HT3 active/Passive and outboard passive crossover options

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. Read 5204 times.

Scott Gammans

  • Newbie
  • Posts: 4
Hello... first post so please be kind :)

I'm looking very closely at installing a pair of HT3's for my home theater and am evaluating the myriad options available for upgrading. Although I do not intend to use active crossovers initially I am thinking that ordering the active/passive option will be a good way to "future-proof" my HT3's.

OTOH, I'm scratching my head on the outboard passive crossover option. Can someone please explain what purpose seperating the internal crossover from the rest of the monitor this serves? Thank you. (Great forum, btw... I've been goofing off all day reading threads instead of doing the work that I need to be doing to pay for my toys! :oops: )

Marbles

HT3 active/Passive and outboard passive crossover options
« Reply #1 on: 13 Jan 2006, 08:57 pm »
Some people don't like switches in the signal path.  With an outboard XO, you can just take the passive XO out and put in an active XO, like a DEQX, and 6 channels of amplification.

With the passive/active, you would of course have the switches in the signal path and if you wanted to upgrade XO parts (better caps etc..) it would be more difficult.

Scott Gammans

  • Newbie
  • Posts: 4
HT3 active/Passive and outboard passive crossover options
« Reply #2 on: 13 Jan 2006, 09:30 pm »
Hm, interesting. If I am understanding you correctly, it would actually be easier (and possibly sonically cleaner) to upgrade an HT3 that has the outboard passive crossover option and not the active/passive switch. Is that a fair statement?

Marbles

HT3 active/Passive and outboard passive crossover options
« Reply #3 on: 13 Jan 2006, 09:36 pm »
Quote from: Scott Gammans
Hm, interesting. If I am understanding you correctly, it would actually be easier (and possibly sonically cleaner) to upgrade an HT3 that has the outboard passive crossover option and not the active/passive switch. Is that a fair statement?


I'm not sure about the easier (but maybe so), but it should be sonically cleaner.

Scott Gammans

  • Newbie
  • Posts: 4
HT3 active/Passive and outboard passive crossover options
« Reply #4 on: 13 Jan 2006, 10:30 pm »
Thanks, Marbles.  8)

zybar

HT3 active/Passive and outboard passive crossover options
« Reply #5 on: 14 Jan 2006, 12:17 am »
Welcome Scott.

While I think most Salk HT3 owners will keep their speakers for a long time and it is great to be able to upgrade, it is quite a commitment to go active.

Six channels of good amplification plus digital crossovers or amps will run some serious money for a very incremental gain over the excellent passive crossovers.

As Rob already stated, the best compromise is putting the switches in place vs the outboard crossover.

No matter how you slice it, the HT3 speakers are an excellent choice and a true bargain.

George

jermmd

HT3 active/Passive and outboard passive crossover options
« Reply #6 on: 14 Jan 2006, 12:58 am »
Scott,

The active crossover option is not for the standard hifi enthusiast. It is for the serious hobbyist and tweeker. Stick with the passive crossover designed by Dennis Murphy. It is very good. I even toyed with the idea of only having one set of binding posts on the speaker because I feel the passive XO and a good amp is the way to go. Upgrade the caps, add BH5, whatever before going active.  Check out the speakers that Marbles had built.  Later, if you want to upgrade, sell the speakers and buy new ones.

Scott Gammans

  • Newbie
  • Posts: 4
HT3 active/Passive and outboard passive crossover options
« Reply #7 on: 14 Jan 2006, 03:27 am »
Hello gentlemen, and thanks for the welcome.
Quote from: zybar
Welcome Scott.

While I think most Salk HT3 owners will keep their speakers for a long time and it is great to be able to upgrade, it is quite a commitment to go active.

I would definitely agree with that statement. This will be the first system where I've even gone the seperates route, never mind amplifying each individual driver.
Quote from: zybar

As Rob already stated, the best compromise is putting the switches in place vs the outboard crossover.

I'm sorry; I'm confused now. When Rob said...
Quote
With the passive/active, you would of course have the switches in the signal path and if you wanted to upgrade XO parts (better caps etc..) it would be more difficult.

... I took his statement to mean that the outboard crossover was the best compromise (because it would be easier to upgrade the XO parts than with the passive/active option).

I think I'm probably over-obsessing, but this is my first high-performance set of speakers so I'm still feeling my way a bit. jermmd's advice...
Quote from: jermmd
Stick with the passive crossover designed by Dennis Murphy. It is very good. I even toyed with the idea of only having one set of binding posts on the speaker because I feel the passive XO and a good amp is the way to go. Upgrade the caps, add BH5, whatever before going active.  Check out the speakers that Marbles had built.  Later, if you want to upgrade, sell the speakers and buy new ones.

...sounds very reasonable (and I had already planned on the Black Hole upgrade). From what I've been reading the Sonicap upgrade also sounds like something of a no-brainer; it seems to me that upgrading the capacitors after the fact would be kinda difficult.

Marbles

HT3 active/Passive and outboard passive crossover options
« Reply #8 on: 14 Jan 2006, 03:43 am »
Scott, I have already gone down the tri-amp road, and I don't want to go down it again.

I might bi-amp in the future, but tri-amping, no way.

Go for the internal XO and bi-wire option, or go for the external XO option.  Either will future proof your purchase.

Sparks

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 62
HT3 active/Passive and outboard passive crossover options
« Reply #9 on: 14 Jan 2006, 04:56 am »
I'm not trying to contradict Marbles direct experience but I thought one of the main advantages to an active xover was that you could use multiple inexpensive amps since they would not need to reproduce the entire frequency spectrum, just the specifc frequency range that the driver handled.

The advantage, theoretically is adjustabilty in the xover config and better sound from the dedicated amps.

The disadvantage I see offhand is the complicated cabling and lots of power outlets.

woodsyi

  • Volunteer
  • Posts: 6488
  • Always Look on the Bright Side of Life!
HT3 active/Passive and outboard passive crossover options
« Reply #10 on: 14 Jan 2006, 04:57 am »
Not a Salk owner, but another option is to have the passive filter for the tweeter and midrange and go active on the bass woofer lowpass -- sort of treating the woofer like a built in passive subwoofer.  You can go with tubes or a refined class a ss on top and an arc torch for the bottom.

jermmd

HT3 active/Passive and outboard passive crossover options
« Reply #11 on: 14 Jan 2006, 06:03 am »
Quote from: Sparks
I'm not trying to contradict Marbles direct experience but I thought one of the main advantages to an active xover was that you could use multiple inexpensive amps since they would not need to reproduce the entire frequency spectrum, just the specifc frequency range that the driver handled.

The advantage, theoretically is adjustabilty in the xover config and better sound from the dedicated amps.

The disadvantage I see offhand is the complicated cabling and lots of power outlets.


The advantage you talk of is only an advantage if you think you can do better than the crossover already created by the designers. For the average enthusiast, I doubt this is possible. I suppose using multiple cheap amps instead of a single, decent amp can be considered an advantage as well.  The point is, for most people the simple way is the best way. And it's cheaper. I have the basic HT3 and it is very good. I haven't heard the upgraded or active models, but I doubt the difference is substantial. Jim Salk himself didn't sound too enthusiastic about the active option IMHO.

Marbles

HT3 active/Passive and outboard passive crossover options
« Reply #12 on: 14 Jan 2006, 01:35 pm »
What I was thinking of was what Woodsyi mentioned.

The integration of the tweeter and midrange is seemless, and I don't want to attempt to try to improve upon that.

The integration of the midrange and woofer is pretty darn good.

If I were to do anything, it would be to try a tube amp on the mid/tweeter and a high current amp on the woofer.

If I needed to put an active XOand eq on the woofer, it would be pretty easy to do that as well.

Lucky for me that I'm very satisfied with a single quality amp and the passive XO.

As far as cheap amps, I haven't found one that I would want to put on any single driver of these very revealing speakers.  They deserve quality amps.

zybar

HT3 active/Passive and outboard passive crossover options
« Reply #13 on: 14 Jan 2006, 01:38 pm »
Quote from: Sparks
I'm not trying to contradict Marbles direct experience but I thought one of the main advantages to an active xover was that you could use multiple inexpensive amps since they would not need to reproduce the entire frequency spectrum, just the specifc frequency range that the driver handled.

The advantage, theoretically is adjustabilty in the xover config and better sound from the dedicated amps.

The disadvantage I see offhand is the complicated cabling and lots of power outlets.


I think most of the people think the quality of the amps can be lowered when going active are people who already don't think amps make a huge difference.  

Depending on where crossover points turn out, you might be able to use less expensive amp(s) in the bass area.  I believe the HT3's 10" driver plays up to around 250Hz.  Not sure I would want a "bass" amp for that role since 250Hz gets you into much more of the music than the very lowest notes.

THe real disadvantages to going active are the costs and setup complications.

George

zybar

HT3 active/Passive and outboard passive crossover options
« Reply #14 on: 14 Jan 2006, 01:42 pm »
Quote from: Marbles
What I was thinking of was what Woodsyi mentioned.

The integration of the tweeter and midrange is seemless, and I don't want to attempt to try to improve upon that.

The integration of the midrange and woofer is pretty darn good.

If I were to do anything, it would be to try a tube amp on the mid/tweeter and a high current amp on the woofer.

If I needed to put an active XOand eq on the woofer, it would be pretty easy to do that as well.

Lucky for me that I'm very satisfied with a single quality amp and the passive XO.

As far as cheap amps, I haven't found one that I would want to put on any single driver of these very revealing speakers. They deserve quality amps.


Well said Rob.

I thought about bi-amping the speakers, but I honestly just can't think of a combination of amps out there that I think would outperform my current single amp (McCormack DNA-500) without investing substantially more money.

George

Marbles

HT3 active/Passive and outboard passive crossover options
« Reply #15 on: 14 Jan 2006, 02:02 pm »
As has been mentioned, you can improve upon the passive XO's, but to get the VERY small incremental increase (IMO) you would have to add a DEQX at about $2700, 4 more channels of amplification, 2 more pairs of IC's, 2 more pairs of speaker cables, countless hours trying to integrate/measure.

It's just not worth it to me to try to squeeze out that last few % to improve these.

I just want to relax and enjoy the music, and with these speakers, I can.

I am very happy for Randy.   He got the Active HT3a DEQX setup.  He did it from the get go and he knew what he was getting himself in for.  It is a no compromise setup and I'm sure he is tickled with the sound he is getting.

I might feel different if I had started out with the active setup.  Since I started with the normal passive XO speakers, I just have no desire to change.

jermmd

HT3 active/Passive and outboard passive crossover options
« Reply #16 on: 14 Jan 2006, 02:17 pm »
I don't doubt that you can get better sound with the active setup and DEQX. After all, You get room correction and infinite adjustability. The system can really be tuned to your specific environment. It's just such an effort and the HT3's sound so good already. Like I said before, the active option is for the tweeker/serious hobbyist. It could be fun to really learn the DEQX system and play with all the settings. But it won't be easy. :wink:

ctviggen

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 5103
HT3 active/Passive and outboard passive crossover options
« Reply #17 on: 14 Jan 2006, 02:58 pm »
I have Linn 5140s, which are triampable from the factory (though they want you to use the internal crossover typically, although you can go "active").  I've always found it to be a confusing situation -- do you buy a lot of cheaper amps and interconnects or one very nice amp and a very nice set of interconnects?  I've always tended toward the latter, although now I'm beginning a transition to the former.  If you have the time, a DIY room correction system with cheaper ICs and amps I think will sound better than even a nice amp and a TACT, as TACT only gives you control over the entire frequency range (or perhaps low/high frequency ranges), while a DIY system can give you control over as many frequency ranges as you have the time and money to set up (not to mention as many speakers as you'd like to correct).  The detriment will be time, as supposedly this takes a ton of time.

jsalk

HT3 active/Passive and outboard passive crossover options
« Reply #18 on: 14 Jan 2006, 03:37 pm »
A few comments for the record:

DEQX Active
The current retail price of the DEQX is $3795 (not $2700).  Add four additional channels of good amplification and you have a serious investment.

Does it sound better than the passive?  Some who have heard both report hearing an improvement in imaging and sound staging.  But it is not necessarily what I would call a dramatic improvement.

Is it more versatile?  Yes.  You can't tailor bass response to your room with a passive crossover.

Is it worth it?  It is your money.  I can't make that judgement.  The cost of entry is about double a passive crossover and the improvement is incremental.  If you want the best speaker I currently produce, the HT3a's are it.  But you be the judge.

Bi-amping
I do not recommend this.  While there may be advantages and you could certainly use a tube amp for the midrange/tweeter and a good SS amp for the woofer, it would be difficult to get the levels correct without measurement equipment.  The average enthusiast would be better served with a good amp and just let Dennis' crossover do the work for you.  It is about as good as it gets - no muss, no fuss.

Outboard Crossovers
Some people say that outboard crossovers are the only way to go.  The crossover components are not subjected to vibrations internal to the cabinet.  I don't think I would go quite that far.

Others don't like the idea of separate boxes sitting next to your speakers.

But if you want to future-proof and don't like the idea of switches in the signal path, outboard crossovers are the way to go.  Use the passive crossover now and simply disconnect them in the future if you go active.  The only downside is the cost of the outboard enclosures (which is about the same or even less than the switches).

Active/Passive
If you want the best that current technology will allow, an active set-up with DEQX is at the cutting edge.  But IMO, the HT3's with passive crossovers perform so well, most people would be more than pleased with this set-up if they never moved beyond it.  

Personally, if the passive HT3's were the only speaker I had, I wouldn't spend a single moment worrying about it.  I'd just enjoy the music. (Of course, I will admit I am rather biased where the HT3's are concerned.  I love this design and even though I have been building them for a while now, they continue to amaze me.)

- Jim

pugs

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 454
HT3 active/Passive and outboard passive crossover options
« Reply #19 on: 14 Jan 2006, 04:04 pm »
Jim is going to put three sets of binding posts on my HT3's.  I f I ever decide to go active, I can cut out the wires to the passive crossovers.