HiFiVision.com - Audio Video Hi-Fi Forum


Active VS Passive crossover.

Discuss Active VS Passive crossover. at the Active Speakers within the HiFiVision.com - Audio Video Hi-Fi Forum; Active VS Passive crossover. Which is better for getting effortless , maleficent, detailed, dynamic , ...

Go Back   HiFiVision.com - Audio Video Hi-Fi Forum > Audio Components > Active Speakers

Active Speakers


Advertise Here

Reply
 
Thread Tools
  #1  
Old 13th May 2011, 07:33 PM
longshanks's Avatar  
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: India
Posts: 1,160
Thanks: 6
Thanked 170 Times in 158 Posts
Reputation points: 181
longshanks has a spectacular aura aboutlongshanks has a spectacular aura about
Active VS Passive crossover.


Active VS Passive crossover.

Which is better for getting effortless , maleficent, detailed, dynamic , i mean over all best sound.

I have been reading about active crossovers a lot lately haven't found any disadvantage with respect to the audio output quality in active crossovers, on the other hand people who use active crossovers simply say that passive is just useless.

I just wanted to get our HIFI Vision experts opinion and explanation regarding this and hence i started this thread.

Please post your views.
Reply With Quote
Sponsored Ads
  #2  
Old 13th May 2011, 09:26 PM
Moderator
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Cooke Town Bangalore
Posts: 3,829
Thanks: 105
Thanked 1,067 Times in 791 Posts
Reputation points: 1080
GeorgeO has much to be proud ofGeorgeO has much to be proud ofGeorgeO has much to be proud ofGeorgeO has much to be proud ofGeorgeO has much to be proud ofGeorgeO has much to be proud ofGeorgeO has much to be proud ofGeorgeO has much to be proud of
Re: Active VS Passive crossover.

Useless? I wouldnt take an extreme position like that! I jhave a few systems, all use passive crossovers and I dont think I am missing out( I have listened to actives BTW). My option to go active( for a new system that I am about to build) was a deal breaker since I needed a second amp for the speakers, as well as a Behringer Ultracurve unit.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 13th May 2011, 10:05 PM
longshanks's Avatar  
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: India
Posts: 1,160
Thanks: 6
Thanked 170 Times in 158 Posts
Reputation points: 181
longshanks has a spectacular aura aboutlongshanks has a spectacular aura about
Re: Active VS Passive crossover.

I am not saying it is useless, i've read people who use active cross overs commenting about passive that way.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 14th May 2011, 09:34 AM
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: The PUNJAB (whats left of it) & Delhi, India
Posts: 607
Thanks: 524
Thanked 243 Times in 161 Posts
Reputation points: 254
trittya is a jewel in the roughtrittya is a jewel in the roughtrittya is a jewel in the rough
Re: Active VS Passive crossover.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rajapraveen80 View Post
I am not saying it is useless, i've read people who use active cross overs commenting about passive that way.
I say chaps, nothing better than not having crossovers at all in your speakers.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 19th May 2011, 12:54 PM
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Pune
Posts: 436
Thanks: 85
Thanked 61 Times in 46 Posts
Reputation points: 71
askii2 will become famous soon enough
Re: Active VS Passive crossover.

We live in a less than ideal world, so it's hard to say one of them is better than the other. I am trying a more quantitative comparison here.

A technical comparison will point out several flaws in passive crossovers which are completely absent in active. These are
  • resistive power losses
  • non-linear capacitances, inductances and resistances
  • thermal runaway
  • phase shift versus slope compromise
  • impedance hike at crossover frequency
  • non-linear speaker output gain around crossover frequency
  • reactive back EMF from inductors causes strain on amplifier.

Drawbacks of active crossovers are all non-technical
  • active crossovers cost more than passive crossovers
  • active crossovers require multiple amplifiers and multiple speaker cables which adds to overall cost (although each amplifier can be of less power and hence of lower cost)
  • connecting speakers without crossovers to amplifiers requires high technical skills as crossover frequency has to exactly match speaker requirement and any mistakes in connecting tweeters will cause them to blow
  • active crossovers require a pre-amp power-amp setup, which further increases cost.

Active crossovers increase overall cost of a system and make it very difficult to sell standalone speakers to consumers. So most popular active crossovers are built into speakers themselves along with amplifiers. Low cost speakers with active crossovers and amplification are usually bookshelf studio monitors.
Reply With Quote
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to askii2 For This Useful Post:
  #6  
Old 8th May 2012, 10:36 AM
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: N.Paravur, Cochin
Posts: 374
Thanks: 888
Thanked 550 Times in 157 Posts
Reputation points: 570
bibin3210 is a name known to allbibin3210 is a name known to allbibin3210 is a name known to allbibin3210 is a name known to allbibin3210 is a name known to allbibin3210 is a name known to all
Re: Active VS Passive crossover.

Advantages & Disadvantages of Active & Passive Crossover Systems

Active Crossover
Advantages:
Active loudspeakers are always included in the very good systems. There advantages over conventional systems are something with no doubt. The following text numbers the major advantages of active loudspeakers and a small description of each. These are also mentioned by Vance Dickanson in his very successful books. Recommended for everybody from those who want to know more about speakers till the serious speaker builder.

1. Increased dynamic range.
2. Improved transient response & damping factor.
3. Reduced IM distortion.
4. Easier amp load (constant impedance).
5. Easier control of sensitivity differences, phase, time delay and frequency tailoring
6. Better overall sound quality.
7. Electronic crossover (required) allows for easy adjustment of crossover frequency to optimize system performance.
8. Non linear and lossy effects of passive speaker crossover networks are eliminated (big plus for low frequency drivers).
9. Electronic crossover allows excellent performance with very high filter slope cutoff (keeps unwanted energy out of speakers that can't deal with it).
10. If one amp clips, the other amps in the system are not impacted (resulting in less degradation of the overall sound).
11. Slight increase in audio output capability as compared to one large amp of equal power driving a full range speaker.
12. Audio level to each frequency band can be easily adjusted (to compensate for different speaker sensitivities).
13. Direct control of each driver by its own amplifier.
14. Easier impedance load on the amp.
15. No loss of power or damping factor.
16. Reduced clipping. If a clipping occurs, only one driver/amp is affected.
17. Crossover works at line level maintaining its design properties.
18. Each amp deals with only a specific bandwidth.
19. Reduced harmonic distortion.
20. Reduced intermodulation distortion.

• Low intermodulation distortion (IMD)
The IMD is low because the power amplifiers work in a smaller bandwidth. IMD is produced from different frequencies that modulate each other producing new frequency products that don't exist in the original signal. The amplifiers work easier and can’t affect the other amplifiers. Also clipping from low frequency overloads of the amplifier in multi-way active systems is not present because here only the loudspeaker can limit the signal.
• Larger Dynamic range
A 60W and 30W amplifier in an active system will clip at the same level as a 175W amplifier in a passive system. When a low and high frequency signal are amplified at the same time there is at high levels a sink of the maximum level because the low frequency signal makes the power supply voltages lower due to high current need. That's why active systems always sound dynamic and louder than passive systems.
• Better Impulse behavior
Great impulses in music reproduction create sudden and high current transients on the way from amplifier to speaker. These impulses from musical instruments hold almost all of the important information about the instruments sound and character and the room acoustics of the recording. So they carry eventually essential information that is needed to reconstruct the spatial sound image of simultaneously playing instruments in a room and this is very critical and sensitive. Any distortion of these characteristics changes the whole reproduction of recorded music so that's why different speakers sound different.
• Better coupling between amplifier and speakers
Amplifier and speakers are better coupled directly and introduced resonances from passive crossovers are avoided. When you use a speaker cable with larger cross section the sound get better. This is always noticeable. The reason is that with lower output resistance the amplifier controls the load better. It has a better damping factor as known. Passive crossovers have a larger share of resistance losses then the cable and make the situation worse since the passive components produce distortions.
• Better function of the crossovers that work with a constant load
In a passive crossover the voice coil of the speaker is always a part of the crossover. There is a very big variation in the speaker’s impedance from low dips to high resistances. This means there has to be a correction circuit that equalizes the impedance to more constant. In an active crossover that is placed before the amplifiers the speaker impedance is of no importance. The cut off frequency and the filter characteristics stay constant whatever the input of the amplifier is. This is very good for the DIYer who wants to experiment with the least mistakes and problems. Even a 24 dB/octave filter is practical without any of the known problem of the passive filters (most important coils and high cost of the passive elements).
• Better subjectively sound quality
The sound quality of an active crossover is subjectively higher than a high level passive crossover. There is a big difference in working with millivolt and microampere level signals and with high current, high voltage signals. The second had problems like micro phony effect, a lot of solder points, high currents to handle with the least losses and the quality of the passive elements plays a significant role in the overall performance and quality.
• Easy level control
When designing active crossovers is easy and there is a great freedom in controlling the different sensitivities of the speakers. When the tweeter plays too loud you can't just put a resistor in the passive crossover to change the level. It will most possibly change the cutoff frequency or other characteristics of the filter. In an active crossover you can control the various levels through trimmers before the amplifiers like the volume control.
• Easy design
With active crossovers it is very easy to manipulate phase, time delays, resonances, amplitude shaping, equalizing etc.

Disadvantages:

1. Expensive: one amplifier is needed for each frequency band, also an electronic crossover is required.
2. Overall system is quite a bit more complicated compared to a single amp full range system.
3. Must be careful of tweeters (there should be some kind of DC block to protect tweeters from low frequency "thump" at amp power up/down).
4. If it is a portable system a lot more cables to hook up (and a lot more stuff that can go wrong)!
5. If not properly wired, ground hum and other noise can be a problem due to so many components to connect up.
6. Residual noise from X/O, less of an issue for digital processors.
7. Greater susceptibility to EMI (electromagnetic interference), and RFI (radio frequency interference).
8. Multiple amps & cables, more complex setup.
The only disadvantage is that the cost is a lot higher than a conventional system since it needs more discrete amplifiers plus an extra active device (the active crossover) . This is relative though. First of all when one is convinced to use a system like this, especially a DIYer I don't think the additional cost will matter so much. DIYers can make less compromises because it more flexible for them to design and build and spend money where it really matters. Cost is very important though in commercial equipment where low cost is a major matter. Apart from that there is one thing that can make the cost lower. Each amplifier as stated before can be a lot smaller than the one very big one needed in a passive system. As conclusion I think it is worth it. The only thing I want to propose here are that no op-amps re used anymore. The sound bad and a discrete op-amp is easier to design. There are a lot of ready ones out there you can use like from the Nelson Pass article or from Erno Borbely.

Passive Crossover

Advantages:

1. Plug & Play simplicity.
2. One amp, one cable, done!

Disadvantages:

1. Passive networks may be expensive if executed properly. They can be bulky and cause power loss.
2. Passive crossover networks are not only frequency-specific, but also load impedance specific. This prevents interchangeability of crossover filters or filter components with speaker systems of different impedances and designs.
3. An ideally working crossover filter including load impedance equalization networks, can be very difficult to design as passive electronic components behave and interact in complex ways.
4. Back EMF (electro motive force) goes back into the X/O, interferes with the input signal from the amplifier.
5. Passive X/O buffers the amplifier from the drivers resulting in loss of damping, loss of direct amplifier control over the drivers.
6. Loading effects, inductors, magnetic coupling, larger Cs, and parameters less adjustable.
7. Passive network wastes power, lowers efficiency, requires higher wattage amplifier to compensate.
8. Differing impedance of various drivers and the resulting phase shifts from the X/O present a difficult load for the amplifier, especially 1st order X/Os.
9. X/O properties and accuracy varies with power and temperature resulting in shifting properties and inconsistent linear response.
10. Low order X/O reduces phase & time shifts but introduces other issues. Greater frequency sharing between drivers and higher strain on drivers due to wider bandwidth demands increases distortion, both THD and intermodulation, induces interference patterns, amplitude irregularities, driver resonances, cone breakup, and hampers off-axis response.
11. High power draw in a specific frequency range, usually the bass, may cause amplifier clipping and possible damage to the woofer, midrange, or most likely, the tweeter. The amp has to deal with the combined complex impedance load and power draw.
Reply With Quote
The Following 5 Users Say Thank You to bibin3210 For This Useful Post:
  #7  
Old 8th May 2012, 11:13 AM
jls001's Avatar  
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Mumbai
Posts: 3,443
Thanks: 851
Thanked 1,569 Times in 883 Posts
Reputation points: 1582
jls001 has a brilliant futurejls001 has a brilliant futurejls001 has a brilliant futurejls001 has a brilliant futurejls001 has a brilliant futurejls001 has a brilliant futurejls001 has a brilliant futurejls001 has a brilliant futurejls001 has a brilliant futurejls001 has a brilliant futurejls001 has a brilliant future
Re: Active VS Passive crossover.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bibin3210 View Post


Canon 5D Mark II | Canon 400D | Canon 24-105 F4L IS USM | Canon 50mm F1.8 | Elinchrom FX 400 Ri | Lovepro Primus AW400
Completely OT:
That's an impressive gear list you have there!

I have only the Prime
Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to jls001 For This Useful Post:
  #8  
Old 8th May 2012, 11:20 AM
Sumanta's Avatar  
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Baroda
Posts: 208
Thanks: 94
Thanked 104 Times in 54 Posts
Reputation points: 114
Sumanta will become famous soon enoughSumanta will become famous soon enough
Re: Active VS Passive crossover.

I can say my opinion based on my experience. You all can try reading if it is helpful to you.
Bottom line first - it still is a compromise for poors and dreamers to go active way, but it is lot more involving and gives you better value for money than going for branded passive cross over system.

Active crossover is not that costly really unless you go for branded names and real active cross overs. If you go for active cross overs in computer and pass it to amplifiers through sound card it is cheap. I use a road side 800/- amplifier to drive my 15inch Ahuja drivers for 500 Hz and below sounds. It works. Yes ofcourse it does not sound as good as any branded amplifier, but to me the difference is negligible.
You need to have good and efficient speakers, that is a must. You can play with cross over and equalizer to reduce ill effects of cheaper amplifiers.
I am not an expert in anything, my common sense told me if I give controlled and minimum input to an amplifier and told it to run within its optimum power handling capacity, I will get workable output to drive a good speaker.

I have tried to get 85% out of what my 100% money investment (within my earning capability) could get by actually investing 30% of the money and 4 times more time than I should give in reading, understanding, realizing and executing my stereo music system.

I have made open baffle speakers (with 1 full ranger and a tweeter) to play with my cheap tube amplifier. Then upgraded the speaker with one more low frequency driver per channel. Then I bought Creative's USB soundblaster sound card. I in the mean time had installed Foobar in my laptop and understood its operation. I have understood cross over basics (a little only) and how equalizer can be used to help speaker, cross over and and amplifier combination.
I will eventually buy miniDSP and mini digi to be independent of my laptop if at all I have spare money to investment. I could have started with mini DSP only but my recent travel schedule stops me from purchasing a miniDSP.

To make it happen right now, I had to invest in USB sound card to see how it works out.

I have not made any measurement of performance of my stereo system. I am happy with it by measuring it with my ears. I have an Onkyo TX-SR608 and some Cabasse and Jamo floor standers to compare. Plus I always compare real sounds from instruments with sounds of instruments from my speakers. I have some string instruments at home and with friends to compare. And I compare sounds from Tabla, voice with sounds coming out of speakers. Luckily I have studio recorded songs of my daughter and my wife too to compare considering the fact that recorded voice by itself sounds different when it passes through microphone.

I think going active opens more possibilities.

As for me, I can now go for making Jamo clone. Even if I fail, I already have a music system which (per my ear) plays quite close to what I heard from Jamo R909 (or 907) in Dubai last year end. Yes, I know I sound funny and you need not to believe me. But even if I am wrong in real terms, I am happy with sound quality from my music system and that matters most to me. I do not care if any branded speaker is better than the other one as long as the music system in my room as a whole generates music that I can listen to hours happily and smile back thinking how good and pleasing they are smiling. I play music in my music system for myself.

I will be going to Munich, where I will listen to good and branded music systems and will remember their sound reproduction. Back home I will then be ready for Jamo R909. I will make Jamo clone with all Indian drivers only.
I wish I can some day play it with a Jamo R909 side by side to compare.

If you have not invested in passive already, go for active. Buy cheapest possible amplifiers, upgrade later. You mostly will find that you really do not need to have good amplifiers.
If you like analogue sound, chances of being happy increases.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 10th May 2012, 08:47 AM
Moderator
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Cooke Town Bangalore
Posts: 3,829
Thanks: 105
Thanked 1,067 Times in 791 Posts
Reputation points: 1080
GeorgeO has much to be proud ofGeorgeO has much to be proud ofGeorgeO has much to be proud ofGeorgeO has much to be proud ofGeorgeO has much to be proud ofGeorgeO has much to be proud ofGeorgeO has much to be proud ofGeorgeO has much to be proud of
Re: Active VS Passive crossover.

Bottom line:

More than one way to skin a cat (rat?)!
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 10th May 2012, 09:20 AM
Sumanta's Avatar  
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Baroda
Posts: 208
Thanks: 94
Thanked 104 Times in 54 Posts
Reputation points: 114
Sumanta will become famous soon enoughSumanta will become famous soon enough
Re: Active VS Passive crossover.

Too much generalised....there's more than one way for everything! We are to look for the better (in perspective of the seekers) one. Or rest in peace.


Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads for: Active VS Passive crossover.
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
passive vs active speakers for ht set up!!! harsha.chelikani Active Speakers 12 14th February 2012 02:18 PM
Active vs Passive subwoofers Imrahn Active Speakers 18 1st February 2011 05:23 PM
Is 50W Active > 120 W Passive Sub Vishu_fbd Home Theater 8 23rd September 2009 09:51 AM
Active crossover with existing speakers anm Speakers 3 27th June 2009 07:53 AM
Active n Passive Sub Vishu_fbd Home Theater 5 28th March 2008 04:38 PM



Advertise Here


All times are GMT +5.5. The time now is 07:52 PM.


Copyright © www.HiFiVision.com 2006 - , All rights reserved.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62