Speakers for active system

Hi All

I am currently running LP12, 282/250DR Hicap DR combo and i am looking for advice on new speakers i am looking to run passive temporarily with a view to going active in the future as funds allow which speakers would the group recommend TIA

Welcome to the Forum.

We need a tad more info to help.

What loudspeakers do you presently have.

What’s wrong with your current set up.

What is your budget.

What genre of music do you listen to.


Firstly welcome to the forum.

There are a couple of threads on this forum related to your question so they might help, just do a search on active speakers.

There are a couple passive speaker brands that easily convert to active that are well supported by folks on this site eg Kudos. There are also other solutions where folks use speakers that have the amplification built into the speakers themselves eg ATC and more recently PMC. Price/finance to change will also be a factor, some options are quite pricey.

Not sure where you reside but I would certainly be visiting my dealer to see whet they have to offer. Listen to a few of the options and see which you prefer and then do a home demo.

Others with more knowledge than me will add additional detail but I would start with a visit to my dealer or dealers if you have that option.

Good luck and keep us informed.

1 Like


‘Active’ can be a complex and confusing subject, not least as the definition varies. Generally an active system has the crossover removed from the speaker and placed closer to the source with individual high and low frequency signals then handled by individual amps feeding the high and low frequency speaker drive units. The active crossover is typically powered.

Naim produced several loudspeakers that were designed to be used active with a Naim crossover (SNAXO plus suitable power supply) but none are available new, and the crossovers are now also only available secondhand. Is this the route you are thinking of?

Note several companies (for example ATC) offer a range of active speakers with the amplifiers incorporated into the cabinets as a ‘one box’ solution. This would make your power amp redundant but I’m not aware of any that can be purchased passive and upgraded later. There are other active solutions for example some Kudos can work with a specifically set up SNAXO and they also have a new active crossover to use with some of their own range.

As suggested, need more info on your budget, current speakers and what you are looking for specifically. Are you wanting to choose new speakers only on the basis that you can create an active system with them later? If so you may be restricting your choices a great deal.


1 Like

I currently have a set of wharfedale diamond 230’s which i will use in a second system and i listen to rock anything from Motorhead to Zappa, Dylan Deep Purple,Zep etc

Hi i would be looking to add another 250Dr and Hicap DR but my concern is the crossover part i understand that a snaxo is the way forward but can i just use any speakers or will Naim only allow certain speakers to be used

The FAQ might be helpful here;

Hi Bruce my plan of thinking was i want to upgrade my speakers my system is as good as it needs to be at the moment but i feel the speakers are letting it down i was planning on getting new speakers that i coud add in more amps and a crossover later but still run passive for the time being if that makes sense

Theoretically you could remove the crossovers, get a custom designed powered crossover made up and run any speaker active. In theory…

In reality you need a speaker that is designed to be run this way, and a specific crossover/power supply package available for that speaker. Naim produced kit to do this when they promoted active systems (and sold speakers) but they don’t now and few other companies do. Kudos an exception but these are very high end packages.

I’d concentrate on an upgrade strategy that doesn’t have to include active purely as an endpoint and focus on performance and value with your next speaker choice. That is unless you are looking at secondhand Naim speakers.

There are loads of great passive speakers out there that will give you fantastic performance and support all sorts of upgrades in future electronics.


Based on what you have said about using another 250DR and HicapDR it looks like you are removing the option of using speakers with their own built in amps eg ATC and will be limiting yourself to 2-way speakers; ie each speaker will have 2 units within it, typically one for high frequencies (tweeter) and the other for low/mid frequencies (bass/midrange). Any speakers you consider will need to have the ability to bypass their inbuilt crossover circuit so you can connect the output of your amps direct to the relevant unit in the speaker. Kudos (a brand I use, but there are many others) facilitate this in some of their speakers eg S20A, Titan 505 and 606. the SNAXO effectively sits in front of the amplifier in the signal chain so any speaker could be used so long as the units within the speaker can be driven independently of any inbuilt speaker crossover circuitry. The units within the speakers do also need to be drivable by the amp and so should be in the range of say 4-8 ohms and be comfortable with the power output of your 250 DR.

As mentioned above a SNAXO can be used to facilitate the crossover duties of the system but as alluded to they are difficult (ish) to obtain but not impossible. Kudos themselves have just released a new product themselves (SIGAO Drive) that fulfils the same function as a SNAXO, potentially better availability but probably more costly than the SNAXO. Note this new product does not need to be powered by mains, no need for additional mains lead.

Others please feel free to add or correct if I am a bit off-beam above.

I think the Sigao is over £6k, and only works with their high end speakers. Definitely more than a SNAXO even with an additional p/s! Interesting though.


Not quite right. The active crossover needs to be specifically tuned/designed for the loudspeaker. Naim sold a Kudos SNAXO in the past. It isn’t a generic device that can be used with any loudspeaker brand or design though.


1 Like

Hi Richard

I cannot understand why Naim have limited the speaker choice and why they cannot supply a crossover that is designed for any specific speaker i choose or am i missing something here surely the choice of speaker should be up to the consumer not the retailer

Every single speaker essentially needs a different specification crossover. They aren’t generic devices, but part of a package designed to be used together. No manufacturer could develop and make a complete range for every possible option!

That is before you consider whether every speaker has a crossover that can be easily removed. Naim had theirs mounted externally for that reason. Most don’t.


1 Like

Naim can no longer supply any new active crossover as the SNAXO is now discontinued.

The reason Naim made the SNAXO for only a limited range of speakers was because only a limited range of speakers (mainly just Naim and Linn) were offered with the ability to remove or disable to passive crossover and easily connect an active one. Furthermore, the crossover points were fixed so had to be specific to each speaker.

Naim did do a few odd ones though - they could supply either a 2 way or 3 way SNAXO to a customer’s specified crossover points. Only problem with this would come later if that SNAXO was sold on by the customer secondhand and nobody knew that it was an oddball…


I had a 282 running active ATCs and loved it. In your case you could trade in your 250 against the cost of active speakers which would reduce the cost to change. I’d definitely get a listen to ATCs on the end of your 282 or some PMCs. Kudos is probably a good option too, although the purchase of extra amps and crossovers makes this a potentially more expensive option in terms of money and room real estate.


Hi @BruceW
I think you are correct in your assumption about the price of SIGAO and also the need to tune the SNAXO/SIGAO to the speakers being used. My understanding from the SIGAO demo I went to is that the SIGAO can be tuned to speakers being used. Obviously they have the details of their own Kudos units but they have, and are continuing to add to, the list of SIGAO compatible speakers.

As an aside there are a number of second hand Kudos speakers around which are less pricey than new. Also Kudos typically works well with NAIM amplification and may be a good option for the OP until he goes active. Obviously a home demo will help in this consideration.

To the OP @Neilm8
@Monkey_Jim makes a good point. I would give the other options a listen if possible.

It looks interesting, but re compatability, reading the press release they talk of making it possible to run Kudos speakers active with almost every audio electronics brand, rather than a select few (ie Naim). This makes sense, but the SIGAO is still Kudos speaker specific from what I read. So the OP could buy Kudos (not sure which models so far) and upgrade later to go active.


Yes the speakers will need to have removable/bypassable crossover, I think I mentioned that in my post above but let me recheck and amend if required.

My understanding is that Kudos speakers that can be made active include all Cardea and Titan speakers.

As to tuning the SIGAO for particular speakers, you may well be correct in that the unit is for Kudos speakers only but I had an impression that other brands of speakers were in the frame. Happy to be corrected and updated on this. Yes I believe tuning/setup is done by Kudos but if the units take off it may be that dealers could be given a device/mechanism to facilitate any tuning. If memory serves me well I understand that the DIN sockets on the back of the units are used as part of this? @DiggyGun may be able to confirm/deny my thinking.

I understand the crossover design has to be designed for the speaker but where can i get a custom designed crossover to fit any speaker i choose is this even possible