Studio monitors are the go-to choice for producers, engineers, and sound designers looking for truly accurate sound reproduction.
When you’re mixing and monitoring sound, the studio speakers you’re using must produce a flat frequency response. In other words, they shouldn’t add bottom, mid or top-end like hi-fi or PA speakers may do. They’re commonly referred to as either studio speakers or monitors.
You want an honest reproduction of your sound so you can hear all the little details and subtle nuances within your audio, allowing you to mix accurately. Get your mix right on studio speakers and you can be confident that it will sound good when played through systems that add more colour. When it comes to professional audio recording, a pair of studio monitors is essential alongside an audio interface and your favoured digital audio workstation (DAW).
We stock active monitors, subwoofers and studio power amplifiers from all the best-selling brands, including KRK, Adam Audio, Genelec, Focal, Yamaha, Pioneer DJ, M-Audio, Avantone and plenty more!
If you need advice on choosing the perfect studio monitors for your professional, project or bedroom studio, contact us or head down to our Brighton store where our Pro Audio team is happy to demo any studio monitor you’re interested in.
Are active or passive studio monitors better?
When it comes to active and passive monitors, one isn’t strictly better than the other - it all comes down to preference. However, active monitors are a lot more common in home recording studios nowadays as they’re a lot simpler to use.
Passive studio monitors require an external amplifier to work. In addition, you also have to make sure that you match up the impedance and power ratings - which can be tricky. An unpowered studio monitor system offers more customisation, the individual elements can be upgraded separately and it can be easier to maintain. If something becomes faulty you won’t have to replace the whole system, you can simply swap out the part that isn’t working.
Active studio monitors are an all-in-one solution, everything you need is built into the cabinet. With a set of powered monitors, you don’t need to worry about cluttering up your home studio with extra hardware or carefully matching impedances. Plus, the onboard amplifier is usually tuned to the speaker, which ensures optimal audio performance. Many modern active monitors are equipped with features that help you tailor them to your room’s acoustics, such as onboard EQ and DSP.
We highly recommend going active if you’re looking for an entry-level or beginner studio monitor. They’re quick to set up and get a great sound out of. All you need to do is power them on, plug in a line-level sound source and you’re ready to go.
What are the most popular studio monitor types?
The most common studio monitor speakers feature a 2-way design, with a tweeter that handles the treble frequencies and a woofer that takes care of the mid-range and bass frequencies. 3-way speaker monitors have a dedicated driver for the mid-range frequencies, giving you greater detail in that frequency band.
Some studio monitors have a bi-amplified or tri-amplified design. This means that there are multiple internal amplifiers inside the audio monitors, one for each driver. The result is a clearer, more defined sound.
What’s the best speaker size?
Today, we’re incredibly fortunate to have so many options at a wide range of price points available to us. From small reference monitors like the Avantone MixCube to the dual-woofer Adam Audio A44H, it can be hard to decide what’s best for your setup. We advise figuring out the size of your control room, your consistent monitoring level, the style of music you’ll be working on and your budget. Once you know that, narrowing down your options will be a breeze!
If you’re working in a large space where you can push your monitors hard then you’ll benefit from a speaker with 8" or 10" woofers. Also, the improved low-frequency response that a larger driver provides is useful when mixing bass-centric genres such as electronic music.
For a small-to-medium setup such as a bedroom studio that isn’t acoustically treated, you’ll achieve far better results with a smaller monitor that has a 5" or 7" woofer.
Your room’s acoustics can have a dramatic impact on the sound of your monitors. It’s well worth getting ahold of some basic acoustic treatment like an absorption panel or a pair of monitor stands. Our essential tips for your home studio article is worth a read if you want to learn how to optimise your space.
Do I need a subwoofer to go with my monitors?
Whether your setup needs a subwoofer is decided by the type of music you’re mixing and where people will listen to it. For TV, film or pumping dance music that’s going to be played through a hefty club system, a subwoofer will allow you to hear what’s going on in those deep frequencies.
As you’d expect, a subwoofer will extend the low-frequency range. This makes acoustic treatment, such as a bass trap or acoustic panel, crucial if you want the ideal perception of your track’s bass. It’s also important to avoid working in a small room if you plan on using a subwoofer. Without getting too into the science behind it, it’s because bass frequencies can’t develop properly in a small space.
A stereo pair of studio monitors will get the job done for most applications, especially if you’re mixing bands or solo artists. If the music is mainly being listened to on everyday systems such as cars and standard earphones/headphones, you can probably forgo a subwoofer.