Active vs. Passive Monitors....Worth the price?

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by Doug Brown, Jan 16, 2005.

  1. Doug Brown

    Doug Brown Member

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    Here's the question:

    Are active monitors worth the price when compared to their passive counterparts?

    This is the question I am trying to resolve as I look to purchase a pair of monitors, particularly as I have poweramps that not being used. One example that i am looking at is the Event Precision 8 series. Powered they are 650 each and passive they are 325 eack. The saved 650 would help with other purchases, but not at a sacrifice of sound quality if the powered monitors sound much better.

    All thoughts and coments would be welcome.


    Thanks
     
  2. TAVD

    TAVD Guitar Player Gold Supporting Member

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    It all depends on the design. Some actives use the same passive cross-overs as their non-powered counterparts and simply add an amp. Some use active cross-overs. What amp are you thinking of using? You might be better off using the passive version if you have a good amp. We're talking budget monitors hear so an amp such as a Hafler or higher end stuff like Bryston will likely be better than what's inside the active version.

    I haven't heard the Event p8 so I can't comment on those directly.
     
  3. Doug Brown

    Doug Brown Member

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    I have a Mackie 1400i and a QSC PLX 1602. I realize that both are overkill for the Event P8, but would work for a while if I watch the volume.

    Thanks
     
  4. LSchefman

    LSchefman Member

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    Let's assume that you like the Events, and that the active and passive models are of equal quality construction.

    There are advantages to each approach. The best power amplifiers generally sound better and are better built than the amps that are built into powered monitors, but lots of powered monitors have separate amps for the woofer and the tweeter.

    Lots of people feel that the speaker vibrating in the same cabinet as the power amp will create compromises in the sound.

    On the other hand, powered monitors don't lose signal to long cable runs between the amp and speakers, and the amps can be tailored to enhance the frequency response of the speaker.

    Powered monitors also don't have any problems of separation between the L and R channels. The amplifiers are completely separate monoblocks.

    My experience in 15 years of professional studio work is that a high end passive monitor coupled with a high end amp will sound better than an active monitor. However, I am talking really high end here, and such a rig is usually in the 10K and up range. The larger PMC monitors with something like a Chord or Nelson Pass power amp will sound better than any self-powered monitor, for example.

    However, in the non-stratospheric price ranges most of us buy monitors in, the advantages of a powered monitor outweigh the disadvantages.
     
  5. Igneous

    Igneous Member

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    Id go with the powered unless you can afford a really nice amp.
    Ive worked with both and the thing is that the amp in the powered monitors are "matched" to the speakers. One less thing to worry about..

    MTC--Cheers--IG
     
  6. tedm

    tedm Gold Supporting Member

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    If you have a good 200WPC+ amp already, capable of 4 ohm loads, I'd consider the passives.

    Note that the powered and passive versions of these monitors do have different crossover designs (and points - 2.5khz vs 2.6khz) as noted by others, they even have slightly different frequency responses. But I personally prefer the amps outside of the speakers, especially 280W amps.

    Les has a lot of excellent points in his post.

     
  7. enharmonic

    enharmonic Old Growth Gold Supporting Member

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    Monitors are so important...good monitoring is make or break for any studio of any level.

    If I were going active (and I probably am), I'd look at designs that incorporate Bryston amps. Bryston is an "industry standard".

    I'm going with PMC AML-1's
     
  8. Bassomatic

    Bassomatic Silver Supporting Member

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    Most folks don't realize just how good (powerful and well designed and expensive) a pro level power amp has to be to really deliver the goods in a studio monitoring situation. To pass the occasional demands of huge base and/or transient spikes without flinching (coloring), things have to be overspecified, in a sense. (I'm doing a terrible job here of paraphrasing what the guy from Hot House explained to me and my then-studio partner many moons during a visit to his shop, back when he made his name modding Tannoys, before he entered amp mfg himself).
     
  9. Bassomatic

    Bassomatic Silver Supporting Member

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    So are Yammy NS-10s...



    (j/k);)
     
  10. enharmonic

    enharmonic Old Growth Gold Supporting Member

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    Actually, that's an excellent point! If you can make a mix sound good on NS-10's, it will sound good just about anywhere :)

    Didn't Yamaha stop making them though?
     
  11. Bassomatic

    Bassomatic Silver Supporting Member

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    Which is exactly why they still see as much use as they do. I always periodically check mixes on them when i'm somewhere that has 'em. Would i buy a pair? Hells no!:p
     

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