I Was Considering Active, Then I Watched This ...

Although way out of my price range, this is an interesting take on active vs passive:


"Good enough" (a plateau by any measure): active

Inveterate tweaker looking for the best (’peak audio’): passive

It’s a really simple equation, in the end (with all the data points on the analysis table).
Actually, it's a very tight race between the Dell laptop and the non-powered Insignia speakers and the Lenovo unit with the Logitech actives!   ;)

teo_audio1,702 posts01-13-2021 11:13am"Good enough" (a plateau by any measure): active

Inveterate tweaker looking for the best (’peak audio’): passive

It’s a really simple equation, in the end (with all the data points on the analysis table).

Good Enough: Passive
Capable of performance no passive speaker will ever be able to achieve due to the inability in a passive speaker to have immediate feedback from the driver itself, nor intimate knowledge of said driver and any number of other factors:  Active

Active speakers are quite threatening both to the speaker community and the amplifier community. Similar to good Class-D with amplifiers, very few speaker companies will have the technical wherewithal to extract the maximum performance out of active speakers and we are just getting started. There are things that can be done in an active system that are virtually impossible in a passive system. Not just simple things like perfect phase alignment even with higher order crossovers,   but applying closed loop position feedback to higher and higher frequencies, compensating for thermal and magnetic compression (and other magnetic factors) on all drivers, and even some concepts for reducing the impacts of doppler distortion.  Add in multiple similar drivers and you start to get into controlled dispersion, etc.

If you apply old thinking to new ideas, you end up with obsolete opinions.
It’s a compromise to have active speakers and is technology mostly embraced by the professional audio sound people. They listen for frequencies, not tonal shadings or micro dynamics...certainly not for the differences in instrument voicing or spatial imaging.

I cannot find who posted this, but this is a complete inaccuracy. Pros listen for frequencies? I’ve worked in pro my entire life and I have yet to meet someone who "listens for frequencies". The tonal shadings and micro dynamics is exactly what pros listen to. Instrument voicing and spatial imaging is exactly what a real engineer in a real studio listens to for hours and hours, days upon days. It is not exaggeration to say that someone like Al Schmitt can listen to one track a thousand times before he’s tweaked everything to his and the artists satisfaction. The exact harmonic presentation of the piano with this mic or that one? The position of the mic and how it changes the way the piano sounds. Fixing the small error in a vibration of a snare when one particular tom tom was struck. Building an image out of separately tracked instruments. Using a specific type of compressor on the orchestra that gives it a sexier presentation than a simple full band compressor. This absolutely blows my mind that someone would think pros [specifically recording engineers] don’t understand the details or are ignorant of the very details that audiophiles value. They are obsessed with it!

A comment I read in this thread that recording engineers gave us loudness wars- complete BS. RADIO gave us loudness wars, and Record companies responded as records had to compete to be popular on the radio. Fletcher Munson curves say the loudest song wins and Record companies who controlled everything told their Mastering Engineer to make it louder. The mastering guy absolutely hates this as much as you do! Fortunately record companies do not have the level of control they used to and now artists are creating, funding, recording their own record.