I'm with you Kevin and Ethan, very well presented. I’ll ignore the feedback debate, but it’s all spot on with me.
What makes a particular speaker design active is having one power amp channel connected directly to each driver, period. Forget about where the amp located and instead make sure the crossover is wired between the preamp/source and the amps.
The primary advantage of active design is that without a crossover "blocking the view" of the driver, the amp can not only more easily respond to the reactive load, but with only one driver in play the load is inherently less complex and again easier to respond to.
For me... I'm not all that opposed to passive networks. They have their place and I'm not opposed to using them when they make sense. If I were designing a complex multi-way loudspeaker I may choose to use a passive network tweeter-midrange and active line level for other crossovers or response shaping. It is just another tool as far as I'm concerned and in many situations it is a better tool than a passive network.
Many of the advantages are theoretical. It is great for building marketing literature but some of the benefits are exaggerated.... just like any marketing buzz in audio. But at the end of the day if I'm designing something for myself..... I'd design it active. The only downside is cost.
That being said, Paradigm gave up trying to sell the Actives due to consumer perceptions against active design and not being able to load up their equipment rack with trophies they had "hunted". And rumor has it that these suffered from some of the same reliability issues mentioned above for the cheaper designs.
Hey... you can have your trophy too!
There is nothing wrong with the Paradigm approach but I think most people in high-end audio myself included enjoy our racks (equipment racks that is).
Another reason against the use of active monitors in the consumer world, is just the logistics of running power to each speaker. Can lead to very bad WAF. They tend to work much better in a custom install, where you can plan for such things - which is a small share of the market.
In terms of power cables and non-traditional layouts.... that is why I design them as monoblocks. It really looks no different or operates any different than any other loudspeaker with monoblocks. The only additional cable requirement is that you use 4-wire speaker cable with 4-pole Neutrik Speakons. Cardas makes many cables that are suitable and most high-end cable companies have compatible cables. Or.... you can cheap out and use Canare or many of the other pro-audio solutions.