What Are Passive Speakers? Is It The Right Set Up For You?

What are passive speakers? Buying new audio equipment can be challenging as numerous options are available; sleek soundbars and Bluetooth speakers are of various sizes and shapes.

As your understanding of the most recent audio technologies deepens, you will encounter various speaker types, including “passive” and “active.” 

Understanding their distinctions is crucial to selecting the most optimal sound speakers for one’s residence.

This article will cover the fundamentals of passive speakers, including their design, operation, and role in producing rich, high-fidelity sound.

You’ll need to understand in detail passive speakers whether you’re setting up a home theater system or assembling a stereo setup. Join us as we break down what passive speakers are and gain a deeper understanding of this world of sound.

What Are Passive Speakers?

Simply put, a passive speaker is a speaker that draws power from an external amplifier through a speaker wire connection. On the other hand, an active speaker has a built-in amp.

Passive speakers are common at home, while active speakers are mostly in sound studios where microphones and PA systems are standard. However, they are also available for consumer use via Bluetooth speakers and subwoofers.

Active vs Passive Speakers

Speakers use one or more electromagnetic motors(drivers) through a cone that produces sound waves. Speakers require an external electronic source that transmits signals to reproduce precise sound waves.

The driver executes a cyclical motion of the cone in response to this signal. As a result, the air molecules in its vicinity collide and subsequently disperse across space in a domino effect. 

When they reach your ear, they are received by the eardrums and transmit a signal to the brain, which perceives it as sound.

All speakers require an amplifier to provide power to the driver. This is where the two types of speakers come in: active and passive.

Active (powered) loudspeakers are pre-equipped with amplifiers, requiring only an electrical connection to connect with a sound source. In contrast, passive (unpowered) loudspeakers need an additional power source connection.

Active speakers, which consist of an amplifier and a speaker in a single device, are the majority of Bluetooth speakers and portable PA systems. 

Conversely, passive speakers require a separate amp to amplify sound. They lack a power line and will rely on the amp to draw power.

A surround system is an excellent example of a passive speaker. You will need to connect the speakers to a power source (the amp) and then to the speakers for sound to be projected. The speakers cannot function independently even if connected directly to the audio source.

Powered speakers are ideal for constantly traveling individuals due to their low cost, simple installation, and versatility as sound systems. 

These speakers suit professionals requiring portable tools, including independent performers, mobile DJs, and outdoor event planners.

Passive speakers are your go-to option if you are after flexibility and personalization. This is typically the case in professional settings, such as audio projects that require the most precise and dependable sound reproduction. 

Alternatively, it includes environments where the sound system needs to be adjusted and scalable. Passive speakers are good in clubs, entertainment venues, and arenas, regardless of their size.

Your specific requirements and intended use will determine which speaker is ideal for you. However, before you decide which speaker to go for, let’s have a look at some advantages and disadvantages of both;

Benefits of Active Speakers

  • Active Speakers Are Easier to Set Up

Active speakers are easy to set up. You only need to connect your audio device for them to function; no additional components are required.

However, active speakers are heavier than passive speakers since they have inbuilt amps. However, the built-in speaker does reduce their overall footprint. Active speakers are, therefore, ideal for individuals who require something portable and compact.

  • Speakers May Sound Better

Some argue that a passive speaker’s sound quality is better than active speaker. However, the inbuilt amp is designed to optimize the sound quality produced by the speaker.

Passive speakers need an external amp meaning sound quality depends on your ability to select a compatible amplifier and speaker.

Active speakers have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth features, enabling wireless music playback. Passive speakers, on the other hand, will depend on the amp if it has the features.

Active speakers provide an effective alternative that requires minimal spatial requirements. Additionally, they may offer an active crossover allowing you to modify and enhance the sound to your liking.

The driver and amplifier’s compatibility allows it to operate at maximum capacity without causing equipment damage or lowering sound quality.

Drawbacks of Active Speakers

Undoubtedly, active speakers are not subject to upgrades. Additionally, they are typically more expensive than passive speakers. 

This is because they provide more inputs and solutions, and their electronic design generally is more complex. 

a. Benefits of Passive Speakers

  • Easy Installation

Despite requiring additional components for operation, passive speakers may be advantageous to incorporate into your music system for various reasons. 

Their speaker casings are more compact and lightweight than active speakers, making them more convenient to position throughout one’s residence. 

They are preferred as they are straightforward to install and link speakers to the primary sound system.

  • Customization

Passive speakers offer greater customization options, simplifying future sound system enhancements. For example, if you buy a new amplifier, you’ll need to fix your speakers to the amp, and you’re good to go.

Expanding your sound system requires adding subwoofers, additional high-frequency speakers, and other necessary components.

b. Downsides to Passive Speakers

Undoubtedly, passive speakers have their drawbacks, too. They may cost more thanks to the additional components including an amp. The sound system setup will also take up space at home.

Passive speaker configurations can prove to be hectic, requiring technical knowledge. The speakers must be compatible with the amp and run the wires correctly.

Passive speakers are not portable and incompatible with wireless features, including Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

Which One Should You Go For?

Active speakers are ideal if you desire something that requires no additional components and is simple to assemble. 

The presence of an integrated speaker ensures that all components are prepared to produce optimal sound quality. Individuals also prefer active speakers in circumstances that demand adaptability.

Passive speakers provide greater flexibility in modifying aspects of your sound system. Passive speakers are the better option to use a specific amplifier.

Both active and passive speakers serve the same purpose. Passive speakers require an am and some technical skills, but neither produces poor-quality sound.

Both sets of speakers are prevalent in-home music systems, and your personal preferences will ultimately determine which one you choose. Active speakers are preferable to passive speakers, but passive speakers allow you to select your preferred amplifier.

Soundbars Are Great As Tv Speakers

The soundbar has been one of the most advanced technological developments in home theater systems over the past few decades. Note that soundbars can come as either passive or active speakers.

Before, to enjoy high-quality music, a distinct system comprising an amplifier, speakers, and an extensive network of wires was required. At the moment, a soundbar is all you need.

Soundbars are all-purpose speaker configurations. A soundbar is a collection of potent speakers due to the presence of one or more amplifiers within. The speaker resembles an elongated tube and is placed just below the TV.

In most cases, soundbars produce superior sound quality compared to the speakers included in most televisions. 

Additionally, they are available in an assortment of sizes and shapes. Soundbars come in speakers of two while others come with a subwoofer for the bass lovers.

Soundbars are bound to perform even when connected with several speakers. Furthermore, the soundbar generates an exceptionally lifelike surround and immersive sound experience.

When buying a soundbar, it is important to consider the number of channels and subwoofers it can support. The quantity of subwoofers and channels determines the overall sound quality.

Adding a soundbar to your television is a simple method to improve the sound quality at home significantly. Here’s why you should for the soundbar;

  • You could link the two wirelessly if you opt for an external amp.
  • Most soundbars are compatible with voice control applications such as Siri and Amazon Alexa, which makes them even simpler to operate.
  • A soundbar doesn’t need cables making your TV set up compact at the same time maintaining quality music.
  • Soundbars are typically less expensive than conventional speaker systems without sacrificing sound quality.
  • Soundbars are sleek and aesthetically pleasing


What are passive speakers? Speakers are not the most straightforward items to shop for. Although most people purchase speakers for a particular purpose, there is an extensive selection of designs, sizes, and price points to consider. 

You must determine which speaker form is most suitable for your residence, given that passive and active speakers offer advantages. Active speakers are the most effective because they include all the necessary components for sound and are simple to install.

If you intend to incorporate additional sound into your home, install a surround sound system in your living room, passive speakers may be a more suitable option.

David Huner
David Huner
David Huner is a tech lover. After completing his graduation from the University Of Phoenix, he started gather his knowledge mostly on latest technologies that keeps his life smart and cool. Now he wants to spread his knowledge with people who loves technologies.

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