There are many considerations when looking at cheap studio monitors. Whilst it's good to have easy access to expensive equipment for professional recording, an improvement in the average home studio fan's budget has meant that brands have begun to make top quality, brand name, monitor units available to people on a more frugal budget. In this article, we'll take a look at some of the more popular brands and what they have to offer you, as well as why they're so popular with the average DIYer.
If you like to experiment with mixing and mastering then you're likely to need to test out your music tracks on at least one set of headphones at some point. It's not usually a good idea to mix audio through speakers as this can distort the sound and make it seem like the music sounds tinny or distorted. A set of headphones will allow you to hear each channel clearly and minimize any problems you might have a hearing from either channel. Some good brands to look out for include Sennheiser and Creative Labs. Each manufacturer offers a wide range of headphones, with different weight sensitivity, active noise cancellation, and bass extension to suit every musician and vocalist.
Another consideration when buying cheap studio monitors is what sort of speakers and subwoofer are you going to use. Do you want a set of monitors with a solid built-in powerful amplifier? Or are you after something more lightweight, such as powered speakers? If you're going for solidly built speakers, then look for models which come with a dome or are pointed back towards you so that you can place the speaker sitting behind you while listening to music and not knocking into it. If you're looking for something lightweight, then opt for speakers which are made of metal rather than plastic.
A good bass is important if you're going for a rock style and if you're looking for that real "rock" sound, then it's best to choose a frequency response which is rated at either 3300 hz or above. Frequency response is measured in hertz. This simply means that each frequency needs to be heard individually. It should be noted that most professional studios use monitors with a frequency response of more than 4700 hertz.
A lot of the popular brand names you see on audio equipment such as speakers and amplifiers all use a bi-amp design. These are basically one unit which is powered by all three units within the set, meaning that a signal level from one speaker will be amplified and sent to the amplifier, and then on to the speakers. They are a popular choice of cheap studio monitors because they are easy to install and require little maintenance. However, it's important to remember that if you plan on using these monitors in an actual recording studio, then you'll need a professional amplifier as there are a lot of power hungry devices which can easily overload a poor quality headphone amp.
Speakers can also be used in home studios, but for many people, its best to stick with monitors when designing a sound system. Although, many people like to mix with a monitor and headphones, the fact is that with monitors, you can hear all of the instruments as well as the vocals. The reason why this is the case is because you can hear distortion and other sounds which aren't heard while listening to a mix. Cheap studio monitors don't usually have very good isolation properties and this means that a powerful electric signal can send a weak sounding instrument very loud. There's nothing worse than listening to a badly mixed recording with great vocals only to find out that it's due to poor isolation properties.
As a final point, it's important to discuss the price point of the monitor. Although, in my opinion, the price point of monitors generally reflects their quality more than anything else, there's no arguing that some expensive monitors tend to sound better than cheaper ones. To determine your price point, try comparing them on price versus sound quality or simply get a friend to listen to each pair for a few minutes. Whatever the case, don't be afraid to spend some extra money on a good pair of monitors.
In conclusion, these are the main advantages of using studio monitors with a subwoofer. They provide you with a tight and clear sound reproduction which translates into a tightly played recording. They also give you a lot of flexibility when it comes to positioning the speakers because they are easier to place on the floor than your normal speakers are. You should also know that they do a great job at blocking out other sounds in your home such as visitors or other rooms. The last advantage I'd like to make a mention of is that they are much easier to install than your normal speakers are. As long as you follow the instructions and do not overload them, they should be safe enough to use.