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Active Designs & Their Favorability

hyperplanar

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#41
Interesting takes ITT.
I want to clarify I fully get the appeal of active designs generally. You simply will never be able to passively engineer a speaker that cannot have its tonality improved via EQ. I just don't see what the benefits are of integrating parts into the speaker cabinet beyond space saving and general convenience. Overall, the replies confirm I'm not missing some esoteric detail that proves a company's rebranded DSP device residing within a speaker cabinet is going to do anything special in it of itself.
Not sure what the alternative would be. Bring your own amplifiers/DSP/crossover and have the manufacturer provide the driver sensitivity/crossover slopes/parametric EQ/limiter settings? I think that would turn away 99% of customers. Or provide an external box with the electronics? Some monitors have that option, but it's less convenient, and for what benefit?
 

maverickronin

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#42
Not sure what the alternative would be. Bring your own amplifiers/DSP/crossover and have the manufacturer provide the driver sensitivity/crossover slopes/parametric EQ/limiter settings? I think that would turn away 99% of customers. Or provide an external box with the electronics? Some monitors have that option, but it's less convenient, and for what benefit?
It's much more repairable.
 

maverickronin

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#43
For every post I have seen of someone saying theirs hiss I see dozens of responses from others saying theirs don’t. I also note Amir did not raise this as an issue in his 305mk2 review either. I think most probably it could affect units with issues in their source chain. I would consider a hiss a pretty serious defect to the point I would have to get rid of them.
It just depends on the noise floor of your room.

I can't hear any hiss from my 305 MKII's in the room where I have them set up and they have to compete with my computer, an air purifier off in the corner, and the AC during the summer.

If I take one into much quieter storage room the hiss is very obvious.
 

Old Listener

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#44
I don't. I think it's appalling, whatever the price. It's shoddy, incompetent work. The designers have total control of everything, including gain architecture, and they sign off on a speaker that audibly hisses? They should be ashamed of themselves.
Why don't you make a product that performs as well without the hiss and sell it at the same price?
 

Old Listener

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#46
That's a silly response.

Actually, you seem to agree with my point in the rest of your reply.

The evidence shows it can't be done at the price, or JBL would have.

In one post you accuse JBL of shoddy, incompetent work. In the next post, you seem to regard JBL as so competent that nobody else could do better.

I don't know whether anyone could do better at the price. Your earlier post make it seem trivial to design a monitor with great specs and no hiss at the same price.

Better to design to a price that at least delivers basic competence.

There are quite a few satisfied users of the JBL monitors on this forum. They might not agree with you.
 

echopraxia

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#47
It's much more repairable.
In my previous post here, I argue that the repair-ability of a speaker system is not inherently related to whether the electronics are external or not.

Sure, external components makes it easier to replace than many integrated active speakers. But you could also almost as easily design the electronics to attach to the speaker modularly enough that replacing them is very simple and easy (and even tool-less).

Making it easier to replace electronics is therefore not an issue of internal vs external, but just one of the designers making this intentionally easy or not.
 

hyperplanar

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#48
It's much more repairable.
If you’re skilled enough to repair a highly integrated surface mount PCB in the first place, surely removing a couple screws on the back panel of a studio monitor to get the board out won’t be a problem. ;)

Unless you’re referring to the separate bring-your-own DAC/DSP/amps proposition, which sounds like a bad business idea to me. That’s pretty far into the DIY realm.
 

Racheski

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#49
I often hear people talking about actives hissing but I am yet to experience it for myself. The only time I have heard hissing is on a mates setup and that was due to a faulty component feeding noise to his actives.

I have Elac Navis ARB-51, JBL 305/308mk2’s, Yamaha MSR400s and they are dead silent.
My Vanatoo t0s hiss. It frustrates me - I actually would like to see a quick “hiss test” incorporated into Amir’s reviews of active speakers.
 

LTig

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#51
Maybe I'm missing something there, but what does DSP have to do with active speakers? Passives can measure just as well if DSP is used to flatten their frequency curve.
If the active speaker has a DSP inside it's usually used to implement the crossover in the digital domain which has advantages over an analog crossover.
 

Zvu

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#52
Manufacturers are trying to cram all that sh*t into such a small space because people want swiss army loudspeaker, of course it will have some problems. Can it be done? Sure, but at a price.

That being said, there was no obvious hiss in Focal Shape 50 i listened few weeks ago - not in the quietest enviroment though.
 

Racheski

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#54
Are they on your desktop?
Yes, I have them on top of foam iso pads on my computer desktop. They have external connections to a subwoofer and the RCA out from my A90. I have tested unplugging the woofer and RCA, but they don’t change the hiss. All of my desktop electrical devices are connected to the same power strip.
 

Ron Texas

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#55
Yes, I have them on top of foam iso pads on my computer desktop. They have external connections to a subwoofer and the RCA out from my A90. I have tested unplugging the woofer and RCA, but they don’t change the hiss. All of my desktop electrical devices are connected to the same power strip.
Nearly all complaints about hiss are from desktop listeners. It's a difficult problem to solve and worse with lower cost powered speakers.
 

maverickronin

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#56
In my previous post here, I argue that the repair-ability of a speaker system is not inherently related to whether the electronics are external or not.

Sure, external components makes it easier to replace than many integrated active speakers. But you could also almost as easily design the electronics to attach to the speaker modularly enough that replacing them is very simple and easy (and even tool-less).

Making it easier to replace electronics is therefore not an issue of internal vs external, but just one of the designers making this intentionally easy or not.
In my previous post here, I argue that the repair-ability of a speaker system is not inherently related to whether the electronics are external or not.

Sure, external components makes it easier to replace than many integrated active speakers. But you could also almost as easily design the electronics to attach to the speaker modularly enough that replacing them is very simple and easy (and even tool-less).

Making it easier to replace electronics is therefore not an issue of internal vs external, but just one of the designers making this intentionally easy or not.
"Repairability" in this context basically means replacing an entire board or assembly. When one component dies it usually takes a lot of other stuff with it, then microcontrollers will have custom code, specific parts will not longer be available, etc, etc which makes actually repairing a board almost impossible without manufacturer support.

Having everything be external to begin with makes it easier on several levels. It will be easier to replace, there will be more spare parts available, and it will be easier to reverse engineer and replace with something new and custom.
 

Sancus

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#57
My Vanatoo t0s hiss. It frustrates me - I actually would like to see a quick “hiss test” incorporated into Amir’s reviews of active speakers.
If the Vanatoo hiss bothers you, you'll probably need to go to Neumanns. The Vanatoo hiss is pretty low level, I can only hear it if I turn my idling PC off from ~60cm.
 

stevenswall

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#58
Why are active speaker designs so favorable?
Should space be available, why wouldn't you want to have the dac, dsp, and amplification devices be independent of the speaker? This allows for easy upgrades if so desired, as well as more control over the hardware in general; you'll likely choose higher quality components than what's in the average active speaker by default. I can't see any reason to go integrated beyond convenience and/or space saving- the latter is pertinent in studios where active speakers are popular, yet, these traits are not so special in the average home.
Is there anything beyond convenience and space saving that I'm missing? Is there something persnickety about doing active crossovers outside of the cabinet with, say, an external MiniDSP device that's going over my head?
You cannot select a DAC that is audibly better than a transparent DAC in a great studio monitor.
You cannot select an amplifier that is audibly better than a transparent amp in a great studio monitor.
You may be able to find a DSP that works better than inbuilt or company specific DSP solutions.

Part of the convenience: Imagine selecting the best DAC and amp for a pair of speakers so that they are no longer the limiting factor, after testing dozens, and then having an engineer optimize them and the crossover points via DSP after hundreds of hours... But actually you had to test many dozens to find out they were crap or not designed for your speakers.

Then imagine the engineers saying "hey, we have a time machine and a shrink ray, and we can go back in time and just sell you the speakers we've made now, with everything inside, and it's all taken care of, and we'll throw in this DSP tool so you can do some room correct."

Would you say, "no thanks, I'm okay having spent hundreds of hours or more, I'd rather just have a bunch of boxes and cables, and I'll just use someone else's DSP."

You could certainly try to rip the guts out of something and power it with a MiniDSP and an amp, especially if you knew what the engineers did about crossover points and slopes. Not really an upgrade, but theoretically it could be done.
 

stevenswall

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#59
TBH, I would absolutely love to be able to add additional manufacturers to the "yeah these speakers are going to be perform well on every model" example list but we haven't seen anybody match up as far as actives go, IMO. The JBLs have too many flaws. For passives, I think Kef, Elac, and Revel have proven themselves easily recommendable.
Any of those plus a sub are recommendable I'd say depending on pricing. (Port chuffing on some ELAC models before you can hear the bass driver distort. Not acceptable to me.) Once you spend over $2500 if that doesn't include a sub, I'd categorically reject anything that didn't easily get down to 30hz or so with coaxial dispersion and replace it with a Phantom Reactor if it wasn't for their horrible app. If you don't care about vertical dispersion or bass extension (EX: A JBL LSR 308 is bass-lite), disregard all of this.

The biggest advantage I see of passives is no hiss for cheaper.
 
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Inner Space

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#60
Nearly all complaints about hiss are from desktop listeners. It's a difficult problem to solve and worse with lower cost powered speakers.
Ron, what's the specific difficulty in solving this problem? Seems to be solved in passive systems. 24 years ago I bought a pair of 104dB/w La Scalas, and found many amps to be silent, even with my ear on the tweeter horn. What is it about active systems that makes such performance problematical?
 
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