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Old 30th July 2004, 04:58 PM   #1
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Default Active of passive

I have a pair of Energy 22 Reference Connoisseur speakers. I originally planned to upgrade the original crossovers and keep the same circuit (1.5kHz, 3rd-order on tweeter, 2nd-order on the woofer). However, while playing around, I found I much preferred to run the woofer full-range, and just roll the tweeter off with a 3R3 resistor and 2.7uF cap. Crossover is about 3.3kHz.

Lately I've been wondering about going with an active crossover. The only (possible) benefits would be to drop the crossover to 1.5kHz again, and get rid of the components between the tweeter and the amp. I'm thinking this would give me a puchier sound without losing the great transparency and soundstage I now have.

I already have an extra amp, so I would just need a high-quality crossover. I was looking at the Marchand XM44 and XM26, two-way 4th-order.

- do you think it would be worthwhile to go to active operation
- which Marchand? (amps and preamp are Meitner/Museatex, updated to latest factory spec)
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Old 30th July 2004, 06:37 PM   #2
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Active crossovers do sound better, and aren't expensive if you have the extra amp. Give strong consideration to digital. What they are capable of simply can't be done with analog gear. Buying into anything analog at this point when there is a digital alternative well may be a losing investment in obsolete technology.
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Old 30th July 2004, 06:56 PM   #3
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Default Digital?

Hi Bill. I haven't seriously considered digital. I know the theoretical advantages of digital crossovers, but I balk at converting an analog signal to digital and back again. AFAIK it's not a completely transparent process.
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Old 30th July 2004, 07:10 PM   #4
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Even if your source output is digital, you would still require D/A conversion for each amp. That is a lot of processing and many more circuits or components. Besides, there would typically be "protective" filters in the analog stage that might just as well be used to do the actually crossover-ing.

Just based on the extra part count, price/perforance on digital may not be as good as it first appears.

:)ensen.
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Old 30th July 2004, 07:53 PM   #5
Mark25 is offline Mark25  United Kingdom
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Default Re: Active of passive

Quote:
Originally posted by audiobomber
........... and get rid of the components between the tweeter and the amp.......
i'm sure you're already aware, but i thought it'd be worth mentioning for other readers. You'll need something between the amp and tweeter to protect it from amp turn on/off thumps, etc.
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Old 30th July 2004, 08:26 PM   #6
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AFAIK it's not a completely transparent process
No, it isn't, but once into the digital domain everything that happens to the signal is totally transparant, so much so that despite the A/D- D/A conversion process the net result is usually better. The majority of disparaging comments about digital tend to be from those who don't own any and the majority of positive comments usually come from those who do own digital gear.

You also want to consider compatability with other components further down the road; analog is quickly being supplanted by digital at every point of the audio chain and total digital systems are already a fact; when they will drive analog from the market is a matter of when, not if.
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Old 30th July 2004, 08:43 PM   #7
Paul W is offline Paul W  United States
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Also, consider that your factory passive crossovers are probably not textbook in the sense that they compensate for the specific drivers you are using (it is acoustic response you're after, not just filter response).

The "canned" analog crossovers normally don't have the compensation flexibility of the digital crossovers. (PEQ, slope, shelf, delay, phase, etc)

4-way dipoles
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Old 31st July 2004, 02:08 AM   #8
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Default Re: Re: Active of passive

Quote:
Originally posted by Mark25


i'm sure you're already aware, but i thought it'd be worth mentioning for other readers. You'll need something between the amp and tweeter to protect it from amp turn on/off thumps, etc.
I emailed Phil Marchand about this. He said his crossovers have protection, and most amps are well behaved anyway. I know my NAD receiver thumps a bit on turn-on, but my Meitner power amps are dead quiet. I'm sure the ruggedness of the tweeter would also be a factor.
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Old 31st July 2004, 02:25 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by BillFitzmaurice


No, it isn't, but once into the digital domain everything that happens to the signal is totally transparant, so much so that despite the A/D- D/A conversion process the net result is usually better.

You may be right. Not having heard either a digital or an analog active crossover, I'm at a distinct disadvantage. They're not exactly something I can go down to the local shop and hear for myself. It's kind of daunting.

Quote:
Originally posted by BillFitzmaurice
The majority of disparaging comments about digital tend to be from those who don't own any and the majority of positive comments usually come from those who do own digital gear.
Well Bill, I've been an audiophile a long time. Long enough to know that ownership causes a lot of bias.

Quote:
Originally posted by BillFitzmaurice
You also want to consider compatability with other components further down the road; analog is quickly being supplanted by digital at every point of the audio chain and total digital systems are already a fact; when they will drive analog from the market is a matter of when, not if.
Possibly this could happen in the long run, but it rather suspiciously like the pronouncements about vinyl. I still have a TT, which is another reason I'm not comfortable with a digital XO. In the short run, I don't see analog amps and speakers giving up dominance. If you buy a horribly expensive Meridian system, you can go digital all the way. If you buy a CDP, a Behringer crossover and a Panasonic XR-45, you still have a sample rate conversion (16/44 to 24/96), then a DAC, then an ADC then another DAC. Pretty messy. I don't see how all that can be a good thing.
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Old 31st July 2004, 02:31 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by Paul W
Also, consider that your factory passive crossovers are probably not textbook in the sense that they compensate for the specific drivers you are using (it is acoustic response you're after, not just filter response).
4-way dipoles
I've thought about that, and it's a concern. I don't want to spend money to end up with worse sound than I have, and there's no way to try before I buy. I also don't want to get into yet another round of design. An uncomfortable situation, that may put me off yet.


The "canned" analog crossovers normally don't have the compensation flexibility of the digital crossovers. (PEQ, slope, shelf, delay, phase, etc)

It depends on what you buy. Marchand's have all or most of the above.
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