Powered vs. Passive Speakers

I was curious if the sound of powered speakers compared to passive one's could really be better. The WP7 has very nice synergy with tube amps e.g. CJ. Great depth of sound stage etc.

How can solid state powered speakers sound better??

See comment below comparing the Wilson WP7 to the ATC SCM-150.

"Lest we forget that I brought SCM-150's to the party, which simply went about unravelling and exposing every single defect in the sound of the Wilson WP7. First the bass, the Watt puppy can plunder the depths but only with its own ham fisted coloration. The WP thundered on bass notes that the ATC's exposed the drum head timbres and revealed the material of the kick tom. This was a very striking difference in presentation. A difference that was actually to the Wilsons favor on a particular organ peice, but when track after track revealed the Wilson inability to play the bass that was unique to each recording it became tiresome and obvious.
Probably the most striking attribute the ATC has for this comparison is the incredible integration of all three drivers. On a particularly non audiophile track of Rick James "Superfreak" the ATC presented this pop cut with greater detail and listenability than the wilsons. If you judged the WP7 as a reference this cut seemed aggressive and lacking in all areas desirable for a listenable cut. The ATC made the Wilson presentation sound as if the music was seperated in three distinct bands of sound, bass, mids, high. they were not integrated very well making this cut nearly unlistenable on the Wilson system. Fine you say its a bad recording, well not all of it is and the ATC's proved this out by literally exposing the construction of the mix as choruses faded in and out and fills were added to build the track up the ATC's exposed these edits but never made the track unmusical, and my partners and myself felt there was no limit to how loud we wanted to listen to this fun song on the ATC's. What was striking was that some of this track is very rich and full and then other fills are aggressive and forward, it was a very interesting track on the ATC's.
Yes the ATC's SCM-150's are better speakers. I know people who owned Wilson speakers and replaced them all with ATC. I too replaced all my speakers with ATC. My local ATC dealer is also a Wilson dealer and has Watt puppy 7's and also sophias and they are using all Rogue tube gear. The ATC's are without a question superior to the Wilsons. Especially when you note that a substantial portions of the music we listen to is mastered on ATC speakers. Go to the ATC website and look at who uses them and tell me if you think these people know what they are talking about. I think they do and so do all the other people out there who admit it. Although again, sound is a matter of opinion. ATC just happens to be the opinion of many true musicians, performers and artists as well as so many respected engineers. Everyone hears things differently though so demo them, but I will tell you now if you love wilson or are partial to them then you are going to be disappointed when you hear them up against the ATC's because they are not as good. The ATC is so natural and non coloring and the mid-range is just to die for.
Loudness is another quick note, the ATC's have probably a magnitude of 2-3 times less distortion than the WP7's, The ATC's never seemed as loud as the 7's but when turned up to compensate never became compressed when they were asked to play louder and louder. I wish I had measurements to back this comment up, but Soundstage has not reviewed a large ATC speaker system.
I would like to say that comparison was between two very good loudspeakers but once the price is factored in, the value meter drops quite a bit on the passive Wilson speakers. They were no match at least the day I was there for the ATC system. I'm not sure juggling electronics could make up the gap, because the ATC's were also plagued by the BAT VK51se IMO. Also the ATC's were never moved about the room for best placement so there was likely more performance to be had from both speakers."
by Dbk
sounds like you are selling ATC's
Yeah, fine. I'll conceed this sounds like a plug for ATC's, ok. But I don't doubt that what's being infered above is so far from the truth. I've sold Wilson's over the years, and am familiar with what the WATT Puppies can do. I am also very familiar with the inherent advantages of a truely world class active speaker can do!
While I"ve not heard the ATC's before, I have no doubt's, that if these speakers are as well balanced, detailed, transparent, uncolored, and high end sounding as a speaker such as the WP7's, then the active design offers a trendous advantage in dynamic transparancy, control, impact, speed, attack, pace, you name it! IN short, there are things that active speakers can do that few other designs can approach(perhaps ultra high sensitivity horns, stat's etc). Infact, active speaker desings I've heard over the years have offered some of the best dynamics I've ever heard!. the control and damping issue is just so much better dealt with in active designs. Passive crossovers are limited indeed.
I really wish a company(which undoubtedly has their nose in the air) like Wilson would offer some active designs. They seem to know how to get the whole transparent, detailed, extended, big soundstage thing happening ok. Now if they could just hammer the door shut with dynamic transparancy, they'd have the complete package potentially...IMO, of course.
Anyway, I'd really like to see more high end desingers make active speakers. The problem with a speaker like Avantgard horns is that you have to plunk your rear end down smack dab in the middle to hear them right. You move a couple feet to one side and the sound goes away!!!...this is not acceptable to me. And, all the other full range passive high end stuff out there always leaves a lot on the table for anything with real dynamics(like "Super Freak", Yes). Sure, the Wilson's sound very resolved and more dyamic than most high end offering indeed. But then they're highish sensitivity, which helps...and dual ported 10" woofers to boot. Still, I have no doubt that the active ATC can demolish the power and control of the WP! I've heard good Actives before.
Anyone know where in California I can hear ATC's?
Next time power the Wilsons with an amp that has a Damping factor! I mean that's like saying Magenpans sound lifeless powered by a SET tube amp?

I am glad you found something that you like... post your system with pictures when you get them.

I had Paradigm Active 20' and they were excellent punchy dynamic speakers that simplfied system synergy... next time go to a better Wilson Dealer that knows how to setup a Wilson System.
Dbk, exactly what is the point of your post? You appear to be quoting yourself, although from exactly where you don't state. Also, this is not your first thread about ATC vs. Wilson. Is there an unstated agenda?
I have heard the 150s in the quest for a year long search for speakers. The impression that I came away with was that it was great on all music genre except for classical. The mids and low end were very accurate and impressive. But I tend to also like extended highs which I did not hear in that particular setup. Keep in mind that these impressions were only based on one audition in a showroom where they were not set in an optimal position. But given the fact that the friend of mine who loves these speakers loves primarily rock music indicated to me thats what they are like. Just my 2 cents worth.