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A little help on building (or buying) a really cheap crossfeed filter

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 
Ok, so now that I've found headphones that truly seem to suit me well and I'm trying to more or less switch away from speaker usage for quite a number of reasons (many of which I'm assuming are blatantly obvious to the people on this site?) One thing that I've always heard recommended to help decrease listening fatigue with headphones is a crossfeed filter. For good audio software programs on the PC, this is relatively easy. Foobar2000, Winamp, and probably a number of other such programs have plugins, but what about everything else? Games for instance? Things that lack such complex software like portable media players (though I'm really hoping maybe the author of PowerAmp for Android will consider it since his software is complex enough to manage such a thing IMO.) It seems like overall it would be best just to have a crossfeed "module" that I can plug in between the headphones and whatever I'm listening from. Then not only will it work with everything, but it will save the processor cycles. I've noticed that Foobar2000 can actually use a decent little amount of extra CPU power for the processing. Quite a large jump, in fact, from the average of less than 1% it normally does without it, I've seen it maybe jump to as much as 12% once or twice and maybe even more on my minimalist PC. This might especially be bad even if software solutions ever should be implemented for portable devices as resources are far more in demand and more usage also means less battery life ultimately.

Anyway, I saw one on eBay a while back, but ultimately missed it. It may not have been any good anyway. It was suspiciously small (but covered in heat-shrink tubing so I couldn't see the parts) and I almost wonder if it may have just been resistors or something. I can't seem to find any being sold anywhere really, but even if there were, I'm pretty broke right now and really can't afford to spend a lot on such a thing. I see a lot add a lot of extra stuff like switching between different mixing amounts, boosting various frequencies, and so on. I want something pretty neutral if I can. So I thought building my own might be the best way to go. I looked at Chu Moy's original Linkwitz crossfeed modification but I have to admit I've never been great with schematics (I know, I know.) The pictures are horrible with a mess of wires running everywhere over everything though. Really it's meant to be built to the schematics obviously. What's more, I guess I don't really need the perspective or bypass switches. (Perspective I'd rather just get right the first time without switching back and forth. Bypass, I'll just keep things simple and do it the old fashioned way by actually removing the crossfeed if for some reason I don't want it, adjusting the volume first. Ideally I'd rather the crossfeed wouldn't NEED to be bypassed however...)

I also ran across The Jan Meier Bass enhance crossfeed which is so simplified that it's ridiculous (and a bit too simple in some ways that annoy me, lol.) I especially like how it uses very few parts and assembles in such a small manner. If at all possible, I'd just love to try to get this into something small. (I'm kind of thinking of building it into one of those mini-sized "Altoids smalls" tins.) However, it worries me because the page says "bass enhance crossfeed." I can't tell if they really mean that it's supposed to actually "enhance" bass or if they are just referring to what Chu Moy mentions where the bass is supposed to be a bit better with the filter (not so much enhanced though really.) If it's actually more bass, I really don't want that. I can't say what exactly it is about the HD555s, but for some reason, despite that bass roll-off curve, I truly absolutely love the sound of the bass with them. (And similarly, if I ever were to use it with the HD280 Pros, the bass with them is already too much and the last thing they need is any more!) With such a different parts list and design, I can't help but to wonder if it could indeed be worse than the Chu Moy design -- maybe even closer to the original Linkwitz design? (Oh, and btw, I couldn't help but to notice that one resistor value is listed as being "330R" and another "2k2"... Does that R just mean "resistance" aka 330 ohms and 2k2 mean 2.2K? It seems fairly obvious that this is what they probably mean, but it's not exactly an accepted way to write those things as far as I'm aware.)

TL;D[n]R (though I really wish you would): Is there a cheap but good crossfeed I can buy, or better instructions on building your own? Especially it might be useful if something maybe goes more into detail on tweaking it to your preferences. I want it to be an overall fairly subtle thing that doesn't interfere with listening to a fairly wide variety of music just to be better overall for long term listening with headphones and little else. In fact, I haven't really ever been bad about listening fatigue as it is anyway, so don't really need a lot here. It's just for a more long term subtle effect rather than any sort of immediate "oh wow, this is so much better" sort of thing (too much crossfeed can be bad anyway.) Also, I'd like to try to keep it small if I can for maximum portability.
post #2 of 2
Thread Starter 
Bump I guess. I thought I'd knock together something simple and quick using just parts from RadioShack to see how well it would work, but sadly their choices of components are so pitiful these days that I couldn't even get the right stuff to throw together a low quality test filter. (Their capacitors in particular are beyond pitiful.) It's not really RadioShack anymore so much as "we sell cellphones and accessories here -- oh, and I guess there may be a few electronics parts lying around in the back somewhere."
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Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Cables, Power, Tweaks, Speakers, Accessories (DBT-Free Forum) › A little help on building (or buying) a really cheap crossfeed filter