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Active Crossovers

Active crossover operating at low signal levels.

Audio electronic crossovers allow to split the audio signal into separate frequency bands that can be separately routed to individual power amplifiers which then are connected to specific transducers optimized for a particular frequency band.

Active crossovers come in both digital and analogue varieties. Genelec digital active crossovers include additional signal processing, such as driver protection, delay, and equalization.

Genelec analogue active crossover filters contain electronic components that are operated at low signal levels suitable for power amplifier inputs. This is in contrast to passive crossovers that operate at the high signal levels of the power amplifier's outputs, having to handle high currents and in some cases high voltages.

In a typical 2-way system the active crossover needs two power amplifiers — one for the woofer and one for the tweeter.

The active crossover design offers multiple benefits:

  • The frequency response becomes independent of any dynamic changes in the driver's electrical characteristics or the drive level.
  • There is an increased flexibility and precision to adjust and fine tune each output frequency response for the specific drivers used.
  • Each driver has its own signal processing and power amplifier. This isolates each driver from the drive signals handled by the other drivers, reducing inter-modulation distortion and overdriving problems.
  • The ability to compensate for sensitivity variations between drivers.
  • The possibility to compensate for the frequency and phase response anomalies associated with a driver’s characteristics within the intended pass-band.

The flat frequency response of a high-quality active loudspeaker is a result of the combined effect of the crossover filter response, power amplifier responses and driver responses in a loudspeaker enclosure.

Using the active approach enables frequency response adjustments and optimization of the full loudspeaker system, placed in various room environments, without expensive external equalizers. The end result is a simpler, more reliable, efficient, consistent and precise active loudspeaker system.