Any successful product or engineer understands the importance of having a reliable set of studio monitors in their workspace. While good monitors won’t determine the overall quality of your work, they can make mixing or composing a more fluid and enjoyable process. Good studio monitors are less harsh on the ear than regular speakers, which is ideal for anyone who needs to listen to something for long periods of time actively. Today we’ve compiled a list of some of the best studio monitors on offer to help improve your home recording environment. The list includes items to suit any budget and for any level of experience.
KRK Rokit 5 G3
The G3 series by KRK is probably one of the more instantly recognizable monitors on the market. KRK’s signature aesthetic certainly contributed to the popularity of the monitors, and their yellow ringed speakers are easy to identify in production videos or tutorials.
These monitors emit a fantastic balanced tone and cover a frequency range from 40 Hz to 42 kHz. The monitors pack around 145 watts of power, which is enough for the average bedroom producer setup. Quite possibly, the most helpful feature that sets these monitors apart is the graphic EQ fitted in the speaker housing. The visualizer gives essential real-time feedback on your signal’s frequency response for easy reference while mixing or composing. Purchase of the monitors also acquires you with some great software that helps optimize speaker performance by analyzing the dimensions of your room. While they may not be the first choice for top-tier recording studios, the KRK’s offer a very competitive quality for a reasonably accessible price.
Yamaha is one of the go-to brands for reliable, affordable music production gear and instruments. Over the last few decades, they’ve become a household name and have built some fantastic guitars, keyboards, headphones, and other equipment. Their HS8 studio monitors are wonderfully crafted and offer above-average audio feedback at a fraction of the price.
These monitors are the perfect entry-level purchase for aspiring engineers and producers. One of the key components in their design is their unique mounting system – a fitting that eliminates any excessive vibration on the speaker housing. With 70 watts of power, they’re just strong enough to use in a medium-sized control room and may need some backup when mixing bass-heavy music. The HS8’s are a consistent feature in many sound engineering institutions as they are durable and generate a clear, reliable stereo image in most mixing environments.
Neumann KH 120
Most experienced engineers and singers may be familiar with the Neumann brand, thanks to their spectacular microphones. But some may be surprised to find out they also manufacture a small range of other audio equipment. The KH 120’s are one of Neumann’s best-kept secrets, and they’re a welcome fit for most studios from home to professional.
The KH 120’s feature a unique bi-amp powering system that easily generates up to 100 watts of power. Two amplifiers minimize the load placed on your monitors over time and reduce the chance of overheating substantially. These monitors easily reach around 52 Hz, which should be significantly low-end for the everyday mixing environment. All the pristine electronic work put into the KH 120’s come housed in a low resonance aluminum casing, which means they can endure a knock or two before experiencing any significant wear and tear. Sturdy, clean, and punchy, these monitors are an excellent choice for home recording situations.
Focal Twin6 Be
The Twin 6 BE’s by focal might be the most innovative and attractive studio monitors on this list, which is understandable as they’re manufactured specifically for high-end recording spaces. Not just a pretty face, these speakers feature a unique three-way driver system that has raised the bar on monitor design.
While most monitors use a single speaker cone to handle the bass and mid-range of their playback, the Twin 6 BE’s come with independent speakers for each frequency range. There is a third tweeter in addition to the two primary cones and collectively generates an incredibly crisp, clear flat frequency response that is ideal for any mixing environment. The combination of the designated speakers translates to an even speaker tone that is never excessively boomy, even in rooms with little to no acoustic treatment. Focal speakers may cost a considerable amount more than other monitors, but they are well worth the investment and should last you well beyond their given warranty.
Hedd Audio Type 20 MK2
Ask any sound lecturer, seasoned engineer, or experienced studio musician what studio monitors are on their bucket list, and almost always, the Type 2’s by Hedd Audio will come up. The somewhat playful aesthetic that these monitors carry makes them easy to underestimate, but they are worth every dollar of their considerable asking price.
These speakers work with a 3-way driver system that includes an interesting Air Motion transformer that exclusively manages the tweeter. The amplifiers in these monitors can generate an impressive 900 watts of power, which is more than double the average power needed for sufficient mix purposes. Quick switches are placed at the back of each monitor that shelf out specific mid-range frequencies to help you tailor the speaker feedback to your room. The MK2’s come with installation software that includes an incredible linear phase technology to ensure that your mixes are crystal clear regardless of your mix environment.
One can make a few shortcuts and compromises when setting up your home recording environment, but it’s highly recommended to invest in a quality pair of studio monitors. The monitors listed above should give most engineers and producers the scope they require for consistent quality mixes. Make sure to physically test out any monitors you wish to buy before making a final purchase, and ask for advice from professionals if you’re unsure which monitors are best for you. Thanks for reading through our list of the top studio monitors for home recording.