Active Speakers Don't Sound Better

I just wanted to settle a debate that has often raged in A’gon about active vs. passive speakers with my own first hand experience. I’ve recently had the chance to complete a 3-way active center channel to match my 2-way passive speakers.

I can absolutely say that the active nature of the speaker did not make it sound better. Or worse. It has merged perfectly with my side speakers.

What I can say is that it was much easier to achieve all of the technical design parameters I had in mind and that the speakers have better off-axis dispersion as a result, so it is measurably slightly better than if I had done this as a passive center. Can I hear it? I don’t think so. I think it sounds the same.

From an absolute point of view, I could have probably achieved similar results with a passive speaker, but at the cost of many more crossover stages and components.  It was super easy to implement LR4 filters with the appropriate time delays, while if I had done this passively it would require not just the extra filter parts but all pass filters as well.  A major growth in part counts and crossover complexity I would never have attempted.  So it's not like the active crossover did any single thing I couldn't do passively, but putting it all together was so much easier using DSP that it made it worthwhile.

I can also state that as a builder it was such a positive experience that I may very well be done with making passive speakers from now on.


All the best,





That's very interesting! Are you talking about equivalent models? Which ones? What preamplifier and amplifier, respectively, did you use? one who’s applied DSP since the ’80’s and quasi-active monoblocks (L-07 mono-blocks with 1 m. supplied cables...will that ’stand-in’ for active speakers? Getting ’close to concept’ in practice if not ’inboard’ within the cabinet....), I’d be onboard with ’active v. passive’ approach....

...given a more than average amount of ac plugs about your listening space...|
...a uptick in the count of ’improved’ ac cables And IC cables ’twixt pre- and active drivers...which begins to look like ’shaving peaches’ imho.... is relying on the ’amp in the box’, which may/may not to be your tastes....

Even dialing in a self-powered sub can be a bitch....and varies from source to source.....
Micro-management to the point of excess? Perhaps....

...why would I lie?

Ultimately....what we’re searching for is making the means.... do This.

...why should I lie? ;)

Any and all options are open to be applied, per your mind, ears, space, budget, and Intent, me. *S*

Try this......the backing is nice...varied....

My hill to climb is vibrations. Just on the most simplistic of evaluations placing an amp inside a speaker seems problematic. But seems more and more popular. 

I understand the simplicity, and especially time savings. Passive crossovers can take a long time to evaluate, change, burn in, re-evaluate, etc. ...But...there are pro and cons with every option, and like most things, execution of a given principle is a key factor, as is the objective.