Passive & Active Studio Monitors.

For a number of years I have been using a old iPod Classic Soundbar “thingy” as external stereo speakers for my Behringer Xenyx X1204USB AI/Mixer. I generally use it for PC playback but with either the Mustang III or PodGo plumbed in, I have used it as a speaker for playing guitar. The plan was to use it with the Xenyx combined stereo output to monitor both vocals and guitar without using headphones or IEM (with the Trio or JamMaster for BTs at the same time now and then).

With recent discussions about “amps or monitors” I decided to revisit the idea, of swapping the useable soundbar for some studio monitors. The question I have is fairly simple.

Given the Xenyx provides me with XLR Stereo Main Outs, Unbalanced ALT 3/4 output and stereo Control Room Outputs. As below. Would I need Active or Passive monitors ?
The more I read the more confused I get, so seeking out a resident expert for advice.
And a bonus question - For the ALT and Control Room outputs I am guessing TRS would be better than TS, even though any cable runs will be very short, 1.5m max.

All answers appreciated. :sunglasses:

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Those are all line level and will need some amplifier somewhere.

So. Either active monitors or passive with a power amp.

Thanks Rob.

The reason for the question is this statement in the manual regards signal processing.


If there is pre-amp functionality, I assumed additional amplification would not be required and I could use passive monitors. Not my knowledge area, hence the need to reach out.


A pre amp does EQ and levels, no amplification its pre amplification, so you still need amplification afterwards

A straight power amp without any controls would work as you can control levels from the mixing desk but usually you would want some level adjust on active speakers etc anyhow.


So something like some of these

I would go XLR into active monitors, also note these will be a fair bit different to hifi speakers in how they present sound.

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I’d go main XLR outputs to powered (i.e. active) monitors.

On the TS vs TRS question for the 1/4" outputs:

Your Alt 3+4 outputs are unbalanced, so TS should be fine; you’d only need TRS to take advantage of a balanced output. The manual doesn’t seem to specify on the control room outputs, but given that the 1/4" Alt 3+4 are unbalanced, it seems likely that these are unbalanced, too. But that’s just a guess.

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Looks like your mixer doesn’t have a power amp (I’m not sure if any do), so it needs something to drive the speakers. Go active studio monitors.

I found this spec sheet as well:

It has diagrams showing either active studio monitors or external amplifiers to drive the speakers :slightly_smiling_face:

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I’m very familiar with the Xenyx X1204USB. I’ve had one for several years.

I have used a fair number of mixers over the years and I have only ever come across one device which had a mixer and a power amp in one unit (that was also a Behringer unit). It’s part of their “powered mixer” range:

There’s probably some similar units around from other suppliers, but they aren’t common.

But if you are talking about conventional mixers, I would say approximately 99% of them do not have power amps.




Thank you all for you input peeps, guess I’ll be hoping over to Thomann to do some window shopping. And when or if I decide to have a “proper” studio set up, I’ll know what I need.