Whether you have set up a professional recording studio in your home or are simply looking for an authentic recording experience within the comfort your own home, a studio monitor shall inevitably be an essential part of your tech haven. Because studio monitors have such a significant impact on your recording experience, it is important to gain a deep understanding of how they work and what you need to bear in mind while looking for one.
What is the studio monitor?
Monitors play an important role in the sound output in the recording process. We will delve into the science of it a little further down, albeit briefly, but essentially, they are devices that are designed and crafted to reproduce an audio input as accurately and transparently as possible.
The reason they are an indispensable part of any recording studio is that monitors make sure that whatever audio you record is not altered, filtered, or modified in any way, when you play it back. The idea is to ensure that you hear exactly what you recorded so that you have can evaluate the quality of the input without having to worry about innate discrepancies, errors or biases.
Monitors vs. speakers
It should be made clear, that monitors and speaker are very different. While both devices are responsible for producing an audio output, a monitor is different in the way it produces it.
Unlike regular speakers, monitors produce what is known as a linear phase response. This means that when the audio output has no extra base or treble. On the other hand, conventional speakers, for technical and commercial reasons, alter the output to compensate for the loss in quality the results from poor acoustic environments or inadequate woofer size so that it still sounds pleasing to the untrained ear.
When you buy a studio monitor, what you are really investing in, is accuracy and authenticity. There are two inherent problems in the way we consume music. Firstly, no speaker, as we now know, produces sound transparently and inadequacy of woofers is a common problem from a technical standpoint. Secondly, almost all the settings we usually listen to music in are poor acoustic environments.
Recording on conventional speakers will only allow you to make a pleasing mix for the particular set of speakers you own. Meanwhile, recording on a monitor will allow you to create a satisfying mix, from an unbiased standpoint, minimizing the chances of variation on other output devices.
Types of studio monitors
Active vs. Passive Monitors
Active monitors come with an inbuilt amplifier. The key feature of an active monitor is its active crossover which gives it plug-and-play capabilities. This is suitable for home studios since it minimizes the hassle of having to connect various components, while also being more cost efficient in the long run.
Passive monitors, on the other hand, are not as easy to use but have more room for versatility. Being able to decide exactly what amplifier and crossover equipment to use, gives you much more control over the final product.
Near-Field vs. Far-Field
Near-field monitors are smaller in size and are placed closer to you, allowing you to hear clear and uninterrupted output, which makes them suitable for home studios.
Far-field monitors, on the other hand, are larger and placed in further away. Even though they are able to handle louder volumes, the downside is that the sound will reverberate across the room.
Things to consider before buying
There are numerous affordable studio monitors for home usage available on the market today, but you will need to find the one that fits your specific requirements. Here is some aspect you should consider before buying a studio monitor.
The power of your monitor, rated in Watts, should vary according to the size of your home studio. Larger rooms require monitors with higher power ratings and vice versa.
Size is also related to the size of your studio, as well as how you plan on placing them in the room. In small spaces, smaller monitors might work better than larger ones.
The frequency range of your monitor, measured in hertz, will be determined by the kind of recordings you plan on producing. You must check to see if the frequency range of the monitor you are eyeing suits your requirements.
Cabinets form the immediate physical environment of your monitor and have a direct effect on the monitor’s performance. Closed cabinets made of a sturdy material are most suitable for maintaining the transparency of the output.
Isolation pads are the most economical way to acoustically isolate your monitor from surfaces it is in contact with. They restrict the transmission of vibrations to and from the monitor, thereby, helping to maintain the quality of the response.
Acoustic treatment of the recording environment can be done in a number of ways. The primary objective is to stops sound from bouncing around, by applying absorbent materials onto wall surfaces.
Thoughtfully purchasing your own studio monitor will not only make the recording experience more enjoyable but also take your work to the next level. With the insight provided here, we hope to help you understand your own needs better, so as to make an informed choice that proves fruitful in the long run.
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