Quick Guide to Active vs Passive PA Speakers

By Kailash Pate May 16, 2016

When you’re beginning to start up your own band, or improving the domestic sound system of your house or struggling to buy new sound systems for professional work i.e. for auditoriums or stage setups, the confusions and doubts regarding what kind of PA speakers are to be taught, will always remain. That is why, this article provides you the exact meaning and difference between an Active and a Passive PA speaker, which one is best for what kind of sound experience and what you need to buy. The basic and the most easily recognizable fundamental difference between an Active and a Passive speaker is that a Passive PA speaker requires an amplifier to be connected to its system, whereas an Active PA speaker already has an inbuilt amplifier installed in its system. Here are some of the other differences between the Active and Passive speakers that can help you decide which ones you need –

Active PA

Passive PA

• These do not need external power amplifiers – they have inbuilt amplifiers and crossovers so you can plug line level signals directly from your mixer into the speaker. • These require external power amplifiers because they do not have an inbuilt amplifier. External amplification is required to power it.
• They are compatible with all self-amplified setups. • You would need to select the ideal amplifier(s) that will be compatible with your speakers.
• Easy to setup – with an inbuilt amplifier and crossover inside the speakers, an Active PA speaker is relatively easier to handle and setup, so you end up saving time and trouble of putting together an external amplification unit. • Requires setup – unlike the Active PA speakers, amplifiers need to be externally rigged with the proper selection of a speaker management unit.
• Heavier to carry around – with everything available in a single speaker, it might get a little tough to carry around. • Lighter to carry around – as the entire rigging would require the speakers and external amplifiers to power it, the speaker itself is a bit lighter than an Active PA speaker.
• There is a specific time limit for each and every active PA system (4-6 hours approx.) after which there are chances of the speaker magnet getting permanently demagnetized / damaged. • This does not occur in Passive speakers. You can run them for an extended duration as the amplification will be taken care of externally.
Active vs Passive PA Speakers
Even though each of the speakers have their differences, both are equally effective in providing great sound quality and support to sound systems. The only choice you will have to make, will depend on your utility and certain other features. Here are some active PA bundles we created recently. Check the collection out here.

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