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How to choose a crossover

Send the right signal to your speakers and tweeters

AudioControl 6XS

AudioControl 6XS 6-channel crossover

A crossover is an electronics device that takes a single input signal and creates two or three output signals consisting of separated bands of high-, mid-, and low-range frequencies. The different bands of frequencies feed the different speakers, or “drivers,” in a sound system: tweeters, woofers, and subwoofers.

Think of a crossover network as an audio traffic cop, directing highs to your tweeters, midrange to your woofers, and low bass to your sub.

Without a crossover, a messy, sonic "traffic jam" results. Your midrange and sub duplicate too many of the same frequencies and your sub wastes time trying to put out high notes it wasn't meant to handle. A "fatal pile-up" could also occur, with your tweets being destroyed by some renegade tractor-trailer of a bass note thumping along in the wrong audio lane.

Because they're essential, you'll find crossovers in some form almost any time speakers are present. For instance, if your home stereo uses a pair of 2-way bookshelf speakers, it uses 2-way crossovers (inside the speaker boxes). Within each crossover, a high-pass filter blocks the lows but passes the high frequency notes to the tweeter, while a low-pass filter blocks the highs and passes low frequency notes on to the woofer.

Sound Ordnance P-67CB component system

Sound Ordnance P-67CB component system: woofers, tweeters, and crossovers

The crossover “networks” of coaxial, full-range car speakers are usually built into the speakers, and often consist of small electrical components like coils or capacitors. Crossovers for 3-way systems, those systems utilizing tweeters, midrange drivers, and subwoofers, include, besides high- and low-pass filters, “bandpass” filters which play frequencies between two points by utilizing both a high-pass and low-pass in the same filter network. So, for example you could have a midrange driver only playing 100 Hz to 2500 Hz.

Active or passive?

There are two basic kinds of crossovers: active and passive. Passive crossovers don’t need power to filter the signal as desired. Active crossovers require power and ground connections, but give you much more flexibility and fine-tuning control over your music.

Active systems

A sound system is termed “active” when each driver (tweeter, woofer, sub) has its own channel of amplification. This dramatically increases the available power, dynamic range (softest to loudest sounds), and your control of the system’s tonal response over the whole audio spectrum.

An active crossover gets wired between the receiver and amplifier and cuts out the unwanted frequencies before the amp wastes energy boosting them, so the amp can focus on only the frequencies you want to hear. Active crossovers usually have volume controls on every channel or pair of channels so you can keep all the “voices” of the different drivers in balance. Some active crossovers include other sound-processing features like equalization for further tweaking of the sound to your personal satisfaction.

The only potential disadvantage of an active crossover is that since it requires +12V, ground, and turn-on connections, it presents more of a challenge to install and set up than a passive crossover. But with a little time and care this shouldn't be a problem, and the rewards and advantages of an active crossover make it clear why you'll find one in virtually every competition-level car audio system. Likewise, stereo systems tuned for high-quality sound will make use of crossovers in order to keep the speakers playing clean and clear.

Passive crossovers

A passive crossover doesn’t need to get hooked up to a power source to work. There are two kinds of passive crossovers: component crossovers that connect between the amplifier and speakers, and in-line crossovers that fit in between the receiver and the amp.

Component crossovers

Passive component crossovers step into the signal path after the amplifier. They’re small networks of capacitors and coils usually installed near the speakers. Component speaker systems come with their crossovers set for optimum performance, and they are simple to install and set up. A full-range signal exits the amplifier and goes to the passive crossover which separates the signal into two parts and sends the high notes to the tweeter and the mid and low notes to the woofer. Most passive component crossovers have optional settings that let you turn down the tweeter some if it seems too loud for the woofer.

Focal Performance PS 165AS crossover

Crossover for a Focal Performance PS 165AS component system

Since it is filtering a signal that has already been amplified, a passive crossover wastes power, releasing the unwanted parts of the amplified signal as heat. Also, speakers actually change their impedances when playing which also changes a passive crossover’s crossover point, or frequency response, leading to inconsistent sound definition, especially around the vocal regions. (This is another advantage to using an active crossover, which is unaffected by speaker impedance.)

In-line crossover

Besides passive crossovers that operate on speaker-level signals and connect between your amp and your speaker components, there are also in-line crossovers that connect before the amplifier. They look like little cylinders with RCA connectors on each end and simply plug into your amplifier’s inputs. In-line crossovers make sure your amplifiers don’t waste energy amplifying signals you don’t want — like high frequencies to a subwoofer amp. Installing an in-line crossover is a great and inexpensive way to sharpen the sounds of your system, especially in a component speaker system.

Crutchfield Bass Blockers

Crutchfield Bass Blockers in-line crossovers

In-line crossovers each come set to a specific frequency and can’t be adjusted. Another disadvantage of using in-line crossovers is that they react differently to different amplifiers, possibly changing their crossover points unpredictably.

For future upgrades and expansion, go active

If you plan on expanding your system in the future, it's wisest to go with a separate outboard crossover, instead of relying on the ones built into your receiver and amplifier. While these built-in crossovers work well, they don't offer the total system control of an outboard unit. Also, if you ever upgrade your amp, you don't have to give up your crossover.

Tuning your system

Varying your crossover points is one approach to "tuning" your speakers. You can expect this adjustability from just about any active crossover. Setting crossover points also helps define the overall tonality of your system.

Setting your low-pass filter above 100 Hz gives you the type of boom many rap fans are looking for, while pushing it down to 80 Hz tightens up your bass and improves front soundstaging. Because each output channel on an active crossover usually has its own level control, you can even use this component to compensate for varying efficiency or sensitivity ratings among your speakers.

Stereo 3-way crossover

How a stereo 3-way crossover fits into a system

Let there be music

Let's look at an example. Take a simple three-way crossover network:

  • lowpass filter with a crossover point at 80 Hz;
  • highpass filter with a crossover point at 3,000 Hz;
  • bandpass filter with a low crossover point at 80 Hz and a high crossover point at 3,000 Hz.

You hop into your ride, slip in a CD and suddenly a hefty dose of unadulterated Dave Matthews Band is headed straight for your speakers. The lowpass cleans up Carter Beauford's kick drum and the low notes on Stefan Lessard's bass, and passes these tones below 80 Hz to your subwoofer system.

Meanwhile, your highpass sends cymbal crashes and acoustic guitar harmonics to your tweeter, while limiting frequencies below 3,000 Hz. And Dave's vocals, Boyd Tinsley's violin, and other sounds between 80 and 3,000 Hz find their way through the bandpass crossover to your midrange drivers.

The crossover assigns the proper frequencies and levels to the various speakers in your vehicle, the pieces of the sonic puzzle fit together perfectly, and DMB sounds righteous. It's all good.

Get Everything You Need

You'll need patch cables and power wires to connect an active crossover.
Check out all of the crossovers and other sound processors available at Crutchfield.

  • Chuck69 from NEW ORLEANS

    Posted on 6/2/2021

    Hi.....i want to build a superior SQ 3-way system (front and rear) in my 2012 VW Passat B7. Equipment is 1 CT Sounds at-125.4, at-60.4, and a at-500.1 for the subs. Drivers are 4 Morel virtus 602's, 4 Morel ccwr254 2.5" midranges, and 4 Morel mt-120 tweeters. Subs will be 2 Morel Primo 804's. Can anyone tell me what type of active crossover i will need for this setup? BTW, i prefer the crossover brand to be a Audiocontrol product. Was going to go with Audiocontrol amps but don't want to spend more money when i already have new amps from CT Sounds. Thanks ya'll:)

    Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 6/2/2021

    Chuck, It sounds like you're looking for AudioControl's DM-810 processor, which features 8 inputs and 10 processed outputs.
  • Nick Dodson from OTTUMWA

    Posted on 4/8/2021

    So I have a home reciever that is 100w x2 and I want to add crossovers in my speakers the crossovers I have say 150w rms 300w peak will it still work

    Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 4/8/2021

    Nick, Without knowing specifically what equipment you have, I can't tell for sure, but a crossover rated for 150 watts RMS will be safe with an amp that puts out 100 watts RMS.
  • Adam from Lakeland

    Posted on 3/18/2021

    I have a factory radio on a 2019 Nissan Frontier. Wanting to keep the head unit but add an amp and active crossover for highs and mids. Already have a amp and two tens under the back seat for the bass tied in to a output converter from the rear door speakers. What would I need as far as wiring to tie into the factory head unit to run to the crossover?

    Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 4/1/2021

    Adam, Check out How to connect an amplifier to a factory stereo for some help with that.
  • Craig Lamontaine from Crossville

    Posted on 3/13/2021

    Does having a crossover split off 100 watt signal into 50x2

    Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 3/24/2021

    Craig, A crossover divides the frequencies of the program played, not the power. The musical content determines where power goes - brass and cymbals will play out their power mostly through the tweeters; a kick drum's power goes out to the woofer.
  • Jojo Jiang from China

    Posted on 3/7/2021

    Hi I have questions to the in-line crossover: based on my understanding, normally the in-line crossover is a wired capacitor, and it should be wired between amp and tweeter, or midrange and tweeter. Why in this article, the in line crossover is connecting before the amp?

    Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 3/26/2021

    Jojo, Passive crossovers, like those in-line models, go between the amp and speakers. Active crossovers, the ones that are powered, go between the stereo's line-level outputs and the amplifier inputs.
  • Christian from Whispering Pines, NC

    Posted on 12/14/2020

    Such great food for thought! Your article took much of the guesswork out of the issue I seemed to be having with a recent upgrade. I was admittedly confused why the sound produced from the new unit with a multi-band equalizer failed to sound as dynamic as the sound pumped out of the OEM product. Playing with the equalizer helped a bit, but still didn't sound the same. I was avoiding the crossover setting until now. This is indicative of the 2nd and 3rd order effects I was hoping to avoid with a head unit upgrade. But, I suppose they are a large reason for them. A failing touch screen on the OEM head unit and the need for Android Auto prompted the upgrade. My question is this: I will assume the crossover setting on the Sony XAV-AX5000 is passive. If the byproduct of lost energy is heat, should I be worried about anything over heating, melting, or frying? The North Carolina heat is enough to worry about in the summer.

    Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 12/15/2020

    Christian, The crossovers in that receiver are active.
  • Israel Munoz from Donna

    Posted on 12/10/2020

    My question is, I purchased DS18 5x7 speakers for my truck now in the future I want to install an amplifier - woofer but don't want to blow out my door speakers of tweeters, what crossover do I need to avoid this? Thank you..

    Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 12/14/2020

    Israel, Any amplifier you get will have high-pass crossover filters built in to protect midrange speakers and tweeters. You use an amp's built-in low-pass filters for subwoofers.
  • Frank from Lancashire, UK

    Posted on 11/2/2020

    Hello Crutchfield, I have a question... I am running a 7.2.4 setup powered by a Denon AVR-x6300H. The two 12" driver subwoofers are of the same brand and model, and both have a frequency range according the manufacturer of 28Hz - 300Hz. The six main satellite speakers are all floor-standers of the same brand and model, with a frequency response down to around 56Hz. Originally I had the crossovers set at 80Hz (the THX standard), but some movies played back at reference volume level definitely caused some unwanted audio distortion and strain on the satellite drivers. I have since messed around with crossover settings in the Denon AVR and set all the satellites - including the centre and in-ceiling speakers - at the maximum crossover setting of 250Hz in the AVR. To my ears, this sounds better in the lower mid-range for both movies and music, but especially for some movies that have some really aggressive notes in the bass range, and has eliminated the aforementioned distortion. I understand that higher frequencies are more localisable to the human ear, one of the reasons some people advise against having the crossovers set above 80Hz. Personally, I haven't been able to localise any sounds from the two subwoofers even with the crossovers set within the Denon at 250Hz. I should add that the setup is calibrated using Audyssey XT32 with Dual SubEq. My question is, will I be losing any sound in the audio frequency range by setting the crossovers at 250Hz?

    Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 11/2/2020

    Frank, If I understand your setup correctly, theoretically if all crossovers are set to the same frequency, as the sound rolls down in the satellite speakers, it'll roll up in the subwoofer, with no loss anywhere. Practically though, your Audyssey could show you otherwise.
  • Jhun

    Posted on 7/29/2020

    Hello crutch field I have Steg k4.01 amp, 1 pair Rockford T3652 with tweeter but no passive crossover, 1pair Rockford t2652-s with tweeter and passive crossover. 1 morel ultimo 10 inch woofer, and audio control lc7i. I need amp for my sub and crossover. Any recommendations? Thank you

    Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 8/3/2020

    Jhun, Give us a call so an Advisor can help you get the gear that'll work best for you.
  • Robert from Haarlem

    Posted on 6/12/2020

    Hello, I want to make a 2-way setup 4 ohm and looking for a crossover that can support 4ohm woofers and tweeters. I saw dayton had a crossover that works for low and high but this only supports 8 ohm tweeters. What crossover should i use for 4ohm ? Or am i restricted to use high and low pass crossovers?

    Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 6/15/2020

    Robert, All crossovers consist of a high-pass filter and a low-pass filter combined in one package. Component systems come with a crossover included. If yours didn't, you can check out some crossovers here.
  • Francis Jansz from Huntingdale.Vic

    Posted on 5/26/2020

    I love the All Tube Lucman A2003 Active crossover and Tri amping gives me control over the bass the mids and the tweeters. I prefer this to Passive 3 Way I can control my Frequencies by have it with a built in Variable for fine tuning. This is not having much clutter in your doundstsje that's why I prefer the 3way variable Active by Luxman .and find it more suitable than the Solid State active. You get pure Snalog Soundstage. RGDS Francis Jansz Australia.

  • Bryan A Ramsaran from Bay Shore

    Posted on 5/25/2020

    Currently have this setup running but the sound quality is poor and cuts off at higher volumes. Sub- Rockford Fosgate R2x10 with Rockford Fosgate R-500 Amp connected to head unit with a line output converter and rca cables Door Speakers- Kicker CS 6.5in with Pioneer GM-DX874 100W x 4 Car Amplifier that has one rca running from the Rockford Amp and two 1 female to 2 males y splits for each channel Should I get an active or passive crossover? Or are there other solutions I should look into to help clean up the quality of the sound? Thanks!

    Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 5/26/2020

    Bryan, There's no reason to add an outboard crossover, when you can clean up the sound using the crossovers built into the amplifiers.
  • Schon Rayburn from Marrero

    Posted on 5/20/2020

    Looking to add some subs to my 2020 chevy trail boss with a Bose system. I am installing 2 JL audio 10TW3-D4 with a JL audio RD1000/1, they are trying to upsell me on installing a JL audio FiX-82 instead of an Audio Control LC2. I am believing that are trying to up sell me on the more "expensive" line out converter. I mean i am sure there are benefits to installing the FiX-82 but to an "untrained" ear im not sure i will actually notice a significant difference for the price difference. Do you have any input that may assist me on making the proper decision?? Cause at the end of the day to me the Bose system sounds great and i just want to add some extra bass and im not trying to win best sound of the year award.

    Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 5/20/2020

    Schon, The LC2i is a line output converter (LOC) with a bass restoration feature. The FiX 82 is a digital signal processor (DSP) that automatically corrects the factory system's sound processing, and then lets you add your own customized sound processing. It sounds like your installer thinks your vehicle's factory sound needs correction before adding a subwoofer. He's concerned that the factory radio, unprocessed, will produce no bass signal for the subwoofer to play.
  • Rick from San Diego

    Posted on 5/16/2020

    Hello Buck, I Currently have 1 Focal FDP 6.900 and And 1 Focal FDP 4.600 amps powering 4 Focal 6.5" ES 165 K2 Components in the Front and 4 Focal ES 130k's 5 1/4" in the Rear along with a JL 10" Sub. The Components all have " Passive X-overs" That are Currently Connected. I'm having a Rockford Fosgate 3Sixty Interactive Signal Processor installed / DSP. Should all of the Existing Passive X-Overs be set Flat/at Zero, and the DSP will Adjust all necessary High/ Low Frequency's? Do you have a link I could refer to on this? Wanna make sure this is done Right. Thank you !! Rick in San Diego

    Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 5/18/2020

    Rick, You can't set a passive crossover to flat or zero, but you can disconnect one. However, it sounds like you have so many components in your system that those crossovers should get left as is.
  • Francis jansz from Huntingdale Vic

    Posted on 4/3/2020

    What value Caps do I need to change my active Crossover from ,500 Hz to 5 K. And should I use Silver Mica caps

    Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 4/6/2020

    Francis, You could reach out and contact the vender of whatever crossover you have and ask them if that's even possible.
  • Barbara Licha Perkins from Albuquerque

    Posted on 3/11/2020

    I understand that you are recommending using the crossovers in a head unit or those in the amp. However I note you didn't answer a previous question about in line passive crossovers furnished with tweeters. My car's receiver is controlling crossovers in active 3-way network mode, using external amps. However, tweeters from my Hertz components have passive crossovers, with 6db slope. What is effect with HU in active with 12 dB or higher slope? Should I cut out the passive tweeter ?crossovers

    Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 3/16/2020

    Barbara, A lot of people leave the in-line tweeter crossovers as a safety precaution against a full-range signal. At tweeter frequencies the in-line crossovers won't be filtering out any low frequencies and will effectively do nothing. So you can take them away or leave them.
  • Thomas Turk from Vienna

    Posted on 2/11/2020

    Won't the volume`controls on the active Xover degrade the sound? I use a Django now for volume control for subs, and plan a Tortuga passive VC for the full range. Do you have a non-volume control active model?

    Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 2/11/2020

    Thomas, A volume control doesn't degrade the sound. I don't know of any active crossover without some sort of gain/volume controls.
  • John Swerda from Brunswick

    Posted on 2/2/2020

    Good afternoon. I've got a new kenwood KDC-X702 head unit and the now discontinued JVC Arsenal KS-AR7004 four channel amplifier. The amp doesn't specify "active crossover" but has adjustable crossover points. My infinity Kappa's have passive crossovers. My question is, would there be any benefit to adding an active crossover and if so, would I retain the passive crossover to split the signal between the midrange speaker and tweeter?

    Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 2/3/2020

    John, The crossover in your receiver is a high-pass filter for removing the low frequency notes that would distort through the midrange driver. Passive crossovers get wired to amplifiers' powered outputs and, like you said, split the powered signal between the tweeter and midrange speaker. An active crossover gets wired between the receiver and amplifier, and splits line level signal into a tweeter signal and a midrange signal for the amp to boost. This is called an active system, where each driver - tweeter, woofer, whatever - gets driven by its own amp channel. Active systems are harder to install and tune than systems using passive crossovers.
  • Chase Burnham from South Windsor

    Posted on 8/14/2019

    Will sound quality be improved using built in crossovers? Focal AP4340 4 channel, Polk DB522 (F) Polk DB692 (R). Amp is set to full range front and rear. Want to tighten up midbass in rear, dumb down low frequencies on rear but keep some nice tweet. I also want to remove low end on fronts, improve midbass and keep nice tweet on front. Will the amp crossovers do that?

    Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 8/14/2019

    Chase, You can use your amplifier's onboard high-pass crossover filters to clear up the signals going to your speakers. Your receiver may also have crossover filters that clean the sound as well as other tone controls. Use the crossovers of either the amp or receiver but not both at the same time.
  • Brian from Thorntown

    Posted on 5/28/2019

    I currently have a Kenwood DNX 996XR head unit. I have Hertz components in the front, and Focal K2 Power 130 KRC in the rear that come with passive crossovers, and dual subs. I am thinking about changing the Hertz out with Focal Utopias (which recommend active crossover) and moving the Hertz to PODs in the rear. This is all powered by a JBL 4 channel GTR104. The amp only has lo pass and hi pass, no band pass. Can my head unit handle as much as I need, or will I need to add an active crossover? Also, how do you set the amp so it doesn't compete with the head unit? *Side note, I have ordered a Hertz HCP 4DK 4 channel amp but that too only has hi and lo, no band or subsonic.

  • William Kearney from Brooklyn

    Posted on 4/11/2019

    I have sound scream scream ar1 8000d , a jvc double din . 2Rockville subwoofer12 , 4 celestial 6.5s wht crossover do I need ,

    Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 4/13/2019

    William, Your amp and receiver both have crossovers built in, you don't need a separate one. I suggest you use one or the other, but not both at the same time.
  • Mia from CLARKSVILLE

    Posted on 3/10/2019

    I have an old Technics stereo and floor speakers- 2x 12" woofers, 1 midrange and 1 tweeter. The right speaker is playing intermittently and sounds as though there is a short. I have replaced the wires leading from the receiver to the speakers, but problem still exists. Does it sound as though it could be the crossover and where am I able to get a replacement?

  • Alex from Lafollette

    Posted on 3/6/2019

    I have a pair of Bose 501 series V speakers. The newer tower design. I get only bass out of each speaker. I tested one of the tweeters and it makes sound. I am assuming the crossovers are blown. Do you sell a passive crossover that would work well in these speakers?

    Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 3/6/2019

    Alex, Sounds to me that something like tweeter protection fuses or caps have blown due to over-powering. Your best bet is to find a stereo repair shop that'll work on those speakers. Or you could contact Bose service for repair suggestions.
  • North Wiebesick from Staples

    Posted on 12/26/2018

    Ok... i have an audio question, not necessarily car related... i have a small bluetooth speaker,(tube shaped) and it quit working properly, so, as i needed speakers in a gaming chair I'm building, i took the 2 speakers and tweeter, and disconnected them for use with a 12v desktop PC sound controller board. The question relates to hooking the speakers and tweeter up, specifically whether I need a passive or active crossover... note, the 2inch speakers have 2ohm printed on the shield housing, and that the tweeter would be hooked to one of the speaker wires... also, could I hook the tweeter to both left and right speaker wires, or not???

    Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 12/31/2018

    North, If you bought your gear at Crutchfield, you could call Tech Support for free help troubleshooting your system. Their toll-free number would be on your invoice. If you purchased your equipment elsewhere, you can still get expert Crutchfield Tech Support - 90 days-worth for only $30. Click on this link for details.
  • David Nelson from Arlington, TX

    Posted on 9/23/2018

    I have an Alpine head unit (CDE-HD148BT), Alpine MRV-500 5 channel amp, Focal 165 A1 components up front, a kicker 6.5" sub in the factory position and Focal 4 inch coaxial's in the rear of my BMW Z3 (M Roadster). I have everything installed and am to the point of tuning. My question is, the front components have a passive crossover, the amp has filters, and the headunit has an active crossover. WHat crossover do I use? I am thinking do everything on the amp, correct??

    Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 9/24/2018

    David, We recommend using either the crossover in your receiver or the one in your amplifier, but not both at the same time. Choose the one that's more convenient for you.
  • Jay from Philadelphia

    Posted on 6/23/2018

    So I'm running a head unit,4 band eq,2x 2000watts class a-b amps,1x 2400watts class d amp,4x 8" mids speakers, 2x 6.5" mids speakers and 2x 12" sub's in a ported box in my car,my question is what kind of crossover will be the essential one for my system?

    Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    on 6/25/2018

    Jay, You will find crossovers in your head unit and amplifiers. You should use the crossovers either on the amps or the head unit, but not both at the same time. For your speaker channels, set high-pass filters to keep dangerous low-frequency signals from playing. For your subwoofer, set a low-pass filter, to keep high notes away from the bass. Start with them set to around 100 Hz and then adjust to taste.
  • Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 5/21/2018

    Tip, You should use only one crossover per channel, not the three per channel in your setup. So, you could use the outboard crossover and set the receiver and amp crossovers to full-range. Or you could lose the DS18 and use the crossover in your receiver and set the amp crossovers to full-range. Or, you could use the amp crossovers alone. You are right to assess each setup by which sounds best. A good rule of thumb is to start with the high- and low-pass filters set to 100 Hz and then adjust until it sounds good.

  • Tip from Las Vegas

    Posted on 5/14/2018

    Hello your articles are great sir. Heres the rundown and need help tuning please. I have a flip out unit with only a equalizer to tune. Has 3 outputs for front back and sub all going to a DS18 XM3 crossover. Then the front I have a JBL 6.5 component set and the rear having a set of 6.5 coaxials running off a 4 channel with its own built in crossover. My sub is a single 15 Mmats Dreadnaut powered off of a Mmats m2000.1 I have all the right mods for power but my question is I tried running the inputs for the sub straight to the amp but seems it sounded worse, so do I have to keep the crossover or what should I do for my system to sound the best, I'm mostly confused because of the different frequencies to adjust. Semper Fi, Tip

  • Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 1/22/2018

    Jesse, Focal offers that tweeter as a separate and rates it at 15W nominal. The crossover in the AS3 system makes sure the tweeter doesn't get too much power directed toward it.

  • Jesse from Dallas

    Posted on 1/22/2018

    If a 3-Way Competent speaker system (specifically Focal AS3) is rated at 80 watts nominal, how is that rating typically dispersed per channel once you remove the passive crossover and go fully active on separately amplified channels?

  • Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 7/20/2017

    Alan, Do not use the crossover filters on the receiver and the amplifier at the same time. Use one or the other, but not both. The reason is that something called phase distortion generates around each filter's crossover frequency, muddying up the sound. Use whichever controls you feel most comfortable with. A good starting place is with the high-pass filters on the front and rear channels set at 100 Hz, and the subwoofer channel's low-pass filter also set at 100 Hz. You can then fine-tune each to sound best to you. For help tuning your system, check out Tuning your subs.

  • alan carlson from port orange fl

    Posted on 7/19/2017

    I have a punch 1000x5 and have Vega v468 coaxials x4. Signature Red Surround * 1-inch Aluminum Dome Tweeter * Power Handling: 75W / 400W. * Woofer / Tweeter (in. mm) 6 X 8"(152mm X 203.2mm) / 1.0 (25.4mm). * Frequency Response: 55Hz-20Khz +/-3dB. * Sensitivity: 94dB. * Curvilinear Mica Filled Poly Cone. This Four Ohm VEGA PRO Shallow series 10-inch *Power Handling: 300W / 600W. * Sensitivity (dB @ 1W 1M): 84.5dB. *  75 Watts x 4 + 150 Watts x 1 @ 4-Ohms / 125 Watts x 4 + 300 x 1@ 2-Ohms / 500 Watts @ 1-Ohm 12dB/octave crossover I need some advise on crossover points. My Kenwood DDIN 594 also has plenty of options also. Should I use amp and head unit or stick to one or the other. Thanks so much in advance.

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    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 3/6/2017

    John, Every 4-channel amp I've ever seen has four inputs, and every 5-channel amp has five inputs, so I don't quite understand what you're not seeing. An active crossover goes between a receiver's output and an amplifier's input, whether it's a 1-channel, 2-channel, 4, or 5-channel amp.

  • John from Holmdel

    Posted on 3/6/2017

    Hi Buck I am going to replace everything in a 2004 Mercedes ML 350 with the Bose option. In tryng tomdecide which amp i am confused by this article on crossover selection. The 4 or 5 channel amps only seem to have L and R inputs. Do i need to use multiple mono amps if i am adding an active crossover?

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    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 2/8/2017

    William, Use the crossovers designed for the particular tweeters and woofers of your new component system. You've given no sound evidence that they're not working, anyway.

  • William

    Posted on 2/8/2017

    I recently bought some pioneer Ts-a6106c to replace some kicker ks 5.25" components. The pioneers have a crossover but it appears to only filter the audio going to the tweeter. I've got them hooked up to a Hertz hcp4 and am pretty happy with them however I am concerned that the woofer is not being filtered properly....I have the high pass running on the amp but I can't shake the lack of woofer crossover. I guess I'm just asking if I've got it set up properly, and if not, would it be a bad idea to use the crossover from the kickers in place of the one that came with the pioneers?

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    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 12/15/2016

    Jacob, We'd have to know what vehicle you're talking about to know for sure, but most of the time when factory speakers are replaced by component sets, the new crossovers get their inputs from the front door factory speaker wiring.

  • Jacob from Texas

    Posted on 12/14/2016

    Buck, My wife has a factory JBL system in her car that has tweeter, midrange, and woofer speakers. I want to replace them with the JBL Club 5000C speakers. Where should be the signsl input to the after market JBL crossover comes from? Directly from the amplifer? Or any of those 3 origonal speakers? Thanks

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    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 12/12/2016

    Mason, It does appear that that receiver has the ability to use internal crossovers to mitigate all the frequencies to run active as you describe.

  • Mason Cocagne from Apple River

    Posted on 12/11/2016

    so say i have a pioneer avh-x4800bs and a alpine pdx-v9 could i get a set of jl audio c2650 components and run the tweeters from that and the woofers from different channels on the amp as long I use the cross over network set up through the pioneer as a active cross over?

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    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 12/5/2016

    Simon, Maybe reading through this tuning article will help.

  • simon from gravesend

    Posted on 12/3/2016

    hi Buck, thanks for thr answer but.. can u help me to improve it (or make it a bit louder) my music :). thats what ive got: mex- xb100bt. front: xsxb160+sps110tw. rear (behind me on the back seat): xdxb690. boot: 2x swr12d2, 2x gm-d9601. cap: boss audio 8farad. ive still got place in rear doors for speakers. can u suggest me on how to improve it a little bit more? (im just in to it :)) ) regards

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    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 11/29/2016

    Simon, You really don't need an additional crossover for your system, both your amps and receiver have crossovers built in. You set the sub amps' low-pass filters to keep highs away from the subs. The Sony receiver has high-pass filters for the front and rear full-range outputs to keep bass notes away from those speakers. Start with both set for around 100 Hz and adjust for the best sound.

  • simon from gravesend

    Posted on 11/28/2016

    hi Buck, ive got sony mex-xb100bt, 2x subs swr12d2, 2x amps gm-d9601. i want to add a 2x midrange speakers ~100rms each. if it can be done than, what crossover will suit me best to pump another 2speakers from thoose amps? :) thanks

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    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 9/14/2016

    Mikhail, I suggest using that 4-channel amp to power your front and rear components (with their crossovers) and getting a separate amplifier for those small full-range speakers. Then you can use the onboard high-pass filter to keep bass from distorting.

  • Mikhail

    Posted on 9/14/2016

    I need some advice regarding getting my replacement audio setup correctly for my E36 BMW... I decided to go with the JBL CLUB 704 4 channel Amp to replace the stock OEM. Unfortunately this car was designed with a ridiculous amount of speakers (10), 2 door woofers, 2 door tweeters, 2 kick panel mids, 2 rear window mids, and 2 rear window tweeters. It also has a Sub-woofer in the trunk... Based on this, I went ahead and got 2 sets of the JBL GTO509C kits, this covers 6 of the speakers, and addt'ly purchased some 2" woofers from Vifa (NE65W-04) to replace the door woofers... Now I am stuck, there were 2 passive crossovers per JBL kit, however they are only 2 way crossovers... How can I configure this system to run everything?

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    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 9/6/2016

    William, Yes you can, but the AudioControl 6XS crossover's high-pass frequency comes set at 250 Hz, which seems to me is a bit low for a tweeter's cut-off frequency in an active setup. You can, however, get optional crossover modules from AudioControl to achieve a more appropriate crossover point for your tweeters.

  • William from Las Vegas

    Posted on 9/5/2016

    Hey Buck great tutorial, but I had a question. I'm really interested in buying the AudioControl 6XS, but am currently on a budget so I wanted to slowly build my car system. Before reading your tutorial I was originally planning on buying an amp along with a set of component speakers then getting a separate amp and sub later on with a bi-amp set up. If I were to buy just the component speakers and amp now would I be able swap out the passive crossover on the component speakers for the AudioControl 6XS when I buy the separate amp/sub to complete my system?

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    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 8/4/2016

    Bill, You'll get a better answer from the speaker's manufacturer. Reach out to their tech support. Most companies will gladly share knowledge of the technology their products use.

  • Bill from Calgary

    Posted on 8/3/2016

    I'm interested in finding out the type of crossover in my loudspeakers. If I were to provide a schematic in PDF, would you be able to tell me the Order, and Design (e.g. Butterworth, Linkwitz-Riley, etc.)

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    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 8/3/2016

    George, To control that many different speakers and drivers, I recommend using a multi-channel digital signal processor like the Helix DSP PRO. In addition to being able to set crossovers for up to 10 channels, you'll be able to apply 30-band equalization and time-alignment to each of them as well.

  • George Spotts from Jenkintown, pa

    Posted on 8/2/2016

    Here's what's in my car: A pair of C5-650 components in front doors, a pair of C5-650 coaxials in rear doors, A JL Audio prowedge in the trunk, and a zr midbass driver in the rear deck. What would be a good crossover to buy? Also, I'm thinking about buying a pair of JL Audio 4" mid-range drivers for the rear deck later down the line... Thanks!

  • Sean

    Posted on 2/27/2016

    Love the DMB reference. Righteous.

  • Sahand from Tehran, Iran

    Posted on 1/21/2016

    tnq so much, it was so useful for me, by this information i can install my car audio system myself :)

  • Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 12/2/2015

    Ronny, Crutchfield does sell some passive crossovers, but they're designed to go with specific woofers and tweeters and you didn't identify yours so we can't tell if any of them would work for you. I suggest contacting your component's seller or manufacturer to see if replacement parts are available.

  • Ronny Mathew from Atlanta, GA

    Posted on 12/1/2015

    I'm having the hardest time finding just a passive crossover. I bought a set of component speakers that came with tweeters, 6.5" speakers, and crossovers, but one of the crossovers has gone bad. Where would I be able to find just the passive crossover? I can't seem to find any here on crutchfield, or anywhere else.

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    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 9/1/2015

    Jorge, Assuming there is a crossover to keep low notes away from the tweeter and high notes away from the woofer, you can hook both components to the same amp channel, as long as the amp doesn't put out more than about 50 watts RMS per channel or it'll blow the tweeter.

  • Jorge from Caguas

    Posted on 8/31/2015

    Is possible to hook a 30 watts RMS tweeter with a 200 watts RMS midbass speaker in same channel? I heard that only speakers with same size, watts RMS and ohm can be together in same channel cause they need to have the same voice coil to receive equal wattage, in this case the tweeter or the mibass speaker one of them will receive more power (in wattage) than the other and will burn or blown, help me out

  • Commenter image

    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 8/24/2015

    Ryan, If you're talking about passive crossovers, then I don't think you can convert them from 3- to 2-way. Passive crossovers have fixed separate frequency bands for outputs and there's no easy way to recombine them. There are active crossovers that can switch from one mode to the other. But I've never seen a passive crossover that can do that.

  • Ryan McPherson from Fallon, NV

    Posted on 8/22/2015

    What if I have some 3 way crossovers but only have speakers for a 2 way application...woofer and tweeter with no midrange? If I only connect the woofer and tweeter I'll have a gap in my audio range? Can I convert my 3 way to a 2 way?

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    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 8/14/2015

    Julius, Crossovers are used to shape signals to match a speaker's ability to reproduce the sound. For example, a tweeter would be destroyed by low-frequencies if a crossover didn't prevent them from playing. For help improving the sound of your bass, check out this article.

  • Julius from NAIROBI

    Posted on 8/13/2015

    Does a crossover help to distribute sound to every corner of your experiencing that problem right now my subwoofer loses sound rather the impact its supposed to please

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    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 8/11/2015

    Michael, The Epicenter by Audio Control is a bass-restoration processor, not a crossover. It uses sophisticated processing to analyze the incoming signal, restore low bass fundamental tones, and increase the bass response.

  • Michael

    Posted on 8/10/2015

    Is the epicentre a crossover? How will it affect audio quality?

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    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 7/14/2015

    Israel, I don't know why, how, or where a crossover could possibly be utilized in a home theater system. The speakers have crossovers built in, designed by the manufacturer to match the individual drivers. Receivers have built-in crossovers so the subwoofer output will just be bass. This article discusses crossovers used in car audio applications. If you're putting together a home theater system with separate PA-style horns, speakers, and subwoofers, each with its own amp, then you may need to look at a Pro Audio crossover. Give us a call, for help in deciding.

  • israel hall from brooklyn, ny

    Posted on 7/14/2015

    I would like to speak to someone about installing a crossover to my home theater system your help in one's choosing a crossover is quite good

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    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 7/7/2015

    Phil, Normally it wouldn't matter, except to say you should use the controls of either one but not both at the same time. But because the low-pass filter of your powered subwoofer can't be turned off, I suggest you turn off all the subwoofer tone controls on your receiver and use only the tone controls (bass boost and X-over) of the subwoofer.

  • Phill from Texas

    Posted on 7/6/2015

    On point and very helpful. Thanks for the info. I have the Rockford Fosgate BP300 12 which has it's own settings in addition to my Kenwood 501 Head unit. Currently I've set the speakers controls to minimum and using only the Kenwoods settings. Is this the best use of this setup?

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    Buck Pomerantz from Crutchfield

    Posted on 6/22/2015

    James, A crossover will be describes as 'built-in" when it's located inside a device, like a component speaker or an amplifier.

  • James from Qatar

    Posted on 6/22/2015

    What are inbiuld crossover

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