Are active speakers a good idea?

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AEJim

Well-known member
Nov 17, 2008
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Oh, what a silly omission on their part, really!
A choice more than an omission really - which speaker would you aim the remote at? What if they're too far apart so the remote can only operate one speaker at a time? Would you have one remote for each independent speaker or add additional cabling with an umbilical cord between the two to ensure synchronised control? How long should that cable be? How would it work as a 5.1 system? Would you add a digital display on the front so you could see a volume readout? Would you avoid some of these issues by using a Bluetooth remote and the complexity/cost that adds to the design? Maybe use app control and manage every device format that has to work on and their own library access/update/store requirements leading to potentially frustrating reliability issues?

In the end, after MUCH debate about remotes, connectivity, wireless etc. we decided to keep the speaker as simple and pure as possible, concentrate on sound quality/reliability and leave volume control down to the source which can be chosen for functionality to the user's needs. (y)
 

manicm

Well-known member
May 1, 2008
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It makes a difference if you don't have a preamp
Are you joking???? The AE1 Actives NEED a preamp. Or are you just being argumentative to kick off the weekend?

The AE1 has no other inputs for sources. If you want to add a source you need a normal preamp, or a source with a preamp, be that a streamer or DAC with volume control.

Otherwise the AE1 is just very expensive furniture.
 
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muljao

Well-known member
Jul 18, 2016
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Are you joking???? The AE1 Actives NEED a preamp. Or are you just being argumentative to kick off the weekend?

The AE1 has no other inputs for sources. If you want to add a source you need a normal preamp, or a source with a preamp, be that a streamer or DAC with volume control.

Otherwise the AE1 is just very expensive furniture.
Excuse me. I don't argue with anyone on the internet. A bit of tongue in cheek sarcasm is not a personal insult or the start of an argument. We're only talking about electronic components here. Please lighten up

The original point was that the dac supplied that the op had didn't have a vol control afaik. I made the point I'd reconsider because of this but another member here thought they (the speakers)may have a vol control. Now that I've said this you might see the context to the answer I gave to your post.

Have a nice weekend, I intend too
 
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manicm

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May 1, 2008
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Excuse me. I don't argue with anyone on the internet. A bit of tongue in cheek sarcasm is not a personal insult or the start of an argument. We're only talking about electronic components here. Please lighten up

The original point was that the dac supplied that the op had didn't have a vol control afaik. I made the point I'd reconsider because of this but another member here thought they (the speakers)may have a vol control. Now that I've said this you might see the context to the answer I gave to your post.

Have a nice weekend, I intend too
But that's not a weakness of the AE1. If that was sarcasm on your part - it was of the watered and muddy variety.
 

plastic penguin

Well-known member
This is my personal view.

Firstly, I've not heard any actives but after reading copious of threads on various forums, it seems to be split between two camps: The 'Pro' camp is they love the clarity, imaging and detail of what a well constructed active can give you. Or there's the 'Con' camp where they tend to say, generalising, they can sound analytical. Perhaps, if you take the latter, over long listening sessions maybe they can sound a little sterile.

I don't really know, but that's my hunch. That said, I would love to hear a pair of AE1 actives. My system errs on the emotional side of the music... involving and makes you feel warm and cozy, even though the overall tonal presentation is fairly neutral.

Horses for courses.
 
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record_spot

Well-known member
May 30, 2015
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A choice more than an omission really - which speaker would you aim the remote at? What if they're too far apart so the remote can only operate one speaker at a time? Would you have one remote for each independent speaker or add additional cabling with an umbilical cord between the two to ensure synchronised control? How long should that cable be? How would it work as a 5.1 system? Would you add a digital display on the front so you could see a volume readout? Would you avoid some of these issues by using a Bluetooth remote and the complexity/cost that adds to the design? Maybe use app control and manage every device format that has to work on and their own library access/update/store requirements leading to potentially frustrating reliability issues?

In the end, after MUCH debate about remotes, connectivity, wireless etc. we decided to keep the speaker as simple and pure as possible, concentrate on sound quality/reliability and leave volume control down to the source which can be chosen for functionality to the user's needs. (y)

Hey Jim! It's been a few years and glad to see you're still around these parts (I've noticed you posted more recently than the above). I used to own a pair of your AE22 actives a few years ago. Quite probably the best speakers I've ever had. For the price they were, they were an absolute steal. And I even loved the looks. :)

I moved house some time later, smaller lounge and they just didn't quite fit in the little available space we had, so they were sold on to a chap in London. Such is life.

But for the two years I did have them, they were pretty magnificent. I've little doubt the AE1 actives are as good.

In general, I've had a few pairs of actives now and I've never found any of them exhibited a "clinical" tendency. That doesn;t mean to say that other models wouldn't. Horses for courses. Plenty of passives out there are overly trebly, bright, some a little too woolly, bassy, not so strong in the midrange, or whatever.

Funnily enough, the most clinical speaker I ever heard wasn't an active. That accolade goes to the Rogers DB101. Neutral, really no bass to speak of, fantastic design, but soulless. You'd have needed a subwoofer or two (and I might have leaned to two).

I've a pair of AVI ADM 9RSS actives these days - they date from around ten years ago. I bought them about three years or so ago now. They work well, never sound strained. The silk dome tweeter has a softer sound, but it works well across the board ultimately.
 

jjbomber

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Dec 22, 2006
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postup_crni

Well-known member
Nov 7, 2012
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You should listen to AE-1 before deciding, as they maybe reach full potential at higher levels. I cannot comment on KEF or other models mentioned here.
I listened to AE-1 at one dealer with a Bluesound streamer, good detail, imaging, but relatively flat. Could not crank them up, maybe that was the reason.
Second time, another dealer, at the end of high quality Parasound HT control amp (vs Acoustic Energy AE 500 on the end of Parasound Hint 6). Overkill, indeed, but both speakers were cranked up and easily filled a largish room with very good results. I preferred AE 500s, but not by much, probably due to Parasound amplification as well.

In my experience with AE (owned 2 pairs, original AE109 and Aelite1), they grow with the quality of amplification you use. So, maybe you could twist active - passive thing and consider maybe AE 109 or AE300/stands with Blueasound Powernode (or another all-in-one, like Marantz 611 or Technics SA C600 ).
Roughly similar budget, box count kept low, and possibility to upgrade the amplification later.
 

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