Active speakers are best known for their all-in-one convenience. By combining the amplifier and loudspeaker cabinet, a heavy piece of equipment is eliminated. As an additional bonus, many modern active speakers are designed with lightweight speaker and amplifier components. This makes them often times the same weight or even lighter then their non powered counterparts.
Optimal matching of components and amplifier
The optimal matching of components in powered audio systems can provide significant gains in performance and efficiency. The design engineer can take into account natural nuances of the driver, cabinet material and amplifier specifications to produce the most linear and musical result. By designing the power amplifier for a particular loudspeaker cabinet, all components can be optimized to obtain the best audio performance.
With active loudspeaker systems, losses from traditional loudspeaker cables that affect the performance and seriously reduce system efficiency are minimized. With active speakers the signal path between your mixer and speaker can be kept line level and balanced. This ensures cancellation of external hums, buzzes and interference.
During the design and manufacturing process of active loudspeaker systems, preamplifier sections, frequency filtering, and power amplification are pre-tuned for optimal performance. It is also possible to optimize the circuit for phase correction. This gives the maximum control over all parameters and ensures the best overall sound quality.
Most active speakers are internally bi-amplified. This means that the high and low frequency components are powered with two separate power amplifiers built in to the speaker. In conventional loudspeakers passive crossovers using coils and capacitors are employed to carry out this filtering process. These crossover networks suffer from efficiency losses and typically lead to phase distortion, loss in amplifier performance and overall sound quality.
Also, most active speakers feature internal clip limiters to help protect the speaker and amplifier components from distortion and damage. Thus, active speakers can often be considered "idiot proof"; as such they are ideal for situations where the potential for speaker overdriving is high.