Rocks and hard places

June 22, 2020
 by Paul McGowan

When designing a loudspeaker one of the most difficult problems turns out to be the crossover. Marrying the falling response of the woofer as it climbs higher in frequency to the opposite response of the tweeter is almost never going to be perfect.

And so one might suggest that a single driver designed to cover all frequencies would be best, only, now you introduced another kind of distortion where slow moving bass notes modulate the higher frequencies our ears are so sensitive to.

Dang. Can’t win for losing when we’re up against a rock and a hard place. What’s a designer to do?

Compromise by finding the solution with the fewest problems and the best chances for optimization. That’s what we engineers do, regardless of what we’re attempting to engineer.

It’s not very glamorous writing about compromise because as audio perfectionists we don’t like to think in those terms. We’d rather use words like optimization, words that too are accurate depending on one’s viewpoint.

It’s important to know the thought processes, aims, goals, and success rates of the designers and company’s you want to work with. Did they make the best choices for sound quality and performance? Do they have the same goals in mind as you?

After all, we wouldn’t want to compromise.

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