Psilonaught

Going active, what an absolute revelation!?

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2 hours ago, MartinC said:

What do you consider to be the main disadvantages of active designs out of interest?

Not enough boxes or cables :D

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4 minutes ago, CnoEvil said:

@Phobic IMV. Here's what you need to know about Active Speakers.

- An Active speaker can certainly sound better than a Passive one....but not necessarily so.

- A Passive Speaker can sound worse than an Active Speaker......but not necessarily so.

- A Passive Speaker that you like the sound of, will sound better to you, than an Active Speaker that you don't....and Vica Versa.

- An Active Speaker that you like the sound of, will often (but not always) give the best VFM.

- If you like the sound of Valves or Class A - they don't make an Active Speaker (as far as I know) with this.

So.....as always, the answer is, "It Depends"....and lies in that grey area known as "Preference".

You can have valves in preamps, a few active users do that on this forum. So you can have both.

Edited by StingRay

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2 minutes ago, CnoEvil said:

@Phobic IMV. Here's what you need to know about Active Speakers.

- An Active speaker can certainly sound better than a Passive one....but not necessarily so.

- A Passive Speaker can sound worse than an Active Speaker......but not necessarily so.

- A Passive Speaker that you like the sound of, will sound better to you, than an Active Speaker that you don't....and Vica Versa.

- An Active Speaker that you like the sound of, will often (but not always) give the best VFM.

- If you like the sound of Valves or Class A - they don't make an Active Speaker (as far as I know) with this.

So.....as always, the answer is, "It Depends"....and lies in that grey area known as "Preference".

yes recognise what you say and agree with it.

I'm on my 2nd set of active speakers but confess I'm only really starting to understand and appreciate the fundamentals of speaker and crossover design. That was more what was behind my question. I'm slowly getting my head around things I think.

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3 minutes ago, StingRay said:

You can have valves in preamps, a few active users do that on this forum. So you can have both.

Yes you can - but that is not enough for some People, in the same way as Hybrid Amps are not sufficient if you want a fully Valve rig.

Edited by CnoEvil

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32 minutes ago, uzzy said:

First off I think it is a sweeping statement to say they are unpopular with dealers for the reasons you give, if at all.  A good dealer will stock things that sell, as to the long game about them perhaps not coming back to upgrade amps or buy cables well as a seller in the past there are no guarantees on that (it is a gamble).

When I was working in the trade a happy punter brings in more business, if not them upgrading then sending in their mates telling them how good we were.   

For some of us actives with built in amps takes the joy out of trying different amps and then there is that hankering thought,  would they sound far better if I could put "such and such" amps in them.  It stops the punter being able to upgrade unless they go for dearer actives or move back to passives with different speakers.  As for those punters prepared to spend gobsmacking amounts on cables I am pretty sure it isn't because the dealer is twisting their arms.

The main thing is choice - let the punter decide. 

Pretty well sums it for to me. I have a pair of old Meridian Actives, and they are certainly decent speakers but I have hesitated to go down the active route again. Partly because of price and servicing, partly because my preferred speakers don’t come with an active version, but also because different amps into my MBL and Quads sound subtly but importantly different. I have my preference as to which amp sounds best with each speaker but neither combination is right or wrong; all down to preference and nice to have the choice. Indeed sometimes a change is as good as a rest, rather like frequenting a different concert hall for a change occasionally.

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11 minutes ago, Phobic said:

yes recognise what you say and agree with it.

I'm on my 2nd set of active speakers but confess I'm only really starting to understand and appreciate the fundamentals of speaker and crossover design. That was more what was behind my question. I'm slowly getting my head around things I think.

When it comes to Linn, I much prefer their Active Speakers to their Passive ones.....but I would take Passive Kef Ref or Harbeth 40.2s over them, provided they are matched with a suitable Amp.

IMV. The only preferences that other people can speak about with any accuracy, are their own. For a given individual, what is better in theory, is not necessarily suitable in practice.

Edited by CnoEvil
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11 minutes ago, rabski said:

Not enough boxes or cables :D

:D Absolutely, although having said that with actives and less cables attracting dust, my twice yearly search for the vacuum cleaner could become biennial.

And of course, all that dust on the cables improves the sound quality in a way that actives can only dream of... ;)

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If you have a speaker that is:

high efficiency

has an amplifier friendly impedance curve

has bass drivers that have about the right amount of total damping when used with a passive crossover and with whatever amplifier will be used with them

first order passive crossovers with inductors that are properly specced for the speakers

a relatively neutral frequency response

then I can't think of a single benefit to going active. I can only think of downsides.

.

If on the other hand you have a speaker that is:

low efficiency

has an unfriendly impedance curve

has bass drivers that would benefit from all the electrical damping they can get

has bumps in the frequency response around the crossover region(s)

Then that would be an ideal candidate for conversion to active.

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6 minutes ago, CnoEvil said:

When it comes to Linn, I much prefer their Active Speakers to their Passive ones.....but I would take Passive Kef Ref or Harbeth 40.2s over them, provided they are matched with a suitable Amp.

IMV. The only preferences that other people can speak about with any accuracy, are their own. What is better in theory, is not necessarily better in practice.

I'd take a passive speaker over an active speaker if it sounded better any day (assuming I could afford it!).

just picking up on your last point though on theory v reality.

are you saying that you think some speakers aren't suited to going active? or more that just because a speaker is passive it's not necessarily worse than a different active speaker.

I might be wrong but I'm not sure there's active versions of the Kef Ref or Harbeth, if there was or you could build an active crossover for them would you expect them to sound better than their passive versions? 

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7 hours ago, lindsayt said:

If on the other hand you have a speaker that is:

low efficiency

has an unfriendly impedance curve

has bass drivers that would benefit from all the electrical damping they can get

has bumps in the frequency response around the crossover region(s)

Then that would be an ideal candidate for conversion to active.

You pretty much summed up my Magnepans right there! They are a pig to drive properly due to the 4ohm design and the 1.5m long ribbon tweeter dips to 3 ohms.

TBH I'm amazed my 200w Plinius managed to drive them passively at all! 

Probably explains why I've had so much success.

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7 hours ago, CnoEvil said:

@Phobic IMV. Here's what you need to know about Active Speakers.

- An Active speaker can certainly sound better than a Passive one....but not necessarily so.

- A Passive Speaker can sound worse than an Active Speaker......but not necessarily so.

- A Passive Speaker that you like the sound of, will sound better to you, than an Active Speaker that you don't....and Vica Versa.

- An Active Speaker that you like the sound of, will often (but not always) give the best VFM.

- If you like the sound of Valves or Class A - they don't make an Active Speaker (as far as I know) with this.

So.....as always, the answer is, "It Depends"....and lies in that grey area known as "Preference".

I think you are talking about active speakers with built in amps aren't you? 

If you do what I and others here have done, you can use any amps you like.

My goal for 2021 is to buy a pair of decent 150w+ valve monos for the top end and sell my class A Plinius. 

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My system is what you might describe as a “fully active” setup ....no full range plate amps built in to speakers but individual amps selected to perform at their best with each set of drivers

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3 minutes ago, Psilonaught said:

If you do what I and others here have done, you can use any amps you like.

Absolutely. If you go the DIY route, choose whatever amps you feel like. However, if you are then measuring and tailoring the overall performance using DSP, some perceived differences in the sound of the amps (and cables, if you believe they play a part) may end up being masked by the changes you make in the DSP filters. 

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9 minutes ago, MF 1000 said:

My system is what you might describe as a “fully active” setup ....no full range plate amps built in to speakers but individual amps selected to perform at their best with each set of drivers

Exactly, and what is the quality of those plate amps...?

No, I'd actually rather use good passives with high quality separate amps over actives with built in god knows what probably class D plate amps. 

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