Which One to Choose: Powered or Passive Speaker?

Powered Speakers vs Passive

Eat, Sleep, music, Repeat. This is what few people believe in. Music is an indispensable part of our lives. Even if you are someone who does not get time to listen to music, once you get to hear any kind of humming tune, we get mesmerized. Though we love music, smart speakers have popularized the way we listen to it. The newest is smart speakers, like, Alexa- which emits more than music, more of a voice-controlled personal assistant. More than all this, if you are a sound junky and passionate about music and love to play with sounds, you must know about powered and passive speakers. Of course, they both aren’t the same. You also need to know which one is right for you because when you need a Powered speaker, using the passive one won’t work or vice versa.

At a basic level, understand that any kind of speaker is a sound reinforcement into the environment. We need that kind of sound reinforcement at party places for DJ, stadiums etc. To facilitate that kind of reinforcement, we use speakers. Here we will make you understand what it means when we say that it is a passive or Powered speaker. Let us understand the fundamental difference between both of them. The powered speaker is all in one system which has a built-in power amplifier and it just needs a battery to operate. To contrast, passive speakers require an external power amplifier to operate. Most of the guitarists, orators, café owners and bass players use powered speakers because the amplifier is built-in to the speaker cabinet. The passive speakers are a bit different. The major difference comes up with the fact that they require separate amplifiers to operate. When you use a passive speaker, you need to make sure that the speaker and amplifier are compatible with each other. The passive speakers are not all in one system, unlike the powered ones. Let us talk about the features of powered and passive speakers in detail.

Easiness in Setup

What Are Passive Speakers

Powered Speakers – For a powered speaker, everything is built-in. All you have to do is to plug in the system. It is quite easy to set up; you really do not need a technical person to fix it. The settings are permanent and let’s say if the amplifier breaks down, you have to take the entire unit to get it fixed through engineer.

Passive Speakers – When it comes to using passive speakers, the amplifiers and speakers are two things and that is why you can operate with it in multiple ways. You can have 4 amplifiers with one or two speakers, but whenever needed, 2 more speakers can be attached to it. Without replacing the complete system, you can upgrade your speakers or amplifiers.

Signal Crossover or Signal Loss

Powered Speakers – Since the amplifier is already built-in the powered speaker, the crossover circuit filters the signal before the amplification takes place. Bi-amping is the term, which means that when the crossover is in the front of the amplifier, the signal for each driver would be amplified separately. The speakers which are properly bi-amped, more power goes into each driver.

Passive Speakers – The point where the signal goes for amplification, some portion of the power gets disseminated in the cross over and never reaches to the driver. Apart from this, if you are using many speakers in the room, there are more chances of signal loss. When the distance of cable from amplifier exceeds 18.50 ft the signal loss starts.


Powered Speakers – These speakers usually weigh heavier as they have a built-in amplifier. Although the look and feel of the powered speaker are compact, they are bulkier.

Passive Speakers – Since these speakers do not have amplifiers inside them, they are lightweight. It is quite easy to lift and install passive speakers. It is convenient if you are taking it for events like road shows.

So now why do you think that you should go for a powered or a passive speaker? Powered and passive speakers have their own pros and cons. There is a key point to always remember that powered speakers would limit your potential to choose the tailored amplifier for your speaker system. Usually the band bunkers, DJs, public speakers like the simplicity of powered speakers, so they mostly use these speakers because it is easy to operate. For a passive system, it has different parts and if one part goes wrong, all you need to do is to replace it. You can look for Powered speakers if you need a set up with minimal wires if you have less space where you are operating. You can consider powered speakers even if you listen to a lot of digital music. Coming to passive speakers, you can look for them if you want something which is lightweight and most importantly, you can upgrade your amplifier as per the requirement.

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