Powered or Passive?

It comes to that point where you need a pair of speakers because you either want to get on the road or get back on the road. Do you buy powered speakers, passive speakers, plastic speakers, wooden speakers? Wherever you go you will get a different answer to that question because at the end of the day everyone’s ears are different and like different things.

If you know what you are doing, or the person you are buying off does, then you should be able to get the best sound from any system whether it be passive or powered.

The main difference between passive and powered is the amplification stage. In passive speakers the input has to be powered i.e. it requires some form of amplification before the speaker. This could be powered mixing desk or power amp; without either of these your speakers won’t work. Powered, or active, speakers take that issue away. Powered speakers include the amplifier inside the speaker, so all you need is a line level signal from a mixing desk or other output source.

There are plenty of reasons, that I’m sure you’ll of heard of, why you shouldn’t buy active or powered speakers… To my knowledge, the only one that stands any stead is the weight issue, although this could be put in a different way.YES, you have a heavier speaker due to an internal amplifier, but a) you only have to carry that in instead of a speaker and an amplifier, and b) most active speakers are made in a lightweight shell instead of wood, so this generally balances the weight issue out.

Powered or active speakers are a lot more popular nowadays because they are an easy solution…there are no impedance mis-matches, less cables to set up, easy to upgrade or add, and the pries have recently fallen to a level at which you couldn’t buy a pair of passives and an amplifier for the same price. Take a look at some active speakers from manufactures including; dB Technologies, RCF, Mackie & Yamaha.

Saying this, passive speakers are the way forward for some customers, and there is nothing wrong with this, as long as the advice you get when purchasing is correct and the system is matched correctly. Things to ask about when you are purchasing are, impedance match, power rating vs amplifier power rating, cabling required & weight!

At the end of the day, they both do a job, it’s up to you which you choose for your application.

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2 Responses to Powered or Passive?

  1. I am a new DJ and this article was very helpful and informative. I sincerely appreciate the expertise.

  2. cesar says:

    I had to decide for powered speakers because I would use my system for a very specific job and I needed practicity and discretion on my setup, but if I was going for a more versatile and bigger rig, I would choose passive. There’s a reason you see passive on major concert halls…

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