This is an article on how I have set up an external active crossover with a pair of Kudos Super 20A loudspeakers using Exposure electronics, tuned to the two-way configuration of the Super 20A. Effectively bypassing the internal crossover in the Kudos loudspeaker.
There are several things to note here, the first of which is being organised. You’ll need space and a bit of thought, this article will help a lot, but I needed a bit of expert advice. It is worth noting that at the end of the day you are connecting a power amplifier (in my case a 200W monoblock) directly to the speaker’s driver, it is worth getting this right.
The next thing you need to think about, assuming you have a pair of loudspeakers capable of this opportunity, is you need to understand this is not going to be cheap. You will see from the inventory below, that this is a £30,000 project. The collection of matching cables, necessary because you do not want to unbalance the setup, is one of the more expensive parts of the chain. I have had a huge amount of support for this project from Vertere, who have provided most of the cables for this project.
Other companies offer this external crossover solution for speakers such as these Kudos Super 20A loudspeakers including Naim, Linn and Devialet. I’ve chosen Exposure as they were the most accessible at this time. The original idea was to try this arrangement with Exposure’s very new 3510 range, but the launch success of this range has necessitated a switch to the older, more powerful, 5010 series since they are available and Exposure can’t make 3510 electronics quick enough, good news for Exposure I’d suggest.
Setting Up the Active Crossover
The idea on offer here is to create a low noise environment for the crossover to operate, thus offering increased space in the loudspeaker presentation alongside a clearer presentation. Even the crossover itself has a separate power supply to help with this.
I’m bound to suggest the Kudos Super 20A loudspeakers are already very articulate loudspeakers and it is hard to think how they can be bettered. A review of them with a standard Moor Amps Angel 6 power amplifier is here.
With many thanks to Vertere, Atlas Cables, Kudos, iFi and Exposure HiFi, here’s what we have used here at HF&MS for this External Active Crossover setup:
6 Vertere Redline Power Cables 6 x £650 (4 monoblocks, pre, VXN power supply)
4 Pairs Vertere RCA Interconnectors 4 x £650
2 x KS-1 Kudos speaker cable – Stereo Pair 2m 2 x £145
1 Atlas Eos Modular 2.5 Power Distribution Block, 6 plugs £395
1 x Atlas Eos 4dd Power Supply 1 x £420
4 Exposure Mono 5010 Power Amplifiers 2 x £5,000, a pair
1 Exposure 5010 Preamplifier 1 x £2,195
1 Exposure VXN Power Supply 1 x £995
1 Exposure VXN 2 Way Active Crossover (configured to Kudos Cardea Super 20A) 1 x £1,545
(1 x iFi iDSD Pro at £2,749 included as the digital streaming source)
1 x Kudos Cardea Super 20A £5,000, a pair
Running Total £30,089
Physically setting up
There are cables everywhere and certainly, a bit of cable management does not go amiss, it is best to be methodical as you can going along, then tidy up at the end, uncrossing obvious interactions. All of the speaker cables interconnects, and power leads were run in the correct direction. I was quite methodical with the cables, ensuring direction was always correct, mostly following the name on the side for direction.
I’ve taken the fixed analogue output from an iFi PRO iDSD streaming DAC into the Exposure preamplifier which I’ve taken ‘pre out’ into the Exposure VXN Active Crossover box. The active crossover box is externally powered by the Exposure VXN power supply using DIN connections, provided. Being two-way, there are 4 RCA outputs from the active crossover, one into each of the 4 monoblocks, selecting RCA input at the back (as opposed to XLR).
The output from the 4 monoblocks are treble/midrange and bass, right and left. I needed Post-it notes on each block to make sure I was in the right place. Each output to the speaker is positive and negative to the respective treble/midrange or bass input where the bypass terminals were.
This process took me over an hour to arrange. Then the key thing before switching on was to check everything out before pressing anything, then to go through the powerup process in order. This order is VXN power supply, source, preamplifier then the 4 monoblocks. Let it all settle in, pick your favourite album, and away you go.
Initially, a review of the Kudos Super 20A loudspeakers will follow, the speakers sounded tight and clear. The key takeaway here is the liveliness and added fizz in the room, the speakers have a new sparkle! Fantastic, it has worked!