Any time that an audio system includes special speakers equipped to handle certain frequencies, a crossover system should also be put in place. Crossovers enable the right speakers to play the frequencies that they were intended to play, and they prevent overlapping frequencies from being played by too many speakers. This is especially important when tweeters or woofers are used in the speaker system because these components have very specific purposes in terms of intended frequencies. There are two different types of crossovers, passive and active, with each type having its own benefits.
When shopping for crossovers, buyers should understand what capacitors, inductors, and resistors are because they are the parts that make up these systems. Buyers who have a solid understanding of such components can even build their own crossovers. Self-built crossovers offer a number of advantages including lower costs and greater adaptability. This means that buyers can build higher-performing systems that are perfectly in tune with their individual speakers, and still save money. Both crossover components and whole crossovers can be found on eBay as well as at specialty audio equipment shops.
Understanding What a Crossover Does
The human ear is able to hear a range of frequencies going from 20 to 20,000 hertz. However, because of certain technological limitations, a single speaker cannot cover this entire range of frequencies. When a speaker must play a frequency that is lower than the lowest frequency it was designed for, the speaker can be damaged. That is why, when very low frequencies are played on certain speakers, the sound that is produced is fuzzy or distorted.
In the case of a home sound system, there may be several speakers capable of playing an overlapping set of frequencies. However, for the best sound quality, this should be avoided because the overlapping frequencies will sound louder than the frequencies that do not overlap, and this has the potential to diminish the sound experience. This is the reason why crossover speaker components can be useful for home sound systems. Crossover components allow users to control overlapping frequencies.
The Crossover's Role in Managing Tweeters and Woofers
Many home stereo systems are composed of tweeters and woofers. The tweeter is meant to take care of the high frequencies and the woofer takes care of the low frequencies. However, it is possible that certain frequencies could be played on both the tweeter and the woofer. If this happens, the sound will be distorted from what it was intended to be.
It is the job of the crossover to feed certain frequencies to the tweeter and other frequencies to the woofer, ensuring that no frequencies will be played by both components. Thanks to this management of frequency response between the woofer and the tweeter, the audio system will produce high quality sound. As a result, the crossover could be considered to be the brain of a stereo system.
Types of Crossovers
Many buyers will notice that there are actually two different types of crossovers, each of which offers its own set of advantages. Depending on the set up, crossovers can either be passive or active.
Characteristics of Passive Crossover Speaker Components
A passive crossover is generally used when multiple speakers are connected to a single amplifier. When setting up a passive crossover system, the crossover follows the amplifier in the wiring sequence. A passive crossover is the simpler device of the two. However, pre-made passive systems can be very expensive, making it advantageous for users to build passive systems themselves, if possible.
Characteristics of Active Crossover Speaker Components
Active crossovers are more complex than passive crossovers and actually precede the amplifier in the wiring sequence. This allows the user to have more control over the sound that is produced. Active crossovers are also known as electronic crossovers, and these devices can be very complicated to build. In fact, active crossovers can be merely the size of microchips and are often available in computers.
Understanding the Different Crossover Speaker Components
A crossover works by combining components called capacitors, inductors, and resistors. Each of these components can limit the amount of electrons that will be transferred at a certain frequency to a certain part of the speaker system.
An Explanation of Crossover Capacitors and Inductors
Capacitors and inductors work together to enable crossovers to work. Capacitors offer higher resistance for lower frequencies, and inductors provide more resistance for higher frequencies. By including both capacitors and inductors in a speaker system, users are sure to be able to control the entire range of frequencies that could be played.
An Explanation of Crossover Resistors
Unlike capacitors and inductors, crossover resistors are not absolutely required in order for a crossover to work properly. In fact, with a perfectly functioning crossover system, resistors are not needed at all. In reality, however, no crossover system is perfect, and it is extremely likely that resistors will be needed to optimize the sound. With an imperfect system, resistors will help to make up for inefficiencies created by the capacitors or inductors. Most notably, a resistor will often act as padding to compensate for the tweeter.
Advantages of Building a Crossover
While entire crossover systems are widely available for purchase, there are several advantages of building a crossover from scratch. These advantages include both the price and the adaptability of self-built crossovers.
Price of Building a Crossover
The first advantage is related to the price. For high-quality passive systems, it is much less expensive for users to buy crossover speaker components and assemble the system themselves. For the same price, a pre-made crossover will be composed of parts that are much lower in quality.
Adaptability of Self-Built Crossovers
Building a crossover from scratch also gives users greater freedom when choosing the capacitors, inductors, and resistors that will make up the systems. This means that they can choose the individual components that will best suit their speakers. Because every speaker system is different, it would be impossible for a prefabricated crossover to perfectly suit a particular system. By building crossovers, however, users can construct systems that are completely in phase with their existing audio hardware. Furthermore, when dealing with a system composed of three or more speakers, a self-built crossover will enable the user to combine multiple crossovers together in the same system.
Buying Crossover Speaker Components on eBay
Crossover speaker components can be purchased at specialty audio equipment stores, both online and off. A wide range of crossover components can also easily be found on eBay.
Buying Pre-Made Crossover Systems on eBay
Buyers can navigate to pre-made crossovers by going to the Speaker Parts and Components category, which can be found under TV, Video, and Audio Parts in the TV , Audio , and Surveillance portal. Once they are in the correct category, buyers should click on the Crossover filter in order to view these items.
Buying Components for Building Crossovers on eBay
If buyers want to build their own crossovers, in addition to the crossover category, they can also check out the Vintage Parts and Accessories category, which is also located in the TV, Audio, and Surveillance portal, under Vintage Audio and Video. Buyers can pay special attention to the Vintage Capacitors category and the Other subcategory found under vintage parts and accessories. Those who are looking for particular components can use the search bar to search specific keywords.
Using Filters to Identify Specific Components
When it comes to purchasing whole crossovers, buyers can use the filters next to the search results in order to pinpoint the exact systems they need. Buyers can limit results by the brands with which the crossovers are compatible, as well as the actual brands of the crossovers themselves. Results can also be filtered by price, condition, and location. This allows buyers to find suitable crossovers within their budgets that are as near or as far away as they want.
A crossover serves a very important purpose in the creation of high-quality sound within a speaker system. Although frequencies played by woofers and tweeters may overlap, the crossover prevents this from happening, coordinating the right frequencies with the proper speaker component. Crossovers can be either passive or active, with a passive crossover coming before the amplifier in a speaker system and an active crossover coming after. Although passive crossovers are much simpler than active crossovers, getting a high-quality passive crossover system can be expensive.
The components that make up a crossover are called the capacitor, the inductor, and the resistor. While the capacitor and the inductor react to different frequencies, the resistor improves the performance of the whole system. Buyers can either choose to purchase an entire crossover, or they can purchase these individuals components to create their own self-built systems. By building crossovers, buyers can save money on high-quality systems and tailor the systems to fit the exact requirements of their speakers.
Whether buyers decide to purchase entire crossover systems or build their crossovers from scratch, eBay provides a wide selection of parts and components that will suit their needs.