the crossovers.
1. 2-Way Speakers
2-way speakers consist of a woofer and tweeter unit.
3-A crossover is necessary to separate and route the low and high-frequency components to their respective drivers.
If you are auto-assembling 2-way speakers, you may need a suitable crossover to tune out the best crossover frequency for the 2-way speakers.
2. 3-Way Speakers
3-way speakers usually include a woofer, midrange, and tweeter. A more complex crossover is required to divide the audio signal into low, mid, and high-frequency ranges, directing each to the appropriate speaker unit.
3. Multi-Way Speakers
Some advanced speakers may have 4-way, 5-way, or more drivers, with each unit responsible for a specific frequency range. These speakers require multi-way crossovers for precise frequency distribution.
4. Passive Subwoofers
Passive subwoofers are designed to enhance low-frequency effects and typically feature a low-pass filter to limit the input signal to the subwoofer.
The presence of a crossover ensures that each speaker unit receives the appropriate signal, tailored to its frequency range, resulting in improved audio performance and sound separation.
Passive Subwoofer Crossover Test Curve
The Passive subwoofer crossover will block the signal above the low frequency.
Only the real bass part is left, so we will feel that the vocal volume is very small.
At this time, the bass will be more prominent, which is used to compensate for the lack of low frequency of the sound.
Are All Speakers Equipped with Crossovers?
The answer is “NO”.
You may ask“do i need a crossover for component speakers？”.
Not all the sound system need it.
Some portable speakers, budget-friendly models, and certain specially designed speakers may not include built-in crossovers.
1. Portable Bluetooth Speakers, crossovers will add components and manufacturing complexity to the speaker, which might be influenced by the internal space of the speaker enclosure.
2. Speakers in the lower price range may omit advanced features such as crossovers to reduce manufacturing costs.
3. Some entry-level speakers may prioritize providing basic audio performance and might not come equipped with intricate crossover systems.
4. Some speaker designs might feature only one driver unit (often referring to full-range units), eliminating the need for crossovers to manage different frequency ranges, especially in the case of subwoofers.
5. Specific professional speaker designs may configure crossover systems externally, such as stage monitoring speakers.
While there are no crossovers in them, the sound can will also good.
Manufacturers can enhance sound performance through speaker design and acoustic engineering.
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Differences Between Speakers With and Without Crossovers
As discussed at the beginning of the article, crossovers serve the purpose of directing each speaker unit to play its designated frequency range, aiming for a clearer, more balanced, and higher quality audio performance.
This section primarily addresses aspects such as sound quality, audio range, and speaker handling capabilities, highlighting the disparities between systems with and without crossovers.
1. Sound Quality and Sonic Performance
Crossovers-equipped speakers effectively manage distinct frequency ranges, enabling smoother separation between bass, midrange, and treble, thus preventing overlap between these segments.
This contributes to a more precise, lucid, and well-balanced sound quality.
In the absence of crossovers, sonic transitions might appear vague or disjointed during frequency shifts, impacting overall sound performance.
2. Audio Range
Speakers featuring crossovers offer a broader audio range, ensuring accurate representation from low to high frequencies.
Conversely, systems lacking crossovers might exhibit relative weakness in specific frequency bands, potentially constraining performance in both high and low-frequency aspects.
3. Processing Capability
Crossover-equipped speakers efficiently allocate various frequency bands to dedicated speaker units, thereby alleviating individual speaker strain and enhancing the overall sound processing capacity. Without this division, systems might struggle when handling intricate audio signals, leading to suboptimal performance, especially with complex soundscapes.
4. Distortion Resistance
Crossovers play a pivotal role in reducing speaker distortion, allowing distinct frequency bands to propagate more accurately, consequently mitigating the likelihood of distortion.
Speaker systems devoid of crossovers may be more susceptible to distortion, particularly in high and low-frequency domains.
This effect becomes more pronounced in certain scenarios, such as with compact portable Bluetooth speakers.
For instance, when using a diminutive portable Bluetooth speaker, the sound might be voluminous but lack refinement, manifesting as a rough, unpolished audio experience.
speakers equipped with crossovers are capable of delivering higher quality and more balanced sound, making them extensively utilized in the speaker manufacturing industry.
They contribute significantly to achieving high-quality audio, making a substantial contribution in the realm of superior sound reproduction.
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