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There was a time when studio monitors where only accessible to audiophiles and sound engineers, or at least they were the only ones who knew how to take advantage of this wonderful piece of audio equipment. However, with the dawn of the modern age, consumers are starting to become more enlightened about the joys of having great audio which would often lead them to ask experts: “Can you use studio monitors for regular speakers?”
Sound logic would dictate that this is possible mostly because they look the same and perform the same functions however different their features may be. This is not entirely an accurate assumption, but it does come close. We still need to dig deeper and differentiate what a studio monitor and how different is it from a regular speaker.
Regular Speaker: The Parts
The term regular speaker can mean point to a lot of related audio equipment. It can refer to a surround speaker system or a stereo speaker system; it can be referring to a set of janky computer speakers, too. For discussion purposes, let’s go over the parts of a surround sound speaker set as they come close to the output that a studio monitor can give.
- Center Channel
Center channel speakers are commonly placed in front of the screen, and they provide the output for speech and background music.
- Front and Rear Speakers
The front and rear speakers are commonly angled towards the audience to provide better direction of the audio that they produce.
The subwoofer generates the bass undertones and can almost be placed anywhere.
- Audio Receiver
The audio receiver brings everything together and is the main hub where all input and output plugs are located. This device also controls the entire surround sound system.
Regular Speaker: Common Uses
A surround sound speaker system is often used in the following setup:
- Conference and Meeting Rooms
Mostly for conference rooms that can hold less than 50 people at a time, surround sound speakers provide better audio than the regular loudspeaker setup with just the microphone and the amplifier.
- Home Theater Systems
This is the ideal environment for surround sound systems as the different audio channels are aimed to deliver speech and background sounds separately.
- Gaming Rigs
Could be considered overkill but gaming and audio enthusiasts both agree that a surround sound system has brought their gaming experience to a whole new level.
Studio Monitor: Standard Features
Studio monitors are a one-stop deal for a speaker system as you would often have the different parts of surround sound system already in one—or two—enclosure. Here are some of the features that you might want to look at.
- Active vs. Passive
Older studio monitors have a passive system wherein the speakers need to be matched with an amplifier and crossover. Active monitors remove that need and now come with everything built into a pair of cabinets or enclosures.
Studio monitors come with different power levels that let you customize the rig to whatever power needs you may have.
- Enclosure Type
Cabinets for studio monitors can be closed like the traditional ones or be ported. Ported studio monitors are often placed close to the wall though and would not always provide the best sounds.
- Other Features
Other features of studio monitors include a subwoofer, EQ, and room correction options.
Studio Monitor: Common Uses
Studio monitors come in a variety of sizes that ensures that the power and sound they can deliver will match the acoustic needs that they will be addressing. Here are some of its more common uses.
- Recording Studio
First of all, a studio monitor’s right place is in a recording studio where sound engineers can take full advantage of their high precision sound. Most professional recording studio setups would see several studio monitors of varying sizes placed scientifically around the room to provide the best acoustics as possible.
- Home Studio
Most artists nowadays cannot afford to rent, much less own, a recording studio, which is why some independent artists have resorted to building home studios while applying basic acoustic principles. Here you would see one or two studio monitors placed in the best spots possible.
- Conference and Meeting Rooms
Ideal for a group fewer than 50, studio monitors can replace loudspeakers which means that the microphone can directly be plugged into the studio monitor.
- Home Theater Systems
Studio monitors can either replace surround speaker systems or add more depth to the overall audio experience.
- Gaming Rigs
Studio monitors are a better option for gaming rigs because of their varying size and the number of speaker cabinets needed to optimize the sound quality of a gaming rig fully.
Summary of Differences
Regular speakers are still in the passive system and would most likely require another piece of audio equipment. Newer models of studio monitors run on the active system which means everything is built-in.
Studio monitors have better features than regular speakers, and they can adapt better to varying reference sources. Studio monitors also have advanced connectivity options while regular speakers only have wired options as of the moment.
It is apparent that studio monitors can be used in more setups than regular speakers and can even be better in terms of functioning in place of regular speakers.
Given the active versus the passive logic, this means that the studio monitor system would have less clutter since it requires a maximum of just two cabinets and a remote, while surround sound speakers can go from six to nine pieces that need to be wired together.
Studio monitors are technically a plug-and-play deal while surround sound speaker sets are an everything-wired option that you need to pay attention to.
Can You Use Studio Monitors for Regular Speakers?
Studio monitors are often prized by audiophiles and sound engineers for the exceptional sound quality that they produce. They are often easy to use and easier to understand, which makes them easy to include in any home entertainment setup.
So, can you use studio monitors for regular speakers? Of course, you can! There is very little difference, if not for the output and components, between the two and either can be used at home. However, do take into consideration the different features and benefits that you would get from a studio monitor and how awesome your audio experience would be when you have it installed as part of your entertainment system.
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