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Multi-Way Conventional loudspeakers with crossovers

MF crossovers:  DSP vs analog?
MF crossovers:  DSP vs analog?
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Old 11th July 2019, 10:38 PM   #1
Cableaddict is offline Cableaddict
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Default MF crossovers: DSP vs analog?

I'm trying to decide if I should add a third amp to my live PA rig, and use a DSP crossover, or stay with the (very good) analog crossover that's currently in my speakers. I'd love some thoughts from you guys.

The speakers are EAW KF394's (passive) with two tens and a BMS coaxial mf-hf driver. There are currently two passive xovers inside: A small one for the HF, of course, plus a HUGE unit for the MF handoff at around 500Hz.

EAW isn't using audiophle grade stuff here, of course, but it's very good.

I use the EAW 3600 processor for digitally crossing these speakers to my subs.
So, I have the option of bypassing the internal 500Hz xover and then also using the 3600 for that, after adding a third amplifier.

One benefit of this would be that I can choose an amp specifically for good sounding highs (maybe even a class AB type) so that's a factor, but what I'm asking about is the general consensus about crossover sound quality: Analog vs DSP.
The 3600 is 8 year old technology, so I guess factor that in.

What do you guys think? As a general rule, which way should sound better?
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Old 11th July 2019, 10:54 PM   #2
batdorf9 is offline batdorf9  United States
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If you're using the UX3600, you could be using the "EAW Focusing" FIR settings, but only if you biamp them (from what I can tell). If you're not using the Focusing, you really should be. So yeah, definitely biamp them. And definitely use the Focusing settings from EAW.
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Old 12th July 2019, 12:34 AM   #3
AllenB is offline AllenB  Australia
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You say you are happy with your current crossover. Redesigning that crossover will be a big step. Everything else is relatively minor with no guarantee of it sounding better or worse.
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Old 12th July 2019, 05:13 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by batdorf9 View Post
If you're using the UX3600, you could be using the "EAW Focusing" FIR settings, but only if you biamp them (from what I can tell). If you're not using the Focusing, you really should be. So yeah, definitely biamp them. And definitely use the Focusing settings from EAW.

No, it has focusing in both modes.

I do wonder, though, if the focusing could possibly work better in bi-amped mode. EAW says no, but that could just bether standard "marketing" response.

FWIW, in full-range mode, I think the focusing improvement is incredibly subtle. I was expecting a much more noticable improvement. Still, I'm glad to have it.
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Old 12th July 2019, 01:36 PM   #5
mark100 is offline mark100  United States
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A couple of questions to make sure I understand before I try to reply...

First "focusing" .....when you put your kf394 in greybox, do you get both Standard Processing and Gunness Focusing to choose from? If so, do you get Gunness for both passive and biamp?

You currently have two amps, one for subs and one for the 394 run passive....correct?
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Old 12th July 2019, 03:56 PM   #6
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Mark -

Yes, the EAW software lets your choose greybox as an option, and there are separate settings for both full range & biamped.

I did, however, have to set my own EQ and limiting when not using greybox. They call this "system settings." (which I also used for my custom subs.)

- Because I had already worked that out earlier, before I bought the 3600 processor, I had very good settings to try. I only did so out of curiosity. I also checked my EQ vs theirs with a test tone sweep, and I was surprisingly close. But to be fair, the EQ was not identical with & without the greybox, though I doubt my own was actually better than theirs. (And they may also have some delay, which I can't measure, but I don't know.)

Anyway, I didn't mean for this thread to be about the merits of Gunness focusing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mark100 View Post
You currently have two amps, one for subs and one for the 394 run passive....correct?
Correct. Two Lab Gruppen fP6400's. I've been very happy with these in the past (INCREDIBLE on my subs!) but I'm starting to think they are a little harsh on the top end.

So again, one factor I have to consider is if I can get better sound with a newer class D type amp for the HF, or maybe a small AB amp. - But again, that's a topic for a different thread, I guess.

Last edited by Cableaddict; 12th July 2019 at 04:03 PM.
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Old 12th July 2019, 06:28 PM   #7
mark100 is offline mark100  United States
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Ok, but I'm still not sure what you have in greybox settings.
If Gunness is available, there should be the option to elect either Standard or Gunness.
If there is only one set of settings for both full range and bi-amp, it means no Gunness.
If you don't see Gunness availibility, try looking at greybox for more mainsteam boxes like kf850's etc, to see what I mean.

Either way, I think you will benefit from bi-amping, and using the 3600 settings.
You should at least gain better time alignment between the mids and coax CD.


As to the broader DSP vs (passive) analog question....

All speakers similar to the kf384 will sound better with active.
There is simply more fine tuning EQ capability with DSP, whether using analog filter replication via either IIR or FIR, along with the already mentioned improved time alignment.
And there's certainly more way fine tuning capability of both mag and phase with FIR.
The EQs in the 3600 should only help either fullrange or bi-amped.

Take the highly regarded SH-50 for example...even with a passive crossover guru like Tom, the Danley processor still contains EQ settings to overlay on top of the superb SH-50 passive design.

I don't mean to steer towards the merits of Gunness focusing either, but if in fact it includes a small FIR filter, the EQ will no doubt be better than Standard.
Probably only because it will effectively contain many more precise EQs than are available without FIR.

Oh out of curiosity, does the main large crossover feed a small crossover that looks like below....the BMS crossover for the 4594?
Attached Images
File Type: jpg bms crossover.JPG (62.0 KB, 86 views)
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Old 12th July 2019, 07:22 PM   #8
Cableaddict is offline Cableaddict
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mark100 View Post
Either way, I think you will benefit from bi-amping, and using the 3600 settings.
You should at least gain better time alignment between the mids and coax CD.

...... I don't mean to steer towards the merits of Gunness focusing either, but if in fact it includes a small FIR filter, the EQ will no doubt be better than Standard.
Probably only because it will effectively contain many more precise EQs than are available without FIR.
This is the kind of info I'm looking for. - But I know a lot of audiophiles (yeah, I know) poo poo digital xovers, so there must be arguments on both sides.
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Old 12th July 2019, 07:25 PM   #9
Cableaddict is offline Cableaddict
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mark100 View Post
Out of curiosity, does the main large crossover feed a small crossover that looks like below....the BMS crossover for the 4594?

I don't actually know. I haven't taken the speaker apart enough to see any separate xover. It may be part of that huge circuit, attached to the back panel.
This is something I need to find out, since if it IS physically separate, and I go biamped, I can remove the other xover and save a lot of weight.

I'll also use your pic as a reference, when looking at the large assembly, to see if it's there in that format.

I'll let you know, when I know.

thx.
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Old 12th July 2019, 11:26 PM   #10
Cableaddict is offline Cableaddict
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Well, I just found this thread:

Analogue vs DSP crossover


It's a bit old, but even then the general consensus is that DSP xovers have the ptential to be superior. I have to call EAW and find out if the 3600 does FIR.
I sure can't afford the new UX48 !

Last edited by Cableaddict; 12th July 2019 at 11:39 PM.
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