If you’re shopping for speakers, you’ve probably run into the terms passive and active. There is a major difference between these types of speakers, and which type you need depends on what you want to do with them.
Different Ways of Amplifying
The difference between active and passive speakers all comes down to how they’re amplified. All speakers require amplification, but passive and active speakers go about it in very different ways.
Passive speakers are most likely the type that pops into your head when you think of a basic speaker. These rely on an external amplifier or stereo receiver to provide power. If you think of a classic stereo system, these use passive speakers almost exclusively.
Active speakers have built-in amplification, so they don’t require an external amplifier or receiver. Active speakers can simply have a power amp that you drive with an external preamp, or they can include their own preamps and even other features like digital inputs. While this is the main difference, there are other differences in how the speakers work that can mean differences in how they sound.
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