Active vs. Passive [or] How to Interpret Amplifier Specs?
Oct 18, 2008 at 5:18 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 6

Kurotetsu

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So tomorrow (well, today technically), I'll be stopping by Guitar Center to look at powered monitors. I'm using a pair of passives + amp right now, but I'm considering moving to powered to make things a little simpler.

Now, I know the main difference between an active and a passive monitor is that actives have a built-in amplifier and passives do not. So the best method of determining whether an active monitor is any better or worse than what I have now (besides listening) would probably be to look at the specs of the amplifier and see how they match up with the amp I'm using now? If the amp of the powered is better, than I can at least expect it to sound the same, if not better?

Based on that...I wanted to know exactly what I should be looking for regarding how good or bad an amplifier is.

Specifications: *Power output: 2 x 9 watts (4 ohms @ 0.04% THD + N), 2 x 15 watts (4 ohms @ 10% THD + N), 2 x 10 watts (8 ohms @ 10% THD+N) *Efficiency: Up to 88% *Signal to noise ratio: 102 dB *Dimensions: 1.18" H x 6" W x 5.5" D.

Those are the specs for what I use now. How would you translate that into English, is basically what I'm asking.
 
Oct 18, 2008 at 6:03 AM Post #2 of 6

jenneth

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When you say active monitors, do you mean Near-Field or Mid-Field? Additionally, what's your budget?
 
Oct 18, 2008 at 6:29 AM Post #3 of 6

Kurotetsu

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Quote:

Originally Posted by jenneth /img/forum/go_quote.gif
When you say active monitors, do you mean Near-Field or Mid-Field? Additionally, what's your budget?


Near-Field. I will be using these at my desk as my "PC speakers". My budget ceiling is $250. Their use will be music first, gaming a distant second (I'll be using headphones for that mostly).
 
Oct 18, 2008 at 6:43 AM Post #4 of 6

jenneth

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Alesis Monitor 1 Active MKII - $250+
Behringer TRUTH B2030A - $250 or less
M-Audio Studiophile BX5a - $250 or less
Mackie MR5 - $120 ~ 170 / each (have RCA input)

Personally, I recommend the MR5.
 
Oct 18, 2008 at 4:37 PM Post #5 of 6

Kurotetsu

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Quote:

Originally Posted by jenneth /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Alesis Monitor 1 Active MKII - $250+
Behringer TRUTH B2030A - $250 or less
M-Audio Studiophile BX5a - $250 or less
Mackie MR5 - $120 ~ 170 / each (have RCA input)

Personally, I recommend the MR5.



Thanks very much for the lovely suggestions. Hm, though a few of them don't appear to have volume control. Or if they do, its on the back of the monitor which is a little inconvenient. So if I do go the powered monitor route, I'd have to get a pre-amp if I want volume control (if it doesn't have it) and a headphone amp since none of the those monitors have a headphone jack (I knew from the start that powered monitors usually didn't have that). So I'd actually be adding not simplifying the equipment I'd need unless I got a hybrid like the Zero DAC?

Based on that, for the sake of convenience it might be better to keep what I have now and continue using passives? The amp has volume control and a headphone jack.

On that, can you shed any light on the Amp Spec reading? I'd still like to know how best to interpret what makes an amp good or not.
 
Oct 18, 2008 at 4:57 PM Post #6 of 6

jenneth

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Most studio active monitor works under the assumption you have some sort of mixer or preamp, so they don't usually have a volume control on them (except an input level control). I personally don't have either of monitors, but I've heard that they're good for their price.

As for the amp spec, well, I've never actually owned a dedicated amp before. I've always used studio monitors (I had the Mackie HR824s & now using the Genelec 1032A). But I’m sure there are people here who can help you with that.

Quote:

Based on that, for the sake of convenience it might be better to keep what I have now and continue using passives? The amp has volume control and a headphone jack.


That might be the case... or, like you said, you could get something like the Zero DAC. Additionally, if you're good with DIY, you can consider the Millett Hybrid Maxed.

j.
 

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