Aspiring music producers normally start their journey with a good microphone, an audio interface, and perhaps a few premium VSTs. However, it takes everyone a bit of time to understand that it's the studio monitors with flat frequency responses that let you produce the finest of mixes! Before this turns into a detailed guide to 101 Music Production tips, let's hook you up with the best studio monitors in 2021.
Having studio monitors allows you to have a sound output that allows you to precisely listen to the 'real' audio signal. What does this mean? Well, it's not colored to feel good to the ears so you can shape the frequencies however you want to! At the end of this article, we'll also list a couple of tips, tricks, and some answers to frequently asked questions around the topic.
Buying your first pair of studio monitors is always confusing. You don't know where to start, you're crippled with the anxiety of investing in the wrong product, and on top of it, you keep getting overwhelmed by all of the features and options available!
Let's be real, your journey as a music producer depends on these bad babies and you want your purchase to be flawless! Well, this buyer's guide will show you all the things you need to consider to make an informed and reasonable purchase! It's time you wipe away the sweat on your forehead and get ready to dig in!
What Should You Consider Before Buying Studio Monitors?
The size of the studio monitor will mainly depend on the available space you have, and with so many sizes, it can be quite challenging to determine which is the ideal one for you. Generally, sizes range from 4-inches, 5-inches, 6-inches, and 8-inches woofers.
For example, if you have limited space in your room or desk, you can stick with smaller studio monitors from 4 to 5-inches; they will sound the best and produce more accurate results for mixing. On the other hand, if you have a big room with more available space, you can stick with 8-inches studio monitors.
Being considerate of your studio monitor's frequency range before your purchase isn't really that important since most will have a range around 50Hz - 20kHz. However, what's important is that you must know the range by heart so you don't disregard the tiny edge frequencies while mixing!
The power of your studio monitor is also a pretty crucial thing to take into account. Just remember, the greater the power - the better the performance of your studio monitor. This won't affect the volume, but it will assist in producing a richer dynamic range in the sound you are mixing.
For example, a studio monitor with 40 to 60 watts will do just fine if you have a smaller room. On the other side, if your room is bigger, then it will require a lot more power in order to deliver the sound into every corner, so be sure to look for studio monitors with at least 100 watts.
Before making the final order, be sure that the studio monitors have the same connection type compatible with the equipment at your studio. Most of the studio monitors will have RCA, TS, PDIF, or XLR jacks. You can usually find the connection information in the product description or specification.
How Much Do Studio Monitors Cost?
Studio monitors are a big investment, and their cost will surely be a big deciding factor for some people. The price range of the studio monitors can vary depending on a couple of things, including size, power, frequency range, connections, brands, etc. Most of the time, you can expect paying from as low as $60 and up to $180 for basic studio monitors, and from $250 to $1,500 for some of the professional brands, and even higher as you go up the quality ladder!
How Did We Narrow Down The Best Studio Monitors?
We've drifted through various studio monitors on the market, and to choose the best ones available, we've considered a couple of crucial elements.
The first and maybe most helpful factor that helped us in the reviews process is the customer ratings. We picked out the studio monitors that have the most 5 star ratings.
We only included top-notch brands on our list because they will never let the customers down and always do their best to provide them with the best quality studio monitors possible.
Last but not least, we managed to pick studio monitors that had a great value for the price. This means that you will receive a lot more in return than you actually paid for.
The Different Types
Active vs. Passive Monitors
All of the studio monitors will need an amplifier in order to produce the sound. The active studio monitors possess built-in amplifiers, which means that you won't be required to buy any additional equipment. The passive monitors are just speakers without any power, so you will need a separate amplifier to provide you with power.
They're both excellent; therefore, this is truly a matter of individual preference. However, if you want to eliminate the expense and time in choosing a power amp, you can stick with active monitors.
Near-Field Vs. Far-Field
The near-field studio monitors are a lot more compact and are meant to be placed at close ranges - usually 3 to 5 feet apart from you. If you are going to record yourself singing most of the time, this type is the perfect option. This will allow you to hear a more direct sound from the studio monitors rather than hearing sound that has bounced around your room and also reduces the impact of poor room acoustics.
On the other side, the far-field monitors are usually positioned further away from you, and they are capable of handling louder volumes than near-field monitors. However, remember that by using the far-field monitors, you might hear more of the room noise because the sound will bounce around the room.
Best Studio Monitor FAQ
Q: How much do studio monitors last?
A: On normal, you can expect the studio monitors to last for at least 6 to 12 years, depending on how often you use them. There is a high possibility that they will last even longer if you provide them with proper maintenance.
Q: What are studio monitors?
A: Studio monitors are created to serve a special purpose, and that is to monitor the sound during a voice recording. They are mostly used in professional music, radio, and home studios.
Q: Do you need studio monitors?
A: If you're asking for professional audio engineers, the answer is yes - 100 times yes! It's almost impossible for you to record, produce, or engineer music without some sort of reference monitor. The idea is to have a non-colored speaker that helps you hear the 'true' audio signal, that's exactly why some people choose to mix/master even studio headphones! Hey, as long as you're producing a good mix, you're good!
If you're using basic speakers, it's highly likely that you'll end up hearing a very bright, colored sound. This alienates you from the real audio signal and you end up producing an imbalance mix which when played on other speakers, sounds buzzy and even all muddy in some situations! That's exactly why studio monitors/headphones are important.
Jack has been a touring guitarist for almost 20 years, playing in a number of country music and rock bands. Jack loves the road and defines himself as a never-ending student of the guitar and other important instruments or tools that make a musician.