Powered speakers show audiophiles are confused

17 of 23 speakers in my studio and home theater systems are internally powered. My studio system is all Genelec and sounds very accurate. I know the best new concert and studio speakers are internally powered there are great technical reasons to design a speaker and an amp synergistically, this concept is much more important to sound quality than the vibration systems we often buy. How can an audiophile justify a vibration system of any sort with this in mind.


Audiophiles clearly care about speaker wire a lot, there's a huge industry built around it.  Somehow all the wire inside a passive speaker's crossover is just forgotten about.  When the differences in wire are so widely accepted, I can't imagine how a person who invested in great speaker wire would think the much longer length of wire in the speakers crossover inductors is in any way sonically invisible.  



I have to view purity from a throughput from the input to the amplifier to what comes out of the drivers. I don't think a case can be made, with any set of drivers, where the purity from input to output cannot be superior with an active configuration. That does not mean you are going to prefer an active speaker, or even that you will prefer an active version of a speaker over an equivalent passive as the frequency response may be different which may not be to your taste, or may not work as well in your listening space. If the speaker design does not have good matching of the dispersion between drivers at the crossover points, than crossover differences between an active and passive version of the same design could have a pronounced in room difference. Flat baffles for tweeters and even some mid-range drivers should go the way of the Dodo (IMHO).


Wise comments about purity.  It is absolutely true that not everyone prefers the active version of a well executed design.  I sometimes wonder if posting in favor of active makes people think there is no alternative.  I've done this demo, this comparison, I've demo'd active vs passive (ATC SCM40) of the same speaker using the same amplifiers right next to each other in the same room.  Despite the audibly clear advantage of the active to me, some still picked passive (without knowing which was which).  I have noticed how seating position can impact this choice, so a great observation that crossover differences can lead to room differences that may be part of the listener's choice.

There is no such thing as a pure chain, there are tradeoffs. I never said passive was better than active, what I said was I didn't like the sound of the powered speakers that I have heard. I do like active systems that I can pick the amplifiers and not be stuck with what comes with the speaker. 

@invalid, how do you measure purity? No driver is a perfect radiator, so they are not pure. Electronics can be, for any reasonable measure, pure. I see active speakers as the melding of electronics which can be pure, with drivers that are not, such that the combination exceeds the two combined independently.

This is only controversial at the consumer end. At the development end, for those working on active speakers, there is no controversy that an active speaker is better able to achieve measurements of purity. We define purity as reduced distortion, flatter response, better dispersion.