Guide to Differentiate Between Active Speakers and Passive Speakers

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About Active and Passive Speakers

  1. What is Active Speaker?

Active speakers (also known as electric speakers, speakers with built-in amplifiers). The back usually has a control panel with adjustment knobs and a power cord port. There are power cords that are attached directly to the rear panel.

Some speakers have a pull handle for easy portability. Active speakers have a built-in power factor in meeting only default speakers. However, there are cases to reduce cost and installation methods that have special cases. The manufacturer will put a power circuit in a host speaker, and within the distance of the speakers will conduct transmission to the satellite speakers by wiring.

  1. What is a Passive Speaker?

Passive speakers, also known as regular speakers on the back. Normally, there is only a port to connect the output signal to the amplifier or power. These speakers often have a lot of M6, M10 points to be easily mounted on the wall or stage. Or pole drive to mount on speaker poles, speaker’s legs when combined with SUB speakers.

  1. What is a crossover?

A crossover filter divides the audio signal into different frequency bands and delivers the appropriate driver. In a 2-way speaker design, the crossover will split the audio signal into high-frequency ranges (going to the tweeter) and lower (going to the mid/bass driver). With a 3-way speaker design, the crossover will divide the audio signal into three frequency bands, treble, midrange, and bass, to bring to the corresponding driver.

  1. What is Active Crossover?

Active crossovers (used inexpensive active speakers) divide the audio signal before it is amplified. The active crossover will process Line-level signals (1V-2V), so its components do not need to reach high power. Usually consists of only op-amp circuits and semiconductors but will require separate power lines to operate.

High-end brands like Devialet also use DSP chips to make active crossovers for their speakers to get the exact cutoff frequency, delivering clean sound quality.

  1. What is a Passive Crossover?

Passive crossovers are used in passive speakers and powered speakers. Will split the audio signal after the amplifier amplifies it.

The components of a passive crossover include high-power resistors, capacitors, and inductors. However, components such as semiconductor chips or amplifier circuits are not included. But this component inherently needs its power line to work.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Active Crossover Speakers and Passive Crossover Speakers?

The great advantage of a passive crossover is that it makes the product cheap. As well as no need for additional external source lines. In return, it only provides limited performance due to frequency dependence and impedance. That is also why speakers with passive crossovers often have certain limitations.

Active crossovers have designed each amplifier to connect directly to each driver, which means that each amplifier will be fine-tuned to best match each driver’s performance in the speaker. Thereby enhancing the sound quality to the highest level. Another advantage is that the amplifier of the active crossover design only needs to have a moderate power level. Because the crossover processing does not affect the signal, designing an active crossover will cost the team quite high because of its complicated structure and time to calibrate it.

  1. Advantages and disadvantages of Active Speaker

A system with active speakers does not take up much room as passive speakers because the amplifier is already built. Active speakers are also a very good option for the price (compared to passive speaker + amplifier combo). Suitable for audio beginners or do not have a lot of speaker space. If you want to upgrade the sound quality of Active speakers, you can only replace the DAC, connecting the two speakers.

Newer, affordable active speakers like the Dali Zensor 1AX or the Audioengine A5+ Wireless have more connections such as Bluetooth, Optical to help you mix and match.

Reviews of Devialet’s Active Speakers:

Devialet has emerged as a phenomenon in the active hi-end speaker industry with the Phantom series in recent years. These are Active speakers that use many technologies and high-quality amplifiers. Invest heavily in driver quality as well as other DSP technologies. For example, Devialet Gold Phantom Opera De Paris is beautiful and extremely powerful (4500W). Support from Airplay, Wifi, Bluetooth, and Optical.

In terms of sound quality, active speakers have a separate amplifier design for each driver. Therefore, its engineers can fine-tune the amplifier to match the driver’s performance best and provide sound quality when listening.

  1. Advantages and disadvantages of Passive Speakers

The advantage of passive speakers is that they have a flexible cost (from very cheap to very expensive). Therefore, this speaker line will be suitable for a variety of users. You can freely mix passive speaker and amplifier models to find the best combo for you. However, it should also be remembered that this comes with certain complications.

Passive speakers, in general, do not give us a simple “plug and play” option like power or active speakers. Usually, you will need a full set of amplifiers, including a discrete amplifier and a few other things. It also takes more time to install, takes up more space, and makes wiring messy. Having to buy a separate amplifier also makes the team cost a bit more.

How to Connect Passive Speakers and Active Speakers

  1. Instructions for connecting Active Speakers

With an audio system using Active speakers, one of the two speakers will have a port to connect to the source (CD player, PC, smartphone, turntable …) with an RCA/digital cable. A speaker cable will connect the two speakers, and the speaker amplifier is usually located on the same side as the pin panel.

However, there are also Active speakers where one of the two speakers will have a port to connect to the source (CD player, PC, smartphone, turntable …) with an RCA/digital cable. Two speakers will connect via connections such as RCA, XLR, not using speaker wires. That is because the two sides of the speaker have separate amplifier circuits.

  1. Guide to Connecting Passive Speakers

In an audio system using passive speakers, we will connect the speaker to the amplifier/receiver with the speaker cable, then continue to plug the amplifier/receiver into the source (CD player, PC, smartphone, turntable …) with the RCA cable/digital.

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