Tag: crossovers

What are Crossovers?

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Believe it or not, there is a lot more that can go into a sound system than a headunit, speakers, subwoofer and amplifier. One such piece is a crossover. A crossover’s basic function is to take a single signal and split it up into multiple signals of specific frequency bands, low range, mid-range and high range frequencies. In a car audio system, the crossover then sends those frequency bands to the correct speaker (low frequencies to your subwoofer, mid-range to your speakers and high range to your tweeters).

Speakers Crossover Network

Without a crossover your system would waste a significant amount of energy trying to play frequencies it isn’t designed for, your subwoofer will be trying to play notes intended for your tweeters and vice-versa. This results in poor overall sound quality and can also be potentially hazardous to your system. Because of this, nearly every sound system will have some kind of crossover built-in.

Now, as with all other aspects of your car’s sound system, your system can get by with its existing crossover, but if you want your system to truly reach its potential you’re going to need to add an aftermarket crossover.

Active vs Passive: What’s the difference?

There are 2 types of crossovers you can have in your system, an active crossover or a passive crossover. Passive crossovers don’t need a direct power source to filter signals while active crossovers need power and ground connections. The type of crossover you want really comes down to one thing, how much control do you want over your listending experience?

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Passive Crossover:

Passive crossovers are unpowered and use capacitors and inductor coils to separate the sound frequencies for your system. A good example of a passive crossover is the crossovers that come with a component speaker system. Passive crossovers are wired in-line between the speakers in your system and the amplifier (or source). The passive crossovers that come with your component system come tuned and ready to be installed. One drawback of these crossovers is that because they are located after the amplifier, they waste power filtering a signal that has already been amplified.

Another form of a passive crossover is the in-line crossover. An in-line crossover can come in a few different forms. One can essentially look like a AA battery with an RCA connection on either side and connects to your amplifier’s RCA inputs. Other in-line crossovers will protect your speakers from unwanted frequencies when used after the amplifier by separating the frequencies before they reach the driver.

The biggest tradeoff with a passive crossover is ease of installation while sacrificing some flexibility in your system with the loss of sound customization.

Active Crossover:
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Unlike passive crossovers, an active crossover requires a direct power source. Active crossovers are installed between your receiver and amplifier. As a result of this, active crossovers filter your frequencies before they reach your amplifier which means there is no wasted energy filtering amplified signals. Active crossovers also usually feature a variety of adjustments, including gain controls, low pass and high pass filters while select active crossovers feature built-in equalizers to give you the ultimate control over your system.

The only real disadvantage to an active crossover is the installation. Since an active crossover has to have a power, ground and turn-on connection it has the potential to complicate your install more than a passive crossover. However, if you’re interested in making your system really sing, an active crossover is a must-add piece.

Crossovers at Sonic Electronix

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What Type of Digital Sound Processor (DSP) Do I Need?

When it comes to digital sound processors, there are a few different types which have different benefits and are used to achieve different things. Digital sound processors consists of equalizers, bass restoration processors and expanders, line drivers, crossovers, and factory radio sound processors. Each of these sound processors will improve your specific sound system in a different way. If you want the most out of your sound system, a quality sound processor is essential. After some slight adjustments with any of these devices, your system will sound like it has been professionally tuned and optimized. Read more to find out which sound processor your system could benefit from.


1Equalizers

NVX XEQ7

An equalizer, like the NVX XEQ7, is a device that allows you to fine tune your car’s sound to your liking. These adjustments that an equalizer allows you to make are for specific ranges of sound known as ‘frequency bands’. An equalizer will smooth out the frequency response of your system and help you eliminate unwanted distortion. If you want to have precise control over your sound, you’re going to need to add an equalizer. Adding an equalizer to your sound system will allow you to tune your sound to match your preferences, as well as to the acoustics of your specific car. Read more about equalizers here.

2Bass Restoration Processors + Expanders

AudioControl Epicenter

Bass restoration processors, or bass expanders, improve the low frequency reproduction in a car audio system with at least one subwoofer. Bass expander products, such as the famous AudioControl Epicenter, will help your car’s subwoofers produce more accurate bass. These devices restore the earth-shaking power and heart-pounding bass your subwoofers crave. If you are looking for a system that hits lower and harder, a bass restoration processor is the sound processor for you.

3Crossovers

Electronic crossovers, such as the AudioControl 2XS divide your car’s music into high, low and midrange frequency ranges. These crossovers are perfect for those who want to run an active sound quality system. With an electronic crossover, you can eliminate the passive crossovers and have more control over the frequencies that go to each of the speakers in your system. Some of these crossovers are combinations of both stereo crossovers and stereo equalizers or line drivers.

4Line Drivers

Line drivers will enhance your audio signal output coming from any factory or aftermarket head unit receiver. They help increase the volume output without over-driving your source or amplifier. The use of a line driver, such as the AudioControl OverDrive, in your car audio system will allow your amplifier’s gain to be set lower, and reducing the system’s low-level noise.

5Factory Radio Sound Processors

JBL MS-8

For those who want to keep their factory radio, yet would also like to achieve the best sound possible in their vehicle, factory radio sound processors are just the thing for you. These sound processors, like JBL’s MS-8 Digital Sound Processor, are professional sound processors which improve the acoustics of your factory audio system. With factory radio sound processors, your factory system will sound better than you ever thought possible. In addition, most of these sound processors also have built-in equalizers, line drivers, and crossovers to  improve every measure of audio performance including frequency response, bass performance, dynamics, clarity, detail and stereo imaging.


 

Now that you know what each type of digital sound processor’s function and benefits are, you can better make a decision of which one is best for your sound system. If, however, you still need help choosing which sound processor will work for you, you can always call our knowledgeable experts at 1-877-289-7664!

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Why Add a Car Equalizer?

Add an Equalizer to Your System for Better Sound

Most original factory stereos use preset equalization curves that are designed to get the most out of your car’s factory speakers. When you add aftermarket speakers, subwoofers, and amplifiers to your system, your OEM stereo’s equalizer preset curves do not adjust. This results in underperformance. This is why you need to add an equalizer to your car’s sound system. There are two main types of equalizers: dash and trunk. Dash equalizers are typically installed near the head unit so that you can adjust them frequently, while trunk equalizers are only adjusted periodically.

Sound processors reshape the output of your factory stereo’s preset equalization curves to ensure you get optimal performance out of your aftermarket amplifiers and speakers. A factory sound processor will undermine bass production because it is designed to curb bass production in order to prevent the factory speakers from blowing. In addition, a sound processor will give you the full control you need to produce a high quality sound in the noisy vehicle environment. You will love the hands-on control that an equalizer gives you over your subwoofer output.  You will find most equalizers have a separate subwoofer preamp output with a low-pass filter. Some EQs will even activate the high-pass filters on the front and rear channels while you use the subwoofer preamp output.

A parametric sound equalizer helps you tune your system to the perfect balance. These audio equalizers will also help eliminate infrasonic distortions for a crisper and clearer audio output. The signal relayed from the sound processor to the amp will not have the limitations imposed by factory stereo processors. The result is a more efficient amplifier and a better sound. It is easy to install your aftermarket sound processor, just connect it to the head unit, amps, and subs using speaker wires.

Whether it’s parametric equalizers or Digital Sound Processors, you will enjoy multiple equalization bands with numerous presets and programmable EQ curves. The equalization bands enable you to adjust the sound frequency range, and the presets and programmable curves save your settings so that you will enjoy great sound all the time. You can specify curves for rock, rap, and any other style of music. This can make a world of difference as each style of music uses different tones and rhythms.

Make the upgrade and add an EQ to your system. Doing so will make your tunes sound as though you were live in the studio with the artist.

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