43 posts / 0 new
Last post
RobinKidderminster's picture
Offline
Last seen: 16 hours 57 min ago
Joined: 27/05/2009 - 14:24
Posts: 2495
Actives. Dare I ask?

Hopefully this will not open an active/passive argument. Just interested to understand the use of actives in a 5.1 setup.
1. As well as mains for each speaker does one need more than basic speaker cables?
2. Do actives have centre channel speakers of landscape proportions around 25x100cm as do passives?
3. Can one connect bluray and skybox thru hdmi and a tt?
4. Can one hence play DolbyHD etc., high res formats?
5. How are different sound formats decoded with no amp/processor?
6. How can I stream digital music to the system in 2ch or 2.1?
I ask these questions to widen my knowledge in an attempt to assist a friend in his options.
Cheers

Yamaha V2065. MS Mezzo 5.1 Panasonic 42. Sony BD. Garrard 86SB. WD Live TV. SkyHD.

http://www.whathifi.com/forum/home-cinema/lounge-hc-signature-update-bass-traps

 

Andrew Everard's picture
Offline
Last seen: 10 months 3 days ago
Joined: 30/05/2007 - 12:34
Posts: 28837
RE: Actives. Dare I ask?

RobinKidderminster wrote:
Hopefully this will not open an active/passive argument.

Let's hope not. They get tiresome.

RobinKidderminster wrote:
1. As well as mains for each speaker does one need more than basic speaker cables?

Not speaker cables, but an interconnect cable for each speaker. (see points 3-5 below)

RobinKidderminster wrote:
2. Do actives have centre channel speakers of landscape proportions around 25x100cm as do passives?

Not aware of any specific active centres – or at least none that size, though Meridian does the DSP3300, which is 20.6x55.5cm, and can be used for all channels of a surround system with one of the company's processors or preamps. It is however somewhere north of £2000, and that's each, not per pair.

Meridian DSP3300

You could always use one conventional active speaker on its side.

RobinKidderminster wrote:
3. Can one connect bluray and skybox thru hdmi and a tt? 4. Can one hence play DolbyHD etc., high res formats? 5. How are different sound formats decoded with no amp/processor?

You really need a surround processor/preamp or an AV receiver with preouts to achieve this. Then you can feed the decoded signal for each channel to the appropriate speaker, and use the processor or AV receiver as a hub to connect your sources.

RobinKidderminster wrote:
6. How can I stream digital music to the system in 2ch or 2.1?

Through the processor or AV receiver in the surround configuration we were discussing above, or using a range of wireless or network devices – such as this – if you were going for a pure stereo set-up.

 

RobinKidderminster's picture
Offline
Last seen: 16 hours 57 min ago
Joined: 27/05/2009 - 14:24
Posts: 2495
RE: Actives. Dare I ask?

Thanks very much. Hopefully this info will be sufficient for any other interested folk without debate of quality etc.
Cheers

Yamaha V2065. MS Mezzo 5.1 Panasonic 42. Sony BD. Garrard 86SB. WD Live TV. SkyHD.

http://www.whathifi.com/forum/home-cinema/lounge-hc-signature-update-bass-traps

 

ellisdj's picture
Offline
Last seen: 19 hours 13 min ago
Joined: 11/12/2008 - 17:55
Posts: 1324
RE: Actives. Dare I ask?

Thats funny Andrew Mentioned the Meridian kit as thats what I thought would fit the bill for what you want, I was also thinking of that exact speaker  - but it is expensive unless you buy used / ex dem which you can get from good dealers a lot of it with warranty, or sellers via another dedicated forum which is very good for used kit - and that can save you a small fortune.

Their processors are very good for both analogue and digital - fed to active speakers so you can build a system bit by bit utilising exisitng analgue bits.

Actives are always going to cost considerably more as they come with amplification as well and good quality amplification and analogue cabling is very expensive.

For a pre / power analogue 5.1 system you need lots of cabling - and the cost adds up - trust me I have just done it - cost me about £1k for all cabling and thats not buying silly expensive - but buying very good quality - did inlcude new speaker cale for the front 3 as well but I mention it as its not needed with actives.

Andrew Everard's picture
Offline
Last seen: 10 months 3 days ago
Joined: 30/05/2007 - 12:34
Posts: 28837
RE: Actives. Dare I ask?

RobinKidderminster wrote:
Hopefully this info will be sufficient for any other interested folk without debate of quality etc. Cheers

Listen, don't mention the war. I mentioned it once, but I think I got away with it all right. Wink

richardw42's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 days 20 hours ago
Joined: 02/05/2010 - 18:56
Posts: 1918
RE: Actives. Dare I ask?

Although I only use 2.1, I've kept my Yamaha AVR to act as processor. It's also good as a hub for my growing stack of AV sources. 

 

I just have a pair shielded RCAs (£5) from the Yams pre outs to the speakers. My sub comes from the Yams sub out. Just set the level on the active speakers and then any volume control is done with the amps remote. 

 

Im hoping to start a good quality HC project next year and am looking to active 5.1 or more. My current thought is just to buy 5 identical speakers. 

Id be gutted if cabling came to anywhere near 1k. In fact I'd expect we'll under £100. 

daveh75's picture
Offline
Last seen: 9 hours 7 min ago
Joined: 31/07/2008 - 18:54
Posts: 8339
RE: Actives. Dare I ask?

I bought a 50m drum of good quality, studio/pro grade cable and bag of RCA connectors for around £100, when i went active 5.1.

£1000 for cabling is unnecessary and ridiculous, frankly...

daveh75's picture
Offline
Last seen: 9 hours 7 min ago
Joined: 31/07/2008 - 18:54
Posts: 8339
RE: Actives. Dare I ask?

I bought a 50m drum of good quality, studio/pro grade cable and bag of RCA connectors for around £100, when i went active 5.1. £1000 for cabling is unnecessary and ridiculous, frankly...

 

unpublished by mods

daveh75's picture
Offline
Last seen: 9 hours 7 min ago
Joined: 31/07/2008 - 18:54
Posts: 8339
RE: Actives. Dare I ask?

I bought a 50m drum of good quality, studio/pro grade cable and bag of RCA connectors for around £100, when i went active 5.1. £1000 for cabling is unnecessary and ridiculous, frankly...

 

unpublished by mods

RobinKidderminster's picture
Offline
Last seen: 16 hours 57 min ago
Joined: 27/05/2009 - 14:24
Posts: 2495
RE: Actives. Dare I ask?

Thanks both. Looks like an active 5.1 doesn't reduce box count and looks like an expensive route but I have a greater understanding and as always it boils down to an audition of both systems at similar price points. These simple answers eclipse so many forum arguments and shows me how silly these arguments sometimes are. Happy now to leave the thread with sufficient knowledge. Go listen. Compare. Choose. Done! Cheers

Yamaha V2065. MS Mezzo 5.1 Panasonic 42. Sony BD. Garrard 86SB. WD Live TV. SkyHD.

http://www.whathifi.com/forum/home-cinema/lounge-hc-signature-update-bass-traps

 

The_Lhc's picture
Offline
Last seen: 11 hours 56 min ago
Joined: 16/10/2008 - 13:23
Posts: 12879
RE: Actives. Dare I ask?

RobinKidderminster wrote:
Thanks both. Looks like an active 5.1 doesn't reduce box count

Well it can't really, all you doing effectively is taking the amplifiers out of the AV receiver and putting them in the speakers. You might save a little space if you go for an AV processor which is smaller than most AV receivers but other than that you want save anything, unless you can find active speakers with 5.1 processing built-in.

richardw42's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 days 20 hours ago
Joined: 02/05/2010 - 18:56
Posts: 1918
RE: Actives. Dare I ask?

With all the required socket locations, and then switching the speakers on and off to save power when not in use. 

PI think a conventional passive set up is probably more user friendly. 

ellisdj's picture
Offline
Last seen: 19 hours 13 min ago
Joined: 11/12/2008 - 17:55
Posts: 1324
RE: Actives. Dare I ask?

daveh75 wrote:
I bought a 50m drum of good quality, studio/pro grade cable and bag of RCA connectors for around £100, when i went active 5.1. £1000 for cabling is unnecessary and ridiculous, frankly...

 

Its easy to say spending £1k on cabling is ridculous - but its not when considering that is for 4 digital interconnects, 5 analogue interconnects and 3 runs of 3m speaker wire.  Very high quality stuff - that makes a lot of other expensive cables sound garbage let alone cheap stuff - the digital leads especially. 

If you want to know how it sounds ask Ric71 he came round yesterday for a demo - ££££ well spent on the cable dont regret it for a second - but money not needed to spend with actives - although I would definately buy a good quality digital lead as it does make a marked difference, despite the often commented negative comments towards it

daveh75's picture
Offline
Last seen: 9 hours 7 min ago
Joined: 31/07/2008 - 18:54
Posts: 8339
RE: Actives. Dare I ask?

[quote=richardw42] then switching the speakers on and off to save power when not in use.

Depends on the actives.

Mine have an auto power mode that switches them in/out of standby in the presence/absence of a line level signal

daveh75's picture
Offline
Last seen: 9 hours 7 min ago
Joined: 31/07/2008 - 18:54
Posts: 8339
RE: Actives. Dare I ask?

richardw42 wrote:
then switching the speakers on and off to save power when not in use.

Depends on the actives.

Mine have an auto power mode that switches them in/out of standby in the presence/absence of a line level signal

BenLaw's picture
Offline
Last seen: 7 hours 17 min ago
Joined: 21/11/2010 - 20:21
Posts: 6322
RE: Actives. Dare I ask?

RobinKidderminster wrote:

3. Can one connect bluray and skybox thru hdmi and a tt?

4. Can one hence play DolbyHD etc., high res formats?

5. How are different sound formats decoded with no amp/processor?

 

Just to add to Andrew's answer, I suspect the reason you are even asking these questions is because of the predominance of AVI in active discussions on this forum. AVI's USP is that all you need is source, as it includes a DAC and preamp (volume control) with the speaker. However, that is not a requirement of being an active speaker, nor do most have those functions. An active speaker is defined by having an active crossover, ie the signal is split prior to amplification. The speaker then has a separate amplifier for each driver. So with a 'normal' active speaker you use a separate preamp (or in the case of 5.1 pre/pro, or receiver with pre-outs) and any sources you like.

 

That also answers Q6. Either use a pre/pro, or receiver with pre-outs, that you can stream to, or add a streamer to an input on such a component. 

Pages

Log in or register to post comments