Ask an Audio Engineer: Active Speakers vs. Passive Speakers - Which one should I choose?

What’s the big difference between Active and Passive speakers?

Here is a quick explanation of both types of speakers. Hopefully, learning their differences will make it easier to chose the best solution for your application.

Active Speakers

Active speakers have a built in amplifier, processing, and limiting to protect the speaker. They will sound as good as designed by the factory, right out of the box. Active speakers are easy to setup and to utilize, particularly in portable situations. However, they do come with the need for more wires — AC electricity and audio signal cabling.

Passive Speakers

Passive speakers require fewer wires — just one speaker wire from an amplifier. Passive speakers are lighter and less expensive, but they will require a separate amplifier and possibly even a separate processor.

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