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Multi-Way Conventional loudspeakers with crossovers

'correct' driver polarity doesn't agree with my ears...
'correct' driver polarity doesn't agree with my ears...
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Old 10th April 2018, 02:27 PM   #1
kcducttaper is offline kcducttaper  United States
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Default 'correct' driver polarity doesn't agree with my ears...

I've built a 2-way and now am building a 3-way speaker. I know it's usually advised to flip the polarity of a driver (the mid in a 3-way and a tweeter in a 2-way) to reduce interference at the XO points. My preferred method for measuring/XO design is to hook each driver up to one channel of my iNuke DSP so I can change whatever settings on the fly. The weird thing is, when I've got my mid's polarity flipped (180 on my DSP), I can measure a pretty darn flat XO transition with no EQ. However, when I flip the mid's polarity back and forth between 0 and 180 on my DSP, 0 sounds more natural and smooth. When I flip to 180 (effectively reversing polarity on the mid), my measurements look much better, but it sounds stressed to my ears. Almost like there's a little pressure building up in my ears and I have to clear them if that makes sense. I'll flip it back to 0, and things instantly sound smoother and more natural. I noticed the same thing when I built a fairly basic XO using quality Dayton XO components and physically flipped the wires on the tweeter in my 2-way setup. It's a fairly subtle change, but one that has me going WTF?

Last edited by kcducttaper; 10th April 2018 at 02:30 PM.
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Old 10th April 2018, 04:58 PM   #2
eriksquires is offline eriksquires  United States
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It sounds like you have other issues with your overall design.

Can you post design and measurements?



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Old 10th April 2018, 05:05 PM   #3
kcducttaper is offline kcducttaper  United States
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I don't have exact measurements at the moment, but here's a pic. The box externals are 7"w x 13.5"h x 10.5"l. These are generally modeled after Scott's Hafnium build, but with my own spin.

D014AED2-AFDA-477E-B4A4-3DB2454F3C67.jpeg

As mentioned before, when I measure them with my measurement mic, they measure pretty much dead flat (+/- 1.5dB at the XO points). They just sound slightly stressed to my ear until I flip the polarity of the mid to be 'wrong' and it sounds better. It may be worth mentioning that I don't yet have my tweeter hooked up.

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Old 10th April 2018, 05:11 PM   #4
Zarathu is offline Zarathu  United States
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"Nearly every (Ok, not nearly - every) recording ever made has been recorded using a microphone, had some equalisation applied, and/ or has had some additional treatment in the recording process. All of these introduce some degree of phase shift, but does it ruin a good recording? No. As the signal emerges from the vast majority of crossover networks, there are huge shifts of phase, as has been described above. A square wave subjected to phase shift still has all of its harmonics present, they are just slightly misplaced in time.

Do you notice it for every recording(you are listening to music right? not pink noise?)?

Phase shift is everywhere.
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Old 10th April 2018, 05:19 PM   #5
kcducttaper is offline kcducttaper  United States
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Yeah, I noticed it with every recording I listened to. Mostly just streaming ~5 "good quality" albums from the youtube that I'm very familiar with. I know youtube isn't truly good quality, but it's a good starting point IMO.
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Old 10th April 2018, 05:44 PM   #6
Nelson Pass is offline Nelson Pass  United States
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'correct' driver polarity doesn't agree with my ears...
Quote:
Originally Posted by kcducttaper View Post
As mentioned before, when I measure them with my measurement mic, they measure pretty much dead flat (+/- 1.5dB at the XO points). They just sound slightly stressed to my ear until I flip the polarity of the mid to be 'wrong' and it sounds better.
Not unheard of. I have had several examples, and it points to a crossover
that needs some work.

I suggest approaching it the way Siegfried does - the correct crossover
will tend to be flat one way, and then have a deep null with the opposite
polarity.
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Old 10th April 2018, 05:58 PM   #7
kcducttaper is offline kcducttaper  United States
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I'm still pretty new to crossover design, but I'm using each of my 2 channels on my iNuke DSP as my 'crossover schematic' (one channel for the woofer and one for the mid - tweeter is unhooked at the moment) so I can fiddle with stuff real-time, then design the circuitry to 'match'.

So, when my mid's polarity is inverted (the 'correct' way), the crossover measures flat - but the speaker sounds slightly 'stressed' (for lack of a better word). When I set both W and M drivers at the same polarity, I get the deep null you're talking about, but it sounds smoother to my ears and does not have that stressed quality.
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Old 10th April 2018, 06:40 PM   #8
scottjoplin is offline scottjoplin  Wales
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Can you show your measurements?
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Old 10th April 2018, 06:47 PM   #9
Pano is offline Pano  United States
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'correct' driver polarity doesn't agree with my ears...
Have you checked the measurements off axis? How does that look with normal and flipped polarity?
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Old 11th April 2018, 12:20 AM   #10
kcducttaper is offline kcducttaper  United States
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PICTURE TIME!!!! In all of the graphs, red is with the mid's polarity inverted (180 on my dsp) and the other color is both drivers with the same polarity. The tweeter is not hooked up at the moment.

0 degrees
Click the image to open in full size.

10 degrees
Click the image to open in full size.

20 degrees
Click the image to open in full size.

DSP settings just for fun. For eq, there's a -3dB cut at 1.7kHz with a Q of 3 for diffraction purposes just to make things more pleasant on my ears while I fiddle. No additional eq. I'll probably lower the xo point a bit when I go to fine tune it. I am a little nervous about my TC9FD18 being able to keep up with the TB w5 at higher volumes though if I cross it over too low.
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