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What is a passive audio crossover?
A passive audio crossover (commonly called a speaker crossover) is a type of audio filter made up of electronic components designed to filter or divide an amplified musical signal among one or more loudspeakers. The term “passive” refers to the use of capacitors and inductors as they do not require a power source as electronic active audio crossovers do.
Passive speakers are connected directly to the output of a stereo or amplifier and before the loudspeakers. A pre-selected crossover frequency (also called the cutoff frequency, corner frequency, or Fc) determines the point past which audio frequency output to the speaker is greatly reduced.
The filtering ability of a crossover is based on the crossover slope, described in decibels per octave (dB/octave).
Some of the most common speaker crossover types are high-pass to protect tweeters, 2-way designs used in stereo speaker systems, and a variety of more complex such as 3-way (tweeter, midrange, and woofer designs). Unlike active electronic audio crossovers, commonly sold designs typically use 6dB/octave or 12dB/octave rather than 18dB/octave or higher due to the additional complexity, parts requirements, and production cost.