Near field studio monitors.

8 rules to choose the right audio monitors

Smart tips to choose the right equipment for your passion.

Another crucial step when creating music in a professional manner is the purchase of a pair of studio monitors.

Unfortunately, studio monitors are quite a complex piece of equipment, and in most cases it won’t be possible to take advantage of all its potentiality.

This guide is just a basic tutorial on how to choose your first studio monitors: for the ultimate audio setup, it is necessary for sound professionals to step in, as well as a good amount of money to spend in acoustic treatments.

  • Near field? Mid field? Far field?

    Absolutely near field.
    Mid field and far field monitors are extremely expensive and, even when affortable, they’re pretty hard to use for a basic setup like a home/project studio.
    Moreover, if you ever have to deal with monitors of such quality, there will be other people to set them up for you.

  • Room size.

    The size of your room is going to be crucial for a good sound quality: the bigger the monitor, the larger the room should be, otherwise they will not operate properly.

    If your room size is higher than about 4x4x2.5 m, you’ll be able to afford 8” monitors. A room that’s 5x5x3 m in size is perfect for 8” monitors.

    If you’re unlucky and do not have access to such a big room, you should purchase 5” monitors.

    If the room is much bigger than 4x4x2.5 m, you may have reverb issues.

  • 5” vs 8”

    5” monitors are the most convenient ones, but they won’t allow you to work on low frequencies. They’re meant to be used along with a subwoofer.

    8” ones are more expensive, but with them you’ll be able to work on low frequencies as well. They also have a good quality / price ratio.

    If you’re seriously looking to work with sound and music, our suggestion is to buy an 8” monitor.

    A 5” monitor + subwoofer is going to be much more expensive than an 8” monitor alone, and it’s also going to be more difficult to setup.

  • Multiple listenings?

    Useless.
    If you own good monitors, all you have to do is filter the input signal with an equalizer: you’ll achieve the same frequency response of whatever loudspeaker you desire.

    A single pair of great studio monitors is the best choice.

  • Which brand?

    It’s not that important.
    Brand by itself is not going to give much information about the quality of your monitors.
    There are monitors made by unknown brands that sound extremely good, and popular brand ones that sound just… “meh”.

    Speaking of reliability: almost all current monitors are, if properly handled, extremely reliable.

    The real method to understand what the best monitor is, is described in the following step.

  • Frequency response

    A monitor frequency response indicates its audio quality.
    The flatter it is, the better your monitor will reproduce the sounds you’re transmitting to it.
    The choice, in this case, is fairly simple: compare the different frequency responses of the monitors you’re browsing, and pick one with the flattest curve.

    If you’re lucky enough to be able to check it, this is the fastest and most reliable way to verify the quality of a monitor.

    However, if this information is not available, in the following two steps we’ll suggest you other methods to test your new monitors.

  • Music test

    If you really want to put a system under pressure, the best way is to have it reproduce Metal or orchestral music.

    In fact, these kinds of music have large dynamic and timbric excursion (they range from silence to massive volumes, and their sounds are extremely colorful).

    Minimal music pieces such as Blues, Jazz or even solo instrument ones are inadvisable to test sound monitors.
    They’re never going to put enough pressure on the timbric capacity of your new monitors.
    Moreover, given their low timbre (they do not have particularly colorful sounds), they will make the system sound better than it really would.
    This is because, given their low timbric demand, they will (relatively speaking) deliver the whole musical message, instilling in you the emotions they are supposed to.

    Hence, it’s time to pull out Brahms and Periphery.
    Or even LMK solo record: https://open.spotify.com/album/3zoTvDRS0ANwoNp8AFn36d

  • For the brave ones: spectrometric analysis

    The best way to test by yourselves the quality of a monitor, is through spectrometric analysis.
    Music, no matter its tones, is always different.
    Therefore, you should try out all the music in the world to have an accurate test of a monitor quality.

    …or

    send it a signal with every possible frequency (white/pink noise), and analyse the resulting sound with a high fidelity microphone (measurement microphone).

    In technical language: a spectrometric analysis.

    The result of this analysis is going to be a frequency response.
    Which is exactly what we have written about previously (5).

If you want to know why this tutorial was made, you’ll find out more in this post:

Our first post.

And you got our entire website to hear if we’re talking about something that we can do.

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If you have found this post to be useful, share with us your experiences on our socials!

Maybe you could also add a link of what you’ve created, and by using the hashtag #lmkmprod we’ll be able to find all of you.

We’re looking forward to hearing from you!

1 reply
  1. Andy Bluebuzz
    Andy Bluebuzz says:

    Choosing the correct audio monitors is essential if you’re a music producer, and these rules here will help you determine which monitors you should go far. I would like to thank the production team for writing this.

    Reply

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