Speakers- Go Active or Go Home

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witchdoctor

Speakers- Go Active or Go Home
« on: 14 Jul 2017, 03:54 pm »
I think active speakers are simply better than passive even though passives are more popular. If you are building a desktop system think about how simple it is to get two active speakers like the Kef LS-50 Active or the Klipsch Powered Monitors and you just plug in your source and you are done.The drivers, cabinets, cross overs, amps, dacs, DSP, everything hand picked to match perfectly by the designer.

You say you want SOTA for 2 channel in your living room not your desktop? Check the Bryston Circle.

But what about HT? Even better. In a HT system you wouldn't want active speakers with dacs instead all they need are amps inside.
Most of these active speakers are internally bi-amped meaning you would need to buy twice
the number of channels in a similar bi amped passive system.
5.1, 71., 9.1, etc. No amps or speaker cables required and you have an outstanding system. for example a set of these Neumann 120's and you are done:

https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/KH120?utm_source=Yahoo&utm_medium=PPC&utm_campaign=recording&utm_term=neumann_kh_120&device=c&matchtype=e&network=s

Want to save even more money? A set of these JBL LSR 308s or 305's and you are done-

https://www.amazon.com/JBL-Professional-LSR308-Studio-Monitor/dp/B00E8CEW7I

If you are doing an upgrade or buying speakers don't finish shopping until you audition active speakers.

rockadanny

Re: Speakers- Go Active or Go Home
« Reply #1 on: 14 Jul 2017, 04:13 pm »
I am Active on my desktop (Adam F7 and laptop) and Powered in the kitchen/dining area (JBL LSR305 + portable CD player and phone). Love the sound, convenience, and simplicity of it all. The Adam F7 sound especially good. The JBL LSR305 are good enough for first floor milling about/cooking/entertaining.

jpm

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Re: Speakers- Go Active or Go Home
« Reply #2 on: 14 Jul 2017, 05:23 pm »
With two dedicated amps in the JBLs, why are they described as powered rather than active?

restrav

Re: Speakers- Go Active or Go Home
« Reply #3 on: 14 Jul 2017, 05:42 pm »
it is not always true that you get better sound with active. for example with regards to dynamics or bass extension many active systems lag behind. the fact is that it is possible to get nice sound with active speakers but not guaranteed. for myself i tried adtive 3 times with sub $1k prices and alsys found the sound to be analytical, cold and fatiguing. 

Wind Chaser

Re: Speakers- Go Active or Go Home
« Reply #4 on: 14 Jul 2017, 05:56 pm »
...cold and fatiguing.

That's how I would decribe the Quad 12L Active.

witchdoctor

Re: Speakers- Go Active or Go Home
« Reply #5 on: 14 Jul 2017, 06:25 pm »
With two dedicated amps in the JBLs, why are they described as powered rather than active?

Semantics, probably from the marketing department

witchdoctor

Re: Speakers- Go Active or Go Home
« Reply #6 on: 14 Jul 2017, 06:30 pm »
it is not always true that you get better sound with active. for example with regards to dynamics or bass extension many active systems lag behind. the fact is that it is possible to get nice sound with active speakers but not guaranteed. for myself i tried adtive 3 times with sub $1k prices and alsys found the sound to be analytical, cold and fatiguing.

That's happened to me too, I went to Guitar Center to audition some active speakers and some of them were too cold, some too bright, etc. It is like any other purchase. You have to shop. I just think they are often overlooked and can give you a nice bang for the buck and save a ton of time and money trying to match amp and cables. On the minus side they do need to be plugged in.

Doublej

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Re: Speakers- Go Active or Go Home
« Reply #7 on: 14 Jul 2017, 11:54 pm »
I am Active on my desktop (Adam F7 and laptop) and Powered in the kitchen/dining area (JBL LSR305 + portable CD player and phone). Love the sound, convenience, and simplicity of it all. The Adam F7 sound especially good. The JBL LSR305 are good enough for first floor milling about/cooking/entertaining.

What? the LSR 305 is the most incredible amazing speaker ever? Blasphemy I say. It must be the cheap sources!  :D

I believe in the pro audio world they refer to monitor as unpowered or powered. Powered is typically an active design. In the consumer world as you intimate powered means the speakers are using a passive crossover if there are multiple drivers.

Bendingwave

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Re: Speakers- Go Active or Go Home
« Reply #8 on: 15 Jul 2017, 12:32 am »
The reason why I wont go active is because a powered/active speakers AMP can and usually does fail before any of the speaker drivers do and its hard to get the exact replacement amps and its more cumbersome to deal with...most warranty just so happen to expire when the amp fails  :lol:...with passive speakers they have less mechanical/electrical parts, that is why the speaker drivers can last a very long time and not too mention they are way easier to replace as replacement drivers are more readily available then a active amp designed just for that specific set of speakers.




rockadanny

Re: Speakers- Go Active or Go Home
« Reply #9 on: 15 Jul 2017, 12:42 am »
Quote
AMP can and usually does fail before any of the speaker drivers do and its hard to get the exact replacement amps and its more cumbersome to deal with
My greatest fear, for sure. Which is why I'd be askeered to spend lots of dough on this type of gear for my main system, relegating these choices instead to my second and third systems. However, had I tons of scratch I'd care not and not be worried about failure/replacement.

rockadanny

Re: Speakers- Go Active or Go Home
« Reply #10 on: 15 Jul 2017, 12:44 am »
Quote
the LSR 305 is the most incredible amazing speaker ever?
:scratch: Not sure who said that. Certainly not moi.

witchdoctor

Re: Speakers- Go Active or Go Home
« Reply #11 on: 15 Jul 2017, 01:47 am »
The reason why I wont go active is because a powered/active speakers AMP can and usually does fail before any of the speaker drivers do and its hard to get the exact replacement amps and its more cumbersome to deal with...most warranty just so happen to expire when the amp fails  :lol:...with passive speakers they have less mechanical/electrical parts, that is why the speaker drivers can last a very long time and not too mention they are way easier to replace as replacement drivers are more readily available then a active amp designed just for that specific set of speakers.

Interesting point,then you only need to repair the amp, not the speaker. Bryston sells active speakers, I wonder if they have that 20 year warranty? James if you are reading this can you share?

jtwrace

Re: Speakers- Go Active or Go Home
« Reply #12 on: 15 Jul 2017, 02:11 am »
JBL 705p and 708p are hard to beat for the desktop if you want the latest technology that's from the JBL M2. 

JLM

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Re: Speakers- Go Active or Go Home
« Reply #13 on: 15 Jul 2017, 02:31 am »
I have two pair of active speakers:  Brines Acoustics M18F200 (single driver floor standers that I use with mono-block amplification - all single driver speakers are active be default); and Dynaudio BM5 MkIII.  Neither are still available. 

Active speakers use a low voltage crossover that feeds the single channel amps that each serve a single driver (typical of studio monitors).  Powered speakers schematically are identical to passive speakers but use a built-in amp (many like Audioengine put a stereo amp in one of a pair of speakers). 

I've related this several times on AC before, but 16 years ago auditioned Paradigm Studio 20 v.2 ($800/pair passive 2-way stand mounts) versus Paradigm Active 20 ($1600/pair actives with the same drivers/cabinet).  It was no contest.  Greatly improved dynamics, flatter frequency response (a revelation), and unbelievably deep/full bass.  Passersby were gobsmacked when they realized that they weren't listening to the Studio 100 ($2000/pair 3-way 5 driver floor standers), but the Active 20 imaged better.  The advantage of active design was one of a handful of epiphanies in 40+ years in audio. 
« Last Edit: 15 Jul 2017, 11:50 am by JLM »

witchdoctor

Re: Speakers- Go Active or Go Home
« Reply #14 on: 15 Jul 2017, 02:40 am »
I have two pair of active speakers:  Brines Acoustics M18F200 (single driver floor standers that I use with mono-block amplification - all single driver speakers are active be default); and Dynaudio BM5 MkIII.  Neither are still available. 

Active speakers use a low voltage crossover that feeds the single channel amps that each serve a single driver (typical of studio monitors).  Powered speakers schematically are identical to passive speakers but use a built-in amp (many like Audioengine put a stereo amp in one of a pair of speakers). 

I've related this several times on AC before, but 16 years ago auditioned Paradigm Studio 20 v.2 ($800/pair passive 2-way stand mounts) versus Paradigm Active 20 ($1600/pair actives with the same drivers/cabinet).  It was no contest.  Greatly improved dynamics, flatter frequency response (a revelation), and unbelievably deep/full bass.  Passersby were gobsmacked when they realized that they weren't listening to the Studio 100 ($2000/pair 3-way 5 driver floor standers), but the Active 20 imaged better.  The advantage of active design was one of a handful of euphonies in 40+ years in audio.

Thanks for sharing this. I have 4 of those Paradigm Active 20 v.2 as my height channels. They are heavy so I use tall stands to mount them. I use 6 of their big brothers, the Paradigm Active 40 v2 as my bed channels. I got the matching Active Center Channel and two Active ADP's I use as wide channels. I am still gobsmacked with what this system can do. I was making some room changes recently so disconnected my sub and was just running a 5.0 system with the active 40's. I think they sound better running full range without the sub. I am perplexed if I should add the sub back in or change the crossover for the system from 80 hz to 40 hz. You can see the active 40's low on the floor on Mapleshade bedrock stands, the Active CC on the Mapleshade support system and the Active 20's above:





NavyDoc

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Re: Speakers- Go Active or Go Home
« Reply #15 on: 15 Jul 2017, 03:38 am »
My active DIY speakers, three way design (HF - 125W; MF - 125W; LF - 350W) using JBL Pro drivers and a DBX Venu360 loudspeaker management system for crossover and DSP.


Early B.

Re: Speakers- Go Active or Go Home
« Reply #16 on: 15 Jul 2017, 04:32 am »
Certainly a desktop or second system or HT would make great applications for active speakers. But when it comes to high fidelity sound that can rival some of the best systems you find at audio shows, then active speakers have a long way to go. I'll give it 10 - 15 more years. Amp technology is a slow growth process. Hopefully, by then, we'll be able to get rid of speaker cables, ICs, and power cords. High end, flat paneled, motorized ceiling mounted, wireless, rechargeable, active speakers with voice command volume control that automatically adjusts itself to the listener's preferences and to the room's acoustics. 

witchdoctor

Re: Speakers- Go Active or Go Home
« Reply #17 on: 15 Jul 2017, 04:49 am »
My active DIY speakers, three way design (HF - 125W; MF - 125W; LF - 350W) using JBL Pro drivers and a DBX Venu360 loudspeaker management system for crossover and DSP.


Looks great :thumb:

witchdoctor

Re: Speakers- Go Active or Go Home
« Reply #18 on: 15 Jul 2017, 04:51 am »
Certainly a desktop or second system or HT would make great applications for active speakers. But when it comes to high fidelity sound that can rival some of the best systems you find at audio shows, then active speakers have a long way to go. I'll give it 10 - 15 more years. Amp technology is a slow growth process. Hopefully, by then, we'll be able to get rid of speaker cables, ICs, and power cords. High end, flat paneled, motorized ceiling mounted, wireless, rechargeable, active speakers with voice command volume control that automatically adjusts itself to the listener's preferences and to the room's acoustics.

I am not saying I disagree but you should checkout the Active Speaker thread in the Bryston circle. I have not heard them but they look SOTA.

fredgarvin

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Re: Speakers- Go Active or Go Home
« Reply #19 on: 15 Jul 2017, 05:14 am »
This thread seems to not actually feature active speakers-active crossovers, dsp modeling- but powered speakers. As for powered speakers, I'm looking forward to hearing these rather than little mixing monitors that don't energize a room-

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bzB-PEQJYqQ