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 Post subject: Fully active x- over
PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2016 9:15 am 
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Location: Rose dale, BC, CA
I mentioned earlier that I have never read anything on the topic of using active x- overs in ones system.
This seems strange to me,considering the experience some have in truly hi- end audio.
When I was into competition car audio s.q.,we all used fully active x- over systems or you just could not compete.
Marchand is a company that makes high quality x- overs for home audio that I know of,knowing the difference between active and passive,I always dream of how much better my system would be if switch to active.
Does anyone out there have exsperiense in this topic and would like to comment on such?


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 Post subject: Re: Fully active x- over
PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2016 11:18 am 
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Location: Barrie, ON, CA
The beginning: Zipp many years ago our hobby made a wrong turn. The pioneers of hi-end understood that in order to get musicality, dynamic contrast and effortless scale that was a close as possible to live music, full range or active was the way to go. A little research will show you that in the sixties and early seventies an incredible amount of expense and research went into making the active crossover.

The logic: The idea of separating the frequencies before amplification on the surface alone would seem to be the absolute first consideration a hi-end system should make. Putting a pile of resisting pillowy mush at the very end of the signal does not make any sense. But that is what they did.

The rub: With the Beatles came a huge mainstream interest in home audio systems. And while a home audio system was considered a necessity in those days it was not without limits. The mainstream wanted simplicity, set it and forget it, plug n play at the best reasonable price. So a record player, receiver and speakers was about all they would or could accept. A record player, preamp, active crossover, 3-4 amplifiers and speakers with 3 or 4 binding posts was a wee bit of a hard sell. Not to mention the time required to set up said system and the quadrupiling of cable requirements. So the big resistive pile of mush was placed inside the speaker to do all the work for Mr Public.

The end result: today with 40 years of development passive speakers one would think have made giant gains. Pricey caps, silver solder, expensive wiring, advanced computer spectroanylized cryotech magi blessed totally funkafied designs and marketing surely should have produced passive designs that are clearly, far and away better. I say bring them over to my place and hear my 3 way Delta 15's from the early 70's internally wired with brown lamp cord rip their throats out.

One can only guess at the systems we would have today if our hobby had not gone sideways all those years ago. The advanments today would be off the charts and the flexibility and control almost limitless. Guys tell me that the Digital actives and room correction devices have brought us along way and other guys I trust seem to prefer the analogue active path. I run a variety of active systems with the Delta's the one passive that can scale as well as an active set up with its 101dB sens. My main partner in crime is my Sony Esprit 4 way with all the modules. It has been at the heart of all my leaps off the cliff in my search for cathedral like scale in a typical room. Hope this helps.

Marc mc


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 Post subject: Re: Fully active x- over
PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2016 12:07 pm 
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Location: Surrey , BC, CA
agree with marc mc of course...I have speakers which have to be active crossover and bi-amplified, but even any other custom set ups or some of the ordinary "hi-fi" speakers will benefit from active set up. It is just the inconvenience as marc described that led us to the believing that passive loudspeakers are all what you need...mind you we are talking about "full spectrum" systems.....sorry for the guys with single full range or tiny 2 way speakers..I understand the issues with space, time, money and scaling down...I been there...


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 Post subject: Re: Fully active x- over
PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2016 1:14 pm 
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Location: Toronto, ON, CA
I went active roughly a year ago when I started experimenting with a new DIY speaker system. Actives certainly make it easier to tweak the sound with almost total disregard for the different efficiencies/sensitivities of drivers/amps. It's also pretty easy to mess things up completely, so there is a learning curve involved.

Overall, I'm happy enough with my current setup that I sold the speakers I'd had for over 25 years. Yes, it's more complicated and there's more clutter, but the results are worth it for the sound I'm looking for.

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 Post subject: Re: Fully active x- over
PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2016 1:45 pm 
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Location: winnipeg, MB, CA
I like the idea of active in theory, but in practice it just doesn't always seem practical or even possible. Good example, I am in the process of building a set of speakers now (on going project) haven't decided on 2 or 3 way. They will be powered by a two channel integrated. Seems like I am stuck going passive. Another system I have uses 3 way passives. The monoblocks I use were expensive from my point of view. I couldn't imagine buying another two sets , or even different, quality amplifiers to switch from passive to active. For me it is just cost prohibitive. I would have to buy much cheaper amplifiers and at the end of the day I am not sure the trade off would be worth it. Would it?


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 Post subject: Re: Fully active x- over
PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2016 1:50 pm 
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Location: Vernon, BC, CA
You can order the Bryston Model T's as active or passive. Not sure on their other models.

I would like to use a pair these in a DIY build:
(or something along that line)
http://solen.ca/products/electronics/am ... /as2-100d/
Quote:
Hypex AS2.100 DSP Amplifier
Stereo (passive filtered), Mono-2-way (DSP) or Bridged Mono

The module uses two UcD180LP OEM modules, which produce 180 W into 4 ohms. However, the supply limits total available power to 100 W / 140 W per channel, or 200/ 280 total power.

The AS2.100 is a plate amp for use in powered speaker systems. As an active speaker controller, a AS2.100 can form the basis of a powerful active two-way monitor. In stereo mode one AS2.100 will power an active master / passive slave pair. Finally, the module may also be used as a one-way 140W amplifier. All signal processing, including volume control, is done using the on-board DSP (digital signal processor).Figure 1 shows the block diagram of the amplifier. When two modules are used, the second unit slaves to the first unit (master) through a link cable. The link cable (a stereo mini jack cable) carries both the right audio channel and control data. This way, both units respond to the master control panel. A PC controls the AS2.100 through the USB port. This connection is used to upload the configuration and filter settings. An optional board permits use of the USB link for audio as well as an SPDIF link. In digital mode, master/slave linking is done through the SPDIF in/out connections instead of the mini jack cable.

Features:

115 Vac (not switchable to 220V)
Compact design
Personal Computer controlled
Dual UcD180 powered
Pop-free start and stop control
Stereo analogue input
Subwoofer output
Fully user customised filtering
Button panel controlled
Remote controlled
Link communication master / slave (with two modules only)
Low signal to noise (-100dB)


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 Post subject: Re: Fully active x- over
PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2016 2:19 pm 
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Canadiansnowland....you do not have to use the "best" amplifiers you "tailor" the system with the active crossover and maybe eq it a bit....you can look at the other thread about PA amps in home use and even now when the price for some of the class D amps is quite reasonable you can have nice running system for less than any of the high end systems around.....


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 Post subject: Re: Fully active x- over
PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2016 2:47 pm 
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Location: Barrie, ON, CA
Canadiansnowland wrote:
I like the idea of active in theory, but in practice it just doesn't always seem practical or even possible. Good example, I am in the process of building a set of speakers now (on going project) haven't decided on 2 or 3 way. They will be powered by a two channel integrated. Seems like I am stuck going passive. Another system I have uses 3 way passives. The monoblocks I use were expensive from my point of view. I couldn't imagine buying another two sets , or even different, quality amplifiers to switch from passive to active. For me it is just cost prohibitive. I would have to buy much cheaper amplifiers and at the end of the day I am not sure the trade off would be worth it. Would it?


Your expensive mono blocs are getting their butt kicked up and down the street by the bass. What is hard to get across is how little power in a 3 way is needed for the mid and tweeter. All your current is going to driving the passive crossover mush and the bass driver. And the performance of those amps is going for not. Active at its most basic core is getting 80 cycles and down away from the main amp. The performance gains from just that are off the charts and a 20 watt tube amp driving the mains ( above 80 cycles) will double in power and perform with an astonishing level at unimaginable levels.

It is necessary to spend time hearing individual drivers to get it. Few audiophiles understand how very little a mid and a tweeters output really is.
Marc mc


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 Post subject: Re: Fully active x- over
PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2016 4:37 pm 
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Location: Lasalle, ON, CA
So I'm still trying to understand how all this it works. Let's assume a three way speaker. I'm assuming you need a separate amp for each speaker. Do the amps all need to be the same type and, if so, what would be the minimum power in a ss amp to properly drive the bass? I'm assuming you'd then need three amps of that type?

What kind of preamp would you need for a setup like that? Are there many preamps capable of running three separate amps?

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 Post subject: Re: Fully active x- over
PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2016 5:02 pm 
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Phil......many articles on the net....you have your regular preamplifier....you run it into the active crossover..from that crossover you have low, mid, high (even 4 way or just you can ad another crossover) and you run low to your bass power amp (whatever it is) mid to your mid power amplifier for the midrange and you guessed it high to the tweeter amplifier...that is you can have 3 stereo amplifiers to run the whole system....and most of the good crossovers have gain, phase so you do not have to have any sort of gain adjust on your amplifiers. And the cherry on all of this...you can have some big power(SS, class D) amp on the bass...some nice class A (SS or tube) amp for the mids and some 1 Watt SET for your tweeters....


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 Post subject: Re: Fully active x- over
PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2016 5:09 pm 
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Location: Newmarket, ON, CA
Great thread for where "I think" I am about to go.

Attachment:
DX38.JPG
DX38.JPG [ 340.26 KiB | Viewed 2940 times ]


This EV DX38 will be needed to help run these these new "Little" horns…

Attachment:
IMG_0072.JPG
IMG_0072.JPG [ 156.87 KiB | Viewed 2940 times ]


That is once I build some bass bins…


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 Post subject: Re: Fully active x- over
PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2016 9:33 pm 
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Joined: Mon Sep 07, 2009 5:37 pm
Posts: 768
Location: Markham, ON, CA
Zipp wrote:
I mentioned earlier that I have never read anything on the topic of using active x- overs in ones system.
This seems strange to me,considering the experience some have in truly hi- end audio.
When I was into competition car audio s.q.,we all used fully active x- over systems or you just could not compete.
Marchand is a company that makes high quality x- overs for home audio that I know of,knowing the difference between active and passive,I always dream of how much better my system would be if switch to active.
Does anyone out there have exsperiense in this topic and would like to comment on such?



Really good active crossovers are not cheap like Pass Labs XVRI.
Active systems are not plug and play and requires tremendous effort and cash, 2 or 3 of everything.
With the exception of a few speakers most cannot accept active crossover bi or triamping.

Retailers and manufacturers are not promoting bi amp or triamp audio system for audiophiles.
Magnepan only placed their passive crossovers externally because of lack of space or else they too would have done the MG 20 series as a sealed unit like most top speaker manufacturers.

However most audiophile are totally satisfied with the conventional system after all these years, attend an audio show and tell me how many things you see like Bryston 10B, Marchand XM126, PassLabs XVR1.

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 Post subject: Re: Fully active x- over
PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2016 10:44 pm 
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Joined: Sun Aug 17, 2014 8:11 am
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Location: Rose dale, BC, CA
Thanx for replies,so there are others familiar with active x- overs and there benifits.
Marchand xm44 looks like a good product with good build and material,they come s.s. or tube for more money .
I think I'm ready to start saving for a Marchand xm44 two way,I'll use my yba on mid woofers and tube amp on tweeters,with a summing low pass to a powered sub.
I have Paradigm Studio 20 v5 and don't mind going in and bypassing the x- overs,knowing the rewards in s.q. will put me on a level only heard by lucky few.
I still remember back in car audio days when I fired up the system after the fully active install,I think my jaw hit the floorboards,after tuning I could not believe what I was hearing,I know no passive system,no matter how exspensive can compete with a quality active system.
But I have not heard a active system with a quality anolog and tube front end,s.s. class A and tube amps,can only imagine the dynamics,headroom and sense of limitless power this system would achieve.
I get goose bumps thinking of what it would sound like,I'll have to make another pair of RCA cable,and construct another sand box while I save money,but I know I'll never be satisfied until I do this, because like I was told ,once you go active you will never go back.


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 Post subject: Re: Fully active x- over
PostPosted: Mon Apr 18, 2016 3:13 am 
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Location: Lasalle, ON, CA
libor wrote:
Phil......many articles on the net....you have your regular preamplifier....you run it into the active crossover..from that crossover you have low, mid, high (even 4 way or just you can ad another crossover) and you run low to your bass power amp (whatever it is) mid to your mid power amplifier for the midrange and you guessed it high to the tweeter amplifier...that is you can have 3 stereo amplifiers to run the whole system....and most of the good crossovers have gain, phase so you do not have to have any sort of gain adjust on your amplifiers. And the cherry on all of this...you can have some big power(SS, class D) amp on the bass...some nice class A (SS or tube) amp for the mids and some 1 Watt SET for your tweeters....

Thanks, libor. That's really helpful, especially the part about being able to use different amplifiers for different drivers.

Can you control things like frequency response as well, or would that require some sort of separate measuring system? I ask because I'm one of those 'weird' guys who prefers that the sound of things like the voice of CBC announcers be reasonably faithful to how they would sound if you were talking to them face to face. :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: Fully active x- over
PostPosted: Mon Apr 18, 2016 4:08 am 
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Philosophil wrote:
....
Can you control things like frequency response as well, or would that require some sort of separate measuring system? I ask because I'm one of those 'weird' guys who prefers that the sound of things like the voice of CBC announcers be reasonably faithful to how they would sound if you were talking to them face to face. :wink:


Hey 'phil. In many, if not most, cases, one would use an EQ of some sort to adjust levels. Myself, I use a white instruments EQ and am pretty happy with the sound I get from it.
I also use a Marchand XM44 3-way, and find it to be quite good. One definite 'upgrade' to it was to replace the OP-AMPs (2134 I think) with discrete units...
As for DSP, I've only tried the MiniDSP and found it to be somewhat less than transparent. There are other DSP solutions out there that seem to have a big fan-base, but tend to be quite expensive.
Byron

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