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While setting up a home studio can be exciting and fun, it calls for advanced tech and compact audio equipment. With a list of the best 3 inch studio monitors to choose from, you might be headed in the right direction.
Undoubtedly, studio monitors will be one of the most essential features of your set-up. With rapid advancements in technology, music can now be easily mixed and recorded in the comfort of your own homes and studio spaces. With this feasibility, the demand of super-quality music production keeps increasing. This is one of the reasons why studio monitors have been gaining more popularity in the music industry than ever before. While the main purpose of a studio monitor is to deliver accurate, neutral and transparent sound, there are many other important factors you need to consider before you settle for one.
Things to Consider When Buying Studio Monitors
Size and Sound
While selecting a studio monitor you need to make sure that its size is appropriate according to the size of your studio space. Smaller monitors are more suitable for mixing sound in confined rooms and are likely to get you much better and accurate results. Remember providing good sound that is pleasant to the listener’s ears is not the main purpose of a studio monitor. It is to provide as much precision and accuracy as possible.
The ideal monitoring system should be capable of portraying an accurate balance across the complete range of frequency and revealing the smallest of details in your mix, both good and bad. While the size and sound of a studio monitor plays an important role in the sound you’ll hear, so do the acoustics in your room. Therefore to get the best results, it is recommended to carry out some basic absorbent acoustic treatment in your studio space.
Wattage of the Speaker
With great power comes great performance. This won’t come as a surprise to you that the higher the wattage of a speaker, the better it performs. Although the power factor doesn’t make any impact on the volume of the sound produced by the monitoring system, but it does help in delivering a greater dynamic range in the sound being mixed. This high dynamic range allows you to have extra room to mix your audios and that too with increased efficiency.
However, when we talk about powerful monitoring systems, one important thing to consider is that louder doesn’t always mean better. If you drive your speakers to full capacity, you are likely to experience clipped and distorted elements along with loss of delicate segments from the track. In result, your final track can sound bass-heavy or top-heavy.
Active vs. Passive Monitoring Systems
Passive studio monitors were popular in the recording industry for a long period of time but these days the demand for active monitoring systems is increasing. While none of these monitors is entirely superior to the other, it is important to understand the difference between two to make an informed decision.
Passive studio monitors are modular and therefore require the amplifier, crossover, and the speakers to be compatible with each other. However, when it comes to active system, all these specifications are built-in which allows you to have the benefit of not dealing with any additional rack gear. The speakers are specially matched to the internal amplifier ensuring the best sonic outcome from your studio monitors. In terms of convenience and performance, active studio monitoring systems trumps passive monitors.
Studio monitors that come with an additional feature of room controls, help you tune your monitoring system in accordance with the acoustics of your room. Automated digital processors come in handy when you are looking to achieve the best sound quality from a specific environment.
While room correction can make the audio released from your studio monitor sound great in a studio space with good acoustics, a room with bad acoustics has echo and it will simply always have bad acoustics no matter what. Room controls are not miracle-working tools and there is nothing much you can do about the quality of the sound unless you acoustically treat your studio space.
Studio monitors should be able to handle their full frequency range. Most monitoring system’s specs list the highest frequency in kilohertz (kHz) and the lowest frequency in hertz (Hz). For most mixes, a frequency response of 20 Hz – 20 kHz is adequate as that is also the accepted standard range of human audible frequencies.
Along with the frequency, should also focus on the amount of variation, indicated in decibels that your frequency range may be subject to. For instance if a studio monitor’s frequency range specification is listed as 20 Hz – 20 kHz ± 3db, this indicates that some frequencies may be softer or louder by as much as 3 decibels at different points across the full frequency range. For most devices, a rating of ±3 decibels or less provides well-balanced sound.
Now that you know all about buying a studio monitor that can fulfill your needs, it’s time to look for the best one that fits your budget. Here is a list of our picks for the best 3 inch studio monitors:
Mackie Studio Monitor
Mackie CR3 3” Studio Monitor is great for delivering studio-quality performance and the particular design is ideal for entertainment and multimedia creation. It features convenient front panel controls and is ultra-compact. But don’t let its small size fool you; the monitoring system is built using high-performance and premium components ensuring accurate and transparent sound production.
Key Features of Mackie Studio Monitor
- Professional-grade components
- Studio-quality design
- 1/8 inches to stereo RCA cable
- Ultra-wide frequency range
- Convenient speaker placement switch
- Front panel volume knob with power ring
Specifications of Mackie Studio Monitor
- Brand Name: Mackie
- Item Weight: 9.4 pounds
- Product Dimensions: 6.2 X 5.5 X 8.2 inches
- Color: Black with green trim
- Item Model Number: CR3
Pros of Mackie Studio Monitor
- Ideal for entertainment and multimedia creation
- Optimized sonic performance
- Can be connected to computer output
- Perfect for full-range multimedia (80 Hz – 20 kHz)
Cons of Mackie Studio Monitor
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M-Audio AV32 Studio Monitor
Combining 1-inch ferrofluid-cooled silk cone tweeters with 3-inch polypropylene-coated woofers, M-Audio AV32 studio monitors produce defined, punchy bass and pristine, clear highs for an extraordinary listening experience. A robust build combined with pro-grade components ensure excellent performance, upmost longevity and uniform sound coverage.
Key Features of M-Audio AV32 Studio Monitor
- 3-inch polypropylene coated woofers
- 1-inch ferrofluid-cooled silk cone tweeters
- 10 watt per channel amplifier
- Optimage IV tweeter wave guides
- Conveniently located RCA inputs
- Front panel 1/8 inch stereo auxiliary input
- Front panel 1/8 inch headphone output
- Comes with a premium speaker wire and acoustic traction pads
Specifications of M-Audio AV32 Studio Monitor
- Brand Name: M-Audio
- Item Weight: 5.48 pounds
- Product Dimensions: 5.9 X 5.2 X 7.5 inches
- Color: Black
- Item Model Number: 103294
Pros of M-Audio AV32 Studio Monitor
- Tight, accurate bass
- Clear highs
- Superior imaging and sound reproduction
- Seamless connection to mixers, gaming systems, and more
Cons of M-Audio AV32 Studio Monitor
- Low-level static
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Samson Studio Monitor
Samson Technology Studio Monitors are full-range compact speakers that can be used for all your multimedia and desktop applications. Featuring an internal amplifier, high-quality components and wood construction, the monitors deliver accurate and precise sound while occupying minimal desktop space.
Key Features of Samson Studio Monitor
- 3-inch polypropylene woofers
- 3/4-inch silk dome tweeters
- Bass boost switch
- Stereo RCA inputs
- Stereo 1/8” sub and headphone outputs
Specifications of Samson Studio Monitor
- Brand Name: Samson Technologies
- Item Weight: 6.5 pounds
- Product Dimensions: 5 X 7.5 X 8 inches
- Color: Grey
- Item Model Number: SAM30
Pros of Samson Studio Monitor
- Compact multimedia speaker system (sold as stereo pair)
- Delivers robust sound
- Wide sound stage
- Allows connections to audio interfaces, mobile audio devices, mixers, and computers
- Allows you to integrate any powered subwoofer
Cons of Samson Studio Monitor
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