Chris, we are a few pages into this thread and I think that 2 very important areas of actives vs passives have not been covered properly.ChrisIRL said: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.
1. How does the system sound?
2 How much did or would the owner have to pay for it?
I am listening now to a system with an active crossover. This is the 2nd active crossover I've used in this system.
The first crossover that I used was a modern Ashly 4th order adjustable active crossover. When I introduced this to my system at a cost of £115 it sounded as if my amplifiers were having an easier time. Greater dynamic ease. I was also able to mix and match amplifiers and still maintain a relatively neutral overall tonal balance with the right adjustments on the volume pots on the crossover. This was at the expense of the introduction of a certain amount of transistorised hash which was most noticeable in the midrange.
Over time the Ashly developed audible hum through the speakers. I replaced it with a vintage Pioneer SF-700 adjustable active crossover at a cost of about £150. The Pioneer has dials for making it a 1st, 2nd or 3rd order crossover. In this system I've always used it as first order. Hum aside, I prefered the sound of the Pioneer to the Ashly as it sounds more transparent, less transistorised hash.
When comparing the passive version vs the Ashly vs the Pioneer active version the basic sonic nature of the speakers (Bozak Symphonies) remained. So that for example, I would still take the passive version of the Symphonies over my Linn Isobariks - once I'd tweaked room positions to get them optimal for each speaker. From there I would take the Pioneer active version over the passive version of these speakers.
Comparing my Bozaks to my passive EV Sentry III's, the Bozaks have better bass. It's tighter, better textured, more tuneful - more realistic sounding. The Sentries have better midrange: more wide open, unfettered, more bite, better focus and clarity.
Comparing my Bozaks to my EV Patrician 800's they have equally good but different bass. The Patricians have greater bass extension and a more dynamic bass. At similar volumes, bass drums will project out into the room more and sound like they have greater contrast to the background level more with the Patricians. However, the upper bass on the Bozaks is tighter than the Patricians. The Patricians are better in the midrange in the same way that the Sentries are better in the midrange.
I paid £500 for my Symphonies, about the same for the Sentries if I include the repair costs for them. I paid about £5500 for the Patricians.
For the upper frequencies on my Bozaks I use a Coincident Frankenstein 300b prototype that I bought for about £1650. For the bass I used to use an Avondale homebrew for which I think I paid about £700. I now use a JBL 6230 bought for £84. I don't use a pre-amp in my Bozak system.
Those are my thoughts on my systems. Systems I have lived with for a few years.
ChrisIRL, I can give you my thoughts on other active systems I've heard, if you wish?