Converting Monoprice Passive 15" 2-Way PA Speakers to Active - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 74 Old 10-16-2017, 12:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Converting Monoprice Passive 15" 2-Way PA Speakers to Active

I modified inexpensive Monoprice Stage Right 15" passive 2-way PA speakers to create higher-performance active speakers with a more favorable crossover architecture. The results put a smile on my face!

Click this link to read more: Converting Passive Speakers to Active Speakers



Here's the gear used to make this system work.

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Last edited by imagic; 10-16-2017 at 03:22 PM.
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post #2 of 74 Old 10-16-2017, 01:03 PM
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Great endeavor to push the envelope of what can be done with "cheap" PA speakers. I'm all for finding value rather than some of the insanely priced speakers. I wonder how they would sound with an identical center channel behind a screen?
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post #3 of 74 Old 10-16-2017, 01:09 PM
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Interesting endeavor, but you never clearly explain WHY you felt the need to adjust the crossover point in the first place. You keep saying that a lower crossover point is more ideal but never give any reasons why.
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post #4 of 74 Old 10-16-2017, 01:12 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by javanpohl View Post
Interesting endeavor, but you never clearly explain WHY you felt the need to adjust the crossover point in the first place. You keep saying that a lower crossover point is more ideal but never give any reasons why.
Sure, you are right! The long story short is large-diameter drivers start to become very directional i.e. they "beam" at higher frequencies. So, with a high crossover point, the speaker's dispersion becomes narrow and then widens again.

By lowering that crossover point, you better match the dispersion of the horn to the bass driver. Smaller woofers allow for a higher crossover, with a 15" you have to scrape the lower limit of what an inexpensive compression driver tweeter can offer to meet this objective.

Why bother? Because a lot of what you hear is no direct sound, but rather reflected sound. And if the dispersion narrows and then suddenly widens again, the overall tonality—taking the room into account—can wind up sounding less balanced.

And, just as a matter of course, the 15" woofers used in these speakers are not as good at handling midrange as the compression driver tweeters.
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post #5 of 74 Old 10-16-2017, 01:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imagic View Post
Sure, you are right! The long story short is large-diameter drivers start to become very directional i.e. they "beam" at higher frequencies. So, with a high crossover point, the speaker's dispersion becomes narrow and then widens again.

By lowering that crossover point, you better match the dispersion of the horn to the bass driver. Smaller woofers allow for a higher crossover, with a 15" you have to scrape the lower limit of what an inexpensive compression driver tweeter can offer to meet this objective.

Why bother? Because a lot of what you hear is no direct sound, but rather reflected sound. And if the dispersion narrows and then suddenly widens again, the overall tonality—taking the room into account—can wind up sounding less balanced.

And, just as a matter of course, the 15" woofers used in these speakers are not as good at handling midrange as the compression driver tweeters.
I feel like I am confused on something. You make it seem like the high frequencies are going to have a wide dispersion pattern, but isn't a horn-loaded compression driver (especially one with a horn this large) going to have extremely narrow dispersion? I mean, that's how a horn-loaded driver becomes more efficient, isn't it?--directing more of the reflected sound at the listener?

By the by, did you experiment with different cross-over frequencies once you switched over to the active design?
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post #6 of 74 Old 10-16-2017, 01:33 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by javanpohl View Post
I feel like I am confused on something. You make it seem like the high frequencies are going to have a wide dispersion pattern, but isn't a horn-loaded compression driver (especially one with a horn this large) going to have extremely narrow dispersion? I mean, that's how a horn-loaded driver becomes more efficient, isn't it?--directing more of the reflected sound at the listener?

By the by, did you experiment with different cross-over frequencies once you switched over to the active design?
Well, horns do have a known dispersion pattern, and that dispersion can be matched to the dispersion of the bass driver. It's why you'll typically see PA speakers with larger woofers have horns with narrower dispersion and lower crossover points than ones with smaller woofers.

So, here the idea is to find the frequency where the horn's dispersion and the woofer's dispersion patterns overlap. Monoprice does not publish specs for horn dispersion, but the Behringer was 70° x 40°, and I don't expect the Monoprice is much different.

As for experimenting, I have profiled the raw performance of the drivers and from that I knew that I could not get away with anything lower that a 1000 Hz crossover, so that's what I went with. I have to make ballpark estimates since I don't have a precise profile of how these speakers/drivers behave off axis.

Anyhow, 3000 Hz is too high a crossover point for a 15" woofer, no question.

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post #7 of 74 Old 10-16-2017, 01:49 PM
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Along with better off axis performance by lowering the xo you get the woofer out of it's breakup region, or at least you're just hitting the point where it's breaking up. I wouldn't be surprised if that cheap woofer is already there, but I wouldn't run even the nicest 15" midwoofer much over 1khz.
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post #8 of 74 Old 10-16-2017, 01:52 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Nate Hansen View Post
Along with better off axis performance by lowering the xo you get the woofer out of it's breakup region, or at least you're just hitting the point where it's breaking up. I wouldn't be surprised if that cheap woofer is already there, but I wouldn't run even the nicest 15" midwoofer much over 1khz.
Oh yeah. Breakup appears as distortion that starts rising at 800 Hz. This crossover keeps it under control as the compression driver takes over, but that was absolutely another major issue with the passive design.
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post #9 of 74 Old 10-16-2017, 02:04 PM
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As long as the compression driver can go that low. The 3000 hz crossover is the reason I never tried them, I thought the berry's 1900hz were too high. You can't hear any problems from the center seat but off axis it can sound like the speaker will scream at you at certain frequencies. My JBLs did this as well, so not just a cheap PA speaker issue.

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post #10 of 74 Old 10-16-2017, 03:52 PM
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cheap drivers...

With this much effort invested, why not buy some decent drivers from parts-express or usspeaker or ebay for that matter? Gotta value your time...

https://www.parts-express.com/bc-de4...-bolt--294-607

https://www.parts-express.com/bc-15n...river--294-572

https://www.parts-express.com/cat/kn...%5D&PortalID=1

http://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-PHL-Audi...8AAMXQfvlSfQAq

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post #12 of 74 Old 10-16-2017, 04:08 PM
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here is more information than you ever want to read on the subject of using a horn loaded driver for high fidelity. My personal speakers are Wayne's 4Pi

http://www.pispeakers.com/Pi_Speakers_Info.pdf
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post #13 of 74 Old 10-16-2017, 04:08 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Eric Minden View Post
With this much effort invested, why not buy some decent drivers from parts-express or usspeaker or ebay for that matter? Gotta value your time...

https://www.parts-express.com/bc-de4...-bolt--294-607

https://www.parts-express.com/bc-15n...river--294-572

https://www.parts-express.com/cat/kn...%5D&PortalID=1

http://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-PHL-Audi...8AAMXQfvlSfQAq
It was very little effort, in relative terms. Indeed, once you know the basics of what you are working with, it's as little effort as you can put into a project like this—especially with the crossover conveniently in its own sub-compartment...

Your part selections would produce a better end result, I suspect. But, for more money and more effort and a heavier end result that would require a paint job.

On that note, I'm tempted to replace the drivers in this cabinet, especially the compression driver but also the woofer if I can find an upgrade that's a good match. I do not see/hear anything wrong with the cabinet itself.

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post #14 of 74 Old 10-17-2017, 05:06 AM - Thread Starter
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Could not help myself. Added GoldenEar SuperSats, for use as supertweeters. I'm only using the AMT, I disconnected the midrange drivers and bypassed the crossover. I'm crossing over from the compression driver tweeter to the AMT at 13,000 Hz and it works like a charm.

And what I mean by "by a charm" is that the speakers not have that last little bit of definition that well-reproduced top-range treble imparts.

As an aside, Dirac's delay adjustments show that A. Dirac accurately compensated for the offset of the AMT versus the other drivers and B. The Monoprice drivers (woofer and horn) are already perfectly time-aligned.



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post #15 of 74 Old 10-17-2017, 07:35 AM
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Nicely done. I use an active front setup using the RD75 and a line array of 8" woofers. For the active crossover, I use the DBX Driverack PA2, which has an amazing UI, but lacks Dirac. Of course you know that using the Marantz AVR as your power amp is an expensive way to do it. Monoprice has an inexpensive amplifier that would work well for this. You would need 3 of them but they are only $99 each. https://www.monoprice.com/product?c_...seq=1&format=2

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Nicely done. I use an active front setup using the RD75 and a line array of 8" woofers. For the active crossover, I use the DBX Driverack PA2, which has an amazing UI, but lacks Dirac. Of course you know that using the Marantz AVR as your power amp is an expensive way to do it. Monoprice has an inexpensive amplifier that would work well for this. You would need 3 of them but they are only $99 each. https://www.monoprice.com/product?c_...seq=1&format=2

Yeah, I know. Especially at MSRP. But, some people (like me) wind up with spare AVRs over time.

I do appreciate having the master volume and individual channel level controls to work with on the Marantz. In this configuration, it lets me quickly adjust the subwoofer balance and also trim the super-tweeters if I want. But agree, you could do it for less with dedicated amps... and I do have a few amps lying around that would do the job.

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post #17 of 74 Old 10-17-2017, 08:39 AM
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Yeah, I know. Especially at MSRP. But, some people (like me) wind up with spare AVRs over time.

I do appreciate having the master volume and individual channel level controls to work with on the Marantz. In this configuration, it lets me quickly adjust the subwoofer balance and also trim the super-tweeters if I want. But agree, you could do it for less with dedicated amps... and I do have a few amps lying around that would do the job.
Funny thing is, I just bought a Denon X4300H to replace my Marantz SR7009 which will be going up on eBay very soon. It does show another use for the analog 7.1 channel input on the Marantz that the Denon does not have.
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I wonder how they would sound with an identical center channel behind a screen?
Sounds great without a screen.

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How about replacing the stock xo with this one:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/2-Way-Passiv....c100009.m1982
or these?
http://www.ebay.com/itm/2PCS-PAIR-2-....c100005.m1851
Other suggestions?
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Originally Posted by LastButNotLeast View Post
How about replacing the stock xo with this one:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/2-Way-Passiv....c100009.m1982
or these?
http://www.ebay.com/itm/2PCS-PAIR-2-....c100005.m1851
Other suggestions?
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Those are generally a waste of time. The don't work as advertised.

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Can you recommend one then, please?
Or a mod to the existing one if I can sketch it out for you?
Not interested in wasting time or money.
Though I've gotten very good at both.
Michael

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Quote:
Originally Posted by LastButNotLeast View Post
Can you recommend one then, please?
Or a mod to the existing one if I can sketch it out for you?
Not interested in wasting time or money.
Though I've gotten very good at both.
Michael
As far as I know, you would need to actually measure the drivers and get the T/S parameters to do it properly and then actually measure the drivers in the enclosure after to measure the response to check the result. I think this is his video covers some of it for those interested.

Tux or someone will correct me if I am wrong The 2nd video has more info, also from @tuxedocivic

I enjoy your videos Tux, thanks for making them.

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In my ignorance, I was hoping someone would be able to look at the existing xo schematic at 3000 Hz and suggest a way to change it to 1000 Hz.
Not that simple, apparently.
I'm still up for buying one, if it's not too expensive.
I don't have quite as much "stuff" lying around as Mark does.
Michael

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Makes good sense up to this point as the only thing you paid for with these speakers that you're not using are the crossovers. But the next stage of replacing the drivers means that all you would be using from your original $190 per speaker investment would be the ugly black ABS cabinets. Is it really worth paying $190 per ugly black ABS cabinet and throwing all the guts in the trash? Seems at that point you'd be better off with comparable DIYSG speakers that would look better, cost less, play as loud without compression and likely sound better for home audio.
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post #25 of 74 Old 10-17-2017, 01:35 PM
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Originally Posted by imagic View Post
I do not see/hear anything wrong with the cabinet itself.
Since they are pretty ugly, I'm surprised someone wouldn't be interested in moving the components into a nicer box.
Another task beyond my skill set.
Michael

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Originally Posted by LastButNotLeast View Post
Can you recommend one then, please?
Or a mod to the existing one if I can sketch it out for you?
Not interested in wasting time or money.
Though I've gotten very good at both.
Michael
BSCool linked my video on the subject and these pre-built crossovers are no different than the online calculators I mention in the video. There's no easy way to just modify them to work. They simply don't work as advertised unfortunately.

Ultimately to get the most out of either active or passive speaker design you need anechoic measurements and thoughtful design/integration. Paradigm didn't build an anechoic chamber because it seemed like a good marketing trick. They built it cause they needed it.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by LastButNotLeast View Post
In my ignorance, I was hoping someone would be able to look at the existing xo schematic at 3000 Hz and suggest a way to change it to 1000 Hz.
Not that simple, apparently.
I'm still up for buying one, if it's not too expensive.
I don't have quite as much "stuff" lying around as Mark does.
Michael
Oh now I understand the question a little better.

It's possible to modify the existing one to cross lower but integration may go to pieces and end out with out of phase drivers. Plus cost a bit to do.

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post #28 of 74 Old 10-17-2017, 01:42 PM
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And now I understand the answer.
Leaving well enough alone.
Thanks, all.
And, again, thanks to Mark for a great review that got me into these in the first place.
Michael

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Quote:
Originally Posted by LastButNotLeast View Post
In my ignorance, I was hoping someone would be able to look at the existing xo schematic at 3000 Hz and suggest a way to change it to 1000 Hz.
Not that simple, apparently.
I'm still up for buying one, if it's not too expensive.
I don't have quite as much "stuff" lying around as Mark does.
Michael
These look like reasonable active crossovers:

http://www.marchandelec.com/xm1.html

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post #30 of 74 Old 10-17-2017, 03:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Dave in Green View Post
Makes good sense up to this point as the only thing you paid for with these speakers that you're not using are the crossovers. But the next stage of replacing the drivers means that all you would be using from your original $190 per speaker investment would be the ugly black ABS cabinets.
He did actually have disclaimer that he already had these on hand and was experimenting not necessarily recommending that anyone go this route from scratch ;-)
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