Powered Versus Passive Speakers

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FullRangeMan

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Re: Powered Versus Passive Speakers
« Reply #40 on: 19 Nov 2018, 08:34 pm »
I understand why passive speakers are more popular in the home market but why aren't they popular in the pro market? Take a look at this immersive audio setup at Abbey Road using active speakers.
The pro-audio market demand a cost effective ready made speaker set with a kind of sound enginers can hear as a standard to made sonic decisions to fast complete the recording, mix or mastering job.

witchdoctor

Re: Powered Versus Passive Speakers
« Reply #41 on: 19 Nov 2018, 08:40 pm »
The pro-audio market demand a cost effective ready made speaker set with a kind of sound enginers can hear as a standard to made sonic decisions to fast complete the recording, mix or mastering job.

In other words they use logic  :lol:

FullRangeMan

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Re: Powered Versus Passive Speakers
« Reply #42 on: 19 Nov 2018, 09:00 pm »
In other words they use logic  :lol:
In the past there was no active speakers for pro-audio market,
so as time pass custumers budget and time to made the job decreased and they scream they want a simple to use tool to listen music at low cost and voilá Genelec appeared...

JLM

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Re: Powered Versus Passive Speakers
« Reply #43 on: 19 Nov 2018, 09:49 pm »
Hi,
Could you suggest some active speakers that you think highly of?  I know you like the cheaper JBL bookshelf 305, but if you have others that are priced higher but are still great values, I'd love to hear.
Thanks,
Bill

JBL is really a cut above company compared to almost any other: length of tenure; depth of research resources; breath of in-house manufactured components; reputation for service.  (After nearly 50 years have finally come to the conclusion the company behind the product is very important.)  Their 306 and 308 are very similar to the 305 (larger woofer/cabinet).  The baby brother of my 708P, the 705P are also part of the same string of controlled directivity models.  The big brother is the M2.  Jtwrace has been to Harmon HQ and compared them all. 

My previous active monitors were Dynaudio BM5 MkIII (2-way with 7" woofer, currently available for $1,000/pair).  I liked them very much, just not in the same league as the $4000/pair 708Ps.  The Kline and Hummel KH120 (2-way with 5" woofer, about $1400/pair) is a very well regarded active studio monitor.  Adam A7X (2-way with 7" woofer and Heil tweeter, roughly $1100/pair) is another good option.  All these companies are very well regarded.  Other brands have their strengths and weaknesses.  I don't see a compelling reason to look much beyond the above.

Of course there are active monitor duds, just like any other product.  Trying to build quality tweeters (2), woofers (2), crossovers (2), cabinets (2), and amps (4) for say $500 is a huge challenge, so I don't expect it (except for those remarkable JBL 305/306/308's).  I just can't imagine spending less than double the money for separate passives, amp, and cables to approach what you can find in actives. 

Witchdoctor's subwoofer argument should make audiophiles wonder why they so casually dismiss active design. 

witchdoctor


Bendingwave

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Re: Powered Versus Passive Speakers
« Reply #45 on: 19 Nov 2018, 11:16 pm »
All components fail at some point or another. What would you do if your amp failed or your pre-amp? Get it repaired or replaced. The same with an active speaker. Have you ever bought a subwoofer before? Was it active or passive? Why don't people buy passive subs for the same reasons you mention, that the amp might fail? :scratch:


In a 7.1 set up I would need to repair or replace 1 amp instead of needing to replace 7 amps on active speakers. Plus with active speakers you would either need to ship all your speakers to the manufacturer to have them replace new amps in them or they could send you the amps and have you do all the work in replacing the amps....With seperates there is way less work and hassels involved...other reasons was manufacturer no longer available and or no longer carry that exact amp.


I have bought over 100 subwoofers (including car audio) both active and passive and the active has failed way before the passive......Most people only use 1 sub in there system so if the amp fails they only need to replace 1 amp instead of all the amps in 7 speakers.... Plus a sub is not a requirement it is OPTIONAL....if you look on Craigslist there a tons of people selling the sub driver they took out of a powered subwoofer because the amp failed....its just common knowlege that electronics with more moving electrical/mechanical parts fail more often then one with less parts....you also see people selling speaker sets and saying selling the speakers because the reciever broke....its just a FACT that the amps fail WAY MORE then speakers....Also I am not biased as even separate components like amps, preamps, integrated amps, receivers, CD/DVD players fail way more pecentage wise then the speakers.

Saturn94

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Re: Powered Versus Passive Speakers
« Reply #46 on: 20 Nov 2018, 12:12 am »
I've told this story several times over the years here on AC but it's worth repeating:

18 years ago I visited a shop and auditioned Paradigm Studio 20s ($800/pair 2-way passive monitor) versus Paradigm Active 20s ($1600/pair 2-way active monitor using same drivers/cabinet).  No comparison!  Dynamics just jumped.  Flat frequency response (a revelation in itself).  Bass was super deep and full.  I was gobsmacked by the bass alone.  Passersby that we were listening to Studio 100s ($2200/pair multiple driver floor stander), but imaging was better on the the Active 20s.  You just couldn't get that sound from any other Paradigm (besides the Active 40).

That's why I've used active (not just powered) speakers for 15 years. 

But they also represent great value.  The JBL 305 (original) was a stunning active 2-way monitor listing for $300/pair, beating any comparably priced passive monitor.  But the 305 Mk2, same list price, will out perform any $1000/pair passive monitor.  Again stunningly dynamic, flatter, and more bass.  Allowing the manufacturer to design/match amp the driver and give a direct connection (versus clouding the load with additional drivers and a crossover) is a huge advantage. 

All that's needed is a source and preamp (optimally with XLR outputs).  Even the XLR cables are largely devoid of marketing hype (buy Blue Jean Cable or Mogami if you want what the professionals use).  Combination DAC/preamps like Benchmark (~$2000) or Mytek Manhattan ($2000 if you need phono input) can make life even simpler.  If you're pure digital the PS Audio DirectStream Junior (currently $2580 through underwoodhifi.com factory direct shipping included) would be a step up by adding streaming so you can use a server connected via an ethernet cable.  Dedicated music servers start at $800 from Small Green Computer.

I also heard a demo like that many years ago and was VERY impressed with the active Paradigms.

Last time I bought speakers I had forgotten about that demo.  If I had it to do again I would certainly put actives on my shortlist.

Speaking of which, the speakers I have now have active woofers (300 watts each, crossed over at 200hz to passive coax mid/tweeter).

witchdoctor

Re: Powered Versus Passive Speakers
« Reply #47 on: 20 Nov 2018, 12:16 am »

In a 7.1 set up I would need to repair or replace 1 amp instead of needing to replace 7 amps on active speakers. Plus with active speakers you would either need to ship all your speakers to the manufacturer to have them replace new amps in them or they could send you the amps and have you do all the work in replacing the amps....With seperates there is way less work and hassels involved...other reasons was manufacturer no longer available and or no longer carry that exact amp.


I have bought over 100 subwoofers (including car audio) both active and passive and the active has failed way before the passive......Most people only use 1 sub in there system so if the amp fails they only need to replace 1 amp instead of all the amps in 7 speakers.... Plus a sub is not a requirement it is OPTIONAL....if you look on Craigslist there a tons of people selling the sub driver they took out of a powered subwoofer because the amp failed....its just common knowlege that electronics with more moving electrical/mechanical parts fail more often then one with less parts....you also see people selling speaker sets and saying selling the speakers because the reciever broke....its just a FACT that the amps fail WAY MORE then speakers....Also I am not biased as even separate components like amps, preamps, integrated amps, receivers, CD/DVD players fail way more pecentage wise then the speakers.

If you own a passive sub it still requires an amp that can fail. If you own passive speakers they still require amps, which can fail. I don't think the consumer market are buying passive speakers out of fear that active speakers may fail, I think it is out of ignorance.
Jim Salk just weighed in on his excellent Power Monitors. Bryston also sells both active and passive speakers, guess which ones they think are better?
I agree you can build a fantastic system using passive speakers, it just requires a bigger budget, careful matching of components and a LOT of trial and error. Let's ask 100 Salk speaker owners which amps they chose, what are the odds they all picked the same amp? That means you might get 100 different results, probably all are good but how many will be perfect?
If you get 100 people to buy salk power monitors  they will all have "systems" yielding perfectly flat frequency response and a consistent result designed by the speakers architect. If the amp fails ask Jim to repair it, the same as a passive speaker. I don't see a problem.

From the website:

The PowerPlay Monitor:

EXTREME ACCURACY
Active DSP crossovers result in the flattest, most accurate frequency response you're likely to see. The resulting sound is balanced from top to bottom.

"You will hear the music EXACTLY as it was produced"


charmerci

Re: Powered Versus Passive Speakers
« Reply #48 on: 20 Nov 2018, 12:33 am »

But they also represent great value.  The JBL 305 (original) was a stunning active 2-way monitor listing for $300/pair, beating any comparably priced passive monitor.  But the 305 Mk2, same list price, will out perform any most $1000/pair passive monitors.  Again stunningly dynamic, flatter, and more bass.


Small correction.


Once you've taken them apart and brace the cabinets and put non-drying clay on the driver baskets. The bass is a bit too loose/bloated/boomy before doing that.

Bendingwave

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Re: Powered Versus Passive Speakers
« Reply #49 on: 20 Nov 2018, 01:48 am »
If you own a passive sub it still requires an amp that can fail. If you own passive speakers they still require amps, which can fail. I don't think the consumer market are buying passive speakers out of fear that active speakers may fail, I think it is out of ignorance.
Jim Salk just weighed in on his excellent Power Monitors. Bryston also sells both active and passive speakers, guess which ones they think are better?
I agree you can build a fantastic system using passive speakers, it just requires a bigger budget, careful matching of components and a LOT of trial and error. Let's ask 100 Salk speaker owners which amps they chose, what are the odds they all picked the same amp? That means you might get 100 different results, probably all are good but how many will be perfect?
If you get 100 people to buy salk power monitors  they will all have "systems" yielding perfectly flat frequency response and a consistent result designed by the speakers architect. If the amp fails ask Jim to repair it, the same as a passive speaker. I don't see a problem.

From the website:

The PowerPlay Monitor:

EXTREME ACCURACY
Active DSP crossovers result in the flattest, most accurate frequency response you're likely to see. The resulting sound is balanced from top to bottom.

"You will hear the music EXACTLY as it was produced"

No shit sherlock that is why I said even separates like amps , pre amps , receivers etc will fail before the speakers do....That is just your opinion of what you "THINK" but the fact remains that majority of people do NOT buy (excluding computer speakers) powered speakers and that majority of speaker manufacturer/dealers sell non powered speakers because that is what sells.


Choosing the right equipment that has the right synergy between them does not always require a bigger budget as that is one of the common misconceptions of audiophiles....like how some audiophiles believes a 10k speaker cable sounds better then a 5k speaker cable.  :lol:

If you did a A/B blind test comparison of 100 salk people with half of them using separate amps and the other half using the powered monitors majority of the people wouldn't be able to pick out 50 of the powered monitors and some would even choose and prefer the sound of passive then the actives.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QxzVofA98B4

charmerci

Re: Powered Versus Passive Speakers
« Reply #50 on: 20 Nov 2018, 01:58 am »
Well, since Jim has built a pair (there is a photo on his site to prove it!) and no one has bought any, perhaps he could send them out on an AC tour! I'll be the first to listen and give a review on them!!!  :thumb: 


 :popcorn:

WGH

Re: Powered Versus Passive Speakers
« Reply #51 on: 20 Nov 2018, 03:21 am »
I like the speaker tour idea but at 26 lbs each, shipping is about $90 for the pair, I checked weight and size (double boxed) using my FedEx account.
We need a Go Fund Me page.

PowerPlay





http://www.salksound.com/model.php?model=PowerPlay%20Monitors

witchdoctor

Re: Powered Versus Passive Speakers
« Reply #52 on: 20 Nov 2018, 03:50 am »
If you did a A/B blind test comparison of 100 salk people with half of them using separate amps and the other half using the powered monitors majority of the people wouldn't be able to pick out 50 of the powered monitors and some would even choose and prefer the sound of passive then the actives.

I can't speak for Salk customers but if you are claiming that you can't tell the difference between a passive and active speaker of the same model you are mistaken.

The Paradigm Active 40 I own has an identical passive version. Look at the specs for the passive version:

Studio 40 v2 Specifications

Design

3 driver, 2-1/2-way bookshelf / stand-mounted

Crossover

3rd order electro/acoustic at 1.5kHz, 2nd order electro/acoustic at 400Hz

Frequency Response   On-Axis

±2dB from 59 Hz - 22 kHz

Frequency Response   30° Off-Axis

±2dB from 59 Hz - 20 kHz

High Frequency Driver

25mm (1 in) PAL™ pure-aluminum dome, diecast heatsink chassis, ferro-fluid cooled

Mid/Bass Frequency Driver

170mm (6-3/4 in), MLP™ mica-polymer cone, AVS™ diecast heatsink chassis, 38mm voice-coil

Low Frequency Driver

170mm (6-3/4 in), filled polypropylene cone, AVS™ diecast heatsink chassis, 38mm voice-coil

Low Frequency Extension

34Hz (DIN)

Sensitivity   Room / Anechoic

91 dB / 88 dB

Impedance

Compatible with 8 ohms

Suitable Amplifier Power Range

15 - 180 watts

Maximum Input Power

140 watts

Weight

70 lbs. (32 kg)

Dimensions   HxWxD

21.5" × 8.75" × 12"
(54.6cm × 22.2cm × 30.5cm)

and now compare with the active version:

Active 40 v2 Specifications

Design

2-driver, 2 way with built in electronic crossover and amplifiers

Crossover

3rd order electro/acoustic at 1.5kHz, 2nd order electro/acoustic at 400Hz (lower bass driver)

Amplifier

High current, discrete output, Powersaver auto on/off, thermal protection

Amplifier Features

Bi-amplified: 325w/125w RMS for bass/midrange drivers, 150w/50w RMS for high frequency drivers

Frequency Response   On-Axis

±1dB 36Hz-22kHz

Frequency Response   30° Off-Axis

±1dB 36Hz-20kHz

High Frequency Driver

25mm PAL™ pure-aluminum dome, diecast heatsink chassis, ferro-fluid damped/cooled

Mid/Bass Frequency Driver

170mm, MLP™ mica-polymer cone, AVS™ diecast heatsink chassis, 38mm voice-coil

Low Frequency Driver

170mm, mineral-filled polypropylene cone, AVS™ diecast heatsink chassis, 38mm voice-coil

Low Frequency Extension

32Hz (DIN)

Weight

70 lbs. (32 kg)

Dimensions   HxWxD

21.5" × 8.25" × 13.25"
(54.6cm × 21.0cm × 33.7cm)

Anyone and everyone can hear the difference between them regardless of the amp you use on the passive version in a blind listening test. 

FullRangeMan

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Re: Powered Versus Passive Speakers
« Reply #53 on: 20 Nov 2018, 04:06 pm »
These speakers with straight line response are not appropriate to the human ear the reason is this:

DMurphy

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Re: Powered Versus Passive Speakers
« Reply #54 on: 20 Nov 2018, 04:13 pm »
[quote

Anyone and everyone can hear the difference between them regardless of the amp you use on the passive version in a blind listening test.
[/quote]

Obviously some active systems will sound better than theiractive counterpart.  However, if the passive crossover is implemented correctly, and if the drivers themselves are reasonably well behaved, any difference you hear between the active and passive will probably be confined to the bass, where active circuitry can help offset common room modes.  I would bet a sizable proportion of my annual profits that you would not hear a meaningful difference between, say, my BMR (or several Salk models) and an active version outside of the bass. 
« Last Edit: 20 Nov 2018, 11:25 pm by DMurphy »

FullRangeMan

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Re: Powered Versus Passive Speakers
« Reply #55 on: 20 Nov 2018, 04:13 pm »
In the 90s I found the Carver Amazing that has the most pleasant sound that I have ever lietened independent of price and his freq response is this:

witchdoctor

Re: Powered Versus Passive Speakers
« Reply #56 on: 20 Nov 2018, 06:17 pm »
[quote

Anyone and everyone can hear the difference between them regardless of the amp you use on the passive version in a blind listening test.


Obviously some active systems will sound better than their active counterpart.  However, if the passive crossover is implemented correctly, and if the drivers themselves are reasonably well behaved, any difference you hear between the active and passive will probably be confined to the bass, where active circuitry can help offset common room modes.  I would bet a sizable proportion of my annual profits that you would not hear a meaningful difference between, say, my BMR (or several Salk models) and an active version outside of the bass.

I would not want to take the bet but accept your offer in good humor.
The bass is a BIG deal. Think about that, better bass extension AND you don't need to buy an amp or speaker wire. Have you seen the price of good amps lately $$$?
There is another model Paradigm still sells, look at the Atom (passive version) vs the Shift A2 (active Atom). Quick story for you, I had a single A2 mounted on the ceiling and wanted to take it down and use it for my wide channels. That means I need to buy a mate. I get online and see a refurb for only $75 and go WOW and hit the buy button. A few days later speaker shows up in a HUGE box. I open it and the vendor actually sold me a PAIR for the sale price instead of a single. :green:
Talk about happy . Check them out:

https://www.paradigm.com/products-current/model=a2/page=reviews


witchdoctor

Re: Powered Versus Passive Speakers
« Reply #57 on: 20 Nov 2018, 06:28 pm »
In the 90s I found the Carver Amazing that has the most pleasant sound that I have ever lietened independent of price and his freq response is this:


I LOVE Carver gear and use it in my desktop system. Sunfire Theater Grand 3 preamp and a Carver AV 505 amp.
I have had this gear for years and if it ain't broke don't fix it.

DMurphy

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Re: Powered Versus Passive Speakers
« Reply #58 on: 20 Nov 2018, 11:31 pm »
I would not want to take the bet but accept your offer in good humor.
The bass is a BIG deal. Think about that, better bass extension AND you don't need to buy an amp or speaker wire. Have you seen the price of good amps lately $$$?
There is another model Paradigm still sells, look at the Atom (passive version) vs the Shift A2 (active Atom). Quick story for you, I had a single A2 mounted on the ceiling and wanted to take it down and use it for my wide channels. That means I need to buy a mate. I get online and see a refurb for only $75 and go WOW and hit the buy button. A few days later speaker shows up in a HUGE box. I open it and the vendor actually sold me a PAIR for the sale price instead of a single. :green:
Talk about happy . Check them out:

https://www.paradigm.com/products-current/model=a2/page=reviews
Well, if you saw my annual profits, you'll know it wasn't much of a bet.  In fact, the winner would probably lose a great deal of money.   I agree the bass management advantages of active speakers are a big plus, but many people would invoke equalization with their room correction software if they were running passives.  I expected to be out of the passive crossover "business" long ago.  It's interesting how much market resistance there is to active systems.   

Early B.

Re: Powered Versus Passive Speakers
« Reply #59 on: 21 Nov 2018, 04:56 am »
I expected to be out of the passive crossover "business" long ago.  It's interesting how much market resistance there is to active systems.   

Powered speakers make things simple. However, an active crossover makes it not so simple. Kinda defeats the purpose.