Facing a speed bump with crossover frequency in your car audio system? Fear not- there are quick and easy steps to handle this crisis. New & old drivers alike can face such bumps while setting up their car audio system.
All cars do not come with the same type of audio system. Usually, there are three settings you need to look out for.
- High pass, Low pass, Bandpass: prevents certain ranges from passing through a filter
- Frequency: the level for the filter to function
- Q-Factor or Slope: regulates the rate of system’s diminished volume as frequency move past crossover point
So, if you want to have the time of your life on a road trip, better take some notes on how to set crossover frequency for a car audio system.
Table of Contents
- What Are the Types of Crossovers for Car Audio?
- What Are the Types of Set-Up for Crossover Frequency?
- 1. First Set-Up: Front Component Speakers, Rear Coaxial Speakers and A Sub
- 2. Second Set-Up: Two-Way Front Speakers and a Subwoofer
- 3. Third Set-Up: Front Component Speakers and a Subwoofer
- 4. Fourth Set-Up: Two-Way Front Speakers, Rear Speakers, and a Subwoofer
- 5. Fifth Set-Up: Three-Way Front Speakers and a Subwoofer
- 6. Sixth Set-Up: Three-Way Front Component Speakers. Rear Speakers, and a Subwoofer
- Which Audio Systems Need to Install A Crossover?
- Let’s Finish Up
What Are the Types of Crossovers for Car Audio?
Before installing crossovers, you need to know how many are there and how they work so that you can choose one that matches your requirement.
1) Active Crossovers
The active electronic crossover functions through line-level signals, otherwise known as the signal path. It functions with electrical components like transistor chips known as op-amps (operational amplifiers) so that the crossover performs similarly as the much larger and less coherent passive crossover.
- Compact size
- Easily designed with choices of use between a high pass or low pass or no crossover
However, it requires power to function and alter the signal. Therefore, the crossover is called active. It works with the line-level (RCA) signal prior to the input of the amp’s RCA or the inside of an amp. Then the output signal of the active crossover needs to be amplified.
2) Passive Crossovers
The audio signal in a passive crossover goes in two directions after a single power amplifier pumps it up. It works to omit sounds that are deemed unnecessary by you. Also, it does not need a power source.
Usually, this crossover is applicable for small-scale speakers such as component speakers, tweeters, and two-way coaxial speaker systems as it is fairly affordable for these situations.
However, it is not used to obstruct highs and mid-range subwoofers as the inductors’ size are big and expensive. Also, it is less efficient compared to the electronic crossover in this case. Hence, the subwoofer with built-in low pass crossover in the amp is of great use.
3) Digital Crossovers
This digital software crossover functions in the digital music zone with sound. It filters out the sound by performing only in digital music signals by using advanced software methods.
- More affordable
- Uses less space, smaller in size
- Requires no additional electronics
- Uses specialized microprocessors or DSP chips
This type of crossover is applied in the software of car audio head units, digital audio processors, or home theatre receivers.
Generally, it works by carrying out a math-based function that changes the output of the signal on the basis of its frequency. With the usage of specific formulas, equalizers can be applied, and it will function on the signal of music at the time of its representation of the binary digital number.
What Are the Types of Set-Up for Crossover Frequency?
It is better to get familiar with the types of set-ups so that you do not find yourself in a pickle later on. Here is the configuration of crossover frequency for different car audio systems.
1. First Set-Up: Front Component Speakers, Rear Coaxial Speakers and A Sub
In this configuration, you have front and rear speakers as well as a subwoofer. Therefore, you need to put a crossover for the front speakers and subwoofer.
For rear speakers, it is possible to have a built-in active crossover; however, most of the time, these coaxial rear speakers do not have a passive crossover.
- Passive Crossover- if there is an absence of one in rear speakers
- High-pass filter- to adjust low frequencies
- Low-pass filter- for adjusting high frequencies
- Crossover Frequencies
- For Sub, you need to station the low pass filter at 80 Hz that has 12/24 dB slope
- For Front drivers, setting the high pass filter to 80 Hz as well with 12/24 dB slope is necessary
- For Rear drivers, adjust the high pass filter to 80 Hz with 12/24 dB slope
The best course of action is to use these frequencies for speakers that measure up to 5.25 inches or more. If you are using small speakers, then a higher frequency than the mentioned one is needed.
Manually, you can adjust it from 300 Hz to lower by listening to distortion in mid-range. If there is still distortion, simply increase it gradually until the sound seems fine to you.
2. Second Set-Up: Two-Way Front Speakers and a Subwoofer
In case your front component speakers are two-way, you need certain filters.
- High-pass filter- you need this filter for the tweeter
- Band-pass filters- mid-range speakers need this filter
- Low-pass filter- for the subwoofer
For this set-up, the following configurations are necessary.
- For Tweeters, you need to adjust the high pass filter at 5 kHz, and the slope needs to be of 12/24 dB
- For Sub, the slope needs to be of 12/24 dB with the low pass filter set to 80 Hz
- For Mid-range, the bandpass filter needs to be set to high pass filter of 80 Hz and low pass filter of 5 kHz with the slope of 12/24 dB
3. Third Set-Up: Front Component Speakers and a Subwoofer
For this setting, you will need certain things that have a specific purpose.
- Passive crossovers- to diverge the frequencies so that it will direct the tweeters as well as the mid-range driver, also divides frequencies in the middle of mid and high-frequency speakers
- High-pass filter- clarify low frequencies that are unable for a mid-range driver to control
- Low-pass filter- makes sure to filter low frequencies in sub so that it only procreates low frequencies
Additionally, the crossover is able to divide the frequencies in 3-way if the speaker components have a 3-way configuration system. It ensures that high, mid, and low-frequencies receive their ideal frequencies.
For speakers bigger than 5.25, this set-up can be applied. If your speakers are smaller, start from a higher frequency, as explained above until you get a clear sound.
4. Fourth Set-Up: Two-Way Front Speakers, Rear Speakers, and a Subwoofer
This configuration requires the following crossover setup.
- Crossover Frequencies
- Front Mid-range Drivers- it adjusts the bandpass filter till 80 Hz high pass filter and low-pass filter of 5 kHz. Also, the slope needs to be at 12/24 dB
- Rear Drivers- the high-pass filter needs to be set at 80Hz and the slope at 12/24 dB
- Front Tweeters- 12/24 dB slope with the high pass filter set to 5 kHz
5. Fifth Set-Up: Three-Way Front Speakers and a Subwoofer
- High-frequency filter for drivers with high frequency
- Bandpass filter specifically for woofer and mid-range driver
- Low pass filter for a separate sub
- Crossover Frequencies
- Mid-range- at 500 Hz high pass filter, the bandpass filter needs to be set
- Sub- at 80 Hz with slope 12/24 dB, the low pass filter must be adjusted
- Woofers- at 80 Hz high pass filter and 500 Hz low-pass filter with slope 12/24 dB, the bandpass filter needs to be set
- Tweeters- at 5 kHz with 12/24 dB slope, set the high pass filter
6. Sixth Set-Up: Three-Way Front Component Speakers. Rear Speakers, and a Subwoofer
- Crossover Frequencies
- Front woofers- at 80 Hz high pass filter and 500 Hz low pass filter with a slope of 12/24 dB, bandpass filter needs to be set
- Front tweeters- at 5 kHz with 12/24 dB slope, adjust the high pass filter
- Front mid-range drivers- at 500 Hz high pass filter and 5 kHz low pass filter with 12/24 dB, set bandpass filter
- Sub- adjust the low pass filter till 80 Hz with 12/24 dB slope
Which Audio Systems Need to Install A Crossover?
For the best sound quality, your audio system must have a crossover. Although modern audio systems and coaxial speakers are already built with crossovers, you still have to add an additional self-sufficient car crossover to get the enhanced output of crossover frequency.
However, if your car only has coaxial speakers, then it is not necessary to install a crossover as full-range coaxial speakers have crossovers already built-in for frequency filtration. However, if you need a subwoofer, amplifier, and component speakers, you must install a crossover.
If the audio system requires different amps for specific speakers, you may need more than one crossover. For example, one amp is required to power component speakers or tweeters, and another amp takes the responsibility of subwoofers, then you should have 2 crossovers.
All the above configurations do have the potential to drive you insane. Don’t worry; there’s a simpler setup as well. For instance, you only need a car amplifier with a built-in crossover. This crossover has a high-pass filter that can steer the tweeters while the low pass filter can drive the subwoofers.
Let’s Finish Up
With this guide, you can configure your crossover frequency in a car all by yourself. However, you should take all the statistics mentioned here with a pinch of salt. Remember, you can still change frequencies according to your preferences if need be. This article only intends to enlighten you on certain ways you can set up your car audio system.
With all said and done, we hope you can cross the speed bump with ease.