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Old 4th November 2011, 04:08 PM   #1
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Default Electronic Crossovers - your favorite?

I'm interested in getting a professional type of stereo 2 way crossover for my home system. I've read the specs on dbx and Rane brands, but what others are good? The dbx and Rane units look extremely good to me. Since I'm using high sensitivity speakers, I think that having a S/N of over 100dB and very low THD is a requirement. The dbx crossovers seem to be less expensive than Rane. What's your favorite crossover? I've only been considering analog crossovers so far, though digital may be a good or even better choice, I don't know. Educate me, please.
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Old 4th November 2011, 04:13 PM   #2
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The 223s dbx crossover looks more than adequate for my needs:
dbx 223s Stereo 2-Way / Mono 3-Way Crossover 246-101
and at only $160 it seems like a great deal. Am I missing something? (the dbx 223xs looks fine to me also)

I've also looked at the Rane AC 22S, but at $375 I don't see where it's so much better than the dbx:
Rane Corporation Rane AC 22S Active Crossover Crossovers at Markertek.com
AC 22S Active Crossover

The Rane has S/N of 92 vs. the dbx at 106dB. Distortion is lower on the dbx also.
http://www.rane.com/pdf/ac22sdat.pdf

My DAC has XLR outputs so this new system is going to be all balanced at line level.

What am I missing here? Is the features of the Rane or what?

Last edited by dirkwright; 4th November 2011 at 04:18 PM.
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Old 4th November 2011, 09:32 PM   #3
dangus is offline dangus  Canada
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"Best" is probably a crossover that uses plug-in modules to set the frequency. Use an adjustable one to find the right frequency and order.

Variable frequency means compromises. Multi-section pots don't track perfectly (unless there are laser-trimmed examples that do). IIRC, Rane gets around that by using VCAs (voltage controlled amplifiers) to vary the gain (and therefore frequency) of State Variable Filters, but VCAs have much higher distortion than regular op-amps. Higher being relative; they're not fuzzboxes, but there are fewer zeroes after the decimal in the THD spec.
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Old 4th November 2011, 10:36 PM   #4
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Borbely all discrete jfet crossover with his jfet shunt regulators built with Vishay bulk foil resistors, Blackgate caps, polystyrene filters, stepped TKD attenuators. But you have to build it and that's what Diyaudio is for - not the easy way out with commercially built mid fi, but care and attention in building something very, very good.

Last edited by ticknpop; 4th November 2011 at 10:38 PM.
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Old 4th November 2011, 10:52 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ticknpop View Post
Borbely all discrete jfet crossover with his jfet shunt regulators built with Vishay bulk foil resistors, Blackgate caps, polystyrene filters, stepped TKD attenuators. But you have to build it and that's what Diyaudio is for - not the easy way out with commercially built mid fi, but care and attention in building something very, very good.
Yeah, I used to build electronics, but not anymore. I just build loudspeakers now.
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Old 4th November 2011, 10:53 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dangus View Post
"Best" is probably a crossover that uses plug-in modules to set the frequency. Use an adjustable one to find the right frequency and order.

Variable frequency means compromises. Multi-section pots don't track perfectly (unless there are laser-trimmed examples that do). IIRC, Rane gets around that by using VCAs (voltage controlled amplifiers) to vary the gain (and therefore frequency) of State Variable Filters, but VCAs have much higher distortion than regular op-amps. Higher being relative; they're not fuzzboxes, but there are fewer zeroes after the decimal in the THD spec.
OK, thanks. Do you have a favorite one that uses plug-in modules?
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Old 4th November 2011, 11:41 PM   #7
paulfx is offline paulfx  United States
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Hello from NC in the USA - you might also want to check out Marchand Electronics:

electronic crossover, PLLXO, passive crossover, active crossover, custom amplifier

I use the 24 dB/octave XM9 with 140 Hz modules, neatly avoiding the 60 Hz resonance of my satellites. The signal-to-noise is spec'd for several volts input, so the output of my passive controller at half a volt or so was down closer to the noise, but at the time a decade or so ago Phil Marchand himself returned my call and told me to change a couple resistors for some early-stage boost for better S-to-N. It has Q adjustments so you can add boost or droop in the crossover range. I plan on getting another board and set of modules for a sub-sub-woofer, if I can get adequate WAF.

Just a quality, musical piece of gear.
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Old 5th November 2011, 01:14 AM   #8
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I use RANE but IMHO it's overpriced. Check out Peavey and Behringer for 1/2 the money. I was looking and listening at Best Buy of all places, and came away impressed with their semi-pro consumer stuff. After all, it isn't magic, they screw up the balanced input and balanced output stages more often than the filters.

Truth is they're generally pretty clean and I really like to twiddle the knobs.

Last edited by cyclecamper; 5th November 2011 at 01:17 AM.
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Old 5th November 2011, 01:23 AM   #9
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I owned the DBX 234 first and loved it.

Moved on to the Rane AC23, substantial improvement in floor noise and detail in the upper frequencies.

Then I was convinced to try the Behringer DCX2496. The Rane just sits under my bed now just in case the Behringer dies and I have to wait for another.

I would suggest that the Behringer rules it's price range. It is infinitely adjustable, in frequency, slope, distance.... Even has a para. eq. built in.

I'm sure that there are better quality crossovers out there, but not for anything close to as cheap.
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Old 5th November 2011, 01:30 AM   #10
Enzo is offline Enzo  United States
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I think if you put the Rane and some of the others side by side, you will see they are well made and sturdy - good for on the road.

I agree with cycle, check out the Peavey and Behringer. Behringer gets a lot of negative talk, but the stuff is very inexpensive and works pretty well. MY gripe with them is the stuff is also light weight. I operate in pro audio. But yours is a home system, you won;t be transporting the gear in racks tossed in the back of a semi truck and riding across the country. SO in my view the disadvantages of less sturdy gear fade away when used in the home.

Peavey makes solid stuff that works well on the road. Check out the spec sheets and if they make your performance standard, consider them.

There are other brands of very serious pro models, but you mention money as a concern, so the things that appeal to the $3000 mic preamp crowd probably are not on your menu.


If your home system intends to be a set it and forget it system, then I don;t see analog versus digital as very important. Some of the digital systems can offer memory and changing settings. That may be of little value to you, on the other hand, I know people who use different cartridge/stylus for classical music and for pop. SO it is possible you might value being able to "recall" different setips for different listening situations. Indoor versus patio speakers for example. And on digital, the frequencies will probably be right on, versus a small analog knob with numbers around it.
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