Crossover design is critical to loudspeaker performance. Yet, many loudspeaker manufacturers design crossovers within narrow guidelines of price or performance, leaving the end-user to deal with equalizing to compensate for lazy crossover design.

When Mackie turned to EAW for driver and crossover design, we knew that they don't expect system operators to make their loudspeakers sound great—EAW loudspeakers are intentionally engineered to produce great sound right out of the box. To accomplish this, EAW incorporates the time consuming — but superior — iterative process of development that includes creating complex, asymmetrical passive crossover networks to optimize total system performance.

An iterative process repeats a cycle of operations, beginning each new cycle with the results of the previous one. With each cycle (iteration), the end results moves closer to the "ideal", or "model", result. For EAW loudspeaker systems, the ideal result is perfectly flat on-axis response and perfectly linear power response. This latter parameter ensures smooth off-axis performance.

The iterative process begins with the measurement of the acoustical and electrical response of the individual transducers in the enclosure with a dedicated laboratory measurement system. The data is then fed into a proprietary software program called Filter Designer. Based on the data obtained, EAW engineers build a prototype crossover network. The loudspeaker is measured again and the new data is fed back into Filter Designer. The network is refined through each iteration until optimal total system performance is achieved.

Only asymmetrical crossover slopes can precisely match the characteristics of a specific driver through the crossover transition. Unfortunately, some manufacturers cut corners using mathematical abstractions to design filter networks.

To optimize power response, a system-specific crossover network utilizing asymmetrical slopes must be designed around the actual performance of the raw components and enclosure.

Raw drivers in a three-way system sum incoherently. "Mathematically correct" crossover slopes provide some improvement but only complex, asymmetrical slopes provide optimal summation.