The 10 best studio monitors.
This will help beginners figure out what pair of studio monitors are right for them. Items are judged by popularity among consumers, and personal experience.
If you can scrape up the money and find a pair of these in near perfect working condition, then I recommend you buy them before forking out money for any other pair of speakers. These legends aren't bass heavy, they don't have any knobs, they honestly didn't even sound as good as hey are cracked up to be. But one thing they do is translate a mix, if you want to know what your mix is going to sound like on pretty much anything, then run it through these speakers and get back to me in the morning. They are brutally honest speakers with a relatively flat frequency response, and when you turn them, up they do their job better than most at staying accurate and clear. These speakers are a must-have for any audiophile or musician.
Priced just right at $340 USD, the Yamaha HS8 is a classic sounding speaker that will forever be judged as the one that didn't quite sound as good as the Yamaha NS10. At a total of 120-Watts of amplification, the 8 inch cone woofers sound rich and lush. The cabinets are designed to reduce resonance and since these speakers are equipped with a low cut and a high cut, you can control what cuts through the mix at any given time. These are a pair of speakers that I recommend to anyone in music, because they are so honest and acccurate.
One word desribes these speakers, accurate. With a total of 150-Watts of amplifcation, these monitors are the perfect mix of power and quality. The molded baffle design helps with the way sound waves travel, and the cabinet features a rear port so that no audio can be heard by the result of air leaving the port. A truly revolutionary design. The only bad thing about these speakers is that they have been discontinued by Mackie for no apparent reason, and you can only find lightly to moderately used pairs on Ebay.
Presonus Eris 8
The Presonus Eris 8 has been gaining popularity due to it's wonderful audio quality and slick design. An 8 inch kevlar woofer is powered with 140 watts of Class AB amplification so that these speakers provide plenty of gain and headroom for your mixing needs. The high frequency driver is made of silk and the wide frequency response makes sure you can hear everything in your mix from top to bottom. Acoustic tuning allows you to control harmonics in your room, and helps reduce bounceback form sound hitting the walls, bouncing back, and re-vibrating your speaker dome. Priced at $249 USD each, these speakers make a great addition to any studio.
Genelec has the most expensive cans around, these puppies are priced so high, that you would expect to recieve your speaker encased in 24K gold. In all reality, these speakers truly are worth the price, with craftsmanship that surpasses many others on many different levels, these guys are in the game to stay. The Genelec 8030B is a bi-amplified monitor with a 40-Watt bass amp and a 40-Watt treble amp. What you won't find in these speakers is a whole lot of boom, but what you will find is what makes these speakers worth $800 USD a piece, sound quality that is truly second to none. It is as if everything is perfect in the mix and these speakers translate music like you would not believe. If there is something out of place in your mix, these speakers will let you know. These speakers sit on Iso-Pods, which decouple the speakers from where they sit, reducing bass absorption by your studio desk. If you have the money to fork out and you are serious about music, these are for you.
Starting at $199 USD each, these speakers are a true necessity in any studio for referencing. With a frequency range of 37Hz - 24khz they are extremely clear and the quality of the high end frequencies is astonishing. JBL’s LSR Linear Spatial Reference design criteria requires seventy-two measurements yielding more than 1,200 times more data, enabling JBL to engineer a speaker that “sounds right” in any working space. The best part? At only $400 USD for the pair, you can have profesional sound in your studio without completely breaking the bank.
Avantone Mixcubes are heralded as some of the most honest speakers ever made. There is nothing flashy about them, they aren't packed with features, they don't have massive amplification, and they surely aren't the prettiest looking things. This doesn't change the fact that these speakers reproduce your music in the most honest way possible. With a nearly flat frequency responce, these speakers allow you to hear your music unadulterated, with no coloration of your music, you get to hear it how it is meant to be heard, how it actually sounds! You can pick up a pair for arounf $470 USD, and you will be so glad you did.
Focal Alpha 50
The Focal Alpha 50 steers away from the traditional design and components used in typical studio monitors, and heads in the direction of one of a kind features and amazing connectivity. With a combined output of 105-Watts, the 6.5 polyglass cone woofer packs wuite the punch, and the speaker even has bass and treble knobs for making fine tuned adjustments. With a frequency response of 40Hz-22kHz there is plenty of high end to hear the clarity of your song, as well as a well curved low end, to prevent things from sounding muddy. These speakers even feature a automatic shut-off mode after 30 minutes of no audio signal passing through the speakers. These guys are a bit hard to find due to the fact that they are selling like hotcakes, at $299 USD each, you can own a pair of these stylish speakers that will be sure to please you.
The M-Audio M3 is a speaker for the true audiophile. These beautiful pieces of hardware deserve to be heard by musicians all over the world, as they have a rich and lush sound that is simply wonderful. A 220-Watt Tri-Amp powers these massive 8 inch kevlar woofers, and provide enough power to clearly hear your mixes, without compromising quality when pushed to the limits. These speakers also contain an onboard 3-Band EQ and low-cut filter so that you can adjust audio before it reaches your ears, this is a great addition to an already amazing set of speakers. Running at roughly $349 USD, these are an investment that you must be ready to make, and one that you will never regret.
Behringer TRUTH 3031A
Starting the list is the Behringer TRUTH 3031A. These puppies pack a whopping 285-Watt Bi Amp Module that provides enough power to anger even the most passive neighbors. They have a clean and transparent sound, and the bass response is amazing due to the kevlar woofer used in the design of these speakers. At roughly $249 USD they are a great investment if you want a powerhouse of sound in your studio. All Behringer products come with a 3 year warranty which helps enourmously if you were to have any technical problems with this set of speakers.
In reality all of these speakers are great, but none are as legendary as the Yamaha NS10 Studio Monitor.