What Is A Crossover Frequency?


In the simplest terms, a crossover is a frequency at which sound transitions from one audio source to another, often a speaker. In a passive speaker, the electronic crossover components determine the sound transitions from the speaker channels to a subwoofer.


Each speaker in your car audio system has a crossover frequency that is generally set in the AV receiver by a processor. This processor filters low-frequencies away from the speaker channels and redirects them to the subwoofer channel.


Setting The Crossover Frequency


If your car has a modern AV receiver that features an auto EQ program, consider yourself lucky. Vehicles that have this program will assign the proper crossover frequency automatically, so it’s best to leave those settings the way they are, as they are already specifically tailored to your car audio system.


For vehicles without a modern AV receiver, setting a crossover frequency on your own takes a little time and patience. It’s a process that requires a lot of listening and tweaking until you dial in the best-sounding results.


Here are the steps for setting a crossover frequency:


  • Determine your speakers’ frequency range. Play some music or audio with a dynamic frequency range (something with bass, mid-range, and high-range sound). Listen to it play for a bit, and determine in what range currently sounds the best.


  • Set the crossover point around 10 Hz below the lowest frequency your speakers can produce without issue.


  • Once again, play some music. But this time, slowly turn up your receiver’s volume until you hear it begin to distort. Just as you reach the volume level where the distortion starts, turn the volume down until the music sounds clean again and note the receiver’s volume at that point. This value represents the volume threshold of your receiver.