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What does a crossover switch do??????? (1 Viewer)

buckrogers71

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Scott
I purchased a set of 5 1/4" In ceiling speakers w/ a Crossover with -3, -6 dB Switch. I set the speakers at -6 db b/c I had no idea what to do w/ this switch.

Could someone educate me as to where to set this in regards to a modest 5.1 surround sound? Also if someone could educate me as to what this switch is used for?

Thanks in advance
 

Dan Driscoll

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What are the make and model of the speakers?

Excuse me if you already know some of this. Assuming 2-way or 2 driver speakers, it sounds like the crossover (aka filter) of your speakers has an adjustable slope. The crossover separates or filters the signal going to each driver so that it only gets the frequencies that it is capable of reproducing. Filters have a slope, that is, how steeply the response curve rolls off when you get to the frequency limits of the filter. How the filter rolls off will have a large impact on how well the sound from the drivers blends together. A -3db per octave rolloff is gentle, -6db more steep. You should try both and see which sounds best to you.
 

Dan Driscoll

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Not a problem.
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Take a look at the Front photo of your speaker that I've attached. Your speakers are known as coaxial 2-way speakers. They are called 2-way speakers because they have 2 drive units, a tweeter for high frequency sound and a woofer or bass driver for mid and low frequency sound. They are coaxial because the tweeter (the white thing in the middle of the Front photo) is mounted through the woofer, so they are mounted on the same axis.

In most cases your receiver or amplifier sends a full range signal to each speaker. Depending on your equipment, the frequency range can be 20 hertz to 20,000 hertz, or even more. However, each individual driver is typically only capable of reproducing a part of that musical signal without a lot of distortion. To avoid this distortion, a pair band pass filters, called a crossover network or crossover, is installed at the input of each speaker. Take a look at the Back photo. The red cylinders and white rectangles on the blue flange are part of the crossover network.

The high bandpass filter section of the crossover network allows the high frequency signals to pass through to the tweeter, while blocking the mid and low frequency part of the signal. The low bandpass filter section does the oppostie, it allows the mid/low frequency portion of the signal to pass through to the woofer and blocks the high frequency portion. But it's not a brick wall, they do overlap. How much they overlap and the steepness of the roll-off is a major component in determining how a speaker will sound. The switch allows you to adjust that, so you can tailor the sound to suit your installation.

These switches are more common on in-wall and in-ceiling speakers, because the framing and insulation of the wall or ceiling will vary from house to house and that will have a major impact on the sound of the speaker. For example, the speaker will sound very different if it is mounted in a ceiling with lots of insulation than in a ceiling with little or no insulation. Regular floorstanding or bookshelf speakers generally don't have these switches because they are enclosed in a cabinet that is always the same. However, even some regular speakers do allow the user to adjust the crossover in different ways.

The best thing for you to do is try each switch position and listen for what sounds best to you. There is no right or wrong on this, it's strictly personal preference. Have fun.
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patrickjay96008

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Wow, Dan! You seem to be considerably well informed in this area, so I would also love to pick your brain for possible suggestions on how to set the various crossovers for my system. Although I realize such settings sometimes boil down to personal preference, I would still enjoy garnering any informed opinions to act as a jump off point.

To start, I have a Denon AVR-2807 for my receiver. My HT system is setup for 5.1 with Def Tech SM350s for my 2 fronts, a Def Tech C/L/R 2002 for my center, Def Tech BP2Xs for my 2 surrounds, and a Def Tech ProSub 1000 for my subwoofer. I hope that information is helpful. If not I can provide more.

So, first off, I know that the option of setting your speakers to "Large" or "Small" is a key factor in how your crossover will be handled. My speakers handle low end frequencies well, making the "Large" setting an option, but what do you suggest for getting the best crossover out of my system as a whole?

Second, the frequency response is 26Hz - 30kHz for my SM350s with a suggested A/V Receiver Crossover Setting of 60Hz, 30Hz - 30kHz for my C/L/R 2002 with a suggested A/V Receiver Crossover Setting of 60Hz, and 45Hz - 30kHz for my BP2Xs with a suggested A/V Reciver Crossover Setting of 80Hz. Meanwhile, my ProSub 1000 has a frequency response of 18Hz - 150Hz. With all that in mind, do you agree with these suggested crossovers, and would you imagine that they pertain more appropriately to "Large" or "Small" speaker settings? If you do not agree, would you happen to have any cursory suggestions on what crossovers to start with?

In any case, what would you suggest I initially set the crossover for the subwoofer in order to get the best crossover?

Once again, I know a lot of this is opinion, but I am new to this and would just love to set a frame of reference. Also, sorry for the loaded question, but I hope it makes sense, and I would greatly appreciate any advice you might have.

Thank you so very much in advance.

Patrick
 

Dan Driscoll

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Hello Patrick,

Thanks for the compliment, but I want to make it clear I am not an expert on speaker or audio crossover design. Most of what I have learned is from being a lifetime music/audio lover and 20+ years of experince in the RF (Radio Frequency) field. There are many people here and on other forums that are far more knowledgeable than me, including a number who design and build their own speakers.

I'll be happy to make some recommendations, but as you noted, it comes down to personal preference. If I make any glaringly wrong suggestions I hope some of the real experts will correct me.


You're welcome, I hope this helps and that I haven't made any major mistakes or sent you off on a bad tangent. Just keep in mind that the only thing which really matters is what sounds best to you. I that means doing something completely contrary to what I recommended, do it anyway.

Enjoy,
 

patrickjay96008

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Dec 4, 2008
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Patrick Smith
Dan,

Thank you for the solid advice. While I'm one to childishly itch for setting everything to Large in the hopes of getting "big" theater sound, but I think I'm going about it the wrong way. Because I've been getting a fairly "muddy" sound as I assume the crossover setting is not quite right when most of the speakers are set to Large.

So your advice will help me curb that urge to push the speakers to their limit. Especially since someone else has mentioned that Def Tech exaggerates the low FR capabilities of at least some of their speakers anyway.

I'm anxious to get home and test out your advice--I'm sure it's at least in the ballpark of what I need to do.

Thanks again for the thoughtful information! I will keep you posted on my results.

Take care until then.
 

Dan Driscoll

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Yeah, muddy bass is usually a sing that a speaker is being driven at low frequencies it can't really handle. Also, don't be afraid to try setting your front speakers to SMALL or setting the front crossover at 80 hertz and letting the sub handle all of the low frequencies. If you don't like it you can always change it back.

Good luck and have fun.
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