Do I Need A Crossover To Use With My THIEL SmartSub?

PX05 5-channel Passive Subwoofer Crossover
PX02 2-channel Passive Subwoofer Crossover
SI 1 SmartSub Integrator

Without a crossover, the powered subwoofers will provide very high quality reproduction of the Low Frequency Effects (LFE), or "point 1," channel of a multi channel sound system. With this configuration, bass delivered to the main speaker channels is not reproduced by the subwoofer.

When used with a crossover, the subwoofers can, in addition, also reproduce the low frequency part of the left and right channels in a 2 channel or multi channel music or video sound system. It is desirable to use the subwoofer in this capacity if the main speakers do not reproduce the entire bass range or if the main speakers cannot play at the volume level desired without distortion. Depending on your requirements, the crossover can be either the bass management capabilities of a sound processor, one of our dedicated passive crossovers, or the companion SmartSub Integrator. Here is a description of each of these with their advantages.

Try our interactive "Do I need a crossover?" feature" HERE

Processor Bass Management
Most surround sound processors have the ability to redirect the bass energy away from your main speakers and into the subwoofer channel where it is reproduced by the subwoofer, with the benefits of allowing the main speakers to play louder than they otherwise would, and the bass to be reproduced better. This is implemented by telling the processor that your main speakers are "small."

The advantage of this bass management approach is low cost. The limitation is the poor balance and integration between the subwoofer and the main speakers that the processor's generic filters provide. It may be suitable for low standard video systems and will seldom be suitable for music.

THIEL Passive Crossovers
We make several passive crossovers that match the subwoofer to various THIEL speaker models. Since they are dedicated units, they achieve very good integration and balance between the subwoofer and the main speakers. Also, being passive, they are of quite reasonable cost. They allow the subwoofer to augment the main speakers in the precise way that will enable the combination of main speaker and subwoofer to produce perfectly balanced and blended sound. Two passive crossovers can be used with two subwoofers to provide stereo bass reproduction.

A limitation is that these crossovers do not redirect bass energy away from the main speakers and so the main speakers will not play any louder than otherwise. Another limitation is that the bass extension and level of the subwoofer are not adjustable. While the passive crossovers provide correct balance and greatest extension and depth, they do not permit the bass level to be "goosed up". An additional point to keep in mind is that, since the subwoofer signal is derived from the main amplifier, if the main amp is overdriven, a distorted signal will be supplied to the subwoofer.

This is often a good approach for music and video systems when the main speakers play sufficiently loud but do not have extended, deep bass response

THIEL SmartSub Integrator
The optional SmartSub Integrator provides a high level of flexibility, universality, and functionality. It provides near-perfect integration with any main speakers, regardless of brand. It can be used both in augment mode, where the subwoofer extends the bass response of the main speakers, and in crossover mode. In crossover mode the built-in high pass filter transfers bass energy away from the main speakers and redirects it to the subwoofer, so that the main speakers are able to play louder. The Integrator also allows adjustment of bass extension, low frequency level and crossover frequency. In addition, it can control stereo subwoofers, and be used to control systems with up to 16 subwoofers.
This is a complete, no-compromise approach with no limitations.

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