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Passive speakers and amps

May 18, 2016
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So, im new to this audio thing. I am going to buy studio monitor speakers soon and i need to understand two termins: active and passive. So as i understand this far, for passive speaker, i need amplifier right?

For active ones i don't need them right?

And why would i need an audio interface and what are the DACs for?

Thanks!
 

spiny norman

New member
Jan 14, 2009
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Oskar Palm said:
So, im new to this audio thing. I am going to buy studio monitor speakers soon and i need to understand two termins: active and passive. So as i understand this far, for passive speaker, i need amplifier right?
Yes.

Oskar Palm said:
For active ones i don't need them right?
Again yes, as the active speakers have the amps buit-in.

Oskar Palm said:
And why would i need an audio interface and what are the DACs for?
The audio interface allows you to connect multiple sources (things playing music, from CD players to computers to mixers) into the speakers, and control the volume, etc. Quite a lot of active speakers have volume controls built-in, but they're often hidden round the back on studio monitors, so unless your source components have their own volume controls, it's sensible to have a separate volume controller between the sources and the speakers, for convenince if nothing else.

DACs (digital to analogue converters) turn music in the form of digital data into analogue music you can hear (and here I'm simplifying a bit): if your CD players. computers and mixers, etc have decent digital to analogue conversion built-in, you can just connect in analogue to the monitors, and you're done.

There are also some monitors with built-in digital to analogue converters, able to take a digital feed from, say, a computer, and convert it, amplify it, the whole thing. But these tend to be domestic models, not specifically designed for studio use, although some people do use these in studios.

It's also possible to buy digital to analogue converters with a volume control built-in, so you can just connect computer -> DAC -> active speakers.
 
May 18, 2016
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Thanks! The speakers im thinking about are the Presonus Eris E5 or Tannoy Reveal 402. Which of them shoud i get and do these need an amp? Also should i get a DAC or anything else, for maximum sound quality? I'm playing music mostly off my MacBook Air and rarely from my OnePlus X. Sometimes i maybe will connect an irig keys pro also.
 

lpv

New member
Mar 14, 2013
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out of the 2 you've listed I would choose presonus but I think you should try Mackie MR5 Mark III ( same price range) and then meke your decision.

also, you can go directly from your mac headphone out to mackies input at the back using appropriate cable. good luck.
 

davedotco

New member
Apr 24, 2013
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As is often the case with active monitors, functionality is the key. If everything is comining from the Macbook and each of the 'players' (Eg iTunes, YouTube, etc) have their own volume controls, then you can run from the headphone socket as described.

A better solution in my view would be to use an inexpensive usb dac, which will act as an interface or soundcard for your Macbook. These are not expensive, the Behringer UCA202 is barely £25 and their are other models with greater functionality at somewhat higher prices.

The complication comes when you wish to play something from a source other than your Macbook, adding extra switching and/or a volume control can get expensive or messy, so think about how you intend to use the setup before parting with the cash.
 

BigH

New member
Dec 29, 2012
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Oskar Palm said:
So, im new to this audio thing. I am going to buy studio monitor speakers soon and i need to understand two termins: active and passive. So as i understand this far, for passive speaker, i need amplifier right?

For active ones i don't need them right?

And why would i need an audio interface and what are the DACs for?

Thanks!
Yes and No. Most active speakers have the amps inside but not all. Powered speakers which are passive also have amps inside. The active/passive is to do with the crossover. In passive its in the speakers, its a filter, in active the frequencies are split before the amplifier and then amplified, some say this produces much less distortion. DACs are for converting digital into analogue sound so you can hear it.
 

lpv

New member
Mar 14, 2013
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Big H - actives distort much less than passives. it's a fact, not ' some say' beliefs.
 

spiny norman

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Jan 14, 2009
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lpv said:
Big H - actives distort much less than passives. it's a fact, not ' some say' beliefs.
Now remind me, is it 10,000 times less or did you sell a £200,000 system, throw away your crutches and walk again?
 

lpv

New member
Mar 14, 2013
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spiny norman said:
lpv said:
Big H - actives distort much less than passives. it's a fact, not ' some say' beliefs.
Now remind me, is it 10,000 times less or did you sell a £200,000 system, throw away your crutches and walk again?
I won't cure your issues.. you should seek professional help.
 

lpv

New member
Mar 14, 2013
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spiny norman said:
lpv said:
I won't cure your issues.. you should seek professional help.
Ah yes, anyone who disagrees with you is mentally ill. It sounds more familiar with every post you make.
chapaj dzide lapsie *biggrin*
 

GustavAP

New member
Jan 15, 2016
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Oskar Palm said:
Thanks! The speakers im thinking about are the Presonus Eris E5 or Tannoy Reveal 402. Which of them shoud i get and do these need an amp? Also should i get a DAC or anything else, for maximum sound quality? I'm playing music mostly off my MacBook Air and rarely from my OnePlus X. Sometimes i maybe will connect an irig keys pro also.
I used to own the Tannoy Reveal 402 but I had to get rid of them because of a high hissing sound audible especially when playing at lower levels (cheap or badly constructed crossovers?) This is a known problem that many people have pointed to. Although if this hissing noise wouldn't disturb you (you should try to listen to them first) they sound great for the price! I was very happy with them when I was recording and mixing and used them for critical listening, but when I instead wanted to use them for low level listening when working it was extremely annoying!
 
May 18, 2016
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So what exactly would i need, if i get the speakers. I would have them connected via, foe example the cheaper usb dac. But what option would be better, if i sometimes, want to play music fro mmy phone? It's not that important, since i can play all my music from my computer too. Just in case i would need it some time. And the dac should also have a headphone output.
 

lpv

New member
Mar 14, 2013
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simply look for the active speakers with 3,5 mm connection.. can you buy online and have it delivered?
 

BigH

New member
Dec 29, 2012
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Oskar Palm said:
I can't buy the mackies, there is no where to buy at where i live. But u think the presonus are better than tannoy?
Where do you live?
 

lpv

New member
Mar 14, 2013
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also.. the mentioned hiss in some budget actives might be annoying.. read the forums/ user reports regarding hiss/ buzz.. I know ie, yamaha hs series hiss quite a bit
 

davedotco

New member
Apr 24, 2013
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Oskar Palm said:
So what exactly would i need, if i get the speakers. I would have them connected via, foe example the cheaper usb dac. But what option would be better, if i sometimes, want to play music fro mmy phone? It's not that important, since i can play all my music from my computer too. Just in case i would need it some time. And the dac should also have a headphone output.
As I tried to explain earlier, using multiple inputs into a dac/active speaker combination is where it starts to get difficult. You will need a dac with at least 2 inputs, one for your computer and one for your phone, perhaps with an added Bluetooth or similar receiver. Many phones make accessing the digital output quite awkward, hence the suggestion to go wireless with Bluetooth, using the headphone output on the phone is rarely satisfactory in my experience.

If your computer can use can output via Bluetooth, then an Arcam Mini or iBlink could recieve from either your computer or phone and is not that expensive.

Regarding the requirement for a headphone amp, the one one the otherwise excellent Behringer UCA202 is known to be quite week, if this is important then this is not such a good choice.
 

davedotco

New member
Apr 24, 2013
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Oskar Palm said:
but to that behringer i could connect and bluetooth reciever right? or do you know any better replacementr, which would have decen headphone amp also?
The Behringer has only the one usb input.

If you look on amazon you will find plenty of dac/headphone amplifiers from the same manufacturers as your amp list. Pick one that suits your needs, check that they have the inputs you require and maybe a volume control on line out, they are not expensive. One worthwhile point, try and find a local supplier rather than ordering out of china.
 

lindsayt

New member
Apr 8, 2011
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lpv said:
spiny norman said:
lpv said:
Big H - actives distort much less than passives. it's a fact, not ' some say' beliefs.
Now remind me, is it 10,000 times less or did you sell a £200,000 system, throw away your crutches and walk again?
I won't cure your issues.. you should seek professional help.
lpv, this is a quite disgusting insult from you.

It breaks rule number 1 of the house rules - stickied at the top of this section of the forum.

I think you should apologise to spiny norman and edit your post to remove your insult.
 

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