Evolution of a Crossover Upgrade

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Early B.

Evolution of a Crossover Upgrade
« on: 14 Jul 2019, 08:16 pm »
I’m always in search of low cost tweaks. Crossover upgrades are a great candidate because there’s always an upgrade path, regardless of the price you paid for your  speakers. I have Hawthorne Audio OB8 speakers. Danny designed the crossover. I hope he doesn’t mind that I played mad scientist with his design. Here’s what I did:

STOCK CROSSOVER:

Here’s a pic of the original crossover. Note that the parts are already higher quality than most speaker crossovers.


LEVEL 1:
Back in 2016, I hired a local audio tech company to install 12 ga. Jantzen copper foils on the mids and 14 or 16 ga. on the highs, and then added a Jupiter bypass cap on the mids a few weeks later.  The inductors provided a significant improvement in sound, i.e., more body, primarily.



LEVEL 2:
February 2019:  I changed out an Erse 2.2uF cap with an enormous Miflex cap, and bypassed the other two caps in the tweeter circuit with Miflex 0.1uF caps. I also added a Speakon connector to connect the speaker cables. With only a few hours of break-in, my system was on a different level. More detail, more dynamic, livelier... just better all around.

Here'a pic of the orginal Erse cap and the Miflex it replaced....


Here's a pic of in installed:


LEVEL 3:
July 2019: I swapped out the Sonicap Gen I's with Jantzen Superior Z-Caps. I have a single 10uF, 12uF and 15uF cap in each crossover. I chose the Jantzen Z-caps primarily for cost and quality.

The improvement was more significant than I expected. It wasn't subtle at all. More like a component upgrade. Just clearer and more musical all around. Vocals are more natural. Slight increase in detail. Deep bass is the same, but more subtlety in the mid bass. Generally more enjoyable to listen to, for sure. The imaging improved significantly.

Those caps will probably continue to break in, so the sound can only get better. Was it worth the $300 I spent on upgrading the caps and resistors?  Absolutely!

Below is a before/after shot comparing the original crossover to the current one:

It ain’t pretty, but it’s hidden behind the speaker where no one will see it. 


LEVEL 4?:
There’s no other reasonable upgrade path for crossover parts. For aesthetic purposes, I’m considering wooden boxes for external crossovers. This would require re-building the crossovers, and I can upgrade all of the wire at that time.


BOTTOM LINE:  If you’re interested in tweaking, crossover upgrades are a great option if you have the space in the cabinet for larger caps. The cost-to-sound ratio is very good. Dust off your soldering iron and get to work!  But first, if you want to keep your speakers long term, consider getting them evaluated by Danny for potential improvements in crossover design before you get started. 




Captainhemo

Re: Evolution of a Crossover Upgrade
« Reply #1 on: 14 Jul 2019, 08:39 pm »
Nice upgrades.
 there is a level 4.... swap out the Speekon's for some  tube connectors , inexpensive too  :thumb:

jay

Early B.

Re: Evolution of a Crossover Upgrade
« Reply #2 on: 14 Jul 2019, 09:20 pm »
Nice upgrades.
 there is a level 4.... swap out the Speekon's for some  tube connectors , inexpensive too  :thumb:

I had tube connectors on my previous speakers. I actually prefer the Speakons.

aceinc

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Re: Evolution of a Crossover Upgrade
« Reply #3 on: 15 Jul 2019, 01:55 am »
One thing I have read, and in the few xovers I have done I try to adhere to is keeping inductors at 90 degrees to one another in order to minimize induced cross talk. I also keep them as far apart as possible.

How important is that in the scheme of things?

Early B.

Re: Evolution of a Crossover Upgrade
« Reply #4 on: 15 Jul 2019, 02:21 am »
One thing I have read, and in the few xovers I have done I try to adhere to is keeping inductors at 90 degrees to one another in order to minimize induced cross talk. I also keep them as far apart as possible.

How important is that in the scheme of things?

I considered that after they were installed, but didn't want to risk any damage since they're glued in place. If I decide to build external crossover boxes, I'll re-orient them.   

Danny Richie

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Re: Evolution of a Crossover Upgrade
« Reply #5 on: 15 Jul 2019, 03:12 am »
I had tube connectors on my previous speakers. I actually prefer the Speakons.

That one is strange. I found the tube connectors to be significantly better and relegated the Speakon's to servo subs only.

Nice work on the upgrades. Now I think you need a bigger box to house it all.

ntjetsmoke

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Re: Evolution of a Crossover Upgrade
« Reply #6 on: 15 Jul 2019, 04:02 am »
Early B,

i admire the level to level approach to your crossover upgrades. If you were to do it over would you keep the same order of the levels?
Said differently, would you replace capacitors before the inductors?

Also, could you say where you sourced your parts?

Good Stuff!

Early B.

Re: Evolution of a Crossover Upgrade
« Reply #7 on: 15 Jul 2019, 04:37 am »
If you were to do it over would you keep the same order of the levels?
Said differently, would you replace capacitors before the inductors?

Also, could you say where you sourced your parts?

If I were to do it over again, I'd replace all of the parts at the same time in a wooden box with a glass or acrylic top. I sourced my parts from Soniccraft and Parts Connexion.

Early B.

Re: Evolution of a Crossover Upgrade
« Reply #8 on: 15 Jul 2019, 04:42 am »
Now I think you need a bigger box to house it all.

Yep. That's the final step.

Captainhemo

Re: Evolution of a Crossover Upgrade
« Reply #9 on: 15 Jul 2019, 05:17 am »
I had tube connectors on my previous speakers. I actually prefer the Speakons.

Interesting... I've heard both as well and I won't use the  Speekons for  higher level  (speaker)   frequencies.  We do use them for   all our sub builds however.
Have you tried the  tube  connectors with  your  upgraded parts  ?   Might be interesting  to try them agai

jay

ric

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Re: Evolution of a Crossover Upgrade
« Reply #10 on: 15 Jul 2019, 02:15 pm »
Yes, I couldn't agree with you more! I recently (a few months)posted in the Spatial Audio section of upgrading the crossovers and started with the 6.8uf, then upgraded the 68uf, then the resistor (path audio, looks the same a yours).
Not just detail, but verticle treble (strings, horns, etc.) have an airiness which adds to the LIVE sound. Also the weight of the instruments, i.e., when piano keys are hit, bow on string, etc. have a weight to them which also sound more real. Everything sounds better, to the point where I would consider crossovers as components (in need of upgrades!). I used Jupiter caps, and the sound is great. Because of the size factor, I used some Herbie's footers underneath the crossovers and could hear a difference--I plan to get some Iso-Acoustic products to put under them, as they already work wonders under my speakers and turntable. Congrats!

Early B.

Re: Evolution of a Crossover Upgrade
« Reply #11 on: 15 Jul 2019, 03:21 pm »
Interesting... I've heard both as well and I won't use the  Speekons for  higher level  (speaker)   frequencies.  We do use them for   all our sub builds however.
Have you tried the  tube  connectors with  your  upgraded parts  ?   Might be interesting  to try them again.

I'm not using Speakons for sound quality, but for their connectivity. I just like them. Nevertheless, I'm willing to try the tube connectors again once I put the crossovers in their final "resting place." (Interestingly, the dimensions of a decorative wood box I need are sold for the cremated remains of loved ones.)   

Danny Richie

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Re: Evolution of a Crossover Upgrade
« Reply #12 on: 15 Jul 2019, 03:52 pm »
I'm not using Speakons for sound quality, but for their connectivity. I just like them. Nevertheless, I'm willing to try the tube connectors again once I put the crossovers in their final "resting place." (Interestingly, the dimensions of a decorative wood box I need are sold for the cremated remains of loved ones.)   

Oh, I agree. I love how the Speakons connect.

Danny23

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Re: Evolution of a Crossover Upgrade
« Reply #13 on: 15 Jul 2019, 09:39 pm »
I'm not using Speakons for sound quality, but for their connectivity. I just like them. Nevertheless, I'm willing to try the tube connectors again once I put the crossovers in their final "resting place." (Interestingly, the dimensions of a decorative wood box I need are sold for the cremated remains of loved ones.)   

What speaker cables are you using?

Early B.

Re: Evolution of a Crossover Upgrade
« Reply #14 on: 15 Jul 2019, 10:40 pm »
What speaker cables are you using?

I have a pair of 12 ft. DCCA Audio copper ribbon speaker cables.

Early B.

Re: Evolution of a Crossover Upgrade
« Reply #15 on: 27 Jul 2019, 05:19 pm »
Project completed (for now) with crossover boxes added.





 

mkane

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Re: Evolution of a Crossover Upgrade
« Reply #16 on: 27 Jul 2019, 10:52 pm »
Ahh, the crossover rabbit hole.








 

Early B.

Re: Evolution of a Crossover Upgrade
« Reply #17 on: 27 Jul 2019, 11:38 pm »
Your crossover looks professionally done. That's gotta sound awesome.

mkane

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Re: Evolution of a Crossover Upgrade
« Reply #18 on: 28 Jul 2019, 02:24 am »
  Thanks. Those are Wedgie crossovers. A room-filling experience for sure. They're a bit stringent up top and I should probably make an adjustment to the resistor. We also have another top hat I like more.









I forget what these are called. They continue to amaze with the smoothness and ability to portray music as it was meant to be. Simply outstanding.


Tyson

Re: Evolution of a Crossover Upgrade
« Reply #19 on: 28 Jul 2019, 03:00 am »
  Thanks. Those are Wedgie crossovers. A room-filling experience for sure. They're a bit stringent up top and I should probably make an adjustment to the resistor. We also have another top hat I like more.









I forget what these are called. They continue to amaze with the smoothness and ability to portray music as it was meant to be. Simply outstanding.



Those are the Super Mini speakers.  The little brother to the Super 7 speakers.  I completely agree with you, the integration of mids/highs on these Neo10 and Neo3 drivers is unparalleled.  Simply outstanding is right!