Speakers with their own amps


Was just wondering,

Are there speakers out there that have their own amps to drive the whole speaker?
Not just internal amps to drive the subs but also amps to drive midrange & treble.

I see 2 advantages to this.
1. One could drive the speakers with just a preamp avoiding the cost of amp/amps.
2. Would allow the designer to voice the speaker to their design and how they wanted them to sound.

Would probably still allow the consumer to balance their systems sound, to one's liking, via a preamp, processor, cabling, etc.

I have the ability to drive my speakers from my preamp leaving my amp to drive the mids & highs.
I've come to like this option.

Thoughts?
joysjane
Check out the "Do active speakers belong in a high end system " thread. It's further down the column.
I believe most of the ones that are available use solid-state plate amps. I'm not saying this can't work well, but if you wanted to use a nice sounding tube amp you'd be out of luck.

That said, depending on the particular speakers, you might be able to use a decent sounding tube preamp to sweeten the sound a bit.
Yes, active speakers have been used in the pro audio world for a very long time. They have not been accepted by the audiophile community for numerous reasons.

I made the switch to active speakers about 6 years ago and will probably never own a passive speaker again.

I have the ability to drive my speakers from my preamp leaving my amp to drive the mids & highs.
I have no clue what this means.
I had a pair of Focal Solo 6 Be and I have to say they were phenomenal. It doesn't have the nice piano finish of the Focal Electro 1007/8Be but it has the important guts where it matters. W woofer and Beryllium tweeter - trademark of Focal's high end stuff for a fraction of the price.

The only downsides are that most active speakers have a pretty low input impedance (10 or 20kOhms) and this might be an issue with some tube preamps especially those that don't use negative feedback (ie the better ones).
The Focal Solo 6 is a nice speaker. Looks better than most studio monitors and is priced between typical home studio monitors and more serious studio monitors.

The only downsides are that most active speakers have a pretty low input impedance (10 or 20kOhms) this might be an issue with some tube preamps especially those that don't use negative feedback (ie the better ones).
It's true that active studio monitors have an input impedance more suitable for solid state electronics. But, I question the comment regarding a lack of negative feedback in a tube preamp being the reason. Typically the output impedance of a tube preamp rises as the frequency decreases. My understanding is that the cause is an undersized output capacitor.

For example, from this review: http://www.stereophile.com/content/primaluna-dialogue-three-preamplifier-measurements, JA states:
The DiaLogue Three's output impedance is specified as a high 2500 ohms; I measured 2400 ohms at high and middle frequencies but 4000 ohms at 20Hz, which will be due to the limited size of the output coupling capacitor. (A coupling cap needs to have a high value, but the desired plastic-film types are also physically large.)
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This was the feedback I got from Ayon. They implement no negative feedback and as a result, there was quite an audible noise from the Ayon as a preamp when I used the Solo. Using a SS preamp fixed that.
Doggie, I thought your original comment was about impedance matching between a tube preamp and active speakers. This is a real problem, but it's not related to the preamp's lack of negative feedback.

It sounds like in your case you simply had a noisy tube preamp and a quieter solid state. Whether or not it was related to negative feedback is anyone's guess.
The buzzing was apparently a result of lack of negative feedback and impedance and not just an impedance mismatch issue. Impedance mismatch would normally just give you a rolled off frequency response.
Impedance mismatch would normally just give you a rolled off frequency response.
Yes, that is the issue with high output impedance tube preamps and active speakers -- the bass would be rolled off.
They are nice if you don't care about being locked into the amps that come with them!
Hey Bob_reynolds,

My Infinity Prelude MTS Speakers have a built in amp for the subwoofer section.
My line level output from my preamp goes to the "Line" input on my subwoofer instead of my amplifier. That line level signal goes to the sub's amp. Then I run from the output line "level" of my subwoofer to my amp. Then out of my amp and to the speaker inputs w/speaker wire.

The sub and the towers are two pieces that screw together to make one unit.

Man, that sounded confusing!!!

That was the recommended version of hooking up these speakers from the man that designed these babies.

My amp doesn't get burdened with driving the subs it only drives the mids/tweeters in the towers.
Not that my amp would have any issues driving the speakers with just running speaker wires to them. It's just that after talking with the designer he was adamant that the speakers sound their best when using the preamp to send the signal to the internal sub amp. I have to agree with him on this.

Did that make sense?

Skip
Yes, that makes perfect sense. The speakers have an active subwoofer with builtin high pass filter which feeds the mid and treble.

I've been doing the same thing with separate active subwoofers and external active crossovers for many years.
Meaning... you're driving those subs with a line level signal? As in a sub out on a processor or receiver?

I've heard of some folks taking out the crossovers in the Infinity MTS' speakers and using an external one they designed themselves.
Way too far over my head!