Active nearfield monitors are one of the most common types of monitors, used in both professional and home studios. They are one of the most valuable tools for sound engineers, because their quality and accuracy, determines the quality of the work the audio engineers is able to accomplish during the editing, mixing and mastering process.
Active studio monitors are considered the most easy-to-use monitors, in comparison the passive type. This happens because they require less integration with additional gear, less power supply, and they take significantly less room space. That last part is especially convenient for small home studios, which do not have spare space for large size equipment.
Being nearfield, makes them even more convenient for small spaces. They deliver better sound quality when positioned in small distances between each other, and their acoustics remain excellent for the sound engineer, when he works too close to them. In contrast, far field monitors work well only when placed in a substantial distance from the engineer, and when used in larger studio environments.
Professional recording studios need to acquire the highest quality active nearfield studio monitors of the market, to help the sound engineers deliver the best sound results possible to their customers. This is why, in our list we have included some of the best available options, which are intended for studios with significant budgets ready to invest them into taking their sound quality to the next level.
If you are a beginner studio owner or engineer, it is advised that you start equipping your studio with more affordable monitor solutions, and then upgrade your equipment after you begin generating income for your business. This way, you avoid exceeding your budget’s limits, and you can invest some of your money into additional sound equipment for your studio.
Before purchasing active nearfield monitors, consider the following
Searching for the most functional studio monitors is your top priority. You need to look for monitors that work well from the distance that you are going to place them into your recording studio. You should make sure that they deliver the exact sound that you need to get the job done, and that they have correct connectivity to integrate them with the rest of your gear and sound equipment.
The studio monitors you are going to purchase, need to have a solid structure and strong build, so that they provide stability and can tolerate rough situations, such as overuse. You should pay attention to the size of the woofer and the tweeter, so that you can make sure that they have the appropriate frequency range you are looking for.
Furthermore, you need to know whether you want to purchase a single monitor or a pair and if they have the right size to fit your studio space. Finally, make a case of reading all the reviews and learn about the differences between passive and active studio monitors, so that you are certain that the piece of equipment you are about to purchase, is the one you need.
Additional items included in the package along with the studio monitors that you purchase are welcome. Such items can be connectivity cables, extensions, isolation pads or monitor stands. All these items are very important tools that will make the recording and playback process much more convenient, when used with your active studio monitors. For instance, you can use the stands to position the monitors on the correct ear-height level, in order to perceive the sound frequencies more accurately.
The prices of the active nearfield studio monitors that we recommend, are higher than the average cost of studio monitors available in the market. This is because they are high quality monitors that are intended for professional recording studios with significant budgets available for investment.
Make sure that you make purchase your active nearfield monitors within the price range you feel comfortable. Remember that there are many affordable monitor solutions that deliver excellent sound quality, and that you can always upgrade your sound equipment when you have the financial ability to do so.
Best active nearfield studio monitors
1 – Adam Audio S3X
The Adam Audio S3X-H is a high quality studio monitor, which provides extreme power without compromising the accuracy levels at all. It has two 7.5 inch woofer and a tweeter. The first of the two woofer is responsible for the frequencies of 150Hz and below, while the second woofer handles the frequencies up to 1.800Hz.
The monitor, has a 4.5 inch midrange driver, which is making the crossover frequency with the tweeter to reach higher levels, while the woofers handle the same frequency bands at the same time. The low and mid drivers of the studio monitor have very solid structure, which is coated with Kevlar. This fact, makes the monitor reach its maximum strength, while its dynamic response are faster than ever.
A folded diaphragm is used for the tweeter, in order to help it squeeze air in and out. This helps the tweeter increase its response time, improve the transients, especially when compared to the standard metal ribbon that reduced the overall efficiency of the tweeter.
The Adam Audio S3X-H has amazing onboard power amplifiers. The tweeter has an extremely low-noise amplifier with a flat frequency response that goes up to 300kHz. Both woofers, have a PWM amplifier that is used in all the SX series monitors. The midrange driver, has a 250 watt amplifier too for maximum onboard power, which goes up to 800 watts.
The monitor, allows you to focus on specific sounds, instruments and frequency bands, to ensure that you can listen every single detail and maximize its accuracy. You can very easily listen to small frequency changes, even on background sounds, which makes the equalizing and compressing process very convenient for the sound engineer.
Overall, the Adam Audio S3X-H is an active nearfield studio monitor with amazing detail, an extremely high level of accuracy. Its transient response is great, and the broad frequency range will ensure that you achieve high quality sound results.
2 – Focal SM9
The Focal SM9 is an amazing high quality studio monitor, suitable for every professional recording studio. The first time you apply power to the monitor, an automatic cleaning routine starts so that they can start functioning properly. When done, the LED on the front of the monitor turns green, which indicates that the process is over and you can start using the speaker.
The monitor does a great job with both the lower frequencies and the lower octaves of every instrument and sound. You can use it to define the true nature of the sound you use very easily, as its levels of detail and accuracy are as high as it gets, making the monitor an essential tool for every sound engineer that want to improve his mixing process.
The Focal SM9 has great loudness, although you should use it cautiously if you want to get high level efficiency out of your monitor over time. You are going to need its exceptional loudness, because of the very quiet amplifiers and its neutral behavior across the entire frequency spectrum.
The particular studio monitor provides amazing sound when it comes to high frequencies, transients and air, especially for sounds such as hi hats and cymbals. They tend to sound significantly detailed and accurate, without being harsh or punchy, as the monitor ensures that they are going to be smooth and as bright as they need to be.
Overall, the Focal SM9 provides great value for the money and is definitely worth the investment to upgrade the sound quality of a professional recording studio. In the price it is offered, you get two system rather than one, and you are firstly paying for the trust that the company provides for its customers, as it gets the job done no matter the cost.
The cleanness, the loudness and the power are only some of the advantages you are going to get when you purchase this active nearfield studio monitor. In addition to this, you get focus and direct input modes, along with a very sturdy and strong professional structure that ensures that the monitor is going to function properly for a long time.
3 – Genelec 8040B
The Genelec 8040B is a high-class active nearfield monitor, perfect for all studio purposes. It is one of the cleanest and most accurate monitors in the market, which offers great separation along with amazing stereo imaging that makes the panning process a fascinating experience.
The monitor covers very broad frequency ranger, and it has a very wide sweet spot for near field monitoring, which is ideal for sound engineers who want to improve the recording process with no effort at all.
In accordance to the studio environment that you use for your work, the monitor offers calibration settings, which help you adjust manually the levels of your sound, to find the appropriate tonality that will balance and transform your projects in no time.
The Genelec 8040B has a well-built structure, which provides confidence and trust to the strength of the monitor. In addition to this, the particular studio monitor has a very professional design, which makes it very appealing to the eye. Although this has nothing to do with the sound quality, it is a nice extra feature that adds to the image of your recording studio.
The chasis of the monitor has a curvature, which is claimed to help the in-sound resonance coming from the inside. This minor feature, proves that the Genelec 8040B is all about the little details that are able to transform the sound result big time. All in all, it is an amazing active nearfield monitor, perfect for every demanding sound engineer that want to focus on accuracy and work with high quality studio monitors.
4 – Dynaudio BM15A
The Dynaudio BM15A is an active nearfield studio monitor, which provides great detail to the listener, helping him to distinguish different sounds without much effort. This feature, is especially helpful for music producers and sound engineers, as it makes the editing and mixing process very convenient, without too much struggle.
The monitor delivers a pretty neutral sound, ideal for those that do not prefer special color on their songs, so that they can determine what changes need to be made on the frequencies more easily. Its levels of accuracy ensure that every single sound stands out, from the weakest to the loudest one.
There is no need to use a subwoofer, as the Dynaudio BM15A studio monitor has very nice warm low ends that provide just the right amount of bass needed to make the sounds and general feeling of the songs steadier.
The particular studio monitor has a very wide frequency range, along with an amazing stereo imaging, which makes the mixes sound opener with more space. This fact, makes the sound separation go to the next level, and help every individual sound stand out, no matter how weak or buried in the background it may be.
Overall, the Dynaudio BM15A is a high quality active studio monitor, ideal for most professional studio purposes. The high accuracy levels and the very nice balanced low ends are some of its main advantages, which along with the perfect stereo imaging make this studio monitor one of the best options for every sound engineer.
5 – EVE Audio SC208
The EVE Audio SC208 in one of the best all-purpose high class studio monitors in the market. It delivers awesome sound results, with very steady low ends and extremely accurate high frequencies, which tend to be slightly bright without becoming harsh or punchy.
The monitor has a ported cabinet, to ensure safety considering port tuning, while obtaining the right amount of bass with the appropriate balance. The ribbon tweeter has great amount of accuracy and detail, which helps every weak sound to stand out easily.
The mid and low mid frequency of the EVE Audio SC208 are very smooth, which accompany nicely the warm bassy sound that the low ends of the monitors deliver. Although bassy, the low ends manage to maintain a very nice balance, keeping the frequencies equal throughout the spectrum.
It is very easy to recognize any distortions, clipping or saturation issues with the particular studio monitor. This happens, because the monitors makes it very easy for every sound to stand out without making it too harsh or sudden. As a result, the quality of the nice mixed projects improves even more, while the imperfection of the badly mixed songs can be distinguished without much effort.
Overall, the EVE Audio SC208 is a fascinating active nearfield monitor worth the investment. Its detailed sound and accuracy, accompanied by the nicely balanced warm low ends, are some of the features that will help the sound reflect amazingly well in appropriately soundproofed studios. One of the highest quality active nearfield monitors available in the market, which will satisfy the most requiring sound engineers.