Not every speaker is powered with an internal amp, and not every setup is going to require one. There are some cases where you may really want to use your passive speakers to set up a cheap sound system for your PC or another home system to get a great sound that can’t be achieved by regular PC speakers.
But how can you set up passive speakers without an amp or subwoofer in an effective way? There are a few things that you will need to do to make this type of setup work for you.
The first thing that you will need to think about is that you want to get a speaker that is pretty large. The larger the speaker, the better the sound will be. Since you’re not using an amp or subwoofer, you need to get a larger speaker to generate enough sound to make the listening experience enjoyable.
If you’re hooking your passive speakers up to a PC, you want to use a passive speaker that has either 8 or 16 ohms. Since you will be hooking the system up through the headphone port, you want to keep it in this range to avoid damaging the output.
If you use a passive speaker with 4ohms, you could damage the headphone jack and not be able to use it without making some repairs.
All you need to to do to run your passive speakers in connection with your PC is to hook them up to your headphone jack. That’s it!
Simply run the appropriate cable from your 3.5mm RCA jack to your speaker, play something on your PC, and you’ll be good to go. As long as you have a speaker that has 8 or 16 ohms and is large enough, powering a passive speaker through your headphone jack will be enough to play from these speakers at a good level in your room.
That being said, powering the speakers this way will likely not be loud enough for other settings where outside noise will be an issue. In those settings, your passive speakers will need some type of external power to be effective.
If you want to use your passive speakers or learn how to power passive speakers without an amp in a setting other than hooking it up to your PC, you may be frustrated to find that you need to use it with an amp for effective results.
Why is that? Simply put, passive speakers have no way of amplifying the power that they get and turning it into a loud volume. Since there is no amp, they cannot generate the power needed to create enough sound.
The only ways to get power into a passive speaker are to run a line into some type of power source that may do some amplification like powered mixers, amplifiers, or powered speakers. Speakers typically use more than 10W+ when being properly powered, so most sound cards on mixers or PCs will not be enough to power them to their full potential. You can use them for some in-room sound if you simply want a basic room setup, but expecting more than this would be foolish.
No matter how you set up your passive speakers, they have to be connected to some type of generative cable that will provide enough power amplification to get them going. Without this, you cannot expect a passive speaker to create good sound.
While this solution isn’t recommended if you don’t have some working knowledge of sound engineering, it is possible to hook a passive speaker up to a powered speaker to get it working. Powered speakers have amps built into them, so linking a passive speaker to a powered speaker before they both link back to your mixer or sound system is possible. But this won’t work with every type of powered speakers.
Some are set up in a way that can deliver a powered line while others only send out non-amplified signals. If your powered speaker can send out an amplified signal from the internal amp mechanism, then you can hook this to the passive speaker to power it.
However, you need to be very careful when creating this kind of setup because the amp inside the powered speaker is probably only built to handle one speaker, not two. You could damage all products involved if you are not careful.
Passive speakers were not created to be used without an amp. Unless you are trying to set up a home PC listening area, it’s best to use a powered speaker if you really don’t want to have to run a speaker to an amp to get it working. All in all, finding ways to make passive speakers work tends to be dangerous for your equipment and not worth the cost risk.
Keep it smart and simple and only use passive PCs without an amp in a home PC setting. Otherwise, look for a better solution.