Active vs Passive speakers – How to choose?


Are you in market and confused with the terminology used to buy speakers, some sites are quoting Best Active speakers, some are saying powered speakers of the year, maybe your audiophile friend is telling you to buy passive speakers and accompaniments for the best sounding setup, and you are loaded with lots of information and trying to figure out; what and what not to buy.

Today we are trying our best to put all this confusion to rest and say RIP Mr.dilemma.

Active or Powered audio speakers:

  • Definition: Active speakers are primarily the speakers with a built-in amplifier, the amplifier is an active electronic device which required electrical power. Here you can simply plug your source or the low line level signal/mixer into the speakers. There will no need to put an external amplifier to drive the powered speakers
    • One should note that the powered speaker doesn’t necessarily mean an active speaker, as it might have passive crossover components, so don’t get fooled!!
  • Crossover: It comprises of the crossover components; this crossover component in the speaker split the frequency band into the Low and high range (and Mid-range but for expensive setups), which is fed into the designated driver in the speaker system meant to handle those frequencies
  • Uses: Active speakers are easy to set up for small gigs and home setups as they don’t require much time and effort to install the separate amplifier and cabling
  • Pros:
    • easy setup
    • one box solution
    • each driver has its own amplifier
  • Cons:
    • if internal amplifier goes faulty entire unit is gone for repair
    • heavy for small setups


Active Speaker setup
Active speaker internal setup

Passive or Non-Powered audio Speakers:

  • Definition: A passive speaker comes without an amplifier and you need an external amplifier to drive them. The speakers are connected to the amplifier with the help of speaker cables.
  • Crossover: Here the passive crossover component split the audio signals and fed them to the individual drivers, you may need a separate crossover device at times. The user need to choose the compatible speakers along with the amplifier (or compatible amplifier with the speakers) by matching the impedance and power ratings of each other
  • Uses: Passive speakers are generally used for big setups and concerts; they are also used as home audio setups as well
  • Pros:
    • Scalable, you can add/upgrade the system as and when required
    • Customizable as per your taste
  • Cons:
    • One must match the technical specifications of Amp and speakers before buying
    • Manufacturers are producing high powered and high power consuming amps, to make them compatible with most range of speakers available

It will invite criticism if we decide to debate which one is better active or passive, it mostly depends upon your requirements like – space, budget, use case and what pleases your ears. We have personally used both and for desktop/small setups active speakers are good enough to blow your mind or for your next gig/jam at the local bar just carry your guitar, mic and one XLR enabled active speaker. For the home theater setup, you can invest into a 5.1/7.1 setup with the choice of center channel and subwoofer as per your liking.

Happy listening!!!!

Also, read – 

- Best golf cart bluetooth speakers
- Best wireless earbuds for small ears
- Best wireless ceiling speaker to buy!
- Best soundbars under $250 – Complete list!
- Best Boomboxes of all time!
Most popular active desktop speakers: Audioengine A5+ Active 2-way speakers
Best passive speaker set for your amplifier: Definitive Technology ProCinema


  1. Hello Anirudh, very nice site indeed. I love music and audio, really enjoyed the reviews and tech talk on active and passive speakers was quite interesting.
    The way you manage social networks is pretty cool also, you can like and share, nice.
    Perhaps you could add a section: you own one?, review it. This will create more comments from audio freaks which are quite a few out there.
    Audio and music go hand by hand, perhaps a note on your music taste will also generate engagement.
    The site is a bit dull to navigate, the home page includes articles from the other pages, so when you look for another article to read it’s already covered on the home page.
    Some of the links on the deals page open up on your same page, link them to open on new pages, that way you keep yours open.
    Congratulations again, hope to see more interesting articles and reviews coming our way.

    1. Appreciate your comments Mario, thanks for providing ideas to evolve the site. Will definitely work towards this.

      Would you suggest adding a static page for the HOME?


  2. Hi, thanks for all the info! I don’t know the first thing about speakers but my husband spent a ton of time researching the ones we have at home, I’m sure this website would have been helpful at that time. Best of luck developing your site!

    1. Thanks! Penny, In our endeavor to provide useful information to the music enthusiasts we always strive to give the relevant information to our audience which would help them take an informed decision.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.