Jump to content
erasergate

Why do most audiophile prefer passive speakers?

Rate this topic

Recommended Posts

May I know why ? 

 

In relation to this, I have more questions.

 

- It seem to me that an active speakers is more convenient ?

- Can i still put powered speakers on AMP/DAC ?

- there are speakers with built in amp/dac , will the external amp/dac override it ? add? or vice versa?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's an audiophile tradition to switch and swap things. So with active speakers, they get locked out of this old practice. Plus they already have amplifiers (maybe several amplifiers).

But now with DSP crossovers better active speakers can be made at any price point than speaker & amplifier combinations.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

- depending on your personal situation - YES, MAYBE
- Powered speaker without DSP (digital sound processing) in the digital domain may allow the use of analogue input without altering the signal
- no, but you may experience differences in sq due to better digital-analogue conversion, better filters, and  some ADC in the active speakers. You may have to deal then with more than one conversion of the signal. Using speakers without DSP may solve that problem, but can inherit others.

As in all hobbies, there is no unique way to to things ... and you may always face trade offs ...
In general, you trade the advantage of haveing a choice for amplification against an eventually more favorable design concept when going active. But .. it depends, i.e.  many people like the Kiii actives, while other prefer the Dutch & Dutch to them. The amplification of the D&D appears to be lesser (afaik) but ....

When you have a bigger budget to spend and no limitation in acoustic space, you may want to have separate units doing different tasks, as you can mod your system more comfortably by exchanging one unit at a time. Hence then you may have other factors added to the system, like cables and re-clockers or fibre-optics modules. That might work very well for you until you arrive being tired about box swapping  A good reason to separate amplifier from speakers could be for example the need for some advanced ROOM eq, which is usually applied before the signal leaves the amplification.

For enjoying some "good" audio reproduction , you need to consider the follwing factors: BUDGET, source/signal, signal path, transducers, ROOM.
At a certain level, you begin to have diminishing returns on your hobby investments. Depends on yourself to find out, when that starts.
One rule of thumb for some is: "Everything counts". Others could be: "Shortest path wins" or "straight wire with gain" " Blue lights are imperative"
Have fun!
 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, erasergate said:

May I know why ? 

 

In relation to this, I have more questions.

 

- It seem to me that an active speakers is more convenient ?

- Can i still put powered speakers on AMP/DAC ?

- there are speakers with built in amp/dac , will the external amp/dac override it ? add? or vice versa?

Active speakers have built in amplifiers and so there is no reason to have another one.
 

Audiophiles don’t use active speakers for mainly historical reasons. They are more attractive now we have class D amplifiers, and they can be all digital - that is what has changed in the last ten years.

 

These are the rules and reasons I followed when creating my KEF LS50 wireless based active system. You want active speakers with built in DACs and DSP as well as amplifiers, and ideally a streamer too. Then a pair of active subwoofers are a more cost effective way to get high quality bass than large floor standing speakers. You should spend up to about the same amount of money on acoustic treatment for the room as you spend on the speakers, unless the speakers are really expensive.


System (i): (Stack Audio Link/MoOde > 2Qute+MCRU psu; Gyrodec/SME V/Ortofon 2M Black/EAT E-Glo Petit/Magnum Dynalab FT101A) > Glow Amp One > Klipsch RP-600M

System (ii): iUSB3.0 Nano/Allo USB Signature/MoOde > Bel Canto uLink+AQVOX psu > Chord Hugo > (Tandy LX5; JBL LSR305 ; Audeze LCD-3)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Why do most audiophile prefer passive speakers?

Hoping to offend as few as possible, I think it’s because they don’t know any better.  As long as they don’t require more from you than you’re willing to devote to them and they deliver what you need, the only thing that matters is how they sound.  
 

Having said that, many actives that can sound great on their own terms impose unacceptable restrictions like limited input options or restricted playback formats.  If you love your USB DAC, you don’t want active speakers whose only digital inputs are optical.  Many decent powered speakers have digital inputs, but their onboard electronics will only play at or below Redbook.  Powered speakers need power - so there are two more relatively thick cables to route and hide.  A fair number of actives have no grilles, which made me hesitate to put any where they’re at all likely to get whacked or even just sprayed with Pledge.


And many are best described as unattractive in appearance.  I tried a pair of small black powered monitors on the back wall of our living room, and they looked so bad I didn’t even wait for my wife to see them - they looked terrible there.  I’ll buy a pair of white A2s if I ever find a decent sale on them (no, I don’t really need another pair of speakers - I only have half of what I have to test, review, and report on new ideas and experiences).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As has been pointed out above, there is quite a good choice in actives available nowadays. I hope to go for actives in the future. I need to find an aesthetically acceptable set of floorstanders in order to comply with the ‘wife acceptance factor’ rules in our house (as our lounge doubles as my listening room, unfortunately).
I am eyeing up some ex-demo ATC SCM40A, but they may be too bassy for my room size. A home demo would be a must before parting with that kind of cash.

I think keeping the DAC outside of the speakers does at least allow a greater degree of future-proofing to feed any urge for upgrades or tinkering.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, bluesman said:

Hoping to offend as few as possible, I think it’s because they don’t know any better.  

And they don't understand the advantages or the implementations.


Kal Rubinson

Music in the Round

Senior Contributing Editor, Stereophile

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with Kal.

 

BTW I use the following definitions:

Passive speaker=no built-in/standard power. If there is a crossover it is also passive.

Active speaker=built-in/standard power. If there is a crossover it is also active i.e. each driver is individually driven with its specific required signal, which is produced in an individual amplifier; or occasionally in a separate pre-amplifier stage which feeds the individual amplifier.

Powered speaker=built-in/standard power. If there is a crossover it is passive.

 

I've been a hi-fi aficionado for more than 60 years and have been tempted by actives a couple of times but was never able to have an extensive preview and the costs ($$$$$) were beyond my means. A few years ago I was able to have a long audition of a set that were in my price range, and they were better than any other speaker I listened to at that time. So I bought them.

 

4 way speakers (drivers=hi, mid, mid-bass, 4 bass), 4 active crossovers in each box with multiple room/preference adjustments, all analog implementation, 650 watts/channel, separate power supply box, current drive.

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm learning a lot from you guys.

 

For some reason, i still prefer forums over youtube. Coz here, you can ask questions with very good answer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't have anything against powered speakers, I just really like the sound of my SET tube amp...


No electron left behind...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, AudioDoctor said:

I don't have anything against powered speakers, I just really like the sound of my SET tube amp...

 

Agree... hope I can have a setup like yours in the future.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think Audio Doctor pretty much nailed it. I have components that I already like, and speakers that I love that just aren't made with built in amps. If I were looking for a set it up and forget it system, I might consider active speakers.


Forrest:

Win10 i9 9900KS/GTX1060 HQPlayer4>Win10 NAA

DSD>Pavel's DSC2.6>Bent Audio TAP>

Parasound JC1>"Naked" Quad ESL63/Tannoy PS350B subs<100Hz

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, AudioDoctor said:

I don't have anything against powered speakers, I just really like the sound of my SET tube amp...

Well SET tube amplifiers and their speakers are a separate bread of animal. While audiophiles enjoy their special sound, they don't meet the definition of accurate hi-fi audio.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 minutes ago, Speedskater said:

Well SET tube amplifiers and their speakers are a separate bread of animal. While audiophiles enjoy their special sound, they don't meet the definition of accurate hi-fi audio.

Uh-oh.  Tread carefully.  Most of audiophilia is about preference (which is indisputable) and not about accuracy. 🙃


Kal Rubinson

Music in the Round

Senior Contributing Editor, Stereophile

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/13/2020 at 6:25 PM, Kal Rubinson said:

And they don't understand the advantages or the implementations.

Kai,

Very true.

 

As an old audiophile I am that person that you and others describe and I don't understand because in my situation and in the case of many, it's just too much of a pain in the rear end to compare, especially on some of the selected equipment we choose to own. Tough to teach old dogs new tricks.

 

My dad may he RIP would always buy a Buick. I would ask why don't you look an Oldsmobile, etc. "Because I like Buick". 

 

Many of us older "audiophiles" just go with the flow of "components" as we are most comfortable with that. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
45 minutes ago, Speedskater said:

Well SET tube amplifiers and their speakers are a separate bread of animal. While audiophiles enjoy their special sound, they don't meet the definition of accurate hi-fi audio.

 

How dare I enjoy something eh?


No electron left behind...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 5/13/2020 at 5:18 PM, GregWormald said:

 

I've been a hi-fi aficionado for more than 60 years and have been tempted by actives a couple of times but was never able to have an extensive preview and the costs ($$$$$) were beyond my means. A few years ago I was able to have a long audition of a set that were in my price range, and they were better than any other speaker I listened to at that time. So I bought them.

 

4 way speakers (drivers=hi, mid, mid-bass, 4 bass), 4 active crossovers in each box with multiple room/preference adjustments, all analog implementation, 650 watts/channel, separate power supply box, current drive.

 

 

What did you buy?


Everything matters... when brewing coffee.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don’t think it’s got anything to do with audiophiles making uninformed choices or just enjoying box swapping etc etc, but rather that active speakers simply haven’t been that that common in  bricks and mortar HiFI stores apart from offerings from Linn or ATC that will be out of many’s price range.  Thus if you’ve already got a legacy passive system, it’s a big step to ditch both amps and speakers just because active alternatives  are available.
 

While they might be convenient in the studio, I’m also far from convinced that active speakers are some kind of categorical magic bullet.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
51 minutes ago, Norton said:

active speakers simply haven’t been that that common in  bricks and mortar HiFI stores apart

 

Also a system made of separate components is easier and cheaper to upgrade.

 

Good actives are expensive.

 

Most actives are professional tools.

 

Smaller pro-actives have limited low-frequency extension, must be used with subs and they're designed for nearfield listening (but so are mini-standmounts).

 

Pro actives are pedestrian-looking rugged-black things. Ugly.


Most pro actives will not flatter bad recordings, cheaper ones are downright harsh-sounding.

 

Most pro actives don't have grills nor dedicated stands.

 

Actives require a preamplifier.

 

Pro actives use connections that are less common in domestic equipment.


"Science draws the wave, poetry fills it with water" Teixeira de Pascoaes

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When I bought my Linn system, oh so many years ago, I wanted an active system.  ATC was too expensive (for me), PMC unobtainable, and the Paradigm Active40 seemed to be discontinued as soon as it was released.  I was really interested in the Active 40s but not obtainable.  The Linn and Naim active systems are a bit different where they mount the crossovers in another box or in the amps so not really reducing system size.  I have read where this xover mounting in external boxes can be done with numerous speakers.  I went with Linn as I liked the sound and I could go Aktiv if I desired.  I should have when upgraded with the 2250 amp a few years later.  Now I am not sure I want to sink money into a 20+ year old system.

 

Nowadays the active systems are obtainable.  While the Kiis and D&Ds are a bit rich for me, but if my system crashed tomorrow, I would look at the Dynaudio Xeo line.  May not have all the DSP the higher cost alternatives but I think I would be just fine.


QNAP TS453Pro w/QLMS->Netgear Switch->Netgear R7800 Router->Ethernet (50 ft)->Netgear switch->SBT->iFi xDSD->Linn Majik-IL (preamp)->Linn 2250->Linn Keilidh; Control Points: Squeeze Commander (DroidX) & iPeng (iPad Air); Also: Rega P3-24 w/ DV 10x5; OPPO 103; PC Playback: Foobar2000 & JRiver; Portable: Sony NWZ_ZX1 & ZX2 w/ PHA-3; SMSL IQ, Fiio Q5, iFi Nano iDSD BL; Garage: Edifier S1000DB Active Speakers  Wish List: New DAC,  SBT replacement; Dream system: Linn EXACT or ATC Active or Big Tubes (KR or Nagra or Shindo or ...)

 

My goal is to use appliances and take home PC out of the chain...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...