Jump to content

Active loudspeakers: why so few floorstanders?


norliss

Recommended Posts

2 hours ago, lindsayt said:

How many 2 bedroomed terraced houses do you need to live to know that you'd rather not live in another.

Nobody has said that Event Opals, or anything else, are the best speakers anyone can own. It would be an extremely rare person on here who would claim their system is the best possible but rather we're all working to get the best we can for our own enjoyment with the money/space/time that we are prepared to devote to this hobby. Also, many people dream of being able to afford and live in a two-bedroomed terraced house.

I've not heard Event Opals but I'd like to at some point. One advantage they definitely do have over typical hifi speakers is that their sound can somewhat be adjusted to taste.

  • Like 1
  • Upvote 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

Back on topic...

When it comes to active speakers aimed at the home audio market I'm not particularly convinced there are fewer floorstanding options than standmounts - there are few of either. It's once studio monitors are added in that the bias shifts.

Many people have full-range systems that use active standmounts in combination with active subwoofers - active floorstanding speakers aren't the only or necessarily best way to do this.

Edited by MartinC
  • Like 1
  • Upvote 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

20 hours ago, Gizza said:

Great to hear that you're happy with your AG's, Peter. i love how they look and agree with you about the awful looks of the Quads. It's like looking at a pair of the stone Obelis from the film '2001 A Space Odyssey'! I'm very lucky that we were able to buy a house that has 2 reasonable size living rooms so that I am able to house my hifi/AV system in one of them without worrying about how it looks. Cost was also a factor in buying these speakers, I think I paid £1500 for the Quad/Gradient combo (used) and another £2000 for a 2nd pair of EAR monoblocs to enable the active biamping, which I believe is a great price for the sound quality obtained. I really don't have any hankering at all to change them. I think the size of the room is the most limiting factor. Don't get me wrong, they sound wonderful to me but I know that they would sound even better in a bigger room.

Anyway,I hope your system continues to satisfy. All the best, Gary.

I have no problems with the looks of big Quads but not in my room as their location in the room exaggerates their barn door-like appearance and blocks the view of Portsmouth Harbour from the windows behind the speakers!.  Close to a plain wall they look fine and they sound very good indeed.  Even new at £8K they are a bit of a bargain if compared with other speakers of similar sound quality.

I was careful when making the mods to my AGs to ensure the sound would not be impaired so I liaised with Avantgarde's guys in Germany for advice.  They kindly sent me a drawing of a support cradle that mimics the one used on their Mezzo system.  I built just one of these cradles but it turned out to be a huge job without fancy woodworking tools. so I designed a steel support bracket and got a pair made up at a local engineering works.  Peter

IMG_6089.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Super Wammer

Based on the content of the first page of posts, I can't be bothered to peruse the other five. But let me say that after having had passive speakers with separate amplifiers for 30+ years, I now have actives in my main rig. The "point" @audio_PHIL_e is that the lower current crossover and a separate amplifier per driver combine to make an incredible sounding combo.

@lindsayt You clearly haven't heard the right pair of actives if you've heard any. Any theoretical considerations about number of transistors in the path (?) are trampled on by the topological advantages of active over passive.

FYI, I owned and directly compared passive ATC SCM40 (fed by a £4k amplifier) and active ATC SCM40A. No contest, and that wasn't how it was supposed to be.

  • Like 2
  • Upvote 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

45 minutes ago, hearhere said:

I have no problems with the looks of big Quads but not in my room as their location in the room exaggerates their barn door-like appearance and blocks the view of Portsmouth Harbour from the windows behind the speakers!.  Close to a plain wall they look fine and they sound very good indeed.  Even new at £8K they are a bit of a bargain if compared with other speakers of similar sound quality.

I was careful when making the mods to my AGs to ensure the sound would not be impaired so I liaised with Avantgarde's guys in Germany for advice.  They kindly sent me a drawing of a support cradle that mimics the one used on their Mezzo system.  I built just one of these cradles but it turned out to be a huge job without fancy woodworking tools. so I designed a steel support bracket and got a pair made up at a local engineering works.  Peter

IMG_6089.jpg

You did really well to come up with a suitable alternative support, Peter. Well done.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I find the whole terminology thing confusing. I don't regard an active crossover to be a necessity for a generic "active speaker".

To me as a domestic user, active speakers are complete speaker units with amps built in that take an already attenuatted signal from the source or pre (or line in and you attenuatte with the level knobs on the back).

They may or may not have separate amps for each driver with an active crossover, or a single amp in each and passive crossover. Cheap desktop ones may even have all the amplification in one and then the second passive unit run off speaker cables.

For PA and large studio use, an active speaker system will probably consist of passive drivers in boxes with separate amps and an active crossover in the rack. I would call the drivers in boxes "passive (crossoverless) speakers" and the whole system an active speaker system.

In terms of why there are so few active floorstanders, I think as has already been said, the market has historically been driven by pro/studio users. They don't want wobbly tall narrow floorstanders that fall over when you brush past them in a busy studio. There are some "floorstanders" like 15" Tannoy DCs in Lockwood cabinets but that don't have a habit of falling over, they're just plug and play. Not that I've seen any active big Tannoy DCs.

The market for home active speakers is probably limited by the demand. Whether this is just because people like to be able to pick an amplifier to match their system, or just like doing it that way because it's always been done like that is probably the real question here.

There's also the audiophile nervousness of vibration and damping and why you'd want a power amp bolted to the cabinet in the first place.

From my personal experience, I favour powe amps that are transparent but powerful with high current. I prefer to tune my system via source and pre. So if I could get round the idea that a broken power amp can render the whole speaker unit junk, and the idea of vibration not affecting the sound, then I'd be interested. But I'd need a very wide choice of active vs passive speakers so I could just choose the one I wanted in an active version, but that's not generally an option.

Of course as has been discussed the other option is to have passive speaker units with external crossover and monoblocs. But there is still not much choice of speakers that are sold that way. And it takes a bit of DIY to convert a pair to that operation. So again i can't just go out and buy the speakers I want. Also I'm not sure I want all that kit on my rack in addition to a couple of sources, DAC, pre etc.

So I'm still passive, but recognise the potential advantages of an active system.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderator
Moderator
25 minutes ago, Lawrence001 said:

I find the whole terminology thing confusing. I don't regard an active crossover to be a necessity for a generic "active speaker".

To me as a domestic user, active speakers are complete speaker units with amps built in that take an already attenuatted signal from the source or pre (or line in and you attenuatte with the level knobs on the back).

Yes, it can certainly be confusing for the uninitiated (apparently including you!) but the distinction isn't about the physical number of boxes and where the knobs are located, it is about how the various components (source, (pre)amps, crossovers, drive units) are (electrically) interconnected - i.e., it is about the signal path and the order in which the components appear in that path. How these components are packaged is a separate issue, although yes, to the consumer, that isn't always clear, and some manufacturers/vendors are guilty of misusing the terminology. I hate to quote WhatHiFi, but this sums it up very clearly:

https://www.whathifi.com/advice/active-vs-passive-speakers-whats-the-difference-which-is-better

  • Like 1
  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 29/05/2021 at 14:07, audio_PHIL_e said:

Speakers have been getting smaller and thinner also because modern houses are designed by people who have no idea: either accountants, or architects who have had 2/3 of their brain cells removed before being allowed to practice. 

Houses are getting smaller because of greedy land owners  and developers.

Architects do what they’re asked to.

In Portugal the government set minimum standard sizes back in the ‚Äė60s, and these have increased with time and then with the more recent disability¬†requirements.

The downside of little regulated¬†‚Äúlight‚ÄĚ state is that we‚Äôre held hostage by business, they make the rules for their own profit...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

28 minutes ago, Lawrence001 said:

I find the whole terminology thing confusing. I don't regard an active crossover to be a necessity for a generic "active speaker".

To me as a domestic user, active speakers are complete speaker units with amps built in that take an already attenuatted signal from the source or pre (or line in and you attenuatte with the level knobs on the back).

They may or may not have separate amps for each driver with an active crossover, or a single amp in each and passive crossover.

Following that argument, a system with conventional (passive) speakers that is powered by monobloc amps becomes active if you move the amps and bolt them onto the back of the speakers.  This physical alternative location of a single amp per channel does not an active make!  It’s still a passive system.

For a genuine active system you need to electronically split the low level signal (typically from the preamp) into frequency chunks (bass, maybe middle and top) before amplification.  This does away with the conventional passive XO made with large size coils, resistors and capacitors.  Once the low-level signal is split, each chunk is amplified with individual amps and sent to their individual drivers. 

All this is normally done within the active speaker enclosure, although in fact, there's no reason for an active speaker not to have its XO and amplifiers elsewhere with multiple speaker cables connected directly to the individual drivers. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Active speakers do Joe Wicks workouts when you're not looking, passive speakers put their feet up an watch TV.

Regards Andrew 

  • Haha 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, tuga said:

Houses are getting smaller because of greedy land owners  and developers.

Architects do what they’re asked to.

In Portugal the government set minimum standard sizes back in the ‚Äė60s, and these have increased with time and then with the more recent disability¬†requirements.

The downside of little regulated¬†‚Äúlight‚ÄĚ state is that we‚Äôre held hostage by business, they make the rules for their own profit...

This is also true but the UK government and architects act on behalf of the greedy landowners and "property developers". We used to have minimum standard sizes back in the 60s but they've been abolished since then.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Super Wammer
1 hour ago, hearhere said:comes active if you move the amps and bolt them onto the back of the speakers.  This physical alternative location of a single amp per channel does not an active make!  It’s still a passive system.

All this is normally done within the active speaker enclosure, although in fact, there's no reason for an active speaker not to have its XO and amplifiers elsewhere with multiple speaker cables connected directly to the individual drivers. 

My two digital XO and 3 channels of amplification sit in a separate rack connected to the preamp and midrange monoblocks with numerous cables along with concert grade multi core cables feeding the 4 drivers in each speaker setup 

  • Upvote 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Moderator
Moderator

As Tony and others have said, 'active' and 'passive' technically refer to the crossover method and nothing else. Where the amplifiers are located is immaterial.

With regard to blaming architects, developers, governments, etc. The real fault lies with Durex not making enough effort. The UK has always had relatively small houses throughout history, so it's hardly a modern revolution. We have too many people who want houses, too many people who can't afford them, and not enough suitable land in appropriate places.

  • Like 1
  • Upvote 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

Active speakers are named as such because they employ active crossovers. Its no more complex than that.

Edit - Rab beat me to it.

Edited by Mondie
  • Like 2
  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 minutes ago, rabski said:

As Tony and others have said, 'active' and 'passive' technically refer to the crossover method and nothing else. Where the amplifiers are located is immaterial.

With regard to blaming architects, developers, governments, etc. The real fault lies with Durex not making enough effort. The UK has always had relatively small houses throughout history, so it's hardly a modern revolution. We have too many people who want houses, too many people who can't afford them, and not enough suitable land in appropriate places.

Is that a roundabout way of saying there are too many people??

Link to comment
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
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
√ó
√ó
  • Create New...