The Difference Between Active And Passive Speakers

You might wonder what the difference between active and passive speakers are, or maybe which one would be best for your setup.  There is a few things to consider before running out and spending your hard earned cash.  Let's first take a look at what active and passive speakers are.

  • Passive Speakers:  Will have a passive crossover and has NO power.  This means you do not have to plug in the speaker to give it power.  However, it will require an external power source, which we will talk about later in this article.
  • Active Speakers:  has an active crossover and an internal power amp.  You will need to plug this into an outlet to give it power, therefore it does NOT require any additional power source.

Difference Between Active And Passive Speakers And What's Better

The only difference you should be concerned with between these two is that active speakers you need an outlet to plug it into, and passive speakers require an external power source.  So what are the pros and cons of each?

Passive Speakers


  • Affordable speaker
  • Can have power amp location where you choose
  • No need to plug in, so speakers can be put anywhere


  • Must buy power amp, which can be expensive
  • Requires more planning to figure out how much power is needed

Active Speakers


  • Plug and and you're good to go
  • Ability to daisy chain speakers from crossover
  • Internal amp is made specifically for that speaker


  • More expensive speaker
  • must have outlet near
  • Inconvenient to adjust speaker levels during event as each speaker has volume on it

If you find yourself still wondering the difference between active and passive speakers or which is better for your setup, we are always here to help!  We can be contacted through our contact us page found here.  You can also check out our active speaker buying guide found here.