Studio Monitors : What’s the best for you?!
Do you want to set up your own home-studio and finally be able to record your own music? Getting some Studio Monitors would be a great place to start. As the name implies, studio monitors enable you to monitor and control the sound of your recordings. In this article, we will mainly be referring to Active and Passive Nearfield Monitors, as they are the models most frequently found in home-studios.
Studio monitors are one of the most important pieces of hardware in any audio studio. Here we describe the characteristics of a number of studio monitors costing in the region of $1,000-1,300. Which specifically designed for professional applications where precise audio reproduction is essential. The term implies that the frequency response is more linear—flatter, without coloration—than Hi-Fi products. Typically audio companies dealing with studio products spend research and development costs mainly for audio quality rather than fancy aesthetic design or brand building.
Not a universal rule, but a similar sounding Hi-Fi speaker or headphones usually costs two or three times more than a studio speaker. So there is even more motivation to buy dedicated studio speakers for audio tasks:
Linearity |, Unlike hi-fi speakers that boost the highs and lows for more punchy sounds, studio monitors should be as linear as possible. This means that the sound should be as accurate as possible without coloring the sound, nor should it favor any frequency or frequencies over others, in order to ensure you obtain a flat frequency response.
Diffusion | Studio monitors (again unlike hi-fi speakers) are very directional. Each room has its own particular acoustics with reflected sounds bouncing off of a combination of the walls, the ceiling and every piece of furniture in the room. The larger the room, the smaller the chance of reflected sounds interfering with the direct sound. The purpose of the monitors is to target the direct sound as close to the proximity of your ears as possible. This is where the importance of positioning the monitors comes in.
Active or Passive | Studio monitors are mostly active these days, with passive speakers slowly disappearing. Active monitors are equipped with multiple amplifiers in such a way that individual amps drive individual speakers. This means that the crossover is placed before the amplifier stage instead of after. The benefits are enormous, saving space, simplifying connections and with amplification designed especially for each speaker.
What size? | Choosing the right studio monitors is dependent on the size of your listening room. As most home studios have limited space there are a few things to consider. Monitors larger than 8” to 10” commonly move more air around, which may cause acoustic interferences in a small room. Therefore for a limited space, we recommend monitors up to 5” or 6” for the most positive results. For a larger room, we recommend 8” monitors.
Budget size? | There are various monitors for all kinds of budgets and tastes, but do be cautious of making hasty decisions when it comes to audio equipment. You won’t be successful in finding ‘the one and only ultimate monitor’ for hip-hop or for metal, but there are certain factors that can help you determine a good choice. For 80 to 100 euros you should already be able to find good monitors, so feel free to find suitable monitors while keeping to your budget. However, studio monitors above the 100 euro price range should really be a massive upgrade compared to your PC speakers, they will blow them out of the water for sure!
Positioning | The first rule is to trust your ears! Studio monitors are designed to be placed within a distance of one to two meters relative to the listener, this makes them ideal for small studios. The positioning in height is also very important if you want to make the most of your monitor setup. Ideally, the tweeter should be placed at ear level, while the monitors should be slightly angled, facing towards the listener. the ideal listening position is also known as ‘the sweet spot’.The positioning in height is also very important if you want to make the most of your monitor setup. Ideally, the tweeter should be placed at ear level, while the monitors should be slightly angled, facing towards the listener.
Acoustic treatment | Besides using a monitor stand, you can also place your monitors on studio foam pads. This isolates them from the surface on which they are placed while improving their performance. There a variety of studio monitor accessories such as absorbers and diffusers that can also optimize the acoustics in your studio space. Some monitors are also equipped with an integrated equalizer, which is very practical in improving the effectiveness of acoustic treatments.
Selecting Subwoofers | Subwoofers have become common in the car and home stereo systems. Because ultimately your mix is going to play in someone’s car or through their desktop computer system, you should consider verifying the deep bass content in your mix, especially if the target listener for your mix is going want to hear and feel that extended low end.
Adding a subwoofer to your system will make the wiring and calibration of your monitoring system a bit more complex, but when carefully tuned to the stereo full-range system, a subwoofer will naturally extend the low end without overshadowing your full-range system. A properly calibrated 2.1 system can improve your mixing environment by offloading much of the bass-frequency reproduction to the sub, letting the woofers of the full-range system focus on the low mids.
This is basically our cover to Studio Monitors functions and reliability,
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