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Active speakers - why not?

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Speakers' started by bbanduser, Jan 29, 2004.

  1. bbanduser

    bbanduser
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    I had this question in my mind for a while,but I haven't got an answer for it yet. Most subs are active,so why aren't there more active speakers ? Surely that is a good idea as it takes away some of the load off amps..
     
  2. Phil Hinton

    Phil Hinton
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    I don't know why more people don't use active speakers in their set ups. There are many manufactuers in the field who amongst them produce some stunning speakers.
    Genelec, M&K Pro, Mackies and Blue sky to name just a few are the main players in this field. I myself own Mackie actives which at the price are stunning speakers and a huge step up from my previous M&K's. Detail is crystal and depth of soundfiled is hugely impressive, the ease of which it is possible to achieve high spl levels with no strain is awesome.
    What sold me on trying actives is the fact that the amplification is built in and tailored to suit the design of the drivers. This results in very low distortion and colouration to the sound and impressive spl. Remember Actives are designed for studio play back at ref volume for long periods of time, they are designed to be used hard, yet offer first class playback.
    I guess the only drawback with using active studio speakers is the fact that you soon realise just how bad some music and movies are mixed, which is ideal for someone who reviews a large amount of DVD's.
    Genelec even make their range for Home Theatre and are available in different finishes.
     
  3. GrahamC

    GrahamC
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    I think accessibility is the main reason that active speakers are not use to the degree that normal passive speakers are. Walk into any high street audio dealer and see how many active speakers the have on show, not many and mostly none at all.
     
  4. Dazed

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    Lack of power sockets?
     
  5. hornydragon

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    Actives come in 2 forms cheap and nasty and good, Passives come in those and many more. Why there are fewer actives i have no idea.
     
  6. Ian J

    Ian J
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    The two arguments normally put forward are that the speaker and amplifier can be designed together and thus optimized and that studios use active speakers for monitoring therefore they must be good.

    I imagine that little has changed and although the extremely awful Yamaha NS10M is no longer the automatic studio choice, the principle remains that the many manufacturers of active speakers will still fall over each other in a bid to give as many of their speakers away to studios in order to build up a celebrity user list.
     
  7. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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  8. Ian J

    Ian J
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    There is an article on the Secrets of Home Theater website here which covers the subject in great depth.
     
  9. lowrider

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    I find active speakers more convenient, but still prefer the versatility of passive monitors + active subwoofers... :smoke:
     
  10. parky43007

    parky43007
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    I have a Linn AV set up (amps & speakers).
    Initially I ran the speakers passive (Espeks). As most people know, Linn provides a relatively easy upgrade path for most of it's speakers with respect to "going active".
    So, after catching upgradeitis, I invested in more amps and active crossovers.
    What a huge improvement in absolutely every sense!:)

    However, this could also mean that the Linns are not that good passive!:(
     
  11. tk2001

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    I have been using THX-PM3 Mackie HR624's for awhile now and they are superb with both movies and music.

    Having owned mostly passive speakers and now moving on to active speakers, I don't think I will ever go back to passives.
     
  12. bbanduser

    bbanduser
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    If the general consensus is that active speakers are preferable,why are they outnumbered by passive ones? I know more manufacturers make passive ones,but why? Surely if they sell it,they will make them, and we seem to agree it is a good idea.

    :confused:
     
  13. Ian J

    Ian J
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    Three "active" users on this thread is hardly a general consensus
     
  14. Ed Selley

    Ed Selley
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    Our active users are also at the higher end of the price spectrum. I think it is fair to say that making excellent active speakers is harder and more expensive than making excellent passives. Also to give an example, here at MS we don't have much real experience of amps (we only have the ones we use in subs). To develop an active speaker, we would need to develop all our amplification from scratch with the cost/time implications that that entails.
     
  15. alexs2

    alexs2
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    I've had experience of Linn passive and active speakers,as well as (older) Meridian actives,and some of the ATC actives,and now run a passive B&W system.....there are pros and cons to each obviously...with actives,unless the amps are integrated into the speaker system,you have the inconvenience and costs of associated amps and cabling,but you can make gains in terms of size,ability to equalise response easier,and also speed and attack.
    With passives,the costs can be lower,as the need for amps and good electronic crossovers are eliminated amongst other things.

    I certainly enjoyed the speed and delivery of active systems,but the best speaker systems I've yet heard have been passives,admittedly extremely expensive and more so when the amps were taken into account....Wilson System 5s and the X-1....stunning in every sense...cost included.
     
  16. lowrider

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    There are as many issues with active as with passive speakers, particularlly upgrading, you may not have the cash to start with actives, you may already have an amplifier and want to upgrade the speakers, or vice-versa, plus you are kind of stuck with what you have with actives, you cannot upgrade one thing at a time... :rolleyes:

    Also, they say passive xover is better for frequencies in mid or high frequencies, active better for low, thats why subwoofers are active always... :confused:
     
  17. Phil Hinton

    Phil Hinton
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    Have to disagree with the above, the mid band performance on my THX PM3 Mackie's are far superior to that of the M&K passives I replaced.
    Actives wont be for everyone however, the wiring of my room was redone to accomadate the extra power loading for the mains, however if you are using a high end processor like I am the added benefit of custom designed amplification pays off in spades in my opinion. Everyone who has heard the Mackie's in my room always mention how much better the system sounds now. The cabling and power leads plus main conditioning will cost you however.
     
  18. lowrider

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    You are comparing two speakers + different powers + cables, not the concept... :nono:

    Extra power loading... :eek: I am sure Beekeper´s passive system uses a lot more power than your active... :hiya:

    Have you seen the price of good speaker leads... :rolleyes:
     
  19. alexs2

    alexs2
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    I'd have to agree with you....and also in terms of power loading,although the requirements of my power amps used in both passive and active systems have been somewhat unusual in terms of Krell KMAs and KSAs burning a couple of kW constantly.

    The individual responses of different speakers vary enormously when compared to other brands,and whilst not commenting on THX 1138's Mackies,I can only repeat what I said before in that the delivery across the full range from a set of Wilson 5.2 speakers(or above that model)will give any active,including the Linn Komri,quite a mark to attain.
    The Alexandra(which I havent heard)is supposed to be way better.
     
  20. lowrider

    lowrider
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    Of course I am not commenting on his Mackies either, never heard any... :rolleyes:

    My speakers + powers + cables cost about the same as an equivalent active ATC 20s system, is it better, worst... :confused: never compared... :blush:

    I am sure it is different, it gave me a lot of trouble, pleasure, tweaking, it sounds great, and it looks much nicer... :cool:
     
  21. Spligsey

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    Best advice is just go and listen to an active system.

    It seems that certain people are only to willing to pour hot water on the 'lesser' quality active ranges, which most of us mere mortals can just about afford :rolleyes:

    A 5/6/7 speaker setup consisting of Genelec/Mackie/Blue Sky/Quested will be one formidable soundfield.

    Phil is bang on. These speakers are designed to play high SPL's for extended periods.

    Domestic speakers have to 'include' the many different finishes that the home buyer demands.

    Look at pro actives....they sort of sidestep that bit.

    I've no doubt that actives are not for all, but i think people would be surprised at just how much you can get out of a good setup.

    EDIT

    I'd wager that many 'domestic' users would be a little red faced

    Adz:)
     
  22. Steve.EX

    Steve.EX
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    I agree with Alexs2 here, there are very good and lesser Actives (the Meridian DSP's for example seem to me crushingly average for the price).
    Similarly the best i have heard remains the passve alternative.

    Steven
     
  23. Spligsey

    Spligsey
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    :D

    Dont tempt me Mr Ex.

    Adz
     
  24. Steve.EX

    Steve.EX
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    As something of a "digital" fan i have all the time in the world for Meridian and appreciate much of what they do. I feel they they (and Tag) are dedicated to the digital cause.
    The DSP's just don't do it for me that's all.

    Steven
     
  25. Spligsey

    Spligsey
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    Steve, it was a bit of a multi-layered nudge :D

    I'm not a fan of Meridian speakers either
    :lesson:

    (DSP8000's excused via 800/861 combo)


    Adz
     

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