How to Hook up a Crossover

A crossover is an audio signal processing unit that separates one stereo audio signal into two, three, or sometimes even four frequency ranges. At a minimum, a crossover ensures that the high-frequency signal (i.e. the treble) goes primarily to your tweeter speakers, while the low-frequency signal (i.e. the bass) goes to your woofers or subwoofers. Using a crossover in your speaker setup can greatly improve sound quality by isolating frequency groups to specific speakers or speaker drivers, thus creating more clarity. There are two types of crossovers: passive crossovers, which are the easiest to install, and active crossovers, which are a touch trickier, more costly, and need the use of multiple amplifiers, but offer you more control over your sound.[1] These instructions will assist you attach either sort of crossover for your home stereo or a public address system.

Method 1 Wiring a Passive Crossover

Unplug your speakers.

If there are speakers currently wired up to your stereo system, fully disconnect them.

Connect the amplifier output to the crossover.

  • Using speaker wire or RCA cables (depending on your stereo and crossover unit), connect the crossover to your amplifier even as you’d a speaker.The crossover should be the last piece of kit within the chain before the speakers. depending on your setup, this suggests your crossover might be wired directly between your amplifier and your speakers, or the crossover might be placed in line after a compressor or equalizer.Depending on your crossover and stereo setup, you’ll probably need separate crossover units for the left and right channels of your stereo system.
  • Connect the output of the amplifier to the crossover inputs by attaching speaker wires to the positive and negative terminals of your amplifier and therefore the corresponding inputs of the crossover.
  • Use the red wire for the positive terminal, black for the negative. Slide the exposed wire ends into place and tighten the terminals.Depending on your amplifier and crossover unit, this will be done either by flipping small switches above the terminals, or by tightening screws with either a screwdriver or Allen wrench .
  • If there’s not enough exposed wire at ends of your speaker wires, you’ll got to strip off up to half an in. of insulation with wire strippers.

Connect the crossover output to the speakers.

Attach your speakers to the crossover using speaker wire, similarly to the previous step.
Your crossover should have separate outputs for your woofers (bass speakers) and tweeters (treble speakers). confirm to wire the right speaker into the right output.
On many models of crossover, they’re going to be labeled W+ and W- for the woofer positive and negative outputs and T+ and T- for the tweeter.

Test it out.

Once you’ve wired the left and right channels, play some music through your system. you ought to a clean sound from both channels.
If your crossover is adjustable and you are not proud of the sound you’re getting, try adjusting the frequency knobs, or consult the instructions for recommended settings.

Method 2 Wiring a lively Crossover

Unplug your speakers.

If you’ve got speakers already connected to your stereo, fully disconnect them.

Mount the crossover.

Active crossover units are larger than passive ones and wish to be mounted during a stable location, ideally near your amplifiers.
Do not mount your crossover on to a metal rack, as this will cause buzzing and other sound problems.

Connect the crossover to your receiver.

Using the acceptable cables, wire your crossover into the receiver or preamp, with the wires coming out of the receiver going into the “in” terminals on the crossover.

Depending on your receiver and your stereo , you’ll probably be making this connection with RCA cables, but some crossovers will are found out to use speaker wire instead (as detailed in Method 1) if your receiver doesn’t have RCA outputs.[4]

Crossovers designed for PA systems sometimes use quarter inch cables, like those used to connect an electrical guitar, or XLR cables, like those wont to connect a microphone.

Connect the crossover to your amplifiers.

Using the acceptable cables (again, usually RCA or speaker wire for a home stereo system), connect the acceptable outputs to the appropriate amplifiers.

If you do not have a subwoofer, you’ll send your high frequency signal to your tweeter amp and low-frequency signal to your woofer amp. during this case, confirm your crossover is about to two-way mode. There should be a switch that controls this. If you cannot locate it, check your handbook .

Connect the left output of every frequency range to the left input of the coinciding amplifier and therefore the right output of every frequency range to the proper input of the coinciding amplifier.

attach your subwoofer, if you’ve got one.

  • There are several ways to attach a subwoofer to your system. Whichever you select , you will need to line up your crossover in order that the mid-frequency signal is being sent to the woofers, but the low-frequency signal isn’t .
  • One approach is to use additional cables from your crossover to your subwoofer (or subwoofer amplifier, if your subwoofer doesn’t have it’s own power). during this scenario, you’ll set the crossover to three-way mode if you’re connecting to separate woofers and tweeters, or the two-way mode if you’re running the most speakers with a full-range signal and just sending the bass to the subwoofer.
  • Another approach is to run cables directly from the subwoofer-out (sub out) terminals of your receiver. If you’ve got a more moderen receiver, it’s going to have its own crossover settings for a subwoofer, so you will not got to use an external crossover for this.If your receiver doesn’t have subwoofer settings, your subwoofer itself presumably features a built-in crossover. These typically won’t provide the optimum sound, but are easy and convenient, and also allow you to skip the external crossover unit.
  • If you’re hooking up your subwoofer to an external crossover, turn the subwoofer’s built-in crossover to its maximum rotation to get rid of it from the circuit. Having multiple crossovers working at once can make the bass input uneven or erratic.Avoid connecting subwoofers with speaker wire. It doesn’t handle bass signals also as sturdier cables.

Connect the crossover’s power and switch the unit on.

Active crossovers require power to function. Home stereo and public address system crossovers usually just plug into an outlet, while car stereo units just like the one shown within the video below got to be connected to the car’s power supply through the fuse box or in some cases the amplifier will have a terminal for sending power to a crossover.

Tune your system. At this stage,

You’ll be wanting to fine-tune your system to urge a sound you wish . The manual for your crossover should have some tips for doing this, but you’ll also follow the rules below. At the start of the this process, confirm the input gain on your crossover is turned all the way down (if it’s an input gain knob), set your amplifier gains low, and if you’ve got an equalizer, turn it off or set the levels all flat.

  • Turn on the system and play some music that you simply are conversant in . This way, you will have an honest sense of what you think that the music is supposed to sound like.
  • Slowly happen the input gain on the crossover until sound comes out of all of your speakers.
  • Adjust the extent for every output on the crossover until the frequencies are playing at an equal volume. As every crossover model is different, you ought to consult your manual for details on the way to do that , also because the manufacturer’s recommended settings.
  • One by one, turn up your amplifiers’ gains until the music begins to distort a little, then roll them back to only below the distortion threshold. Readjust the crossover frequencies as necessary to revive balance between the frequencies.
  • Turn on your equalizer and start making adjustments to the sound to suit your personal preferences. Make any adjustments you would like on your receiver also , e.g. the tone, etc. Again, readjust the crossover frequencies until the sound is balanced.


If your stereo system is fairly basic and you are doing not have multiple amplifiers, passive crossovers are a far better choice.
For even easier installation of passive crossovers, there are small devices called in-line crossovers that appear as if small tubes with RCA connections on each end. These go between your receiver and your amp, and have preset frequencies that can’t be adjusted. They work better with some amplifiers than others, so although simple to put in , they’ll not be ideal for your system.

How to Hook up a Crossover

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