How to Connect a Crossover to 2 Amplifiers

By Matt McKay ; Updated September 15, 2017

Things Needed

  • 3 standard shielded connection cables, 2-3 conductors or XLR connector depending on equipment
  • Mixer
  • Crossover
  • 2 power amplifiers
  • 2 unshielded speaker cables
  • Bass speaker
  • High frequency horn speaker
Connecting a crossover to two amplifiers

Crossovers handle the separation of sound frequencies, and handle their distribution to speakers. Passive crossovers built into speakers' cabinets are used in compact music systems. Active crossovers are separate components, and are connected between the sound source (a mixer or preamp), and the amplifier. In professional audio applications, two amplifiers are used to create a bi-amped system. The sound source creates the overall sound signal, and the crossover filters and separates the frequencies. The frequencies are sent to dedicated amplifiers, which are connected to dedicated speakers.

Plug a standard shielded connection cable into the mixer's main output. Depending on your equipment, the output will be balanced (low impedance) or unbalanced (high impedance) and will require either a 1/4 inch or XLR connector. Consult your owner's manual or manufacturer's Web site for specific information.

Plug the other end of the connection cable into the crossover's input jack.

Plug a connection cable into the crossover's high frequency output jack, and into the input jack of the amplifier that will drive the high frequency horn speaker.

Plug a connection cable into the crossover's low frequency output jack, and into the input of the amplifier that will drive the low frequency bass speaker.

Plug the speaker cable into the high frequency amplifier's speaker output jack, and the other end into the high frequency horn input jack.

Plug the speaker cable into the low frequency amplifier's speaker output jack, and the other end into the low frequency bass speaker input jack.

Set the crossover high and low frequency filters according to your crossover and speaker manual's recommendations. Power up the system and test for operation.

Tip

For stereo operation, the wiring configuration is exactly the same, but with a left and right side. You will need additional cables to connect both the right and left sides of the mixer, crossover, amplifiers and speakers.

A good tip when connecting any audio components: Connect outputs to inputs, to outputs and inputs, all along the audio device chain.

Warning

You must determine the correct crossover frequencies for your model of speaker. Incorrect crossover settings can result in speaker damage. Specifications can be found in the owner's manual or on the manufacturer's Web site.

You must determine the impedance (ohms) and wattage specifications of all amplifiers and speakers. Improper matching of impedance and wattage can cause damage to amplifiers or speakers.

Only use shielded connection cables for all device connections except speakers. Use only unshielded speaker cables for speaker connections. Using the wrong cables will result in unacceptable noise, radio frequency interference, and inadequate volume levels.

About the Author

Matt McKay began his writing career in 1999, writing training programs and articles for a national corporation. His work has appeared in various online publications and materials for private companies. McKay has experience in entrepreneurship, corporate training, human resources, technology and the music business.