Do most manu. buy or build their x-overs?

There is quite a bit of discussion concerning speaker driver manufacturers (scanspeak, vifa, morel, etc.) and who uses what. But in general I would say that drivers account for less than half of the overall performance of the speaker. The crossover is a HUGE factor, in many cases perhaps more important than the drivers themselves.
So, generally, do most manufacturers of high end speakers purchase their crossovers in the same manner? Or do they build them to suit the selected drivers?
If they are purchasing them, who are the big names? While I can name off a dozen driver manu. I can't think of one x-over manu., only a few designs named for their inventors (presumably).
Interesting question.

I'd think the crossover design is so critical that it would need to be designed specifically for the cabinet design and drivers being used, so that the speaker manufacturers would pick the parts and build them to their own needs.

This is what I did albeit on a much cruder level when I was in my car stereo phase years ago.
As far as I know, most high end crossovers are designed and tweaked by the speaker designer. That's the secret. There wouldn't be an art to it if it was just making boxes and plugging in drivers. I've heard that many speaker designers spend many hours listening just to pick a better capacitor or inductor for their crossover board. Franco Serblin of Sonus Faber is just one of the pickier designers. Tweaking the crossover is what they also call 'voicing' a speaker. Just like tube rolling in a tube amp/preamp. Selecting different components can change the sound dramatically.

I would agree with the above responses.

As a side note, i just got done putting a 5 driver 4 way speaker system back together. That's why i haven't been around as much. These speakers had 61 connections per crossover board. After we were done laying the crossover components out in a more orderly fashion, we was able to delete tons of small gauge "jumpers" and bring the number down to 23 connections per crossover. Needless to say, going from 122 connections on the crossovers down to 46 connections made quite a bit of a difference in transparency. All of this without changing the actual circuitry one iota.

Yes, crossovers are important, but obviously, some manufacturers haven't found this out yet. Sean
Wow, Sean sounds like an involoving project! It's great you were able to do a before and after listen and note the differences.

From the description of the complexitiy I'm assuming this was no first order 6dB slope set up, but then again you do have 5 drivers, and therefore more components.
I recently bought a pair of speakers from Madisound (Odin model) for the rear channels of my system (where use of Maggies is just impossible). These speakers (a Kit) are offered with two crossovers, Standard, and Premium, with approporiately different price tags. I sprung for the "Premium" ones, and was so impressed that I modified my Maggies (but that is another story).

I wonder why other manufacturers do not offer two grades of crossover. It's a waste of money to pay for the standard crossover components, and then discard them when the crossover is upgraded. Also, with the manufacturer doing the design a tidy physical layout would be possible, rather than the "kluge" that is typical of most after market mods. With regard to pricing, if I were the manufacturer I would sell the premium crossover at cost, and derive my profits from increased volume of sales. If the usual markup were applied to audiophile grade crossover components, the price tag would be discouraging.
Don't see that it would make much of a difference as I assume that most crossovers are spec'd by the designer(s) of the speakers. Who actually makes them (as long as a high level of QC is maintained) would be a mute point.

I have heard of one or two designers who specifially matched the crossover components to each/every individual driver (to compensate for slight variations between like/otherwise matched drivers when they are actually in use), but don't recall names/models.

Does anyone know of them?

The labor cost involved in doing this would seem to be a bit crazy, but if such speakers were used in the near field by someone with good/balanced hearing I suppose that their would be an audible benefit.

My old Rogers Ls3/5a's were said to have the drivers (per pair) matched with extreme accuracy (the crossover parts as well), but this was back in the late 70's when labor costs were considerably more favorable for the manufacturer.

They did perform quite well in the near field (my hearing, ear to ear, was also better matched back then).
Crossover design is very critical. That's why most of us don't try diy designs. We can all get high quality drivers and build good boxes but the crossover is a major component. You can't just slap a crossover in from some chart, it's much more complex. Go to the Parts Express diy site and ask there. Lots of knowledgeable people. I was ready to build a world class speaker. Bad idea, trust me. I've done much research and it's not nearly so simple as it appears if you want your speaker to sound good.
I've always assumed that speaker manufacturers design their crossovers and outsource the actual manufacture of the boards. Somebody like B&W probably does it all start to finish but many smaller companies would probably find it more practical to have them built........maybe in China.
Warnerwh...Crossover design is important but you don't need to be a genius to do it. A couple of points.

1. It makes a lot of difference what kind of crossover you have in mind: 2-way/3-way, cossover slopes... A 2-way 6dB crossiver is not complicated.

2. There are computer programs that will give you a crossover design specific to your choice of drivers, and enclosure. You don't need to buy the software and/or computer, because Madisound will run this design program for you for a modest fee. You may want to tweek the design to suit your own tastes, based on listening, but the original design will be 95% there.
I do not know of a "high-end" speaker manufacturer who does not design their own crossovers- this would include Enregy, B&W, etc. They may contract to have each particular model's boards built, say in China, out of certain brands and certain tolerances...

The smaller boutique brands, Sonus Faber, von Schweikert, Coincident, etc. measure their raw crossover parts to achieve the "design-prototype" blueprint values very closely.

An example would be a tweeter crossover that needs a 10.3 microfarad capacitor, with +/- .025 microfarad deviation. The problem is that, unless you order 1000+ and can tolerate a long lead time, you cannot order a 10.3 value, only a 10.0 value, with a far higher +/- 0.5 microfarad variability (= 5% tolerance).

So a 10.3 value, +/- 0.025, takes a tested "10.something" and a tested "0.3something" in parallel, with the same two values used in the other speaker, for matching pairs.

You can't purchase worthwhile pre-made crossovers unless they are designed specifically, as in a kit, for a certain woofer, mid, etc.

Roy Johnson
Green Mountain Audio