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Active or Passive Studio monitors, everything you need to know when choosing which type monitors for your Studio

Active or Passive Studio monitors

Active or Passive Studio monitors, Are you looking to set up your own audio production studio? If so, you’ll need to make sure you have the right equipment. One of the key components you’ll need is a set of studio reference monitor speakers. But not just any speakers will do. Before you buy, you need to understand the difference between active and passive studio monitor speakers.

Active speakers are powered and have their own built-in amplifiers, while passive speakers require an external amplifier. Knowing the advantages and disadvantages of each will help you to make the best choice for your studio. Read on for a complete overview of the differences between active and passive studio monitor speakers and what you need to know before setting up your audio production studio.

What are active studio reference monitor speakers?

Active studio reference monitor speakers are powered speakers that have their own built-in amplifiers. As a result, they are self-contained and do not require an external amplifier. Depending on the specific model you choose, they may also come with extra features such as digital signal processing (DSP), delay and EQ settings, balanced inputs, and more.

This makes them a great choice if you’re looking to create a high-quality sound in your studio at an affordable price. Some of the most popular models of active studio monitor speakers are the Adam Audio AV3, the KRK Rokit, and the JBL LSR series. Keep in mind, however, that the term “active” is also often used to describe powered studio monitors as well. So make sure you know which type you’re getting.

Class A, B, D Amplification

Active studio reference monitors are equipped with built-in amplifiers that provide power to the drivers, allowing them to produce sound. There are a few different types of amplification that are commonly used in active studio reference monitors:

  1. Class A/B amplification: Class A/B amplification is a type of analog amplification that is commonly used in active studio reference monitors. It uses two separate amplifier stages, one operating in class A mode and the other in class B mode, to produce a more efficient and powerful output. Class A/B amplifiers tend to have a relatively warm and natural sound.
  2. Class D amplification: Class D amplification is a type of digital amplification that is becoming increasingly popular in active studio reference monitors. It uses pulse width modulation to produce a highly efficient output, resulting in a smaller and lighter amplifier. Class D amplifiers tend to have a clean and accurate sound, but they may not be as warm and natural-sounding as class A/B amplifiers.
  3. Hybrid amplification: Some active studio reference monitors use hybrid amplification, which combines elements of both class A/B and class D amplification. This can provide a combination of the efficiency and power of class D amplification with the warmth and natural sound of class A/B amplification.

It’s worth noting that the type of amplification used in an active studio reference monitor can affect the overall sound and performance of the monitor. Some people may prefer the warmth and natural sound of class A/B amplification, while others may prefer the clean and accurate sound of class D amplification. The best type of amplification for your specific needs will depend on your personal preferences and the specific requirements of your studio.

What are passive studio monitor speakers?

Passive studio monitor speakers are standard, un-powered speakers. They require an external amplifier to function and are less common in modern studios than active speakers. The main advantage of passive speakers is that they are often less expensive than active models. The main disadvantage, however, is that you will have to use an external amplifier.

This means that your entire setup will be more complex, and you’ll need space for both the speakers and the amplifier. In addition, the quality of the sound you get will be largely dependent on the amplifier you choose. If you want to get the best quality, an integrated amplifier is recommended. But if you’re on a budget and don’t mind sacrificing quality, you can use your computer’s sound card.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Active Studio Monitor Speakers

Active studio monitor speakers are powered and come with their own built-in amplifiers. While this does make them more expensive than passive models, it also makes for a simpler and less expensive setup overall. This can be especially important for people who are just starting out and don’t have a lot of space or money to work with.

Active speakers also often have other features such as digital signal processing (DSP), delay and EQ settings, balanced inputs, and more. These can be useful for creating an optimal sound in your studio. The disadvantage of active speakers is that they can be a bit heavier than passive speakers. This may make them less portable and make it harder to create the ultimate studio sound without an external mixer.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Passive Studio Monitor Speakers

Passive studio monitor speakers do not come with built-in amplifiers, so you will need to use an external amplifier in order to use them. The advantage of this, however, is that you have more flexibility and options when choosing your amplifier. You can go with a more budget-friendly option, or you can splurge on a high-end model if you want the best sound.

With active speakers, you’re pretty much limited to the amplifier that comes with the set. Another advantage of passive speakers is that they are often lighter than active speakers, making them easier to move around. And if you’re going for a more budget-friendly option, you can also find passive speakers for less than active models.

Tips for Choosing the Right Studio Monitor Speakers

When choosing your studio monitor speakers, keep these things in mind:

Amplifier Power – How much power does your amplifier have? This will help you decide how many speakers you need.

Impedance – The higher the impedance, the better the sound quality. Although this is often overlooked, it is an important factor to keep in mind when choosing your speakers.

Frequency Response – The wider the range of the frequency response, the better your sound quality will be. This is especially important if you’re a beginner and are just getting started in the world of audio production.

Sensitivity – The higher the sensitivity, the louder the speaker will be at a given volume. This is an important factor to keep in mind if you’re working in a small space and need to keep the noise level low.


Studio monitor speakers play a very important role in your audio setup. Depending on the type of speakers you choose, your audio production setup can go from average to amazing in just a few simple steps. That being said, it is important to choose the right set of speakers for your needs. And while there are many options on the market, active and passive speaker types are two of the most popular options available. Now that you know the difference between active and passive studio monitor speakers, you can choose the set that will best meet your needs and help you create a high-quality sound in your studio. And with the right equipment, your audio production studio can be as amazing as you want it to be!

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