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Active VS passive – specific questions

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idc

Well-known member
Jan 2, 2008
1,039
10
19,195
There have been so many claims of actives are so much better than passives it has rung my sceptical alarm bell.

The main reason for that is so many speakers are described as active, but have different ways of being powered. There are true actives and powered speakers and some that seem to be inbetween. I wonder if the 'better' actives are the ones that supposed to be much 'better' than passives and the no so great 'actives', which may be powered instead are ignored to reach that conclusion.

I have heard with a mate as he auditioned loads of 'actives' (they may be powered) a lot of difference between them. How can they all be better than passives? (Answer, they cannot)

I wonder how much of this is a split amongst audiophiles, like vinyl sounds much 'better' than CD. Lets face it, we are an argumentative bunch.

My mates Mackies sound better than his passives, but they were 20 year old TDLs and no great shakes. Where actives won was he was able to replace a whole hifi system with a laptop and two speakers, at a reasonable price (£700 including the laptop) and get great sound. But that does not necessarily mean actives are 'better'.
 

relocated

New member
Jan 20, 2012
74
0
0
Clare Newsome said:
Well i'm a forum mod who uses active and passive speakers on a daily basis. And has bought a pair of AVIs previously: very good they were, too - as you'd expect from a WHF five-star product :)

Every product - regardless of brand or design - has to be judged on its individual merits and how they suit your system/music/taste.

[Cuts and pastes above sentence to clipboard for re-use in 101 other fractious threads]
Yippee, something I can agree with, without any reservation. :cheer: :clap:
 

relocated

New member
Jan 20, 2012
74
0
0
Lee H said:
John Duncan said:
Andy Clough said:
It means John has sent you an email.
To the email address you registered with...
Or you in some way remind him of either Tom Hanks or Meg Ryan?

Maybe it's a hitherto unkown form of AOL based tourettes?
Oh lee, you are awful. You cheeky, cheeky boy.

.For me you see, a simple, 'I have sent you an email' would have sufficed. I must seem such a simple soul, poor me.

:wave:
 

Alec

Well-known member
Oct 8, 2007
478
0
18,890
The_Lhc said:
professorhat said:
The_Lhc said:
I do recognise a number of people who spend a lot of time in "other places" slagging WHF off at every available opportunity and then come back here and pretend everything's fine and dandy. That, frankly, boggles my mind, I wouldn't have the bare-faced cheek to be that hypocritical. And I can be very hypocritical when I feel like it...
It boggles my mind how people find the time to frequent so many forums - I don't even have time to keep up with this one...
That's why I don't bother with "the other place", it's just a massive sprawling mess of sub-forums, I wouldn't know where to begin and I can't be **sed with it, frankly and that's allowing for the fact that I spend most of my working day on the net!
Yup, no sub forums here*. None at all. Not loads. Definitley not.

And some folk are very transparent about who they are in both places, even though some only became so transparent quite recently.

*No offence intended, just being factual.
 

Alec

Well-known member
Oct 8, 2007
478
0
18,890
John Duncan said:
The_Lhc said:
That's why I don't bother with "the other place", it's just a massive sprawling mess of sub-forums, I wouldn't know where to begin and I can't be **sed with it, frankly and that's allowing for the fact that I spend most of my working day on the net!
Are we talking about the same other place?
Good question.
 

Frank Harvey

Well-known member
Jun 27, 2008
567
0
18,890
idc said:
There have been so many claims of actives are so much better than passives it has rung my sceptical alarm bell.

The main reason for that is so many speakers are described as active, but have different ways of being powered. There are true actives and powered speakers and some that seem to be inbetween. I wonder if the 'better' actives are the ones that supposed to be much 'better' than passives and the no so great 'actives', which may be powered instead are ignored to reach that conclusion.

I have heard with a mate as he auditioned loads of 'actives' (they may be powered) a lot of difference between them. How can they all be better than passives? (Answer, they cannot)

I wonder how much of this is a split amongst audiophiles, like vinyl sounds much 'better' than CD. Lets face it, we are an argumentative bunch.

My mates Mackies sound better than his passives, but they were 20 year old TDLs and no great shakes. Where actives won was he was able to replace a whole hifi system with a laptop and two speakers, at a reasonable price (£700 including the laptop) and get great sound. But that does not necessarily mean actives are 'better'.
I'm going to try and word this post as carefully as I can, because I know that some will try and make something out of it that isn't there. For the record, I've heard active speakers, and like what I've heard. But I also like passives too. In fact, it doesn't matter what type it is, if it sounds good, I like it.

We currently don't keep any active speakers. This is because nobody comes into our store asking about them. If we had enough interest, we'd look into it, but current interest doesn't warrant the cost of buying in a few different ranges of active speakers - like all products/brands, keeping one brand of active speaker is useless as the customer has no reference point and no alternatives to make a comparison. People like choice. Maybe this will change in the future - we'll have to wait and see.

Those that fly the active flag tend to claim that active speakers are more accurate, and that the only way to go to get a decent representation of what's on the disc is to go active. Nonsense. Any well designed speaker with appropriate amplification, regardless of price, will produce a great and enjoyable reproduction of your source. Another thing to add is that the 'actives are more accurate' chant also gives the impression that all actives are superior, which again, we now know isn't the case as a number of people have said on this forum that they've heard large differences between active speakers. Just like passive speakers, some like some active speakers but not others. How much closer does a £5,000 active speaker get to the original than a £1000 active speaker? As long as they're both well designed, it has to be closer, right? Of course.

Many of these passive vs active summaries I've heard can be partly attributed to actives being compared to bass heavy, ill defined speakers (old or modern). Of course a small standmount with a limited bass response will sound tighter and punchier! Compare that to a similarly sized passive standmount that a manufacturer has gone out of their way to try and reproduce as much bass as possible, and you can start to see where some of those conclusions come from.

Did anyone who has bought active speakers compare them to other active speakers? If not, just like passives, there could better out there that you've missed out on. As I mentioned earlier, people like choice, and there will always be alternatives, whether they're equals, superior, or inferior. I do think that sometimes, some people get caught up in a bit of 'forum hype' (numerous examples could be given), and go a bit overboard in their worship of the product. I do read a forum where the 'active is better' theme is understandably present given the nature of the forum, but the way in which passive speakers are treated and the blatant slagging off they get is almost sickening.

There have been some pretty big leaps forward by various speaker manufacturers over the past few years that have greatly improved reproduction of their passive loudspeakers. This can only make the gap between passive and active smaller, and more competitive. It'll be interesting to see if the popularity of active speakers grows, or stays a domestically niche market.
 

The_Lhc

New member
Oct 16, 2008
1,176
1
0
John Duncan said:
The_Lhc said:
That's why I don't bother with "the other place", it's just a massive sprawling mess of sub-forums, I wouldn't know where to begin and I can't be **sed with it, frankly and that's allowing for the fact that I spend most of my working day on the net!
Are we talking about the same other place?
I don't know. Where are you talking about?

Nb: I have recently been listening to Count Arthur Strong's Radio Show, so this conversation might get a bit silly...
 

steve_1979

Well-known member
Jul 14, 2010
231
7
18,795
ooh.. said:
Yesterday a friend and i were driving to the beach when i spotted a pretty lady, i said look at the bum on that she looked great from behind to which he replied: My ex girlfriend looks much better from behind. I said in your opinion! He said no, she looks better.

Whatever, i said, as i drove along, thinking how can he not know that better is subjective? And wondering how i could setup an ABX test :)
This would need to be a blind ABX test because if you could see them it'd be biased. You would have to be able ABX their bottoms using touch alone for it to be a fair scientific test...

and who says science is dull eh?
 

The_Lhc

New member
Oct 16, 2008
1,176
1
0
Alec said:
The_Lhc said:
professorhat said:
It boggles my mind how people find the time to frequent so many forums - I don't even have time to keep up with this one...
That's why I don't bother with "the other place", it's just a massive sprawling mess of sub-forums, I wouldn't know where to begin and I can't be **sed with it, frankly and that's allowing for the fact that I spend most of my working day on the net!
Yup, no sub forums here*. None at all. Not loads. Definitley not.
Nothing like as many as the other place (the one I'm thinking of, I don't know where you mean). It must run into the hundreds.

And some folk are very transparent about who they are in both places, even though some only became so transparent quite recently.
Of course, I wouldn't know who they were otherwise.
 

BenLaw

Well-known member
Nov 21, 2010
475
7
18,895
The_Lhc said:
Alec said:
The_Lhc said:
professorhat said:
It boggles my mind how people find the time to frequent so many forums - I don't even have time to keep up with this one...
That's why I don't bother with "the other place", it's just a massive sprawling mess of sub-forums, I wouldn't know where to begin and I can't be **sed with it, frankly and that's allowing for the fact that I spend most of my working day on the net!
Yup, no sub forums here*. None at all. Not loads. Definitley not.
Nothing like as many as the other place (the one I'm thinking of, I don't know where you mean). It must run into the hundreds.

And some folk are very transparent about who they are in both places, even though some only became so transparent quite recently.
Of course, I wouldn't know who they were otherwise.
I was rather assuming you meant AV Forums, but that assumption doesn't seem to be shared.
 

steve_1979

Well-known member
Jul 14, 2010
231
7
18,795
FrankHarveyHiFi said:
steve_1979 said:
I've heard some active and passive Dynaudios speakers side by side and the active ones sounded a little bit better in both cases.
Not the huge difference that many claim then? Because of the warmer, bassier sound of the Dynaudio's models, I'd have expected a bigger difference.
Yes I agree that Dynaudios probably aren't the best for an active/passive 'like for like' comparison because of their bassy sound.

In general I do think that actives have better controlled bass though. Take the passive ATC SCM 11 or even my own Neutron 5's for example. They're some of the least 'boomy' sounding passive speakers that I've heard but even these don't have bass that's as well controlled as a good pair active speakers. They manage to come pretty damn close but actives just have the edge over them where bass control is concerned.
 

steve_1979

Well-known member
Jul 14, 2010
231
7
18,795
relocated said:
Overall I think that you should remember that you hold a position, real or imagined by us, of power because you are a moderator on this forum.

That in, my opinion, requires you to be as balanced as possible to ensure that you do not stiffle open and honest debate.
In all fairness I think that JD and the other WHF mods have recently been much more easy going with regards to allowing free speech on this forum.

Thanks guys. :cheers:
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
The_Lhc said:
John Duncan said:
The_Lhc said:
That's why I don't bother with "the other place", it's just a massive sprawling mess of sub-forums, I wouldn't know where to begin and I can't be **sed with it, frankly and that's allowing for the fact that I spend most of my working day on the net!
Are we talking about the same other place?
I don't know. Where are you talking about? Nb: I have recently been listening to Count Arthur Strong's Radio Show, so this conversation might get a bit silly...
Are you referring to AVForums? Cos i think AVI Forum is where others are aluding to.

Ah, that first bit isn't what i typed, mustn't be allowed to mention that other place :)
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
steve_1979 said:
ooh.. said:
Yesterday a friend and i were driving to the beach when i spotted a pretty lady, i said look at the bum on that she looked great from behind to which he replied: My ex girlfriend looks much better from behind. I said in your opinion! He said no, she looks better.

Whatever, i said, as i drove along, thinking how can he not know that better is subjective? And wondering how i could setup an ABX test :)
This would need to be a blind ABX test because if you could see them it'd be biased. You would have to be able ABX their bottoms using touch alone for it to be a fair scientific test...

and who says science is dull eh?
Perhaps that's why the guys in the white coats are smiling :p
 

BenLaw

Well-known member
Nov 21, 2010
475
7
18,895
BenLaw said:
The_Lhc said:
The_Lhc said:
BenLaw said:
I was rather assuming you meant AV Forums, but that assumption doesn't seem to be shared.
In reference to hundreds of sub-forums, yes, I did.
Now that's a clever trick...
I'm going mad, I meant to say (and was sure I'd written) AV Forums. Am I right now?
That's bizarre. Each time I wrote A(udio) V(isual) Forums, but apparently that's some sort of auto-edited swear word here!
 

BenLaw

Well-known member
Nov 21, 2010
475
7
18,895
ooh.. said:
The_Lhc said:
John Duncan said:
The_Lhc said:
That's why I don't bother with "the other place", it's just a massive sprawling mess of sub-forums, I wouldn't know where to begin and I can't be **sed with it, frankly and that's allowing for the fact that I spend most of my working day on the net!
Are we talking about the same other place?
I don't know. Where are you talking about? Nb: I have recently been listening to Count Arthur Strong's Radio Show, so this conversation might get a bit silly...
Are you referring to AVForums? Cos i think AVI Forum is where others are aluding to.

Ah, that first bit isn't what i typed, mustn't be allowed to mention that other place :)
Snap! How strange...
 

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