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Audio Interface

As I mentioned before, there are two types
of audio monitors, passive and active.
by Joe Schlicht

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

Active monitors mean that the speakers are powered...

There is a built in amplifier within the speaker, so you don't have to worry about matching and wiring an amp to the speaker for optimal sound.

The manufacturers of the monitors have done the hard work for you with their R&D to provide the best sounding amp to be paired with the respective monitor. This takes all of the guesswork out of which amp to choose and takes away the hassle of wiring, bi-wiring, and using crossovers.

On some of the higher end monitors you may see the term "bi-amped." This simply means there are two amps inside an active monitor. One amp to power the woofer or mid driver and one amp to power the tweeter.

These monitors will also have built in electronic crossovers that act like gates and sends the lower frequencies to the woofer amp and the higher frequencies to the tweeter amp. This is ideal because the workload is divided between 2 dedicated amps vs. 1 amp taking all of the load. The result is a monitor with more headroom and less distortion, which translates to a more accurate sound.

So in short my advice is to spend as much as you can afford on monitors and when you shop, try them out and compare and contrast. Some stores I have been to have many pairs of monitors hooked up on a wall and have a switching device that allows you to choose different monitors from the same source (Usually a CD player).

When shopping, I would recommend you bring some of your own mixes on a CD to the store to try and see how they sound and translate.

You may want to deliberately mix something that is a little bass shy or bass heavy and make another mix that you think is ideal just to put the monitors through their paces and see how they handle those mixes.

Most of the critical mixing is done in the midrange, so listen to monitors that give you clear mids.

One monitor I have tried and like is the DynAudio B5s. They seem to represent a good spectrum having very clear mids.

Also make the sure the audio monitors have the connections you need, or you may need to buy special cables or converters to accommodate the monitor outs of your mixing board or audio interface.

Most audio interfaces have an RCA unbalanced output for monitors, but the higher end devices have balanced XLR output connections, and most mid to high level monitors include both balanced and unbalanced inputs.

Other monitors I have auditioned include KRKs, ADAMs, and EVENTS. These are pretty good choices as well, but I felt stronger about the DynAudios, at least for now.

What is your experience with audio monitors? Do you have a Tip, Trick, or Tweak you'd like to share? Email us. We'd love to hear from you!

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