Poll

Should single-driver speakers be called "active speakers" in common usage?

Yes because it is the most technically correct/accurate terminology
1 (5.9%)
No becacuse it is not the most technically correct/accurate terminology
12 (70.6%)
No because although technically correct/accurate it is not the generally agreed upon terminology in the industry
1 (5.9%)
It does not matter because either term won't change my understanding of the subject
2 (11.8%)
It does not matter because neither term will confuse a non-technical casual observer enough to matter
1 (5.9%)

Total Members Voted: 17

Should single-driver speakers be called "active speakers" in common usage?

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Jonathon Janusz

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As to not clutter up another thread with an off topic debate, after being on AC long enough now to notice, I thought this might be a valid question to ask, as this topic pops up as a discussion that seems to sidetrack conversations across many threads across circles.  Before impulsively piling on I thought it would be worthwhile to clearly and plainly give the question its moment in the sun to find out if this change away from what appears to me to be commonly settled and understood industry jargon is genuinely gaining traction in this community and or the industry more broadly.

So, what does our community think?  Good, bad, right, wrong, harmless, or confusing?

Thanks!

FullRangeMan

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Calling fullrange drivers of active may be confusing to audiophiles and music lovers, xoverless FR drivers are a niche market inside a already small market, we are only a few thousands people in the entire world, there is no teens in FR drivers we are old people, new generations want cheap earsbuds.

JohnR

You left out "No because it's completely wrong" ;)

Goosepond

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Who knows? Seems to me you should first define what is an active speaker?  :scratch:

Gene

JohnR

An active speaker is a speaker that uses an active crossover. An active crossover is a crossover made out of active components - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electronic_component#Classifications.

Goosepond

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Thanks. I did not know that! :thumb:

Gene

OzarkTom

The advantage of an active full range would be you can also add the DAC to the configuration. Less cables and parts would make the sound even better. I won't mention the company, but there is one that is considering on doing that to the Cube loudspeakers from Poland.

If not active, what would you call this?

rjbond3rd

Hmm, active but with no built-in amp?  That would not make sense to me.

fredgarvin

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The advantage of an active full range would be you can also add the DAC to the configuration. Less cables and parts would make the sound even better. I won't mention the company, but there is one that is considering on doing that to the Cube loudspeakers from Poland.

If not active, what would you call this?

An AC a DAC?

hahax

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The most important factor of an active speaker is that the amp(s) only push the driver voice coil, not any other passive devices like resistors, inductors, and capacitors as in a conventional multi way speaker. In that sense a single driver speaker(without passive equalization) is certainly related to active speakers. Indeed one could add active equalization before an amp to a single driver system to flatten and/or extend its response and it still is a single driver system.

OzarkTom

Hmm, active but with no built-in amp?  That would not make sense to me.

Amp and Dac together.

Maybe a DACactive?

grsimmon

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You left out "No because it's completely wrong" ;)

Except that it's actually completely correct.

grsimmon

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An active speaker is a speaker that uses an active crossover. An active crossover is a crossover made out of active components - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electronic_component#Classifications.


If you read the definition posted,  a loudspeaker is a transducer that is an electromechanical device.  It is not a component and does not follow the same definitions as say a passive or active preamp.    A single driver speaker absolutely is an active arrangement.  When the crossover comes before the amplification stage,  or if there is no crossover,  it's active.  Most home loudspeakers have the crossover after the amplification, and are therefore passive.   It matters not one bit if the speaker is "powered" or not, that's totally seperate.   Most lifestyle "powered" speakers are actually passive setups.

JohnR


If you read the definition posted,  a loudspeaker is a transducer that is an electromechanical device.  It is not a component and does not follow the same definitions as say a passive or active preamp.

Well, it does still meet the definition of passive component, but regardless, that's not relevant to whether the crossover is active or not.

Quote
A single driver speaker absolutely is an active arrangement.  When the crossover comes before the amplification stage,  or if there is no crossover,  it's active.

No, the absence of a crossover is by no means the same thing as having an active crossover....

JLM

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An active speaker is a speaker that uses an active crossover. An active crossover is a crossover made out of active components - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electronic_component#Classifications.

I don't see or derive that verbiage from the wikipedia link and don't find it helpful anyway.  I prefer this definition:  "An active loudspeaker is one that uses one channel of amplification to directly power each driver."  In which case single driver speakers (including most subwoofers) qualify as active, as well as what is traditionally termed as active speakers. 

But I wouldn't use the term because it's not useful with single driver designs, as it's redundant and active speakers are understood even less well than single driver speakers even though it's completely true.  I've pushed the idea because of the advantages of active design (greater dynamics, flatter frequency response, deep/full bass) help explain the remarkable performance possible from single driver speakers, which would help broaden acceptance of the concept.  BTW my adoption of the single driver concept came from a remarkable audition that compared manufactured active versus passive versions of the same 2-way monitor (Paradigm Studio 20 v.2 versus Active 20, roughly 18 years ago) - it was no contest.

Note also that single driver speakers may use filters such as zobel and baffle-step, so there can be circuitry between the power amplification and each driver.  And the above definitions do not require the amplifier to be inside the cabinet.

JohnR

Ahm... no, the wikipedia link does not contain the "verbiage", it's for people who don't know that - in the context of electronic circuits - the words active and passive already have a well-understood meaning, you can't just make up new definitions for them as you please.

Your definition isn't even useful for multi-way active speakers, as there's no need for the amps to be connected directly to the drivers, or for that matter for there to be one amplification channel per driver.

OzarkTom

 :scratch:

JLM sure is adamant about this. But since he has the worlds best sounding speakers, according to him, maybe that is the reason.

JLM

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Your definition isn't even useful for multi-way active speakers, as there's no need for the amps to be connected directly to the drivers, or for that matter for there to be one amplification channel per driver.

Huh??

JLM

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:scratch:

JLM sure is adamant about this. But since he has the worlds best sounding speakers, according to him, maybe that is the reason.

For my application, and for probably most audiophiles, many would agree that they are some of the world's very best.  (JBL 708P)

undertow

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An active crossover does not make an active speaker. And a full range single driver has nothing to do with the word "Active". 99% of all speakers in the standard home audio world are Passive, Pro audio uses a lot of ACTIVE speakers. Sure there are a few in the audio high end as well such as ATC.

Not sure where people are attempting to define this.

For the layman, the Pro Audio studio, or audiophile generally speaking an "Active Speaker" simply means it is self - powered with an amplifier internally which can be powering an internal crossover of either Passive or Active depending on how many amp channels are built into the cabinet.

So if you can plug a power cord into the back of the speaker cabinet to keep it simple, and feed the built in amplifier with a signal cable Ie. XLR or RCA, or 1/4" jack [not speaker cable] your running a form of active speaker as there is no additional speaker cables outside the box.

Whether this speaker uses an "Active [electronic] Crossover" or "Passive Crossover" it does not matter. Its a self powered unit period.

People that Bi-amp, or Tri-amp with multiple amp "one amp channel" per driver outside the speakers using an additional crossover like DBX or whoever to split the signals is an "ACTIVE SYSTEM" but not an active speaker. 

A good simple example of an "Active speaker" is a SUBWOOFER. A powered subwoofer we all see at virtually every best buy on the planet. There are passive Subs as well that would use outboard crossover and amp, but not to many will be doing this unless in a huge professional P.A. system.

Back to the original question an ACTIVE subwoofer generally single driver would be the only common use active speaker for general definition, or purpose. And by the way there are some subwoofers mostly older variety that will allow you to hook up your main speaker cables in order to jump the signal from the left and right channel, this is a high level signal instead of the line level used by the standard subwoofer RCA or LFE input. Regardless its still an Active speaker in this case.