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Best active or passive speakers for $300 (or $200 w/$100 Amp)

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 

Which speakers would sound better: the Audioengine A5's which are active speakers, or the passive Energy CB-5 w/this amplifier (or similar)?


I would consider other suggestions (however it wouldn't be very convenient as I'm already confused by all the options..), but they mustn't be

larger than 7 x 10 x 7.75" (17.8 x 25.4 x 19.7 cm), which is the A5's size. That's because my room isn't very big and the speakers would be pretty close to the wall, too.


Additional details: I'll be using the configuration with a laptop.



Edited by shonor6 - 8/12/12 at 12:58am
post #2 of 20

Those Audioengines look really nice, always wanted bookshelf speakers I didn't have to amp separately. I don't think i'll be in a situation where I could make full use of them for a while, so my Klipsch 2.1 will do for now. 


The Audioengines look like a much better buy, plus you have the option of adding a sub to it later which would be the selling point for me.

post #3 of 20
Thread Starter 

Oh, you're saying that i won't be able to connect a subwoofer to the Energy's? What if I added an external soundcard for example?

post #4 of 20

Obviously if your card has a sub-out you'll be fine, but for convenience sake it's nice to have the inputs on the powered speaker.

post #5 of 20
Originally Posted by shonor6 View Post

Oh, you're saying that i won't be able to connect a subwoofer to the Energy's? What if I added an external soundcard for example?


You can add any sub that has line level inputs/outputs to any passive speaker.

post #6 of 20
Thread Starter 

They are too big for me.

But after researching for a while I've decided that I want active speakers, so my options are:

1. The Audioengine A5's / Audioengine A5+ (that I found for the $300 in a "open-box" condition, meaning that it's been used and returned to them after a month at most).


2. The M-Audio BX5 D2 of which I found for $190 at B&H, which is kind of weird actually, as the retail price is $400.


So what do you think?

post #7 of 20

I bought the BX5 D2's for exactly that reason. They are my first set of decent speakers but I think they are great. I only have my Audiotechnica ATH-M50s to compare to but the BX5's are definitely more neutral and clear. I am really impressed with them. Go to Guitar Center and have a listen.

post #8 of 20

It's easier to use a sub with passive speakers and an amp than with active speakers. You don't need a sub-out either. You can send the signal from the amplifier through the subwoofer's crossover, and then directly to the passive speakers.

IMO Passive speakers + amplifiers will typically be better than active ones of the same price. The Energy RC-10 is great for the price.

post #9 of 20

For around $300, I believe passives are typically better. If you could point me to a nice sounding pair of actives for around that price that sound better than the RC10 with a Topping amp, I'd be happy to look more into them.


Of course most subs are active, think about how much power a nice one requires. Using passives with a subwoofer is easier because you can amplify the signal and then take advantage of the subwoofer's built-in crossover for use with bookshelves. At the OP's price range, he's probably not looking into an external crossover. 

post #10 of 20

External- outside = not inside of the subwoofer.


How would you stop the speakers and the subwoofer from overlapping frequencies with out a crossover?

Can we take this to PM? We're throwing the thread off-course.

post #11 of 20
Thread Starter 

Actually, It'd be interesting if you went on here, I'm really a newbie in that stuff so it'd be nice to learn...

post #12 of 20

Ok on we shall go.

Originally Posted by Active Man View Post

I think you should talking about actives and spreading misinformation when it's clear you have no idea how actives work.


You've steadily said I'm wrong, without really saying why.


Active speakers include an amplifier (possibly plural) with the speaker, so you can provide line-level to them directly. I'm pretty sure that's how they work. Am I incorrect?

post #13 of 20
Originally Posted by Active Man View Post


Please refer to this highly educational and informative thread:  http://www.head-fi.org/t/600096/active-speakers-monitors-dispelling-the-ignorance-confusion-and-myths


Thank you. There is good information here. 



I'm still of the opinion that the someone focused on amplifiers will design the best amp someday, and someone else focused on speakers will build the best speaker some other day, and the likelihood of both happening under one roof is not as likely as it happening in multiple companies. But that's all theoretical, and I digress.




Can you please recommend a set of speakers for about $300 then? The RC10 and a basic T-amp will sound good, but if you know better, congratulations to the OP.

post #14 of 20

I agree that the whole system needs to be evaluated for the best sound, but this mindset is only kicks in after a certain point. For example, I don't think you will find an active system that sounds better than a Lepai TA2020 and Sony SS-B1000 for under $100. At these pricepoints, the synergy of the components is not really considered. The price is more important to the manufacturers. On the other hand, once you've hit $1k, that synergy in active systems definitely matters. 



The speakers listed are all very well-regarded. I'm not sure the end result between those and a passive setup, but I'm sure either will sound great. OP, it's your call.

post #15 of 20

At this price point I would recommend any offering of Q-Acoustics. In particular the new 2020i, which gets a good review from what-hifi.

At work we sell these a lot to people. I too would recommend to stretch the budget a little bit and get better gear. $300 would only barely 

cover the speakers.

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