A Detailed Guide on Passive, Powered, & Active Speakers

Many new stereo systems come with speakers that are designed to be used in concert with one another. Passive, powered, and active speakers are all three different types of speaker types. Passive speakers require the power of the amplifier, while powered and active speakers use their own amplifier. Active speakers are typically more powerful than passive or powered models.

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Passive Speakers:

Passive speakers are designed to be used in concert with passive center-channel speaker, subwoofer, and bookshelf speakers. Passive speakers are made up of a driver. Audio content is played through an amplifier, which sends it to the speaker.

The speaker forces the audio signal through the driver, converting it into sound waves that are sent to your ears. Passive speakers are easy to make because they do not need any external components to operate them. This makes them more affordable for consumers who are looking for less expensive alternatives.


A passive speaker is traditionally not an active or powered speaker. Passive speakers are simply designed to be used with one another. The driver is usually located within the center-channel loudspeaker. Energy comes from the amplifier, which drives the center-channel loudspeaker and creates sound waves that are sent to your ears.

There are two main types of passive speakers: transducers and electrostatic. Transducers use a magnet of some form to generate sound, while electrostatic transducers convert an electric current into current that vibrates a diaphragm (or membrane) to create sound waves.


  • Passive speakers don’t require an external amplifier. This makes them very easy to set up and use. This is ideal for those who are new to the use of loudspeakers.
  • Passive speakers are easily the least expensive type of speaker on the market. This makes them a great option for those on a budget or those who simply want to save as much as possible during their purchase.
  • This simplicity is great for consumers who just want to install their system and play back audio content without worrying about hooking up too many components.


  • A stereo’s overall sound depends on the speaker design and the performance of the components that it is composed of.

Powered Speakers:

Powered speakers are designed to be used in concert with powered subwoofers, center channel loudspeakers, and bookshelf speakers. These speakers require amplifiers. The amplifier sends the audio signal to the speaker using a low or high pass filter that also affects how it is played back.

This causes the audio signal to enter the speaker where it is converted into sound waves that can be heard by consumers. Powered speakers are not typically found in systems with passive center-channel loudspeakers and subwoofers because they do not have amplifiers.


A powered speaker is simply defined as a speaker that requires an amplifier of some form to operate. This is because no amplifier is built-in. The speaker converts the signal sent from the amplifier, which increases the strength of the signal and sends it on to your ears.


  • Powered speakers are higher quality than passive speakers, and they produce a louder volume of sound than passive speakers can. This means that powered speakers can put out more power than passive ones. This allows consumers to hear the desired amount of sound through their system. 
  • There are several types of powered speakers that perform different tasks within a stereo’s overall sound quality. This makes for a great variety of options for consumers to choose from.
  • Powered speakers allow consumers to dramatically alter their listening experience by choosing different types of amplifiers. This allows consumers to choose what sound they want their system to produce.


Active Speakers:

Active speakers are typically larger than passive or powered speakers. They are designed to be used in concert with passive center-channel loudspeakers, powered subwoofers, and passive bookshelf speakers. Active speakers can also be used with other active speakers within the same system.

Active speakers are similar to powered speakers in that they need an amplifier of some form to operate. The difference lies in the fact that active speaker drivers are built-in. The amplifier sends the signal to the speaker driver, which causes it to vibrate and produce sound waves that can be heard by consumers.


An active speaker is similar to a powered speaker in that it must be used with an amplifier or it will not produce sound waves that can be heard by consumers. The difference in active and passive speakers lies in the fact that an active speaker’s driver is built-in. The amplifier sends the signal to the driver, which converts it into sound waves that can be heard by consumers.


  • Active speakers produce a much louder volume than passive speakers can because they do not require an external amplifier to operate. This allows consumers who are looking for a surround sound experience to purchase active speakers instead of passive ones.
  • Active speakers’ design improves upon powered and passive designs in terms of quality because they do not need amplifiers to operate. This means that consumers can save a lot of money on their purchase because there are no additional components needed other than a speaker system itself.
  • The need for an amplifier opens up the option to use different types of amplifiers that vary in sound quality. This gives consumers more choices on the type of sound they want to listen through their system.


  • Active speakers can be quite expensive, which makes them a tougher choice for consumers who are looking for an affordable option. This is because it is necessary to purchase an amplifier of some sort.


Active speakers are popular because they offer louder volume than passive or powered speakers do. They also do not need the addition of an external amplifier because their speaker drivers are built-in.

Passive and powered speakers don’t produce as much volume as active ones do, which makes them less desirable for those who need louder volume.

Active speakers are great for those who want to be able to alter their listening experience depending on what type of amplifier they purchase. This means they also make a great choice for those who want the freedom to choose different types of sound and amplify them as necessary.


Q: What is the difference between passive and active speakers?

A: Sound. Passive speaker components are set up and chosen individually,so the quality of the sound is up to the person who chooses the components. They are Very Flexible. With passive speakers,you can easily switch out or upgrade your components as you desire. … More Difficult and Complicated Signal Path. …

Q: What are the best passive speakers?

A: JBL Studio 530. An amazing bookshelf speaker at an affordable price. … Dynaudio Special 40. Oh,what lovely sound these babies produce – especially if you power them up with the right amp. Although you don’t necessarily need an amp. KEF Q150. One of our favorite reviews we ever did was on the Q150 by KEF. Seriously,what an amazing speaker. …

Q: How do passive speakers work?

A: – The vent tends to let sound escape, making directional sound harder to produce – More vulnerable to heat, cold, and humidity – Ported speakers will not function without solid and precise construction – Much more likely to “blow out” due to lower vibration tolerances

Q: What are passive home speakers?

A: – ✚ Solid built MDF – ✚ Versatile placement options – ✚ Wall-mount bracket – — Lack deep bass