What do you look for when selecting a loudspeaker? All loudspeakers reflect the philosophy of the designer and their choices, innovation and technical ability will dictate how the speaker reproduces sound. There will be one or two key features that set the design apart from the others. When making your first decisions regarding the suitable speaker, you should consider 2 options, Passive or Active
What is a Passive Loudspeaker?
In the world of home HiFi, passive systems are predominant because many audiophiles like to choose their own amplifier. There is no doubt that one can achieve excellent results with passive loudspeakers if the HiFi components (and the loudspeakers in particular) are of the appropriate quality and carefully selected to work harmoniously together. In order to achieve the dynamic, natural and ulta detailed sound that one hears at a live acoustic performance or that of the precise sound and tonality, intention and emotion which recording engineers and musicians captured in the studio, one needs a passive loudspeaker paired together with an excellent amplifier. The loudspeaker needs to be fast so it can accelerate the air molecules quickly reproducing the details in the music and it needs to have a very good crossover so as not to obstruct the sound.
What is an Active Loudspeaker?
Active loudspeakers incorporate an electronic frequency dividing network (or crossover) that divides the frequencies and distributes them to internal power amplifier modules, each of which is connected directly to a loudspeaker driver. There are no passive crossover components between the amplifier module and the loudspeaker driver. In a passive loudspeaker the amplifiers are external to the loudspeaker and the crossover network is situated between the amplifiers and the drivers.
Advantages of active speakers.
Amplifiers can be perfectly matched to all the drivers.
Short signal path between amplifier and drivers.
Active crossovers have less loss than passive crossover components.
Drivers are protected from overload.
Less components means a simpler system.
Lower cost compared to a system comprised of separate component parts.
Active loudspeakers generally sound very fast and dynamic. We like them for this reason.
In recording studios around the world the question of active vs passive has been answered a long time ago. The use of active loudspeakers is almost universal because of their accuracy.
Which to Choose?
This will depend on your preferences and your budget. Active loudspeakers offer the most cost effective solution and where accuracy and economy of purchase are at the top of the list then it is the logical choice. Sonic Purity offers active speakers from Kii Audio, ATC and Aequo Audio. These companies supply many of the exact same speakers for the high end professional recording industry as well as to the premium home HiFi market so you are guaranteed of getting a supremely accurate and reliable speaker system.
If you have a larger budget and wish to have the freedom to select your own amplifier then we offer passive speakers from Rockport Technologies, Gauder Akustik, Aequo Audio and ATC. These manufacturers build premium quality loudspeakers with the passion of a designer with a vision standing behind them. These passive loudspeakers will deliver amazing performance with the correct partnering equipment.
At the end of the day there are hundreds of loudspeaker companies to choose from and it can be very confusing amdist the marketing blurb of the day. We say let your ears be the judge and your body the jury. You will know when you have found the right loudspeaker for you because it just sounds right to you. Nothing else really matters.