Ever since the first Edison phonographs, record players, and radios became available to the general public, consumers have wanted to have access to the best sound quality possible through their devices and speakers. Technology has advanced at a record pace over the past hundred years, and we now have access to a sound quality from our stereo equipment that would have been unimaginable to those early listeners. One of the most significant advancements has been the use of multiple sizes and styles of speakers that work together to produce a perfect sound quality that can’t be provided by just a single speaker or multiple speakers of the same size and design. So how can various styles and sizes of speakers work together to provide you with the best possible quality sound? The answer is a speaker crossover.
A speaker crossover is a device that filters out an audio frequency into multiple frequency ranges so that these specific signals can be sent out to different speakers that are specially designed to operate within the particular frequency ranges they are receiving. Simply put, a speaker crossover will single out the high, mid, and low frequencies and send them out to the speakers that are best suited for these frequencies. High frequency signals are sent out to tweeters, mid-range frequencies are sent out to the mid-range speakers, and the lowest frequencies are sent out to the subwoofers to produce the highest amount of bass possible. By allowing each speaker to operate with the exact frequencies that it was designed for, a speaker crossover allows a sound system to operate at maximum peak efficiency and lets you hear the best sound possible.
Importance of Crossovers
Anyone who enjoys listening to music knows that the quality of the sound coming out of a stereo system’s speakers will play a significant role in if the music honestly sounds good or not. A stereo system that is not set up correctly can make the best music sound terrible, and no one wants to hear a low-quality version of their favorite song. Every stereo system, whether inside a building or installed on a vehicle, really needs a speaker crossover to allow you to achieve the best results. People have different preferences when it comes to listening to music. Some prefer an emphasis on the high notes, others love hearing the low notes and want the bass to be heard above all else, while many prefer a perfect blend of highs, mediums, and lows. Any speaker can produce sound, but if you want the highest quality sound possible, then multiple speakers with a speaker crossover will need to be used. For instance, a cell phones speaker might sound ok, and compared to a speaker from a hundred years ago, probably sounds pretty good, but if you stream that music to a sound system made up of multiple speakers, each operating within the frequency parameters they were intended to use, it will sound like the band is right in front of you!
A speaker crossover is essential because it will allow you to build your stereo system the way you want it, with an emphasis on the sounds you like the most. Almost any system using more than one speaker will use some form of crossover to improve the quality of sound. Realizing how a crossover works gives you the knowledge to make your existing speakers, and any more that you might add, work perfectly in unison with one another and allows the sound system to cancel out unwanted noise.
2 Types of Speaker Crossovers
When it comes to speaker crossovers there are two main types to consider, an electronic crossover and a passive crossover. An electronic (sometimes referred to as “active”) crossover operates exactly as the name implies, it uses a power and a ground signal in order to operate. It is wired in between the amplifier and receiver and cancels out any unneeded frequencies and allows the amplifier to focus only on the frequencies that are needed for each speaker. Electronic crossovers often will have volume controls and other features that will enable you to fine tune your system to get the results you desire. The only real disadvantage of using an electronic crossover is that it will need to be wired to a 12v power source, a good ground, and might require other connections and some fine tuning which could make an electronic speaker crossover harder to install than a passive version. While the installation might be slightly more difficult, many find that an electric speaker crossover gives you greater tuning ability due to the fact that they often offer more sound processing features than a passive crossover.
A passive speaker crossover accomplishes the same general goals as an electric version, but does not have to be hooked up to a direct power source to work. Passive crossovers are usually easy to install and can further be split into two groups, inline crossovers and component crossovers. An inline crossover connects in between the amplifier and the receiver. They are usually set to a specific frequency and are not adjustable. A component crossover fits in between the amp and speakers and splits the signal into two parts for highs and lows. Most component crossovers have some adjustment, but none of the passive speaker crossovers offer as much adjustment and tuning ability as an electronic crossover, which makes the electric crossover the favorite for use in competition level stereo systems.
3 Ways to Crossover Frequencies
There are three main ways to crossover frequencies when it comes to dealing with most sound systems. Band-pass, low-pass, and-high pass are your three options, and each accomplishes a particular goal. Low-pass and high-pass filters focus on opposite ends of the frequency spectrum, but can be combined to form a band-pass filter. Below are some of the specific details about each way to crossover a frequency.
-Low-pass filters will pass signals through with a lower frequency than what is selected as its cut-off point and cancels out frequencies that are higher than the cut-off point from the audio signal. These work best for speakers that focus on low frequencies and bass friendly music
-High-pass filters will pass through frequencies that are higher than the selected cut-off frequency and removes frequencies below the cut-off point from the audio signal. These work great for speakers that focus on higher sounds, such as tweeters and other small speakers.
-Band-pass filters are generally used over the frequency ranges of 300 MHz to 100 GHz. They will cancel out frequencies that are outside of their specified range, whether they are too high or too low, so they act as a combination of low and high pass filters.
All of these types of speaker crossovers will accomplish the same goal of letting you customize your sound system by allowing each speaker to operate closer to its full potential and focusing on the frequencies they were designed to work with. Which type of crossover filter you use will depend on things as varied as the location of your sound system, what kind of music you enjoy listening to, and what you are trying to get out our your stereo system (do you want to listen to some music on a leisurely drive or are you trying to win a speaker completion?). Some crossovers are easier to install and set up than others, but all will instantly whelp with the quality of sound that is coming out of your speakers, tweeters, and subwoofers.
Garage Bagger Stereo
So you have decided to upgrade your existing stereo system or build a new one from scratch but aren’t sure where to start? There is a lot of stereo equipment available online, but how will you know if you are purchasing high-quality components? The best way to be sure you are getting the best equipment available is to buy it from a reputable source like Garage Bagger Stereo, where we sell all of the top brands and equipment. Our website is easy to navigate and has pretty much anything you can think of to help you reach your sound system goals. If you are looking for a new head unit for your boat, a waterproof speaker for your motorcycle, a speaker crossover to ensure you are getting the optimal sound from your speakers, and any part in-between, we have got you covered.
At Garage Bagger Stereo, we focus on the best stereo equipment on the market and are ready to help with any question you might have. We are just a call or email away and have years of combined knowledge when it comes to sound systems. If you have a question about one specific piece of equipment or if you are trying to build a custom system from the ground up, we are here to help point you in the right direction. Free shipping and payment plans are available on certain items to help get you the parts you need as quickly as possible. So check out our selection, ask any questions you might have, order and install the best stereo equipment on the market, and enjoy listening to your favorite music in the highest quality possible!