What are Passive Speakers?

by Andrew Bishop

Passive Speakers are speakers with no amplifier built in so they require an external power amplifier to drive them. A typical passive PA speaker is 4 or 8 ohm and has an in and out Speakon socket on the rear so you can link speakers together.

The top 5 questions we receive about passive speakers:

1. Can a mixer power Passive Speakers?

Some mixers have a built in power amplifier. The most popular are made by Dynachord Powermate. Take care to match the impedance and the RMS rating to avoid damage occurring.

2. Do Passive Speakers need power?

Passive Speakers only require a single 2 core cable from the power amplifier which can be 1.5mm, 2.5mm or 4mm dependant on the run and power required. The preferred connection is Speakon.

3. Can I use powered speakers as passive speakers?

Only if you disable or remove the active module. This must be completed by a qualified engineer.

4. Can you mix Passive and Active Speakers?

Yes, Active or Powered Speakers are often used for monitoring or side fill while Passive Speakers powered by high output Amplifiers feed front of house.

5. What is the maximum power in a powered speaker?

The average for performance is 300w RMS the largest powered stand alone PA speaker is 1000w RMS. Passive speaker amplifiers go up to 20,000w. These amplifiers are too large to fit in a speaker and cooling may prove an issue.

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