Active Crossovers - What really works?

I think I want to bi-amp my speaker which, according to conventional wisdom, means using an active cross-over. There are many opinions and options available for consideration. I want to hear from those who have successfully employed active cross-overs in their systems and the results of those cross-overs, passive or active, and room correction in approaching accurate musical reproduction. Please provide details on equipment and software used to achieve the musical reproduction goal. Your detailed advice is greatly appreciated.


First questions are: What is the passive crossover of the speaker (DETAILS/ schematics?) and how do you intend to bypass it? Have you actually seen it? Most are a PCB. Is it a 2-way speaker? Do you know of any "tuning" or driver accommodation done by the designer? What do you expect from biamping?

"Conventional wisdom" is 99% ignorance.

My Genesis speakers came with an active low pass/ bass amp but I added a NHT X2 as an active high pass only, without touching the speaker. After blowing a couple expensive drivers, I wanted more security. The drivers weren't completely OEM stock (not available) and this compensated somewhat by raising the crossover point. I liked the simple 12dB/octave, fixed high pass (50, 80 or 110 Hz), which suited my need but is generally designed for subs. 24dB are cascaded and double the op-amps.

Impressed with the transparency of the NHT, for a $300 unit, although I'm sure Marchand, Bryston, Krell and Pass would be better at their cost. The latter two, I believe, are naturally balanced rather than electronically.

Ultimately, I MIGHT go for a DSP/crossover and triamp, bypassing the passive completely and customizing new speaker terminals. It can be done on a computer, with various plug-ins, including some RTA, but I would prefer the analog volume controls and the "completeness" of the DEQX or, if I could afford it, the Holm DsPre1. Also, keeping an eye on what Ashley, TOA and Xilica are coming up with. Behringer, not so much. It's a developing field, both for home and professionally.

The Holm site has a video tutorial of what is capable.

At this point, don't know if 96/192 kHz is going to be a factor for the future.
"What really works"? All I can speak to is my setup. I removed the passive crossovers from MG 1.6's, rewired them with new terminals, and inserted a Bryston 10B between the pre and two stereo amps.

Pro - Everything musical improved dramatically. I mean almost night and day, Oh My Gosh improvement.

Con - A lot of work to rewire speakers. A lot of experimenting with crossover settings to get the best settings on the Bryston. Matching stock is not the best IMO. Started measuring to help visualize what I was hearing. Could use some more settings on the Bryston. I feel like the "perfect" settings are in between what is available.

Jim S.
The NHT X2 is currently on closeout for $199. I just got one last week and am still breaking it in/ fine tuning it.

It's a inexpensive but fully featured way to biamp. If you decide you don't like it you could sell it at no loss.