I think it's just historical. Passives came first because they were more practical and easier to produce (the theory behind actives was understood at least as early as the 'forties). Actives didn't get going (I think) until the seventies. Recording studios adopted them and most monitors nowadays seem to be active.
I've not read about any technical benefits of passive over active (notwithstanding oldric's reference to DC offset, which I'm guessing is not a major problem). There is obviously a cost involved, but for "serious" HiFi, this is not really an issue.
I think many audiophiles are resistant to change, perhaps partly because they enjoy all the "box-swapping" and looking at racks full of gear.
Personally, I just want gear that replays the music as faithfully and unobtrusively as possible.
At the moment there's very little choice if you want something with a nice finish and a grille (as well as sounding good), but hopefully this will change in the near future.
Main: SqueezeBox Classic>AVI ADM40
Second: SqueezeBox Touch>AVI ADM9RSS
If feeding speakers wiressly gets more popular there will be more models that do not have to be connected to a rack with an amp via cables which lends the speaker better for an active design.
System here http://www.whathifi.com/forum/your-system/my-dream-system-oh-maybe-one-day
I would like if the active speakers get more popular again. But apart from some big players like Backes & Müller who as far as I know only produce active speakers for more than 40 years most offers are basically in price areas which are excluded for most people. I believe if popular speaker brands like B&W would build them again the consumer would also buy them again.
I owned a pair of active one from B&W many years ago and used them for 20 years.
In the meantime I enjoy my Dynaudio A 110 which deliver a great sound in a small room ( 4x4 meters ) over my DAC.
1) living room: Naim SuperUniti, Neat Elite SX, Sonos bridge 2) office: Dynaudio 110 A, Sonos ZP 90, NuForce HDP Dac, Ripnas Z 1000 3) kitchen: Sonos S 5
Interesting re the active b&w. Do you have any more info/pic/link?
No unfortunately that´s too long ago. They were in black, heavy and expensive too. They produced a deep bass and filled a room of 6 to 8 meters easily. I can say that they were particularly good for clasical music. One ampli had to be exchanged twice though ( once on warranty ).
Valid point on actives actually: more electronics = more potential that something fails.
Though on the other side, it can be argued that having DAC, pre, amp, speakers all in one means that if anything goes wrong you may end up with an expensive brick. While if you have seperate components you can just replace the one that is defective.
M-Audio USB Transit->Benchmark DAC1->Beyerdynamic DT880 (600 ohm) / AKG K701
Yep, that's what I meant - more electronics inside actives so they are comparatively more complex than passives.
Unless they are modular in design, like a Pc with separate boards, then you could easily replace a module if it failed, but then again, solid state tech is fairly reliable anyway.
Mac mini > AVI ADM9Ts
Hmmm, yes that's an interesting point.
Although in my experience if electronics are going to fail it usually happens sooner rather than later, in which case the speakers should still be under warranty.
PC > AVI Neutron Five 2.1
32GB Sony NWZ-A846 Walkman > Westone UM3x
Yes, you still need these extra electronics, in speakers or out, so overall it kinda the same. An academic difference.
I have no idea why I thought you were saying the opposite.
WOW can't believe it there is a tread 4 active speakers. That's kl.. I started a tread bout active and passive some time back, remembering not a lot of people on here new how good active speakers can perform. Glade to see.
No rules. If it sounds good to you it sounds Right!!.Transpor:t . Oppo BDP-105EU Blue ray player.DAC: Rega dac & Audio lab M-Dac. AMP; MARANTZ SR7007. SPEAKER'S; SONUS FABER CREMONA'S. (FLOOR STANDING) SYSTEM STAND:QUADRASPIRE. INTERCONNECT;CHORD CHAMELEON SLIVER PLUS. DIGITAL CABLE:Clearer Audio silver Optimus. SPEAKER CABLES: RUSS ANDREWS CRYSTAL-24... Mains conditioner: Isol 8.
Computer: Yototech: 600T case: graphice GTX690 Graphics card. 32gb RAM. Processor: I7 3960X. Solid state drive. 500gb. Sata drive 2TB. blue ray drive. studio monitors: Yamaha SH80M Active speakers. Mixer: Presonus studiolive 16.0.2. Audio connection Firewire via presonus. Screen: Asus 27inch VG278H
Although actives have been the norm in studios ages they seem to have finally started gaining popularity for home hifi use over the last couple of years.
I am completely sold on the whole thing. I understand that there is always a bit of fun getting the crossover right, but the idea of having a driver that is powered by an amp that has been designed specifically for that driver is very attractive.
Amps inside the speakers make for less mess and cabling and technically, saves money on a separate case for the amplifier itself. I used to enjoy box-swapping/collecting/comparing myself, but the speakers I have now sound better than any combination I have previously owned as well as freeing up a lot of space in the lounge.
Not to mention that the lounge now looks less like a science lab experiment in progress.
© 2013 Haymarket Publishing