When you spend hours working on a track in your home studio, after a lot of careful tweaking, you want your mix to sound exactly the way you recorded it. What better way to get a clear representation of your work than setting up a studio monitoring system?
With increasing demands for better sound production, the need for professional audio tools is inevitable. While a regular speaker impresses an average listener with overhyped midrange, exaggerated bass, and pushed treble, a studio monitor is ideal to be used for professional audio production applications such as recording, television, radio, home or project studios and filmmaking where accurate audio reproduction is extremely crucial.
While there are unlimited varieties of studio monitors available online, these devices don’t come cheap and therefore it is essential to meticulously research and to consider all important factors before you decide to settle for one. Here are some things to keep in mind while choosing a studio monitor for yourself:
Things to Consider When Buying a Studio Monitor
When it comes to studio monitors, it is necessary to confirm if they can handle the full frequency range of your monitors or not. 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.
You 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 a well-balanced sound.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise to you that the higher the power of your studio monitor, the better it will perform. Although this factor doesn’t affect the volume of your device in any way, it does help in delivering a greater dynamic range in the music you are mixing. Basically, the higher the wattage of your monitor, the greater the dynamic range will be.
This allows you to mix your songs in a better manner as you get more room to do so. However, it is important to keep in mind that when it comes to powerful monitors, louder doesn’t always mean better. If you drive your speakers to full capacity, you might receive elements of clipping and distortion as well as the loss of delicate elements from the track. You want to prevent this from happening else your final mix will sound top-heavy or bass-heavy.
Active vs. Passive Studio Monitors
When we compare active and passive studio monitors, there isn’t one that is entirely superior to the other in any manner but it is important to know and understand the differences between the two to make an informed decision.
Passive monitoring systems are modular and require the amplifier and the speakers to be compatible with each other. The recording industry has been using passive studio monitors since the very start but with the advancement in technology, active systems are gaining popularity at a rapid pace because of their convenience and performance factor. Active systems come with the necessary specification built in them. You don’t need to deal with any extra rack gear as the speakers are specially designed to match the internal amplifier and thus enabling your monitor to provide the best sonic results.
Studio monitors that come with room correction controls help you tune your system according to the acoustics of your room. Automated digital processors can help you achieve the best sound from a particular environment. However, bad acoustics are simply bad acoustics. Adjustment controls can only help your monitoring system sound great if your studio space has good acoustics. Those controls aren’t magic tools and there is nothing much you can do about the sound quality in a space with bad acoustics unless you acoustically treat it.
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. After conducting extensive researches and making the needful comparisons, we’ve come up with a list to assist you with the decision. Here is a list of our picks for the best studio monitors under $1000:
Yamaha HS8 Powered Studio Monitor
Yamaha HS8 Powered Studio Monitor comes with 2-way bass reflex bi-amplification, which means that separate power amplifiers are used to drive low-mid and high-frequency speaker units. This feature allows the monitoring system to eliminate any phase anomalies and allows both the speakers to perform at optimum levels. In result, you get the transparency you desire for your mix. Moreover, the drivers used in this series of monitor deliver extraordinary audio performance that is enhanced by a sophisticated mounting system.
Key Features of Yamaha HS8 Powered Studio Monitor
- 8-inch cone woofer
- 1-inch dome tweeter
- Large magnets in an advanced magnetic circuit design
- 2-way bass-reflex bi-amplification
Specification of Yamaha HS8 Powered Studio Monitor
- Brand Name: Yamaha
- Item Weight: 46 pounds
- Shipping Weight: 60.4 pounds
- Product Dimensions: 29 x 29 x 29 inches
- Item Model Number: HS8-COMBO-DLX
- Frequency Response: 38Hz – 30kHz
Pros of Yamaha HS8 Powered Studio Monitor
- Separate power amplifiers are used to drive the low-mid and high-frequency speaker units
- Optimum level performance
- Provides ultra transparency in your mix
- Sophisticated mounting system
- Powerful, tightly controlled flux field
- Smooth response and dynamics over a wider range of frequencies
Cons of Yamaha HS8 Powered Studio Monitor
- Poor quality stands
Adam Audio A7X Powered Studio Monitor
Adam Audio A7X Powered Studio Monitor comes with all amplifiers, drivers, and cabinets revised from its predecessors. The X-ART (Extended Accelerating Ribbon Technology) tweeter is the main distinguishing factor that makes this model the benchmark in near-field monitoring. Not only has it drastically improved the frequency response of these monitors but also has increased efficiency and maximum sound pressure levels. The XLR (balanced) and RCA (unbalanced) ensures greater and enhanced compatibility.
Key Features of Adam Audio A7X Powered Studio Monitor
- Near-field system
- Carbon fiber driver
- X-ART (Extended Accelerating Ribbon Technology) tweeter
- XLR (balanced) and RCA (unbalanced)
Specification of Adam Audio A7X Powered Studio Monitor
- Brand Name: Adam Audio
- Item Weight: 20.3 pounds
- Shipping Weight: 25.3 pounds
- Product Dimensions: 7.9 X 11 X 13.3 inches
- Item Model Number: A7X
- Frequency Response: 42Hz -50kHz
Pros of Adam Audio A7X Powered Studio Monitor
- The frequency response extends all the way up to 50 kHz
- Higher efficiency and maximum sound pressure levels
- Almost distortion-free musical reproduction
- Several adjusting controls
Cons of Adam Audio A7X Powered Studio Monitor
- Loose cables
Focal 2-Way Professional Monitoring Speaker
Focal 2-Way Professional Monitoring Speaker comes as a pair. It has slow directivity, ensuring equal distribution of sound throughout your studio space. The production of neutral sound without any distortion for mixing and critical monitoring completes the package.
Key Features of Focal 2-Way Professional Monitoring Speaker
- Professional active 2-way monitors
- 6.5” (16.5cm) woofer/ midrange speaker with a polyglass cone loaded in a large laminar port
- Aluminum inverted dome tweeter
- XLR and RCA connectors
Specification of Focal 2-Way Professional Monitoring Speaker
- Brand Name: Focal
- Item Weight: 50.6 pounds
- Shipping Weight: 55.1 pounds
- Product Dimensions: 9.9 X 12.2 X 13.7 inches
- Item Model Number: 4334437619s
- Frequency Response: 40Hz – 22kHz
Pros of Focal 2-Way Professional Monitoring Speaker
- Low directivity, maintains the same sound throughout the room
- Neutral sound without any distortion for critical monitoring and mixing
- Excellent for both acoustic and electronic music
- Connects up to 2 audio sources