Studio monitors are possibly viewed as the single most important tool for achieving that great, professional sound we´re all aiming at when we want to build our own home recording studio and take it to the next level. But how do you know where to start to look? And how much do you really need to spend to get a pair of good studio speakers? Don´t worry, we got you covered so just stay with us and continue reading.
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Why studio monitors?
You should use studio monitors in your home studio as opposed to just ‘regular’ speakers. This is because your Average Joe might not notice a difference, but to a professional it means the whole world of a difference switching to studio monitors. When you go into the studio to record it´s extremely important that you hear the sound as clear as you possibly can with no interruptions – you don´t want people listening to your recording and be able to pick up disturbances in their high-fi audio systems.
Which studio monitor should I go for?
Studio speakers come in two forms; powered/active and unpowered/passive. To be able to make an informed decision it´s important to know the difference between these two. Powered speakers mean that they have an onboard amplifier, which means that you can perform by plugging the monitors in to an audio source and power outlet.
Unpowered monitors on the other hand needs an external amplifier to function, as opposed to the powered ones. The benefit of using an unpowered speaker is that you can use the same amp head onstage as you do in the studio. Unpowered, or passive, speakers also helps to take away interference In the sound. This is because there´s no electricity power components in the cabinet of the monitor.
When you make your decision, don´t forget to think of the actual size of your home studio too so you get a size that´s not too big. In a smaller studio a compact pair of monitors could be just the right fit, while in a bigger studio it´s only natural to go for bigger ones.
Okay, so now you know what to think about when you want to buy new studio monitors.
Lets move on to the next part..
..Which one to go for!
Here are a list of the best studio monitors for home recording!
I decided to make this list based on a few criteria: First, I decided to use one pick per brand to give more variety in my selections to you guys. Second and last, I decided to have a $2500 price cap since this is a list aimed at home studios, and I want to keep it fairly affordable while still giving options in different budgets and price classes.
Okay, here is my list of the best studio monitors for home recording:
When you start looking at professional studio monitors online, you will quickly notice that you will see monitors with distinct yellow dots. This is the KRK Roskit 5 G3 you are seeing! For the entry-level price group these are the most popular and highly recommended set of monitors out there. The new third generation model of this monitor offers an improved high-frequency clarity and a versatily array of options for fine tuning the frequency response of the monitors. This is an excellent choice in its price range and a good option for those of you on a budget.
2. Yamaha HS8
The Yamaha HS8 has a flat frequency response and a deep and impressively tight bottom end, which gives a deeper bass response without having to sacrifice the mid-range clarity. This model is based on the original Yamaha NS-10s from the 1970’s, but has some welcome updated technology. Some of the features include a unique mounting system which takes away vibrations and extra large magnets for a smoother response over a wide frequency range. These are usually regarded as high value for your money, since they by many are regarded as professional, great quality!
The Neumann KH 120 is a compact studio monitor aimed for use as a rear loudspeaker in bigger multi-channel systems. The highly regarded Neumann company are mostly known for its microphones, but in 2010 they started making studio monitors. These monitors features, among others, MMD (Mathematically Modeled Dispersion) waveguide, a composite sandwich cone design and titanium fabric dome drivers. These monitors accurately represents the music by being precise reference monitors, so they will not brighten or flatten the material you record. Neumann KH 120 are precision manufactured to ensure a perfectly matched pair which will deliver excellent imaging and soundstaging, so you will definitely not be disappointed if this is what you are looking for in your studio monitor speakers.
The PreSonus Eris E5 are seriously good value for the money, but there is no going around that there´s still a lot that has to be sacrificed in the quality when you drop this low in price. If you can, it´s always good to go up to a minimum of $250, but with that being said lets have a look at these monitors. The difference between these budget studio monitors and others in the same group, is that these won’t make everything sound amazing and it will not add deep bass and bright highs. They will instead do exactly what a reference monitor should; give a revealing an clear impression of your recording with a flat frequency response. I highly recommend these affordable studio monitors out of the budget group.
The D5 coaxial studio monitors are geared towards the recording professional who seek a small and affordable, accurate nearfield studio monitor solution. They have a coaxically designed transducer with a 5.25” woofer and a 1” tweeter.
The silk tweeter gives it a different character from other dual-centric speakers, and it leads to the smooth nature of its high-frequency reproduction. The D5 features a wooden cabinet, which includes a wood front baffle for optimum performance. This is extremely high value for its money, and many people are impressed at how accurately and clear their recordings sound! Many people say it feels like they ‘are hearing music for the first time’ since they´ve never heard it so crisp.
6. Adam A7X
The X-ART ribbon tweeter used in the Adam A7X monitors offer incredibly impressive specs and is built into a well-designed speaker. The ribbon tweeter’s frequency response goes so high that the speaker stays flat all the way to 50 kHz, which if you didn’t know is way beyond what the human ear can hear. The Adam A7X is extraordinarily clean and flat, which makes it very detailed in the parts of the frequency range you DO hear. Many people love their stereo imaging and revealing honestly, so these ones might just be the ones you’re looking for.
7. Genelec M040
The M040 is geared towards home studios and smaller project studios and it has a bright and forward sound. The difference between the Genelec M040 and other more expensive Genelic studio monitors is that this model sacrifices a little bit of the overall colume and a little bit of the bottom-end response. One thing that may be an added bonus for the home studio owner; the port is down-ward facin which means that you can easier place it against walls. It has a number of eco-friendly features and overall offers a balanced series of compromises which makes it more affordable while still keeping a high quality and being a good choice.