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Why do you prefer passive speaker/monitors?

post #1 of 96
Thread Starter 

Why do you prefer passive speaker/monitors?

post #2 of 96

Takes the load off the speaker (heat). Chance to use much higher quality amps. Often nicer looks (Maggies for example).

 

Powered speakers have their place, but Passive is usually my choice when I can pick either or.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mauricio View Post

Why do you prefer passive speaker/monitors?



 

 

post #3 of 96

Control. I can set the bass level very low so it doesnt bother the neighbors on the tone setting of my Onkyo reciever. I love my Bose Companion II bookshelf speakers but due to them being powered i would get some very strong bass even at the lowest volume. Not a good thing in the middle of the night when playing Warhammer 40k Dawn Of War or Skyrim full of explosions and combat thumps.

 

Now am using some JBL Control One and Insignia Bass Reflex bookshelf speakers and only hear the bass when i want to hear it or the elderly neighbors are being unreasonable slamming doors as if its going out of style due to someone else in the vicinity playing their music. Sheesh i hope am never that ignorant or hateful of other peoples presence and good times when am at that age.

 

I can also tweak the treble to my liking giving it a headphone level of detail especially when listening at low nearfield positioning volumes. Its defnitely a magical experiance hearing music so low with such depth.

 

 

post #4 of 96

most speakers are passive; more choices.

post #5 of 96
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MorbidToaster View Post

Takes the load off the speaker (heat). Chance to use much higher quality amps. Often nicer looks (Maggies for example).

 

Powered speakers have their place, but Passive is usually my choice when I can pick either or.
 



 

 

 

Takes the load off the speaker?  That's a good one.  The main reason passive speakers have to have overbuilt, massive amps is because i.) of the efficiency losses inherent in a passive crossover, and ii.) the fact that the amp has to handle the whole frequency range and an unknown range of driver impedance and efficiency.  That's why amps in a passive system need to be so big.  Likewise, a passive speaker has little way of reacting to the changes of a driver as it heats up.  The sound of a cold vs. a hot passive speaker can vary dramatically.  Much less so for a active system.

 

Chance to use much higher quality amps?  Only if you equate having to use huge, wasteful amps with quality.    Make no mistake about it: the main reason why passive systems need huge amps is because of their primitive, brutish way of delivering power to the drivers.  Look at the amps in, say, the Focal CMS Sub and tell me those are low quality amps.


Edited by Mauricio - 2/27/12 at 2:49am
post #6 of 96
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hellbishop View Post

Control. I can set the bass level very low so it doesnt bother the neighbors on the tone setting of my Onkyo reciever. I love my Bose Companion II bookshelf speakers but due to them being powered i would get some very strong bass even at the lowest volume. Not a good thing in the middle of the night when playing Warhammer 40k Dawn Of War or Skyrim full of explosions and combat thumps.

 

Now am using some JBL Control One and Insignia Bass Reflex bookshelf speakers and only hear the bass when i want to hear it or the elderly neighbors are being unreasonable slamming doors as if its going out of style due to someone else in the vicinity playing their music. Sheesh i hope am never that ignorant or hateful of other peoples presence and good times when am at that age.

 

I can also tweak the treble to my liking giving it a headphone level of detail especially when listening at low nearfield positioning volumes. Its defnitely a magical experiance hearing music so low with such depth.

 

 

 

Don't confuse active systems with the ability to alter and equalize the input signal.  Apples and oranges.  Nothing stands in the way of active system of altering the frequency characteristics of the input signal.
 

 

post #7 of 96
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lenni View Post

most speakers are passive; more choices.



True, but the choice is hardly limited with passive systems, with the exception, perhaps, of low price, mass consumer products.  Hollywood also offers more choice of films, if by choice you mean quantity.

post #8 of 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mauricio View Post

 

Don't confuse active systems with the ability to alter and equalize the input signal.  Apples and oranges.  Nothing stands in the way of active system of altering the frequency characteristics of the input signal.
 

 



I thought active systems came with a certain sound that was unchangeable and not affected by having them hooked up directly to my reciever or computer. I tried hooking up my active Bose Companion II bookshelf speakers to my Onkyo reciever to use its tone controls to lower the bass but it had no effect at all on the sound of the bass on Bose. So i figured i was stuck with the bassy sound and would have to get actual passive speakers to mess with bass settings etc.

 

Thanks for the interesting info especially the part about the brutish way of power delivery on a passive setup. I always thought it was the other way around due to my experiance with the Bose and a Altec Lansing with subwoofer i had previously. Eventhough the Altec Lansing did come with a wired remote control to adjust the bass and treble separately from the computer software.

 

 

 

post #9 of 96
Thread Starter 

Passive and active systems are identical in one respect.  They reproduce the signal fed to them.  If the signal has boosted bass (by the bass control of a preamp, for example) both passive and active systems will respond to the boost.  If there was no way of altering the signal, you'd be stuck listening to a tone of a singular frequency.

 

Why are standalone amplifiers in a passive system a primitive, brutish way of powering drivers?

 

Because the single, standalone amp has to be overbuilt so that it can i.) provide power across the entire frequency range, from 20Hz to 20,000Hz, ii.) provide enough power to cope with the resistive losses of a passive crossover, and iii.) provide power to speakers whose drivers present an unknown impedance.  Since the impedance range to be faced by the amplfier is unknown, it has to be built to cope with a wide range of impedances.  In an active design, each amplifier is designed only to power the frequency range of its associated driver.  So, the amp that powers the subwoofer driver is designed to provide undistorted power over a frequency range of 20Hz to 120Hz.  Since the same team that designs the amp gets to chose the driver, the team knows exactly the impedance range of the subwoofer driver over its frequency range, and designs the amp accordingly.  Ditto for the amp powering the midrange and treble drivers.  It is the active system, rather than the passive one, that provides for superior amplification by avoiding a one-size fits all design.

 

Those who say that a passive system allows for better amplifiers are still stuck in silos thinking about the components when the unit of analysis ought to be the complete system.  They are missing the forest from the trees, the system from the individual components.


Edited by Mauricio - 2/27/12 at 6:35am
post #10 of 96

Prefer active. Passive just incites the urge to 'tinker', I.e. waste a lot of time and money for little gain with amps (at the very least). Or even occupy your mind with valuable thoughts like what you may potentially be missing out on with x amp, compared to that prettier y amp. Active just cuts that out of the equation.

 

But I use monitors, hi-fi wouldn't adhere to that school of thought anyway. Nor do they really have the option outside of sub woofers generally.

post #11 of 96

Well...When I was a traveling DJ, active speakers over heating was a problem. Had it happen to me, to smaller clubs (who didn't have their big systems in yet), and to friends. Once I switched to a passive system with a separate power amp it was never a problem. 

 

Most passive speakers don't need a huge amp. A lot of the dynamic speakers out there can be driven just fine with 50wpc. People just want more power. Whether it sounds better or not is a different story. 

 

Also, you really should've said this was going to be a debate thread when you posted. rolleyes.gif Most people don't like being blindsided. 

 

EDIT: Choice is also a pretty good reason.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mauricio View Post

 

Takes the load off the speaker?  That's a good one.  The main reason passive speakers have to have overbuilt, massive amps is because i.) of the efficiency losses inherent in a passive crossover, and ii.) the fact that the amp has to handle the whole frequency range and an unknown range of driver impedance and efficiency.  That's why amps in a passive system need to be so big.  Likewise, a passive speaker has little way of reacting to the changes of a driver as it heats up.  The sound of a cold vs. a hot passive speaker can vary dramatically.  Much less so for a active system.

 

Chance to use much higher quality amps?  Only if you equate having to use huge, wasteful amps with quality.    Make no mistake about it: the main reason why passive systems need huge amps is because of their primitive, brutish way of delivering power to the drivers.  Look at the amps in, say, the Focal CMS Sub and tell me those are low quality amps.



 

 


Edited by MorbidToaster - 2/27/12 at 6:52am
post #12 of 96
Each have there advantages/disadvantages , active speakers do have better crossovers, but the cooling of the amps is poor class d are normally fine but AB generates alot of heat, the amps have to small in size to fit in the back , the amp takes up space that would be used for air flow in a passive speaker, the passive disadvantages are the poorer crossover network. You don't need a huge amp for passive speakers you can get little 10watt t-amps that will do the job fine normal listening only requires 1watt or less.
post #13 of 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by JRG1990 View Post

Each have there advantages/disadvantages , active speakers do have better crossovers, but the cooling of the amps is poor class d are normally fine but AB generates alot of heat, the amps have to small in size to fit in the back , the amp takes up space that would be used for air flow in a passive speaker, the passive disadvantages are the poorer crossover network. You don't need a huge amp for passive speakers you can get little 10watt t-amps that will do the job fine normal listening only requires 1watt or less.


Yes thats another thing i've been hearing more and more since last year how actives seem to have heating problems. Something i've never had happen to me with my passive bookshelf speakers. I wonder if the heat issues are due to playing them too loud and if at low nearfield volumes its never a problem.

post #14 of 96
Thread Starter 

You really think that professional recording studios work with technologies that are fundamentally flawed?  I mean, you think studios often have to take a break to let their monitors cool down?  You know, the record company is keen to put U2's new CD on the market, but every time they call the producer, they are told that the mixing and mastering is going to take a couple of weeks more cuz the monitors overheat.  Right.


Edited by Mauricio - 2/28/12 at 9:29am
post #15 of 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mauricio View Post

You really think that professional recording studios work with technologies that are fundamentally flawed?  I mean, you think studios often have to take a break to let their monitors cool down?  You know, the record company is keen to put U2's new CD on the market, but every time they call the producer, they are told that the mixing and mastering is going to take a couple of weeks more cuz the monitors overheat.  Right.



Ha ha :) and no. I've always had the idea whatever equipment  professional recording studios use are top of the line. Whether this means using modern equipment or vintage studio gear i can only guess. I also assumed its kept from the hands of the public due to costs and being unwieldly for the average consumer to use not to mention industry profits. Kind of like using an old Kray computer but advanced enough to do what needs to be done in the present.

 

Besides even if their monitors did heat up they would probably have redundent safety measures in place like back up monitors and perhaps even back up studios.

 

I might look into some actives in the near future to see what the difference in sound is and just for variety. 

 

 

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