Passive speakers or studio monitors

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by AudioMike33, Dec 28, 2018.

  1. AudioMike33

    AudioMike33 Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Usa
    Have a question for all you audio files out there do studio monitors powered studio monitors or passive speakers sound better or are a better choice if you're just listening to music playing CDs playing vinyl playing Flac files or is there any difference.

    If I was building the system based on listening to vinyl CDs and Flac files would you recommend that I went down to powered monitor route or passive speakers?
     
  2. Dougr33

    Dougr33 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Twin Cities, MN
    You're not providing enough info for people to help. Do you currently have any equipment? If so, put in your profile or signature. At any price point, there are combinations of equipment that are excellent, with either passive or active speakers. So, what do you have, what's your budget, and have you heard anything yet that you like. Good luck.
     
  3. AudioMike33

    AudioMike33 Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Usa
    Okay sorry for the lack of information I currently own nothing.

    I have about a $2,000 budget for the complete system turntable amplifier CD player speakers.

    In the system I want to be able to play obviously vinyl on a turntable I want to build a play CDs which is pretty simple and I want to be able to play hi-res Flac files so steer me in the right direction.

    Do I buy just a 5.1 receiver by Pioneer Onkyo or someone like that plug a CD player plug a record player into it but then again I'm back to the problem of how do I play my Flac files so looking for advice I would appreciate it thank you.

    And to let you know I care nothing about surround sound from movies strictly music
     
    The Pinhead likes this.
  4. AudioMike33

    AudioMike33 Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Usa
    Anybody ?
     
  5. The Pinhead

    The Pinhead SLEAZY SOUTHAMERICAN CAVEMAN

    For an amp I seriously reccomend you this one; it has a built-in DAC that will allow to play your FLAC files from a pendrive or laptop for U$ 800 :

    https://www.amazon.com/Yamaha-Integ...56230&sr=8-3&keywords=yamaha+amplifier+stereo

    Get this Yamaha CD player for 300, new : https://www.amazon.com/Yamaha-CD-S300BL-Compact-Natural-Player/dp/B00916E6FE?th=1

    These Polk speakers will give you great sound for U$ 360 a pair, new :

    https://www.amazon.com/Polk-Audio-M...-catcorr&keywords=polk+speakers+floorstanding

    This combo leaves you with over 500 bucks for a clean used japanese TT like a basic Pioneer, a nice basic cart like a Shure M44 , good Blue Jean interconnect cables and Monster speaker cable. You could get a subwoofer in a future for the full range experience.
     
  6. AudioMike33

    AudioMike33 Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Usa
    Hey thank you I appreciate it very much that amp that Yamaha amp looks really good looks like it's got a good DAC in it and yeah I could basically play it's a USB DAC so basically I can plug my Android phone and use my USB audio Pro player to play all my DSD and Flac files right into the amp perfect.

    The speaker seem awfully cheap priced for that big of a speaker. I like to see the CD player there's an Audio Technica turntable I've been looking at I think it's like the lp120 something like that but you're right I got $500 to play with thank you any other suggestions from anybody else I'm open to them to kind of compare stuff but this looks pretty good.
     
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  7. Kostas

    Kostas Forum Resident

    Location:
    Athens,GR.
    Active speakers: active crossover and a number of mono amplifiers usually inside each speaker matching the number of speakers. The amps can also be outside the speakers in separate boxes.
    Powered speakers: passive crossover and usually a stereo amp in one speaker that drives the pair of speakers.

    Powered speakers are usually an inexpensive solution. Active speakers have the advantage I described over passive ones. It doesn't mean everyone likes them better than passives, on the contrary, most people into "high end" don't want to hear about them. My opinion is that speakers are speakers and they don't have an opinion, they will reproduce anything you'll give them no matter if it's a recording from any format or a raw drum track you just recorded. I have active & passive speakers and I have played all formats through them. If you don't need bluetooth, wifi etc there are many active speakers I would prefer over a combination of an amp and passive speakers. Check Dynaudio, Mackie, Yamaha, Neumann, Focal actives. I suggest you spend as much as possible in the speakers, for me it's the crucial part of the system. And thankfully the manufacturer has done the matching for you and has put amps that can drive their speakers efficiently. If you have more than once source you will need a preamp or a mixer and a phono stage for the turntable.
     
  8. phred

    phred Forum Resident

    Strongly recommend active speakers/monitors.
    Active has a myriad of advantages over the old fashioned passive systems.
    (Generally professional audio equipment is about 3 x more cost effective then consumer Hi Fi)
    There are a number of reasonable DAC/Pre amps about.
    A cheap spinner with digital out into the DAC/Pre and onto the actives.
    Most of the DAC/Pre amps will switch between sources (Digtal from the player and USB, SPIDIF or optical from your digital source)

    Earlier today we were listening to a computer feeding an IFI micro IDSD (Black label) that was feeding my little Genelec 8010A actives - this tiny system will fill most rooms to a fairly high volume while the IFI settings allow the listener to trim the sound to suit the application (The Genelecs also have adjustment)
    For your budget (assumes you have a player that has some sort of digital output) I would consider the IFI (Or a simialr DAC/Pre) into a pair of Genelec 8020 or if affordable 8030 monitors. (Climb as high up the Genelec numbers as you can for more bass extension)
     
  9. chervokas

    chervokas Forum Resident

    I don't think it matters whether you go with active speakers, or passive speakers and an amp, per se. You can get great or not so great results with either.

    Active speakers with active crossovers can have the advantage of lower loss and distortion related to passive crossovers, (but, especially at the budget end, they can have kind of crummy cheap built in amplification, that might only be serviceable as long as the circuit boards are being made). But you can get great results with a well chosen amp and passive speakers too. And there can be crummy sounding actives too. You can do fine building a system either way, or you can wind up with a hashy sounding system that doesn't image very well and has a poor frequency balance either way. It's more about the specific pieces you choose than the type of pieces you choose.

    I think the biggest challenge will be trying to build a 3 source system -- digital files, CD and vinyl -- for $2K. I mean, you can do it, but you're probably going to have to wind up buying a very inexpensive turntable, tonearm, phono cart and phono preamp. The result may well be mediocre sound and mechanical things that frustrate you.

    Say you spend $1K on a pair of active speakers like the Dynaudio BM5 mk iii -- that's pretty inexpensive for a good active speaker with a big enough woofer and cabinet to give you some reasonable bass extension. That leaves you $1K for a DAC, a preamp, a CD player, a tonearm, a phono cart and maybe a phono preamp. Bringing all that in at a decent level of quality for $1K is going to be tough.

    If you went with a good budget integrated with phono circuitry like a Rega Brio or something, that would be around $700. You could add some passive speakers from the new batches of well regarded budget speakers in the $500 to $700 a pair range -- the Elacs or PSB or Definitive Tech or Monitor Audio. a lot of competition in the price range. That'll leave you $600 to $800 for a CD player and DAC or for a record player -- pick a source, digital or analog and just add the other source later.

    You can go either way I'd just offer the thought that you may want to start with digital or analog source but not both.
     
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  10. The Pinhead

    The Pinhead SLEAZY SOUTHAMERICAN CAVEMAN

    They're deeply discounted, excellent speakers. Don't be fooled by the price. I'd normally recommend Klipsch but it didn't fit your budget. And they're not big by floorstanders speakers. I wouldn't get actives if I were you but if you entertain the idea you might considers these :

    https://www.amazon.com/Klipsch-R-26...coding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=FY70XD1B3CSRBBSA1KCN

    They sound incredible, have a built-in amp, a DAC, wireless lossless capabilities to stream files, and a phono stage.

    The LP 120 is an acceptable TT for a beginner if you don't want to go the used route, but I'd favour a used japanese TT. Good luck with your rig man !!
     
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  11. Bingo Bongo

    Bingo Bongo No music, no Life

    Spend as much as you can on the speakers first, and a decent receiver. You''ll love your Flac.

    Then pick up a CD & TT at a later date.
     
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  12. The Pinhead

    The Pinhead SLEAZY SOUTHAMERICAN CAVEMAN

    C'mon man; it's his first system, give the guy a break. See both of my previous posts; they fit his budget and pretensions just nicely and the sound would be far from mediocre, if prolly far below your standards (not mine). He'll be in heaven with the vintage TT, the Yamaha amp and CD player and Polk floorstanders, or the Klipsch actives + same CD player and TT.

    Either way he's got all bases covered, with excellent (mid-fi by your standards) . I'd favour the Yammie amp over the powered towers because of the tone controls and higher reliabilty. And you know how much I respect your opinion and always like your posts, but I have to disagree on this one;):wave:
     
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  13. The Pinhead

    The Pinhead SLEAZY SOUTHAMERICAN CAVEMAN

    Or this, of course; pure logic reasoning, BB. BUT, the OP want it all and his budget allows for it, so why not.
     
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  14. noway

    noway Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    I prefer passive but my budget is higher. If you buy active speakers, make sure you have return privileges, in case you choose wrong.

    In your budget I would choose Yamaha A-S Series integrated amp (new or gently used) and buy the other stuff used, except for the turntable cartridge which I would buy new.
     
  15. james

    james Forum Resident

    Location:
    Annapolis
    Don’t sleep on Craigslist either. Right now I’m listening to a second system: KEF Reference 102/2 speakers on nice steel stands, a Nakamachi Receiver 3 (as preamp) and Rotel RB-981 power amp all on a solid cherry Salamander rack. I think I paid less than 300 bucks for all of it. I’m also using an Emotiva XDA-1 DAC that I bought at least 10 years ago.
     
  16. bmoregnr

    bmoregnr Forum Rezident

    Location:
    1060 W. Addison
    What is your listening room like? Do you have lots of room to get the speakers enough from the back wall, good seating position etc.? Are you considering floor standing speakers? I think this would have just as much to do with a choice as anything. A good amount of room to get passive speakers positioned nicely and a vinyl/digital combo, maybe amp/speakers. A smaller room where positioning is a problem and these are going to be desktop speakers with more of a near field seating position, maybe actives make more sense.

    On the whole most active speakers are going to be about mix accuracy and are going to be revealing; you don't have a good dac and it might be a bit brutal sounding. On the whole the amp/speaker combo can kind of soften the hard edges, probably display vinyl a little better. No hard and fast rule, but another consideration I think. Still if I was stuck in a dorm room and the bulk of my listening was digital I'd have no problem with a dac/preamp into actives combination.
     
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  17. bever70

    bever70 It's all about the soundstage

    Location:
    Belgium
    Do a search on 2nd hand sites, make notes of stuff you like, google reviews and forum experiences on the stuff you like. Put your system together on this basis. The fun is in the search and getting to know your gear. I would ditch the tt setup, you will not get what you maybe expect on such a small budget for tt/vinyl. Start with cd/flac. See how you like it, learn what's out there. Google can be your friend.
     
  18. AudioMike33

    AudioMike33 Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Usa
    Thanks for all the great responses I'm kind of going through each response I'm a drop the turntable for now to add more money into the speakers but I'm still going through all of your replies.

    I'm really liking that Yamaha damn that was referred to me in the beginning d801 I believe sounds like it has a nice DAC it sounds like a nice amp read the reviews on it although it doesn't get rave reviews it doesn't get any bad reviews either it just sounds like a solid piece of equipment.

    If anybody else has any ideas welcome to post I'm going to kind of go through all these replies and look at all the information see what I want to do sounds like I need more money from briefly reading but 2k is all I got so I think if anything has to go it's going to be the turntable.
     
  19. head_unit

    head_unit Forum Resident

    Location:
    Los Angeles CA USA
    So to clarify, you don't care about surround at all? No DVD-Audio, no SACD, no surround files?
    I agree with @chervokas that you can get good or bad sound either active or passive
    And hugely agree with @Bingo Bongo that speakers make by far the most difference. They are horribly inaccurate compared to the rest of the audio chain, and I say that as a loudspeaker engineer ha ha. Also, there seems to be a tendency to rarely upgrade the speakers, some kind of weird psychological kink. So I'd get the very best speakers out of that budget:
    - I agree with @bever70 Craigslist etc to start with a used receiver. 5.1 is fine even if you only use 2 channels.
    - And Craigslist *might* turn up cool speakers (and even turntable, and CD player). But your location just says "USA"-where are you more exactly? We can look for you and recommend.
    - To play FLAC, personally I play those on a Sansa Clip Zip while I run, and if the FLACs are homebrewed music or bootlegs, then let's face it the ultimate fidelity is not an issue. Sometimes I use XLD on my Mac to re-rip to high quality MP3 for other playback because again the fidelity is not tip-top. Where do you have the FLACs now and how do you listen? What computer(s) do you have? And what kind of phone? I've used an old phone as a source, the DACs are not so horrible really. Also I've used the Apple Airport Express via digital out, but even the analog output DAC performance is good-not state-of-the-art, but good. What audio you play from your computer/laptop (Mac OR Windows) can cast the audio to the Express, and thence into your receiver. This is what my friend is doing right now, into a lovely Onkyo TX-8511 I scored him in new shape for $30 (!!) from Craigslist as a Hannukah present while he figures out what more expensive equipment he likes.* Or a Chromecast for $35 can send FLAC now it appears.

    In other words, to get all the stuff you'd like including some kind of FLAC streamer all at top quality would exceed your budget. So better to start used or budget and upgrade one good thing at a time. Since the speakers will affect the sound the most, that is the logical place to spend the most money to begin with (and Polk does have really good sales). Undoubtedly someone is going to chime in with the old folk wisdom that the source(s) are all-important, and the speakers can't reproduce what isn't there from the source, but that "wisdom" misunderstands how accurate even cheap turntable/CD/amp are compared to the speakers.

    Technical note: if you ever want to add a subwoofer, beware that most 2-channel amps will not let you do it properly. Even if they have a "subwoofer output" they may not have any highpass filtering, leaving your mains still straining to put out the low bass.

    *(In his case, he uses Apple Music, so he should really get something with AirPlay built-in. This is a whole different idea, which is to forget CDs and turntable and go all-in streaming. Even TIDAL lossless is just what $20/month, and with Roon you can integrate local rips of any rare CDs that are not streamable. Certainly Apple Music at $10/month has almost everything; I hardly ever play my CDs even in my car. And I don't miss my vinyl at all, too much fiddling around which some people love and others like me just leave behind. You can get an AirPlay receiver from $299 new Home Theater Receivers, A/V Receivers, and Surround Sound Receivers
     
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  20. Dougr33

    Dougr33 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Twin Cities, MN
    If it was me, I'd follow this advice from The Pinhead:

    For an amp I seriously recommend you this one; it has a built-in DAC that will allow to play your FLAC files from a pendrive or laptop for U$ 800 :

    https://www.amazon.com/Yamaha-Integ...56230&sr=8-3&keywords=yamaha+amplifier+stereo

    Get this Yamaha CD player for 300, new : https://www.amazon.com/Yamaha-CD-S300BL-Compact-Natural-Player/dp/B00916E6FE?th=1

    Then I would spend the rest on the best tower speakers you can afford. You have almost $1k left, minus a little for BlueJean cables.
    MusicDirect has some great deals on 'scratch and dent' Wharfedales: Speakers | Shop High End Audio Equipment - Music Direct

    So, Yes, I'm saying skip the vinyl.. I don't care what anybody says, it takes a lot of money to get into it at the level where it's really enjoyable, and new AND used vinyl are really expensive. Just my humblesque opinion.
     
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  21. Dougr33

    Dougr33 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Twin Cities, MN
    ^^^^Too late for me to edit the above, but meant to mention that the Yammie has a nice phono pre already, so you can dabble with vinyl later if you must. And you'll have a really solid system in place to evaluate it. Good luck
     
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  22. AudioMike33

    AudioMike33 Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Usa
    Seriously leaning towards the Yamaha 799 brand new off of eBay that's pretty tough to beat. Speakers I'm going to listen to some kef speakers right now speakers on wide-open I know they're very subjective person to person.
     
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  23. The Pinhead

    The Pinhead SLEAZY SOUTHAMERICAN CAVEMAN

    :righton:

    Avoid vinyl; it's messy, inconvenient, expensive, an addictive. I should know !:cool:;):winkgrin:
     
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  24. The Pinhead

    The Pinhead SLEAZY SOUTHAMERICAN CAVEMAN

    Try Klipsch for the sake of it. What styles of music do you listen to the most ?
     
  25. AudioMike33

    AudioMike33 Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Usa
    I like pop jazz the only thing I basically don't like is I don't like country or hip hop.

    Love acoustic music good acoustic guitar I like all kinds of stuff I'm going to listen to the kef r300 speakers.

    I may avoid vinyl completely like the guy above-mentioned it is looks like a rather expensive Hobby when I could just get everything basically I want to play in Flac and be done that gives me more room for speaker cash I'm pretty much set on getting the Yamaha receiver.

    Listening space is about 10 ft by 15 ft
     

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