Studio monitors are a basic tool for every sound engineer, music producer or independent artist that wants to produce or record music. They are used to deliver the sound to our ears, and they are responsible for the accuracy and the detail of the sound that we receive.
In order to be able to produce great sound results, music producers need a nice pair of studio monitors, capable of delivering warm and detailed sound. The greatest the sound quality of the monitors, the better chances the producer has to understand the nature of the individual sounds used in his projects, so that he can experiment and use them in a way that when combined, they create a harmonic audio result.
Studio monitors are one of the most important tools for sound engineers too. Sound engineers use the monitors in professional recording studio environment, appropriately soundproofed so that they can mix and master songs, and prepare them for distribution. Like the music producers, sound engineers need to work with studio monitors that deliver accurate high quality sound so that they can process the tracks the best way possible, to deliver industry standard sound results.
What are studio monitors used for?
Studio monitors are used both for playback and for recording reasons. They need to have flat sound, so that their sound frequencies remain neutral. This will make the music producer or the sound engineer capable of understanding the pros and cons of the audio they process, and will help them determine the changes that need to be made to the sound to improve it.
Monitors used for producing music, should deliver warm bassy sound along with great detail In the higher frequencies. This type of functionality, can help the music producer or the beatmaker listen to the sounds and loops that he uses carefully, and understand which are the right combinations that will provide nice sound results for his productions.
Sound engineers on the other hand, should use the higher quality studio monitors possible. This is because they need to focus on minor details of the frequencies, find any potential flaws and correct them to clean the overall sound results, and manage to mix and master audio tracks in the most accurate way possible.
Different types of studio monitors
In order to learn how to use your monitors correctly, you need to understand the different types of studio monitors available in the market. Here are the main types that you should know about:
Active. Active studio monitors have a power amplifier built in, and utilize an active crossover to handle their sound.
Passive. Passive monitors on the other hand, need to be matched with external amplifiers and crossover in order to function properly. Although they require more gear and cables, they can offer great sound quality.
Near Field. Near field monitors are perfect for small rooms that do not have the convenience of much space. They can be placed near you, and they are intended for clean sounds.
Far Field. Far field monitors are designed for long studio distances, and should not be placed near the audio engineer or the producer, as they are ideal for greater volume levels.
Subwoofers. Subwoofers are perfect for electronic music producers, as they have a wider frequency range, and they can help the producer focus on the lower ends of his music production to make the heavier and bassy.
Tweeters. Tweeters are designed to focus on the higher frequencies of the sound. They deliver detailed and wide range sound, especially in the high ends, so that they can help the sound engineer or music producer mix his tracks more accurately.
The correct studio monitor placement
Improving the sound quality studio monitors deliver, is a matter of correct placement and positioning of the monitors into the studio. This depends on the type of studio monitors, especially if they are near field or far field, so that we can place them within the right distance.
The general rule when it comes to studio monitor placement, is to use the equilateral tringle method. This means that we have to place the monitors in an equal distance from each other, and in an equal distance from the seat of the sound engineer.
This will help as maintain a steady sound reflection routine both between the two studio monitor and between the sound engineer and the monitors. That is the best way to ensure that the sound will remain as flat and centered as possible, making it sound stereo-appropriate.
In addition to this, studio monitors should be placed in an appropriate height regarding the sound engineer ears. This is why studio desks are a great solution. You can place the studio monitors on their selves, which are specifically designed to help us place the monitors in the appropriate height, to ensure that all frequencies are delivered equally.
How to select the appropriate studio monitors
To select the appropriate studio monitors for your needs, you need to consider their quality, functionality, the additional features they come with and of course their price.
The structure quality and the functionality of the studio monitors are of major importance, as they will ensure that your monitors are going to last over time, even after some minor unexpected abuse. You need to find high quality, solid studio monitors, engineered by trustworthy manufacturers.
The experience of the manufactures plays an important role when it comes to deliver high quality and functional studio monitors. There is a number of excellent companies that produce amazing studio monitors, which deliver high quality sound, for every type of monitor, whether they are active or passive etc.
Most of the times, studio monitors come as bundles with many additional items that will help you equip your studio appropriately. Such additional items are, isolation pads, cables, monitor stands, microphones, soundproof material such as panel foams and more.
Make a case of searching carefully, and find the appropriate monitors with the features that suit your needs, within you budget’s limits. This will help you save up money that you can invest either in more sound equipment, or into your music promotion.
Here are 5 of the best studio monitors that we recommend
1 – KRK RP5G3-NA Rokit 5
The KRK Rokit 5 is one of the most popular pairs of studio monitors in the market. They fit perfect well in all workspaces due to their compact size, and they deliver excellent sound, with very clear detail. There is no crackling or wavering detected in the sound, and they have neutral sound, focusing on all frequencies equally.
There are no additional cables for plugging the monitors into your audio interface included in the package, so you have to keep in mind that you will have to purchase them separately. You can easily fine tune your tracks with this pair of monitors, as they are ideal for mixing and mastering processes, especially when used in an appropriately soundproofed studio environment.
The KRK Rokit 5 is all about accuracy, both during playback and during recording. They do not have exaggerated high or low frequencies, and they are designed to deliver a very broad-range frequency spectrum, without giving emphasis to certain frequencies. They deliver highly detailed sound, which can help the music producer or the sound engineer effectively remove any muddiness or harshness from their mix. A great pair of studio monitors, suitable for all purposes and studio environments in a very affordable price.
2 – Presonus Eris E5
The Presonus Eris E5 is a pair of studio monitor that deliver great value, considering its price. The monitor have very clear low frequencies, neutral mid frequencies along with clean high frequencies that do not have too much treble.
The stereo image these studio monitors deliver is more than decent, especially if you position them in equal distances, and use stands or a studio desk to place them on ear level. This way you can make sure that you maximize the sound quality, and that you listen to all frequencies appropriately.
The sound quality of the Presonus Eris E5 is amazing. They are near field monitors, that provide high end accuracy and excellent bass response. They are perfect for electronic music producers, beatmakers and DJs, and they can be used for all studio purposes.
These studio monitors have a fascinating flat frequency response, which enhances the neutrality of the sound, and at the same time they sound clean and crispy. They have a slight punchiness in the middle, and the low ends sound bassy and warm, while you can notice a very subtle presence in the higher ends.
3 – Yamaha HS5
The Yamaha HS5 simply put, is a very effective pair of studio monitors. The have awesome bassy low ends, along with some clean punchiness in the middle that enhances the power of the bass even more, making it sound warmer end more emphatic.
The accuracy levels of these particular studio monitors are excellent. They have exceptionally nice crispy sound, especially when used in a soundproofed studio. You can use foam panels to cover the hard surfaces of your room, and you will hear the sound of these monitors transform into smooth, warm and very pleasant to listen to.
The Yamaha HS5 are ideal for every home studio. They more than decent when it comes to producing music, and they get the job done considering audio mixing and mastering, as well as monitoring. The neutral sound they deliver, helps the user by providing accurate balanced volume and frequency levels.
This pair of monitors is worth the purchase. It comes in an affordable price for most sound engineers and music producers, especially when you consider its capabilities. The monitors deliver amazing sound quality, with extra crispiness, detail and accuracy, even in the tiniest sounds. Overall, one of the best options when it comes to purchasing an effective pair of studio monitors.
4 – JBL LSR305
The JBL LSR305 are studio monitors that deliver amazing sound quality, especially when combined with the appropriate setup. They make the fine tuning process significantly fast, and they are ideal when it comes to mixing and mastering due to their accuracy.
In order to ensure that you get the most out of these awesome monitors, make a case of soundproofing you recording studio, especially the hardest surfaces that are going to reflect the biggest amounts of sound. What is more, it is advised that you put some decent isolation pads under the monitors, so that you can avoid bass reflections and muddiness caused by the vibrations.
The clarity of the JBL LSR305 studio monitors is amazing. You can listen every little sound that is hidden in the mix, such as subtle delays or background reverbs. The monitors have the capability of making electric instruments sound as clear as it gets without much effort, reducing any type of distortion or clipping to the minimum.
Overall, the JBL LSR305 is a very powerful pair of studio monitors, with clean and very warm low ends that make the entire track sound very smooth. Their high ends are significantly accurate, which makes them one of the most spectacular pair of studio monitors for every sound engineer that wants to focus on detail and sound accuracy.
5 – BEHRINGER MS40
The Behringer MS40 are self-powered studio monitors with a beautiful design. They have separate controls foe every feature, such as bass and treble, or left and right. The monitors have all types of inputs the user may need, such as 1/8 audio jack, Digital, Coax Plus and RCA. More than enough for every purpose.
The performance and functionality of these great studio monitors is more than excellent. They deliver high sound quality, with very smooth low ends and neutral middle frequencies, with a slight presence in the high ends.
The Behringer MS40 do amazingly well the job they were designed to do without many exaggerations. They are significantly loud without causing any distortion issues, and they have great levels of consistency when it comes to low volumes.
Overall, the Behringer MS40 is a great pair of studio monitors in one of the most affordable prices available in the market. Perfectly suited for beginner music producers and home studios, they deliver decent quality sound focusing equally on all frequencies, without making the final sound result flat or weak. A nice studio monitor solution for all types of artists.