Most studio monitor speakers have high-quality audio, are fit for recording music for the best sound quality, and are made with professional connection options.
These studio monitors need a good audio interface to connect them to your computer for better quality audio and TOP-TIER music.
However, it IS POSSIBLE to connect your monitors to your speaker WITHOUT using an audio interface!
- It is possible to use your monitors without an interface, but it will limit your options in terms of editing and mixing your sounds.
- Interfaces provide unlimited connectivity, MIDI compatibility, and overall better quality.
What are Studio Monitors?
A studio monitor is a loudspeaker created especially for use in applications related to professional audio production with or without an audio interface and internal sound card.
The emphasis on music accuracy is what distinguishes a studio monitor from a standard speaker.
A music producer can hear minute details in a mix, thanks to the extremely flat frequency that monitors are designed to produce for better CD quality.
A mix may sound excellent on a headphone jack but terrible on speakers!
However, it may depend on the type of headphones and whether or not they boost the bass or treble.
Studio monitors are crucial because of this. The flat response helps engineers avoid adding extra bass, treble, or other frequencies when mixing.
Studio monitors are “active” or “powered” speakers, meaning the power amplifier is directly integrated into the cabinet, in contrast to a home stereo.
Meanwhile, “passive” speakers are referred to as such because they need an external amplifier.
You’re less likely to ruin your speakers because the amp and speakers were designed to work together.
Studio monitors are a BETTER OPTION for consistent, dependable sound because all the crossover elements, including the amps, drivers, and enclosure, work together.
What is An Interface?
A professional audio interface TRANSFORMS one instrument input, individual components, and microphone input into a format your computer/software can understand.
The interface also sends sounds from your computer to monitors and headphone output.
Although some interfaces connect to your device using Thunderbolt, Firewire, or even ethernet, a USB cable is typically the preferred method.
The cost of an interface can range from well under $100 to several thousand dollars, and even the most affordable ones have excellent quality and offer essential features.
Some popular audio interface music brands are Focusrite, M Audio, and Native Instruments.
Relationship Between Studio Monitors and Interface
Ideally, studio monitors need an audio interface as their standard inputs to be able to connect to computers.
Without an interface, most computers may experience lagging in the sound, along with increased feedback or background noise.
The digital-to-analog converter is a hardware component found on your desktop, whether a PC or Mac, laptop, or even phone.
- When headphone outputs are inserted into the headphone jack, we hear analog audio, which is what DACs convert your digital audio to. The catch here is that your phone’s or computer’s DACs are inferior to those found in an audio interface.
- Second, noise can be introduced when the signal is sent to your speakers because the headphone outputs are not balanced.
Though NOT ESSENTIAL, you will notice the difference without an interface.
Connect Studio Monitors WITHOUT Audio Interface: 3 Steps
This section will discover how to connect monitors without needing an audio interface!
All you need is a 3.5 mm jack to 2x XLR input, appropriate audio cables, the right cable size for a regular microphone, and two cables—one for each speaker.
1. Find the Correct Input on Your Studio Monitors
The first thing you have to do when connecting your studio monitor to a computer without using audio interface line outputs is to find the correct studio input.
A studio monitor typically comes with a few different output options.
The balanced cables of a 1/4-inch TRS jack and the balanced outputs of the XLR jack are the most widely used outputs.
Unbalanced inputs, such as RCA connections or a 3.5mm (1/8-inch) jack or RCA outputs, are frequently found on entry-level monitors.
2. Purchase the Proper Cable for Your Studio Monitors
After figuring out the correct input usage of your studio monitor, you will be able to see the needed materials to connect it successfully.
Use the unbalanced jack as your audio output if it is available if you are plugging directly into the computer.
Alternately, you could use 1/4-inch balanced outputs.
You can use different lengths of connector types to connect the interface to the device, but for this, you will need a 3.5 mm jack to a 2x XLR cable.
This cable connector is perfect for professional use, musical instruments, video applications, and stage lighting equipment.
3. Connect the Cable From the Computer to the Monitors
After having the correct cables, you are now prepared to connect the monitors to your computers.
One input plug on your cable might be red or have a red ring around it, while the other one should be white.
Although it won’t hurt if you mix up left and right, that is to indicate which one is left and which one is right.
White is for the Left side, while Red is for the Right side.
You can use the type of cable used to connect a DJ set to your monitors. Attach the cables to the speakers and to your laptops or active monitors.
Make any necessary adjustments.
If the cable turns out to be too short for your equipment, you can extend it by using two regular microphone cables, one for each speaker of the monitors.
Can You Use a Studio Monitor Without an Interface?
It is technically possible to use studio monitors without an audio interface.
But if you are recording music, you need an audio interface.
An external audio interface or a sound card is NOT essential, but if you want BETTER sound quality, a professional application, it NEEDS an audio interface.
Most audio interfaces guarantee a high-quality sound that is simple to edit according to your preferences.
With that, it is highly advised to need an audio interface or sound card for the best quality.
Can You Use a Sound Card Instead of an Audio Interface?
A sound card used externally is an audio interface.
This is to say that both sound card and audio interface have SIMILAR functioning.
With that, if you have external devices such as a sound card, you won’t need an audio interface as it functions the same way!
As a result, you don’t need to purchase both an external sound card and an audio interface. Most people these days use a USB connection to connect to a computer.
Although some devices use different connection types, like Thunderbolt, it is still a good idea to double-check this.
Is It Possible To Mix Without Studio Monitors?
Even though mixing without monitors isn’t ideal, IT IS POSSIBLE.
An excellent set of headphone outputs is necessary, but other less obvious items, such as your car stereo and the tiny speaker on your phone, are also crucial.
Hence, whether in a home studio or a professional recording studio, studio monitors are essential for getting a great mix because they can faithfully reproduce the audio track.
However, if you want to achieve a great sound quality without the usage of audio interfaces, prepare the necessary materials, such as the following:
- Correct Cable Size
- 3.5 MM Jack to 2X Xlr Input
- Appropriate Audio Cables
- The Right Cable Size for a Regular Microphone
- Two Cables–one for each speaker
With that, it allows the listener to identify and correct recording flaws without having to use studio monitors’ interface.
Benefits Connecting Studio Monitors WITHOUT Audio Interface
The benefits of using your monitor speakers without an audio interface are listed below.
For professionals in the field of sound, latency generally means the amount of time that your audio signal takes into your computer.
For this, you won’t have to worry about consuming too much time because even without a studio interface, it will QUICKLY convert your audio files into formats for your computer!
2. Ideal For Recording and Mixing
Like a dedicated interface, connecting your speaker with necessary cable materials is ideal for recording and mixing music.
As long as you use a higher quality brand of these materials, you won’t encounter a problem with your monitor speakers.
You will be able to adjust your volume levels and have a satisfactory analog signal.
Drawbacks of Connecting Studio Monitors WITHOUT Audio Interface
As opposed to benefits, there are also drawbacks to using your monitor speakers without the use of audio interfaces, and these are:
1. Limited Connectivity
Without audio interfaces or sound cards, you will have a limited option for more control, such as giving you a LOT of access to recording music for external recorders.
Connecting it with a cable allows you to only have one microphone input.
2. Speaker Won’t Have Better and Clearer Audio Signals and Quality
Contrary to the advantages of using audio interfaces, the use of cables in connecting speakers results in a decrease in consumer line level that provides a signal to decrease the noise ratio.
As it does not have interfaces or sound cards, it decreases the line outputs and will not result in clear and better sound quality.
3. Limited Advanced Features
You may experience limited usage of advanced features without interfaces or sound cards. These features include echo and reverb, ESSENTIAL recording, and mixing music.
Frequently Asked Questions
We know you have many questions in your mind, so we provided the possible questions you might ask along with their answers!
Do Audio Interfaces Improve Sound Quality?
An audio interface can significantly enhance sound quality, particularly in a recording.
Due to the high sample rate and bit depth that audio interfaces enable, you can record your music at a much higher resolution than is typically possible.
Can You Use Studio Monitors As Regular Speakers?
Yes, you can play music through your studio monitor, but the sound will be different. Studio monitors produce a flat sound without any character or color.
Studio monitors are tools musicians, sound engineers, and producers use to ensure their recorded works are THE BEST they can be.
Regular/casual listeners can also benefit from using studio monitors in a home theater, improving their auditory experience.
Why Are Studio Monitors So Expensive?
A lot of research and development goes into creating studio monitors that create the BEST sound quality possible.
Home stereo speakers are frequently made to improve quality, for example, by boosting the bass or bringing out richer tones in the mids and highs.
However, studio monitors are made to keep all frequencies FLAT and not even slightly enhance sound.
Purer, cleaner sound for more precise mixing is what you get.
Studio monitors are a piece of perfect equipment for producing a higher quality recording, mixing, streaming, etc.
They are active equipment which means they have built-in speakers, unlike regular speakers.
You can use monitor speakers with or without an interface.
If you want unlimited connectivity for your headphone output, MIDI keyboard, and MIDI controller and also want better quality for mixing, an audio interface is a MUST!
But, if you don’t have one, do not be discouraged because IT IS POSSIBLE to connect your monitor speakers to your computer for your home studio.
Just be resourceful and look for the necessary materials!