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?

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. Read 1232 times.

OzarkTom

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

That is great. And I love my Alnicos just like many others here on AC do. But I am not buying JBL's just becuase you say so. For some very odd reason, you sure like to pick on me about this view.

 :duh:

There is another audiophile on another forum that thinks his passive JBL's are the world's best speakers. JBL fanboys are everywhere.



OzarkTom

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.

Just curious, when something is totally different, why not make up a new definition? Nobody heard of immersive audio five years ago. Somebody had to make that up.

Two channel maybe totally dead in 10-20 years. WD was not wrong about Immersive.

RDavidson

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 2506
Just curious, when something is totally different, why not make up a new definition? Nobody heard of immersive audio five years ago. Somebody had to make that up.

Two channel maybe totally dead in 10-20 years. WD was not wrong about Immersive.

For things that are new/different, sure, make up a new term/definition. No big deal. But to reuse established terms in a way that doesn't really coincide with even semi-established understanding is confusing matters for no apparent reason. Should we start calling front wheel drive cars, non-rear wheel drive cars instead? :D

brj

The problem is less about the terms themselves and more the areas where they may overlap complicated by casual, less than fully precise usage.
  • Active vs. passive refers to crossover approach implemented in a multi-driver speaker (with subsequent impacts to the amplification approach)
    • Active speakers have a line-level cross-over upstream of the amps.  (Requires more amps, but typically smaller.)
    • Passive speakers have a speaker-level crossover downstream of the amps.  (Requires fewer amps, but typically larger.)
    • Active vs. passive in no way defines the crossover implementation - it can be analog or digital.
    • Active vs. passive in no way defines where the amps or crossover are installed - they can be inside the speaker or external.
    • Multi-driver speakers can be partially active.  (Most commonly the mid-to-bass crossover will utilize an active crossover, as the large voice coils of these drivers produce the most significant back-EMF.  The bass driver in this scenario could just as easily be a subwoofer as an integrated woofer.)
  • Single-driver speakers do share one of the primary benefits of active speakers, mainly a lack of back-EMF transmitted through a crossover from one driver to any others, impacting the impedance response of all connected drivers.  (Back-EMF complicates the crossover design, but can be addressed by a good designer.)
  • Single-driver speakers may be implemented with frequency response correction (EQ), which is typically included as part of the crossover design in a multi-driver speaker.  This could be done before or after the amp, either via analog or digital means.
  • Powered speakers have the amp integrated into the speaker itself, which can then have either an active or passive crossover, or no crossover at all, as well as analog or digital driver EQ, or none at all.  It implies nothing about how the signal is managed.

I don't recommend trying to co-opt terms used to describe crossover implementations as a means to highlight a single-driver speaker design benefit that just happens to be shared in common with one particular crossover approach.  The 'single-driver' description already implies the lack of back-EMF that you're trying to acknowledge.  There is no 'passive' version of a single driver speaker from which to try and differentiate.

Focus instead on understanding how the design compromises differ in a single driver implementation vs. that of a multi-driver implementation and the various ways in which they may be overcome, and then just be able to explain it while adding the correct details to your single-driver speaker description if you feel the need for added precision.  Examples:
  • If your amp is integrated into your single driver speaker, call it a 'powered single-driver speaker'.
  • If you want to characterize the driver EQ description, call it a 'single-driver speaker with analog (or digital or no) driver EQ'.

Cheers!

RDavidson

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 2506
+1 ^^^

Thanks for this.

OzarkTom