Active Vs Passive Monitors – Know The Difference


If you are into music or any audio business, you might be familiar with studio monitors. That is why mostly you are looking up the ones best suited to your needs. If not, and you were suggested by someone else to get a studio monitor to enjoy different quality music. You need to know what a studio monitor before comparing active vs passive monitors.

What is a studio monitor?

A studio monitor can be used as a speaker if that was what you heard, and you get to experience sound in different quality; that is true too. But if so, what is the difference between a speaker and a studio monitor?


For starters, a studio monitor is a loudspeaker enclosed in a metal body that delivers a sound that stands as close as possible to the raw sound rather than the version of sound our speaker gives us with all the bass and effects.

This is exactly why the audio business people, like dubbing or mixing sounds, use the studio monitors to know what and how a sound should be modified. But although that is all a studio monitor does, like every other stuff you could buy, a studio monitor also has many types and choices you could make in them.

This also does cause some confusion in people who are looking to buy a studio monitor. So what are these types you get a studio monitor in? What is so different about these types? Keep reading to know about these types.

What are the types of studio monitors that exist?

There are two majorly produced types of studio monitors: they are active monitors and passive monitors.

So what exactly is an active and passive monitor?

They primarily carry out the same function as the usual studio monitor but differ in their internal build. An active monitor's internal build is more self-sufficient and can work with complete efficiency as a standalone monitor. At the same time, a passive monitor needs certain other equipment to get the best out of it.

 active VS passive monitors

An active monitor is a studio monitor with an amplifier that is built in the studio monitor by default. While a passive monitor is simply a monitor and if you need an amplifier, you are supposed to buy one of the same power rating and impedance of your monitor.

Finding an amplifier and matching it with your passive monitor can be tiring, which is why an active monitor with an inbuilt amplifier is considered more efficient.

However, to choose between the two, there are a few criteria that should be considered. Our article is planning on doing your job of choosing between the two easier. Keep reading to make a choice.

Sound output range - active or passive?

However, while using a passive monitor, by varying the peripherals, the output sound also varies. But in an active monitor with inbuilt peripherals, we always get a good sound output of the same range and quality.

Carrying it around - active monitor or passive monitor?

On the other hand, an active monitor has a complicated and heavy internal system, thus making it heavier than a passive monitor. While passive monitors are lightweight, many other peripheral parts need to be installed along with it to get the best quality sound output.

The installation space - active or passive?

Another aspect that needs to be considered while choosing a monitor is that the active monitor is a self-sufficient heavy monitor that can function as an amplifier, sound mixer and a monitor. Whereas installing a passive monitor needs more space for its peripheral components.

Repair and maintenance

On the brighter side, if the amplifier of the passive monitor has a technical issue, it can be replaced, while if the amplifier of the active monitor has an issue it needs to be dismantled and repaired because the amplifier is inbuilt.

Budget constraints

According to the market rate, an active monitor is highly-priced. While a passive monitor can be a bit easily affordable. However, the peripherals need to be installed separately.

Expert opinion

People familiar with active and passive monitors say, a good active monitor is a treasure while a bad one is space-consuming junk. So if you are going to buy an active monitor, be ready to spend a good amount on it.

How do I make a choice?

So if you plan to buy a studio monitor and are confused with which one to buy, the passive or active monitor, ask it yourself. What are your actual choices? What are you going to be using the monitor for? If your need is professional, then how much are you ready to spend on it? Do you move around often? And do you intend to take your monitor with you? Asking yourself all these questions might bring you to a conclusion.


I have provided an analysis on what are the features of these monitors that should be considered before choosing between the two. However, the choice is yours. If not, you should have concluded that choose one that caters to your needs the best. I hope this active vs passive monitors article really helps you get to a conclusion. Go get on and enjoy music on a different level.


Hey, this is Stefan. I love filmmaking gadgets because I have been working as a cinematographer for more than ten years. So I have good experience working with almost all filmmaking gadgets. I can help people who are looking forward to buying these gadgets with my review articles. From my articles, you can find amazing products in the market.

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