I’ve only owned one pair of active speakers and they were old B&W’s, so not a fair comparison, because they sounded lousy. I’d like to try a pair of active speakers one day, although this isn’t what this article is about!
Active battles passive
There’s always strong debate when it comes to AC power. One camp believes a passive collection of coils, caps (and sometimes) exotic materials does a better job with delivering AC power than an active regenerator.
I think this battle may be misplaced. A passive solution is not trying to accomplish the same things as an active device because the passive device can never hope to do what a regenerator is capable of. Thus, each should be evaluated on its own merit.
For example, a passive conditioner cannot fix AC power problems like impedance, voltage fluctuations, distortion of the waveform, etc. What it can do, is remove noise and deliver a much cleaner source of power to our equipment.
So, the argument should not be whether a non-regenerator is better than a regenerator at specific tasks, but rather, what’s the greatest benefit to connected equipment?
Some will argue that clean power is all you need. Others, like me, suggest that while clean power is beneficial to sound quality, it pales in what regeneration provides that conditioners can’t.
When you think about AC power—that all critical source of energy our systems rely upon—it’s probably helpful to narrow your search down to evaluating the benefits or lack thereof of specific tasks rather than comparing models with the same function.
Do you want an active system that replaces missing energy, lowers impedance, distortion and noise, and stiffens the power to your equipment? Or do you feel better forgoing all those benefits—except noise reduction—in favor of a passive approach?
Those are the questions one needs to ask.