Passive vs Active...Again!

My wife and I have made the rounds and have listened to numerous speakers now, not as many as we'd like, but as many as we could within a 3-hour drive. We liked some both active and passive, but it seems most of the active speakers we saw are not that pleasing to the eye (eg: Genelecs).

Not having a dedicated listening room, our room itself is a big problem. We have lots of hard surfaces to deal with.

If we go with passive speakers and the associated gear to go with it, we will need to spend a whole bunch of money on acoustic treatments.

We have a ton of artwork as well and with already limited wall space, we would rather look at the art than a bunch of sound-absorbing panels.

So here's my question: Will active speakers, that may come in cheaper, with room correction software (DSP) be able to tame the sound to a pleasing level in my lively room, or do I go with passives and break out the Rockwool!

Just a side note, I had some Martin Logan Spires in a very similar style room, that was much larger with little acoustic treatments and they sounded pretty good. But in this house I don't have the room to pull the speakers 3 feet of the back wall.

I know there is no perfect answer here, but appreciate any feedback, thanks.



I’ve been using DSP with passive speakers for nearly 2 decades now. There is no reason you can’t, too. Look into DSP preamps by Anthem, miniDSP, Classé, Lyngdorf, DSPeaker, Trinnov, NAD, and others.

DSP can do a lot by itself, and the better the acoustics are to start, the better the result will be. Maybe you can mix in a few panels with your artwork. (I prefer looking at art myself, but I don’t like my ears bleeding, either.)

Have a look at Kii 3s or Aqueo Audio Stillas. Both are attractive designs and excellent speakers. Both can tame any room, especially the Kiis.

I use Kii's, which replaced Avant Garde Duo's.  Basic room treatment (diffusers) still helped.

Best wishes


Hello high-amp!  Are you into fabric art? A beautiful tapestry or "oriental" rug will tame a wall and provide beauty at the sme time. Attach the top of the fabric to  length of 1x1 a few inches less than the width of the fabric and fasten the wood to the wall any way you like. Just keep the fabric 1/2 inch or so off the wall. You can put a large, soft, stuffed animal in the upper corners of the room, too. They work wonders! Enjoy the music!

The smaller version of the Steinway-Lyngdorf would fit your bill, but not sure about your budget. Can put them right on the walls and use their dsp. They truly sound amazing. I cannot for the life of me remember what they are called. Dynaudio makes very good actives.


Good luck with whatever route you go - just remember to have fun with it mate!