You could be creating a home audio production studio and wondering if you should upgrade your home stereo to studio monitors.
We are here to tell you that you should!
Studio monitors are the best sound system option if you are serious about editing, mixing, and mastering audio.
Dedicated monitor speakers allow you to listen to your recorded tracks with clarity and precision.
Allow us to describe studio monitors further, why you need them, how to choose the best studio monitors, and their difference from the regular speakers in your own studio.
What Is a Studio Monitor?
Studio monitors tend to look like Hi-Fi or powered speakers. Please do not confuse the two because they produce sound that is different from that of the other.
Monitors are powered speakers with powered amplifiers that are specially designed for a higher level of audio production.
Their key feature is accuracy, and they do not enhance sounds at all. Instead, they keep frequencies flat for more PRECISE reproduction of audio.
This allows critical listening to better find flaws in recorded audio.
Aside from recording studios, monitors are great for filmmaking, radio studios, and television studios.
Are Studio Monitors Necessary?
The short answer: Yes!
Studio monitors play an IMPORTANT role in audio production. The following highlights are the advantages that make them superior to other speakers.
Studio monitors can be active and passive speakers. There are more active speakers than passive monitors in the market.
Active monitors have a built-in power amplifier in their speaker cabinet. It requires connection to a line source equipment with volume control.
You can find this in a dedicated controller or an audio interface.
They are in contrast to passive speakers, such as powered speakers and home speakers. They do not have a built-in amplifier.
You need an external amplifier with outputs for them.
Individual Power Amplifiers
Studio monitors do not have only one built-in power amp. Active monitors have multiple power amps in every unit.
The number of power amps is enough for the woofer, tweeter, and mid-range speaker to be powered individually.
The woofer takes up much power on its own.
Thanks to monitors, it does not take up power for other speakers. This allows you to get a more precise sound.
Dedicated power amps allow you to place crossovers before the amplifiers. This allows you to build top-quality crossovers.
The active circuitry in the components of monitors gives way for steep filter slopes and overlap reduction between its sub speakers.
Flat Frequency Response
Another term for this is transparency.
Listening from a studio monitor will not give you any boost or cut on any part of the frequency range of bias, unlike a powered speaker.
This allows you to easily pick up flaws and faults from your audio tracks.
You must make sure that your tracks sound good through ALL kinds of speakers when mixing music.
To achieve this, you will have to listen to your tracks first in their natural states. A studio monitor allows you to do exactly that!
When you mix tracks using powered speakers, your mix may sound different using other kinds of speakers. Studio monitors have more consistency.
What you hear is the TRUE REPRESENTATION of your audio!
Regular powered speakers distort sound when it reaches a higher volume level.
The drivers and amps of powered speakers cannot handle higher volumes. This results to sound distortions.
The drivers and amps of studio monitors are carefully designed. The amps are designed to correspond to the wattage and frequency ranges of the drivers.
This prevents overload and, consequently, distortions at higher volumes. They produce more accurate sound for you to work with.
Dynamic range is the audible gap from the lowest to the highest audio intensity. A studio monitor has a higher dynamic range than powered speakers.
Because of this, you will not miss out on lower and higher intensity sounds that are outside the dynamic range of ordinary speakers.
A studio monitor is made with components of HIGH quality.
Its durability is evident in its physical build and the strength of its speaker cones. This translates to the high sound quality it produces.
Demand and competition are higher for regular Hi-Fi speakers. The quality of their components is compromised because of this.
They are made with cheaper and lower quality parts, which translates to unstable audio and overall quality.
How to Find the Right Pair of Monitor Speakers
There are different variations of studio monitors in the market. To help you choose the right ones, we recommend you look into the following things.
Studio monitors with higher power produce sounds that have more clarity and accuracy. Your power source will depend on the type and design of studio monitors.
The unit of measurement for power is watts.
Look for studio monitors with higher wattages. High-powered studio monitors can handle higher volumes better without any distortion.
Type of Amplifier Setup
Choose the amplifier setup type of your studio monitors depending on your focus on music production. There are three types of setups you can choose from.
The single-amplifier setup is unique because the amplifier comes before the crossover. The audio signal passes through the amp first before the crossover network separates it into two.
The crossover sends the low bass frequencies to the woofer and the higher ones to the tweeter.
In a bi-amp setup, the crossover network comes before the two amplifiers of the monitor.
The audio signal passes through the crossover first and is immediately divided into lower and higher frequencies.
The frequencies are fed into their dedicated amps, which send them to the tweeter and woofer.
The tri-amp setup works similarly to the bi-amp setup. Instead of only two amps, this setup has three. The crossover network divides the audio signal into low, mid, and high frequencies.
These frequencies are still fed into their dedicated amps. The system involves a midrange speaker together with the usual woofer and tweeter.
What’s the Difference Between Regular Speakers and Studio Monitors?
The characteristics of the audio produced are the main difference between powered speakers and studio monitors.
Powered speakers are primarily designed for casual listening.
These Hi-Fi speakers enhance sound by boosting the lower and higher ends of the frequency curve. You usually use powered speakers to listen to your standard CDs and MP3s.
They are designed to enrich your listening experience to an enjoyable one! This justifies the modification that they do to the sound.
On the other hand, studio monitors are mainly designed for CRITICAL listening. Their flat frequency response allows you to listen to an audio recording as it is.
They do not enhance the sound at all as they reproduce sound in its TRUEST FORM. The flat response of studio monitors maintains an audio’s frequencies and overall sound.
Studio monitors are more valuable in professional recording as they present an audio recording in its neutral state for a more consistent sound result.
How Should I Set up Studio Monitors in a Home Studio?
Distance is an important factor in setting up your studio monitors. They should be the same distance from each other and where you are positioned.
More specifically, we recommend positioning your studio monitors at a 30-degree angle for better listening.
Here are different types of setups you can consider for your own studio.
Near-field monitors are the most common for a home studio setup.
You set them up one to two meters away from you behind your mixing desk or computer. Angle your near-field monitors to direct sound towards your head.
Far-field monitors are more common for commercial studios.
You also position these monitors a few feet behind your mixing desk or computer, but they have to be mounted. These monitors are bigger and can cater to higher volumes.
Can You Use Studio Monitors as Regular Speakers?
Yes, of course!
You can use a studio monitor as a regular speaker but expect to hear a different sound quality.
Studio monitors will not give you the same uniqueness and color you enjoy with casual listening. They will give you flat sounds that reflect the accurate sound of tracks.
Are Studio Monitors Good for Listening to Music?
Yes! Studio monitors are GREAT for listening to music.
They offer a more precise representation of sound and may reveal more details than an ordinary powered speaker.
However, they do not enhance the sound at all. You may notice a difference in terms of audio quality.
You will need a studio monitor if you want to hear your audio tracks in their neutral states.
Studio monitors give the most accurate representation of a sound.
They are essential in mixing tracks as they allow you to detect flaws faster. They make sure that your mix stays consistent throughout different speakers.
Try mixing tracks with studio monitors and see the difference yourself!