So were you trawling hi-fi retailers in the 80's (pre AVI active era) asking dealers to audition active speakers?
I think people need to accept that once hi-fi boomed (70's/80's), passive was the direction that it naturally took (obviously, much to the annoyance of active based companies and recently converted active fans). It could so easily have taken the active route had there been a decent choice of active speakers at the time, but it didn't. Having said that, Linn and Naim were doing active systems back then, and Meridian followed.
And yes, the "exhausted" phrase is relevant. Once there's enough demand (and product) to make it worthwhile keeping ranges of active speakers, you will see dealers keeping them. You cant stock a £2k product that only sells once a year, or even five times a year. A dealer will stock up on products that is going to keep him in business - space taken up by products that dont sell well or dont even get listened to will sooner or later get replaced by products that do. As it stands, there's not enough product out there, and there's not enough people asking to hear them as options. Maybe that's down to marketing, I don't know, but you don't see many manufacturers marketing their active speakers. It is up to manufacturers to create demand, and then for dealers to fulfill it.
I'm not being anti active here, just saying it as I see it from a dealer point of view.
David @Frank Harvey Hi-Fi, Coventry
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I've taken some time to determine when (and frankly, if) to respond in my own thread. Having read all the responses so far I do see some good points being made and generally being ignored as well.
First off, I've used pro audio gear for several years: Benchmark DAC1/M-Audio USB Transit/AKG K701/M-Audio BX-5 as my desktop system. I'm a big fan of actives and I find AVI products interesting.
All that said, let me post my thoughts on when to recommend actives:
I believe they can be recommended anytime an active option would potentially fit the OP's budget and needs. BUT, I don't think they should be recommended in the way they usually are! Talking about AudioFoo and generally deriding passive systems, their manufacturers and users is not the way to make a recommendation.
Are actives technically superior? Yes.
Does that mean for any given budget the active options will be better than the passive ones? Nope.
I think the most important question when dealing with all the marketing claims is this:
Is the use of an active crossover the only/most important part of designing a good HiFi system?
If not, then it is quite probable that non-active manfacturers have prioritised other aspects of the design process.
Let me use a car analogy (since those seem to be popular in HiFi):
In designing a sports coupe, is a more powerful engine superior to a weaker one? Yes. We want our sports coupe to be as fast as possible.
Is having a more powerful engine the only/most important part of designing a good sports coupe?
NO! A car with a weaker engine but phenomenal handling, maybe a better driving experience for most persons.
Too often persons get too focused on just one meaure to evaluate the quality of a product.
M-Audio USB Transit->Benchmark DAC1->Beyerdynamic DT880 (600 ohm) / AKG K701
This is 100% true, and 100% irrelevant.
If you want to produce a "best of kind" product, it always makes sense to use the acknowledged best way to do something and the best components where necessary and/or cost effective. Just because bad examples of active speakers exist doesn't mean they aren't the best solution to the problem of how to get a signal to 2 or more speaker drivers that produce different frequency ranges.Of course there are great passive speakers around and of course there are bad actives. But the fact is, that any one of those great passive designs could be improved on in active form.
Whenever I see someone use this argument these days, I think of grandmothers and egg-sucking school.
I'm not using any argument, just stating a fact, which you have acknowledged to be so.
Whether a passive design can be improved by being made active is down to the manufacturer. If they don't have the know how, then that great passive design will be better off a passive design.
When there are numerous manufacturers producing basically the same product, they have to make themselves stand out. To do this, they need to do something different, but they have to do it well as standing out just isn't enough. Look at the amount of different types of speaker there are - if an active speaker was the best way to do things, and ALL manufacturers thought that way, the market now would be full to the brim of active speakers. There'd be no coincident or concentric designs, no electrostatic or ribbon speakers, no sub/sat systems, and no subwoofers.
I think all good hi Fi has a part to play.
It really does seem a pretty unstoppable tide, that actives will become the norm. (Sooner or later). Now more regular manufacturers seem to be introducing more wallet friendly design, it may happen a bit quicker. There will always be a population of Canutes but there's nothing wrong with that.
I personally can't see any situation where Actives shouldn't be recommended. Whatever they may be.
TV room : Samsung 60" plasma-ATV3, -AVI ADM40, DM5 in 4.0,/Sonos ZP90,, Sky using Sonos for On Demand, PS4, Sony BDP S570 thru a Yamaha RXV3067.
HiFi : Sonos ZP90 - AVI ADM9 RSS + AVI SUB
Bedrooms : 2 x Sonos Play 3
IPad Air for Sonos & Spotify / AKG K551
I don't think upgrading & box swapping are necessarily the same thing.
I see upgrading as a conscious path towards improved audio. Be that a cash thing or not. Will I definitely not swap my speakers ? If something better comes along, probably.
PI see box swappers as people dissatisfied and changing things hoping for it to go click. Eg shopping a £ 500 CDP for another £500 CDP and so on. And I can count myself among those. If I'd bitten the bullet and gone for a trues upgrade rather than fiddling about at the mid range level, I might not have the sig I've got.
It really does seem a pretty unstoppable tide, that actives will become the norm. (Sooner or later).
Not sure where you got that idea from but this is imo a long way off and will probably never happen.
Don't forget, actives have been around for ages. They are niche products and probably account for little in the greater scheme of hifi or what the majority of people want/need. - AVI makes big waves, mostly through controversy but their sales are probably minute even compared to the likes of rega and Naim etc etc.
Little streaming micro systems, docks and the likes are an other story. Thats most likely where the demand is probably closely followed by headphones for phones.
However, there are actives around at most price levels so why not recommending them if they are good and pose a genuine alternative to a separates system, as AVI's offerings do for example.
Pretty ... and pretty proud of it
Really? If so, that's brilliant and very funny indeed!
Now, do go and calm down, dear.
EDIT ROFL etc...
Formerly known as al7478...
HC: Panasonic PXP 42 V20; Panasonic DMP BD35; Humax Foxsat-HDR
Music: Optical out from Asus P7H55-M Motherboard into AVI ADM 9.1 speakers.
"Music will provide the light you cannot resist"
Interesting from one of the designers of what could be one of the best loudspeakers around.
Laurence Dickie seems ready to take up the “ultimate loudspeaker” gauntlet laid down by Payor by developing Vivid Audio’s Giya into a quad-amplified, fully active, four-driver loudspeaker system. In any event, and for now, Andy Payor concluded that, “the best available architecture is a combination of active and passive crossovers within a biamplified, multi-driver loudspeaker system.
HiFi. Arcam cd92,a85,p85 bi-amping Ma rx6, kimber silver streak & 8tc cables and r/a mains.
A/V. panasonic plasma, sony av amp. mordaunt short premier, rel q150 sub.
Speaking as someone who now does marketing for a living, I think we are moving away from the business model where you make something; give it to the marketing dept to create a need for it, then pass it onto the sales team. Consumers are far too picky and there are too many products vying for competition and the customer's dollar these days.
An awful lot of current marketing revolves around listening to what people want and then creating a product to fulfil that need. Less top down and more bottom up as the priest used to say to the altar boy.
It may take a while, which is why I said sooner or later. Probably should add other applications such as docks and soundbars. And probably powered speakers too, which manufacturers like to describe as active.
There will be a place for conventional amp/speaker systems for a long time. But the scales will tip.
Heck, I can't say for sure that I'll never go passive again
" Once there's enough demand (and product) to make it worthwhile keeping ranges of active speakers, you will see dealers keeping them. You cant stock a £2k product that only sells once a year, or even five times a year. "
Dealers do just happens that they're predominantly pro-audio dealers.
Synology D213 Air - MF V link - MF1DAC- ADAM A7X plus ADAM Sub 8 MFHP1 and Bottle Head Crack (with speedball mod) headphone amps Senn HD650
As I mentioned I will most porbably upgrade my ATC 19 for the 50. I am have not decide 100% if I will go for the active or passive.
here you have a concert example. waht will you recomend to me?
1. it is for a big living room
2. I hear mainly CD and Flac from my Olive 06
3. I hear mainly Canterburian rock, jazz and staring to enjoy some songriters like Allan Taylor and woman singers like Diana Krall, Patricia barber and others.
4. if I go for the Active I will save USD 2.000 but giving my Gryphon Diablo away and recieving a Chord pre amp or a Cary tube pre amp.
waht will you recomend?
OLIVE 06 HD/ CHORD QDB76HDSD DAC / KR AUDIO VA 880 / SONUS FABER CREMONAS M / MERIDIAN i80
Congratulations David, you have dressed the exhausted model answer up in new words. Do you suppose for one minute that this enhances your reputation?
Apple Lossless - ATV3 - AVI ADM 40 also ATV3 into AVI ADM 9T [my wife's system]
and Grado SR80i
A point that I have completely missed. Well said.
I'm not a dealer but I was in business for a long time and David's argument looks sound to me.
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