Guide to Studio Monitors: Find out why you need studio monitors for your music recording setup and read reviews of the best ones.
Table of Contents
Why You Need Good Monitors?
To get a clear picture of your mix! If it is good then it should sound good but if it is a bad mix the speakers should not add any coloration to make it sound better.
Most hi-fi speakers are designed to make audio material sound as pleasing to the ear as possible so if your mix sounds good on your speakers, it may not sound good on other speakers.
The next step is for you to hear the output from your setup, so you need something that will accurately project the sound coming out from the audio interface.
That is where a nice set of studio monitors is really useful.
You need a set of speakers that are totally flat, gives the clearest possible response that enables you to mix to the best of your ability.
What is a Studio Monitor?
Studio Monitors on the other hand are supposed to be “Flat” and don’t emphasize or de-emphasize any particular frequencies. So it is one of the important components of a personal recording studio.
As a beginner and someone with a tight budget, near field monitors may be the most suitable one for you. You are supposed to listen to them from 3 to five feet away for best results so that the sound is not dramatically altered by room acoustics.
Other types include mid fields and far field monitors which are usually available at higher costs and are usually found in sophisticated studios.
Active and Passive Monitors
The two main types of studio monitors are active and passive.
Active monitors come with a built-in amplifier while passive monitors have to be powered using separate amps. This therefore makes active monitors more popular compared with the passive types which come with lots of inconveniences.
The fact that active monitors can be connected directly to your mixing board or audio interface means you don’t have to deal with speaker wires and potential problems.
‘Active’ means powered straight from a plug socket. ‘Passive’ requires an amplifier to power it.
Placing the Monitors
It is also very important to place the monitors at the right locations.
You need to make sure they are at the Ear level, and since most of them are near-field monitors, they will need to be placed closer to your head.
The best way to do this is to create sort of an “equilateral triangle” between the two speakers and you.
If you are unable to get the height right, you might have to get studio monitor stands to get them at the best possible height. You can position them right behind your work desk. It’s also a good idea to have some monitor pads and put the speakers on them to help you get the right sound.
Buying Studio Monitors
If you are putting together a home recording studio, be aware that a set of high quality, “pro” monitor speakers will cost in the $1000 range. But for most home recording purposes, studio monitors around $250 should be okay. And do go in for self-powered active speakers to avoid the hassle of buying that extra rack gear for passive speakers; preferably get 8″ monitors.
There’s no doubt that you need a great monitoring system if you want to build a great recording setup – be it at home or in the studio. You need equipment that will let you accurately track and mix your music, you need something that you can trust, else you won’t be able to make good mix decisions or your decisions may turn out wrong (not give the best results when you’re hearing your music on different mediums).
- Best KRK Studio Monitors
- Best Yamaha Studio Monitors
- Best Studio Monitors/Speakers under $300
- Best Studio Monitors/Speakers under $500
- Best Studio Monitor Stands
Believe me, a pair of trustworthy studio monitors, and a monitor router/controller with talk-back, can help turn your home studio into a pro recording environment that’s ready to host real recording sessions.
It’s very important to critically listen to your recordings, to see if it can be improved further. Many beginners use their Hi-definition home stereo speakers to listen to the recordings, but then they are not really made for that purpose. Though they might be expensive than studio monitors, they are designed to make pre-recorded music sound better. What you really need is an equipment that will give accurate sound, without adding any color to it. That’s where studio reference monitors play an important role!