How To Power Passive Speakers Without An Amp 

Are you worried that your PA system does not have an amp for your passive speakers? Well, do not worry anymore because I have some solutions for you. Although amps are very useful in making your speakers sound louder, their absence should not be much of a problem because you can equally power your passive speakers with other devices without using them. 

So how do you power the passive speakers without an amp? That’s simple. You will need an amplified mixer or an AV Receiver in order to power your passive speakers without an amp. Connect the speakers to the amplified mixer and receiver by wiring the input ports of the speakers to the outputs of the mixer and receiver. You can also power your passive speakers with a subwoofer or a computer.

Since the speakers are passive and do not have their own amplifier, it is important to ensure that the amplified mixer or AV receiver’s power ratings match with the speakers so that you do not create distortions in your system. If you want to learn more about the details of this technique, read on because I have a lot to share with you on how to power your passive speakers using an amplified mixer, AV receiver, and subwoofer. 

Do Passive Speakers Require an Amp?

The thing with passive speakers is that they do not have in-built amplifiers. This makes them almost useless when you use them without giving them extra help. 

Passive Speakers are very common nowadays and you easily identify them when you look around them. They do not have power sockets and the ports on them are just for connecting to other devices.

Amplifiers are designed to increase input electrical signals and deliver them to the speakers. 

This means that for you to use passive speakers effectively, you will have to amplify the sounds to the passive speakers using external devices. 

Usually, an external amplifier will be a good fit for passive speakers. However, if you do not have an external amplifier, you can still work around the situation. 

You can use a mixer or an AV receiver to power the speakers and you will be good to go. 

So, passive speakers do not necessarily require an amp, but they need any device that has amplification capabilities in order to work.  

Also Read:

Connecting multiple speakers to an amplifier

Can any Mixer Power Passive Speakers? 

Not all mixers are capable of amplifying sounds. Mixers are of two types – standard or non-amplified and amplified mixers. 

Whats’s the difference? Well, the difference has got to do with an in-built amplifier. 

The standard mixers do not have in-built amplifiers and so, you can not use them to power a passive speaker. They are usually smaller and only have input channels for mixing sounds from different sources. 

The amplified mixers, on the other hand, have in-built amplifiers so you can easily use them to power passive speakers. If you observe them closely, you’ll realize they are a bit bigger than the standard ones.

How Do I Power My Passive Speakers Without an Amp?

Since you do not have an amplifier to power your passive speakers, you should resort to using some other devices to power the passive speakers. 

You can use any of these devices to power the passive speakers in place of the amplifier: 

  • Amplified mixer
  • AV Receiver
  • Subwoofer
  • Computer

Before you proceed to power the passive speakers with any of the above gadgets, you ensure that the mixer or receiver can handle the impedance of the passive speakers. 

Do not connect the speakers to any of the above gadgets when you realize that the impedance of the passive speakers is below the limits of the mixer or receiver else you’ll end up damaging the mixer in no time.  

How to Power Passive Speakers with Amplified Mixer

Powering your passive speakers with an amplified mixer is not so difficult. 

First of all, you’ll need to set up your PA system. This means you’ll have to position all the equipment you will be using in the right places. 

Place the passive speakers at their right locations and put the amplified mixer somewhere convenient, possibly on a desk. 

If you are using some instruments such as drums, guitars, mics, etc, position them at their places and connect them via cables to the mixer. 

To prevent equipment from damaging, turn them off before you do the cable connections. 

When it comes to the mixer and the passive speakers, here’s how you going to do it:

  1. Identify the output jack of the mixer and the input jacks of the passive speakers. The output jack of the mixer should have a label such as Output, Main Out or anything related.
  2. Wire one end of a quarter inch speaker cable to the output jack of the mixer and connect the other cable to the input jack of the speaker. You can also use different speaker cables depending on the type of speaker connectors that you have.
  3. Turn on the equipment in the PA system including the mixer and the amplified mixer will begin to power the passive speakers. 

With these steps, the passive speakers will be connected to the amplified speakers and you’ll have the amplified mixer powering your speakers once you turn the amplifier on. 

After the amplifier is turned on, set the level of the mixer to zero and then try to play any music on your system to test the speakers. 

Increase the volume of the mixer slowly while the music is being played and adjust the tunings on the mixer to achieve good-quality sounds. 

How to Power Passive Speakers with AV Receiver 

AV Receivers have in-built amplifiers that can be used to power passive speakers. 

However, if you want to use an AV receiver to power your passive speakers, you should ensure that the power ratings of the receiver and passive speakers match before you connect the two. 

The Zone 2 ports on the receiver are where you should connect your passive speakers to if you want to use an AV receiver to power your speakers. 

You will have to wire the passive speaker to the receiver using a phono cable and then turn on zone 2. 

Set the AV receiver input to the phono and then use the AV receiver as the crossover by adjusting the zone 2 midrange frequency. 

How to Power Passive Speakers with Subwoofer

Subwoofers are also of two types – active and passive. The active subwoofers have in-built amplifiers. 

In this case, we will use an active subwoofer to power the passive speakers. 

To do this, you will need to connect the passive speakers to the subwoofer and then connect the subwoofer to a receiver. 

Here are the steps to use: 

  1. Locate the subwoofer output on the receiver.
  2. Use speaker cables to connect the subwoofer speaker-level inputs to the output of the receiver. 
  3. Connect the level outputs of the subwoofer to the inputs of the passive speakers using speaker cables. 

How to Power Passive Speakers with Computer

Most computers have some sort of internal amplifier that can be used to amplify passive speakers. 

However, these amplifiers are not that powerful and can only power smaller passive speakers rather than big loudspeakers that are usually used for outdoor events.

Also ensure that the impedance of the speakers that you are using on your computer is above 6 Ohms so that they do not draw enough power from your computer system and then damage it in the end. 

Depending on what cable your passive speaker uses, get the right cable for the speaker and plug it into your computer. Some speakers use the RCA while others use the USB, so use the appropriate cable and connect the speaker to the computer with it. 

Next is to turn on your computer and play songs to test the speaker. Increase the volume of your hearing and you’ll find out your computer in a way has amplified your songs via the passive speakers. 

Can You Connect Passive Speakers to an Active Speakers?

Passive Speakers have in-built amplifiers, so they do not need any external amplification. 

By virtue of the presence of in-built in them, it is safe to assume that they can power passive speakers as well.

Yes, this is true but it does not apply to all active speakers. Some models of active speakers do not allow that while the majority of them do. 

If you want to power a passive speaker with an active speaker, you’ll have to daisy chain the two and you’ll be fine. 

Final Thoughts

It may come as a surprise to you when setting up your PA system that you suddenly do not have an amp for your passive speakers. 

Under such circumstances, you should not be worried if you have other powered gadgets like a mixer and an AV receiver. You can use these devices to work around the situation and achieve the same loudness that you would have achieved with an external amplifier. 

It would help if you only were mindful of certain factors such as the size of your speakers, the power ratings, and the impedance of your passive speakers when choosing the amplified mixer or AV receiver to power your passive speakers. 

Make sure speakers’ ratings are matched with the devices and you will have no problems with your sound system when you begin to use them.



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