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Best DJ Speakers

What Are Active and Passive Speakers?

May 15, 2020

When you are thinking about buying a speaker, you must decide if you want an active speaker, a passive speaker, a powered speaker, or a combination.

The words passive, active, and powered tend to be confused and utilized inappropriately. These terms are often used in reference to speaker amplification or speaker crossover. Many people don’t know the terms and tend to get confused.

What Are Active Speakers?

In this kind of speaker, the term active normally refers to the crossover components. The crossover components in an active speaker divide the frequency band of the audio signal into 3 frequencies (low, high, and mid-range) which are then sent to specific speaker drivers designed to manage these frequencies.

This kind of DJ Speakers doesn’t need an external sound source but can generate its own sound. All you need to do is connect the unit to a power source and turn on the unit. In this way, you will have sound to enjoy anywhere. You can connect a USB memory or SD card to play your music. You can also connect to your mobile device via Bluetooth to play your favorite songs.

In some cases, active speakers are powered. In this case, electrical crossover components and amplifiers with power have been added for each controller, these types of active speakers are called: Powered Speakers. For this reason, active and powered are frequently utilized synonymously.

Most of the active speakers used for home entertainment are powered, but this is not always the case. Using an active speaker system, you will usually see “active speaker” with “bi-amp” or “tri-amp” option, making reference to active crossover and 2 or 3 independent amplifiers for the separate drivers.

What about Passive Speakers?

Surely you will find on the internet all kinds of false arguments about the concept of passive speakers from people who do not know anything about the matter and just want to sell you their products.

A passive speaker is a speaker that does not have volume controllers or frequency drivers on its back. They only have plugs entries to connect the mixer, or to connect the cables of the device with which you will play the sound.

If you want to modify the volume and frequencies (low, high, and mid-range) you will have to do it by connecting a mixer or with a unit that fulfills this function. You can also do it by connecting your laptop and with the help of some software such as Virtual DJ.

There are active speakers on the market to which you can connect one or two passive speakers, depending on the type and brand of active speakers you are using.

So what are Powered Speakers?

As mentioned earlier, a powered speaker is technically an active speaker that has its own amplifier built into the speaker to give it more power.

The built-in amplifier characteristic of a powered speaker solution allows wireless speaker scenarios and reduces the needs for extra, expensive elements.


There are many definitions found on the Internet about active and passive speakers. With this article, it is clear that the difference depends on the presence or not of volume controllers and audio frequencies. The difference is also in whether the sound unit is capable of generating its own sound or not. So now you can choose the DJ speaker that best suits your needs.

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