Note:This page may contain affiliate links.

How To Power Passive Speakers Without An Amp: 4 Smart Ways

Do you want to buy a passive speaker but are a little worried thinking, “How to power passive speakers without an Amp?”

Then don’t worry. Passive speakers come without an amp as they don’t have any internal power system. It needs an external device to power it. There are several options for powering passive speakers. I will recommend using an AV receiver to power your passive speakers.

Follow along as I’m going to discuss 4 brilliant options to power your passive speaker without an external power amplifier. I will also guide you on what you need to know about the working of passive speakers to get the best sound quality you have always wanted. Here you go!

🔥4 Cheapest Ways To Use Passive Speakers Without An Amp

Using passive speakers without amp

I have seen many people avoid using passive speakers as these speakers need external power sourcing. But in my opinion, they are very useful and have many advantages. I will tell you why I prefer these loudspeakers over parallel, active, and series speakers.

Firstly, external power sourcing for the passive speaker device is very easy, and I find these speakers better at sound quality than active speakers. If you are planning to buy a passive speaker but have doubts about its functions, you can trust me- you won’t regret buying it!!

I have mentioned the 4 cheapest and smart ways to use passive speakers without a power amp for your better understanding. I have made a nice comparison table discussing all 4 ways in brief.

MethodsHow Much Effective?Steps in BriefCost involved
Using an AV RecieverVery effective.Connect your speaker wire to an AV receiver via phone cable.Around $200
Use a Powered MixerVery effective.Connect an amplifier with the mixer and then connect the speaker to the amplifier.Around $400
Use an Active SubwooferQuite effectiveConnect your speaker to an active subwoofer using a speaker cable.Around $250
With PC’s 3.5 mm RCA JackVery effective.Plug the RCA jack into the sound source.If you have a PC, then it is free!!

Also Read: Can You Use Studio Monitors As Regular Speakers?

 ⚡Using an AV Reciever

I always prefer to use an audio-visual (AV) receiver to power my passive speaker devices. Now you may wonder, what is an AV receiver? Well, it is an electronic component that receives video and audio signals from several sources and can route them in their respective outputs.

I have tried several ways to power my passive speakers, but the AV receiver is my all-time favorite. I’ll tell you why.

  • Firstly, a powerful AV receiver can produce a magnificent sound that is not less than an active speaker.
  • Secondly, the AV receiver can easily connect with these speakers. Connect your speaker to the AV receiver’s zone 2 ports with the help of your phone cable.
  • Thirdly, (and my favorite feature of AV receivers), you can connect it with multiple audio and video devices apart from your passive speaker.

🔉Use a Powered Mixer

Powered mixer benefits

A powered mixer is the second-best way to power your passive speaker. Powered mixers have in-built amplifiers which can power these speakers. My experience with power mixers is very satisfying. They are designed in a way that produces good-quality sound.

Now let’s look at the easy steps you need to remember while connecting a powered mixer to your passive speakers:

  • First, choose an amplifier that will be the best fit for your speaker (See the wattage of your speaker). If you are doubtful, consult with the manufacturer or check the specifications of your speaker.
  • Connect the amplifier to the powered mixer.
  • Now, connect your passive speaker wire to the external amplifier.
  • Once the amplifier, mixer, and passive speaker are connected properly, switch on the power buttons on the mixer and amplifier. Now, your passive speaker should be turned on.

🔌Use an Active Subwoofer

Another easy and budget-friendly way to power your passive speaker is to use an active subwoofer. I feel connecting an active subwoofer with these speaker devices is the easiest (just like connecting with an AV receiver!!).

To connect an active subwoofer with your passive speaker, you need to follow these simple steps:

  • Take a speaker cable and connect it to the active subwoofer.
  • Connect the other end of your speaker cable to the passive speaker.


Now you may ask why you mention the active subwoofer as the 3rd method. I have used many powered subwoofers. These speakers have just two speaker outputs. They have one output on the left and the other one on the right. It means you can connect only two speakers with an active subwoofer.

🖥️ With PC’s 3.5mm RCA Jack

A 3.5mm RCA Jack

Another way of powering these speakers is to use your personal computer’s 3.5mm RCA jack to connect with the passive speaker. PCs come with a built-in amplifier. Follow these steps to connect the jack with your speaker:

  • Place your speaker beside your personal computer to make the connection process easy.
  • Plug your speakers into the PC’s power sockets. Be careful while plugging!
  • Find the 3.5mm RCA jack in the back of your PC (Can’t find it? RCA jacks are generally marked with an ‘Audio out’ or a headphone sign). Plug the RCA jack into your speaker. Now your new speaker setting is ready!

I have put this way at last because it may seem easy to follow, but you need to be careful in every step; otherwise, you may damage your PC.

Once I pushed the jack too hard while connecting the audio source to my PC’s headphone jack, it damaged my motherboard. So, don’t repeat this mistake!! Be careful about the power handling capacity of your PC while connecting your speaker to your PC.

Also Read: 3 Ways To Hook Up Amp Without RCA Plugs

🧐How to Decide Which is The Best Method to Power Passive Speakers [4 Factors to Look For!]

Governing factors

Are you still confused about which method will be best for you? Don’t worry!! I will guide you to choose the perfect powering audio source for your passive speaker.

Before choosing a power source for passive speakers, I always look for 4 factors to avoid any compatibility issues:

💹Speaker Power Rating

I always consider the range of my speaker device’s power rating before choosing a sound source to power my passive speakers.

Choosing an external power source that drives currents to your passive loudspeaker to the correct level is very important.

Look at the back of your speaker setup to find the power rating, which is generally written in watts. Your audio source needs to be lower in watts than your speaker.

🔊Speaker Impedance Rating

Rating of Speaker Impedance

Impedance rating is important to look for before choosing a sound source. See the specification to find the impedance rating of your speaker, which is written in Ohm.

If the impedance rating is low, you need a powerful audio source as the speaker device needs more current than a speaker with a low impedance rating.

🤝Type of Source Component

Before buying the audio source, make sure that your audio source has a built-in amp within it. Otherwise, it will not provide power to your speaker resulting in poor sound output.

🙄Size of the Speaker

Does Speaker Size Matter?

I tried connecting my large pair of speakers with my PC (which has a lower power rating), and it got very low-quality audio output.

Your speaker’s size also matters while powering it. Larger speakers produce louder music and thus needs a highly powered audio source.

💡 Do Passive Speakers Need Power: What You Need to Know

Working of a passive speaker

The signal path of these speakers is like this:

Audio source> Preamplifier> amplifier> unit of the passive crossover >drivers.

The drivers and crossovers of these speakers work with electromagnetism and passive electrical components. That’s why it doesn’t need any power.

These speakers receive signals from the connected amplifier, which enhances the signal from the preamplifier and audio source to the speaker-level signal.

This speaker-level signal then breaks into different frequency bands by the passive crossover unit before it goes to the proper drivers.

These speakers have several plus points I think you should know before using:

  • Passive speakers are super flexible. You can use different amplifications and cables with it and upgrade the speaker as you wish.
  • These speakers have efficient signal distribution systems and power.
  • Passive speakers are also cheap, so they will not make a hole in your pocket.
  • I have used many of these speakers, all of which are lightweight. You can place these audio systems anywhere in your home.

You may have decided to buy a passive speaker and choose the best-fitted way to power it. But there are a few things that you need to know:

  • These speakers are not stand-alone. Without an amplifier, the audio quality of these speakers becomes very poor. So always use a powerful amplifier.
  • These speakers require a speaker cable to connect with the power source. So, don’t forget to get a speaker cable!
  • If your power source doesn’t match your speaker model, it may damage your speaker.
  • These sound systems are perfect if you have bigger live setups.

🔎How to Power Passive Speakers Without an Amp FAQs

[1] What is the main difference between active and passive speakers?

The main difference between an active and a passive speaker is that an active speaker is powered with a built-in amplifier. On the contrary, the passive speaker doesn’t have a built-in powered amplifier; it needs to be connected to an external power outlet.

[2] What cables do passive speakers use?

These speakers use dedicated unshielded speaker cables to connect with the external components with built-in-Amp. These cables have two cores which power speakers without any issues.

[3] Do DJs use active or passive speakers?

DJs generally use active loudspeakers, rather than passive loudspeakers, with built-in power sources or amplifiers. They don’t need to worry about connecting another external amplifier with the powerful speaker and controlling the sound volumes directly from the mixer.

[4] Can a powered speaker power a passive speaker?

You can connect a passive speaker with a powered speaker with a standalone amplifier using proper twin cables. Many people connect these speakers to powered speakers as powered speakers drain a lot of current. In this way, the current supply doesn’t get overwhelmed.

[5] Do passive speakers need to be plugged in?

No, passive speakers don’t need to be plugged in as they already connect with an audio amplifier and a powered audio source (a subwoofer, an AV receiver, or a powered mixer).

About the Author

How To Power Passive Speakers Without An Amp

Rach Wellard

Rach Wellard is the driving force behind Sound & Solitude. Her mission is to help you discover the profound impact of sound in your daily life and to explore the beauty of solitude. With a deep passion for the connection between soundscapes and emotions, she brings a unique blend of expertise and personal dedication to our platform.

Rach understands that every individual's auditory journey is unique, and she’s here to guide you every step of the way. As a devoted audiophile, Rach’s discerning ear carefully selects the most exceptional products that align with your desires for Sound or Solitude. In a world filled with noise and chaos, Sound & Solitude serves as your sanctuary.

Rach’s journey as an autistic individual with a heightened sensitivity to sound fuels our commitment to creating an inclusive space where everyone can find solace while enjoying the meaningful sounds in their lives. Her understanding of diverse sensory needs enables us to offer personalized recommendations and insights, ensuring that your chosen audio equipment not only meets technical criteria but also resonates with your unique sensory preferences. And if you simply seek the best sound possible, Rach has you covered.

At Sound & Solitude, authenticity is our foundation. We provide unbiased reviews and comparisons because you deserve nothing but the truth. Our reviews are meticulously crafted, drawing upon Rach’s deep understanding of audio technology and the human experience in the Sound and Solitude realms. Whether you're searching for noise-cancelling headphones to immerse yourself in music or seeking a gaming headset that transports you to virtual worlds, you can rely on our reviews and personally tested comparisons to find the best equipment for your specific needs. Explore our carefully curated content, from the latest wireless audio advancements to tips for creating your ideal auditory retreat.

Let Sound & Solitude be your companion in your quest for perfect sound, rich experiences, and beautiful serenity. Join Rach as she redefines the way you listen, connecting you to the power of Sound and the Solitude it brings. Together, we'll evolve into your trusted platform for all things related to Sound & Solitude.

Check out our latest posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top