If you are familiar with computer monitors but unfamiliar with pro audio speak, brace up for shock number one. A studio monitor is not a screen; it is a speaker of sorts used in studios of different types from home studios to television studios. Which leads to shock number two; there is a world of difference between the average speaker in your living room and a studio monitor.
Even if the information above is not new to you, the fact is that it is vital to understand why you need a studio monitor and not just any speaker that produces sound.
Mixing music and casually listening to a Billboard Hot 100 track are very different. When mixing music, you should be able to tell the sounds apart.
The primary reason why is so you can catch flaws easily and quickly; then work out a way to correct these flaws by knowing which frequency to decrease or increase. With a typical speaker, you wouldn’t be able to tell sounds apart with precision, mainly because the average customer is not an audio engineer.
The typical loudspeaker does not undergo the same production process as the studio monitor. The intensive development process of the studio monitor is to make it more robust and rigid. Consequently, studio monitors are ideal for handling high volumes and sudden sound bursts, which are common occurrences in the studio.
Studio monitors produce sounds as is, with virtually non-existent interference. They do not feature the audio enhancement technologies found on regular home loudspeakers that aim to make sounds friendlier or more pleasant. Far from it, studio monitors take clarity as a watchword.
Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best Studio Monitor
Typically, an average studio monitor would be miles better than any home loudspeaker for studio purposes. However, an average wouldn’t cut it for your studio. You need the best studio monitor. To make the distinction, you have to consider two primal factors.
The best studio monitors have a wide frequency range. Furthermore, you have to pay mind to the variation across the frequency range.
Noise is a given in pro audio. It’s a lot like pathogens. Pathogens exist: However, to maintain your health you have to protect yourself from them.
Similarly, the best studio monitors employ technological advancements that enable them to eliminate much noise. This amongst other reasons helps ensure that the audio range of the monitor is as clear as vodka.
My Top 6 Studio Monitors of 2018
Edging out the KRK RP5G3-NA Rokit 5 Generation 3 Powered Studio Monitor to be the priciest studio monitor on our list, the Yamaha HS5 Powered Studio Monitor is a beast.
It features a towering 5-inch cone woofer and an improved 1-inch dome tweeter. Besides, it features proprietary high-end transducers and near field monitor technology that provide excellent high-resolution sound.
The HS5 also incorporates a high-performance bi-amp system, extensive room, and high TRIM response controls, and features dual XLR and TRS phone jack inputs that accept balanced and unbalanced signals.
Furthermore, Yamaha engineers optimized the design of the HS5 so that it guarantees low resonance and delivers the best accuracy in the sound reproduction of any device on the list. Conclusively, it features a proprietary cutting-edge noise reduction technology.
Samson Technologies has slowly made a name in the pro audio industry, especially in the wireless microphone sub-industry pioneered by Samson Technologies.
The biggest draws for the Samsung Studio GT are its high-performance 4.25-inch magnetically shielded, inverted cone, copolymer woofers;1-inch silk dome high-frequency drivers; and convenient USB interface for robust connectivity.
Its precision is top-notch thanks to its beefy 2 x 20 watts of internal power that gives it the remarkable ability to produce crystal-clear, precise highs and lows.
Aside its terrific performance, it offers a satisfying array of different connectivity options. Furthermore, it is easy to use, so you can seamlessly establish connections and fine-tune controls, and even provide enhanced control over your creations thanks to its inbuilt Cakewalk Sonar LE music production software.
There are many reasons why the KRK RP5G3-NA Rokit 5 Generation 3 Powered Studio Monitor commands the relatively high price it does compare to other monitors on this list. However, the most important are that its performance is unrivaled.
Featuring a 1 soft dome tweeter and 5 glass-Aramid composite woofers, the Rokit 5 G3 delivers pristine vocal clarity terrific extended bass is available, and extended response of up to 35,000 Hz.
Furthermore, it also features a proprietary bi-amped, class A/B amplifier that offers significant headroom, low distortion, and SPL (Sound Pressure Level) of up to 106 dB. Capping its already impressive feature set is its inbuilt ROKIT waveguide that ensures detailed imaging in the listening position.
You don’t need to be worried about durability either, as the KRK RP5G3-NA Rokit 5 Generation 3 Powered Studio Monitor pair sports a compact, solid build that would last for years.
Although it occupies the same price point as the Samson Studio GT, the M-Audio AV32 spec list is a little behind the Studio GT. Nonetheless, it features similar top-end performance, and it offers flexible connectivity to a variety of devices including your computer, tablet, mp3 device, or other mobile devices. Also, it offers you a convenient front headphone output to connect your headphone should you want to work privately.
Featuring a black sleek design, 4.5-inch Kevlar low-frequency transducer, a 1-inch ultra-low mass silk dome high-frequency transducer, and 50-watt Class AB amplification, the PreSonus Eris E4.5 2-Way Powered Studio Monitors are a mix of elegance and high-powered performance.
Its maximum continuous SPL of 100 dB and maximum frequency response of 20,000 Hz may pale in comparison to the KRK Rokit 5 G3 (maximum SPL of 106 dB and maximum frequency response of 35,000 Hz): However, it is $100 cheaper and still boasts a terrific performance.
Furthermore, it offers extensive professional acoustic-adjustment controls than any studio monitor in its price range. The acoustic tuning controls include Midrange, HF, High Pass, and Acoustic Space settings for accurate mixing contour.
Additionally, it features RF interference output current limiting, over temperature, transient, and subsonic protection. Thanks to its extensive controls, the PreSonus Eris E4.5 can simulate different listening environments and flatten frequency response to enable more accurate mixing.
JBL LSR305 Studio Monitor Pair with XLR for Mixing Boards, TRS to XLR for Interfaces and 1/8 into XLR for Laptops
The major appeal of the JBL LSR305 Studio Monitor Pair is its versatility. It works effectively on a series of platforms and supports both XLR and TRS interfaces. Therefore, it adapts to your needs rather than you having to adapt to its configurations, as you would have to with other studio monitor models.
In addition to its versatility, it produces outstanding sound, low-power frequency response, and an exciting bundle that include:
If you’ve got the cash, then the Yamaha HS5 Powered Studio Monitor is the best studio monitor to get.
However, if you are on a budget, then the Samson Studio GT Active Studio Monitors with USB Audio Interface offers premium performance at a deeply affordable price point. The M-Audio AV32 10-Watt Professional Studio Monitor Speakers with 3-Inch Woofer is an affordable alternative.
There is no way you would go wrong with a KRK RP5G3-NA Rokit 5 Generation 3 Powered Studio Monitor purchase, as it enjoys worldwide patronage and praises from industry professionals.
The PreSonus Eris E4.5 2-Way Powered Studio Monitors offers more extensive controls, if full-range customization capability tops your list of what you want in a studio monitor, while the JBL LSR305 Studio Monitor Pair is big on versatility.
Regardless, you should note that to get the best out of a studio monitor; you have to observe the capabilities of the monitor as regards high and lows, frequencies, and bass. You do this by playing various songs and tunes on it. Your observations would help you fully grasp the controls and eccentricities of the monitor that would prove valuable for efficient and seamless studio use.
- 1 My Top 6 Studio Monitors of 2018
- 2 Yamaha HS5 Powered Studio Monitor
- 3 Samson Studio GT Active Studio Monitors with USB Audio Interface (Pair)
- 4 KRK RP5G3-NA Rokit 5 Generation 3 Powered Studio Monitor (Pair)
- 5 M-Audio AV32 10-Watt Professional Studio Monitor Speakers with 3-Inch Woofer (Pair)
- 6 PreSonus Eris E4.5 2-Way Powered Studio Monitors (Pair)
- 7 JBL LSR305 Studio Monitor Pair with XLR for Mixing Boards, TRS to XLR for Interfaces and 1/8 into XLR for Laptops
- 8 Wrapping Up