SOTA Speaker Crossovers Investigated

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sq225917
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Re: SOTA Speaker Crossovers Investigated

Post by sq225917 » Thu Oct 18, 2018 10:19 am

I suppose when one isn't designing the values and slopes of the crossover and one doesn't have the correct test gear to accurate measure a loudspeaker and crossover in the lab then brand name shopping for boutique parts is all that's left.
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FrostEOne
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Re: SOTA Speaker Crossovers Investigated

Post by FrostEOne » Sat Oct 20, 2018 5:30 am

Are you serious? Are they actually using high end parts like this and skipping the design and testing phases?

YNWaN
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Re: SOTA Speaker Crossovers Investigated

Post by YNWaN » Sat Oct 20, 2018 1:42 pm

I don’t know if Si is serious, I had rather assumed he was having a dig at myself and the content of the thread. Certainly B&W do a great deal of measuring and YG are very proud of their proprietary software they use to design their crossovers. In addition, YG are not afraid to publish measurements. I know less about the workings of Tidal and Sonus Faber but it’s highly unlikely that such complex crossovers are designed without recourse to measurement.
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sq225917
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Re: SOTA Speaker Crossovers Investigated

Post by sq225917 » Mon Oct 22, 2018 10:51 am

I was questioning the point of the thread without recourse to in room measuring
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YNWaN
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Re: SOTA Speaker Crossovers Investigated

Post by YNWaN » Mon Oct 22, 2018 11:26 am

The thread is just a bit of fun really - a record of what I had noticed manufacturers doing. It’s not intended to suggest you can fling a bunch of fancy components together instead of doing proper design and measurement. I do wonder how many of these manufacturers rely solely on computer modelled predictions for the performance of their crossovers. Also, the use of such boutique components does make these crossovers very large indeed and many of them are housed within the volume of the speaker cabinet - significantly reducing the volume of said cabinet in the process. I also see that some crossovers are mounted in metal housings and it’s very easy to measure the impact that close spacing to metal has on inductors (even non ferrous metals).
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sq225917
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Re: SOTA Speaker Crossovers Investigated

Post by sq225917 » Mon Oct 22, 2018 2:37 pm

I'd imagine there's an awful lot of brand name engineering going on, which is probably why some brands pot them to hid them.
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DSJR
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Re: SOTA Speaker Crossovers Investigated

Post by DSJR » Fri Oct 26, 2018 12:21 pm

Please can I chuck an unintended spanner in the works here - nowt to do with supposed 'quality' of the parts used...

Those new big PMC's have a HUMUNGOUS crossover and all of it affecting the driving amp to a greater or lesser extent. I don't wish to muddy the subject waters here, but going active with these (making them £100k with partnering electronics) would probably have made for a serious speaker, rather than a difficult domestic bodge in my opinion. Well experienced engineers can develop a non-intrusive active crossover which has the capability to do this job so much better than any passive, whatever it's made up with.

My opinion only, so take or leave (probably the latter). Passive crossovers can only take away! Putting in boutique low loss components may well improve things a little, but in my view they're little more than a sticking plaster. Some makers like Harbeth are so utterly entrenched into old ways and methods (despite having a seriously good cone material by all accounts) and their customer base is so into mixing and matching separates, they can't evolve much out of the trench they're well into and top B&W's are a mess if subjected to technical scrutiny, although the high tech and high prices seem to win some reviewers over. I'm surprised PMC are trying to break into the very top-end domestic market like this, but maybe they see a very wealthy client-base itching to spend hundreds of thousands on a stereo, now the pro market for large monitors is so small - it's mostly all done with squitty desktop speakers plus subs I gather.

Sorry to muddy the waters - maybe time for a new thread if agreeable?

sq225917
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Re: SOTA Speaker Crossovers Investigated

Post by sq225917 » Fri Oct 26, 2018 1:25 pm

Active speakers is another skill set though isn't it. One until which quite recently PMC didn't seem to have in house; I see they now make amps as well so one would expect them to follow ATC into active stuff.

If one thinks of a passive XOs as only taking away from the sound then one has to think of active XOs as only being able to add noise to the system. It's a rather narrow world view that doesn't hold up to scrutiny in either case. The truth is that with most modern set-ups we have a good 20db of gain to burn away so why not do it in a passive XO? After all the bits you are taking away are the bits you don't want, the out of band frequency response range for each driver, and flattening off the in band peaks.

So yes, a passive XO is subtractive, but done well it's subtracting all the stuff you don't want. Which has to be far better than running a driver full bandwidth and just accepting the convergence of its enclosure constraints and own mechanical roll-off.
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Re: SOTA Speaker Crossovers Investigated

Post by YNWaN » Fri Oct 26, 2018 1:39 pm

Active operation, proper active operation* that is, where the crossover is between the pre-amp and the power amp, isn’t very popular in the global high-end. I’m not sure why this is the case, but it is. Very few speakers competing in the 50K+ market allow for active operation. In fact, one of the speaker manufactures mentioned in this thread, YG, used to make their flagship model (as it was then) with active bass built in. Apparently customers didn’t like this because they wanted to choose their own bass amp and so all models are now fully passive. As for B&W, over recent years they have hugely simplified the crossovers of their top speakers and specifically cited a freeing up of dynamic.

* Rather confusingly, in the US, active operation is a term sometimes used to describe, what we would call, bi, or tri, amping. Confusing because these are fundamentally different approaches.
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Re: SOTA Speaker Crossovers Investigated

Post by YNWaN » Fri Oct 26, 2018 1:42 pm

Look at this shot of of the crossover for a pair of B&Ws top offerings:

Image

Bear in mind this is a three-way design. You can see the three elements of the crossover separated onto individual boards. The top left is the tweeter, then to the right the mid and lowest in the pic is the bass. The tweeter has a very simplistic first order crossover, just a capacitor and a resistor (to level match). The mid looks to be second order and the bass is third order. There don’t appear to be any notch filters or impedance matching elements that normally make up very complex, or ‘difficult’ crossovers. The YG designs, for example, with their very steep crossover slopes, will be much more complex.

I think it’s also worth noting that many crossovers look more complex than they actually are because it is common to find multiple capacitors used to make up one larger value - this increases the component count but not the electrical complexity.
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