Are active speakers better than passive speakers in sound fidelity and performance? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 104 Old 07-25-2013, 05:04 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I understand we have to evaluate only what can be compared... I'm clearly not looking to compare the performance of some high end passive speakers with active speakers from some cheap brand...
Assuming we are comparing sensibly - i.e similar quality, hifi, audiophile/studio-grade speaker models -

For eg. lets say we compare B&W 800 series to the performance of Genlec (not sure which series to compare to)...

First are these two brands comparable in terms of quality and price?
when it comes to performance and fidelity - does the "active/powered" Genlec somehow have a significant advantage over B&W?

My dealer who sells both B&W and Genlec says the Genelec will beat any setup with B&W - he grants that the diamond tweeters and kevlar cones are good but for the overall depth and fullness, studio grade and audiophile quality - the Genelec active is better than B&W passive.

Is this true and to what extent?
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post #2 of 104 Old 07-25-2013, 05:26 AM - Thread Starter
 
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http://www.electronichouse.com/article/active_passive_speakers/

http://www.head-fi.org/t/434535/which-is-better-active-or-passive-speakers/15

http://www.tnt-audio.com/casse/active_speakers_intro1_e.html

http://www.tnt-audio.com/casse/active_speakers_intro2_e.html
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post #3 of 104 Old 07-25-2013, 05:35 AM
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Actives offer the ability to include true bi-amping, which does work better than passive crossovers, and dedicated DSP, for ruler flat response out of the box. The value of the latter is dubious, since response won't be flat as soon as you put the speakers into a room.

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post #4 of 104 Old 07-25-2013, 06:31 AM
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I think you may prefer one brand over another, but I don't think it has anything to do with active vs passive.

I personally prefer passive over active for both speakers and subs.

Like anything else, opinions will be divided. biggrin.gif
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post #5 of 104 Old 07-25-2013, 08:05 AM
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Ideally, active speakers would be best.  The ability to have an electronic crossover, an amp for each driver matched to the driver, are big advantages for active speakers for lower distortion, easier to design protection circuitry, etc.  There is just many more possibilities with active it is just not as convenient as passive speakers.  If you were comparing identical speakers (i.e. same drivers/ cabinet) active would be best.

 

However, with speaker choices between passive and active it is often an apple and oranges comparison.  A well designed passive with a good amp will out perform an active speaker of a lesser design so one can't just say active is better than passive or vice versa.

 

  You should listen to both but IMHO I'd pick Genelec over B&W as well except for looksbiggrin.gif.  I have heard the whole 800 line except the 804.  The Genelec 8260 is my personal favorite speaker and would take it over any of the B&W 800 series.  But, you also have to consider your application.  Like if you need more output one of the bigger models might be more appropriate.  If you are looking for their lower priced models you'll have to compare those.  Both brands are very good.  I'll be curious to hear your impressions after listening to each.

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post #6 of 104 Old 07-25-2013, 11:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grnsr View Post

My dealer who sells both B&W and Genlec says the Genelec will beat any setup with B&W - he grants that the diamond tweeters and kevlar cones are good but for the overall depth and fullness, studio grade and audiophile quality - the Genelec active is better than B&W passive.
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Originally Posted by AcuDefTechGuy View Post

I think you may prefer one brand over another, but I don't think it has anything to do with active vs passive.

I personally prefer passive over active for both speakers and subs.
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Originally Posted by BobL View Post

However, with speaker choices between passive and active it is often an apple and oranges comparison.  A well designed passive with a good amp will out perform an active speaker of a lesser design so one can't just say active is better than passive or vice versa.

As a simple technical exercise, driving each element in a multiway speaker with its own purpose-built amplifier following a very specific filter function will be ideal. The problem lies in execution, which is difficult and complex. Transfer functions must be tailored just as specifically to the drivers as a passive filter's must be. It's also not inexpensive.

For this reason you won't easily find opportunity to evaluate a speaker in both passively filtered and actively filtered versions. You also won't find that among otherwise comparable passive and active systems the differences are related strictly - or even largely - to that difference alone. I'd take a smart passive system over a textbook active system every time. Personally, very high end DIY is the only place I'd use multi-amping and being a noncomformist I'd still filter passively - multi-amping is effective at the line/amplifiers/drivers systems level in high-dollar scenarios and few other places.

The real world differences between reasonably competent passive and active systems are no more compelling than those between, to use the OP's example, cone and dome material differences. Both are easily overshadowed by design philosophies and execution lying on a completely different plane.

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post #7 of 104 Old 07-25-2013, 12:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Lane View Post

The problem lies in execution, which is difficult and complex. Transfer functions must be tailored just as specifically to the drivers as a passive filter's must be. It's also not inexpensive.
Once upon a time true, not today, with very inexpensive DSPs that can be programmed while seeing the effect on response etc. in real time. I see the real hindrance to self-powered home speakers being that they render powered AVRs obsolete. That doesn't bother the guy currently using a pre-amp and discreet amplification, but that a very small percentage of users.

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post #8 of 104 Old 07-25-2013, 12:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Fitzmaurice View Post

Once upon a time true, not today, with very inexpensive DSPs that can be programmed while seeing the effect on response etc. in real time.

I'll be more specific. Active, multi-channel systems are significantly more expensive and involved than single amplifiers driving passive speakers. Economies of scale have yet to push the technology down to consumers.
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I see the real hindrance to self-powered home speakers being that they render powered AVRs obsolete. That doesn't bother the guy currently using a pre-amp and discreet amplification, but that a very small percentage of users.

Agreed, with the provision above. Active full sized speakers should have presented an attractive alternative for a big segment of consumer audio for some time. Why they haven't is probably most related to market and user convention. which is the chicken and egg in the cost equation.

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post #9 of 104 Old 07-25-2013, 02:24 PM
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post #10 of 104 Old 07-25-2013, 06:03 PM
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In a multi-channel setup for home theater purposes, I do not believe that you can outperform the Genelec active speakers. You will hear subtle details with them that many passive speakers do not reproduce. However, I prefer the Totem Tribe 5s or Tribe 3s passive speakers for multi-channel music. They appear to be a little warmer and less forward than the active speakers.
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post #11 of 104 Old 07-25-2013, 08:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Lane View Post

I'll be more specific. Active, multi-channel systems are significantly more expensive and involved than single amplifiers driving passive speakers. Economies of scale have yet to push the technology down to consumers.
It won't be long. Good quality passive crossovers aren't cheap, while the price of watts keeps dropping it seems every day. When you consider that if the woofer amp is 100 watts then the midrange amp need only be 50 watts and the tweeter amp 10 watts, and then see how cheap Lepai and the like are even now, maybe the handwriting is on the wall. But unlike pro-sound, where powered came in first at the low end and passive still dominates the high end, the AVR issue will probably mean for consumer grade the powered stuff will take over the high end first and gradually work its way down.

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post #12 of 104 Old 07-25-2013, 10:16 PM
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Very nice! What is the name of the graphic EQ?

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Very nice! What is the name of the graphic EQ?

"Then one day you find ten years have got behind you no one told when to run you missed the starting gun."
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post #14 of 104 Old 07-26-2013, 12:03 AM - Thread Starter
 
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ok if I'm going the active speakers route and am building in stages:

and a budget of about $1500 to $2000 for the L-R pair - which make/models should I consider?
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post #15 of 104 Old 07-26-2013, 03:57 AM
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Hi Grnsr

I once sold B&W along side Genelec as well. The 800 series really are a great speaker for sure. But I do prefer the Genelec & own a pair of 8050's . Obviously the Gens are an active design but another thing that is different is their high frequency directivity. They employ a waveguide that will make the sound different than a typical tweeter without. Most "audiophiles" prob prefer a tweeter that sprays the room with high freq sound. Subjectively sounds more open as it reflects everywhere in the near field. Your hearing the influence of the room the speaker is in. A speaker like Genelec like any speaker is also going to be ifluenced by the room as well but not as much. Having owned a pair of B&W 805 I can remember how "easy they were to listen to. Laid back, warm with a full bottom end. Switching to Genelec was interesting to hear slightly more differences in recordings i was familiar with. Some people find them forward so just use the high frequency controls on the back and back off the top end for a rolled of response.Personally I like warts and all. Yes you get the benefits of an active crossover & true bi amping but you also get some flexibility with changing the sound after placed in the room to get a flatter response. The DSP Genelecs make it easier but the standard Genelec's are right there & less expensive. The problem with Genelec is they are expensive. Along with Genelec I would check out Dynaudio all the way down to Berhinger as they apparently make some decent speakers at an affordable price. Personally I really like the QSC K series. I believe the K8 which is an 8" 2 way with 500 watts for each driver AND with active filters with DSP are about 700 each. I have heard them and let me tell you they are smooth & have more headroom than you'll need. Downfall is they don't extend very low & they are a portable PA designed originally for that. Pitty most would dismiss it for looks as they are a sleeper. 5 or 7 of those with a pair of good subs that can keep up in my opinion would sound world class. Good luck.
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post #16 of 104 Old 07-26-2013, 06:37 AM
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For Genelec you would be looking at the G3 or its Pro twin the 8030.  You could also look at the new M040 in your price range.

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post #17 of 104 Old 07-26-2013, 07:13 AM
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One disadvantage of active speakers is you are stuck with the amplification it comes with. With an amp/receiver if you need more power all you have to do is get a new amp/receiver.
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post #18 of 104 Old 07-26-2013, 07:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grnsr View Post

ok if I'm going the active speakers route and am building in stages:

and a budget of about $1500 to $2000 for the L-R pair - which make/models should I consider?

A "dark horse" for your consideration...

KRK ROKIT Powered 10-3





Tri-amplified mid-field studio monitor

Product page: http://www.krksys.com/krk-studio-monitor-speakers/rokit/rokit-rp10-3.html

Specs here: http://www.krksys.com/manuals/rokit/Rokit103_cutsheet.pdf

The Rokits featured at a big speaker shootout earlier in the year. Comments re-capped, feedback given and comparisons made starting from here: http://www.avsforum.com/t/1468211/ne-spring-speaker-shootout-results-thread-april-13-2013/420#post_23346593

At the shootout, the stereo pair measured 110dB peak; 97.5dB max. at 18ft distance with an Omnimic. Measurements are here: http://www.avsforum.com/t/1468211/ne-spring-speaker-shootout-results-thread-april-13-2013/390#post_23257197 (bottom of post)

LCR can be readily found for US$1500 + shipping: http://www.musiciansfriend.com/pro-audio/krk-rokit-powered-10-3-monitor-system or A$1575 + shipping: http://www.kosmic.com.au/krk-rp-103-monitor-speakers/

Surrounds at a later date for a fully active system: http://www.krksys.com/krk-studio-monitor-speakers/rokit/rokit-6.html
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post #19 of 104 Old 07-26-2013, 08:20 AM
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Being stuck with the amp they give you is not a bad thing as it's optimized for the driver, operating range of the driver, enclosure volume etc. I remember reading about a review of a Meyer studio monitor (X1 I believe)by a group of audiophiles & they were blwn away but they all started questioning the amps built in. Choosing an active design especially a studio monitor you want to look at listening distance, room volume and the desired spl at the seating position. It was hard for me at first switching from the 2 channel world. Doesn't mean you can't have great results choosing your own amp with a passive speaker it just makes it all very easy.
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post #20 of 104 Old 07-26-2013, 08:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Genelec Man View Post

Being stuck with the amp they give you is not a bad thing as it's optimized for the driver, operating range of the driver, enclosure volume etc.

Yes. My Klipsch XF-48 floorstanders are biamped active speakers with both Class A/B High-Frequency, and Class D Low-Frequency internal amps . . . and even when played hard in action movies all day, it's hard to tell if the metal chassis--which acts as a passive radiator--is any warmer than room temperature.

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post #21 of 104 Old 07-26-2013, 10:21 AM
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Either approach, active or passive, can get you there. As stated, it's all in the ultimate execution and of course, how they're employed into the space.

Myself, I'm a huge proponent of active, DSP optimized designs. The current iteration of my home system is active, all 7 channels in my 7.3 system. Everything is active except my IB.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Fitzmaurice View Post

Actives offer the ability to include true bi-amping, which does work better than passive crossovers, and dedicated DSP, for ruler flat response out of the box.

+1

In addition to FR smoothing, the time alignment is enormously important as well ... in the right hands.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Lane View Post

Active full sized speakers should have presented an attractive alternative for a big segment of consumer audio for some time.

+1


Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Fitzmaurice View Post

It won't be long. Good quality passive crossovers aren't cheap, while the price of watts keeps dropping it seems every day. When you consider that if the woofer amp is 100 watts then the midrange amp need only be 50 watts and the tweeter amp 10 watts, and then see how cheap Lepai and the like are even now, maybe the handwriting is on the wall.

+1

I often recommend a would be HT/home audio buyer to examine the ~8" two-way active products that are in abundance from the pro/prosumer world. There's an incredible array of solid products that offer a great alternative to the conventional AVR/passive speaker route.

From the highly recomended and inexpensive Behringer two-ways (I've not heard properly), KRK, JBL, and the wonderful Mackie 6" and 8" two ways, there's a lot to be said for a platform of these in a bass managed home system. Myself, I'd strongly recommend three of the Mackies across the front in most any modest sized room, as a great starting point. Sure, the big online retailers sell the hell out of these, but the cool thing is they're very likely available locally for someone wanting to check them out for purchase. ADAM also are nice, but I've not experienced the lower priced models.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kbeam418 View Post

Very nice! What is the name of the graphic EQ?

Looks like the Behringer DEQ2496, here if you're interested.

I'd be suspect of the Genelecs fed thru the DEQ2496, but who knows. I've had transparency issues with Behringers across the mains.

If he could comment, I'd really be interested to see his impressions. On the sub(s), no problem. Full disclosure, I've not used that model.. so my hesitation may be unwarranted.




Quote:
Originally Posted by grnsr View Post

ok if I'm going the active speakers route and am building in stages:
and a budget of about $1500 to $2000 for the L-R pair - which make/models should I consider?

It certainly depends on your habits (loud?) and your room size, and useage, ie, music playback without a sub, with a sub, HT plack, etc.

But, Mackie's HR824mk2, here, or ADAM's 8" monitor may appeal to you.

If you're utilizing a combo music/HT bass managed system, the center is vital IMO, and three identical fronts (none of this horizontal stuff) is ideal. If you need three, then Mackie offers a 6" version, and you could do three of those for your stated budget.

I believe Ethan Winer still utilizes three 6" Mackies across the front of his sizable HT.




Quote:
Originally Posted by Genelec Man View Post

Personally I really like the QSC K series. I believe the K8 which is an 8" 2 way with 500 watts for each driver AND with active filters with DSP are about 700 each. I have heard them and let me tell you they are smooth & have more headroom than you'll need.

+1

You're absolutely right. The QSC K8s are fantastic. I've got four of them, I use them as my four surround speakers. I also got their matching mounting yokes, which really help with aiming, etc. These things are incredible. Yeah, they have a composite shell, but wow they sound fine and are great for mains duty too. Upon receiving them, I placed two of them up front,... just temporary... to see how they sounded, ... I was so impressed, I got one of the other ones and made it so I had all three across the front,...LCR style. Well, an afternoon experiment turned out to be several weeks long! I did finally take them down, when my new mains arrived last year.

What a steal these are. Power galore, no excessive brightness/harshness, just smooth and articulate detail with no edge, and all the clean output one could ever want. Any HT application would be served well with these. But if one loves loud, bombastic action soundtracks, loud contemporary music ... at lifelike and realistic levels, a set of these up front would make one very happy for a long time. They have some spectral balance options on the back for adjusting, and every conceivable connectivity option as well.

I've got a longtime colleague and friend who is owner/operator of a pro audio contractor/shop. I ordered them thru him, got me a great deal and as I said, love the mounting yokes. I have them installed hanging from my ceiling from a system of uni-strut,...whereby I can move them forward/backward, and side-to-side, fairly easily. I can move them as a set of two (ie., sides, or rears). This serves me well as I experiment with seating distances, etc., in our non-dedicated HT family room.

Anyway, yeah, the QSC K series are great in many applications, especially LCR use in a HT. The match up nicely to my Seaton Cat12 mains.



Thanks

------------------------------------
Flat, Deep, Clean, Linear, and Loud
------------------------------------
Active 16.8kw, 7.3 system
(3)Seaton Cat12C up front, (4)QSC K8 sides/rears
(2)Seaton SubM-HP, (4)18" IB
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post #22 of 104 Old 07-26-2013, 11:03 AM
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I've been on both sides of the fence. Started out with B&W's then moved to Mackie Monitors for several years. Now doing the high-efficiency horn PA thing. It just depends on execution so you shouldn't be biased either way.

If you're looking at monitors, give the Event Opals a shot. They're supposed to be amazing.

http://www.eventelectronics.com/opal

Every genelec I've heard, I have come away unimpressed. YMMV... lots of people love them.
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post #23 of 104 Old 07-26-2013, 11:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Lane View Post

The real world differences between reasonably competent passive and active systems are no more compelling than those between, to use the OP's example, cone and dome material differences. Both are easily overshadowed by design philosophies and execution lying on a completely different plane.

+1 this!

In theory, an adjustable active offers several advantages. Overall power efficiency (not having to use passive resistance to deal with varying sensitivity), correct-ability to room conditions using the same system that does the crossover, programmable listening modes, less worry of bleed, etc.

In practice the costs are higher than they should be, and few people will be putting in the effort to use such customization.

There are exceptions (we use active crossovers in AVRs for subwoofers)

(I've got a 4-way active system here at the house)
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post #24 of 104 Old 07-27-2013, 01:04 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Dear all,

@FOH Thanks for the detailed response - I can imagine the effort it must've taken to reference all these posts and the time spent...

I couldn't possibly ever thank anyone here enough - for all their inputs and time... I'm simply humbled by all the knowledge "sharing" from the members of this forum - serious audiophile or enthusiast or hobbyist - who really enjoy sharing the knowledge and bringing a newbie onboard to becoming a serious future enthusiast...

I particularly like some of the signature tag lines ...
@Kevin Beam - I'm with you on that... I'd rather take this up as a hobby - than golf... considering my skiing days are over too with both knees shot...
@FOH - what does your tag line mean - and what is your present setup?

For the L-C-R Mains:
From what I've been reading - I'm seriously considering 3way active - is this going to be possible if I'm willing to go up to USD 2500 for the L-C-R?

Looks-wise I would want something pleasing (The WAF critieria: Get whatever you want - as long it is not too big, not too loud, Not too ugly"...
@GIEGAR thanks for the KRK's. they do look nice - how is the brand perception as compared to Genelec and about performance?
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/811416-REG/KRK_RP10_3_ROKIT_Powered_10_3_140W.html
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/869044-REG/KRK_RoKit_8_G2_Studio.html
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/869043-REG/KRK_RoKit_6_G2_Studio.html
How about these ADAMs
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/771271-REG/Adam_Professional_Audio_ARTIST_6_CENTER_ARTist_6H_150W_Dual.html
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/771269-REG/Adam_Professional_Audio_ARTIST_6_BLACK_ARTist_6_150W_Dual.html
The PMC''s are nice - but price...
Genelec, Geithain, Behringer , Mackie, QSC, Klipsch
and how about this Italian brand RCF?


Surrounds (not really thinking about it in the present round - but need to plan ahead:
I would really like to go wireless/active for the surrounds - but budget constraints prevent me for now..
future consideration: http://www.moosaudio.com/wireless-speaker-technology/

Are there any wireless passive speakers for the surround - this would keep the WAF high...
in which case what kind of processor/amp would be needed to handle wireless speakers?

alternately I still have an old Bose
http://www.bose.com/controller?url=/shop_online/speakers/stereo_speakers/201_speakers/index.jsp
which I could possibly use as Surround speakers until I can fully timber match with the new setup I am building in stages...


Despite all the advice and varied suggestions - as it stands I'm still nowhere close to a decision on the speakers...(as Speakers are a long term item and that is where the rubber hits the road...(or where the air is pushed to the ears) - I'd like to make a clear decision on this - before choosing a receiver or processor)
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post #25 of 104 Old 07-27-2013, 03:23 AM
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Why 3-way speakers?
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post #26 of 104 Old 07-27-2013, 04:40 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ifor View Post

Why 3-way speakers?

http://www.linkwitzlab.com/speakers.htm
Not that I know any better - but this Linkwitz seems to and he says " A single driver, full range loudspeaker adds too many distortion cues to disappear from the scene. A 2-way loudspeaker may come close, except for struggling in the bass and with output volume. 3-way or 4-way loudspeakers can be practical solutions to the output volume and frequency range requirements."

that's why I was thinking 3 way - which severely limits my options and blows my budget - but pl. correct me if I'm mistaken and should go for 2ways instead...

how about this 3 way active speaker
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/922786-REG/m_audio_m3eightx110_m3_8_3_way_amplified.html

Has anyone heard of M-Audio?
how does it compare to KRK in brand perception and performance?
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/811416-REG/KRK_RP10_3_ROKIT_Powered_10_3_140W.html
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post #27 of 104 Old 07-27-2013, 06:15 AM
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Don't get caught up too much in the specs or type of speaker.  I agree with that article about 3 way being better especially to get the lowest frequencies but do you need it?  If you plan on using this system with a subwoofer then you are will be using a 3 way system unless of course your speakers are a single size  full range (choke, cough) drivers like Bose.  The advantage of a 2.1 or HT system with a sub is the best placement for the low frequencies(sub) is rarely (if ever in a small room) the best placement for the mid/high frequencies (speakers).  Now a decent 2 way will get you low enough so your sub can handle the lows.  Now if this system is not going to have a sub then a 3 way speaker might be more important especially if you want to get below ~40hz.

 

The other aspects he mentions like having low linear distortion, fast transient delay, minimum roll off in the power response and good off axis response are more important factors.  I left out the minimal excitation of room modes because that is for the sub(s).  Active speakers tend to have lower distortion and fast transient delays but not always, depends on the design but as a generalization is true.  It is one advantage of not powering the crossover and powering the driver directly.  Good speaker companies will make their measurements available with on/off axis graphs or polar measurements.  This is harder to find with consumer brands but pro brands this information is often attainable and some have it available for download on their site without having to ask.

 

So if you plan on using a sub don't worry about 2 way/ 3 way speaker.  If no sub then a 3 way speaker should be considered especially for HT where generally there is more low frequency content.

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post #28 of 104 Old 07-27-2013, 06:39 AM
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Instead of trying to find wireless speakers how about a wireless transmitter/receiver with a small amp for the surround speakers?  Something like these.

http://www.atlantictechnology.com/default.asp?IsDev=False&NodeId=168

 

http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2367761&locale=en_US

 

There are MANY wireless audio/video systems that will allow you to use speakers to match your system whether active or passive.

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post #29 of 104 Old 07-27-2013, 07:11 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BobL View Post

So if you plan on using a sub don't worry about 2 way/ 3 way speaker.  If no sub then a 3 way speaker should be considered especially for HT where generally there is more low frequency content.

ok that clears it up... I do plan to have a sub - may be not right away but soon enough...
and that opens up a whole range of options in the 2 way Actives world that fit nicely in my budget
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post #30 of 104 Old 07-27-2013, 07:19 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Again I know its the speakers thread - but the receivers thread seems devoid of anybody willing to help:

is there anyone who can help me locate a processor with the following features

1. must be rated for 220 V & 50 Hz with detachable power cord
2. must have 3 or 4 HDMI inputs with 3D & 4K pass-through. (my video/audio input sources will all be via HDMI (PC, set-top box, game console)
3. must have balanced pre-amp output - (my setup will contain all Active speakers needing "Balanced pre-amplified input" and so no need for a separate amplifier unit.)
4. must have exceptional sound quality, decoders & processing technology, one or more of the following Audyssey Dynamic EQ, THX Loudness Plus, Dolby Volume or Audyssey volume - so as to control loud swings in volume from TV channel to channel or from program to ads

Optional:

1. front input HDMI (with Mobile High Def Link)
2. Bluetooth, Wifi or Ethernet port (for firmware upgrades) with DLNA
3. USB inputs which can read external hard-disk if possible
4. Ability to use Android phone and IR remote from phone etc will be great
5. THX-certification

pl. suggest some models without all the unnecessary legacy inputs and outputs - which only adds to the clutter and cost...

Looking to keep cost of processor under $500 as I may have to go way over my original speaker budget..

If such a thing does not exist - is this something I could build as DIY. I'm not electronically savvy but if I can provide the components, I can locate people who can help me put it together...
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