Question (SOLVED-for now-)Crossover setting for studio monitors and subwoofer ?

michael diemer

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I have added a Mackie 10Smk3 subwoofer to my M-audio BX5a speakers. The monitors are rather small. They have a frequency range of 56hz to 22Khz. They have an active crossover freq. of 3khz. (That is, the built-in crossover between the tweeter and woofer). The tweeter draws 30 watts, the woofer draws 40.
The subwoofer is also not a large one and should match OK, although it's a different manufacturer. It has freq. range of 35-180hz. The crossover range is 40-180. It draws 120 watts.

I've been researching this, and see the usual suggested crossover on the sub is 80hz. But I have also seen recommendations which are much higher if your monitor speakers are small and don't have much bass response. Some as high as 150hz.

I use this setup for music creation, not listening or home theater. both the monitors and sub are studio quality, though not high-end.
Anyone have any thoughts on what would be a good crossover setting on the sub? Even ballpark would be helpful. My ears are aging and I can't always trust them.

Thanks, Mike
 

kanewolf

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I have added a Mackie 10Smk3 subwoofer to my M-audio BX5a speakers. The monitors are rather small. They have a frequency range of 56hz to 22Khz. They have an active crossover freq. of 3khz. (That is, the built-in crossover between the tweeter and woofer). The tweeter draws 30 watts, the woofer draws 40.
The subwoofer is also not a large one and should match OK, although it's a different manufacturer. It has freq. range of 35-180hz. The crossover range is 40-180. It draws 120 watts.

I've been researching this, and see the usual suggested crossover on the sub is 80hz. But I have also seen recommendations which are much higher if your monitor speakers are small and don't have much bass response. Some as high as 150hz.

I use this setup for music creation, not listening or home theater. both the monitors and sub are studio quality, though not high-end.
Anyone have any thoughts on what would be a good crossover setting on the sub? Even ballpark would be helpful. My ears are aging and I can't always trust them.

Thanks, Mike
The room and the placement of the speakers impacts this. Even your relative position to the speakers is important. Your "aging" ears are an important factor. To sound "correct" to you, you may need to set the settings different than someone without high frequency hearing loss (most common in aging). There is no definite answer. You can use things like pink noise and tone sweeps to identify any bumps or dips in the response where you sit. If you are really serious google "audio room equalization"
 
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One of the easiest ways to set crossover points is to get monitors and sub into their positions. Keep in mind position of sub and monitors has very noticeable impact on performance and frequency reproduction.

Play a sine sweep from 20hz-20khz. It should be a smooth transition from high to low notes. You shouldn't be able to pinpoint when the sub takes over.

This is my opinion and what has worked for me to quickly get to listening to music. This is only a nitty-gritty approach. If you want to go down the rabbit hole check out AVS(dot)com forums.
 
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michael diemer

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It's been my experience that the lower the setting the more woofer/bass is produced. When going higher it starts lowering the oomph and playing more music/sound through it. So if you want to hear the music more than feel it I would go high-highest.
Makes sense. I will try some rrally high settings, like 120 hz, and see how that sounds.
 

michael diemer

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The room and the placement of the speakers impacts this. Even your relative position to the speakers is important. Your "aging" ears are an important factor. To sound "correct" to you, you may need to set the settings different than someone without high frequency hearing loss (most common in aging). There is no definite answer. You can use things like pink noise and tone sweeps to identify any bumps or dips in the response where you sit. If you are really serious google "audio room equalization"
You bring up a great point. Getting the crossover right will not be a magic bullet. There are many other factors involved in good sound. For example, my music sounds great on my computer setup, with the monitors and subwoofer. But it sounds terrible on my big Klipsch tower speakers.
 

michael diemer

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One of the easiest ways to set crossover points is to get monitors and sub into their positions. Keep in mind position of sub and monitors has very noticeable impact on performance and frequency reproduction.

Play a sine sweep from 20hz-20khz. It should be a smooth transition from high to low notes. You shouldn't be able to pinpoint when the sub takes over.

This is my opinion and what has worked for me to quickly get to listening to music. This is only a nitty-gritty approach. If you want to go down the rabbit hole check out AVS(dot)com forums.
Ill look into this. Making the sub and monitors perfectly integrated is indeed the goal. There is one passage in my current project where the strings start low in the bass and go up pretty high, then go back down again. This might also be a good test.

Addendum: that's a great forum (AVS). I found threads there that ask the same question with similar components, so hopefully I'll get some illumination. Thanks for the tip!

Addendum 2: This thread especially: https://www.avsforum.com/threads/subwoofer-doubts-crossover-setting-for-60hz-speakers.2362801/#post-42318177
 
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kanewolf

Titan
Moderator
You bring up a great point. Getting the crossover right will not be a magic bullet. There are many other factors involved in good sound. For example, my music sounds great on my computer setup, with the monitors and subwoofer. But it sounds terrible on my big Klipsch tower speakers.
Klipsch are very "bright" speakers. The horn tweeters are not for everyone. It could be placement, equalization, or even insufficient amp sizing.

There is one passage in my current project where the strings start low in the bass and go up pretty high, then go back down again. This might also be a good test.
Rather than using that I would recommend you buy an audio test disk like the Denon disk -- https://www.amazon.com/Denon-Audio-Technical-Various-Artists/dp/B0000034ME/ Or use standard WAV files -- https://www.audiocheck.net/
 

michael diemer

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I'm putting it at 90hz and calling it good for now. The reason is, I have discovered other problems with my sound, resulting from the use of samples from several different libraries, and conflicts arising from differences in panning, room impulses, etc. For example, the basses in Vienna Special Edition are panned left of center, while East West and Cinematic Strings basses are panned right. I kept wondering why there were basses on the left. I even checked my wiring to see if I had reversed some connections.

Anyway, you can probably see that writing for full orchestra, and using multiple libraries, creates all sorts of problems. I need to get these sorted out before worrying about crossover settings! But at least I have learned some things from this thread. I'll call it good for now.
 

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