For many years, the sound engineers have trusted the recording studio control room and completely depending upon the pair of passive monitors resting above the console. The debate about which are the best ones for studio recording – active or passive monitors? remained a hot topic. Passive monitors are believed to provide excellent audio performance. They have kept the power amp electronics away so they don’t interfere with the driver magnets and their heat and mass don’t alter the sonic characteristics of the speakers.
The first thing thought in mixing school is that the mixes turn out better if you can test them on multiple sizes and styles of monitors. As you construct your mix you’re constantly re-designing the balances, and each change results in how other frequencies come through the monitors. When the alteration is tested on big monitors, then on medium near fields, then on tiny single driver units, then a single mono speaker, even running out to your car to hear how it works there, all of these listenings in live situation helps in getting a better picture of how the mix would sound will sound in many different audio environments. This is process is called translation, and it’s one of the most challenging and important aspects of mixing music.
That’s why here we have provided you with a wide variety of passive monitors to choose from along with a set of guidelines to aid your selection for a better quality output for your suitable choice. There are a numerous amount of studio monitors available on the market today and since we have so many options to choose from, it takes a while to do your research and decide which one is best suited for our needs.
Studio Monitors Outlook
Earlier the concept of a home recording wasn’t really a trending topic, but people soon realized the potential and growth of home studios. Nowadays there are several things you need in your home studio to get quality recordings. One of the most important things is a single or a pair of studio monitors which are more essential than you think. So what makes it so important to have a quality studio monitor? The answer is very simple. In order to produce great music or record high-quality sounds or vocals, you need a studio monitor. They are important to identify the flaws in recording and mixing to produce a high-quality output, the regular speakers just won’t get the cut. There are some important things to keep in mind when shopping for a studio monitor. We’ve broken the basics for you below so you know what to look for when you are grabbing a pair of these for the dream studio which you always you dreamt of.
Right investment for right job
The most important aspect to consider before going for any product is your budget and the return of investment but in order to determine the budget for your studio monitors, you must be aware of the range of prices they’re offered at for your choice. You can get a studio monitor for as low as under $300 up to thousands of dollars. High-end models will have more features and better specs but will set you back more. Figure out the nature of your recordings and mixes you would work with and decide what is important for you to have in a studio monitor before you buy them.
Type of Monitors
There are only two types of studio monitors available in the market these days, which are passive and active. Passive monitors aren’t equipped with an amplifier, so in addition, you’d need to purchase an amplifier separately in order to power them up. Active studio monitors are equipped with a built-in amp so you can use them straight out of the box directly without making any further purchases or procedures. In terms of which is better, it’s completely up to the matter of personal preference.
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The Size of the Speaker
Another important factor is the size of the speaker or the size of the woofers. Simply saying, the bigger the woofer, the better it will produce bass sounds and vice versa. A bigger woofer also means your studio monitor will be an overall larger size, so if you have any space issue, then you’ll want to keep this in the back of your mind. Here’s an example. If we look at two differently sized woofers, an 8” and 5”, the bass that you would get out of the 8″ subwoofer will be far better than what you would get from the 5″ one.
Always remember that technically speaking, studio monitors aren’t trying to sound “good.” They’re trying to sound as accurate and as precise as possible. The ideal set of studio monitors should reveal every detail in your mix, both good and bad while portraying an accurate balance across the entire frequency range used in the mix.
Keep in mind that it’s almost impossible to predict how a set of studio monitors will sound in your room. Even if you invest time in auditioning a set at a store or a friend’s studio, the acoustics of your room will play a huge role in what you’ll hear when you’re mixing. You can make note of certain characteristics, but don’t expect them to sound exactly the same.
Since we have discussed requirement and consideration of studio monitors, Here is a list of the best studio monitors around, that is simply perfect.
Quick reference list:
To begin with, let’s start from the top down, most of the best studio monitors are under $1000 as mentioned in this article.
1. Yamaha HS8 Studio Monitor
The Yamaha HS8 Studio Monitor is one of the best studio monitors made by one of the best companies in the music gear business i.e. Yamaha. Accuracy is the most important thing you want from a studio monitor and this beast by Yamaha is all about accuracy.
- Has an 8” cone woofer and a 1” dome tweeter to provide you with the best quality sound.
- Has a frequency response of 38Hz to 30 kHz, so you get the ideal flat frequency response.
- Equipped with a built-in amp and a bi-amp so you get the best sound resolution every time.
Its Key feature
Sound, Frequency response, the ability to reduce the unwanted noise, the Yamaha HS8 Studio Monitor has everything you could ever want in a studio monitor.
2. Adam Audio A7X Powered Studio Monitor
This studio monitor is the advanced version of a well-known A7 monitor. It has all the qualities and the attributes of the A7 with vastly improved sound quality. This is an award-winning studio monitor by Adam Audio with advanced features. It has extended frequency response, quality highs, and lows, and an improved speaker and built-in amp design. The Adam Audio A7X Powered Studio Monitor gives you excellent sound and perfect control over your studio monitor.
- X-ART tweeter for improved extended frequency response
- The X-ART technology (Extended Accelerating Ribbon Technology, makes it easy to reproduce distortion-free sound
- It is also equipped with several controls both at the front and the rear
Its Key feature
People may think that the Adam Audio A7X Powered Studio Monitor is an expensive studio monitor but when you look at the price to performance ratio, it is well worth the extra money.
3. JBL LSR305 Professional Studio Monitor
This studio monitor is the continuation of the exceptional JBL 3 Series. It offers unmatched studio performance at a very reasonable price point. These classic studio monitors use state of the art technology called Image Control Waveguide, enabling you to hear each and every detail in your recordings. The JBL LSR305 Professional Studio Monitor is also equipped with the Image Control Waveguide and has high-performance transducers for all-around amazing sound.
- Equipped with Class D amplifiers.
- Increased HF detail.
Its Key feature
With an amazing ability to reproduce sound that is both clean and detailed, the JBL LSR305 Professional Studio Monitor has you covered for all your pro studio needs.
4. KRK RP5G3W-NA Rokit 5 Generation 3 Powered Studio Monitor
The KRK RP5G3W-NA Rokit 5 Generation 3 Powered Studio Monitor is an ideal choice, whether you’re an audiophile or a professional. It’s suitable for all genres and its accuracy and clarity of sound means you can trust this studio monitor to portray your music exactly as it sounds.
- It comes in a complete bundle with two of these amazing speakers
- Low distortion and large headroom thanks to the bi-amped, class A/B amplifier
- Also comes with a high-frequency adjustment so that you can mold it according to your personal taste and requirements
Its Key feature
The price to performance ratio that you get with these studio monitors is absolutely 100 percent.
5. Focal Solo6 Be 6.5″ Powered Studio Monitor
The Focal Twin6 Be also known as Focal Twin6 Be 6.5″ 3-way Powered Studio Monitor is one of the very best studio monitors of all time. Whether you are an audiophile or a professional this studio monitor has got all the solutions for you as far as mixing, recording or mastering is concerned. It’s one of the most popular studio monitors in both Europe and the US.
- W composite sandwich cone gives you unparalleled frequency response
- Has an inverted-dome tweeter to provide you with the utmost of precision and high efficiency
- It also comes equipped with a potentiometer so that you can easily adjust the tweeter and woofer levels according to your liking
Its Key feature
There is a reason why the Focal Twin6 Be 6.5″ 3-way Powered Studio Monitor is a best seller in both Europe and the United States. This studio monitor is pure perfection.
6. Neumann KH 120 A – Active Studio Monitor
The Neumann KH 120 A – Active Studio Monitor is the first line of studio speakers by Neumann. As the company is renowned for the quality of its microphones it’s no surprise that the sonic character and design of this studio monitor is on point as well.
- Has a 1” and is also bi-amplified
- A flat frequency response of 52Hz to 21kHz
- Can be easily used in two applications, near-field, and rear, which gives it loads of versatility
- Its Key feature – An excellent studio monitor that will meet all of your recordings, mixing, and mastering needs
The KRK RP5G3-NA Rokit 5 Generation 3 Powered Studio Monitor – Pair is another amazing product by KRK and has all the qualities to satisfy all your in-studio needs. The accuracy that you get from these studio monitors is a rarity among competitors at the same price point.
- Extremely low distortion and large headroom thanks to the A/B class bi-amp.
- Great sound clarity due to the soft dome tweeter and also gives an extended response of 35 kHz.
- Its Key feature – The KRK RP5G3-NA Rokit 5 Generation 3 Powered Studio Monitor – Pair is one of the best options for you as far as studio monitors go.
8. Mackie HR824mkii 8-inch2-Way Studio Monitor
Mackie is well-known for manufacturing some seriously impressive audio equipment and with these studio monitors it has made another winner. Clear sound and high-quality make this studio monitors a fantastic buy.
- Class A/B amplifiers so that you can hear the highs and the lows simultaneously.
- The 8.75″ woofer that you get with this studio monitor enables you to get a sound that is high-precision and low-distortion at the same time.
Its Key feature
There might be some other studio monitors out there that are better than the Mackie HR824mkii 8-inch2-Way Studio Monitor, but at this price point, this product is truly outstanding.
9. Dynaudio Acoustics BM6 mkIII Studio Monitor
This studio monitor is the upgraded version of the mkII. With its advanced technology and upgraded drivers, you get the ultimate performance regardless of the music style that you prefer.
The Dynaudio Acoustics BM6 mkIII Studio Monitor is one of the best studio monitors that you will find out there. It is specially designed to give you the precision that you’ve always wanted while recording or mixing.
- Comes equipped with a 7” woofer aka an extended excursion woofer to give you all the precision with low distortion.
- The soft dome tweeter is 1.1” and enhances the sound quality.
Its Key feature
In a word, the Dynaudio Acoustics BM6 MKIII Studio Monitor is flawless, this perfect for both pros and folks who simply love music.
10. Genelec M040 Active 2-Way Monitor
The Genelec M040 Active 2-Way Monitor is an exceptional product by Genelec which is specific to studio recording and mixing applications. The company that is renowned for making speakers of all kinds but has created a phenomenal product with this studio monitor.
- It is a near-field studio monitor that is good for rear uses as well.
- Has an extended frequency response.
- Phenomenal value for money.
Its Key feature
It’s surprising to see such quality at such a low price. This is why it is a popular choice for people from various industries. From radio jockeys to recording artists, everyone loves this studio monitor.
Your studio monitor speakers must provide the most accurate, uncolored representation of your music as possible. Whether you’re recording, editing, mixing, or mastering audio, a sonically transparent monitoring system ensures your mix will translate well to headphones, car audio systems, TVs, and other listening systems. And because there is also more to consider than accuracy when selecting studio monitors following the above guide like is equally important as choosing the right monitor. If you’re serious about your choice of studio monitors, you should also be serious about controlling the acoustics in your room. If you’re just starting out, we highly recommend setting aside some of your budget for some basic absorbent acoustic treatment – that way you’ll hear more of your speakers and less of your room’s reflections.
Hoping that the article was helpful. Keep listening to good music and enjoy a wonderful life!