Which Loudspeaker System is Best to Use?

 

Things change.

Time has brought change and change continues to bring us choices. Do you remember choosing between LP records and eight track or cassette tapes? How about the VCR or Betamax? Was your first computer ajsw powredorpassivespkr PC or Macintosh? Do you choose today between a CD or MP3 download?

Technology has brought lots of choices and for the most part,  all for the better. One such choice for artists and musicians is what type of loudspeaker to use, powered or passive?

A passive speaker requires amplification and needs only one cable to connect to an amplifier.. It has been the standard for years in the music business. Powered speakers have built-in amplifiers and require both an electrical cord that must be connected to an outlet as well as a cable  from the speaker to the mixing console.

So, what is the best purchasing decision for your next investment in loudspeakers? Besides personal preference, the considerations are Cost, Convenience and of course, Sound Quality.


First let's consider the  Pros and Cons of a Passive Speaker
Pros
• Typically, passive speakers do not weigh as much as powered speakers.
• They are a bit easier to transport, carry, and lift onto speakers stands.
• They require only one cable connection to an amplifier.
• They are less expensive which makes it easier on the wallet when purchasing or replacing.
Cons
• A passive speaker is relying on an amplifier. If the amplifier blows, then you are out of luck for your venue, unless you have invested additional money for a back up amplifier. Or your system immediately shuts down in the middle of a song and there is a 15- 30 minute intermission to repair or replace the amp.
• Also, if you are using a powered mixer you are doubling the risk of failure. The amp blows or the mixer fails or the amp blows and compromises the mixer.
• When you are using more equipment you are putting yourself at risk for more equipment failure.
• Unless you have a great sound technician it is often hard to match the correct power and sound requirements to enjoy the maximum sound benefit from the speakers

 

The Pros and Cons of a Powered Speaker
Pros
• No additional power amps required.
• If one amp were to malfunction then you still have another speaker to carry on the venue.
• Built in amps mean less equipment to carry and transport
• Built in amps mean you will need less space for you equipment on stage. No more bulky consoles or racks to deal with on stage
• Powered speakers provide more options thereby reducing stress
• Easier to upgrade and add additional speakers
• If you are using an unpowered mixer and powered speakers the risk of failure is greatly reduced
• Amps and speaker are perfectly matched for delivering better sound and easier mixes
• Powered Speakers provide better reliability, Better Sound and a stress free environment.
Cons
• Powered speakers are more expensive
• Powered speakers are heavier that a passive speaker. Requiring a bit more muscle when lifting.
• Powered speakers will require two cord hook ups. One electrical cord connected to an outlet and one cable to the mixer.

 There could be more pros and cons for each speaker class but this should help you have a better understanding for the decision making process for your next loudspeaker investment.

 We would love to know your preference and reasons for using either a powered or passive loudspeaker system. Send us an email with your thoughts  to : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.   Subject Line: Speaker Preference