... In theory they are better but in practice I haven’t heard a powered speaker system I have really liked, I’ve heard a few active systems where the passive crossover is bypassed that sounded good, but not one that the speaker manufacturer provides the amplification.
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.
You are one of the very few around here that actually distinguishes between a bundled, active speaker setup on the one side, and an active system as separates on the other - not least as an individual that has experience with both of these scenarios sonically.
Notwithstanding the specifics of your context I find your observations interesting and to have merit, because it points to your actual experience as a consumer preferring the scenario that, certainly to some manufacturers of active speakers, is the theoretically inferior one. There are countless examples of this for sure, but at the end of the day it’s what meets the ears of a given individual and what he/she prefers, while also putting into question what the advantages of a bundled active solution amount to when viewed in its totality as a design vs. an active system of separates; does the bundled solution encompass every speaker principle, design and size? No. What’s the core benefits of active vs. its claimed more intricate pairing of drivers and amps of bundled active, and to which degree do they matter in the broader scheme of things?
Remember, we’re essentially comparing active vs. active here, and both sides have degrees to which they can, more or less successfully, be matched as a complete setup. I too (with an active-as-separates system) have looked into the importance of a uniform dispersion pattern at the crossover, and achieved it, while having a narrower dispersion pattern overall for less room interaction. Headroom galore with ultra low distortion via prodigious air displacement area and high sensitivity. 20Hz extension at war volume (i.e.: +125dB capacity). Amps by choice and matched by ears with the same topology used throughout for better coherency. Measurements to aid active filter settings, all done from the listening position in my listening room.
Your context experiencing active systems as separates is likely different, and yet you’ve found them to be preferable compared to any active, bundled speakers you’ve heard. Certainly in your case, what’s all the intricate matching of bundled really worth, in whatever specific iteration as such, when what meets the ears can’t stand the test?
So now all amplifiers sound the same.
Definitely not, but as I’m sure will be pointed it’s more about their implementation.