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Pete H

Is there a SIMPLE active for testing

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I'm looking for something that is as simplistic as it can be for testing purposes only.  I need to be able to easily swap out different drivers, horns, bass bins and be able to quickly adjust the frequencies sent to the various components.  I'm not looking for anything with a steep learning curve at all, this is not something that will be permanent in any rig and it needs to be able to do a 3 way.  This doesn't have to be the best, most accurate piece of gear, it needs to be cheap and simple so nothing that any of you are running on your JUBS, I want plug and play in minutes, not hours, days or months. :emotion-22:

 

Some of you must know of a solution.  

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Hmm I'm no expert but if you want the simplist crossover maybe look at one of the analog units by Ashley. I hear they are very simple to use but you wont get PEQ just frequency cutoffs etc etc, XR2001 or XR1001. As you already know the minidsp is also hard to beat for the money.

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It won't be plug and play in "minutes", but the Behringer DCX will suit you. It will also need a measurement microphone, which need not be expensive. You can probably get the pair for a a bit over $300

 

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I have an EV DX-38 that you could borrow if you're not looking to actually buy something.

 

Only cost would be postage.

 

 

 

and maybe my $400/day rental fee....

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To get 2-input (stereo), 6-output (i.e., for two 3-way loudspeakers), you'll need something like two miniDSP 2x4HD crossovers in a box ($205 each)--also available from Parts Express. (I really don't recommend the 2x4 at $100 because of its very limited gain capability and high noise levels--which will be a continuing source of headaches.)  One RCA cable to one 2x4HD for the left channel, and another RCA cable to the other 2x4HD for the right channel.  You set up the communication and channel assignments (setting up inputs to outputs) using the PC application that comes with these units. 

 

If you don't need 3-way out, then only one 2x4HD crossover will suffice for 2-in, 4-out operation.  If you're only doing one loudspeaker for testing, then you'd only need one 2x4HD and mono operation, and you'd be able to drive a 4-way loudspeaker, or a 3-way with a sub.  You'll need one amplifier channel for each output channel.  Most audio guys around here have extra amplifiers stacked in storage--so that's usually not an issue. 

 

Not only did I find the miniDSP very easy to use with a desktop computer, it's got good fidelity, low noise, and a lot of filters (PEQs) per channel.

 

I think that if you try almost anything else, the effective price is going to double or you're going to be looking for used units--like an EV DC-One (2-in-6-out) or a Yamaha SP2060 (2-in, 6-out) on sale. 

 

In any case, I really recommend a UMIK-1 over other calibration microphones due to its self-calibration capability (i.e., no messing with setting the gain of the microphone), which is also a source of continuing headaches using non-USB microphones/digitizing mixers such as the Behringer ECM-8000, etc.  I highly recommend the UMIK-1 that you can buy with the miniDSP 2x4HD ($91.50 from Amazon). 

 

The software I recommend is REW, but you can also use TrueRTA, etc. Both are freeware/shareware. 

 

Chris

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How about an Inuke 3000dsp?  Stereo only.

 

It has interactive software that goes on the PC and connects to the Inuke via USB cable.  When you change the XO curve you can hear the results in real time.  You can use your mouse to click and drag the filter slopes to your heart's content.  You can save up to 20 different configurations in a file via the software or in the Inuke's memory itself.

 

I find the software confusing because I don't know what a PEQ is or DEQ.  I don't know Butterworth, Bessel or Linkwitz-Riley filters.  I don't know slope 12 db, 18, 24, or 48.

 

If you do, this might be the tool for you.  I have a spare 3000dsp if that helps you out.

 

EDIT:  Sorry, I just re-read and saw you needed a 3-way solution.  Wrong tool.

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By the way, the limitation of analog active crossovers (like Rane, etc.) is that they typically only do crossover frequency and channel gain adjustment.  You still need something to do EQ (you're going to find that you can't do without that capability) and channel delays--which is less a driving requirement to have, but one the really comes in handy using horns/drivers with their large time misalignments, just as much as having lots of EQ filters per channel, you'll need channel delay capability to be able to balance the loudspeaker timbre to be neutral.

 

That's what makes the miniDSP so attractive--you get it all...and at a very low price.

 

Chris

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1 hour ago, PrestonTom said:

It won't be plug and play in "minutes", but the Behringer DCX will suit you. It will also need a measurement microphone, which need not be expensive. You can probably get the pair for a a bit over $300

 

I actually own the Behringer DCX and DEQ and a measurement mic.  To be honest, I owned an inuke 1000 as well and just don't like, or am a little intimidated by the gui on the panel after using the inuke.  I honestly haven't hooked up the DCX to a laptop to look at the PC interface and maybe I'm just intimidated by the panel and how much of a PITA it is to see and scroll through the menu's.  I'm completely comfortable with most computer programs, but over the years, have read so many posts about the learning curnve on the DCX that it's just sat on the shelf.  I don't have a problem spending a little time if the PC interface is very straight forward, I just haven't had anyone tell me that, which is why I was posting to see if there was a simple way to do this.  Knowing that, I'm interested in your experience.

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1 hour ago, Chris A said:

To get 2-input (stereo), 6-output (i.e., for two 3-way loudspeakers), you'll need something like two miniDSP 2x4HD crossovers in a box ($205 each)--also available from Parts Express. (I really don't recommend the 2x4 at $100 because of its very limited gain capability and high noise levels--which will be a continuing source of headaches.)  One RCA cable to one 2x4HD for the left channel, and another RCA cable to the other 2x4HD for the right channel.  You set up the communication and channel assignments (setting up inputs to outputs) using the PC application that comes with these units. 

Chris, how intuitive is the software for the minidsp?  It's not that I'm worried about spending a little money, I just don't want to spend 20 hours trying to get it operational so I can have it do what I want.  

1 hour ago, Coytee said:

I have an EV DX-38 that you could borrow if you're not looking to actually buy something.

 

Only cost would be postage.

 

 

 

and maybe my $400/day rental fee....

Appreciate the offer Richard, my question would be the same one that I posed to Chris, how simple is it to use, changing crossover types and points, that's my main focus, easy.

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Well, here is the miniDSP input screen:

 

1914911870_miniDSP2x4HDinputscreen.thumb.JPG.180b3c4d9cd5752e59e68f456802e69d.JPG

 

and the output screen:

 

1399959949_miniDSP2x4HDoutputscreen.thumb.JPG.31d795503e2d99f09064d7f72426c5e0.JPG

 

The input screen is where you assign inputs to outputs, and the output screen is where you select the EQ filters and crossover filters.  You probably won't use the compressor.limiter ("Comp") or FIR filter interface ("FIR")...ever.  The invert button flops the polarity of the channel, the mute button mutes it.  The top number in each column is the channel gain in dB (also selectable by the slider bar above it), and the bottom number is the channel delay in milliseconds.

 

The Parametric EQ screen is about as simple as it gets-as you select the filter "EQ1, EQ2", etc., and set the 3 parameters for each filter: frequency, gain, "Q" or bandwidth, and you get to see the effect on the overall EQ of the channel just above the filter inputs. 

 

2086139651_miniDSP2x4HDPEQscreen.JPG.f076e0f96b5d75e8ed4d1577cf121d6b.JPG

 

That's about it...

 

Chris

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So Chris are you rethinking your Xilica endorsement? Or is this a simple to get your feet wet with good quality and price endorsement?

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Well...there is one major advantage of the Xilicas: balanced connections.  The miniDSP 2x4HD only comes with unbalanced connections (a product planning oversight on miniDSP's part).  This means that you've got to handle the power cables and RCA cables more carefully with the 2x4HD than the Xilicas--which are basically bulletproof. 

 

Additionally, the Xilicas can hold 30 configurations on board, while the 2x4HD hold four.  It's not a problem, in that you can easily download from a nearly infinite llist of configurations from your computer, but the Xilicas have that functionality on board and ready to change on the front panel.  That brings me to the next point: the Xilicas have a front panel; the 2x4HD has a USB, Ethernet or IR connection, but no front panel. 

 

The 2x4HD is much smaller than the Xilicas, but it doesn't have a rack mount, and I use a professional electronics rack to hold everything, so I've got to find a way to tie it down so that it doesn't get moved around or "lost in the dust" behind the front panels.

 

The Xilicas come in multiple channel configurations...up to 8 inputs, 8 outputs (like my unit).  The 2x4HD comes with 2 inputs and 4 outputs.  If you want more, you've got to use more boxes and deal with the clutter of boxes. 

 

Chris

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3 hours ago, Chris A said:

To get 2-input (stereo), 6-output (i.e., for two 3-way loudspeakers), you'll need something like two miniDSP 2x4HD crossovers in a box ($205 each)

 

The 4x10HD is $499, so you would only need one box...

 

To me it would be worth  the additional cost.

 

 

Bruce

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That would most likely work but you take about a $90 hit doing that over buying two 2x4HDs. 

 

I haven't used a 4x10 HD (actually a 4-in, 8-out unit...)  but I own a 2x4 HD that works.

 

Chris

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If OP want a fast solution to test components, of what use is equalization capabilities? 

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Ok, 10x10HD (8x8 analog, balanced or unbalanced) in a rack mount. Of  ourse the price goes up , but not at high as the xilica.

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Why are we talking about Xilica's (priced at 1200) when the OP asked about a simple unit to do some "experiments"? 

Are the "experiments" only looking at crossover issues (type, slope and location) or are there other issues?

 

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16 hours ago, rockhound said:

Hmm I'm no expert but if you want the simplist crossover maybe look at one of the analog units by Ashley. I hear they are very simple to use but you wont get PEQ just frequency cutoffs etc etc, XR2001 or XR1001. As you already know the minidsp is also hard to beat for the money.

It's a consideration.  I could put the mixing board in to have some EQ options, but again, this is basic testing of different combinations and crossover points to determine direction on builds and what to keep and what to sell, nothing more.  

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15 hours ago, Pete H said:

Appreciate the offer Richard, my question would be the same one that I posed to Chris, how simple is it to use, changing crossover types and points, that's my main focus, easy.

 

The fact that I was able to operate it should say a lot....(shuddup @dtel !!!)

 

That said, there might certainly be more intuitive solutions out there (frankly, I have NO clue about those so will bow out)

 

I was really vying for the fine print $400/day rental fee.....

 

:emotion-14:

 

That said... so it's clear...  I actually have TWO of them should you decide you'd like to try that path.  So someone could create a 3-4 way stereo situation.

 

 

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17 hours ago, Chris A said:

The input screen is where you assign inputs to outputs, and the output screen is where you select the EQ filters and crossover filters.  You probably won't use the compressor.limiter ("Comp") or FIR filter interface ("FIR")...ever.  The invert button flops the polarity of the channel, the mute button mutes it.  The top number in each column is the channel gain in dB (also selectable by the slider bar above it), and the bottom number is the channel delay in milliseconds.

 

The Parametric EQ screen is about as simple as it gets-as you select the filter "EQ1, EQ2", etc., and set the 3 parameters for each filter: frequency, gain, "Q" or bandwidth, and you get to see the effect on the overall EQ of the channel just above the filter inputs. 

I downloaded the user manual and it all looks pretty straight forward and that's what I'm looking for.  I think I'm going to pick up one unit to play with.  This will all be different someday when my dedicated room for electronics/testing, stays just that, but after the third attempt, it's just not in the cards until I get a new and bigger shop done.  For now, being able to grab a laptop and small device to work in the shop, in the house, or in the non dedicated electronics room (LOL), is what I need, versus anything else.  I can also get the inuke back and use it specifically to drive the woofers and one of these boxes will still give me the ability to run a 3 way when needed.  

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