If you’re here just to find the best studio monitor and really can’t afford to take the time to read the excellent reviews and buying advice prepared by our researchers, this short paragraph will highlight all the vital information. We have collected plenty of information about different products for sale in this category by looking into reviews and ratings in many different expert review sites and comparing what is said there with actual owner feedback. Thankfully, after that thorough product research and comparison, we have been able to find what we believe is undoubtedly the number one product in this category, the JBL LSR305 Professional. This model is available in a two-item package so you get two studio monitors to support your audio listening capability. Thanks to the ability of the speakers in the set for delivery of increased high-fidelity detail , you can enjoy greater depth and ambience in recordings to enable you to judge and check them as needed. The 3-series speakers deliver the best compact studio monitors experience thanks to how they boast a broad sweet spot distinct for their room-friendly functionality that delivers neutral sound across a particularly large working space no matter what type and level of room acoustics. If the JBL LSR305 Professional runs out of stock, we recommend the second best option, the Mackie CR4 LTD.
Most appreciated Products – Comparison Table
|Product||Dimensions||Price||Watts||Single/Pair||Our Rating||Where to buy|
|16.4 x 14.2 x 21.5 inch||$$$$||120W||Single||A+||AMAZON|
|11.6 x 9.4 x 15.6 inch||$$$||70W||Single||A||AMAZON|
|8.8 x 7.2 x 10.9 inch||$$$||225W||Single||B+||AMAZON|
|8.8 x 7.2 x 10.9 inch||$$||20W||Pair||B||AMAZON|
|6.3 x 5.3 x 7.9 inch||$$||10W||Pair||C||AMAZON|
Studio monitor speakers provide an uncolored yet most precise representation of music, providing a means for music creators, artists and directors to perfect their works. You will need a studio monitor regardless whether you’re into recording, editing, mixing or mastering audio, as it provides a sonically transparent medium through which you can ensure your mix translates well to car audio systems, headphones, TVs and other audio listening configurations. When going over your choices for this type of product, how do you distinguish the best products from the inferior ones?
Just the right level of power handling
The overall sound is going to be largely affected by the stereo monitor system’s power handling. This is where a great difference can be perceived in studio monitors vs computer speakers and it will be beyond simple volume alone. The power handling of the studio monitors will also have influence on the dynamic range, or the level of headroom available before signal peaking. Models with higher wattage allow you to hear a greater amount of transient detail and this will enable you to make adjustments more precisely to limiters, gates and compressors.
A greater headroom is more observable in a higher wattage model if you do mix listening on two monitoring systems that have diverse wattages and at the same average volume level. Transients such as kick drums and snare hits are examples of music peaks that involve the use of as much as ten times the power compared to average music program components. Thus, if an average of 20 watts is needed for a specific volume level, the peaks in the program could amount to as high as 200 watts. An amp that delivers 70 watts cleanly means you have a shortage of 130 watts for the music program. This will result in greater distortion and even clipping during musical peaks. If you listen mostly to pop music, which has a lot of kick drums, that will happen with more frequency than is acceptable. That being said, you will not really need the highest possible power rating but if you do expect to enjoy more dynamic range and definition, you should go for higher wattage systems.
Studio monitors can be categorized as single-amp, bi-amp or tri-amp depending on the division of the input signal to power the drivers in the monitoring system speakers. Two speakers are in many studio monitors and they include a woofer to handle the midrange and low frequencies and a tweeter for handling high frequencies. Some studio monitors even come with a third speaker that enables the sending to the woofer of low frequencies while a dedicated midrange speaker receives the midrange frequencies.
A suitable driver and cabinet type for your needs or preference
The best cheap studio monitors feature paper in their construction but more premium brands boast Kevlar or aluminum alloys or even tougher materials in their manufacture. That being said, the material in construction is just a single element to be considered among many others so you won’t really have to focus on it too much. Sound quality may be influenced by speaker driver materials but putting too much emphasis on this element can get you confused and can be a failure to focus instead on application-oriented benefits.
A huge number of smaller studio monitors as well as a significant quantity of large ones are equipped with a ported cabinet, which helps extend the frequency response lower for greater bass. This has its own benefits but closed cabinets provide more precise accuracy than their ported counterparts. It also becomes more pronounced if the ports are located on the rear of the unit and then placed extremely close to the wall. If studio monitor placement close to corners or walls can’t be avoided, just go for closed or front-ported configurations to ensure accurate monitoring.
Reliable performance and other features
A lot of studio monitors come with some type of built-in equalization (EQ) that helps you accustom their acoustic level to the room. High-end models even come with digital processing to ensure optimal performance according to the acoustic space. However, that said, no set of studio monitors can quite match the uncontrolled acoustics in a control room despite the fact that EQ and room correction DP can help maximize a bad sounding space.
It is also important to remember that you should buy the proper size speaker for the size of the space. Thus, smaller monitors are ideal for mixing in a small room. Another technical element to consider is the primary purpose of a studio monitor: to demonstrate as accurate and precise sounds as possible. You should be able to hear every detail in your audio mix whether positive or negative while ensuring that an accurate balance is delivered across the full range of frequencies. The best thing to do when purchasing a studio monitor is to invest in some basic absorbent acoustic treatment especially if the purpose of the speakers is for home recording, so there’ll be fewer issues due to the room’s reflections to make the most of the audio monitoring system.
There are plenty of models of studio monitors on the market so the first-time buyer or even the seasoned professional can have a difficult time making a definite choice. We have designed the buying guide above to provide detailed information to make your shopping experience less stressful. The best products are showcased below for even more shopping assistance to the consumer.
Top rated studio monitors in 2017
JBL LSR305 Professional
Providing value for money, the JBL LSR305 Professional comes as a bundle of two units instead of one so you can easily equip your music studio with the perfect gear to do precise audio monitoring. Each speaker boasts delivery of high fidelity detail to let you experience greater ambience and depth in recordings. Even in a dense mix, the speakers allow you to perceive subtle details. The speakers are room-friendly so there won’t be much tweaking involved in the space acoustics just to ensure precise listening. Neutral sound is delivered across a large working space no matter the level of acoustics, all thanks to the broad sweet spot of the 3-series speakers that enables them to deliver neutral sound with Class D amplifiers.
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Mackie CR4 LTD
If you come across the Mackie CR4 LTD in many studio monitor setup guides, there will be little wonder as this model boasts studio-quality design performance and sound perfect for both entertainment and multimedia creation. The speaker’s ultra-wide frequency range is just perfect for full-range multimedia. The convenient speaker placement switch allows you to choose which side of the desk to position the volume knob. Employing a simplistic approach to audio monitoring, the speaker just requires you to plug your smartphone or other audio source right into the front of the unit and you can do instant listening. Speaker output is auto-defeated by the front-facing headphone jack while tactile or responsive headphone control is easily achieved.
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Considered by thousands of satisfied users and producers as the best studio monitor in 2017, the Yamaha HS80M studio reference monitor permits a clearer understanding of the musical creation process. This model comes with a 8” white polypropylene cone, 1” dome tweeter and a powerful 120-watt bi-amplified power of LF: 75” 4 ohms and HF 45W 8ohms. You should also know that the Yamaha HS80M studio reference monitor helps the user create beautiful music without dealing with problems or limitations, thus experiencing only positive results.
The Yamaha HS50M model is considered by some the best studio monitor in 2017, in terms of quality and efficiency. Once you begin mixing, a studio monitor like the Yamaha HS50M represents a guarantee of success. The HS50M 5” monitor speaker was designed to give you positive response to any of your attempts, thus helping you to better manage the musical creation process. The structure of the Yamaha HS50M was designed to provide an affordable and high quality reference monitoring system that gives you greater insight in the music creation process.
A growing number of the latest top rated studio monitor reviews coming from thousands of satisfied users and technicians underline the efficiency of the KRK RP5G2 Rokit G2 model, a product very appreciated for its results and musical guidance. The KRK RP5G2 has a curved front plate design that eliminates with precision any diffraction or distortion and keeps the sounds clear. The KRK RP5G2has a waveguide design that provides amazing detail and imaging while the front-firing port maintains low frequency without boundary coupling.
Considered by many musicians and producers as the best studio monitor in 2017 due to its qualitative design and extended features, the M-Audio Studiophile AV40 can help the user better understand the sounds created. The AV40 from M-Audio Studiophile delivers accurate sounds that go beyond the regular audio experience from music and videos. The monitor speakers from M-Audio Studiophile have 4” polypropylene coated woofers that deliver tight and accurate bass, 1” ferrofluid-cooled silk dome tweeters which maintain clear and smooth highs. Furthermore, the M-Audio comes with a 20-watt per channel amplifier with Class A/B architecture and also magnetic shielding that reduce the interference with other sounds.
The majority of the latest top rated studio monitor reviews coming from musicians and producers emphasize the fluid functionality and clarity of the M-Audio Studiophile AV30 MkII powered monitor speakers, a product very popular in the US and Canada. Creating your own music requires the help of a professional speaker system that can maintain clear sounds every time you create. According to the current charts, top musicians, producers and even engineers use the M-Audio studio speakers to create their worldwide cherished hits.