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  1. #1
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    Active speakers versus passive with lots of power?

    Im shopping around for speakers. A set that really caught my attention (well, my ears) is the Linn Ninkas. They can run passive, like most speakers. But they can also be run active. I guess I dont understand the difference between how you add the amps. Say I start with the speakers and a receiver. Then later I want to add some power to spruce things up a bit. What are the relative benefits of A) just adding a big amp to the receiver setup and running the speakers passive versus B) adding amps only to the speakers to run them active?

    The guy at the shop said that if you buy the fancy Linn amps to run the speakers active, they come with an adjustable crossover. Other than that, I dont see any difference. Just looking for some education. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonW
    I�m shopping around for speakers. A set that really caught my attention (well, my ears) is the Linn Ninkas. They can run passive, like most speakers. But they can also be run active. I guess I don�t understand the difference between how you add the amps.
    There can be a number of theoretical advantages. Powered speakers use active crossover networks which can be fine tuned for each driver. They take up less space since the amps are usually in the cabinet. Selection for speaker cables likewise becomes unnecessary. The amplifiers can be sized appropriately for each driver. Clipping on say the bass amp will have no effect on the other amp(s). Years ago, I had a pair of tri-amplified Braun LV-1020 speakers. They worked quite well.

    Unfortunately, I don't know of any speaker manufacturers who happen to make great sounding amplifiers. You have zero upgrade options. You will necessarily have to use longer IC runs from your preamp or source to the speakers.

    Some folks particularly like the LInkwitz Orion design.

    http://www.linkwitzlab.com/

    rw

  3. #3
    Forum Regular N. Abstentia's Avatar
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    Too bad Paradigm abandoned the active speaker market. Those Anthem amps were sweet. Probably not in the same class as those Linn speakers though...I'm afraid to ask how much they cost...

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by E-Stat
    There can be a number of theoretical advantages. Powered speakers use active crossover networks which can be fine tuned for each driver. They take up less space since the amps are usually in the cabinet. Selection for speaker cables likewise becomes unnecessary. The amplifiers can be sized appropriately for each driver. Clipping on say the bass amp will have no effect on the other amp(s). Years ago, I had a pair of tri-amplified Braun LV-1020 speakers. They worked quite well.

    Unfortunately, I don't know of any speaker manufacturers who happen to make great sounding amplifiers. You have zero upgrade options. You will necessarily have to use longer IC runs from your preamp or source to the speakers.

    Some folks particularly like the LInkwitz Orion design.

    http://www.linkwitzlab.com/

    rw
    Thanks for the info. So it sounds like there are small differences, but the differences are small. In the end, you're just adding power, I guess.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by N. Abstentia
    Too bad Paradigm abandoned the active speaker market. Those Anthem amps were sweet. Probably not in the same class as those Linn speakers though...I'm afraid to ask how much they cost...
    Given that you didn't ask...

    The Linn Ninkas that I liked are around $2200, a floorstander. The model down is the Katan, a bookshelf speaker at around $1000 plus stands. They both can be run passive or active.

    I tried these speakers out with a few others at the same time. I liked the Katans MUCH better than Paradigm Studio 20's- not even the same league, to my ears. And the Ninkas much more than Studio 60's. I also liked the Ninkas MUCH better than a $5,000 set of Sonus Faber Domus Grand Pianos. To each his own, I guess.

  6. #6
    Silence of the spam Site Moderator Geoffcin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonW
    I?m shopping around for speakers. A set that really caught my attention (well, my ears) is the Linn Ninkas. They can run passive, like most speakers. But they can also be run active. I guess I don?t understand the difference between how you add the amps. Say I start with the speakers and a receiver. Then later I want to add some power to spruce things up a bit. What are the relative benefits of A) just adding a big amp to the receiver setup and running the speakers passive versus B) adding amps only to the speakers to run them active?

    The guy at the shop said that if you buy the fancy Linn amps to run the speakers active, they come with an adjustable crossover. Other than that, I don?t see any difference. Just looking for some education. Thanks.
    I've owned two active speakers The Gallo Nucleus Reference 3, and the Cambridge Soundworks T500.

    To run them active the Gallo required a separate plate amp with a proprietary eq circuit. I didn't add the plate amp to the Gallos, but if I had then the speaker would have been capable of true output to 22hz or so. This is quite amazing considering the size of the speaker. My guess is the LINN speakers would work in a similar fashion.

    The CSW-T500 uses a built-in amp with variable crossover, and output. It's powered by a 300 watt amp, and can produce a prodigious amount of bass , and makes a sub unnecessary in most applications.
    Audio;
    Ming Da MC34-AB 75wpc
    PS Audio Classic 250. 500wpc into 4 ohms.
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    Marantz 6170 TT Shure M97e cart.
    Arcam Alpha 9 CD.- 24 bit dCS Ring DAC.
    Magnepan 3.6r speakers Oak/black,

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