Friday, April 4, 2014

URSP Student Luca Estinto Researches the Feasibility of Active Audio Crossovers for 2-way Mini-Loudspeakers

Originally I came up with this research project as a continuation to a previous project of mine. A few years ago I constructed a prototype pair of headphones that by way of a 1st order passive audio crossover [An electronic filter to channel different ranges of sound] controlled three different drivers per ear (one for bass, mid, and treble) to achieve a high sound quality with very cheap individual drivers. This project was not for any particular class or research project but rather one of my projects to which I enjoy devoting my time. Also given my long personal background in music I am fascinated with music's artificial reproduction. These prototyped headphones however were ultimately too bulky, due to their passive crossover design, for them to be practical. In addition, in order to use high quality drivers a different filtering approach had to be found. Looking for a solution I came upon the idea of using an active crossover [an amplifying electronic filter] to solve my prototype's problems. However as I started to research active crossovers and saw their complexity compared to a passive crossover, I realized creating such a device would be a good project in and of itself.

My long term goal for this project is to construct a working prototype of some sound device using the active crossover circuit that my research will have produced. In terms of my long term goals at Mason I find this to be a great step towards a greater understanding of EE, a possible degree choice of mine.

My weekly research has thus far consisted of R&D of an active crossover circuit within a circuit simulation program called Circuit lab. A very powerful tool Circuit lab has allowed me to virtually create numerous variations of my circuitry and test them to see how they perform, saving quite a bit of resources/time. Currently I am moving into a more developmental phase in my research and am in the process of acquiring the physical electrical components to create the real active crossover. What I’ve consistently discovered this week, and during many other weeks as well, is that from the constrains of my project there have come forth many very diverse solution to my research. Not all of these solutions are of equally efficient however and some turn out to be entirely infeasible; thus the challenge is now deciding which method will best offer a solution and warrant its development.