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MarkWinston

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I hope this is the right place to post such a question but which one would be a better option, a powered speaker like the S2000 MKIII or a separate system like the JBL Stage A130/Sony SSCS5 paired with the Sony STR-DH190/Aiyima 07? How do good powered speakers sound compared to great budget setups mentioned above especially when these powered speakers have some DSP magic in them to boost their performance? I know its an easier choice when we go up the price range ladder but its not an easy choice in the entry level deparment. Would love to hear your thoughts on this!
 

digitalfrost

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I think most amps in powered speakers would probably not measure very well against the good amps tested here. It's not like they put Hypex nCore into these things. That said, crossover components cost money as well, especially the price of copper has risen in the last decades. I would wager you can make better and cheaper crossovers in active speakers.

If you do not already own an amp and you don't need all the connectivity options that a preamp or integrated provides, I think going active will almost always give more bang for the buck.
 
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MarkWinston

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I think most amps in powered speakers would probably not measure very well against the good amps tested here. It's not like they put Hypex nCore into these things. That said, crossover components cost money as well, especially the price of copper has risen in the last decades. I would wager you can make better and cheaper crossovers in active speakers.

If you do not already own an amp and you don't need all the connectivity options that a preamp or integrated provides, I think going active will almost always give more bang for the buck.
Example, the Edifier S3000 Pro is 500usd. For 500usd I could get a cheap but good amp like the STR-DH190 and a pair of Wharfedale 12.2. Which you reckon would sound better? Remember though, the S3000 Pro is heavily dependent on dsp, making it sometimes sound fantastic. On the other hand, the Wharfedale 12.2 are great speakers too.
 

YSC

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I think most amps in powered speakers would probably not measure very well against the good amps tested here. It's not like they put Hypex nCore into these things. That said, crossover components cost money as well, especially the price of copper has risen in the last decades. I would wager you can make better and cheaper crossovers in active speakers.

If you do not already own an amp and you don't need all the connectivity options that a preamp or integrated provides, I think going active will almost always give more bang for the buck.
Yea I bet most actives use some chip amps for it, more likely on the 70-80db SINAD, but well, when even the best speaker driver have a lot more distortion at listening level, so I bet the low SINAD doesn't matter, especially when the designers can tailor made their requirement for the choice of the drivers rather than the passive way where designers have to guess and reserve margin for say underpowered amps or some low current tube amps, same hold true for passive amp also, you need to design with a huge variety of impedance of the speakers and make sure it won't burn itself or have weird changes in FR
 

dfuller

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Example, the Edifier S3000 Pro is 500usd. For 500usd I could get a cheap but good amp like the STR-DH190 and a pair of Wharfedale 12.2. Which you reckon would sound better? Remember though, the S3000 Pro is heavily dependent on dsp, making it sometimes sound fantastic. On the other hand, the Wharfedale 12.2 are great speakers too.
for $500 I'd just get a pair of Kali LP-6s and call it a day.
 

antennaguru

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What will you do when the internal amp(s) stops turning on?

Passive speakers last a half century, at least, and are repairable.
 

dfuller

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What will you do when the internal amp(s) stops turning on?

Passive speakers last a half century, at least, and are repairable.
...Yes, and so do actives. There are actives out there that are multiple decades old (30+ years) and they still work fine.
 

Chrispy

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...Yes, and so do actives. There are actives out there that are multiple decades old (30+ years) and they still work fine.
Then again not all actives/powered speakers have fared so well with their chosen amps. More of a specific application thing than generalizing....
 

antennaguru

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...Yes, and so do actives. There are actives out there that are multiple decades old (30+ years) and they still work fine.

OK then, please name one active speaker that has been operating for 50 years or more. This is not hard to do with passive speakers, as that list is a long one.

I can tell you that I have had three (3) active subs not make it much past the 5 year mark before the plate amp failed, and they were all from good reputable companies that just no longer stocked replacement plate amps for what was now in their eyes a discontinued product. Since there is zero standardization of plate amp dimensions and hole patterns, all three (3) of those not very old subs was headed for the landfill - until I decided to use my sheet metal working capabilities to make adapter plates to mount replacement plate amps sourced from Parts Express. That was when I learned that one of the plate amps also took out its woofer when it failed, so I had to also source a replacement woofer as well. None of those subs was abused. I think two of the three failed in the Auto-Turn-On sensing circuitry - which I could not reverse engineer and repair because of conformal goo that had been painted on the printed circuit board. Next time won't be such an easy replacement as the wood byproduct cabinets (particle board/mdf) now have lots of holes and silicone sealant all over them. BTW, I bought replacement plate amps with manual on/off switches.

Even if a regular power amplifier fails, which I personally have found much less likely, you just slide another power amplifier onto the shelf in its place, and connect the standardized connectors from the last one to the next one. Then if you like you download the service manual for the failed one and repair it, and have a spare without missing a beat.
 

dfuller

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The big example is ATC, who have had active studio monitors in major recording studios since the early 1990s. That's 30 years ago now. Not only do they still service them, they barely even need servicing.
 

Marc v E

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The best thing about powered speakers imo is that I stop thinking about tinkering with the amps for sound improvements. Not 100% sure why, but most of the profession branded speakers are powered and just sound right to me. I've listened to a lot of passive hifi speakers and never experienced the same truthfullness in sound. What I've also seen a lot is people spending way too much on amps versus speakers. For example the kef ls50 passive version that supposedly only became 'alive' when powered by 2000 to 3000 euro amps.
 

Chrispy

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The big example is ATC, who have had active studio monitors in major recording studios since the early 1990s. That's 30 years ago now. Not only do they still service them, they barely even need servicing.
ATC might be considered more the exception than the rule, and Genelec probably is in the same range.....the rest, meh
 

antennaguru

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The big example is ATC, who have had active studio monitors in major recording studios since the early 1990s. That's 30 years ago now. Not only do they still service them, they barely even need servicing.

Great example. Their current lowest priced active speaker is the SCM19A, a 2-Way that only goes down to 54 Hertz for $10,000 MSRP. Next model up is the SCM40A, a 3-Way that only goes down to 48 Hertz for $15,000 MSRP. There others for $34,000, $42,000, $52,000, etc. At those prices they should last a really long time! In my opinion they sound no better than a much less expensive passive with a 1-2 thousand dollar amp.
 

antennaguru

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BTW, Amir reviewed the passive version of the SCM19, a passive 2 way for $4800 MSRP. Current pricing means the active part of the SCM19A costs more than the passive speaker part! Here is Amir's conclusion:

Conclusions
ATC is another "PRO" company producing hi-fi speaker. My impression of any such company is that they would produce speakers that would have a neutral and balanced frequency response and hence tonality. I can't fathom how they would produce something like the SCM19. The results are so poor that I am suspecting my measurements must be wrong. But then the listening tests confirmed the same.

I read that the new version uses in-house tweeter. That seems like the wrong problem to try to solve. They should fix the woofer first.

Needless to say, I can not recommend the ATC SCM19 (version 1).
 

Chrispy

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Perhaps the measurement system (Klippel) is more intended for home environment vs commercial? (I don't know particularly) Or an expectation that with the passive version you'd have sufficient electronics to customize to your room? Is the speaker intended for home systems or commercial? Not familiar particularly, especially as ATC is primarily a pro company on the other side of the pond from here....
 

antennaguru

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Perhaps the measurement system (Klippel) is more intended for home environment vs commercial? (I don't know particularly) Or an expectation that with the passive version you'd have sufficient electronics to customize to your room? Is the speaker intended for home systems or commercial? Not familiar particularly, especially as ATC is primarily a pro company on the other side of the pond from here....

Whatever! I believe the purpose of an active system is supposed to bring down the overall cost of ownership while increasing the overall sound quality, and that's clearly not happening with ATC. The SCM19A matches $4800 speakers with $5200 amplifiers. Let that sink in.
 

Chrispy

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Whatever! I believe the purpose of an active system is supposed to bring down the overall cost of ownership while increasing the overall sound quality, and that's clearly not happening with ATC. The SCM19A matches $4800 speakers with $5200 amplifiers. Let that sink in.

It isn't even on my radar to begin with particularly so sinking in isn't even an issue. Active systems are what they are, they don't necessarily prove out your consumer expectations.....
 
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