PTE Goes Active

Active speakers—ie, those that that have built-in amplifiers—are generally unpopular with audiophiles. One well-known speaker designer working on his state-of-the-art speaker contender told me at CES that he would like it to be active but marketing told him that it wouldn’t sell, so he’s staying with the passive design.

I guess Precision Transducer Engineering (PTE) didn’t get the memo—or maybe they wrote their own. (Their White Paper “The Case for Active Speakers” can be found here). The PTE Phoenix, a two-way, three-driver, largish stand-mounted speaker has three built-in 130W amps. The Phoenix—demoed at T.H.E. Show—uses very high-quality drivers, including a double-magnet Scanspeak tweeter, and audiophile-quality electronics. The price of $5700/pair for a speaker that has built in amplifiers and electronic crossover seems very reasonable, and the speaker sounded really good.

alexk's picture

Big fan of active speakers here, listening to a pair right now actually. In terms of value proposition and simplicity, they're mighty attractive. In fact, I just got my college-age sister hooked up with a complete vinyl system in two pieces! A direct drive TT with onboard phono stage and a pair of active speakers with remote volume control. I'll want to get her set up with an external phono before too long, but in terms of plug and play, it doesn't get any easier and she's thrilled. Doesn't sound half bad for a first system either.

Many of these new active monitors are being marketed as "Computer Audio." I think that might be missing the mark a bit. You'd think they'd want to try to appeal to as many music lovers as posible regardless of what their source is...right?

That's too bad that the unnamed manufacturer was shut down by marketing. Off all the groups in an organization, seems like the last group to shut a new and imaginative product down would be marketing. After all, isn't it that group's job to find a way sell products? Seems lazy.

Would love to hear these sometime.