PASSIVE VS ACTIVE SPEAKER

PASSIVE VS ACTIVE SPEAKER

Many music lovers are faced with a choice - which speaker system to take: active or passive?

 In short, I want to talk about the differences between them and some of the features. 

Active speaker system Are speakers with built-in amplifier (s) in the cabinet. The manufacturer already at the design stage matches the pair: speaker - amplifier as much as possible in all input / output characteristics. Immediately about the pros. Due to the optimal matching of the speakers with the amplifiers, it is difficult to disable the acoustics itself, or rather the chances are less (here and there, as a rule, or the nonlinear distortions are minimized, and physically - excessive input power is very difficult to “kill” the speaker systems, it is necessary as they say, try). 

There are no passive filters (crossovers) in cases of biamping / triumping circuits, as a result - there is practically no signal loss and distortion is practically minimized. No speaker cable used !! Which can bring something of its own to the sound, and when using long enough lengths, there will be losses. Cons, but I would say features .. In general, the system is less reliable and, if the amplifier fails, rather unpleasant problems already arise. At least one 220V outlet is required. If you decide to go along the path of passive speakers + amplifier / receiver, then crossovers, speaker cables appear, but! It is possible to experiment with sound when choosing a pair of speaker systems - amplifier. Those. loudspeakers can be given either a monitor character of sound, or an emotional one. And, some music lovers and audiophiles begin the selection of their system with the purchase of an amplifier. Why not?! These are, perhaps, the main differences. I would like to add that, as a rule, all modern active hi-fi / hi end speakers have wireless technologies, all modern interfaces for connecting signal sources (this is usually 3-4 HDMI, at least one optical and coaxial connectors, analog RCA input).

In terms of functionality and capabilities, this is the presence of a DAC and a phono stage (such as MM). But if you consider the line of the manufacturer Canton - Vento Smart, then you can build a home theater without wires at all! Moreover, at least 5.1 (out of full-fledged). Pay attention to active wireless speakers from manufacturers such as Klipsch (Sixes), Totem (kin play bluetooth), KEF (LSX, LS50 wireless). They sound full-bodied, for small rooms it will be great! Sometimes you think, where does that come from?)). But if you consider the line of the manufacturer Canton - Vento Smart, then you can build a home theater without wires at all! Moreover, at least 5.1 (out of full-fledged). Pay attention to active wireless speakers from manufacturers such as Klipsch (Sixes), Totem (kin play bluetooth), KEF (LSX, LS50 wireless).

 They sound full-bodied, for small rooms it will be great! Sometimes you think, where does that come from?)). But if you consider the line of the manufacturer Canton - Vento Smart, then you can build a home theater without wires at all! Moreover, at least 5.1 (out of full-fledged). Pay attention to active wireless speakers from manufacturers such as Klipsch (Sixes), Totem (kin play bluetooth), KEF (LSX, LS50 wireless). They sound full-bodied, for small rooms it will be great! Sometimes you think, where does that come from?))

PASSIVE VS ACTIVE SPEAKER

Disadvantages and Advantages of Passive Speakers

Let's start with the cons of a passive speaker system:


  • In passive systems, either an average amplifier is used. There is no need to expect high-power sound from it and it will always play in average quality, since it is designed for different speakers.
  • A good amplifier can also be built into passive systems, but in this case it will only interact with certain speaker models specially provided by the manufacturer.
  • Note. The limitation of passive speakers to a good class amplifier is understandable. The fact is that the manufacturer cannot know in advance under what acoustics their amplifier will function and produces it of average quality so that it fits everywhere.


The next disadvantage of a passive speaker system lies in the heating of all electronics, including the built-in crossover. It is on this detail that the main output power in passive speakers is focused and the crossover does not withstand.

Acoustic crossover

Note. An acoustic crossover is a device that separates signals by frequency. If the crossover is high-frequency, then it is able to pass high frequencies without changes, but low frequencies pass through them with some attenuation.

In contrast, low-frequency crossovers pass low frequencies but suppress high frequencies. If the crossover in the speaker system overheats, the filtering of frequencies does not occur and the music starts to sound chaotic.


Another disadvantage of a passive speaker system is the performance of the amplifier's power. The point is that loudspeakers must be able to cope with the incoming power at critical moments.

In other words, the power of the amplifier must always be less than the power of the speakers, otherwise the latter will break. The disadvantage in this case is the fact that in passive systems there is no feedback from the amplifier, which can no longer track the load and supply less power at the time of heating or other critical situations.

Passive speakers are heavier than speakers.

To tune passive acoustics, you need to have highly specialized knowledge.

In passive systems, there are more different components.

Pros of passive Speakers:

Only one speaker cable is needed to connect .

You can choose the amplifier yourself.

There is a possibility of more precise system tuning.


PASSIVE VS ACTIVE SPEAKER

Advantages and disadvantages of an active speaker system

Let us now consider the advantages of active acoustics over passive ones:

These systems always provide feedback between the amplifier and the speakers. This makes it possible to automatically monitor the load, reducing it if necessary.

Thus, early failure is prevented and a long service life of active speakers is ensured.

Note. Even a small active subwoofer will have a reliable output, because the amplifier is directly connected here to the speakers, thereby achieving maximum efficiency.

The crossover in active acoustics systems does not heat up at all and the speakers are able to filter the audio signal for a long time. There are no problems with the power ratio between the amplifier and the speakers.

The amplifier is pre-configured for the speakers, as the manufacturer knows the characteristics of his system.

Active acoustics have a high sound quality compared to passive speakers.

In active acoustics, the sound quality is not affected by the distance, so the speakers can be placed as you like - in the trunk, under the ceiling, and so on.

Compared to passive speakers, active speakers have a longer service life.

PASSIVE VS ACTIVE SPEAKER

Disadvantages of an active speaker system:

First of all, it is, of course, the price, which is much higher. Compared to passive speakers, active subwoofers are always more expensive.

Using additional commutation - signal and network cable to each speaker.

Problem with replacing the amplifier if it fails. With passive systems, everything is simple. The amplifier deteriorated, bought a new one and replaced it.

In active systems, the amplifier is built-in and therefore repairs are more difficult.

According to some experts, active acoustics are afraid of moisture much more than passive ones. In this regard, the failure can be quick.

On the other hand, as it was written above, active acoustics are “long-lived” by default.

Amplifier modules in active systems for the most part, especially in Chinese models, are of budget class, which can in no way be regarded as an advantage.

The advantages and disadvantages of each of the systems were listed above.

Now let's compare these systems again in order to be able to make the right choice:

From a design point of view, active acoustics looks more attractive than a competitor in the face of passive speakers, due to the implementation of sound amplification. As mentioned above, active acoustics implies a built-in amplifier that performs automatic tuning, and passive acoustics receives an amplified signal from the outside.

Because of this factor, passive speakers are priced cheaper than active ones, and the price in our country in most cases will determine the choice.

Active acoustics always sound the same. It is because of this that it is generally accepted that they are better than passive subwoofers, where the frequency filter often heats up and the amplifier is not able to reduce the power in a timely manner.

But if you can choose a good and expensive amplifier for passive speakers, then the sound will be the same as that of active speakers, if not better.

Modernization of the system is easier to carry out on passive acoustics. At any time, passive speakers can be connected to a more powerful amplifier with better performance, thus achieving high-quality sound.

But the acoustic systems will not allow this, since they are completely dependent.

Note. Passive columns are considered by experts as a more flexible option. So, with the release of more advanced sound amplifiers, passive subwoofers are taking on new life.


Acoustic active loudspeakers have been the lot of professionals for many years. It is because of this that manufacturers often do not try to give them a more attractive appearance.

And because of this, the aesthetic component suffers. Passive subwoofers, on the other hand, if you look at them, are always beautifully made, since the manufacturer is interested in their relevance.

So, everyone can make a choice based on the above information. If you need professional acoustics, where each sound timbre will be considered as something whole, there is nothing better to find active acoustic systems.

If acoustic speakers are installed in a car by an amateur for the sake of listening to good music, then passive speakers are considered as a more flexible option, especially since they are cheaper and their appearance is always at the highest level.

Instructions on how to install acoustic systems in a car with your own hands are downloaded from the Internet or come complete with speakers. During the installation process, it is recommended to watch a video or photo - reviews of the installation of the system by professionals.

The price of professional speaker installation is usually not high, but it is still advisable to do it yourself.


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