Active Vs Passive Speakers

If you are wondering the difference between active vs. passive speakers, you’re in the right place. If you want to set up an awesome sound system, it’s good to understand how both types of speakers function.

We will break down each speaker’s functions so you know how they all work. We will also discuss the advantages of each. When it comes to speakers, sound quality should be the number one thing of importance.

The real question is: which speakers will deliver excellent sound quality? Audiophiles like you may be keeping your ears open for the more minor details.

Let’s get started.

What Are Active Speakers?

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Active speakers are the type of speakers that can be plugged in directly to the power source. These speakers will use a separate amplifier and use no less than two speaker drivers. They’ll also use a crossover network as well, so the frequency bands are split.

The following parts are also included to ensure that the active speaker works appropriately: the drivers, preamp, power amplifiers, crossover units, and the audio source. These speakers are easy to set up, so you won’t have any trouble if your sound system uses any of them.

Today, most active speakers will be able to connect with your Bluetooth devices. So all you need to do is pair your speakers with an iPhone or similar device, and you should be good to go. But, of course, it can also use WiFi technology as well.

Either way, you are dealing with speakers that can produce high-quality sound. Set up the speakers, and you’ll be able to enjoy music in just about minutes—no complex work to put in or anything similar.

You will not need additional equipment such as receivers to set this up. However, if you want something that will be easier to set up and requires so little, then you’ll want to purchase active speakers.

What Are the Advantages of Active Speaker?

The advantages of active speakers aside from a straightforward, wireless setup include a better quality sound. The sound signal will filter through the crossover circuits before the sound is amplified. Since there are separate amplifications, it will make the sound quality a lot better.

These speakers and the amps that you use will be the perfect match for one another, especially when you want to get the best sound possible. If you have an amplifier sitting around, you can set them up to where they can work together in perfect synchronization.

What Are Passive Speakers?

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Most passive speakers are often used in home entertainment systems and stereo setups. More often than not, they will use an external amplifier as their power source. Unfortunately, this means you will need to use the wires provided to create connectivity.

The setup of these speakers will be a bit more complex than active speakers. On top of that, passive speakers will have more components inside.

Most of the old-school stereo setups use these speakers. But, whether it’s CD players, record players, or even some of the modern devices, you can still be able to use these speakers for a rich, excellent sound.

You’ll need something known as a phono stage so you can be able to equalize the audio signal and increase the output. You don’t need a preamp either. 

The speaker will either be a two-way or a three-way speaker. In a two-way, the frequencies are bass and mid-range. Meanwhile, the three-way speakers release the sound at treble, mid-range, and bass.

What Are the Advantages of Passive Speakers?

The good news is that passive speakers don’t use a lot of wires like they used to. Thus, it makes it a bit easier to set up.

That doesn’t mean the setup itself will be a cinch. You’ll want to make sure you are doing everything properly.

With that said, the sound quality can depend on preference. If you want a two-way or three-way speaker, that’s up to you. It can also depend on how everything is set up as well.

Pairing the components of a speaker may be complicated, especially when you are looking to optimize that desired sound. Speaking of which, you can upgrade the amplifier with ease.

You can have a Class A/B amplifier and switch it to a Class D, or you can go from a tube amplifier to a solid-state if you feel like it. 

With active speakers, you can still use an amp. But you don’t need to upgrade it like you would with passive speakers. That’s because you already have amps built into them.

Passive speakers can also be easy to customize and upgrade. Again, you’ll have a lot of control over the components and everything in between. But, again, this may require some know-how and skill on your end.

If you don’t know your way around speakers, it’s best to leave them alone. Or you can choose active speakers to easily play around with the settings until you have that desired sound quality.

Since passive speakers don’t come with built-in amplifiers, they are lighter. As a result, it makes it much easier to mount them to a wall; this can be surprising since these speakers do contain more components (albeit lightweight components at best.


Now that you know the difference between active and passive speakers, you can easily choose between one or the other. It all comes down to the type of sound you are looking for, what you’re willing to use for a setup, and the devices you plan on using for those speakers.

We think you’ll easily be able to put two and two together when it comes to which speakers pair well with a certain device. Even with modern technology and fewer wires, both speakers can be easy to set up. It’s the customization these days that can get complicated.