I have used active crossovers for decades. I am presently using an Ashly XR2001 (pro sound) crossover and find it very good. It can do four channels 2-way, or two channels 3-way. Crossover frequencies are easily adjustable (with knobs) which I believe is very important, particularly for the SW/Main frequency where the optimum depends on the kind of music being played.
It will cost far less than the units you mention, so you might want to give it a try. Its flexibility would be useful to you as a tool for determining crossover frequencies for your speakers. It is built well, and input/output is balanced XLR.
Performance of OP amps depends greatly on how they are used in circuitry. High gain aplications, as in a phono preamp brings out their less than good characteristics. In a crossover aplication they are basically unity gain devices and their characteristics have little impact on overall circuit performance.
Thank you, Eldartford for your comments. I failed to mention that I have a DEQX and a Behringer CX2310 crossover. Neither are good enough for my needs, although the DEQX was helpful when it came to taking measurements and choosing slopes. The little Behringer is far more transparent, but the Behringer still isn't good enough.
"Performance of OP amps depends greatly on how they are used in circuitry. High gain aplications, as in a phono preamp brings out their less than good characteristics. In a crossover aplication they are basically unity gain devices and their characteristics have little impact on overall circuit performance."
Thank you for that little insight! That helps to tip my decision towards the XM44.
I have emailed someone asking which crossover would be better suited to performance enhancing modifications further down the track.
I have narrowed down my selection to two models in the Marchand catalog - the XM44, and the XM126...I also wonder whether I should consider a crossover from Nelson Pass or Bryston instead of the Marchand. Your opinions?
I think the better places to ask this question are Audio Asylum's High Efficiency forum
and Madisound's speaker builder forum
. You might find more multi-way horn owners at the first and more crossover designers and specialist at the second.
I have used both with the 3.6 Maggies, and they are both excellent. The 126 has a "valve sound" and a fuller, slight tube rightness I found appealing, and preferable on cd's. The XM44 was a bit more transparent, but dry in comparison, but not too much so. I used a tube preamp and there was no issues other than comparison. Both are very musical, and if your system tilts to lean, bright, get the 126, if it is rich, warm, get the 44.
Thank you everyone for your responses. I have spent the past few hours reading reviews and thinking about it. I received this reply via email:
"A valve preamp can be the heart and soul of a good music system but sometimes an active crossover can kill the preamp's musicality. Personally, I would put valve with valve - it may be a little noisier but I would expect the end result to be more satisfying - I had a brief look at your system.... all-valve mid/top with solid-state bass has long been my preferred configuration."
What do you guys think of that? I have a valve pre, and a valve power, and a SS power amp. Would a valve x-over integrate better than the SS x-over?
Hi Amfibius, I'm going to through in one more option into the mix- "Space-Tech" its a small company in Canada that builds tube equipment and he has crossovers of various designs.
I have never heard his products but thought you might be interested. Good Luck! Tish
I have ordered the XM44 crossover. What tipped the balance is availability of various daughter boards, so this is a highly customizable solution. Phil Marchand himself thinks there is little difference between the two when it comes to resolution. Reviews elsewhere on the net say that the two crossovers run very close.
The two Xovers do sound different, but they are both musical. More body with 126, less with the XM44, but the 44 is a slave to the signal. Both are winners. I chose the XM44.........Jallen
I have had several Marchand crossovers. They work fine, but I found that the replacement of modules to change frequency was a hassle. The Ashly crossover I use now employs the same 24 dB L/R circuit implemented with OP Amps as the Marchand units.
I have been using active XOs for over 25 years & personally like the Pass Labs XVR-1. You can change gain, slopes, & Qs almost on the fly much easier than inserting new boards. I would have needed a lot of boards to make the comparisons I did with the Pass. It's very transparent.
The build quality is great even better than Bryston and certainly much better than any Pro digital piece. I don't know why you'd put a digital pro unit in a tube system but maybe that's just me.
I haven't tried the Marchand tube or ss units but they look very nice and i was seriously considering the XM126.
Pass's First Watt is soon to come out with an XO the B4 & 5 that would be less expensive, about $1500 and very good sounding I'm sure.
Barrysandy... The Ashly X/O which I suggested is not digital, and the crossover circuit is the same as the Marchand units. To suggest that its "build quality" is suspect is just silly. Compared with the Marchand products it is built like a battleship. Pro equipment usually is so as to withstand rough use in the pro sound environment.
Hey... the Marchand units sound fine. It's just that they lack the flexibility and features offered by other units.
Would you mind telling what DEQX model you had and what you found objectionable with that unit?
It seems you got in the end XM44, how did that one fare in comparison to DEQX?
Have you had any experience with Pass Labs XVR-1?