Top Story
Madame Tussaud’s Ghostbusters Exhibit Is as Virtually Real as it Gets
Madame Tussaud's partnered with OpenEye Global, Sony and various other third-party companies to bring the Ghostbusters cinematic experience to its New York location,…




Pros & Cons of Powered, Passive Speakers
A look at the pros and cons of powered and passive loudspeakers in church audio.

Article


August 17, 2011 By Mark Helms

One of the most common questions from church clients is whether they should purchase powered or passive loudspeakers. This is, of course, entirely dependent on the situation.

The long and short of it is that CIs need to think about the application. I love using powered loudspeakers for portable church systems since there are fewer cables to lug around, and I’m strong enough to manhandle them on and off poles.

I’ve seen portable setups become semi-installed setups because the people using the system were not able to move the speakers. I tend to prefer the use of passive loudspeakers for installations, but there are many cases where powered models are much more practical.

Here is a look at the pros and cons of powered and passive loudspeakers in church audio.

Powered Loudspeakers

Pros:
Predictable. The amplifier is matched to the loudspeakers, and the factory has tested it.

Negates the need for an additional equipment rack for amplifiers. All components are in one convenient package. They can be connected directly to a mixer or sound source.

Reduces audio quality loss and level loss over longer cable distances, due to the differences between balanced audio wire and loudspeaker wire.

Often the amplifier is tuned to the loudspeaker, so little to no equalization is necessary.

Setup can be more simple and easier to understand for people unfamiliar with sound systems.

Cons:
Portable powered loudspeakers require more lifting power. Installed powered loudspeakers usually require additional rigging and support in the room.

In installed situations, amplifier service must be done at the loudspeaker location.

Passive Loudspeakers

Pros:
Flexible. Allows for potential upgrades without replacing both the amplifier and loudspeaker.

Gets signal from standard loudspeaker wire rather than needing both XLR and power cable.

Lighter weight. Generally simpler to rig in an installation and easier to lift for portable systems.

Service of the amplifier and loudspeaker is more straightforward. The amplifier is easily accessible, and either component can be exchanged for a temporary one.

Cons:
More gear to keep up with, and the amplifier(s) must be located relatively close to the loudspeaker.

More potential for signal loss over long distance.

The amplifier needs to be matched to the loudspeaker for proper sound quality and volume.

This article was republished with permission from ProSoundWeb.

Work Smarter: Keep Ahead of the Competition

Keep up with the changing A/V world with Commercial Integrator. Each issue makes it easy to understand and apply the latest A/V trends and techniques — whether you deal with UHDTV, wireless AV, Digital Video/IPTV, networking, HDBaseT or HDMI.
It's not enough to keep up with the competition. You need to stay ahead of them. Subscribe to Commercial Integrator today for the latest techniques and insights you need to drive your business.

About the author

Mark Helms is a systems designer at Church Audio Video, a company that specializes in the design, installation and support of high-quality and affordable custom audio, video, lighting, broadcast and control systems for worship facilities.
View all posts by Mark Helms
Social Bookmark or Share This
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • Yahoo! Bookmarks
  • Google Bookmarks
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati
  • Reddit
  • Windows Live
  • LinkedIn
  • Evernote
  • E-mail


  • Latest
  • Blogs
  • Photos
  • Resources
White Paper:
Ignorance, Defiance on ADA Compliance Among Regulatory Nightmares

Many integrators still don’t know everything they’re supposed to be doing — from ADA to new overtime rules to EPA compliance and more — possibly bogged down by laws they are unable to keep up with.

White Paper: Secrets to Installing Outdoor Audio-Video Safely
White Paper: New Standard Revs Up Networking Game
White Paper: 7 Tips for Rolling Out University Digital Signage
White Paper: From Chaos to Control - Your Guide to Business Efficiency
White Paper: The Ultimate Guide to As-a-Service
White Paper: IP Meets IoT: Choosing the Right Technology for the Future of Building Automation
Webcast: How Selling Broadband Services Can Boost Monthly Revenue
View more papers or webcasts


Recent comments

Maybe I missed something, what is the little 4-letter word?

Posted by eolsen@unifiedav.com on 2016 07 25 · commented on
'The Little 4-Letter Word Your Customers Want Most'.

Mike;

Great to hear. Nice selection and focus on the AV Integrator.

What section of InfoComm…

Posted by Tucker on 2016 06 22 · commented on
'Lights Out: How Integrators are Missing Opportunities in the Lighting Sector'.

Jack:

Thanks for the good words.  How do you think we can bring the two together?  Would…

Posted by Tucker on 2016 06 22 · commented on
'Lights Out: How Integrators are Missing Opportunities in the Lighting Sector'.

If anyone is interested in more details, feel free to reach out to us at EBS.
This system uses our…

Posted by Alex on 2016 06 22 · commented on
'Inside One of the Most Innovative Dental Simulation Clinics in the World'.