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Why do passive speakers still exist?

Ilkka Rissanen

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I think were is the operative word there ;)

Do you have a source for this?

If the amps are built in-house, I'll be bowled over.

If the drivers are built in-house and not spec'd to Tymphany or similar to be produced off-shore, I'll be... moderately surprised.
Hi,

I can confirm that 100% of the electronics and 100% of the drivers in all of The Ones models (that would be 8331A, 8341A, 8351A/B and 8361A) are built, tested and assembled in-house at Genelec factory in Iisalmi, Finland. We are very proud to be able to say that. :)

Of course we buy well-known electronic components from our suppliers, and we don't have our own iron mill to mould the raw baskets, t-yokes etc, but we have gone as far as it is possible to have everything in our own hands when it comes to manufacturing of these monitoring loudspeakers. Once the world settles again, you are very welcome to visit us and see how it is all done.
 
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StefaanE

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It has both, so in theory you could, for example, use Dante for your surrounds and heights, and use analog outputs for your fronts that are near the SDP-55. Dante -> AES3 adapters aren't free, though, and the whole thing still has a ridiculously long list of bugs and strangeness for a $6000 piece of gear.
OK, I get they idea behind Dante, but it seems overkill for a domestic setup. Basically, I’d like to see something like the Canton Smart Connect https://www.canton.de/en/smart/smart-connect-5.1 which controls up to 8 their wireless speakers (and has six analogue pre-outs), but with S/PDIF or XLR/AES outputs instead of the proprietary wireless connections.
 

Frank Dernie

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Are those class D amplifiers used? I am in doubt about the longevity of class D amps. Again, I am not saying I know my position is anything more than a musing not fact. And if the amps in the M33 are actually class D, that may be an exception and as you know the exception does not prove the rule. Perhaps I am as wrong as wrong can be, totally acknowledge that, but I would have to really be confident to be putting down 1o and 15 thousand dollars for main system actives. I actually would be open to it once I was extremely confident in the longevity, but support moving forward is important.
I agree.
Not sure there were any class-D amps 20 years ago, certainly not in general use at a reasonable power level. Meridian made their own amps, so it will be all old fashioned class A/B amp and linear power supply.
It is true that the one thing we don't know about modern high performance Class-D and smps are longevity. In a world where something 5 years old is considered obsolete and no longer gets software updates etc and one is expected to buy a new one this may be the new normal.
My iMac computer I use(d) for streaming is slow and inconvenient purely because it is either no longer supported or even deliberately hobbled to make users thing they need a new one. This makes me angry because when I was first writing software (40 years ago mind you) 128k of RAM was a lot and the processors were little 8-bit affairs but I still had programmes which ran in "real-time" fast enough to safely run a wind tunnel. The iMac is millions of times bigger and faster in principle but not in practice.
So personally, after being an early adopter of file based music almost 20 years ago, I ain't buying any "modern" electronics for domestic use any more. I don't consider the benefits worth the pain.

I think it is far more likely that a modern active monitor will become obsolete many years before it stops good, so your term of 15 years, from now, is probably an underestimate in reality, but probably because of it having software, firmware of chip-sets which are no longer supported.

I may buy some KH420 or KH310 Neumann active monitors, the rest - no chance.
 

Frank Dernie

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and how much have it cost ?. can ypu post a link ?. i did never see in HIFI mainstraim market a receiver or amp with outputs for active speakers(except subwoofer out). so the mainstream need passive speakers. I also not see in such a market a converter to add a active speakers on speaker out of such a receiver. I look for one on amazon, but find nothing
Marantz 7704, buy used.
 
OP
P

Pearljam5000

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Hi,

I can confirm that 100% of the electronics and 100% of the drivers in all of The Ones models (that would be 8331A, 8341A, 8351A/B and 8361A) are built, tested and assembled in-house at Genelec factory in Iisalmi, Finland. We are very proud to be able to say that. :)

Of course we buy well-known electronic components from our suppliers, and we don't have our own iron mill to mould the raw baskets, t-yokes etc, but we have gone as far as it is possible to have everything in our own hands when it comes to manufacturing of these monitoring loudspeakers. Once the world settles again, you are very welcome to visit us and see how it is all done.
Thanks for the info :cool:
There are a few Genelec fans on this forum, and we were wondering if it would be possible for you to send some monitors to @amirm for testing, thank you.
 

Ilkka Rissanen

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Thanks for the info :cool:
There are a few Genelec fans on this forum, and we were wondering if it would be possible for you to send some monitors to @amirm for testing, thank you.
Hi,

I am not responsible of such requests, but I can pass your message along. Thanks!
 

Frank Dernie

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You can't know that, it could just as easily turn out opposite. Holding things constant if one is at a lower level for instance is true, but that doesn't preclude the fact that something could still be better. I really don't think in a blind listening test, multiple trials, if you were reviewing a speaker that had been designed to be used both active and passive, if you heard it driven by it's internals, then they were defeated and equally good externals were used to drive it, I just don't think you would hear anything different. Why would you? The point has not been established that using internals will somehow provide audibly better results, it might in some comparisons and not in others.
It depends.
I have heard a demonstration of the benefit of the corrections possible to be made using a DSP crossover which are not possible using a conventional crossover or powered analogue active crossover.
The improvement was marked on simply miked recordings, presumably because of correct phase, less so but audible on modern mixed-from-a-gazillion inputs recordings.
I was surprised how big the improvement was, and considered upgrading, but, in the end decided the improvement wasn't worth the exasperation of software updates/obsolescence for me.
Such a crossover and its benefits are impossible in a passive speaker and even an analogue crossover in an active speaker input can be better than anything one can do passively at the high power end in the speakers themselves.
 

hyperplanar

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Who here has been personally victimized by an active speaker (besides JBL) that broke on them?
Ooh, me! I had M-Audio DSM1s that died after five years of use. They were pretty advanced for 2009 (SMPS, DSP, analog and digital inputs, class D) and reviewed as quite good performers. An ambitious design by what was normally considered a budget brand, trying to move upmarket.

The reason why I picked them up was because they were on fire sale for $360/pair, which was a good deal considering Sound on Sound found them to be something like a discount K+H O110.

Unfortunately, despite their high aspirations, they were still by M-Audio, which is probably one of the lowest tier brands for studio monitors. So even though the MSRP was $1300... There’s tons of threads online about these monitors crapping out because they cheaped out and used no-name, underspecced electrolytic capacitors for the SMPS that die in a short period of time.

Also, they hissed, and the digital input was temperamental and would occasionally blast me with full-scale noise whenever it desynced for whatever reason. I don’t think the DSP/class D/digital input studio monitor design concept was fully baked yet at that point.

I learned my lesson and replaced them with KH120s. At least I know they didn’t cheap out on the caps :)

Eventually every electrolytic cap will dry out, but I expect these to go for 10-20 years before needing servicing. I’m also pretty sure Neumann/Sennheiser will still be around to perform said servicing, while the same can’t be said for companies like M-Audio (they don’t even take in the DSMs for servicing anymore!)
 
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Helicopter

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+1 for having powered speaker break. I think the better question is, who's had an amp break?

Gimme a break XLRs and extension cords/power cords are just as elegant and easy to run as some speaker wire. Speaker wire with good performance is way cheaper too. Like 20 cents a foot. You can put speaker wire straight through your stud with a little drill bit, you don't have to terminate it with connectors, it probably won't start any fires, and there are only 2 wires to hook up. A NAD M33 and a couple good passive speakers is about as simple as you can get.

If you like Genelecs, get them, but I'm not trading my Focals for them any time soon. Demand for passives should be safe for a long time, and the growth in the demand for active speakers should also be safe.

Another benefit of passive speakers is they work with my 1970s receivers, and my tube gear, in addition to a chip amp or class D amp, so I can do whatever I want. I can add DSP, I can go all analog.. all while running the same nice speakers.
 

mhardy6647

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XLR is very much available in white, all my XLR cables are white!
All the colo(u)rs of the rainbow, in fact! :)
(well, OK, not all -- but many...)
sorry I inadvertantly cut off part of "WHITE" on the drop down in the screenshot I took & cropped to post here. :rolleyes:

1606142083471.png


PS I'll put in a plug ;) for Markertek, too. They are my go-to for "prosumer" goods, mostly because their customer service is outstanding. It made a difference during the COVID-19 summer, when some of this kind of stuff (mics, mixers, etc.) was hard to get as everyone moved to Zooming and podcasting all at once.
 

EJ3

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For domestic use, i'd like speaker cables to be unobtrusive, easy to run and easy to hide. Rca is a bit better, but then you need to mess with adapters and cant use balanced inputs, which some actives require to reduce noise.
Passive cables are just infinitely better in this regard, can even run them under carpets.

Admittedly, this is not important to the folks who build their rooms around their audio equipment. I might just not be hardcore enough to consider that normal.
Starting on the left side of my fireplace I have a DUAL 1229 TT, a UPC, A sub (below 80 Hz) with a speaker on top and an Apt/Holman Preamp. There is a 4k flat screen monitor on the front brick section of the fireplace. And the cable box. The right side of the fireplace mirror images the left side. Except the TT is a Technics SL-M3. On a coffee table (with a shelf the same size as the coffee table) between it's legs)to the right is another APT/Holman preamp, a Harrison Labs PFMOD crossover, an OPPO 205, a NAD 4300 tuner, 3 NAD 2200s, 2 high end cassette decks, 2 RTR's and a Sony W500 CD recorder. None of the wiring can be seen unless you look at the back of the equipment. And I have covered non of it. There are ways to cover it also. I once lived in a place with my wife that had a 220V AC line that my wife didn't like the sight of. She bought a fake IVY vine and used the AC line to put it on. From then on the AC line looked like ivy. I don't understand how you would be looking at wires & connectors if you did not want to.
 

EJ3

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All the colo(u)rs of the rainbow, in fact! :)
(well, OK, not all -- but many...)
sorry I inadvertantly cut off part of "WHITE" on the drop down in the screenshot I took & cropped to post here. :rolleyes:

View attachment 95272

PS I'll put in a plug ;) for Markertek, too. They are my go-to for "prosumer" goods, mostly because their customer service is outstanding. It made a difference during the COVID-19 summer, when some of this kind of stuff (mics, mixers, etc.) was hard to get as everyone moved to Zooming and podcasting all at once.
Never ZOOMED or listened to a podcast but great idea. (I am frequently with no cell signal due to being out of cell tower range too, so...)
 

andreasmaaan

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You can't know that, it could just as easily turn out opposite. Holding things constant if one is at a lower level for instance is true, but that doesn't preclude the fact that something could still be better. I really don't think in a blind listening test, multiple trials, if you were reviewing a speaker that had been designed to be used both active and passive, if you heard it driven by it's internals, then they were defeated and equally good externals were used to drive it, I just don't think you would hear anything different. Why would you? The point has not been established that using internals will somehow provide audibly better results, it might in some comparisons and not in others.
Nobody (as far as I can tell) is arguing that if you simply take a passive speaker and replace the crossover with an active one it is going to perform significantly better, which seems to be what you have in mind.

This would just result in an active loudspeaker that was designed subject to all the limitations of a passive loudspeaker. Obviously that would result in little or no benefit - the main advantages of active speakers would have been off the table from the outset.
 
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Frank Dernie

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Nobody (as far as I can tell) is arguing that if you simply take a passive speaker and replace the crossover with an active one it is going to perform significantly better, which seems to be what you have in mind.

This would just result in an active loudspeaker that was designed subject to all the limitations of a passive loudspeaker. Obviously that would result in little or no benefit - the main advantages of active speakers would have been off the table from the outset.
Maybe, but the demo I went to, @sergeauckland was there too, was of an up market speaker kit with the crossover replaced by a Linn Exakt DSP box and amps with the various crossover corrections added one by one and starting with an emulation of the passive crossover from the kit.
The corrections possible by using a DSP crossover were from marked to barely audible but pretty worthwhile I felt..
 

andreasmaaan

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Maybe, but the demo I went to, @sergeauckland was there too, was of an up market speaker kit with the crossover replaced by a Linn Exakt DSP box and amps with the various crossover corrections added one by one and starting with an emulation of the passive crossover from the kit.
The corrections possible by using a DSP crossover were from marked to barely audible but pretty worthwhile I felt..
Sure, I believe that :)

But if we go back to the list I made earlier in the thread of the advantages of active speakers, the advantages I've bolded below would have been off the table in that specific case:
  • Avoiding caps, coils and resistors in the signal path, all of which degrade performance by adding distortion (not necessarily to the extent that it’s audible of course) and reducing efficiency.
  • Placing the acoustic centres of the drivers in locations optimised for acoustic interaction with the baffle and/or horn, without being shackled by the necessity of keeping the acoustic centres of the drivers on roughly the same Z-plane.
  • Implementing complex crossover filters enabling any/all of the following:
    • steeper crossover slopes (lowering distortion/stress on drivers)
    • better rejection of out-of-band signal (also lowering distortion/stress on drivers)
    • more precise use of crossover phase cancellation to control directivity (see e.g. Horbach-Keele)
    • implementation of cardioid radiation patterns allowing for wider-bandwidth directivity control (see e.g. Kii Three)
  • Extremely fine equalisation of driver responses, enabling the designer to select from a wider range of drivers/driver properties in the first place.
No doubt in your example, replacement of that passive crossover with a more finely tuned active one led to audible, significant advantages in that particular case.

I suspect, though, that mostly this was because the active crossover was better designed than the passive one it replaced (of course it is much easier to design a good active crossover, which is not a trivial advantage in itself!).

It might have been interesting to compare that same speaker with the passive crossover still in place, but with the system optimised upstream with DSP. In this case, I suspect there would be little difference between the (DSP-optimised) passive implementation and the active implementation you listened to.

Or alternatively, to have the passive crossover redesigned so that it performed better than it (apparently) performed in the original implementation.
 
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Kal Rubinson

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I look for (analog) preamps but did not find a good price preamp that have remote control and input switch possible over remote control. Can you post a link ?.
I do not know the market in Germany, so I cannot make an effective suggestions.
So i am 99.9% sure that on Hifi market active speakers are mostly not used because there are no preamps for that solution for a good price.
??? Are you talking about digital or analog connection from preamp to active speaker?
And only a preamp(with surround) with XLR or symetrical out can be much cheaper as a Power Amp included AVR. so around 100-200$
Are you asking for a stereo preamp with XLR analog output?
 

raistlin65

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....I suspect, though, that mostly this was because the active crossover was better designed than the passive one it replaced (of course it is much easier to design a good active crossover, which is not a trivial advantage in itself!).

It might have been interesting to compare that same speaker with the passive crossover still in place, but with the system optimised upstream with DSP. In this case, I suspect there would be little difference between the (DSP-optimised) passive implementation and the active implementation you listened to.
I think this is important.

Pro audio has embraced DSP. Audiophiles have only recently begun to use DSP. But we have a long ways to go before there is large majority acceptance. For example, many vinyl enthusiasts are not going to like their analog signal converted to digital for processing.

Once a large enough market segment exists that want DSP, we will eventually see much less expensive, more robust DSP solutions implemented as part of standard passive speaker setups. Then much of the active speaker advantage in this regard will be negated.

Audyssey's phone app is one hint of the future. Give me a wireless measurement mic and a more robust phone app to control all EQ and other speaker tweakings, and I'm sure I'll be just as happy with a passive speaker setup vs active setup.
 

Kal Rubinson

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Thanks Kal!
I had a gander at the Stormaudio website, and it’s pretty thin on details. And prices. The same applies to the websites of their European dealers. Methinks they want you to buy a full home theatre service but that’s beyond my budget (and I prefer to do my own installation).
Contact Storm directly about the options and prices.
storm2.JPG


The JBL Synthesis SDP-55 has a very nice DAC (so they say), which leads me to believe they’re into analogue outputs. After all, a digital sound processor doesn’t need a DAC — the active speakers do the conversion.
Or maybe I just don’t get it :rolleyes:.
Note the Dante output options, please.
Dante
The JBL Synthesis SDP-55 includes Dante, an uncompressed, multi-channel digital media networking technology, with near-zero latency and synchronization. All 16 channels of processed audio, plus Zone 2 (18 channels total) can be routed to any Dante enabled receiving device over a standard network. Dante does away with heavy, expensive analog or multicore cabling, replacing it with low-cost, easily-available CAT5e, CAT6 for a simple, lightweight, and economical solution. Dante is easy to set up and compatible with JBL Synthesis Dante enabled amplifiers as well as a wide selection of third-party Dante-enabled audio products. Dante integrates media and control for your entire system over a single, standard IP network. The applications are endless.
 

Kal Rubinson

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OK, I get they idea behind Dante, but it seems overkill for a domestic setup. Basically, I’d like to see something like the Canton Smart Connect https://www.canton.de/en/smart/smart-connect-5.1 which controls up to 8 their wireless speakers (and has six analogue pre-outs), but with S/PDIF or XLR/AES outputs instead of the proprietary wireless connections.
WiSA?
 
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