• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required. There are daily reviews of audio hardware and expert members to help answer your questions. Click here to have your audio equipment measured for free!

Quick Question about Active Speakers Reviews


Apr 26, 2021
Hi All,

I've been requested to help a fellow "audiophile" build an active speaker. I've built numerous speakers over the years, but they were all passive.

My buddy has insisted to go the active route. To get started, we have a miniDSP-HD on hand.

We've read through the various reviews here on the active speakers (e.g., Genelec, Neumann KH150, Mesanovic CDM 65, Buchardt A700 etc.)

Many of these have received outstanding reviews.

Our question is, how good are the internal DACs on these DSP-based monitors? The reason for the question is that we were going to begin this project with the MiniDSP-HD. The review of the internal DAC in the miniDSP on this website would lead one to believe it should not be used for anything other than bass management.

There are also a bunch of other poorly reviewed DACs on this website; however, there are several positively reviewed DSP-based active monitor.

One would imagine that speakers with outstanding reviews will correspondingly employ outstanding DACs.

Is that true? Would most fellow forum members here caution against using the miniDSP-HD?


Major Contributor
Apr 26, 2020
Honestly, to simplify things - Hypex Fusion plate amps are probably the move. Built in DSP of decent quality, good amp modules, and it fits inside the speaker cabinet. AES and analog XLR inputs.


Major Contributor
May 27, 2021
...Why DIY?

Personally, I've built speakers for economic reasons.... Because I think I can make something better for the same price. But I'm sure I could buy better speakers if cost was no object. MiniDSP isn't cheap and maybe not convenient to build-into a speaker. (I've never built an active speaker.)

There are inexpensive amplifier boards with DSP which may be more appropriate for an active speaker. That one has Bluetooth but it doesn't seem to have hard-wired digital inputs (or if you want digital inputs).

Or if you are an electronics hobbyist it's "easier" to build analog filters/EQ than digital, and when you are building an active speaker the requirements are more limited/defined so you might not need DSP or the flexibility of "programmability".


Addicted to Fun and Learning
May 11, 2020
Calabasas, CA
how good are the internal DACs on these DSP-based monitors
I think the better question is how good the DACs need to be. You could go to Klippel and see what kind of distortion level you can hear. Once you do that, you will see that it doesn't matter what DAC you use as long as it is reasonably well designed.



Addicted to Fun and Learning
Jun 15, 2021
Is that true? Would most fellow forum members here caution against using the miniDSP-HD?
Hi, I would recommend you DO use the mini-DSP-HD......and temporarily ignore any DAC quality concerns...
To get started with active, I would build the DIY speaker just like a passive, and use external amp(s) and DAC(s).

Personally, having built a bunch of active DIY speakers, with and without plate amps, I've come to strongly prefer not using plate amps inside the speakers.

Plate amps take a bit of engineering to mount into a speaker, that often call for unwanted design compromises or complications.
Whereas a 2-4 channel SpeakOn connector is child's play to work into the design..

And I've found actives with internal amps, become "all or nothing type projects".
Usually, it's harder to change the acoustic design if I learn something I would improve.
It's always relatively easier to redo a speaker alone , ....or change an amp or a DAC...... when active means outboard active.

I can see why commercial home audio largely goes the route of "active means self-powered, with internal amps and processing"....
It assures manufacturers have control over their products, and reduces potential user error in setting up outboard gear. Plus less pieces to package and sell, while increasing price!
But for the DIY speaker enthusiast where those goals don't apply.......i'm convinced outboard is the way to go....
Top Bottom