The Best Studio Monitors (Budget and High-end)
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An often-overlooked piece to making a great home (or any) studio is your monitors. Anyone who has spent any amount of time mixing will tell you just how far a solid pair of monitors will take you. Even if you are just starting out, learning on something that gives you the most accurate sound possible is important. Unfortunately, things like small computer speakers and earbuds just cannot give you a very accurate representation of what your hearing. That said, don’t be discouraged if that’s all you can afford, work with what you’ve got! But, when you are able and ready to take the leap to get monitors, don’t hesitate. So, without further ado, here are some of the best monitors you can buy across different price ranges.
PreSonus Eris E4.5: 199.99 (pair)
Sure, there are plenty of cheaper sets of monitors out there, but for most people looking to get the best quality for their dollar, PreSonus is a great place to start. The company has clearly put in a lot of time into making some of the best sub $200 pairs of monitors out there. All of the Eris series brings great value considering the price point. Perhaps the best pro of the Eris stuff is their accuracy. Often times you have to pay a premium for monitors that don’t color the sound, but these ones get the job done for cheap. The main issue that the E4.5 processes are it's lacking on the low-end (as in frequency) side of things. But this is fairly standard to see on monitors of this caliber. Truthfully, if you are worried about things like this, you should probably keep on moving down this list.
KRK ROKIT 5 G4: 179.00 (each)
If your budget will allow it, jumping up to the $300 to $400 range gets you into some much nicer territory sonically speaking. KRK is well respected across the industry for being great all-around monitors. In fact, the ROKIT series is currently the number one selling monitor series in the world. All this acclaim is not without reason. Thanks to features like the Kevlar drivers and aramid glass-fiber cone the ROKIT 5s sound great. In addition to these, the updated G4 run of the series brings some new and improved elements to the monitors. The main added feature of note is the LCD visual EQ on the back of the monitor. This addition makes for a very effective way to dial in the response of the speakers. All this adds up to a great choice for a very fair priced unit.
Neumann KH 120: 699.00 (each)
While quite a jump from the previous price range, spending the extra for this Neumann model may just be worth it for some people. Now, I say for some people because no, you should not run out and buy these if you're trying to build out a whole studio for $2,000. However, for those looking for the upgrade or starting with a hefty budget, the KH120s are the place to be in the range of $1,300 to $1,500 or so. Accuracy as much as the majority of people could ever need, these guys are great if you're looking to get into the mastering game. The EQ adjustments are precise and responsive to the point where these are going to be able to work for a number of different room sizes. Additionally, the aluminum cases give these Neumanns a build quality that suits the price. Without getting to outrageously expensive, the KH120s provide an excellent option for professionals who still have a family to feed.
Focal Twin6 Be: $1,979.00 (each)
Welcome to the outrageous. Although not really, considering the value that these can bring to someone with the right set of ears to match. For most of us though, these are only one to window shop. Coming at just under 4K (before tax) for a pair, the Focal Twin6 Bes is without a doubt for the rich and professionals only. There are so many facts about these that drive the price, but I will just stick to a few that stand out. Firstly, the frequency range of this Focal is 40 to 40kHz. That’s right, these actually can hear better than you could ever hope to! Additionally, these boast some of Focal's signature enhanced design elements. Things like the inverted tweeters and “W” composite cone make for a rather unique monitor even among the other several thousand-dollar units out there. This is part of why you will see the Twin6 Bes in all kinds of studios around the world.
And with that, you have a pretty wide range of the best studio monitors on the market. It shouldn’t have to be said, but keep in mind that all of these are only as good as your ears. Don’t expect to shell out several thousand dollars and automatically get great mixes. No, unfortunately, these things take a lot of time and practice on top of the financial commitment. This is why everyone has to take some time to realize what the best buy is for their situation. Figure out which pair is going to suit your budget and experience best, then don’t look back. The worst thing you can do is spend more time shopping than listening. Thanks for reading!