Since long, speakers have existed, and back then, a sound system required a lot of equipment to set up. Now they have come a long way, becoming more compact in a way that you can now categorize them into two: Active and Passive speaker systems.
The difference between Active and Passive speakers is much like Analog and Digital; one represents the previous era while the other focuses on the current.
The simplest way to identify between the two is just by seeing the number of units the speakers require to function.
For active speakers, they are ready to plug and play straight out of the box. On the other hand, passive speakers need you to buy a device called the amplifier, which attaches directly between the speaker units and your audio device as a bridge.
Quick Overview of Active Speaker:
Points for Praise:
- No need for an external amplifier, comes built inside.
- Inexpensive, does not cost much to get a standard active speaker system.
- They can be wireless and can connect instantly to your device.
- Room for waterproofing and dust resistance.
- Clear audio quality.
- Speaker units become portable and compact, and do not take up space.
Points for Improvement:
- Audio tuning is not possible as it comes pre-tuned.
- If your speakers are not loud enough, you have to replace them entirely.
- Good quality active speakers cost a fortune.
- Budget active speakers may perform poorly and deliver distorted sounds.
Why get an active speaker:
Active speakers in all its glory are an easy out for most consumers. These speakers are for those who do not want to pay more and deal with cables. Audiophiles and audio engineers do not go for standard active speakers but rather for the expensive ones. If you’re going to get a speaker with many functionalities that do not break your bank and sounds decent, active budget audiophile speakers are your way to go.
Quick View on Passive Speakers:
Points for praise:
- Excellent, unwavering, and unmixed audio quality.
- Perfect for home theatre setups.
- Good performance for the price.
- Gives you more control over the audio quality.
- If a unit is damaged, you can just replace it individually instead of getting a new system.
Points for improvement:
- No wireless compatibility, however, many amplifiers nowadays have become wireless to control them from your phone.
- Expensive, may fall heavy on the wallet.
- Amplifiers must be compatible so as not to risk damaging the whole system.
- Does not come in a smaller, more compact size.
Why would you need a passive speaker:
Passive speakers are for those who seek a retro 90s vibe. Audiophiles and audio engineers alike would benefit from these speakers for their customizability in audio. These may be not for regular consumers who just want a box to transmit sound out of as using a passive speaker requires a bit of studying. However, if you wish real clarity and crisp quality with your own adjustments, investing in a passive unit is a good idea.
Understanding of Active speakers:
All the talk about amplifiers is useful but not essential when it comes to active speakers. As the name suggests, these speakers are active all the time, meaning they do not require an amplifier to power its sound. These speakers have a functioning amp built inside the speakers. Yes, it sounds like this is the best option for all, and it is, but there are always some setbacks.
Active speakers have paved their way into the future. Companies like Bose, JBL, Sony took up this route of simple, minimalistic speakers that do not require a hefty amplifier to carry around. Active speakers also call for a high price point on these speakers if you want to get the best experience out of it.
If you compare an expensive active speaker with a budget-friendly one, you may notice the audio quality difference without being an audiophile. The sound may be mushy or distorted or worse, not loud enough. These flaws certainly did not stop manufacturers from taking this route, JBL has opted for this method and produced good active speakers, keeping them cheap and dominating the market.
Active speakers also feature the option to integrate wireless connectivity like Bluetooth, NFC, or WiFi. Since the speakers do not need extra wiring for the amplifier, making them modular has become easy, and so portable speakers have taken up the craze. The introduction of active speaker systems has brought these devices to the consumer level, making them accessible to everyone.
Tips: Klipsch RP-280F or RP-8000F is best choice for music and mini homeTheater.
Understanding of Passive speakers
Passive speakers, as the title suggests, are retro. To simply put it into perspective, these speakers need an external amplifier to power the audio. You might recognize them from the input wires or ports behind the speaker unit. Without an amplifier, these speakers are just as useless as a piece of brick.
The addition of an amplifier may be hectic, but it also makes these speakers unique. Passive speakers deliver crisp, clear audio with no interruptions. These speakers are for the true audiophiles and music studios where raw audio is essential. Along with the retro vibe it gives off plus the astounding audio quality, these speakers seem to be the answer but not quite.
Getting a passive speaker means investing. They can be expensive and difficult to match. You have to get the right amplifier for your speakers; otherwise, you will risk damaging both the units. On the other hand, this investment also means you can easily replace a unit since all of the pieces are modular. These speakers are perfect for home theatre systems since you will barely have to move them and just control everything from the amplifiers.
What makes each of the speakers special:
By now, you might have already seen the difference between active and passive speakers. The main difference comes with performance and money. While passive speakers deliver excellent quality, they are expensive and require some knowledge to get the right one. On the other hand, active speakers are ready to play.
Additionally, active speakers are more towards the consumer-friendly line-up. Some of these also feature wireless connectivity, unlike passive speakers, which mostly come wired and need more wiring. Many speakers now have both units together, one active and another passive unit. This is done to reduce the cost of amplifiers and make them budget-friendly.
What You Should Know About Amplifiers:
Before you get into the types of speakers, you need to know about amplifiers and their significance. You might have probably heard the term amplifiers used when talking about speakers. These are required devices by most passive speakers; you need to buy them separately, while many modern speakers come built-in.
What amplifiers or amps for short do is, they amplify the audio signal from the input device. It transmits the audio to the speakers along with the power to run it. Most speakers nowadays come built with the unit inside, so you do not have to go through the hassle of buying one. But true audiophiles prefer using an amp or a universal audio controller to get more control over their sound.
The main issue with using amplifiers is that it is difficult to find the right one. You need to take into account several factors when buying the amp compatible with your speakers. To keep things simple, you can just match the power rating of your speakers with the amp.
Suppose a passive speaker like the Edifier P12 has a power rating of 20W-100W, so the perfect amplifier for that would be one that works within that working power ranger like the Rockville BluTube, which operates at 70W. Of course, you can get a high powered unit, but you will have to lower the wattage to avoid damaging the speakers.
Other factors, such as impedance(measured in ohms ?) and sensitivity(measured in decibels dB), also matter when it comes to the amplifiers’ compatibility. Generally, most amplifiers work between 4-16 ohms, and a higher impedance speaker is the best fit for it. Moreover, loudness is equally essential; you don’t want to have your volume rocker cranked all the way to hear clearly. Ergo, pair a high sensitivity (high dB) speaker with a less sensitive amplifier. You will have increased volume and also save some money on the amp.
When making a final decision on speakers, to know what’s best for you, test them with your favorite music. If it tingles your senses, go for it. Make a list of your preferences with your budget, speakers come expensive, but there are various options to choose from, so feel the music around you and select the ones that make you woo and Soundbox Lab always here to help you.