Speaker recommendation for active system


I have active system (NDS, 552, 250 x 2 into Snaxo 242) and currently have SBLs. I have upgraded over time and the SBLs are the only remaining element from my first system - 20 years+ ! Finally I am looking to upgrade speakers. I heard FACT 12 and liked, FACT 8 or Twenty5.26 probably a better match to the system and size I am looking at - although I am pretty sure these are not active.

Please let me know your recommendations - thanks !

Keep your SBLs, they are so good. Unless you want a deep 3D soundstage they are hard to beat.



With your system, I would be tempted to look at the new Naim active crossover for Kudos speakers. One if the best systems I’ve heard was the Kudos 808 with NDS/555/552/300 passive. Now that there is an active Naim option for these speakers I would have them on my shortlist. Not cheap, but there are other active Kudos options that are cheaper.

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Active driving certainly beats passive! As for speaker type, the sound of different speakers is so very different that it is very much a personal choice - to me the most significant choice you ever make in a system in terms of sound character. (Personally I have found that of all speakers I’ve heard, transmission line loading produces the best sounding bass - for which PMC is a leading exponent.)

However, and with apologies if this is like telling my grandmother how to suck eggs, there is more to swapping speakers with active drive than just plugging in. …

Fact 12 (of which i was unsure the first time I heard, but liked in a different room- if I had to have small speakers I’d consider them) are 3-way and to truly benefit from active need three amps and a 3-way XO. (And of course the internal passive XO removing, not just using the three pairs of terminals in the standard speaker.)

Twenty5-26 would be likewise, except I believe they do not have triple connectors, so would require more extensive modification.

Fact 8 is 2-way, and has 2 pairs of terminals so would work with 2-way active XO and 2 amp, activated by removing the internal passive XO - but the SNAXO may need altering to the required XO characteristics for the Facts.

I use PMC EB1i speakers, with triple connectors and removeable internal passive XO. My AXO is a modified Behringer DCX2496 digital unit, which is user-tailorable to any crossover frequencies, a variety of crossover slopes, phase (timing) adjustment between drivers, and individual sensitivity adjustmen tto compensate for different sensitivity drivers - and with additional DSP capacity that can be used to compensate for unevenness of response, or even a degree of room correction. (And I have gone further, using different mid and treble drivers, but that is another story.)

A wild suggestion from left field: Dutch&Dutch 8C.
A bit radical but also intriguing. I am going to audition a pair myself.

The relatively safe and sensible suggestion would be an active example from the Kudos Titan range (505, 606, 707 or 808). I understand that Naim is about to produce a SNAXO for this range.

Best regards, BF

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Don’t choose a speaker because it is available in active. You have to prefer the speaker passive first for active to be worthwhile.

In my experience, some current passive models beat olden goldies like active Linn Kabers (which I always preferred to SBLs). My dream system used to be an traimped active Kaber but I am confident that my current PMC Twenty5.23 driven by a single 250dr outperform that.

While I would certainly go active if the option was available to me (it isn’t) I also would not force myself into a speaker choice to ensure I can do it. Also bear in mind, active is fairly limited to the low portion of hi-end hifi. You don’t see it at the entry to mid level much and you see it even less at the extreme high end where speakers cost $50k or more. Just look at all the systems on the thread from Munich High End. I think there are about 2 active crossovers there and the rest are passive.

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I moved from active SBLs to Ovator 600s a few years ago and don’t regret it. The Ovators are ex-demo.
My system has 4x135s into Snaxo for the 600s but with cabling modified to account for the four amps. In a smallish cottage room (5x3.5 m) with stone floors and low ceiling they sound engaging.

Your title asks for speaker suggestions for an active system yet those options you mention are all passive. It would help you if you decided whether active is essential. One Forum member went from SL2s with two 500s active to Fact 12s with one 500 passive and was very pleased with the move. The Fact 12 really needs a 500 to shine. Another option is active ATCs connected directly to the 552.

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The Fact 12 is being replaced with the Signature SE Fact 12. It has modified crossover components and other changes and is now £15 k. You should listen again imo. I heard them with the PMC Cor amplifier and was a little disappointed.Perhaps as HH suggests they needed a better amplifier like a 500.

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Wouldn’t SL2’s be a suitable ‘drop in’ replacement for the SBL’s in that system?


I think the list is short if you’re thinking Snaxo/Naxo!

Linn ~ Briks , ???..

Naim ~ DBL, NBL, SL2, SBL, …

And of course, DB ran Active Briks before Naim’s Ovators line.

And the aforementioned Kudos line.

If money is not an issue, maybe you can find a pair of 800s somewhere, or 20K for some Titans!

Otherwise, keep your SBLs if you like their character! If not, who knows, you might get lucky and find a late SN. pair of Isobariks/Briks, or NBLs.

SL2s might catch your fancy, personally I think the Snaxo is at its best in 362 mode vs 242.

Three way speaker vs Two way speaker!

After all we are negating the XO from the speaker and implementing it betwixt the pre amp & amp.

Its hard to explain, but an active system just seems to breath easier. The music flows effortlessly, and when you need the signal, POW!!!

But what do I know, just saying!

Being an active fan I’ve done Linn’s active show:

LP 12/Ghinki > Ikiem > Linn XO with bingo card >
Dirrack PS > 3 x LK 280s > Briks!

The only gear from the above list that is incorporated within my system presently, is da Briks!

CDX2 > 282 > HCDR > 3 x 250.2s > Fraimlite!

Tri-Amp Briks

Enjoy Your Music, The Why!
The How will be just fine.

Oh, forgot about Vivid Audio, Founder Lawrence Dickie.

Some archived material from past active forums that might be helpful:

“”— We agreed a price and he had an active pair made whilst liaising with Roy George at Naim for a modified SNAXO 362. The Giya G2 is a 4-way speaker, so it was a challenge. When complete, the result was a system sounding better than I’ve heard anywhere. The system is now

552/NDS x 2 DRPS/3 x 500 DR

if you contact Lawrence Dickie at Vivid Audio, he would help I’m sure. Of course, Naim now have the design specs for the SNAXO 362 (Vivid Audio).

At the time I bought my speakers only Giya G1 & 2’s were available. Nowadays, the new Giya G3 is out there to much critical acclaim , as is most of the Vivid Audio range.""

hope this helps.

I did have the opportunity to listen to the Vivid along with the Statement!

Hosted by the Esteem Manu! @ David Michael Audio in the States.

Sweet Speaker, but it’s not cheap either$$$$

Laurence Dickie: "I have always been a keen advocate of the active approach to loudspeaker design, believing that the direct connection between amplifier and voice coil offers the purest route and that the precision and linearity of active electronics give a clear advantage over passive alternatives. However for pragmatic reasons we felt it unwise to go to market with only active speakers. An important part of the design phase of the first Vivid Audio products was a re-evaluation of passive crossover design. It has to be said that the use of computer-aided circuit analysis has really changed the game. The accuracy possible to meet target responses while presenting a safe load is quite remarkable. This coupled with drivers which present constant impedances across a wide range of drive levels, non-polar film dielectric capacitors and air-cored inductors has permitted us to create passive designs which really challenge the active alternatives.”

Many thanks for all the replies - some interesting options to explore.

I also heard, from a dealer, Audiovector could be an option. Although the dealer was not an Audiovector dealer, so could not say so much more. Any thoughts?

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Yes, Audiovector speakers are designed to be driven either passively or actively. For many years they recommended Naim amplifiers. I tried the Si3AA model (passively), which compared very well with the Neat Ultimatum XL6 and B&W 803D2 at the time. In the end, we could not quite come to terms with the way the ribbon tweeter radiated into the room but Audiovector should be on an audition list.

Best regards, BF

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