Question Active Vs Passive Question

I have my TV in an alcove. It fits in fine but the alcove limits my speaker choice.

My plan was to find some small passive speakers to plug into my wee crappy amp to get better audio from the TV. Initially I thought this wouldn't be a big deal, as I own a small set of multimedia speakers (£30 Creative Inspire) which deal out enough bass and sound clear enough to satisfy my modest (cheapskate) needs. They have 3 inch speakers and a range of 80Hz - 20kHz.

I would just use these, but they look a bit ugly and you have to turn a volume knob to switch them on. I just want to plug a set of passives into a small amp and leave that on indefinitely, so I can literally turn on my TV and go.

I bought a pair of Cambridge audio Minx Min12's but they lack any bass. They're definitely meant for a surround sound experience, rather than 'bookshelf speakers' as billed on the company's website.

Then on looking around for similar small speakers, I really couldn't find any that have any sort of bass range. There's the 10x10x10cm Monitor Audio Radius 45's. But these again are really meant to be used with a subwoofer. Range starts at 120Hz.

I know loosely that the laws of physics means bigger speaker cones can produce lower freq tones, right? But can a small passive speaker (3inch) get down to 80Hz? My cheap as chips multimedia speaker can do it. Is there digital trickery at play within that speaker which means it's impossible for a small passive speaker to do that?

(Sorry if posted in wrong forum, please move if not suitable here, thx)

Cheers,
-Will
 

Arcam_boy

Distinguished Member
I very much doubt your £30 speakers with a 3" driver would out perform some MA Radius 45's.

It all depends on budget / space available I guess. You're not going to get anything that produces much bass with a 3" or even 4" drivers.

I really think you're going to struggle to do much unless you up your budget and go for something like 2 x sonos play 1's or add a subwoofer and go for Bose Acoustimass 5 Series V Speaker System but again depends on your budget/space.

If you really don't have the budget/space and happy with your sound I'd just put up with the look of the speakers and stick with what you have!! You could always knock up some cheap wooden frames with some acoustic cloth on the front for £10 and hide the speakers!
 
I very much doubt your £30 speakers with a 3" driver would out perform some MA Radius 45's.

It all depends on budget / space available I guess. You're not going to get anything that produces much bass with a 3" or even 4" drivers.

I really think you're going to struggle to do much unless you up your budget and go for something like 2 x sonos play 1's or add a subwoofer and go for Bose Acoustimass 5 Series V Speaker System but again depends on your budget/space.

If you really don't have the budget/space and happy with your sound I'd just put up with the look of the speakers and stick with what you have!! You could always knock up some cheap wooden frames with some acoustic cloth on the front for £10 and hide the speakers!
Knocking up some cheap wooden frames for the uglies is genuinely a decent idea! I'll explore this further. I'd want to keep them powered on all the time, so it depends on how much electricity they're using.

I doubt the £30'ers would out perform the Radius 45's too from a purely sonic pov. But they might produce more bass like they did Vs the Cambridge Min12s.

Sadly I don't have space for a subwoofer and Sonos Play 1's are just too much faff for my needs.

I would just order a pair of Radius 45's and return them if I wasn't happy. What's put me off is that I tested music last night on my M-Audio BX5 monitor speakers and cut audio below 120Hz. Bass completely vanished. I'm not sure if that's a fair test or not.
 

jamieu

Active Member
I use Genelec 8010a for my surround channels, while they won't outperform a speaker with a 5" or 6" bass driver, the laws of physics will always kick in re. how low you can make a small speaker go, they're surprisingly punchy for their size. They go down to 74Hz (67Hz at -6db).

I'm guessing they are outside your price range, but worth looking on eBay as they do come up fairly regularly. Also available in white.
 
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Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
Hi Will.

Have you a photo of the tv in the alcove? It would likely help suggestions.
 
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Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
Ps, on a mega tight budget, I’d suggest this.


It may not be the best about but it will certainly get you some real bass, sound better than the Creative Inspire, and they’re certainly worth the price, with the sub being easy to accommodate as it’s not your usual huge box.


Or this, and add it to your minx speakers. No need for your current amp either.


Or, and better again, buy this CA sound base (plant your tv on top) and sell what you have to get your money back.



Or if you can stretch to a new one.


Very good indeed and made for your situation.
 
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I use Genelec 8010a for my surround channels, while they won't outperform a speaker with a 5" or 6" bass driver, the laws of physics will always kick in re. how low you can make a small speaker go, they're surprisingly punchy for their size. They go down to 74Hz (67Hz at -6db).

I'm guessing they are outside your price range, but worth looking on eBay as they do come up fairly regularly. Also available in white.
Nice wee speakers. Not outside my budget but starting to get up there. My budget is more related to my needs. I don't need amazing quality (sorry I know I'm in a Hi-Fi zone) or loads of bass and think there should be something out there that hits those needs around the £200 mark.

But again, it's another example I've seen of small (3 inch) active speakers getting down to the bass region (67Hz). I've not seen any small passive speakers saying they can achieve that. Why is that? Clever processing/amplification within the powered unit that works specifically with the speaker it's intended for?
 
Ps, on a mega tight budget, I’d suggest this.


It may not be the best about but it will certainly get you some real bass, sound better than the Creative Inspire, and they’re certainly worth the price, with the sub being easy to accommodate as it’s not your usual huge box.


Or this, and add it to your minx speakers. No need for your current amp either.


Or, and better again, buy this CA sound base (plant your tv on top) and sell what you have to get your money back.



Or if you can stretch to a new one.


Very good indeed and made for your situation.
Thanks Paul, I'll have a look at all your suggestions when i get a minute. Really appreciated it.

I've attached a photo of my alcove. The TV will be wall mounted LOW in the alcove with a small amount of space under it for speakers/soundbars/bases.

• Tv needs to be wall mounted to give viewing angle from 1 of my couches.
• I already have 2 big black rectangles (speakers) in the room for my music that 1. can't be used for the TV and 2. make it a requirement that the TV speakers get placed just inside the alcove and as visibly out the way as possible.
• The cupboard below has power
• The cupboard below is ugly
 

Attachments

noiseboy72

Distinguished Member
You CAN get deeper bass from small speakers, but they won't be as loud as larger speakers. That's the other part of the law of physics that can be forgotten.

Small powered speakers - Logitech, JBL etc. often have more bass as the amplifiers are tweaked to put extra energy in at low frequencies. We have some single driver Logitech computer speakers that sound amazingly punchy and with plenty of bass, but struggle to go really loud. They would certainly be a lot louder and bassier than the TV speakers - or even most sound bars, but would not compete with a true sub/sat system or soundbar with sub.
 
You CAN get deeper bass from small speakers, but they won't be as loud as larger speakers. That's the other part of the law of physics that can be forgotten.

Small powered speakers - Logitech, JBL etc. often have more bass as the amplifiers are tweaked to put extra energy in at low frequencies. We have some single driver Logitech computer speakers that sound amazingly punchy and with plenty of bass, but struggle to go really loud. They would certainly be a lot louder and bassier than the TV speakers - or even most sound bars, but would not compete with a true sub/sat system or soundbar with sub.
Ah, thanks, that makes things clearer for me.
 

jamieu

Active Member
Nice wee speakers. Not outside my budget but starting to get up there. My budget is more related to my needs. I don't need amazing quality (sorry I know I'm in a Hi-Fi zone) or loads of bass and think there should be something out there that hits those needs around the £200 mark.

But again, it's another example I've seen of small (3 inch) active speakers getting down to the bass region (67Hz). I've not seen any small passive speakers saying they can achieve that. Why is that? Clever processing/amplification within the powered unit that works specifically with the speaker it's intended for?
Partly the amps / crossovers tied tightly to the drivers, partly good physical and acoustic design, partly weight / build (1.5kg each). On the Genelec's there are little EQ dip switches which let you sacrifice maximum overall SPL for a little bit more usable bass, effectively they're pushing the bass frequencies up where it starts to roll off (hence the -6db figure, below that and the roll off is too steep to be usable). Or put another way they are reducing the output of the mid/high frequencies, in effect boosting the bass frequencies up to match. I expect the Creative do something similar with EQ, although I'd question what the frequency response actually looks like at 80hz on them. Noiseboy's post above makes a similar point re. you can output low frequencies, it just won't make the room resonate with heavy bass.

I'd expect the Genelec's would blow the Creative's out of the water. Worth seeing if you have a music gear place near you where you can demo, you'll be surprised by how they perform given their size.

Although looking at your photos of the alcove I think I'd probably go for a soundbar which would be a better fit / look tidier.
 
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Partly the amps / crossovers tied tightly to the drivers, partly good physical and acoustic design, partly weight / build (1.5kg each). On the Genelec's there are little EQ dip switches which let you sacrifice maximum overall SPL for a little bit more usable bass, effectively they're are pushing the bass frequencies up where it starts to roll off (hence the -6db figure, below that and the roll off is too steep to be usable). Or put another way they are reducing the output of the mid/high frequencies, in effect boosting the bass frequencies up to match. I expect the Creative do something similar with EQ, although I'd question what the frequency response actually looks like at 80hz on them. Noiseboy's post above makes a similar point re. you can output low frequencies, it just won't make the room resonate with heavy bass.

I'd expect the Genelec's would blow the Creative's out of the water. Worth seeing if you have a music gear place near you where you can demo, you'll be surprised by how they perform given their size.

Although looking at your photos of the alcove I think I'd probably go for a sounder which would be a better fit / look tidier.
I think maybe a soundbar would be the best idea. I just have to make sure it 100% can function with only using my TV remote. I. can. not. be. bothered. with a separate remote for the TVs audio. Already too many remotes in the room.
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
I think maybe a soundbar would be the best idea. I just have to make sure it 100% can function with only using my TV remote. I. can. not. be. bothered. with a separate remote for the TVs audio. Already too many remotes in the room.
A sound bar without a sub will be sh*te.

A sound base such as the CA TV2v2 or the bigger 5 has room for a relatively large bass driver (two in the case of the 5) and has ARC for hdmi so your tv remote will do the job.

 

musicphil

Active Member
I had a Meridian M3? active set up on loan circa 1990 - the only time I tme I have borrowed active speakers. i remember saying they just sounded dull.
I suspect active speakers have got better now...or maybe not, I suppose it depends on the quality of the parts that make up the amps inside those speakers and speakers themselves that are used etc.
 

muljao

Well-known Member
Sound bar or soundbase is probably best option here as said above. You can get soundbars with wireless subwoofer,csub can be put out of sight, but you can get soundbars and bases that have quite good down firing woofers.

Your probably not going to have the full cinema experience, but they're are quite good inexpensive options.

If you think the unit is ugly, some nice furniture paint can sort that 😄
 

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