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Actives.

greybeard

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One of my reasons for starting this thread was to see what people actually know about how actives are configured.. it’s interesting to see the responses.
I made some speakers, and designed them to be active, outside the box. One of the things I have seen repeated here, is the amount of extra boxes for amplification, you are going to need, a minimum of 3, and possibly 6 for a 3 way speaker. That does not have to be the case, I have a high quality, and high power 6 channel power amp, all in one enclosure. It uses the well respected Hypex modules, and gives a healthy 875wpc into 4 ohms, split 500 bass 250 mids and 125 highs. There is of course one more box for the active crossover.
As others have said, to me the biggest advantage, is having the power amps after the crossover, and driving each speaker individually. I also use some DSP (parametric filters), and time alignment, which I find beneficial, but of course that is down to the individual.
For those who may be interested, the amp I have, is made by one of our own, Stefan of KJF Audio,
 

Blzebub

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Personally I hate the concept of having speakers with built in plate amps, I mean seriously, how good are they...!?

Far better to buy speakers with external crossovers so you can still achieve all the benefits without the need to use the manufacturer's cramp amps.
The amps in ATC actives are specifically-designed in-house to drive whichever particular driver they are partnered to. I don't think it would be easy to find anything better-suited to the task among boutique hi-fi power amps.

They are not especially sophisticated, AFAICT, but they don't need to be because there's no passive crossover in the way.
 

Blzebub

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I was referring to these for example. Horrible looking things. And the price 😂

I'm sure their cheap actives make some people very happy.

Oi! Those are my speakers, and you will have to prise them from my cold hands.

 
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TheFlash

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I made some speakers, and designed them to be active, outside the box. One of the things I have seen repeated here, is the amount of extra boxes for amplification, you are going to need, a minimum of 3, and possibly 6 for a 3 way speaker. That does not have to be the case, I have a high quality, and high power 6 channel power amp, all in one enclosure. It uses the well respected Hypex modules, and gives a healthy 875wpc into 4 ohms, split 500 bass 250 mids and 125 highs. There is of course one more box for the active crossover.
As others have said, to me the biggest advantage, is having the power amps after the crossover, and driving each speaker individually. I also use some DSP (parametric filters), and time alignment, which I find beneficial, but of course that is down to the individual.
For those who may be interested, the amp I have, is made by one of our own, Stefan of KJF Audio,
That’s a pretty special amp you have there, Colin, with the ability to tune pairs of channels to provide different outputs. Nice one.
 
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MVJ

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Another option worthy of mention is the Kudos Super and Titan speaker ranges, which gives the option of going active using at least four different amplifier set-ups as they've partnered-up with Naim, Linn, Devialet and Exposure (there may be more).

Not cheap by any stretch due to the number of amps needed, but my experience of Kudos is that they make mighty fine speakers (notwithstanding I've only heard them as passives) and I suppose gives you at least some degree of box swapping capability. But you'll need some extra rack space for the 6 amps plus power supplies, depending on who you go with.

Having heard their range-topping Titan 808’s a good few times in a passive set-up, I'd love to hear what they sound like in active mode. They are pretty incredible speakers already as passives.
I have been down the active route with Linn gear many years ago and in all honesty it became a complete mess in the end.

Started passive with Keildh speakers & moved up to active eventually with 3 LK100 amps & stereo active cards fitted They were good. I then moved up to Accurate 242 Passive then slowly built up to to active with 5 linn 2250 amps with stereo active cards fitted. With no room to put 5 amps they went under the floor with access via a trapdoor in the hall and every time I wanted to adjust the settings thats where I had to go which was'nt ideal to say the least.

I spent more time under the floor than listening and my music listening had no joy in it at all as I could get it sounding good with a particular type of music but then played other stuff & it just sounded wrong. I stuggled to get it right for a couple of years & found a compromise eventually which just about worked as long as I didn't get to adventurous with my music choices.

My personal opinion is multiple off board amps and crossovers to achieve an active set up has to many weak links to get the best out of it.

My Event Opals just worked perfectly straight out of the box + they have manual adjustments to set them up in different locations and bass treble which I just have'nt needed to use very much at all. I guess my experiences have coloured my opinion of on board amps for active speakers & I'd love to be proved wrong but it's on board amp active speakers for me.

MVJ.
 
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hearhere

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Oi! Those are my speakers, and you will have to prise them from my cold hands.

Cerainly ATCs will never win any beauty content, specially their large stand-mount versions and worse still with the covers off. They sound good in the right place but that's about it.
 

Blzebub

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Cerainly ATCs will never win any beauty content, specially their large stand-mount versions and worse still with the covers off. They sound good in the right place but that's about it.
They look like what they are - fairly large rectangular loudspeakers. What matters more is the sound - utterly sublime, they never fail to impress me. By far the best speakers I've heard.
 

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StingRay

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Cerainly ATCs will never win any beauty content, specially their large stand-mount versions and worse still with the covers off. They sound good in the right place but that's about it.
Really and your speakers would? Rather have ATC than yours but some may prefer them. Doubt yours would suit most rooms either.

Maggies are not exactly beatiful either and certainly need the right sort of room.
 
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It Cost How Much!?!

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Extremely expensive? Are you having a laugh? The actives cost £3k-ish more than the passives which are themselves the choice of many. For that £3k you get 6 internal amplifiers. You could go with 3 external stereo amps I guess, rather thann6 monos and, as long as you configured everything active, and could accommodate the 3-6 extra boxes you might match the sound quality of the off-the-shelf SCM40A … but beat it? For £3k = £500-£1000 per amp? I seriously doubt it.
Well when I last had 3 way active with external amps and a crossover, I used an expensive AV 6 channel amp, one big-ish box and cost me £1K second hand. The crossover was nearly as much.
 

hearhere

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Really and your speakers would? Rather have ATC than yours but some may prefer them. Doubt yours would suit most rooms either.

Maggies are not exactly beatiful either and certainly need the right sort of room.
There's little to be gained by adversely commenting on others' speakers - either their looks or how we may think they may sound.

I certainly didn't choose my original AGs because of their looks. In fact at Audio Shows, I'd just walk past any room with speakers looking that bizarre. However at the time I owned my ATCs and wasn't happy with them, I was subscribing to Stereophile. I read their long and detailed review of the AG Unos and got more excited with each paragraph - it was describing EXACTLY the sort of sound I was looking for and so different from my existing speakers. After a quick listen to verify it wasn't a fairy tale, I bought a pair. In fact Stereophile voted the Unos their Speaker of the Year (jointly with an $85K Dynaudio system) so I had absolutely no regrets with my somewhat zany looking purchase. As you say, it's the sound that matters and those Unos sounded fantastic. Moreover they held their value rather well – bought for £4200 in 2002, sold for £4200 17 years later. Zero depreciation from new.

As far as looks are concerned, I didn't like the "scaffolding" used to support the mid and top horns, so I had an F bracket made to support them from the back of the bass enclosure. This greatly improved the appearance, as commented on by Jim Smith, ex-US distributor and in fact Holger Fromme, MD of AG. With my current Duo XDs, I've followed up this idea with a new cradle support for the mid horn (on the lines of the one used in the Mezzo) and this means the 3 side supports can be ditched and the whole system "slimmed down". Here's a "before and after" photo of my current speakers. I can understand some may not like the looks of these speakers, but I do and they suit my room.

I’ve tried other speaker types in this room (box enclosures and electrostatics from QUAD and Martin Logan) but the horns are far less critical of side and back walls, so thay suit most room, whereas the ML 13As in particular were unable to compete sound-wise with those early Unos. They would probably have sounded better than the Unos in a conventional room though.
 

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tackleberry

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There's little to be gained by adversely commenting on others' speakers - either their looks or how we may think they may sound.

I certainly didn't choose my original AGs because of their looks. In fact at Audio Shows, I'd just walk past any room with speakers looking that bizarre. However at the time I owned my ATCs and wasn't happy with them, I was subscribing to Stereophile. I read their long and detailed review of the AG Unos and got more excited with each paragraph - it was describing EXACTLY the sort of sound I was looking for and so different from my existing speakers. After a quick listen to verify it wasn't a fairy tale, I bought a pair. A little later Stereophile voted the Unos their Speaker of the Year (jointly with an $85K Dynaudio system) so I had absolutely no regrets with my somewhat zany looking purchase. As you say, it's the sound that matters and those Unos sounded fantastic. Moreover they held their value rather well – bought for £4200 in 2002, sold for £4200 17 years later. Zero depreciation from new.

As far as looks are concerned, I didn't like the "scaffolding" used to support the mid and top horns, so I had an F bracket made to support them from the back of the bass enclosure. This greatly improved the appearance, as commented on by Jim Smith, ex-US distributor and in fact Holger Fromme, MD of AG. With my current Duo XDs, I've followed up this idea with a new cradle support for the mid horn (on the lines of the one used in the Mezzo) and this means the 3 side supports can be ditched and the whole system "slimmed down". Here's a "before and after" photo of my current speakers. I can understand some may not like the looks of these speakers, but I do and they suit my room.

I’ve tried other speaker types in this room (box enclosures and electrostatics from QUAD and Martin Logan) but the horns are far less critical of side and back walls, so thay suit most room, whereas the ML 13As in particular were unable to compete sound-wise with those early Unos. They would probably have sounded better than the Unos in a conventional room though.
 

MVJ

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There's little to be gained by adversely commenting on others' speakers - either their looks or how we may think they may sound.

I certainly didn't choose my original AGs because of their looks. In fact at Audio Shows, I'd just walk past any room with speakers looking that bizarre. However at the time I owned my ATCs and wasn't happy with them, I was subscribing to Stereophile. I read their long and detailed review of the AG Unos and got more excited with each paragraph - it was describing EXACTLY the sort of sound I was looking for and so different from my existing speakers. After a quick listen to verify it wasn't a fairy tale, I bought a pair. A little later Stereophile voted the Unos their Speaker of the Year (jointly with an $85K Dynaudio system) so I had absolutely no regrets with my somewhat zany looking purchase. As you say, it's the sound that matters and those Unos sounded fantastic. Moreover they held their value rather well – bought for £4200 in 2002, sold for £4200 17 years later. Zero depreciation from new.

As far as looks are concerned, I didn't like the "scaffolding" used to support the mid and top horns, so I had an F bracket made to support them from the back of the bass enclosure. This greatly improved the appearance, as commented on by Jim Smith, ex-US distributor and in fact Holger Fromme, MD of AG. With my current Duo XDs, I've followed up this idea with a new cradle support for the mid horn (on the lines of the one used in the Mezzo) and this means the 3 side supports can be ditched and the whole system "slimmed down". Here's a "before and after" photo of my current speakers. I can understand some may not like the looks of these speakers, but I do and they suit my room.

I’ve tried other speaker types in this room (box enclosures and electrostatics from QUAD and Martin Logan) but the horns are far less critical of side and back walls, so thay suit most room, whereas the ML 13As in particular were unable to compete sound-wise with those early Unos. They would probably have sounded better than the Unos in a conventional room though.
They do look so much better with your changes and I could live with them if I had your lovely room too😍👌🏻
 

Paul55

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They look like what they are - fairly large rectangular loudspeakers. What matters more is the sound - utterly sublime, they never fail to impress me. By far the best speakers I've heard.
Now that's a provocative picture...
 

Paul55

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I will let technically minded people respond in a more technical way however given that there is no definition in HiFi of what’s ‘best’ it just leaves us with subjective opinions. I personally like the transient speed that valves give over the s/s amps that I have tried and whilst my ARC VS115 was the best power amp that I have ever owned I now prefer to own s/s power amps purely to have less maintenance and heat and not because they sound better.
I think there's a by definition definition of hifi for at least amplification and sources. Used to be summarised as 'Straight Wire With Gain' for amps.

After that we veer off into the darker corners of human consciousness with artefacts that may or may not be 'real' outside the experience of the listener. This is where most of use live most of the time. There's an art to accepting the duality. I like records, I know that a digital image, even a CD, is generally better to much better in every way, but I like records, and they mostly sound good enough.
 
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DomT

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I think there's a by definition definition of hifi for at least amplification and sources. Used to be summarised as 'Straight Wire With Gain' for amps.

After that we veer off into the darker corners of human consciousness with artefacts that may or may not be 'real' outside the experience of the listener. This is where most of use live most of the time. There's an art to accepting the duality. I like records, I know that a digital image, even a CD, is generally better to much better in every way, but I like records, and they mostly sound good enough.
Only there isn’t for sources especially given that recording engineers can’t even agree if DSD or PCM is better. And many prefer the sound of records over digital and deem it better. It’s all subjective
 
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Musicraft

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There's a new range of DSP active wireless loudspeakers on their way. Hold on to your hats
:)
:)
 
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