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Monitors - passive or active ?
Old 15th October 2013
  #1
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Monitors - passive or active ?

Hi !
just out of curiosity ... are you using passive or active monitors ?
and why ?
I am about to go active ... but i am still undecided
Thanks and regards,
gino
Old 15th October 2013
  #2
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Hi
Among the attractiveness of 'active' are:
Amplifier and crossover suits the drive units without 'experimentation'.
Protection of drivers is (or should be) inbuilt. (could be important if you are a 'commercial' studio with wild clients!).
Having balanced inputs might help resolve hum issues when teamed up with less than 'ideal' sources.
Might be cheaper than a pair of monitors AND a separate power amp.
Of course 'personal circumstances' should be reviewed as either route can be excellent so to a fair degree YOU have to weigh up YOUR list of advantages and disadvantages.
Matt S
Old 15th October 2013
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Syson View Post
Hi
Among the attractiveness of 'active' are:
Amplifier and crossover suits the drive units without 'experimentation'.
Protection of drivers is (or should be) inbuilt. (could be important if you are a 'commercial' studio with wild clients!).
Having balanced inputs might help resolve hum issues when teamed up with less than 'ideal' sources.
Might be cheaper than a pair of monitors AND a separate power amp.
Of course 'personal circumstances' should be reviewed as either route can be excellent so to a fair degree YOU have to weigh up YOUR list of advantages and disadvantages.
Matt S
Thank you very much for your reply and valuable advice
But sorry i am curious and have to ask ... are you monitoring on actives or passives ?
My feeling is that the vast majority of professionals monitor on actives.
Maybe i am wrong.
This fact would be extremely important in my decision because i trust on professionals so much more than on myself.
Thanks again and kind regards,
gino
Old 15th October 2013
  #4
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kosty's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by ginetto61 View Post
My feeling is that the vast majority of professionals monitor on actives.
Maybe i am wrong.
This fact would be extremely important in my decision because i trust on professionals so much more than on myself.
Thanks again and kind regards,
gino
because most available monitors are only offered with build-in amps.
Passive ones are much more expensive if you want to get the same quality as active ones by using external active crossovers and bi/tri-amping.

NS-10s are still passive.
Old 15th October 2013
  #5
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You can get great active speakers and great passive systems. Really depends on each set up.
It seems like active speakers are more popular around here, but then again a lot of people are still using NS10's which are obviously passive.
I don't have a pro studio, but have a passive system for my home room.
I like the idea of a dedicated amp, and a dedicated speaker, not both together.
Old 15th October 2013
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kosty View Post
because most available monitors are only offered with build-in amps.
Passive ones are much more expensive if you want to get the same quality as active ones by using external active crossovers and bi/tri-amping
NS-10s are still passive.
Thank you ! this is very important for me
That the quality/price ratio is higher with the active solution.
I have already a pair of KRK in my scope.
Kind regards,
gino
Old 15th October 2013
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheBrightSide View Post
You can get great active speakers and great passive systems. Really depends on each set up.
It seems like active speakers are more popular around here, but then again a lot of people are still using NS10's which are obviously passive.
I don't have a pro studio, but have a passive system for my home room.
I like the idea of a dedicated amp, and a dedicated speaker, not both together.
Hi ! thanks for your advice
But i am a little scared by the amp/speaker matching issue.
I think that it should be easier to get good sound from active speakers expecially for a beginner.
Then maybe with more experience i could try the harder way.
Kind regards,
gino
Old 15th October 2013
  #8
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Hi
I don't have a studio as I am a 'tech' who repairs studios however from observation it is probably easier to get 'active' monitors, not least because the range available for your price bracket (whatever it is) will narrow it down to a relatively small number of possible choices, unlike a vast number of passives and amplifiers.
If you are being 'serious' you must actually LISTEN to some possible units in something like your control room environment. This may be tricky if you don't have a good dealer 'nearby' but maybe you could visit other studios and have a coffee and chat with the owner?
Matt S
Old 15th October 2013
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Syson View Post
Hi
I don't have a studio as I am a 'tech' who repairs studios however from observation it is probably easier to get 'active' monitors, not least because the range available for your price bracket (whatever it is) will narrow it down to a relatively small number of possible choices, unlike a vast number of passives and amplifiers.
If you are being 'serious' you must actually LISTEN to some possible units in something like your control room environment.
This may be tricky if you don't have a good dealer 'nearby' but maybe you could visit other studios and have a coffee and chat with the owner?
Matt S
Hello ! ehm ... i am a gear nut actually
I do not know many studios unfortunately
I was just putting pieces together aiming to to get a pair of nice small monitors
1) in all the youtube videos i see people in their home studios but also professionals all using active monitors on the desk. These are handy because i could drive them directly with an usb interface ( i have a pair of creative speakers, just to explain from what level i am starting .. and sometimes they even surprise me)
Just for fun here they are



2) then i have this pair of little passives the sound of which i like quite a lot.
They are from a Danish firm ... System Audio.
I understand that to have nice sound 500 USD/speaker is the entry price.
Then i see active speakers (from KRK, Yamaha, etc.) at around 200USD/each.
So ... the bizzarre idea to place in those cheap monitors better parts that i already have at hand. Apart from size issues i do not see why they should not work actually ... and better parts usually mean better sound.

Thank you very much indeed
Kind regards,
gino
Old 15th October 2013
  #10
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loujudson's Avatar
design trumps parts.
Old 15th October 2013
  #11
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kosty's Avatar
Get some Yamaha HS50 / HS5 (not the larger ones. These sound bad in untreated rooms and have hyped muddy lows)
You can still use them as a second pair of monitors later when you get better ones. Perfect to use for checking the mids.

Forget KRK. Not usable for mixing. If you just want to listen to some music, they are fine.
Old 15th October 2013
  #12
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loujudson's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by kosty View Post
Forget KRK. Not usable for mixing. If you just want to listen to some music, they are fine.
Whew, thanks for saying that!
Old 15th October 2013
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kosty View Post
Get some Yamaha HS50 / HS5 (not the larger ones. These sound bad in untreated rooms and have hyped muddy lows)You can still use them as a second pair of monitors later when you get better ones.
Perfect to use for checking the mids.
Forget KRK. Not usable for mixing. If you just want to listen to some music, they are fine
Thanks a lot. Yes it is my case.
So your advice is to select a 5" woofer monitor i understand.
Actually i was leaning in that direction because the passives have actually 5" woofers and i like them a lot also in the bass.
I know that some manufacturers, one i think is Quad, have a very similar box in passive and active version.
Studio Monitor Series Quad

The passive is quite good from what i read.
But the active is spectacular.
Those are nice.
I was thinking in the same line.
Thanks and kind regards,
gino
Old 15th October 2013
  #14
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kosty's Avatar
For listening purpose everything is fine, as are probably your creative speakers.
For mixing you shouldn't look at "HiFi" speakers. These HiFi people often talk bullsh*t and believe in out-of-the-world voodoo things such as 1000$ power cables etc...

Good amps for passive speakers start at 500$ (Bryston, Hafler, Hypex etc..)
Everything below is not worth considering compared to active monitors.
Not saying that cheaper amps are bad but definitely not a good fit as the ones in actives.

In the end it all depends on your budget and what you want to do with them.
Old 15th October 2013
  #15
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ginetto61 View Post
... i have this pair of little passives the sound of which i like quite a lot. <> the bizzarre idea to place in those cheap monitors better parts that i already have at hand.
So your idea is to put the amps from your active speakers inside your passive speakers?

It could work. But bear in mind that in well-designed speakers the volume of the inside of the cabinet is calculated mathematically. Putting an amp inside will decrease that volume and change the sound of the speaker. Heat dissipation may also be an issue.

To your original question, at my studio we're entirely passive. Soffited Urei 813's, Old-school KRK's, Auratones, NS-10's, Rogers LS/35a's, Realistic Minimus 7's, custom-designed fullrange driver "mega-auratones..."

Mostly powered by Bryston amps (we have 1 Crown d-150, and a couple Haflers for emergencies). Someone mentioned external crossovers and biamping or triamping... we don't do that.

Why all passive? Because we're old farts and when we started out that's all there was. And at this point, the speakers and speaker cables all have banana plugs which make them super easy to swap out quickly. Anything active wouldn't be compatible with that -- they'd have to be connected from the patch bay.

Why (almost) all Bryston amps? Because when some other amp crapped out, probably a Crown or a Hafler, we found a used Bryston on eBay and it sounded noticeably better. Over time, we just kept bargain hunting until we had a bunch of them. Simple as that.

I have so little experience with active monitors except at other people's studios that I'm barely entitled to an opinion about them. I did, however, try out both the passive and active Avantones at my place when they first came out. The passives driven by a Bryston sounded much better than the actives, which you might expect. I didn't buy either of them.
Old 15th October 2013
  #16
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kosty View Post
For listening purpose everything is fine, as are probably your creative speakers.
For mixing you shouldn't look at "HiFi" speakers.
These HiFi people often talk bullsh*t and believe in out-of-the-world voodoo things such as 1000$ power cables etc ....
Thanks and actually this is the main reason why i am here
The audiophile world is verging on feticism nowadays.
Anyway i am convinced to try actives.
I have read already many 3D on the subject like the one on the little JBLs.
I have decided the size (5" woofer) but not the budget.
I am thinking ...

Quote:
Good amps for passive speakers start at 500$ (Bryston, Hafler, Hypex etc..)
Everything below is not worth considering compared to active monitors.
Not saying that cheaper amps are bad but definitely not a good fit as the ones in actives.
In the end it all depends on your budget and what you want to do with them.
I would like a pair when the speaker are exactly the same, not the solution with one slave to the other, i am uncomfortable with that.
In general i like the two channels perfectly equal.
An identical speaker for each channel.
2 ways ... 5" woofer ... there are so many options
I am learning a lot anyway
Thanks again and kind regards
gino
Old 15th October 2013
  #17
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
So your idea is to put the amps from your active speakers inside your passive speakers? It could work. But bear in mind that in well-designed speakers the volume of the inside of the cabinet is calculated mathematically.
Putting an amp inside will decrease that volume and change the sound of the speaker.
Hello ! Well ... actually the viceversa ... to put the drivers of the passive in the active (i.e. replacing the drivers with similar but better parts).
For instance i think that the superiority of model like Adams comes from the use of better drivers above all.
I know that the quality of the drivers i have at hand for the project is quite high. Danish school.
And i like the sound very much ... clean ... transparent.
I noticed that the active version of some passive speakers is usually much more expensive than the passive one. Very much.

Quote:
Heat dissipation may also be an issue
i am not going to raise the volume a lot. I have neighbours.
But i notice that active speakers have a very clean sound even at low level, more than passive i think.
I think this is mainly due to the lack of the passive crossover. I think.

Quote:
To your original question, at my studio we're entirely passive. Soffited Urei 813's, Old-school KRK's, Auratones, NS-10's, Rogers LS/35a's, Realistic Minimus 7's, custom-designed fullrange driver "mega-auratones..."
Mostly powered by Bryston amps (we have 1 Crown d-150, and a couple Haflers for emergencies). Someone mentioned external crossovers and biamping or triamping... we don't do that.
Why all passive? Because we're old farts and when we started out that's all there was.
And at this point, the speakers and speaker cables all have banana plugs which make them super easy to swap out quickly. Anything active wouldn't be compatible with that -- they'd have to be connected from the patch bay.
Why (almost) all Bryston amps?
Because when some other amp crapped out, probably a Crown or a Hafler, we found a used Bryston on eBay and it sounded noticeably better.
Over time, we just kept bargain hunting until we had a bunch of them. Simple as that.
thank you sincerely for you advice and i have a great admiration for Bryston.
Great company with products reliable, powerful and very gound sounding.
Way out my budget unfortunately.
I have an old bryston preamp actually. Clean and a rock.

Quote:
I have so little experience with active monitors except at other people's studios that I'm barely entitled to an opinion about them.
I did, however, try out both the passive and active Avantones at my place when they first came out.
The passives driven by a Bryston sounded much better than the actives, which you might expect.
I didn't buy either of them
Uhmm ... now i am again confused.
I will keep on reading and learning ... i think.
Thanks a lot for the very valuable advice.
Best regards,
gino
Old 15th October 2013
  #18
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kosty's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by ginetto61 View Post
I noticed that the active version of some passive speakers is usually much more expensive than the passive one. Very much.
Not really. Even though the choice for passive nearfields is extremely small you wouldn't get an amp for the surcharge of the active version.
Example : Krk rockit 6. active 209€, passive 166€.
Difference is 2x43€. You can't get a good amp for 86€.

The price difference with better monitors is larger (ATC SCM 50 vs SCM 50A is 5000€ premium for the active version).
Still the quality of the actives seems to be hard to reach with the passive version. Even tri-amping it with hypex ncore amps and digital crossovers, you would have to spend 3000€-4000€ for these. Additionally measuring and setting up delays and crossovers will take knowledge and time.

I wouldn't think of using passive speakers in the price region under 10k€ if there are active versions of them available.
If you want specific passive speakers where no active ones are available it's another story.
But on todays market, there are enough good alternatives, so you really don't need to go passive. (Except NS10 even though the HS50 can get you to the same goal while sounding different).
Old 16th October 2013
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kosty View Post
Not really.
Even though the choice for passive nearfields is extremely small you wouldn't get an amp for the surcharge of the active version.
Example : Krk rockit 6. active 209€, passive 166€.
Difference is 2x43€.
You can't get a good amp for 86€
Thank you very much for your kind and valuable reply.
I was wrong and now i am astonished.
How can do the amps so cheap ??? amazing ...

Quote:
The price difference with better monitors is larger (ATC SCM 50 vs SCM 50A is 5000€ premium for the active version).
Still the quality of the actives seems to be hard to reach with the passive version. Even tri-amping it with hypex ncore amps and digital crossovers, you would have to spend 3000€-4000€ for these. Additionally measuring and setting up delays and crossovers will take knowledge and time.
so in the end actives really provide a better value for the price ?
and morevoer they ensure a good amp/driver matching.
The actives appear to me more and more sensible.

Quote:
I wouldn't think of using passive speakers in the price region under 10k€ if there are active versions of them available.
If you want specific passive speakers where no active ones are available it's another story.
But on todays market, there are enough good alternatives, so you really don't need to go passive. (Except NS10 even though the HS50 can get you to the same goal while sounding different)
Thanks a lot again and of course i am quite well under that threshold
I will give actives a try soon.
I am convinced now.
Thank you very much to you and all nice people here !
Have a nice day
Kind regards,
gino
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