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Active crossovers are not seen often in home audio (except for home theater system with subwoofer outputs). Active crossovers are mounted upstream of the amplifier and require a separate amplifier for each driver in the speaker. A speaker with a woofer, midrange, and tweeter would require three separate amplifiers if using an active crossover. The advantage is that the separation of sound frequencies is happening at a low voltage and each amplifier is called on to do less, so the amplifiers can be smaller.
Active crossovers have the advantage of being almost infinitely adjustable. If you are the designer, you can change crossover frequency, and channel output with the turn of a dial. Of course, without a full set of instruments, proper setting for accurate performance is almost impossible.
It takes a very special speaker to reproduce the entire audio spectrum without the aid of a crossover. Most well-regarded full range speakers cover from about 80 Hz to 14,000 Hz (which isn't anywhere near full range of 20 Hz to 20000 Hz).
The advantages of using one speaker to cover the all program material is the unparallel imaging and soundstage and true 'point source' sound it produces. Some single driver fanatics go the vintage route, while others choose to go with new speakers. The Ohm A (the largest Walsh speaker ever made) was the only nearly full range speaker ever produced with a response from 30 Hz to 20,000 Hz.
Passive Crossovers are most common in speakers today because they can be mounted directly in a speaker cabinet and can work with almost any amplifier or receiver. These speakers separate the sound coming from the amplifier and direct it to the appropriate driver within the speaker.
Passive crossovers are comprised of capacitors and coils, and may sometimes incorporate a switch or knob to change the output level of a tweeter or midrange speaker in relation to the woofer. Passive crossovers do their job well and the designer has total control.
Speakers are designed to reproduce sound, however, you usually need multiple speakers to cover the audible range of human hearing. To have a seamless transition between subwoofer, woofer, midrange and tweeter, a crossover is used to split the sound between the different speakers. Most speaker crossovers are of the passive variety: they are mounted downstream of the amplifier and are mounted within the speaker enclosure.
Active crossovers are mounted upstream of the amplifier, and require a separate amplifier for each driver in the speaker. A speaker with a woofer, midrange, and tweeter would require three separate amplifiers if using an active crossover. Since we hear voices with the most detail, it is important to keep crossovers out of the 100 Hz to 1000 Hz range.
|Sheri Ann Richerson|