Passive and Active Speakers - Which Ones to Buy?

There are many things that can make or break you as a DJ. Your choice of music is surely one of them, as are your DJing skills. Still, not all things that influence how well you do your thing as a DJ depend that much on you - your gear also influences your success a lot, and where there’s DJing gear, there has to be some serious speakers. If you’re in the market for those, you’ve probably seen there are passive and active types of speakers, and if you don’t know what the difference is, here’s what you need to know in order to make your choice.

The main difference between the two is how they are powered. Passive speakers need to be powered by an external amplifier, while active speakers have built in amplifiers that power them. Of course, both power solutions have pros and cons of their own, making them a better choice for some, and a worse choice for others.

Basically, if you didn’t understand the difference between the two, then it’s best for you to buy active speakers. Pairing passive speakers with a proper amplifier is not as simple as just buying an amp and plugging all the cables in the correct way. Actually, if you do that, it’s almost certain you’ll blow your speakers or burn the amp. So, unless you have some knowledge about sound systems or electronics, you should stick with the active ones.

Still, if you want a bit more freedom to fine tune your sound, and if you have the necessary knowledge, you should go for passive speakers, and buy a separate amplifier. You’ll also get the benefit of having gear that’s easier to upgrade than in an active speaker setup, and chances are that the separate amp will be of better quality than the built-in amp of an active speaker.
Of course, once you’re advanced enough in your DJing and related skills, you’ll be able to revisit your choice and upgrade or sell your gear and buy new. You might also find out that you’re more comfortable with active speakers even when you’re experienced enough to properly set up a passive speaker system. Until then, you should either stick to learning about impedance and power, or invest in some decent active speakers.

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