Tag: sound processor

What are Crossovers?


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?

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:

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

View our current selection of crossovers


How to Install a Car Equalizer


Required Tools:

  • Screwdrivers (Flat, Phillips) and Screws
  • Wire Stripper
  • Amp Kit (RCA cables, Power/Ground Wires, Terminals, Remote Lead)
  • Wire Crimper
  • Electrical Tape

You may need one or more of the following: Drill, Socket Wrench set, Soldering Iron, Wire ties

Some equalizers are designed to be mounted in the dash, above or below your head unit. Remote mount equalizers can be mounted in the trunk or anywhere else between the head unit and the amp. The key is to put your equalizer in a location where you can easily access it for making sound adjustments.

Install a remote-mount EQ using screws and a screwdriver. You may want to create a platform for the EQ if you anticipate your vehicle’s rattling will skew the EQ performance. Sometimes mounting an EQ directly on a vehicle’s steel surface can cause distortions to due the vibrations from uneven roads.

Installing an in-dash EQ in the dash requires some custom modifications. Mount the EQ below or above the head unit for a secure and easily accesible position. Or you can attach a special mounting kit below the dash and house the EQ right below the dash. Where you mount the EQ depends on how much available space is in your dash and how much modification you are comfortable performing on your vehicle.

Car Eq

EQ Wiring Configuration

You need to connect the EQ to the fuse panel to generate 12-volt power. Strip one end of 16 gauge wire and connect it to the EQ’s power input. Run the wire to the fuse panel and connect the wire with a fuse tap to the 12-volt power source. For the ground connection, you must undo a bolt or a screw that is near the EQ (or drill a hole to add one). Use the crimping tool to crimp a ring terminal to the end of your wire, and then fasten the bolt/screw back into the hole.

To generate the turn-on signal, remove the head unit from the dash and pick out the turn-on wire (typically a blue wire). Strip a small piece at the end of the turn-on wire. Now take an additional wire that will stretch from the head unit to the EQ, and strip off a piece from the end of it. Connect the two wires with a crimp tool or a solder. Use electrical tape to fasten the connection and to prevent an electrical short. Run the turn-on lead from your dash to the EQ and fasten the wires with wire ties. But before you put the head unit back in, you need to setup the signal connection. To do so, connect a set of RCA cables to the head unit’s preamp outputs. Tape the RCA cables together to prevent them from separating. Run the RCA cables through the dash to the equalizer and connect them to the EQ inputs.

Use additional RCA cables to connect the EQ to the amplifier (one set of RCA cables per amp). Connect the RCA cables to the amp’s outputs and run them back through to the EQ’s inputs. Do not run the cords alongside the amp’s power cables, doing so could lead to undesirable sound distortion.

Turn on the EQ and make sure all of the functions work properly. If everything works, put the head unit back into place, and you’re ready to rock.

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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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