Best Studio Monitors
Studio monitors are the talk of the town these days. With creative work in the field of music and film production reaching new heights, studio monitors are being adopted in large numbers.
They are used because of the very accurate reproduction of audio, which is not possible using any other type of audio machinery. The types of applications are immense as you will find them in music recording studios, movie sets, TV and radio stations, home studios, etc.
In the loudspeaker arena, a monitor is something that makes the linear phase and frequency ranges. In simpler words, it is a device which doesn’t differentiate between frequencies. This means that it is able to produce audio with very similar tonal qualities as that of the source.
In the article below, we explore the various intricacies involved in buying a studio monitor for yourself. We go through why studio monitors are needed, how are studio monitors different, basics of its working procedures, types, buying guide, FAQs and the best studio monitors in India.
Top 7 Studio Monitors in India
Why Studio Monitors are needed?
Studio monitors have become integral parts in a recording setup. But why are they so popular?It is mainly for the purpose of checking and correction.
As we already know, studio monitors provide flat frequencies as compared to normal speakers and don’t add any personal touch to the music. We know that speakers come in all varieties and quality and each provides a different audio experience compared to others. There are many types of speakers such as car speakers, home speakers, etc.
Suppose you are working on an audio track and have finished recording and editing it. You would definitely want to listen to the final version before releasing it.
If you listen on a normal speaker, no matter the quality it offers, there would have been some alteration by the speaker itself to mask the negative aspects of the track. In fact, the higher the price and quality of the speaker, the better will be its equalization. So, to find out the real quality to eliminate the negative aspects, studio monitors are needed.
For example, consider that you have recorded and edited an audio track. You plug it in some speaker and listen to it and that speaker reduces the bass in the audio track.
You will listen to it and think that the bass is missing. You will then re-edit it and add some bass, when in fact it was already perfect.
Some of your audience will listen to it in a heavy bass speaker or headphone and think that the track has to bass. So, studio monitors are essential in an audio recording task.
How Are Studio Monitors Different?
As we all know by now, studio monitors are essential for everyone in the audio industry. So what makes them different from standard speakers and how do they function? We will find that out in this segment.
There are various areas in which a standard speaker differs from a studio monitor. Some of them are design, sound, projection, purpose, benefit, amplifier, etc.
To produce audio differently, the design has to be different. Studio monitors are built more rigidly compared to their normal counterparts due to their usage in a studio environment.
The housing of the speaker and the speaker cones will have to resist some physical force too, and hence they will be sturdy. Many music producers play and edit the same line over and over again for hours to get the perfect frequencies. Normal speakers won’t be able to handle such low work.
All speaker manufacturers strive to make the audio from their speakers as pleasant as possible. To do this, they normally increase bass levels, midranges and make lower and higher frequencies even more pronounced.
This takes out the raw element needed while editing. Hence, studio monitor manufacturers do the opposite of it, keeping in mind the sole purpose of their product.
Keeping in mind the normal consumers, speakers are designed to propagate audio as far and wide as possible. This again leads to distortion of audio and the surroundings of the speaker may also color the audio to give it another tone.
If this happens to a studio monitor, the purpose itself is defeated. Therefore, studio monitors project sound around a very short distance in their surroundings
Again, speakers are designed keeping in mind the everyday user. The user would want the audio experience to be perfect, with a high range of frequencies and good beats which would lead to enjoyable audio.
However, studio monitors provide a blank canvas to an audio producer so that he can hear it raw and edit it accordingly, to make it sound enjoyable when played on a consumer speaker.
Regular speakers almost always are passive. This means that an external amplifier or tuner always power them.
Studio monitors, on the other hand, are almost always active. This means that they are designed with in-built power amplifiers which have been produced to bear the difficult tasks that it is supposed to do.
Some also come with more than one amplifier to give the extra power that may be required. The disadvantage is that they need to be connected to a line source for external volume controls.
How Do Studio Monitors work?
Studio monitors come in a variety of shapes size and types which we are going to discuss in the next segment. However, the basic working principle of all studio monitors remains the same. Also, the procedure by which they work is very closely related to that of normal speakers too. Therefore, at the core studio monitors are speakers itself who thrive on more accuracy.
Audio is nothing but electric signals which are transformed into audible sound. The studio monitor usually consists of an electromagnet in the form of a metal coil.
When electricity is passed through it, it behaves like a magnet. Where it differs from the permanent magnet is that once the electric current direction is changed, the direction if the pole of the magnet is also changed. There is also a permanent magnet that we placed in front of the electromagnet.
One thing we should note is that the electromagnet moves around based on electric signals while the permanent magnet is always stationary. As electricity passes through the coil, the direction of the magnetic field also changes.
The continuous switching on and off electric signals also causes the coil to lose its magnetism. So, it is repelled and attracted by the permanent magnet whenever electric signals pass through it. The electromagnet is attached to cones made of a particular type of paper or plastic which amplifies the vibrations caused by movement of the coil which in turn leads to the production of sound waves.
The frequency of the vibrations determines the pitch of the sound waves while the volume is dependent on the amplitude. So, when you are changing the volume of a speaker, you fundamentally change the amplitude. Studio monitors also contain different sized and shaped cones for different frequencies for more accurate audio production.
Types of Studio Monitors
Active and passive
Like we have already discussed, the sound output is mainly due to the electric signals obtained. To convert these signals, amplification is needed. Based on amplification, studio monitors are divided into active and passive types.
Passive types have the amplifier outside of the sound system. Before entering the system, the sound is amplified and then passed through a set of electronic components. These components together form a crossover network. A primary studio monitor usually has a woofer and a tweeter so that the audio file will be divided between these two. The higher frequencies are sent to the tweeter and lower rates to the woofer. This usually called a single amp setup.
In an active studio monitor, the amplifier is placed inside the monitor, and there is no need to buy a separate one. The signal passes through the crossover network, where it is usually separated into low and high-frequency notes.
It is then sent to the assigned amplifiers where it is amplified separately. This is known as a bi-amp network because it has two amplifiers. If there is another component, apart from tweeter and woofer, it will be called a tri-amp system.
Near and Far-Field Monitor
A studio monitor is classified as a near field monitor if it has small drivers and is placed 2-3 feetaway from the person hearing it. They are placed so close to ensure that only the actual sound from the monitor is heard by the user and not the reflected ones from the surrounding walls of the studio.
Due to having a smaller frequency range, near-field monitors usually sound very much like a standard consumer-centric speaker and should always be placed on isolation pads so that the audio doesn’t resonate from the desks or tables it is set on.
Far-fields are the exact opposite of near-field monitors. They have larger drivers and should be ideally placed more than 10-feet away from the listener. Due to this compulsion, they are usually found placed on the edges of the room. Also, they shouldn’t be placed the ground as it will affect the audio produced. They should be ideally mounted on the walls with some isolation pads beneath them.
Sub-woofers are one of the most critical components of a studio monitor system. They are used for producing the low-end frequency sounds, better known as a bass to the common man.
Examples of low-end frequencies you hear in music and movies are the rumblings of thunderstorms, the passing of a car, whooshing of air, etc. The frequency range of a sub-woofer is between 20-200 Hz, but only the professional and highly priced ones go below 100hz. They always contain built-in amplifiers and are usually placed in a wooden cabinet.
Sub-woofers are usually a combination of many woofers containing many designs. Some of the common ones are a bass reflex, acoustic suspension, horn-loaded, infinite baffle, etc. Sub-woofers are ideally needed by someone who is producing music with many low-end notes.Some of the genres that have many low-end frequencies are EDM and Rap music. So if you are one of those producing these types, sub-woofers are your primary asset.
Tweeters are the prime opposite of sub-woofers. They are used to produce sound with a very high frequency. Some high-frequency noises that you hear are shrill screams, Children’s voices, Whistles, sequels, etc. are examples.
The range is usually between 2000-20000 Hz. When it comes to size, tweeters are easily recognizable because they are the smallest in a studio monitor setup.
The logic behind the small size is that the diaphragm made from paper or plastic needs to vibrate frequently to produce higher frequencies. It is difficult for a largely sized driver to vibrate at such a speed, to produce a high frequency.
The type of monitor is the most basic and important factor to consider before buying a studio monitor. You will have to make much decision based on the type of amplification(Passive vs. Active), distance from the user(Near and Far-Field) and preference to Sub-woofer or Tweeter.
If you are producing some rap or EDM, it is better to prefer a very good sub-woofer vs. a tweeter. If you are producing audio that has some high notes like pop or rock music, it is better to prefer a good tweeter and an average sub-woofer setup.
Size is the next important factor to consider. The size of the studio monitor system that you prefer will largely depend on the area you would like to invest in having it. If you can afford to use an ample space, you should ideally go for the largest setup possible with multiple near and far field monitors, a set of sub-woofers and tweeters, etc. If you have a smaller room, you will get more accuracy with a smaller setup and vice-versa
The strength of a studio monitor is not in how good the music from it sounds, but how accurate it is. You should always keep in mind that room acoustics is one of the major factors that influence accuracy.
So if it sounds accurate in the shop you are buying from, it doesn’t mean it will sound accurate in your studio too. So it is always better to know the type of studio before buying a studio monitor
The power that a studio monitor has to offer will have a very large effect on the sound that it outputs. Factors like volume, dynamic range, peak frequency, etc. are all dependent on the power of a studio monitor.
Higher power also means that you will be able to hear transient sounds better and make better judgments. Factoring all these statements, it is safe to say that you should always prefer a monitor having the highest power in your budget.
Drivers are the main part of any speaker. This holds for studio monitors as well. Drivers are the things attached to the electromagnet that vibrates due to the movement of the magnets.
The vibration needs to be perfect to produce the best and most accurate sound. Drivers are made from all kinds of stuff like papers, plastic, aluminum etc. While buying one, look for a monitor that has metal drivers in the tweeter, as they have to vibrate at a higher frequency. Sub-Woofers and mids can be made of plastic or paper.
Just as important as the features and specifications of the studio monitor is the cabinet in which it is placed. It has a huge impact on the sound accuracy. There are two types of cabinets, ported and closed. Ported cabinets are good if you want more bass and lower frequency levels, but sonic accuracy is also affected by these cabinets.
Even in ported cabinets, you should always prefer ones that have ports in the front and ensure they are not close to walls. If you can’t place your monitors anywhere except near the walls, buy closed cabinets.
As you go higher up the price list, the frequency range of the studio monitors increase. So, no doubt, bigger the frequency range, better will be the accuracy of the audio.
All studio monitors have almost the same higher range of frequency(Around 20 kHz). It is in the lower end where differences appear. A good one will have a lower range near 20 Hz, but the lesser ones will have around 40 Hz.
Volume controls are essential to ensure and check that the audio is clear and precise at every audio level and volume. Even in volume controls, there are different types like remote control, central control, desktop control, etc.
1. PreSonus Eris E3.5- Best All-Round Studio Monitor
Presonus is an American company that is world famous for producing studio monitors. They are based in Louisiana, USA and have been doing this craft for decades now. Along with studio monitors, they also produce equipment like microphone preamps, signal processors, digital audio interfaces, mixers and control surfaces.
The product we have here is one of the best selling ones of Amazon. Along with being a studio monitor, it can be used as a speaker for your desktop PC too. Presonus has aimed to create an affordable studio monitor that doesn’t compromise on quality at all and has succeeded looking at the reviews it has got.
- The size of the low-frequency transducer is 3.5 inches in length is made of tough kevlar. On the other hand, the high-frequency transducer is 1-inch in length is a silk-dome transducer
- It is an active type studio monitor, meaning it has an internal amplifier and there is no need to buy an external one
- The ports are located at the back, making it a rear-ported studio monitor
- The volume controller is present on the front and also has a switch for low-frequency and high-frequency modes
- The power of the studio monitor is 50W and has amplification as it has both a sub-woofer and tweeter
- The dimensions of the product are 16*14*21 inches.
- The studio monitor is multifunction as it can be used frequently and with a PC without a change in audio quality
- Since it is an active studio monitor, no need to buy an external amplifier
- Separate modes for both low and high-frequency audio
- The type of outputs are TRS, RCA and the normal 3.5 mm audio jack
- Presonus is a very reputed brand in the entire world
- It is rear-ported, hence can’t be placed near walls or wall-mounted with a decrease in audio quality
2. Monkeybanana Gibbon Air- Funky Studio Monitors
Monkey banana is a German company that unlike many others on this list, specializes just in speakers and in particular studio monitors. The company was started in 2004 by a bunch of music artists because the affordable speakers that they usually bought weren’t just good enough for the music they produced. After six years of producing speakers for themselves, they released their first product in 2010 and became instant hits. They haven’t looked back since then and are one of the leading studio-monitor companies in the world.
The monitor we are reviewing here has a funky and different look to it compared to other products on this list( Just like the brand name). The uniqueness is just not limited to the looks as it also has a set of features that set it apart from the competition.
- Unlike many other products, it consists of both passive and active monitors, which means it does need an external amplifier for professional purposes
- It is a near-field studio monitor. This indicates that the monitor needs to be kept as near to the user as possible for best accuracy and quality of audio
- It has a 4-inch transducer for the woofer made of polypropylene, which is a type of polymer. The size of the tweeter is tiny at 3/4th of an inch
- The maximum power output is 30 watts, which is quite less
- The frequency range of this studio monitor is 60 Hz-22kHz
- The max sound volume is 6 decibels
- The size of the driver for the woofer is quite big while the one on the tweeter is smaller than normal. This is ideal for more frequency range
- The available outputs are RCA, 3.5 mm audio jack, Bluetooth connectivity, headphone, and terminal connectors
- The frequency range is quite adequate for this price range
- The design is unique
- The power level is quite low at 30 watts compared to the competition
- It can only be used as a near-field monitor
3. Behringer Studio Monitor- Studio Monitor With Biggest Frequency Range
Behringer is a Swiss company that has the majority of production in China. It was started in 1989 by a guy named Uli Behringer, and since then, there has been no looking back. The company moved the majority of its production to Asia in the ’90s and slowly became one of the biggest pro-audio brands in the world. It is a title that it holds proudly to this day.
The product reviewed here is one of the best selling studio monitors in India. Some of its features are the best in its category. This combined with a classy all-black design make it a very good choice for anyone who is looking to buy one. Also, this is a product that is mainly designed keeping in mind professionals and not for PC’s and mobiles, unlike the previous two products.
- It is a 2-way ultra-linear studio monitor that has four in-built amplifiers to ensure highest accuracy and quality
- The maximum power available is a whopping 150 watts, that can give some higher priced monitors, a run for their money
- The size of the tweeter is 1 inch and is made of silk-dome while the woofer is 5 inches in diameter and is resistant to external damage
- Along with volume, even tweeter sensitivity can be adjusted to ensure the best quality audio
- The outputs available are TRS, XLR, USB
- The dimensions of the monitor are 50*30*25 inches
- The power output is unmatched in this category by any other monitor
- The big size of the woofer will ensure good low-end bass
- No other studio monitor will have four inbuilt amplifiers in this price range
- Tweeter sensitivity can be adjusted according to the needs of the user
- No RCA or 3.5 mm jack connectivity
- Can be used only for professional activities and not with PC’s
4. Edifier R1280DB- Best Studio Monitor For Casual Use
Edifier is a Chinese brand that specializes in audio solutions like studio monitors etc. They have been existent for just over 20 years, and in these years they have gone from a group of audio technicians to one of the leading audio brands in the world. They are multinational and have a presence in about 70 countries around the world.
The product we have here for review is one of the cost-effective ones in the list. However, the premium design and specifications will make you think they are some premium brand studio monitors. Even for this price, the specifications will give a tough fight to some priced products.
- The sides of the studio monitor are made of wooden panels which gives it a very premium design along with being practical
- It has the option of connectivity through Bluetooth for PC and mobile phones,making it a practical option
- The controls are not present on the speaker but are remote controlled, making it a practical option
- The power output is 21+21 Rms
- The frequency range is between 55 Hz-20 kHz
- The diameter of the sub-woofer is 4 inches in length. The tweeter is 13 mm in length and is made of a silk dome
- Along with Bluetooth you also get optical and coaxial inputs
- The dimensions of the studio monitor are 19*14*23 cms
- The design has to be one of the USP’s as it looks so premium
- Along with 3.5 mm jack, RAC and AUX output, you also get Bluetooth connectivity
- The frequency range is good for the price
- The size of the tweeter is extremely small, making it good for higher frequency notes
- The power output is quite low
- No TRS output, making it unsuitable for professionals
5. M-audio BX5 D3- Studio Monitor with Special Features to Assist User
M-Audio is a British company that is revered in the audio interface business. They produce speakers, interfaces, studio monitors, recording equipment, keyboard controllers, drum machines, etc. The company was started in 1988 under the name midiman but started selling under the name of M-audio in 2000.
The product reviewed here has a simple yet practical design and unlike other products has only one speaker.
- The sub-woofer of the speaker is very big at 5 inches in diameter and is made of high-quality kevlar. The tweeter is 1-inch in diameter and is made a natural silk-dome like most other studio monitors
- The power offered by the studio monitor is around 100 watts, which is more than most other products in this range
- It is a rear-ported monitor, and the company claims that this reduces audio-intrusive air and sound pressure levels
- It has a LED light indicating when it is at the right position to play audio
- The frequency range is 52 Hz-35 kHz but can be reduced to 37 Hz with some software
- The size of the sub-woofer is one of the biggest in this price range, ensuring good bass
- The frequency range is the best for this price
- The LED light is a nice addition
- The power offered is also more than adequate for the price range
- Only one speaker is provided in the set
- The audio out ports are not great in number and types
6. Edifier R1700BT- Studio Monitor With Premium Design
This is the second product from the Edifier company and shows the number of quality products they produce. They are a premium brand that makes products with an air of elegance to them. From entertainment seekers to professional audio editors, there will be an Edifier product for every purpose.
The reviewed product down below is like most other products from this company; that is, it combines practical usage with professionalism. The specifications won’t blow anyone away, but they are adequate to offer a good audio experience.
- The design of the R1700BT is as premium as they come. But this expected from a company like Edifier whose motto is itself about premium and classy designs.
- The speaker runs on a power of 15W*2 without DRC on and 18W*2 with DRC on. This is quite less compared to the competition
- Signal to noise ratio is less than 85 dBA
- The frequency range of the studio monitor is 60 Hz- 20 kHz. This is good enough for the price range
- The output is given through 3.5 mm audio jack and aux cables
- The sub-woofer transducer has a diameter length of 4 inches, and the tweeter has a sensor which is 19mm in diameter.
- Along with PC and Aux connections, it can even be connected through Bluetooth setup
- It has a class D amplifier with digital signal processing and dynamic range control
- Blue tooth connectivity option is a blessing for mobile users
- The power output is quite low
- No TRS output option provided
7. Vault Ai22- Studio Monitor That Comes As a Complete Package
Vault is a one of a kind company when it comes to audio equipment. This because of the company ships directly from the factory to the consumer without a middle-man. This reduces the cost to a large extent. The company is based in Germany, and all its products are designed there with manufacturing in Asia.
The product we have here is loaded with features and comes as a complete set. Their design also looks premium because it is enclosed in metal fully. It also has high sensitivity and a polar pattern.
- The vault studio monitor comes with a simple to use interface that is called plug and play. You just need to connect it to a computer using USB, and there will be no outer power source needed
- The monitor has a retro look due to the dark brown wooden side cheeks. This adds character to the studio monitor
- It has Bitwig-8 installed inside. This provides greater control over the audio that you produce
- It has two input and two output ports. The output includes line, USB, aux and microphone
- The sub-woofer has a large transducer
- Retro and efficient design with an all-metal chassis
- Plug and play support makes it is easy to use
- Size of sub-woofer driver is large
- Bitwig-8 support is great for the price
- The company is quite new and is not that popular
- No TRS output option
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can studio monitors be used with phones, computers and TV’s
Yes, you can use studio monitors by connecting it a phone, PC or TV. However, keep in mind that the sound quality won’t be good and there will be a lot of background disturbances.
If you do want to take a risk, there are a special type of wires that directly connect studio monitors to a 3.5mm audio port available on PC and Phones. If you want to connect to a TV, use a RAC cable
2. Is an amplifier needed with a studio monitor?
It largely depends on the type of monitor. Most studio monitors these days are active, meaning that they don’t need external amplifiers; however, if you buy a passive studio monitor, you will need an external amplifier.
3. What is the ideal frequency range?
The human hearing range is between 20 Hz-20KHz. As expected, most monitors cannot play in all the hearable frequencies. So, the bigger the frequency range, the more accurate it will be.All monitors have a good higher range, but it is the lower end that makes the difference between a good and great monitor.
4. What is the total harmonic distraction?
It is the measurement of harmonic distortion that is present in an audio file. The lower the distortion, the more accurate will be the audio. Compared to other speakers, studio monitors will have lower THD, but even in studio monitors, there will be differences.
5.Can verticle studio monitors be placed horizontally?
As a user, you can place your studio monitor in any position you like. However, while in a verticle position, the sound output will be symmetrical, in the horizontal position it will be asymmetrical, meaning accuracy and quality will come down. This is undesirable for someone who is editing audio.
6. Can Studio Monitors be used outdoors?
No, they really shouldn’t be used outdoors. When the audio is played outside, it will mix with the surrounding sound to give an unpure audio experience. This defeats the sole purpose why studio monitors were created, that is the accuracy of audio to be able to edit it.
7. Is it possible to wall-mount a studio monitor?
Yes, it is possible to wall mount studio monitors. If you have a good VESA mount with an isolation mat to preserve accuracy, you should be good. However, if you have a rear-ported studio monitor, you should wall-mounting it.
8. How to set up studio monitors?
The ideal way to set up studio monitors is to place 3 of the parts in an equilateral triangle formation with the user in the middle. The different speakers should make a 60-degree angle with the user.
So that was the detailed article on the best studio monitors that you can buy in India. The Presonus studio monitor is the most all-round one as professionals and amateurs alike can use it.
If you are completely professional, then the Behringer studio monitor will make the best choice. The Edifier monitors will be the best if you want a premium looking monitor. If you want the complete package, go for the Vault studio monitor.