Digital DSP Processor

Difference between Crossover and Digital DSP Processor in Car Audio. Which one is more Convenient?

on September 22, 2023

A DSP Car Audio or a Crossover? That's the dilemma. In fact, that is what many fans of professional sound systems for cars are currently asking themselves, because it is not only about the difference between both devices, but about their different functions and even budgets.

Before you decide which one to incorporate into your car's sound, let us walk you through some basics, so you can make a better informed decision based on what you really need.


Digital DSP Processor and Crossover, are they the same?

Of course not, and we will tell you the reasons:

  • The crossovers are only capable of adjusting gains and high and low steps, in addition, they cannot be connected to a computer or laptop. On the other hand, a DSP Car Audio not only connects to a computer, but also allows you to adjust the parameters on each channel, including crossover point, delay and EQ; It allows you to attenuate or increase, depending on the environment, adjust the sound time in one speaker and control the sound emission from all the speakers, reaching the user's ear in real time, purifying the different frequency bands, equalizing so that there is less distortion and better sound.
  • The main function of a crossover is to amplify power, while a Car Audio DSP not only amplifies power, but also processes the audio signal and can have multiple inputs. Each channel can independently adjust crossover, delay, mute, phase, and EQ, adjusting to crossover parameters, which include many precisions and modes.

What is a DSP Digital Processor?

Digital Signal Processors or Car Audio DSPs are computerized microprocessors, which should give you an idea of ​​how a Car Audio DSP works.


Types of Digital DSP Processor



Nowadays, it does not make much sense to establish a classification of a DSP Car Audio by volume, adaptability to the available space, or benefits that they can offer us, since all these have been covered by the manufacturers, offering different options and all to satisfy a certain need. However, it is possible to make a difference between them.

That difference lies in the way they have been programmed

  • The ones with the most experience, of course, will want to use their own PCs or laptops to instruct the software on the parameters to which its execution must be adjusted, so that they retain full control of the way the program will run on their car audio system.
  • On the other hand, there are options in the DSP Car Audio market that are preconfigured to be able to directly receive the output signal from the sound source speakers. You can incorporate them directly into your Car Audio without having to program anything or make major modifications to the Car Audio system that you already have.

What is a crossover?

A crossover is a device that can divide an input signal into two or more outputs with different frequency ranges.

This way the speakers, tweeters, and subwoofer will each have their own frequency range. Frequencies outside of each designated range will be blocked or attenuated.

Every speaker or speaker system needs a crossover of some kind. Components already come with separate external crossovers, many of them using selectors.


Types of Crossover

We can identify 2 types:

  • Passive Crossovers: This type of crossover does not use electrical power, they are the ones that are generally placed internally in the baffles, and have a series of electronic components, mainly capacitors, coils, and resistors.
  • Active Crossovers: They need electrical power, and are the ones used between the audio player and the amplifiers.


How to differentiate a DSP Digital Processor from a crossover?

A crossover will be limited to performing one function, which is to process the input signal, converting it into output signals, according to its power capacity.

On the other hand, a DSP Car Audio is a computerized program with a programmable software that can process millions of bits in real time, applying the parameters that have been assigned to the different facets that are required for sound reproduction.


Which one is better for my car audio, Crossover or DSP Digital Processor?


You have to remember that the signal that your sound source receives is analog, and then it is the Car Audio system that converts it into digital.

Therefore, the recommendation that is usually given is that you place a crossover on your sound equipment, so that the signal is not only amplified, but also digitized in the best way.

However, if we take into consideration the way a Car Audio DSP works, by internally converting the incoming analog signal into a direct digital signal, sampling and quantizing it with an analog-digital converter, called ADC according to the parameters ordered by your software, this may actually be a better fit for you.

This is due to the fact that it is capable of applying algorithms that make the sound already transformed into bits, at a speed of millions of conversions per second, be modified, and the signal is shaped to the user's taste.

The advantage of an analog to digital conversion of a Car Audio DSP, using a computerized board is that it can process millions of bits per second, amplifying and modifying the signal that will be distributed in the way you want it to be heard, because you will have programmed the software with the features you want to receive.

Not only will it improve the quality of your sound, but it will enhance the functionality of the other components of your Car Audio, which will receive a previously digitized signal, adjusted by the computerized program, making the job easier and the result even better.



Digital Signal Processors or DSP Car Audio, are used to improve Car Audio systems. They allow users to use intuitive software to process the analog audio signal, transformed into millions of bits of digitized audio, maximizing its quality and facilitating the work of the rest of the components of your Car Audio system.

However, if what you need is to simply adjust gains and high and low passes, as well as being able to split an input signal into two or more outputs with different frequency ranges, then what you need is a simple crossover, without hardware and software complications and programming.


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