Studio monitors are specialized speakers that are used in music studios. These speakers are used by the audio engineer to clearly hear the sound that is being referenced. Studio monitors are meant to reproduce sound with a very high accuracy and not add any extra ‘color’ to the sound.
Studio monitors are very directional, so the sound changes a lot when a user is directly in front of them verus when the user is not directly in front of them. It is critical set the monitors up correctly, or else the user won’t get an accurate representation of what a track will sound like when it is released.
Why Do You Need Studio Monitors?
Generally, if you’re a music producer, you’re going to need studio monitors. Normal speakers don’t reproduce the sound coming from the DAW as clearly and may have areas of the frequency spectrum that are too loud or too quiet. Studio monitors are meant to give a ‘flat’ response (reproducing the whole spectrum at an even level) so the every frequency can be heard at the proper volume. This flat response will help in sound design, mixing, and mastering.
Some casual music listeners enjoy having higher quality sound from studio monitor as well. I know quite a few PC gamers (who are not producers) who listen to music on studio monitors while they play. While they’re not required for gamers, they can certainly enhance your gaming experience.
What Kinds of Studio Monitors are There?
5 inch vs 8 inch
The most common sizes of studio monitors are 5 inch and 8 inch, but some companies offer larger, smaller, and in-between sizes. The larger the monitor woofer, the better the speaker will be at reproducing bass sounds. For advanced and professional producers, 8 inch speakers are recommended. Beginners can get away with 5 inch speakers, but they will eventually need to upgrade to 8 inch studio monitors.
Subwoofers are generally not recommended to be added unless you are using the monitors for casual listening. A subwoofer can add unnecessary subbass that won’t accurately represent your track.
If your room acoustics are causing issues to the point where you need to add a subwoofer, your money would be better invested in acoustic treatment. This will solve your root problem, instead of offering a band-aid solution.
Which Studio Monitors are the Best?
A user’s studio monitor needs depend on where they are in their career and the amount that they are willing to spend. Studio monitors can cost anywhere from $100 to $10,000 for a pair, but most hobbyist and professional producers can get away with mid-level studio monitors around $600 for a pair.
Check out our studio monitors buyer's guide for some great recommendations to get you started on your studio monitor journey.