High order crossovers

Do or can high order crossovers rob a speaker system of more dynamics?

The manufacture of a component is not the same as it's electrical performance. 

We cannot look at a cutaway via a microscope and evaluate how it will sound anymore than we can look at the glowing plate of a tube. 



@ trelja,

Wow, THANK YOU SO MUCH for that in-depth education!! 

I think you have just explained something I observed years ago but did not understand.

In the course of my own crossover builds, I found that a cluster of resistors paralleled to get a particular target value sounds "more open" (better dynamics?)  than a single resistor of the same type having that target value.  Presumably this is because the more resistors soaking up the heat, the less the actual temperature rise will be in any one of them, thus the less change in resistance.  So my crossover boards all have these big unsightly clusters of resistors.

Because our hearing is logarithmic, with a doubling of perceived loudness calling for a tenfold increase in power, an efficient speaker system has an inherent advantage in the thermal domain. 

There may well be other dynamics-reducing effects that come into play in a steep crossover which are related to the rolloff itself.  As mentioned earlier, I think time-coherence should offer the best dynamic contrast, all else being equal, by delivering all the harmonics of a note at the exact same instant.  Perhaps it's not either/or, but rather the further from time coherence we get (via steep slopes), the more the dynamics are degraded.  I haven't done any actual A/B comparisons, but I THINK that my current hybrid filter (first-order in the crossover region, accelerating to fourth-order further away), does sound more dynamic than my previous builds with similar drivers. 

Thank you very much Trelja for taking the time to explain what's going on with resistors.  As usual the real world is a lot more complicated than my simplistic model of it!


So my crossover boards all have these big unsightly clusters of resistors.
thus reducing the inductance vs a single resistor of the same type
I haven't dove in here, I've felt that Duke has been doing a terrific job in his explanations, but this might contribute a bit, it takes a bit off subject, but in the big picture is appropriate. 
The single thing that I have found that does drain dynamics to some degree is inductance.  I have also found that multiple resistors sound better or even a single resistor that can handle more power in a stressed situation (doesn't heat up as much). 
In the same vain,  In some experimenting over time with crossover types, I've found that series crossovers where there is no series coil in circuit also tend to sound better, so back to inductance.  
Duke,  interesting about your gradual slope crossover,  I can see that working,  is this some form of Infinite slope using transformers?  
Appreciate all of you guys,  this has been an interesting conversation.