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From simple desktop models to audiophile-grade towers, powered speakers have built-in amplification that's tailored to match the speakers' power needs — no receiver required.
You can find models with connections for virtually any source you use to play music or soundtrack audio. That includes wired inputs for connecting a turntable, CD player, TV, or whatever you've got. With models that have built-in Bluetooth or Wi-Fi (or both!), you can just set up your speakers and start streaming right from your smartphone or other device.
Traditional "passive" stereo speakers need to be connected to an external amplifier with speaker wire. Powered, or "active," speakers have built-in amplifiers so you can plug or stream your sources directly into the speakers. Some powered speakers even have built-in Wi-Fi and/or Bluetooth, so all you need to play music is your phone, tablet, or computer.
No. Since the amplifier and preamplifier are built into powered speakers, you won’t need an external amplifier or receiver. That’s one of the most common reasons people buy powered speakers.
Depending on what type of inputs your powered speakers have, you can use pretty much any source — TV, turntable, CD player, tape deck, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and more. Some of the different wired inputs commonly found on powered speakers include RCA, XLR, 3.5mm aux, optical and coaxial digital, HDMI, and USB.
It depends. Powered speakers' internal amplifiers are built to match their power needs. Passive speakers require an external amp, but that also means you can upgrade your amplifier to get even better sound. If you’re working with limited space, and/or want to reduce clutter, powered speakers might be a better choice.
Some powered stereo speaker pairs connect to each other wirelessly, but each still needs to be plugged into an AC power outlet. Other powered speaker pairs share one internal amplifier that is built into the primary (active) speaker, which connects to the secondary (passive) speaker with speaker wire. The only completely wireless powered speakers use batteries, so even they will eventually need to be plugged in to recharge.
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