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Author Topic: disadvantages to active speakers  (Read 10557 times)

Bud Bolf

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Re: disadvantages to active speakers
« Reply #10 on: May 02, 2005, 06:14:37 am »

 Hi again,
In regard to more items available for failure in a Passive System compared to an Active System. I don't think that that argument holds water, I use a DriveRack from my Mixer, and I also have an old Crossover should the DriveRack Fail. Though I have never heard horror stories (doesn't mean it's never happenned) about Crossovers dying or for that Matter DSP's failing. Thankfully, most decent outboard Equipment today lives long stable lives! I think that the most common failure in a System, Active or Passive is a Power Amp. They seem to take the most abuse day in and day out, and some of that is due to keeping them in (or not) a good environment, with good air flow to keep them cool and good AC to keep them properly powered. Again unless you set your gains inproperly and clip alot, it is also rare to blow a speaker, again, not to say that one will not just fail of old age.
Active speakers just scare me in that, I do not have Options available to me to recover, my hands are tied! Short of carrying a spare speaker! It is easier and less space consuming to plan ahead for a Passive Failure and have a spare Crossover and Power Amp! In regard to Cabling, if you do not already carry lots of spare Mic, Speaker, Inter-connect, power, and even Guitar cables (to cover that lost Guitar Player, scratching his head) then you should, because this is the easiest backup, Active or Passive!
I have no grudge against those that Love the Active way.
Call me over-protective of my System, no scratch that, make me over-protective of getting through the gig with both stacks!
In time maybe I'll convert. At that time, I'll probably modify my cabs so that I can bypass the Power Amp, and I'll carry a Spare Power amp from my old Passive days! LOL!
Later,
  Bud
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Matt Johnson

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Re: disadvantages to active speakers
« Reply #11 on: May 02, 2005, 10:01:07 am »

I'll just say "Don't knock it 'till you tried it.".  I was completely against using powered speakers for a long time.  Especially after hearing the crap Mackie and Peavey had to offer. Then I was offered an opportunity to try out both FBT and EV powered systems.  I ended up buying a complete powered EV system (SXA series) for my small bar gigs and even used it at a couple of outdoor gigs.  

That was over three years ago.  The only failure I've had was on a top that took the shortcut off my truck after being packed poorly.  All of my monitors are the same model as the tops, so I made the drummer live without a monitor for a gig and everything went fine.  

I still have my passive rig for large gigs, but it collects more dust than my powered system.  Plus, if I need extra monitors with the big rig, I can just grab a powered ones.  It fits in the back of my pickup and handles everything I've thrown at it so far.  I love it.
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Larry Cioffi

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Re: disadvantages to active speakers
« Reply #12 on: May 07, 2005, 06:20:21 am »

Our band uses 100% powered speakers for everything, mains, sub, monitors.  We are a 5 piece, female-fronted band in the chicago area, and most of the clubs we play where we need to bring PA are small to medium sized venues.  We use Yorkville EF500Ps for mains, LS700Ps for subs, and NX250s for monitors (we have 3, going for a 4th).  We know this gear is durable, the EF500Ps have been going for over 2 years with no failures.  This band doesn't push them very hard.... and if we do have a failure, we would just move a monitor cabinet up to replace the failing EF500P.  Not optimal, but it would get us through the show.
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Larry Cioffi
Chicago
(drummer - Kimberly Kane band)

Jonathan Novick

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Re: disadvantages to active speakers
« Reply #13 on: May 13, 2005, 05:26:21 pm »

Here is how I see things.

If cars were like pro-audio gear, we would dissassemble our cars before and after each use. We would need to know a lot about tuning and aligning our cars or they would drive horribly after we assembled them. Thankfully, cars come in integrated packages. We just need to know where the gas goes and how to use the steering wheel, foot pedals and the shift lever.

Powered speakers are a step towards integration of sound systems. They take a key variable, namely matching the speakers to the amps, out of the assembly problem. It allows someone to focus more energy on another part of their job. It is kind of like using a Driverack. The DR eliminates a lot of the level matching and wiring issues between components and saves space to boot. The DR creates a single point failure problem too.

I feel powered speakers get a bad rap because there are so many budget plastic models on the market catering to DJs and this is what people see. You have Meyer cabinets at the high end of powered speakers but you won't find them in bars. The market for powered speakers targeted above the beginner DJ and below the touring system is still relatively young. The selection keeps getting better each year.

The powered vs non-powered argument is like the analog vs. digital console argument. Eventually they will coexist quite nicely.


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John Roberts {JR}

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Re: disadvantages to active speakers
« Reply #14 on: May 13, 2005, 07:16:22 pm »

sawdust12 wrote on Fri, 13 May 2005 16:26

Here is how I see things.

If cars were like pro-audio gear, we would dissassemble our cars before and after each use. We would need to know a lot about tuning and aligning our cars or they would drive horribly after we assembled them. Thankfully, cars come in integrated packages. We just need to know where the gas goes and how to use the steering wheel, foot pedals and the shift lever.

Powered speakers are a step towards integration of sound systems. They take a key variable, namely matching the speakers to the amps, out of the assembly problem. It allows someone to focus more energy on another part of their job. It is kind of like using a Driverack. The DR eliminates a lot of the level matching and wiring issues between components and saves space to boot. The DR creates a single point failure problem too.

I feel powered speakers get a bad rap because there are so many budget plastic models on the market catering to DJs and this is what people see. You have Meyer cabinets at the high end of powered speakers but you won't find them in bars. The market for powered speakers targeted above the beginner DJ and below the touring system is still relatively young. The selection keeps getting better each year.

The powered vs non-powered argument is like the analog vs. digital console argument. Eventually they will coexist quite nicely.






I agree with your sentiment about powered speakers being a more advanced evolutionary branch of the same tree. The car analogy is rich with comparisons I'll leave for others to expand upon.

My only minor disagreement would be with the analog vs. digital console argument being similar.... I'm not even sure what the analog vs. digital console argument is? AFAIK it's not a system integration issue, while digital is more amenable to that.  

While many have been waiting for the digital console revolution to arrive. Godot like, either it already has or isn't ever going to. I suspect there will be ongoing evolutionary increases in   acceptance and market share of digital everything.

IMO the likely evolutionary path for consoles is first to break the control surface away from the audio path, which certainly favors digital, and finally the control surface morphing to something unrecognizable to today's mix engineers. Of course I could be wrong. The future hasn't happened yet. Rolling Eyes

JR





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Jonathan Novick

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Re: disadvantages to active speakers
« Reply #15 on: May 15, 2005, 11:38:24 pm »

JR,

The only reason for the console analogy is that some people swear one way or the other while most people now accept that both with will coexist for quite a while (at least according to a recent FOH poll). I see people taking sides on powered cabinets as well. IMHO, they will coexist.
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