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Thread: Digital or analog crossover ?

  1. #31
    Senior Member pathfindermwd's Avatar
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    Not either Or

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Mackenzie View Post
    Possibly a useful point that warrants discussion is to ask why do you need to use an active crossover?

    Hi Ian/All

    I hope you don't mind if I piggyback my question on this thread since it touches on Ian's replies.

    I am running a L100S whose XO duanage modified for me. It has a crossover where the woofer has been separated to make it bi-ampable. It has dual binding posts, with bridging bars to run it in normal mode. It has L-pads added to the mid/tweet.

    I am currently running it with an Adcom 555/500 GTP pre in the normal fashion. On it's way is an Adcom 535 which I will dedicate to the mid/tweet.

    The reason for this approach is because I have heard opinions that the adcom 535 is the best sounding of all the Adcoms, and I wanted to offer that to the top end of the speakers, and retain the power of a big- amp system,.

    My question is, should I look to use and active XO as a pre-amp filter to reduce the load/frequency's the amps need to reproduce, before getting to the passive XO?

    Should I use the active XO to let the 555 power the woofer directly?

    I have no particular desire to use an active XO, other than acknowledge that it waste's alot of the amps power not to do so.

    I get the drift of the posts here that an active XO is not a good solution.

    EDIT: I'm also curious if the active XO could address phase issues between the Woofer/mid at the XO point.

  2. #32
    Senior Member frank23's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Widget View Post
    nsive analog crossovers as well as the DEQX digital and a handful of expensive analog crossovers. In general digital offers much more control and is more flexible, but I don't think any commercially available digital electronic crossovers are as sonically invisible as the best analog units are... so far. They have gotten better and better, but right now in 2011, I would still go with analog. The possible exception would be if I used a digital crossover with digital outputs feeding an appropriate number of sonically superior DACs... Bryston BDA-1, Berkeley Audio Design Alpha DAC, or something along these lines... but at that point you are spending some "real money".

    Widget
    I am using the JBL M553 for my active setup. It is the weakest link as all my other components are of the "high end" variety. It is just that I have not found an alternative analog active crossover that can do what it does. The only real quality item that I have found is either the Bryston 10B, or the Marchand Electronics series, but they also do not offer the same functionality. On Ebay there are loads of alternatives, but they all seem very old / shabby built, or lack the 4th order LR and the CD compensation the M553 offers. Or they are vintage Accuphase F15's or Sony / Pioneer etc that are just too old to function without a full recap anyway.

    I think I'll upgrade the coupling capacitors in my M553 and see where that brings me. But I am open to good suggestions for analog electronic crossovers.

  3. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by pathfindermwd View Post

    My question is, should I look to use and active XO as a pre-amp filter to reduce the load/frequency's the amps need to reproduce, before getting to the passive XO?
    If I understand correctly that when running a passive bi-amp setup the crossover presents a high impedance load to the amp outside the crossover point so that would achieve your goal of reducing the load on the amp driving your HF section.

    Al

  4. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by pathfindermwd View Post
    I am currently running it with an Adcom 555/500 GTP pre in the normal fashion. On it's way is an Adcom 535 which I will dedicate to the mid/tweet.

    The reason for this approach is because I have heard opinions that the adcom 535 is the best sounding of all the Adcoms, and I wanted to offer that to the top end of the speakers, and retain the power of a big- amp system,.

    My question is, should I look to use and active XO as a pre-amp filter to reduce the load/frequency's the amps need to reproduce, before getting to the passive XO?
    That's a pretty big difference between the two amps (60W and 200W). I would be concerned that the 60W top end wouldn't be able to keep up with transients in that freq range (I'm thinking massed string crescendos). In my setup, I try to keep the amps for bi-amping relatively the same in wattage (100W for top and 125W for bottom). My issue is that the gain on the amps are different (20dB and 26.6 dB). For me, that is one of the reasons for needing an active XO - to be able to attenuate and equalize the levels on the two amps.

    Definitely agree that you should only use a tool (active XO) if there's a need for it.
    EJ

  5. #35
    Senior Member BMWCCA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by club900fe View Post
    That's a pretty big difference between the two amps (60W and 200W). I would be concerned that the 60W top end wouldn't be able to keep up with transients in that freq range (I'm thinking massed string crescendos). In my setup, I try to keep the amps for bi-amping relatively the same in wattage (100W for top and 125W for bottom).
    Prefacing this reply with the usual disclaimer that I only know what I've learned by doing myself:
    In independent testing the 535 is usually rated closer to 90wpc at 8-ohms. I personally don't use Adcom but I have friends who swear by them. Reviews of the 535 seem to indicate it's a fine amp for full range use so I suppose it would work just fine in this application.

    Maybe you should have read this review before jumping in with a criticism of a member's system on your first post:
    http://www.stereophile.com/solidpowe...ier/index.html

    In my bi-amp 4345 system my LF amp is double the power of my HF amp (100wpc Crown PS-200 and 190wpc PS-400). Both amps have variable input attenuators and I'm using active crossover but set that output equal between the two amps at unity. Rat Shack dB meter used with a frequency generator seems to verify that same setting on both amps and same unity gain on the Ashly XR1001 provides a fairly flat curve and certainly no "jump" at the crossover point. I run both amps at roughly 50% attenuation on their controls to get my pre-amp volume control into a useful range which seems to run the system noise-free.
    ". . . as you have no doubt noticed, no one told the 4345 that it can't work correctly so it does anyway."óGreg Timbers

  6. #36
    Senior Member pathfindermwd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by allen mueller View Post
    If I understand correctly that when running a passive bi-amp setup the crossover presents a high impedance load to the amp outside the crossover point so that would achieve your goal of reducing the load on the amp driving your HF section.

    Al
    I appreciate the input.

    Quote Originally Posted by club900fe View Post
    That's a pretty big difference between the two amps (60W and 200W). I would be concerned that the 60W top end wouldn't be able to keep up with transients in that freq range (I'm thinking massed string crescendos). In my setup, I try to keep the amps for bi-amping relatively the same in wattage (100W for top and 125W for bottom). My issue is that the gain on the amps are different (20dB and 26.6 dB). For me, that is one of the reasons for needing an active XO - to be able to attenuate and equalize the levels on the two amps.

    Definitely agree that you should only use a tool (active XO) if there's a need for it.
    The 535 is remarkably capable for it's rated 80 watts. At 12 o'clock on the dial, both amps put out pretty equal loudness, and distortion begins around 1 or 2 o'clock for both. Aside from their different character, I would be hard pressed to know which was playing, if i didn't know. They are both rated at the same gain, which is why I chose it.

    Let me just say for the record that, there is only a slight advantage to bi-amp these L100S's passively. Do I need to actively bi-amp? No, not really. But there are are a number of things I do in life that I don't really need to do, but want to do anyway..

    EDIT: 60 WPC. I thought I read 80 somewhere.

  7. #37
    Senior Member BMWCCA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pathfindermwd View Post
    EDIT: 60 WPC. I thought I read 80 somewhere.
    Some reviewers tested the 335 at closer to 90-watts.


    Active bi-amp uses the amps you have that much more efficiently. Sounds like you're only an Ashly XR1001 away from seeing what it'll do for you!
    ". . . as you have no doubt noticed, no one told the 4345 that it can't work correctly so it does anyway."óGreg Timbers

  8. #38
    Senior Member pathfindermwd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BMWCCA View Post
    Some reviewers tested the 335 at closer to 90-watts.


    Active bi-amp uses the amps you have that much more efficiently. Sounds like you're only an Ashly XR1001 away from seeing what it'll do for you!
    I believe it! As most know, there's not much difference between 100 watts and 200, about 3db I have been told. The 555 does control bass a bit better, but it's not a huge difference between the two at volume, not as much as one might expect.


    I need some hand holding on this active stuff, a few things I'm not clear on.

    1. Does the XR1001 use balanced inputs? If so, would I just get some RCA to XLR connections?

    2.. I understand that I will bypass the passive XO for the woofer. But I will continue to use passive XO for the Mid/Tweet, correct? Will overlapping the two XO's create a problem?

    3. I need a starting point to begin. Using the Ashly in a two way mode, I would just crossover at 800hz, just like the passive?

    4. Anything else I need to know?

  9. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by BMWCCA View Post

    Maybe you should have read this review before jumping in with a criticism of a member's system on your first post:
    http://www.stereophile.com/solidpowe...ier/index.html
    Whether he would have read the review that was in your mind beforehand or not, I do not see any "jumping in with a criticism of a member's system" in his post. He addresses the question and makes some observations based on real concerns without getting personal or casting aspersions on the equipment.

    So now I'm jumping in to say that's a harsh way to treat a new poster.
    Out.

  10. #40
    Senior Member BMWCCA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pathfindermwd View Post
    I need some hand holding on this active stuff, a few things I'm not clear on.

    1. Does the XR1001 use balanced inputs? If so, would I just get some RCA to XLR connections?

    2.. I understand that I will bypass the passive XO for the woofer. But I will continue to use passive XO for the Mid/Tweet, correct? Will overlapping the two XO's create a problem?

    3. I need a starting point to begin. Using the Ashly in a two way mode, I would just crossover at 800hz, just like the passive?

    4. Anything else I need to know?
    It's so simple even I can do it!

    You can run balanced, or not. It takes both. In most systems the runs are so short it won't make any difference and unless you're truly balanced the whole way through it's not balanced anyway, so why bother?

    I run my LF pass at 290, just like the original 3145 network, but direct to the woofer from the LF amp. The high pass goes directly to the HF amp and to the passive network for the upper (3 in my system) elements. I set the Ashly "response" to "6" which seems to be the suggestion for matching the 3145 slope.

    I think I paid $100 for my Ashly on eBay and it's been working perfectly for four years. It seems the ones without the dash in the model (XR1001) are made in USA. Somewhere along the way the name changed to XR-1001 and those are now sourced from China. I haven't seen complaints about the latter versus the former.


    My apology if my reply to Club was snippy. I figure he went to that much trouble to look up the Adcom output so he could make his general comment he might have made a more graceful entrance instead of a critique of Pathfinder's system that it now seems others agree is without foundation. The review was in the first Google hit I got for the 535.
    ". . . as you have no doubt noticed, no one told the 4345 that it can't work correctly so it does anyway."óGreg Timbers

  11. #41
    Senior Member pathfindermwd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BMWCCA View Post
    It's so simple even I can do it!

    You can run balanced, or not. It takes both. In most systems the runs are so short it won't make any difference and unless you're truly balanced the whole way through it's not balanced anyway, so why bother?

    I run my LF pass at 290, just like the original 3145 network, but direct to the woofer from the LF amp. The high pass goes directly to the HF amp and to the passive network for the upper (3 in my system) elements. I set the Ashly "response" to "6" which seems to be the suggestion for matching the 3145 slope.

    I think I paid $100 for my Ashly on eBay and it's been working perfectly for four years. It seems the ones without the dash in the model (XR1001) are made in USA. Somewhere along the way the name changed to XR-1001 and those are now sourced from China. I haven't seen complaints about the latter versus the former.


    My apology if my reply to Club was snippy. I figure he went to that much trouble to look up the Adcom output so he could make his general comment he might have made a more graceful entrance instead of a critique of Pathfinder's system that it now seems others agree is without foundation. The review was in the first Google hit I got for the 535.

    I'm definitely going to give it a try! For better or worse, I have to find out for myself what all all the fuss is about, both for and against..

    Thanks!

  12. #42
    Heather [Senorita member] hjames's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pathfindermwd View Post
    I'm definitely going to give it a try! For better or worse, I have to find out for myself what all all the fuss is about, both for and against..

    Thanks!

    Yep, ran my 4341s with a pair of 1st gen GFA555s and for a while with one GFA555 on the woofers and a GFA 545 on the 3 drivers on the high split.
    The Ashly is a nice, inexpensive way to go about active biamping ... have fun!
    2ch: RPi-4, Oppo, Acurus RL-11, TFM-25, 2pr JBL L212, Heath Valencias,Von Schw VR4
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  13. #43
    Senior Member BMWCCA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hjames View Post
    The Ashly is a nice, inexpensive way to go about active biamping ... have fun!
    I've considered the Marchand which many here endorse. It would appear the entry-level there would cost about $600 with a fixed crossover point. Additional frequency modules are available for $6 each, two required.

    http://www.marchandelec.com/xm9.html
    ". . . as you have no doubt noticed, no one told the 4345 that it can't work correctly so it does anyway."óGreg Timbers

  14. #44
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    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by BMWCCA View Post
    Maybe you should have read this review before jumping in with a criticism of a member's system on your first post:
    http://www.stereophile.com/solidpowe...ier/index.html
    Quote Originally Posted by Titanium Dome View Post
    Whether he would have read the review that was in your mind beforehand or not, I do not see any "jumping in with a criticism of a member's system" in his post. He addresses the question and makes some observations based on real concerns without getting personal or casting aspersions on the equipment.

    @BMWCCA: You had me at "hello."
    It wasn't my intent to criticize and I don't think I did. But if that's how you interpret it, c'est la vie.

    Anyway, years ago, I did experiment with bi-amping a 60W (for M/H) and a 125W amp (for L). With an active XO and with the majority of recordings, it sounded very good. However, there were a few recordings - mainly orchestra and organ if I remember correctly - that just sounded uneven to me, especially during crescendos. I eventually concluded (rightly or wrongly) that it may be due to the inability of the 60W amp to provide transients to the same degree as the other amp before distorting. YMMV.


    As to some of the questions...

    Quote Originally Posted by pathfindermwd View Post
    2.. I understand that I will bypass the passive XO for the woofer. But I will continue to use passive XO for the Mid/Tweet, correct? Will overlapping the two XO's create a problem?
    I currently am using this type of setup and have had no issues. But I did get some interesting results using steeper slopes in the active XO in that there was increased phase shift. Not a big deal in a 2-way speaker but it was in my 3-way speaker that has a passive XO for the M/H. Because of this, I try to use the most gradual slope that I can in the active XO.


    Quote Originally Posted by pathfindermwd View Post
    4. Anything else I need to know?
    Yeah, have fun with it and enjoy lots of listening.


    EJ (back to lurking mode...)
    EJ

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    Quote Originally Posted by BMWCCA View Post
    My apology if my reply to Club was snippy. I figure he went to that much trouble to look up the Adcom output so he could make his general comment he might have made a more graceful entrance instead of a critique of Pathfinder's system that it now seems others agree is without foundation. The review was in the first Google hit I got for the 535.
    No worries. I didn't read the article but was already familiar with the 535 and 555 from way back when.
    EJ

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