For years, the name Klark Teknik has been synonymous with high-end signal processors and analyzers. The DN300 and DN360 are considered by many to be the very best graphic equalizers. Klark Teknik has now introduced the model DN9848 digital crossover.
Product Points
Applications: Live sound, contracting

Key Features: Digital crossover/low-level signal speaker management system; parameters controllable onboard or with computer; multiple filter and slope configurations

Price: $5,539

Contact: Klark Teknik at 616-695-4750; www.klarkteknik.com

Plus

+ Exacting control of speaker systems

+ Adaptable to virtually any speaker system

+ Digital, very quiet

Minus

- None

The Score: An in-depth and well-designed digital crossover system with excellent fidelity.

Features

The Klark Teknik DN9848 ($5,539) is a digital crossover/low-level signal speaker management system. As with all crossovers, the intention is to optimize any speaker system's operation by properly routing the various frequency bands of the composite audio spectrum to the various individual components. This is achieved digitally with both internal operations through the use of a third-party software program called StarDraw, in this case a version created specifically to provide remote control for Klark Teknik system controllers.

The DN9848 is a single-rack-space unit with a multitude of displays and parameter controls on its front panel. On the left side are four LED stacks that show the audio levels present for each of the four inputs labeled A, B, C and D.

Alongside each LED stack is a menu button that illuminates when depressed to signify menu activity on that particular input channel. When the menu is engaged, the options are accessed by three rotary data entry knobs located just below the LED stacks. A green LED ring indicates that a particular knob is active.

On both input and output sections, the yellow menu keys access the respective control menus. One press enters the menu structure, at which point the green rings around the three encoders light to indicate which are active within that menu page. Another button press steps to the next menu page and so on back to the top. Any menu can be exited by pressing the Home key once.

Next on the face of the DN9848 is the parameter display, flanked by a recall button, a store button, a setup button and an 8-pin round PC serial port providing computer access via RS-232. The unit will also perform RS-232 to RS-485 conversion if necessary.

Just to the right of the parameter display is the output section, which is comprised of eight LED stacks, identical in appearance to the input section LEDs, and accompanied by a menu access button on each. In this case, when you engage the menu, the three data entry knobs correspond to output phase angle, high- and low-pass filter frequencies and signal polarity inversion, each ringed by the green LED when active.

Just below each output LED stack is a knob that controls the output level of each frequency group, ringed with a red LED to indicate activity. This rotary is also a push/push switch that activates the output channel mute. The red ring around the control lights to indicate that the output is muted.

The rear panel has a series of 3-pin XLR sockets, four females for input, eight males for output and a parallel pair - one of each flavor - to enable communication between the unit and other DN9848s, or a PC via RS-485.

The internal workings of the Klark Teknik unit are both useful and plentiful. There are a variety of security programs that lock out unauthorized users from adjusting any or all parameters. You can name your settings and place them into a user registry. There is a temperature/delay application that lets you delay the inputs relative to the varying speeds of sound at different temperatures, input parametric EQ and input compression (including threshold, ratio, attack and release times and hard or soft knee).

The output options are equally wide in scope, offering filter cutoff frequencies, filter type (Butterworth, Bessel, Linkwitz-Reilly), slope (6, 12, 18, 24, 36, and 48 dB per octave) relative to the type of filter, delays for time alignment of different frequency groups, and choice of continuous rolloff or shelf-type EQs.

In use

I tried out the DN9848 on two different speaker systems. The first setup was a JBL four-way system, powered with QSC PowerLight amps.

I adjusted the DN9848 outputs to accommodate the appropriate crossover frequencies - setting the filters to 24 dB per octave in both high- and low-pass modes. As I applied signal to the system, I noticed the exactness with which the DN9848 completed each of its tasks. As I adjusted the phase angle from component to component-crossover frequency, I sensed the speakers shifting into proper alignment and noted the quality of the composite sound increase substantially. (Proper phase alignment, either physical or electronic, is still a property of time. Consequently two signals intended to carry the same program material - regardless of frequency - reproduced out of sync of each other will result in misalignment, or chronological mismatch which, in the end, equals bad sound.)

The second test was to process the audio in a Yorkville TX series speaker system that uses Yorkville power amps. It uses a proprietary processor/ crossover that monitors output voltage and current from the power amps, which is actually the only thing the Klark Teknik does not do. In both trials of the DN9848, I was very pleased with the results, and I was able to dial in both speaker systems with ease.

The owner's manual is well written, clearly explaining all the operations. I initially used the device without referring to the manual, as I often do to determine the user friendliness of a given piece of gear. The DN9848 was most friendly.

Summary

I found the Klark Teknik DN9848 to be a product of superior quality. The noise was nonexistent, the audio quality was superb and interconnection was achieved with ease.

If you have a good working knowledge of crossovers and their relative parameters, the Klark Teknik digital crossover system is an outstanding piece of equipment. If you do not have a working knowledge of crossovers, I recommend starting with something that has fewer parameters and controls, and working your way up to this fine crossover. I seldom hand out 10s on the "1 to 10" scale, but this one is deserving of a 10.