Passive monitors vs active monitors...go passive w/ nice amp, save money?

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Contributor Since: Nov 11, 2007


My Event ASP6's fizzled out on me, and they're getting repaired right now. The fellow repairing them gave me a pair of Alesis M1's in the meanwhile, a speaker I've used in the past and am familiar with. However my M1's were paired with the Alesis RA-100 amplifier. Those two coupled together sounded scooped to death and fizzy on the top end. Really poor sound. These M1's are coupled with a Phase Linear 400 solid state amplifier, and I'm starting to think I invested in the wrong direction with those active monitors. I can't believe the low end I'm hearing from these dinky speakers. The midrange seems fine. The top end is easier to hear.

Anyone else have experience running cheapy passive speakers with a decent amp? Am I totally off base? Feeling a little silly for dumping cash in nicer speakers if a nice amp would have solved all my problems. We'll see how it translates when I'm done with this mix. That'll be the true test.

Also... my 33609 is here and I'm hooking it up for the first time tonight/tomorrow. Woo!

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Since: Dec 04, 2007

Jan 01, 2012 01:44 am

Well, I don't know if it still holds true, but I remember reading in various places in the past that Passive monitors sound better, or possibly have better speaker components than Active monitors at the same price. So the passives + amp total price would actually be greater than the price of the actives, probably by a good couple hundred.

The advantage of Active monitors is that the developers try to use an amp that is considered a good "match" or mate to the speakers, and well.. not needing the extra cables from the amp is a plus, I guess.

So, if you already have a nice amp that provides good clean power, then sure, spare some cash, and get the passives, and wire 'em up with something like 14AWG speaker cable w/ banana plugs. If the passives are the same price/pair that your old monitors were, you might be pleasantly surprised, and end up coming out ahead.

I've always liked my Tannoy Reveal 6's, (they were around $420 or so for the pair when I got them) but I know, or rather have read that they're probably closer in nature to a good bookshelf speaker than to nearfields. They probably sound a little "nicer" rather than "balls-on accurate" Helluva lot better than what I used to have, though.

Anyway, you probably know the schtick, listen to em in music stores, or demo em in the studio if they let ya, read reviews ad-nauseum, no blind (or deaf?) purchases, etc. etc. :)

MASSIVE Mastering, LLC
Since: Aug 05, 2008

Jan 01, 2012 11:45 am

Given a choice, that is, if a speaker is made both active and passive, I've always preferred passive with a nice power amp. Event, Dynaudio, ADAM (only certain models), Wharfedale, even Behringer.

Uh, at least one more time . . .
Since: Feb 07, 2007

Jan 02, 2012 01:09 am

I'm currently using Behringer Truth B2030P (passive) speakers powered by an Adcom GFA 535 amp controlled by an Adcom GTP 450. I use a Central Station for monitoring (headphones only--for now). I don't see how one can spend, say, $500.00 for two powered monitors and expect really good power specs. I don't know, really--it just seems likely that a decent "home" stereo amp and some passive monitor speakers will out-perform anything one can buy at the corresponding price range for new near-fields. It's funny--it seems kind of hard to find passive monitors, unless you look for used stuff on E-bay, and even then, the pickings are thin. Powered speakers rule, and manufacturers build to this rule.

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