Home studio monitors

Studio monitors are one of the most important hardware tools in any recording studio. In this article, we consider the types of studio monitors, as well as compare the most popular options in the price range of $1,000 to $2,000.
Studio monitors are specifically designed for professional use which requires accurate reproduction of sound. Frequency response of such monitors is more linear and with less coloration compared to Hi-Fi products.

Active monitors vs passive monitors

1. Passive

Not the most convenient option, especially for beginners, because apart from the speakers you will have to choose an appropriate amplifier. Moreover, the sounding is strongly dependant on the choice of amplifier. Also, you should never skimp on switching.

External amplifiers often have large dimensions. It means that you will need an additional space for the amplifier which is unnecessary for active monitors.

But still, with the proper approach, the combination of the passive speakers and external amplifier can show excellent sounding results, being more flexible in comparison with active monitors.

2. Active

Let's start with compactness. You don't need an additional space for the amplifiers, because active monitors most commonly house the amplifiers within the speaker enclosure. Each speaker of an active monitor has its own amplifier. Frequencies are separated before reaching the amplifier.

It's easier technically and cheaper, which is important for the budget of a beginner sound engineer.

There is one important point: active monitors require separate amplifiers for the speakers gain, no matter whether the amplifier is built-in or external. There are low cost passive monitors with built-in amplifiers which should never be confused with the active ones.


Types of monitors as per field range

1. Near-Field

With regard to a small home studio, this type of monitors would be the best choice. They are good in reproducing of mid and high spectrum of sound. They are also good for mixing but not perfect enough for dealing with low frequencies. Usually, this type of monitors requires an optional subwoofer, otherwise you will have to check the mix on the mid-field monitors outside your home studio.

2. Mid-Field

If you have enough place and good sound isolation in your studio, it's your choice. This type of monitors is much better for configuring panorama and sound space. The mid-field monitors are also good for adjusting bottom end. Some of such monitors can be used for mastering.

3. Far-field

Far-field monitors are used in high-level studios only, where the room is completely adapted to sound production. This type of monitors is the best choice for listening to the finished material at all volume levels and the entire frequency spectrum.
How to choose the best studio monitors for any home recording setup?

Choosing of equipment is not an exact science. It is difficult to assess which of the studio monitors are the perfect solution for you, even comparing their characteristics. But fortunately, there are several options that have achieved an excellent reputation and are used in pro studios, being in the middle price range.

Talking about brands we can stick to the following classification:

KRK

Generally, they are quite linear but still have a good bass response. Therefore, you may consider them to be a universal option.

Yamaha

A happy combination of classic sounding and modern technologies. They have a very flat frequency response across the entire spectrum comparing to the monitors of similar price.

Adam, EVE, HEDD

Adam is a colored and massive sounding, while EVE and HEDD are more transparent.

Dynaudio

Not so transparent sounding, but still good all-rounders.

Genelec, Neumann

They don't go too low, but they are ultra-transparent and revealing. They have a very flat response, equal or better than 2 dB across the spectrum. Very good multipurpose option.

Mackie, Monkey Banana

These speakers go more low than others, but less precise in linearity. Very good for heavy club music.


Let's consider some models of the listed brands:
1. KRK V4S4

Frequency response: 58 Hz-19 kHz

Custom designed Kevlar tweeter and Woven Kevlar woofer

Front ported bass reflex design

Class-D amplification

Mid and High frequency EQs

Input level attenuation switch


2. Yamaha HS8

Frequency response: 38 Hz-30 kHz

2-way bass-reflex bi-amplified systems

Enclosures made of a very dense MDF with a damped acoustic response

Advanced noise reduction technology

Sounding adaptation to the rooms of varying shape and size
3. Dynaudio LYD-5

Frequency response: 50 Hz-21 kHz

Low-volume precision for long mixing and production sessions

Lightweight aluminium voice-coils like in high-end Hi-Fi speakers

Class-D amplification

24-bit/96 kHz advanced DSP


4. Neumann KH 80 DSP

Very High precision sound in almost full range: 59 Hz-20 kHz (+/- 2 dB)

Low end frequency response: 53 Hz (-6 dB)

Low-distortion materials

Optimized drivers

DSP engine adapts the sound output to the environment
5. Adam A5X

Frequency response: 50 Hz-50 kHz

Can be used for longer sessions without ear fatigue

Quick transient response even at high sound levels and over the full range

Great stereo image

Low-distortion amplification

Wide frequency range

Adaptation to the listening environments

Volume control on the front panel

Supports balanced and unbalanced line signals


In any case, a personal testing of several options in your studio or at least in a store is highly recommended. There is no ideal choice, and usually the studios use several monitors models. We hope this information will help you in selecting the monitors for your home studio.


If you already have some musical tracks and want to sell the right to use them, we are waiting for you at ExpertMusic portal. We provide content for background music of different institutions, as well as for production: commercials, movies, YouTube-videos, games, etc.

We wish you transparent mixes,
ExpertMusic team.


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