The parts of a speaker doing the hard, mechanical work, the drivers, act on the signals distributed to them by the electrical processing part: the crossover. The thing to look for is its simplicity. Some speakers demand complex crossovers to compensate for the shortcomings in their drive units.
The better the mechanical design, the simpler the electronic design can be. We are still working to understand fully why and how certain components influence the sound of a speaker. Different manufacturers’ versions of nominally the same component significantly alter the character of the sound, the only solution is to put our trust in our ears and to choose what sounds best. We carry out exhaustive listening tests rigorously assessing the performance of each component until we find the optimum component for each position in the circuit. Fine-tuning by ear is only possible if the crossover is simple and the section of the crossover that perhaps benefits most from our policy of listen-and-learn is the part handling the signal for the tweeter. In most Bowers & Wilkins speakers, it is carried by a single, ear-chosen component that preserves the very finest detail.
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