Normally, the manner in which a network is laid out on a printed circuit board is to create the smallest 'package' possible. This means that the components are not always placed for best performance.
Parts placement affects sound quality?
YES! We take great care when designing a new network. Why? The main reason is Magnetic Field Contamination.
Depending on how one inductor is positioned relative to another, it can cause a lot of EMF (electro magnetic field) interaction between them. This creates a 'muddiness' to the sound - centered around the crossover point (where the sound from one driver starts to get quieter and trades off to another driver). This effect is also called cross-talk.
Our layouts are designed to ensure none of the inductors are on the same polar axis. In the case of multiple inductors on the same board, we also employ proper spacing to also cut down on this effect. In many cases, we will split the network in to multiple boards to keep everything as clean as possible.
Most crossovers do not take this interaction into account...
Why not? Well, it takes up space and it's a little harder to mount inductors on edge. In the end, there is no excuse for any speaker to be built without taking this into account. Why does it continue to happen? Many crossover manufacturers don't understand magnetics and don't even know this exists (amazing but true)!
So why do I care?
Your new speaker will sound cleaner and more coherent. It's just one more step towards making a believeable reproduction of the live event in your own home.
Let's look at an example...
Below are two crossovers The first is a generic crossover that could be from any mass produced speaker. The second is ours.
You can clearly see the difference here.Inter-part Connections
Yet another detail that is easily overlooked. Whenever possible, we first attach one part to another via a method of mechanical connection. This is simply more insurance so that your networks last as long as you do. Here is an example of our work in this regard:
All networks receive the same treatment - whether it is our least or most expensive.