PDA

View Full Version : Passive or powered



Robdogg
03-17-2012, 09:16 PM
Just curious on everyone's thoughts I run both powered subs and speakers and passive subs and speakers and honestly I'd choose passive versions of everything if I could do it over... Power cords everywhere with powered and the setup time is twice as long. The idea of matched speakers and amps seemed great at the time but fighting power plugs and cables really seems not to be worth it. I'll probably get burned pretty hard here but I thought I'd try and start a debate.

Incognito
03-17-2012, 09:26 PM
Depending on the kind of gigs you do, active is a good option but for me I personally prefer passive. I've owned an active QSC system in the past & I would get another active system but I would have to also have a passive system for those gigs where active just doesn't cut it.

Dix
03-17-2012, 09:35 PM
I do the usual mobile stuff, weddings & receptions, reunions, birthdays etc. I prefer passive but, I have to admit I've never used powered so, I don't know. But just from reading posts, I honestly think I prefer passive........ but again, I never used powered, so I don't know.

windspeed36
03-17-2012, 09:46 PM
I use both - all my smaller stuff - JBL VRX JBL VP and my Meyer gear is all active but my bigger stuff Is all passive. The biggest thing for me was not all the cabbling but the electrics themselves and using them outdoors for festivals. The L'Acoustics KARA and SB28's are all somewhat weatherproof which is a major factor for me.

Al Poulin
03-18-2012, 11:50 AM
I used all passive systems for the first 15 years of my DJ career, but once I found some decent powered speakers, there was no turning back. (the first powered speakers really seemed hit or miss and the Mackie 450s had that thermal issue that scared me).

I love the plug and play simplicity of powered as well as the fact that most powered speakers are internally bi-amped with amp modules perfectly matched to the drivers they are powering. Add to that built-in limiting and component protection as well as flexible mixer sections (to many models) and you have some very flexible audio tools. No need to carry an amplifier and an extra amplifier (in case of failure). Need music or a quick PA setup for announcements outside the wedding tent where you are already set up? No problem, grab a powered speaker plug it in the wall and plug a mic directly in. Under 1 minute and you have a PA set up. You simply cant do that with passive.

Quite often, especially in the summertime, I enjoy having music playing outside while I work in the yard or when the kids play in the pool etc.. I just grab a powered speaker and set it on the deck. Plug it in and plug in an MP3 player and voila! Instant jukebox.

Anyway, lets just say I love powered and have powered everything these days. 5 sets of powered tops and a powered sub. I would never go back to passive. Oh yeah, one more thing : I have no more speaker cables to carry around. All of my speakers use the same XLR connections that my microphones use. Less types of cables is good news to me. As for the powered speakers needing a signal and power cord - no a big deal for me at all and I dont know why people make such a big fuss about this. Although in a live sound situation where you need many monitors, I cansee the advantage of passive. As for weight, these days passive and powered have very little weight difference, so this has become a non factor IMO.

I love powered!

Al - Party-Time! DJ Services

DJ Riddims
03-18-2012, 05:12 PM
I am currently using a powered system, but I would love to go back to a passive system. The reasons I don't are because have no space in my SUV and quality lightweight amps are expensive. In the past I used a rig that had a heavy QSC 5050 for the subs, 2450 for the tops, 850 for the monitors, and all the processing in a heavy rack. I tried using QSC PLX but felt the RMX gave a fuller sound. I now have a similar setup now without the amp rack. Also for a smaller system powered is better because it costs less money to get decent sound in my opinion.

wave180
03-18-2012, 05:26 PM
Nice topic, I currently have a passive system and about to order the RCF Art series powered speakers to try powered.

shocase241
03-19-2012, 03:39 PM
I have both passive and powered. I favor the passive sound system..because I feel like I have more control of the sound. Mind you I've gone from a 4 way set up to a 2 way setup. However for what I do, the days of carrying so much equipment is pretty much over. I will admit I miss stringing up that rig..but I don't miss carrying and transporting it. So lately I've been cheating on my passive sound system with my powered...2 12 inch tops 2 15 inch bass...sounds clean,heavy on the bass end and easy to transport!

Incognito
03-19-2012, 05:12 PM
I favor the passive sound system..because I feel like I have more control of the sound. Mind you I've gone from a 4 way set up to a 2 way setup. However for what I do, the days of carrying so much equipment is pretty much over. I will admit I miss stringing up that rig..but I don't miss carrying and transporting it.

100% right there with you on that one....

audiopyle
03-19-2012, 05:34 PM
It depends on the complexity of the system. For years I have run a tri-amped SLS LS8695 column/subs system in large ballrooms that required two amp racks, power distribution, 8 conductor speaker cable for the mains and 4 conductor cable for subs and fill cabinets. I also used some elaborate stands or rigging to tweak the column aiming for best performance.

I'm now covering the same rooms with a powered RCF TTL11A system that requires just a power cord and an XLR cable routed to each stack. The built in processing allows beam steering which means I don't have to mess with physically angling the cabinets to try to get the right vertical coverage, greatly simplifying my setup.

Manu
03-19-2012, 06:45 PM
I prefer passive, seen (heard duh) too many active speakers with rattles and leaks because of the amp section. Decent active speaker systems seem a lot more expensive too, though I'm not speaking U.S. prices.

windspeed36
03-19-2012, 08:37 PM
I prefer passive, seen (heard duh) too many active speakers with rattles and leaks because of the amp section. Decent active speaker systems seem a lot more expensive too, though I'm not speaking U.S. prices.

What exactly are people classifying 'decent active speaker systems' as?

Al Poulin
03-19-2012, 10:02 PM
What exactly are people classifying 'decent active speaker systems' as?

Decent IMO, would be anything one level above entry level equipment - performance and output wise. Think RCF ART, Yorkville NX, EV Live-X, JBL PRX, Yamaha DXR/DSR, QSC K etc... Anything over 500$ per cabinet I guess would be considered decent to me. Cheaper than that can certainly work, but you will be more limited in the size of venue you can handle AND there will be other shortcomings (or cut corners) somewhere.

Al

windspeed36
03-19-2012, 10:57 PM
Even by some most of those listed are considered entry level

I get what Manu is saying - the guy I work with at Mad Productions - I think one or two of his 315A's have some loose parts and cause a rattle...

Random side question - anyone tried the new D-Series from RCF? There's both 2 way cabs as well as SLAM's - http://www.rcf.it/en_US/professional-speaker-systems/d-line/overview - competition for the JBL VP series?

Al Poulin
03-19-2012, 11:47 PM
Even by some most of those listed are considered entry level

I get what Manu is saying - the guy I work with at Mad Productions - I think one or two of his 315A's have some loose parts and cause a rattle...

Random side question - anyone tried the new D-Series from RCF? There's both 2 way cabs as well as SLAM's - http://www.rcf.it/en_US/professional-speaker-systems/d-line/overview - competition for the JBL VP series?


I've had plenty of passive cabs develop rattles and/or air leaks, so this is not limited to powered cabs.

RCF's new D-Line cabs are just starting to pop up, but very rare in the US and Canada for the moment.

Al

windspeed36
03-19-2012, 11:58 PM
Ashamedly i've got a pair of Behringer B215D's that I use mainly as stands for a bench, but when I push them they rattle like hell and it's almost like the amp module is trying to push itself out of the cabinet. Oh Behringer you concern me...

akillj
03-20-2012, 02:09 AM
Are the rattles dangerous / something to be concerned about? I have two RCF Art 312A's and when I start to drive them harder, they begin to push air out the small spaces of the amp rack. ( The volume knob, xlr in/out, ect )

windspeed36
03-20-2012, 02:24 AM
Are the rattles dangerous / something to be concerned about? I have two RCF Art 312A's and when I start to drive them harder, they begin to push air out the small spaces of the amp rack. ( The volume knob, xlr in/out, ect )
That's pretty normal for most speakers, especially active ones. The driver is pushing air both forward and backward so any space that air can escape it will

akillj
03-20-2012, 02:27 AM
That's pretty normal for most speakers, especially active ones. The driver is pushing air both forward and backward so any space that air can escape it will

Ah okay thank you.

Incognito
03-20-2012, 03:59 AM
Both serve a purpose but it comes down to convenience vs practicality, for some gigs powered speakers are actually convenient as well as practical (while for other gigs it's neither). A passive speaker can be used in more applications then active speakers can, can be better tuned to exacting standards but it may not always be as convenient as using powered speakers. As I always say, no matter what speaker you choose in the world it is a collection of compromises for any given application thus no one speaker is perfect for every application, the best thing for you to do is find something that best suits your needs most of the time.

For me I found powered speakers perfect for some applications but horrible for others, Powered speakers bought built in redundancy to any gig that I used them. If one speakers amp module failed then the other was still up & running to get you through the rest of the gig, where as with passive speakers if your amp module failed & you don't have a back up then you're out of luck. However where I live during certain parts of the year the weather can change instantly & it was always a bother trying to set up locations for outdoor gigs where I had shelter for the powered speakers as well as access to power that was also with in range of my XLR runs to be sure the speakers are protected in case of a quick shower. With passive speakers I have a little more time to run & cover the speakers up & can actually run covers over them without worrying about built in amp modules over heating. When I had my powered speakers at certain gigs I had to take friends along with me just to stand by the speakers to prevent people from messing with the amp modules (remember all your controls are out in the open to the crowd & away from you), prevent people (mainly drunk women) from dancing on top of the powered speakers with their drinks in hand (spilled drinks on a powered speaker can be disastrous) & extra care had to be taken during transport of active speakers to be sure none of the knobs, switches etc. are damaged during transport. The other thing I didn't like about active speakers that also revolves around the fact that they are away from you is trying to look through the crown to see those little lights to ensure the amp modules on the speakers aren't clipping. With some powered speakers this is impossible to tell this from across the room because from some reason some manufacturers put the clip lights to the rear of the speaker, for these models you would have to be making constant trips to take a look at the rear of the speaker though out the gig. This would also be true is you wanted to ensure your amp modules on your powered speakers aren't over heating or to ensure nothing is blocking the air vents on the amp modules (people like to throw their coats etc. behind speakers during winter gigs which also poses a threat of disturbing the settings or potentially braking the knobs on the amp module of the speaker). For such gigs as these a passive speaker is the best solution.

For gigs such as dinner & background music, weddings, small family gathering, church functions, etc. that are generally more tame then a powered speaker system will be a good convenient plug & play solution. When I purchased my QSC HPR powered speaker system a few years ago I got a pair of free power/XLR cables (power & signal combination http://www.ebay.com/itm/50-XLR-AC-POWER-CABLE-AUDIO-SPEAKER-LIGHTING-STAGE-/120379565510?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item1c072e65c6#ht_1324wt_1163 ) with them that at first I was sceptical of because it's whole design went against all traditional teachings (power & signal shouldn't run parallel to each other but should cross at 90 degrees of each other) for such things. As such I purchased a bunch of good sized clip on ferrite filters & installed them on both sides of the cable on both the signal as well as the power cables & had not on issue of interference but the extra convenience that these cables bought to the table was immeasurable because I was able to run both the power & signal from a single cable thus made picking up power for the powered speakers so much easier.

Take a look at the pros & cons of each speaker & go with what works best for you.