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Fully or partially active?
In home cinema, there are various different ways to achieve an optimal sound. One of these differences involves amplification. For instance, Teufel Audio offers systems that are fully and partially active. Read on to find out more about what this means and which system might be right for you.
Partially active systems are connected to A/V receivers. These provide the main speakers with the necessary power. This arrangement requires a larger investment, but is more flexible. For instance, it’s possible to connect many sources to a receiver such as televisions, Blu-ray players, CDs, DVDs, MP3 players and other devices such as cassette or record players.
Fully active sets do not necessarily require a receiver. The main loudspeakers are supplied with power by an amplifier integrated in the subwoofer. In this way, you save money on a receiver yet a certain amount of flexibility is sacrificed. For instance, it is often possible to only connect a single source to the subwoofer at a time. Additional connectivity can be gained by acquiring a DecoderStation. In this way, it’s possible to use up to six signal sources with one set.
Of course, it is also possible to retrofit a fully active system with an A/V receiver at a later point. The connection possibilities are then similar to those of a partially active set. In the following, you’ll find detailed connection instructions for the various loudspeaker / A/V receiver combinations.
Partially active loudspeaker systems connected to A/V receivers
A DVD player with a digital output and an A/V receiver / amplifier with a digital input form the basis of this combination. Both devices are connected to each other via stereo or optical cable. The subwoofer is connected to the receiver via the pre-amplifier output on the receiver with a mono stereo cable as shown in the following picture.
The receiver assumes the job of decoding and amplifying the signal for the loudspeakers. The subwoofer, on the other hand, only has integrated amplification. In a partially active system, the receiver offers all outputs for the various loudspeakers: Front (L + R), centre, surround (L + R). The image above shows the back of a receiver on which up to seven home cinema loudspeakers can be directly connected in addition to a second pair of loudspeakers (via the “B” output – ideal for classic stereo speakers).
Fully active loudspeaker systems connected to DVD players or PCs
A DVD player with integrated decoder or a PC with the right soundcard forms the basis of this system. Either the DVD play or the PC system provides the outputs for the various channels: Front (L + R), centre, surround (L + R) and subwoofer. All channels are connected via stereo cable (or with an mini stereo socket) to the active subwoofer which has all the required loudspeaker inputs available and takes on the work of processing the signal for each channel through its integrated amplifier.