Car audio crossovers - why you need one.

What's the purpose of car audio crossovers?

No single speaker can cover the audible range of human hearing. So you need multiple speakers. Since each type of speaker (subwoofer, woofer, midrange and tweeter) covers a specific frequency range, you must split the sound between them.

You need a car crossover send certain frequencies to different speakers. For instance, an electronic crossover will send high frequencies to your tweeters, mids to your mid range and midbass speakers, and low frequencies to your subwoofers.

Car audio crossovers at work.

Here's a typical example of a car stereo crossover at work. The music signal is divided by frequency and directed as follows:

  • Tweeters get frequencies of 3000 Hz and over.
  • Frequencies between 250 and 3,000 Hz go to midrange speakers.
  • Frequencies between 100 and 250 Hz go to midbass speakers.
  • Subwoofers get frequencies of 100 Hz and lower.

    These frequencies can vary depending on the speakers being used and the acoustic properties of your vehicle. Every situation is different.

    The passive crossover is very common. It's basically a capacitor or coil installed on the speaker leads between amplifier and speaker. It stops certain frequencies from reaching the speakers.

    But for your car stereo system to perform well you need an active crossover. Multiple amps are also better. Some people use three amps; one amp for bass, one for mid range, and one for high frequencies. You install the electronic crossover between your receiver or equalizer and your amplifiers.

    Without car audio crossovers, just imagine the mess that will result. Your subwoofer and mid-range speakers may duplicate many of the same frequencies, and your mid-range speaker will attempt to put out high notes that your tweeters are supposed to handle. If your tweeters attempt to play bass notes there will be distortion and they will be destroyed.

    To avoid speaker damage and for the overall balance of your car stereo system, invest in a quality car crossover.

    Car audio crossovers to car stereo mainpage.

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