Sound Advice – Active and Powered speakers & Comments

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Speakers' started by Ed Selley, Aug 10, 2017.


    1. Ed Selley

      Ed Selley
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    2. Deleted member 598831

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      That was an interesting read, thanks :)
       
    3. Paul7777x

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      ???
       
    4. Deleted member 781788

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      A good basic read.
      Specially for those who mistake powered with active speakers.
      In short the word "active" is a reference to the "active crossover" as opposed to the "passive crossover".
      Otherwise active speakers are self powered too, while standard passive speakers require an amplifier.
      As is everything in life, all methods are a compromise, there is no absolute system.
      It is the results that define the success or failure of a certain approach.
      And the above must be viewed in the light of "value for money"!
      a passive system has the advantage of least amount of signal processing, or some call it purer signal path (not necessarily so).
      More of the budget can be spent on the one amplifier, therefore a decent sounding system can be achieved with less money.
      If you have a bigger budget (much bigger) then a dedicated active system such as Meridian or ATC would produce highend sound.
      But then again so could one highend amp, and a pair passive Magico's (just one example).
      If room correction is a requirement, then Active is your girl.
       
    5. Chester

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      Thanks for this Ed. I think I'm in the vast majority camp of having owned plenty of passive amp+speakers systems over the years but never an active one. I wouldn't know what to expect in a step up to active in terms of in-room performance or character. This article is probably the catalyst for many more questions, especially for multi-channel configurations. So on that basis, if there's any further essential reading on this subject, please bring it on!
       
    6. kc5819w

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      The terms powered and active are often used interchangeably with plenty of bi amplified designs with electronic crossovers referred to as powered even by their manufacturers, although wrongly.

      Powered with no bi amplification speakers are often sold as pairs with an amp in just one speaker and a speaker cable going to the other one.
       
      Last edited: Aug 12, 2017
    7. Deleted member 781788

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      There is a saying in my country that says: A walnut is round, but anything round is not a walnut!
      Meaning, active speakers are powered too, but not anything powered is active!
      The terms maybe used interchangeably by some, but you never see top active system manufacturers make that mistake.
      And yes it is a mistake.
       
    8. Craig uk

      Craig uk
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      I went to listen to the Meridian DSP5200SE today, to get an idea of what a decent pair of Actives could offer over my passive system. Have to say I was very impressed, in fact I couldn't really fault them. I was lucky enough to have a good couple of hours listening to music of my choice and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. They somehow manage to deliver all the detail of the piece whilst remaining smooth and effortless. Not once did I find the sound to be digital or harsh like I was expecting. As a result I won't be investing any more money on my passive setup, the next move for me will be over to the Meridian.

      IMG_0489.JPG IMG_0487.JPG IMG_0488.JPG
       
    9. Deleted member 781788

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      Meridian is one of the pioneering companies that started the Active craze!
      Bear in mind that the Meridians you listened to, are one step ahead of other Active systems.
      You see we have "digital Active systems" and "Analogue active systems".
      In digital active systems, all processing is done in digital domain, the results are passed into separate DACs, then into separate amplifiers. Meridian carries on a lot of DSP beforehand.
      In analogue active systems (I believe in case of ATCs) the signal is fed into analogue filters and then into amplifiers.
      In this manner, ATC can offer active and passive versions of the same speaker, while Meridian could not.
      I fell in love with early versions of Meridian Actives back in 80's - which prompted me to make my own (with some success).
      If you can, listen to a pair of Magico speakers powered by some high end amps - just to see what passive can do!
       
    10. southleft

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      Yup, Meridian M2s were pretty darn good. Mine were coupled to the matching 101 pre-amp, tuner, and a Linn LP12 with Alphason HR100S titanium one-piece arm and ADC MC1.5 cartridge. There was also a Technics RS1500 reel-to-reel for parties and a Nakamichi cassette deck for making tapes for the car. The system was fast with great rhythm and timing. It really "sang" with good recordings, not to mention BBC Radio 3 on FM. Alan Boothroyd and Bob Stuart were both nice people and sincere in their efforts to produce great sounding equipment with modern designs.
       
    11. Craig uk

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      For 10k I don't believe I've heard anything better than the DSP5200se, though I have on many occasions heard systems costing far more. Deminishing returns apply greatly once you pass the 10k mark IMO. Today I also had a quick listen to some gryphon pantheon speakers on the end of Meridians reference amps and processor. The speakers were £37k alone, It was quite an experience!
       
    12. Deleted member 781788

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      what are your speakers?
       
    13. TMFan

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      I was drawn to this discussion because I have known about powered (or active?) speakers for a good number of years. Many moons ago (I think I was still at school!) I was lucky enough to pick up a Philips MFB (Motional Feedback) speaker in a junk shop for a fiver. Yes, it was only one, but I couldn't believe the sound this little RH541 could produce from such a small cabinet. I eventually sold it to a friend who ran a small recording studio in Edinburgh (Barclay Towers, long gone now) as he too loved the sound from this little thing.
      Many years later I managed to pick up a pair from the 'well-known auction site' and they sounded every bit as good as I remembered them back in the 70s. So much so that I bought another larger 3-way pair (complete with matching pre-amp) and they are still in regular use today, albeit with a Quad 33 preamp rather that the Philips offering.
      I assume Meridian have taken a 21st century approach to Philips' original MFB idea, and good on them! It's a super idea and takes a lot of the guesswork out of matching speaker to amplifier.
       
      Last edited: Aug 13, 2017
    14. dossoar

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      Have to say,since moving to ATC actives I don't think I will ever go back to a passive setup.
       
    15. High Fidelity

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      IMO Merdian Actives are over priced & overated. For me passive speakers with good Class AB amplfication are easily best ,as Quad said 'closest approach to original sound'.
       
    16. TMFan

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      Well I couldn't possibly comment either way on Meridian speakers as I have never had the opportunity to hear them in action, but having had one of their over-engineered pre-amps to bits I wouldn't argue about them being over-priced.
      As for what is 'best', there really is no such thing. I think loudspeakers, more that any other part of the system, are down to the listener's own personal taste.
      Talking of Quad- do their electrostatic speakers count as 'powered'? I did hear an early pair a number of years ago and cannot say I was particularly impressed.
       
    17. High Fidelity

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    18. High Fidelity

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      Quad ELS have to be powered ,however they are not active, I used them for quite a few years but also became unimpressed, I find transmission line speakers are best for me. now use the latest revised Acoustic Insight Phantom Source Floorstanders that incorporate Jordan Eikona 2 full range drivers with a separate adjustable tweeter.
       
    19. Craig uk

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      Couldn't agree more!
       
    20. Deleted member 781788

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      Quad ESL's are not powered or active, they are passive!
      The electricity that goes in only creates the electrical field necessary for their operation, otherwise does nothing else.
      It is only the power of the external amp that creates the sound.
       
    21. TMFan

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      Makes perfect sense, thank you!
       
    22. Chester

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      I'm definitely keeping an eye out for more information about this. I have a plan for the future to massively overhaul the audio in our open space to treat some huge acoustic issues that I didn't really forecast when planning the space. Active speakers could give me an added level of control when doing this in a few years time. But I feel I need to start the research soon in order to be ready.

      Thanks to the contributors, I feel a rekindling for my love of audio again. :)
       
    23. cosmicma

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      your the only other person i have come across with the same TT and arm combo as i had back in the mid 80's
      i sold this on in the early 90's and since then i know it ended up down south somewhere who then sold it to a retailer within the last couple or so years

      i wonder if it is the same one ?

      the first few of those HR100S arms were made in the creators shed up here in Atherton
       
    24. linnasak

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      Define overpriced? Made in the uk with quality components and long useful lives. I have some meridian dsp5000s ( 15years old) driven by a meridian 565 processor (20years old DTS, DD) that still sound pretty musical and dynamic, have resale values of circa £1000 and £200. Cost new c. £3000 each.

      My marantz 6011 cost £1100 when released a year ago, I got it for £550 new 3 months ago. What will it be worth in 5 years?

      Kevin
       
    25. Wilseus

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      I have an active setup which cost me very little as it was second hand. The active upgrade was without a doubt the best value for money upgrade I have ever made. I can't see myself ever going back to passive.
       
    26. dossoar

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      I’ve been using an active ATC/JL Audio setup for sometime now and loving it.Cannot see myself returning to a passive system.My urge for the next upgrade has finally stopped.
       

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