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Old 23rd August 2012, 08:55 PM   #1
muskel is offline muskel  Estonia
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Default Digital crossover for 3-way speakers

I have built myself 3-way speakers. They are completely passive and without a crossover. I have a spare PC that i could use for crossover duties or i could use an external solution (minidsp).
What would be the best way to go about this ?
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Old 24th August 2012, 12:13 AM   #2
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The best way would depend on your experience and skill level with DSPs and hardware. Ideally roll your own solution because then you can avoid all the compromises of the commercially available choices. But few people have enough knowledge to do that.

If you have almost unlimited software skills then going the PC route is an option, otherwise I'd avoid that route. It will be hard to get sounding good unless your EMC abilities are above average too.

MiniDSP is a good route for a beginner I feel.
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Old 24th August 2012, 02:48 AM   #3
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EMC issues should be pretty much negligible with a good audio interface for the PC. The catch is the interface costs as much as a MiniDSP plus one has additional cost and complexity in maintaing the PC and running some sort of VST host or DAW on it. However, a PC + audio interface is kind of mandatory if one's doing much in the way of measurements (unless you want to throw even more money at it) and you have to sort out the same software loop to do the measurements as you need for playback. So it can be handy to let the PC do double duty and save the cost of a MiniDSP. If the budget permits in the end it's kind of nice to have both solutions.
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Old 24th August 2012, 05:52 AM   #4
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how much did you want to spend ?
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Old 24th August 2012, 12:37 PM   #5
tmavr is offline tmavr  Barbados
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you need a sound card with 6 outputs
(a cheap onboard 5.1 one? Or an expensive professional part)
And software to do the xover
There are even basic plugins for foobar
There is support under linux for brutefir for room correction etc.
There are vst plugins for professional software

In the end … it depends on what you want to do
What you can do
And your budget, e.g. woyld you put 6 different dacs - one for each channel ?
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Old 24th August 2012, 12:51 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by tmavr View Post
(a cheap onboard 5.1 one? Or an expensive professional part)
Audio interfaces at MiniDSP's price points can have better DACs than the ADAU1701 used in the MiniDSP 2x4. The parts used on the interfaces aren't usually speced, but MiniDSP doesn't do that either (though I did see one mention here on DIYA that the 2x8 might use a CS42528). Third party performance measurements exist but are pretty limited so mostly one's looking at buying something, cracking the case, and doing some characterizing whichever way one goes. Either way, it's more cost effective to set the power amp gain for good bit depth utilization in a decent DAC than to throw money at DACs with somewhat better headline specs.
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Old 24th August 2012, 03:40 PM   #7
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I have a couple of different MiniDSP crossover products, and the nice thing about them is that you do not need to have the computer running when you want to listen to music. Not sure if a computer is integrated into your system or not...

+1 on the need for a computer based measurement system.

Also, I have crated a free active crossover design tool suite using Excel that exports the "advanced biquads" to the MiniDSP. I have had great success designing and implementing crossovers for several systems using these tools. They are somewhat advanced, however, but there is lots of documentation and I am happy to answer user's questions.


Last edited by CharlieLaub; 24th August 2012 at 03:44 PM.
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Old 28th August 2012, 09:36 PM   #8
muskel is offline muskel  Estonia
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I want to do measurements in room so i have been looking at audio interfaces - onboard analog audio in pcs is crap. I want the audio interface to be with balanced outputs.
My computer is my source of music. Its always on and doubles as a server.
Can i have systemwide XO with my audio interface? What software can i use ? Will Allocator work ?
Spending up to $500 is ok. Buying used on eBay seems a good idea..
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Old 28th August 2012, 10:19 PM   #9
Pano is offline Pano  United States
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If you want to spend a long time twiddling and fooling with software and glitches, get a computer based crossover. On the other hand, if you want to do it quickly and less painfully, get a hardware based system. Either miniDSP or the DCX2496.
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Old 29th August 2012, 02:35 AM   #10
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I use J River Media Center for the xo and eq of my 4-way speakers, and it handles all of my pc sources (hd, netflix, spotify etc) without any problems. Smooth sailing. I've been running this way the last 5 months on a Walmart Acer and I'm satisfied. Best part is the JR team is constantly upgrading based on user feedback. Only $50 plus the interface......and no I don't work for them.

There's a few things in its DSP section that are lacking but can be worked around. I have no doubt that they will get to that though.
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