If you are looking to buy a studio monitor there are a couple of things you need to be aware of so hopefully I can teach you what to look for in this thorough guide that I compiled with the help of Youtube, Vinyl Vintage, Amazon, and The Music Kitchen. Let’s give credit where it’s due right? So without further ado, here are the main factors you want to take into consideration starting with the types of studio monitors:
In very simple terms, these are monitors that you place near you, as the name says, these are probably the most popular choice among most musicians because you want to hear the music exactly how it sounds without reflections or other factors that can bounce the sound waves around so if you’re talking about a monitor for your studio then this is probably your best choice.
These are not your home studio type of monitors but are used in large recording studios where they got the acoustics right, eg a flat room with no distractions. It’s not that you can afford it anyway as these monitors are extremely high priced, literally running into the thousands of dollars so if you don’t have any grandiose plans of starting your own label this is definitely over the top.
Active vs Passive
There is only one difference between those two and that is that first has an amplifier built-in while the second depends on an external amplifier. It’s needless to say that the passive ones are more affordable, that is if you already have a great amplifier. However, if you have trouble mixing the right equipment I definitely recommend you purchase a studio monitor with an amplifier built-in for the optimal results as the manufacturer knows how to mix and match it better than you do.
Studio monitors consist of three main components which are tweeters, woofers, and ports to funnel the sound through. I think I don’t need to explain that tweeters provide the high-pitch sounds in a range of 2k to 20k Hz, while woofers provide the bass from 40 to 5000 Hz, anyone that’s a little familiar with music should know this already so my apologies if this starts to look like a noob guide.
Now that we discussed some of the most important features that you want to take into account let’s look at some popular studio monitors that are of a high-quality yet affordable enough for your home studio, starting with:
JBL Professional 305P
JBL stands for quality, we all know that, and their entry-level model, the 305P is although its extremely low price the ultimate choice for amateur home studios and the price is what reveals that fact at only $129 at the time of writing. Keep in mind this is the price for just one monitor, and you probably want at least two of them.
I should mention that it comes in three sizes, 5, 6, and 8 inches, and the largest model is about twice as expensive. With studio monitors the larger the monitor the more volume it can produce so, that’s handy to know of course. The frequency ranges from 43Hz to 24Khz, while the larger models start at 39 and 37Hz respectively, you need some pretty good ears to hear the difference between that.
With a continuous output of 92 decibels and a peak volume of 110 dB, it’s plenty to drive your neighbors crazy. JBL also gives it a power test of 100 hours to ensure there aren’t any flaws and as such you’re pretty much guaranteed that you can use it for years to come.
Pioneer Pro DJ
Another top brand that made it to Amazon and priced exactly the same as the model from JBL, however, it comes in a set of two and it’s only available in one size. You can choose between the white or the black edition so that’s a personal taste kind of thing. You can imagine that Pioneer isn’t able to provide the same sound quality as JBL at only half the price and there are no options to upgrade so if you want to know my personal recommendation I would go for the 305P from JBL.
However, if you are truly short on budget and have no idea if music is really your thing you can consider this absolute bargain set from Pioneer and still analyze your music like a semi-pro. The frequency runs from 70Hz to 30000 Hz which is rather surprising though for the quality it’s important it starts at the lowest frequency possible so you can see that JBL is once again beating this cheap model.
Summing It Up
If you want true quality you don’t go to Amazon for this kind of equipment but go to a retail store that’s specialized in this equipment so they can advice you on all the ins & outs so this is purely a guide for the amateur/wannabee musician.