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Audio Monitors

Did you know that your audio monitor set is one
of the most important components to your
home recording studio?
by Joe Schlicht

Audio Monitors are essentially specialized reference speakers that allow you to hear what you have recorded and mixed. You need a good pair of monitors to give you an accurate mix that will translate well to other listening systems.

For the sake of this article I will talk about near field monitors designed to be in smaller home and project studios.

Like other components to your studio, there are many options within a wide price range. And like the old saying goes - you get what you pay for. It is highly recommended that you spend as much money on your monitors as your budget will allow.

You will run in to fewer problems and be more efficient with your mixes on a good pair of monitors.

Keep in mind when you audition a different audio monitor set, that it's not always the ones that sound best (or Hi-Fi) that are going to give you the best mix. Unlike your home stereo you are buying these monitors as a tool to do a job - that is to create the best possible mix that will translate well to other listening systems.

For example, if you listened to a pair of monitors that sounded very good with a lot of bass, to your ears they might be ideal. In your studio your ideal mix might even sound good through those bass heavy speakers, but the bass might be weak in your car stereo.

What you thought was an appropriate amount of bass frequencies in your mix was due to the bass heavy speakers...

There are two types of monitors.
They are Passive and Active.

Passive monitors simply mean that they need to be powered by an external amplifier much like your home stereo system. This can get a little complicated because different amps will sound different with different speakers.

In addition you will need to buy speaker cable and interconnects to run from your preamp or mixing board to the power amp. Sometimes you may need to incorporate a crossover, which may complicate your setup.

Passive monitors are now less common these days and replaced by the much more favorable active monitors.

Next, I'm going to talk in detail about the more popular active monitors.

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