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Loudspeakers come in many shapes and sizes. One segment that is emerging very quickly is the active speaker. A variant that has been used in the pro industry for much longer. Think of concerts and studios. Now the active speaker is increasingly finding a place in the living room.



There are basically two different flavors within active. The purist will say: there is only one flavor fully active. That is, one amplifier per unit and filtering in the amplifier section. This allows the amplifier per unit to amplify only the part it is made for.

One advantage of this is total optimization of the amplifier and unit. They are exactly matched to each other.

Active speakers in studios do it this way. So do PA systems at concerts.

The ” not quite” variant is a powered speaker. There, although an amplifier is built in; there is no amplifier per unit and thus the amplifier is not used within one specific segment. In fact, the power amplifier is just built in. There is no real advantage here over a separate amplifier and speaker.


The reason we are seeing more and more active speakers is the rise and development of class-D amplification and streaming audio. Users increasingly want a simple solution. A “streaming enabled” active speaker offers such a solution. After all: we setup a pair of speakers and we’re done. No extra ‘boxes’… And everything is controllable via the phone. Great right?


Another trend we see with active speakers is that cables are disappearing more and more. Now it is still impossible to make everything wireless. After all: energy is still needed. And many devices still need to transmit a signal via a cable. But the left/right speaker connection requires a cable less and less often. Just like surround speakers.