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Active Fans

ChrisIRL

New member
Apr 12, 2014
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Owners of passive systems regularly discuss the downsides of their systems, albeit mostly indirectly by discussing desire to upgrade components, improve sound quality etc.

What are the downsides to active systems? Be honest now. If actives were all that, they'd be all there is surely? Most on here come across as a knowlegeable bunch. There's got to be more to passive/ separates than simply clinging on to how it's always been.

My big no no to actives is the thought of all your eggs in one basket. Supposing the amp failed, you've lost everything. Perhaps initially you think all is great but in time you just don't like the highs, too bright. You're stuck.
 

muljao

New member
Jul 18, 2016
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Not sure.

Does this mean you don't have actives? Maybe yes or maybe no, or are you thinking of getting them?

If it is no to both though, is the purpose of this thread is just to aggrivate?
 

nopiano

Well-known member
Feb 15, 2009
379
233
19,270
There are no active systems at normal prices on the high street. AVI are only available in 2 or 3 shops run by friends of the company. Others are mainly studio oriented.

Linn make actives at tens of thousands.

There are snags with wiring up actives too, though probably no worse than a conventional system, just different.
 

ChrisIRL

New member
Apr 12, 2014
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I don't have actives. The sound quality arguments for them all make perfect sense so they would be a logical final "upgrade".

That said I'm curious what negative experiences owners of actives have had? Generally it's "actives are better", end of discussion. Very often though that view point is based on sound per pound as much as anything else. Doing my homework is all.
 

ChrisIRL

New member
Apr 12, 2014
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steve_1979 said:
ChrisIRL said:
What are the downsides to active systems?
Frickin' cables!

Active speakers need power cables. They're ugly, they're hard to hide and I hate them.
Cables are a curse for any type of system. Power cables are particularly nasty though I agree.
 

muljao

New member
Jul 18, 2016
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ChrisIRL said:
I don't have actives. The sound quality arguments for them all make perfect sense so they would be a logical final "upgrade".

That said I'm curious what negative experiences owners of actives have had? Generally it's "actives are better", end of discussion. Very often though that view point is based on sound per pound as much as anything else. Doing my homework is all.
No better reason to ask the question :) . To me the only negatives I see is that I didn't see them when I started out. Those Yamaha ns500?look like everything I'd need for my main system if they sounded as good to me as most reviewers think thy do
 

shadders

Well-known member
Nov 19, 2009
152
88
18,670
Hi,

What if the amplifiers and processing were in a separate box so you would have three smaller cables to each three way speaker, or two smaller cables for two way etc.

This would facilitate the ability to update the system - new speakers when new drivers appear, or new processor when a new streaming type apears etc.

Regards,

Shadders.
 

ChrisIRL

New member
Apr 12, 2014
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shadders said:
Hi,

What if the amplifiers and processing were in a separate box so you would have three smaller cables to each three way speaker, or two smaller cables for two way etc.

This would facilitate the ability to update the system - new speakers when new drivers appear, or new processor when a new streaming type apears etc.

Regards,

Shadders.
Is this the case?
 

lpv

New member
Mar 14, 2013
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ChrisIRL said:
What are the downsides to active systems?
as pointed out by Steve.. usually two cables ( instead of one) coming out the back. nightmare.
 

shadders

Well-known member
Nov 19, 2009
152
88
18,670
ChrisIRL said:
shadders said:
Hi,

What if the amplifiers and processing were in a separate box so you would have three smaller cables to each three way speaker, or two smaller cables for two way etc.

This would facilitate the ability to update the system - new speakers when new drivers appear, or new processor when a new streaming type apears etc.

Regards,

Shadders.
Is this the case?
Hi,

I was responding to the lock in issue, once you have purchased, you are stuck with the same amplifier, speakers, crossover design (whether digital or analogue), and is therefore, in general not upgradeable.

With a modular system, the amplifiers can be refined and upgraded, the speakers exchanged when better drivers are available, or a different speaker design is available, or new crossover filters changed or updated if implemented in software, or the processor changed if implemented in hardware. If the Wifi standard changes, or streaming standard changes or a new one appears, then all can be updated, relative only to the components that change.

So a speaker manufacturer can provide a crossover-less design, or one where it can be bypassed, and you could update the processor to modify the crossover frequencies, to ensure optimal compatibility. So a Woolworths mix and match (pick and mix) type approach.

So, there is a gap in the market, which could be provisioned.

Regards,

Shadders.
 

ID.

New member
Feb 22, 2010
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In addition to all of the above, limited connectivity, especially with studio monitors where one needs a separate volume controller/preamp.

Even something like the AVI DM10s have limited numbers of connections compared to most passive amps. Sure, there's the option to use the pre section of a home theater amp or integrated, but that also negates the potential benefits of not having to have and place a large amplifier.

Im not particularly concerned about the system becoming unusable if an amp in one speaker goes. I'd get it repaired or replace that unit if the same model is still being sold (my studio monitors are sold singly). I also have a few systems around the house, so it's not like I'd be completely without music. Even if I was, I could survive for a while with some decent headphones and my portable players.

Lack of options for pre amp/volume control compared to the wide range of integrated amps available.
 

thewinelake.

New member
Jan 22, 2016
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0
While having to run power cables is a bit of a pest, it's not much worse than many of the crazy thick cables that some passive people seem to have (e.g. chord).

Upgrading actives is generally done as a sell and buy operation.

But mostly I think there is a romance associated with fiddling and a great satisfaction from putting together a harmonious package of separates. This keeps a whole industry going (including our hosts here). Actives take much of the fun out of Hifi, leaving just the music as being the main focus.

I hope that the new LS50s will allow more who browsers to appreciate actives.
 

davedotco

New member
Apr 24, 2013
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Rather a lot on the kind of hi-fi enthusiast you are.

Some love the whole 'box swapping', 'upgrade' cycle, others simply want something good to play their music on. That is more a psychological issue rather than a hi-fi one.

However the biggest downside is, for me, the lack of affordable (sub £1k), domestic friendly, actives systems. We have the AVI, a Quad that no one buys and that is about it, for many users the 'industrial' style of studio type speakers is not really acceptable.

There are few, if any active options, in mainstream retailers so the punter has no real choice. The pricing policy of hi-fi specialists (Linn, Naim, Meridian etc) puts them out of reach of many users so generally they are ignored by dealers and punters alike.
 

ChrisIRL

New member
Apr 12, 2014
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0
There is a bit of a market gap it seems. The new ls50s will do well. I also expect there to be active SCM11s in time. Now those I would be interested in!
 

thewinelake.

New member
Jan 22, 2016
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I wonder how well the LS50 wireless will do? They seem expensive to me. My prejudice is that people spending that kind of money expect more boxes for their cash!

I agree with Dave regarding the gap in the sub £1k region. Maybe someone could make a business out of making nice boxes for studio monitors - a bit like the very early days of coach-builders for cars!

How amenable might one of the genelecs be to this kind of treatment?
 

shadders

Well-known member
Nov 19, 2009
152
88
18,670
davedotco said:
Rather a lot on the kind of hi-fi enthusiast you are.

Some love the whole 'box swapping', 'upgrade' cycle, others simply want something good to play their music on. That is more a psychological issue rather than a hi-fi one.

However the biggest downside is, for me, the lack of affordable (sub £1k), domestic friendly, actives systems. We have the AVI, a Quad that no one buys and that is about it, for many users the 'industrial' style of studio type speakers is not really acceptable.

There are few, if any active options, in mainstream retailers so the punter has no real choice. The pricing policy of hi-fi specialists (Linn, Naim, Meridian etc) puts them out of reach of many users so generally they are ignored by dealers and punters alike.
Hi

Yes, it depends on what you want. Reading here and other suggestions.

1. The difference between active and passive systems is not night and day.

2. You may prefer the active or passive sound compared to the other.

3. Active systems in their current form are not upgradeable.

4. If you are "into" cables, there is the possibility to change cables to the speakers for passive, or modularised active, which is not possible with the one box active solution.

5. A passive system or modularised active system has much more potential to change to components to refine your perceived sound for your enjoyment, rather than being stuck with a one box solution.

Regards,

Shadders.
 

ID.

New member
Feb 22, 2010
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Mammy Nun said:
Active speakers are just silly.
Thanks for that insightful contribution to the thread.

thewinelake. said:
Maybe someone could make a business out of making nice boxes for studio monitors - a bit like the very early days of coach-builders for cars!

How amenable might one of the genelecs be to this kind of treatment?
I've considered painting or adding a wood or wood pattern veneer to my A7Xs.

The Genelecs are pretty dependent on their cabinets, and I actually quite like the shape. they even have grills protecting the drivers on many of their speakers.

In theory one can get them in a range of colours other than black and white.

Clicky

And for their installation speakers

I've also considered how I'd go about spray painting them or getting them painted another colour.

There's definitely less ability for fiddle with cables. Although there aren't traditional cables, you can still choose your interconnects that run to the speakers, so one could go wild and chase up options from Nordost



Then again, I don't think people who have gone for actives really put much stock on cables (based on the active fans on here at least).
 

davedotco

New member
Apr 24, 2013
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shadders said:
davedotco said:
Rather a lot on the kind of hi-fi enthusiast you are.

Some love the whole 'box swapping', 'upgrade' cycle, others simply want something good to play their music on. That is more a psychological issue rather than a hi-fi one.

However the biggest downside is, for me, the lack of affordable (sub £1k), domestic friendly, actives systems. We have the AVI, a Quad that no one buys and that is about it, for many users the 'industrial' style of studio type speakers is not really acceptable.

There are few, if any active options, in mainstream retailers so the punter has no real choice. The pricing policy of hi-fi specialists (Linn, Naim, Meridian etc) puts them out of reach of many users so generally they are ignored by dealers and punters alike.
Hi

Yes, it depends on what you want. Reading here and other suggestions.

1. The difference between active and passive systems is not night and day.

2. You may prefer the active or passive sound compared to the other.

3. Active systems in their current form are not upgradeable.

4. If you are "into" cables, there is the possibility to change cables to the speakers for passive, or modularised active, which is not possible with the one box active solution.

5. A passive system or modularised active system has much more potential to change to components to refine your perceived sound for your enjoyment, rather than being stuck with a one box solution.

Regards,

Shadders.
1) Where identical active/passive versions of the same speaker are available, you are correct. The advantage with actives is that you can build an integrated system, matched in a way that no passive combination can be, at anything resembling sensible prices.

2) Subjective choice, no argument.

3) Correct at this time, there are some pro monitors that are, but they are not really relevant. The increasing use of DSP in integrated systems may change that though.

4) By implication you are saying that the ability to fine tune your system with cables is lost, however integrated active systems can easily incorporate 'tuning' devices (coventionally or in DSP) that give far greater tuning options.

5) This is correct but at a price that would put them out of reach for many users.

To my mind the big advantage with actives is the cost saving. You save a fortune on casework for the amplifier, can use amps optimised for the application, can use the electronic crossover to optimise the response and even implement speaker and room eq at modest cost.
 

shadders

Well-known member
Nov 19, 2009
152
88
18,670
davedotco said:
shadders said:
davedotco said:
Rather a lot on the kind of hi-fi enthusiast you are.

Some love the whole 'box swapping', 'upgrade' cycle, others simply want something good to play their music on. That is more a psychological issue rather than a hi-fi one.

However the biggest downside is, for me, the lack of affordable (sub £1k), domestic friendly, actives systems. We have the AVI, a Quad that no one buys and that is about it, for many users the 'industrial' style of studio type speakers is not really acceptable.

There are few, if any active options, in mainstream retailers so the punter has no real choice. The pricing policy of hi-fi specialists (Linn, Naim, Meridian etc) puts them out of reach of many users so generally they are ignored by dealers and punters alike.
Hi

Yes, it depends on what you want. Reading here and other suggestions.

1. The difference between active and passive systems is not night and day.

2. You may prefer the active or passive sound compared to the other.

3. Active systems in their current form are not upgradeable.

4. If you are "into" cables, there is the possibility to change cables to the speakers for passive, or modularised active, which is not possible with the one box active solution.

5. A passive system or modularised active system has much more potential to change to components to refine your perceived sound for your enjoyment, rather than being stuck with a one box solution.

Regards,

Shadders.
1) Where identical active/passive versions of the same speaker are available, you are correct. The advantage with actives is that you can build an integrated system, matched in a way that no passive combination can be, at anything resembling sensible prices.

2) Subjective choice, no argument.

3) Correct at this time, there are some pro monitors that are, but they are not really relevant. The increasing use of DSP in integrated systems may change that though.

4) By implication you are saying that the ability to fine tune your system with cables is lost, however integrated active systems can easily incorporate 'tuning' devices (coventionally or in DSP) that give far greater tuning options.

5) This is correct but at a price that would put them out of reach for many users.

To my mind the big advantage with actives is the cost saving. You save a fortune on casework for the amplifier, can use amps optimised for the application, can use the electronic crossover to optimise the response and even implement speaker and room eq at modest cost.
Hi,

I disupte the casework aspect. Casework can be very cheap for large runs.

When you state use amplifiers optimised for the application - what do you think the difference is between a standard amplifier and an amplifier used in an active speaker? There are small diferences, such as output relay may be removed, no output inductor and resistor, no zobel network. You may reduce the output stage transistor count, but you still need two amplifiers as a minimum per speaker (hence 4 amplifiers for one active pair), instead of just one stereo amplifier (hence 2 amplifiers). Casework for an active speaker is required for correct heatsinking and construction, so reduction in costs are not as vast as one would expect.

The reduction in component count since the amplifier is directly connected to the speaker is "probably" countered by the requirement for two amplifiers per speaker.

A modularised design may be more expensive, but it will not be an onerous or excessive cost as one might initially expect. It does offer you flexibility, where a one box design does not.

Regards,

Shadders.
 
M

Mammy Nun

Guest
What a load of bull poop.

This thread, has turned to ratshit......
 

Barbapapa

Well-known member
Feb 13, 2016
1
0
4,520
If your amp's fans are active you should try to listen at more moderate levels, or find an alternative way of cooling.

What? *blum3*
 

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