Active speakers best way to go today?

Hi experts around😎

Decided to start from zero with new setup (again and again…), but this time, I wonder if it’s time to join my kids forward approach!

  1. is active speaker solution today soundwise at same level as passive?
  2. if so, what to look for (keeping budget open)?
  3. been reading about Kef, Meridian, Dynaudio, System Audio etc, but reviews are, yes you know!

What are you Roon experts opinion?

Dutch&Dutch 8c and Kii are some of the best speakers around currently.

The only downside to active speakers is if something happens to your amp. Then you have to drag your whole speaker - or both - to the dealer.

1 Like

If I was starting again that is exactly the route I would take. Also ATC and quadral. All depends on your style and decor I guess and whether you want room correction built in.


I’m a new owner of the Buchardt’s A500, having a great experience (a bit cheaper than D&D)…active speakers with extra versatile options… depending what you’re looking for they also have the A700 floor stand…

My only thing to add to this discussion (and really liking the Active speaker Idea) is that decent speakers will last for many years (I still have speakers in the office that are 30 year old (Tannoy R2’s) and still sound great)

I would not plan anything like that kind of lifetime, or maybe 10 years for active speakers, as the technology changes and I am not sure you can bypass the Amp if you wanted to do that in the future if you bought a better Amp.
Can this be done?


ATC also make superb active speakers, highly regarded by professional and domestic users, 6 year guarantee, great service. I would say that decent active speakers easily surpass passives, but then I would say that.

Here is ATC’s discussion of the advantages of active drive:

and here is their website

Their US distributor has collated some worthwhile pages here

Happy listening.


I am very happy with my Dynaudio Focus 60 XD set. What a difference in soundstage and perfect control in the low areas compared to my ‘old’ setup with B&W 700 serie and AVM (German → not American) amplifier.

You need to make a distinction between traditional active loudspeakers and more modern active loudspeakers with DSP.

The traditional ones utilize an “active crossover” to drive multiple power amplifiers and integrate them into the loudspeaker enclosure. These may have advantages over “passive loudspeakers” in that the amps handle only the part of the spectrum required by their particular drivers and the electronic crossover can be more subtle and efficient than a traditional one.

OTOH, DSP-Active loudspeakers add digital processing to (1) further enhance what an analog electronic crossover can do, (2) provide options for matching the loudspeaker to the room and its position within it and (3) keep everything in the digital domain until the internal power amps. In addition, these same speakers are usually configured with special loading and/or additional drivers to control the speaker’s spatial distribution.

I see only a minor advantage in traditional active loudspeakers and do not regard it as a determinative factor in choosing a particular loudspeaker. OTOH, DSP-enable loudspeakers can be substantively different and superior to comparably sized/priced competitors.

1 Like

I have Kef LSW50.
Sound great.
Work flawlessly.

Only downside is not being able to buy and interchange components(DAC’s particularly)

Valid points taken :+1:

So far with inputs received, yes should be with DSP in case active is preferred.

One thing, I noted from various comments, apart from being very well respected speakers in general is that they might have too much energy in midrange eg. from tambourine, hihat etc. Is this your experience as well?

Which model are you referring to?


According to ATC in the link I gave above, traditional active speakers such as theirs allow independent control of phase and level, impossible with passive speakers, have crossovers which are unaffected by the temperature of the drive units, can be more efficient and more cost effective, have 15 - 20dB less intermodulation distortion, improved frequency response and stereo matching, and lower cost for higher performance.

I can’t see how that is a minor advantage. There may, or may not, be additional advantages in doing the crossover digitally, but 15-20dB better IM distortion is not minor.


A pair of Devialet Phantoms I, 108dB will do. Simple system, great with RAAT.

Those may be ATC’s claims but independent tests do not support that the active ones are significant improvements over the passive ones, even with something as obvious as FR. Still all of the above are incremental enhancements of a basic system that could have been designed a decade or two ago. They do not rise to the level of what can be accomplished with drastic enclosure re-design and DSP.

1 Like

I’d like to see a step response from one of the active ATC models. A three-way for example.

Isn’t DSP just a way of covering up for buying the wrong speakers for your room?
If it’s anything like volume levelling then it will suck the life out of the music anyway.

Nope. Most untreated rooms are wrong for all speakers. Also, note that placement for optimal imaging is usually different from placement for optimal bass response. These can be improved with room treatment (although acoustical room treatment for bass involves very large devices) and/or DSP.

It is not like that at all. Volume levelling is an intentional corruption. Strike that!
I mistakenly reacted to “volume levelling” as if you had said “volume compression.” If volume levelling is done right, there is no effect on sound quality/dynamics. There is only a change in volume, plus or minus.

1 Like

Is that a fact?
In my opinion DSP does the same. I have compared BluOS Dirac with optimal speaker placement in my system and prefer without.

Sounds like a poor experiment to me. Why would you ever NOT enjoy
speaker placement if you have determined it?

That reminds me of the first DSP system I tried (TacT). When the rep visited me to help with the installation, he insisted that I move my speakers into the very corners of my room. When I asked why I would do that because I already knew that they sound hard and boomy there, he replied that it would insure that I would hear how much the DSP would improve the sound. I responded that I already knew how to fix that problem with proper placement and it cost me nothing. Nonetheless, there was some improvement with DSP albeit much less than if the speakers had been stuffed into the corners.