A guide to our favourite studio monitors, from the best budget models to the wallet-busting best in the business models…
One of the most important decisions you’ll ever make in your production journey is the choice of studio monitors. Good options will take into account variables like the room’s dimensions and acoustics, as well as the frequencies of the music being pumped through them, so studio monitors that work best for one bedroom producer might not suffice for another. Add to this that few of us have the luxury of testing out every single studio monitor, let alone just a few, and the decision becomes very daunting indeed.
This list of studio monitors is not meant to be exhaustive. It’s a range of monitors with different speaker sizes, priced from budget options to high-end speakers that might well be found in recording studios. And, for our purposes, we are focusing on active nearfield monitors. That is, monitors that power up when plugged in (without a preamp), which are designed for listening at short distance, unlike the hi-fi speakers found in an audiophile’s home. They’re certainly not the only options we’d consider in each of their respective price ranges, but these are the models we’d recommend as starting points.
What we’re doing here is giving the bedroom or home producer a place to start. Somewhere to begin thinking about what they might need, and a few of the options that might work well for them. If in any doubt about what to buy, whilst it’s getting harder by the day with regular bricks-and-mortar music stores closing far too often, it’s a big decision and it’s important to get right so make the effort if possible to go and listen to several pairs and hear the difference for yourself. If you are able to visit a store, be careful not to fall into a trap of the higher the price the better the speakers. There are models in this list for all interested parties, but remember that spending more money isn’t always a certainty that you’ll find a better pair of monitors for your own purposes. How often have you heard monitors praised only for a friend to find them to be terrible! It’s subjective.
Kicking off with the most affordable and progressing upwards through the price brackets, here are our favourites.
Photo: Funky Junk