Do Active Speakers Belong In A High End System?

In a pair of active speakers, you have removed the high end amplifier from from the equation. The amps on an active speaker will probably be class D plate amps.

All of the flowery adjectives to describe high end amps and high end speaker cables in a system go right out the window when using active speakers.

Is a serious active full-range tower speaker a high-end audiophile possibility? I rarely read about active speakers on this forum in a two channel system.
Active speakers may be higher end. The amplifiers and speakers are matched and the best speaker cable is no cable at all.


My Spectron Musician III Mk 2 has been my reference amp for years now.

I believe that John Ulrick, the designer, originally developed his Class D amp to drive the subwoofer unit in the reference Genesis speakers that Arnie Nudell and he designed.

Please don't underestimate Class D amps.

Sure, as long as having to junk an expensive speaker that can't be fixed holds no fear for you.
Chuck, it was not my intent to disparage class D amps, far from it.
I am moving in that direction myself. I've read lots of good things about them.
A person can certainly build a fine audio system with an active speaker; many of us have heard examples of such.

I would not discount a speaker simply because it uses a class D design amp. There are distinct advantages, or more accurately, trade-offs, in use of such amplifictation, the primary one being simplification of the signal path. One eliminates some cabling and often a second component (preamp), which inherently yields a less manipulated signal. The improvement in signal integrity is quite striking. So, yes, the possibility of building a high end system is there.

However, there are also legitimate reasons to forego the class D design despite the shortened the signal path. When I discussed the design of the Legacy Whisper DSW (reviewed for I eschewed the class D amplification that Legacy normally uses for the bass. I wanted complete freedom to utilize whatever amp and cabling I wished, as for me it is a huge benefit to be able to "adjust" the soundstage, tonality, etc. focusing just on the bass versus being locked in more with an active bass setup. I have never regretted this decision.

An active speaker can be an elegant solution to a lifestyle demand for a clean/uncluttered system, as well. WAF is an important consideration for many audiophiles who must use the family or living room.

I would not suggest that an active speaker system is inherently incapable of superb sound. But to answer the question of whether they belong in your system, perhaps you have already answered it.