Having a studio monitor at home is the next best thing for your ears. Maybe you are asking yourself what it is for, because you already have a set of headphones for listening purposes. However, let me tell you that if your goal is becoming a pro; then, you should start to investing on a studio monitor to listen to your mix. Here’s how to choose the best studio monitors to producing amazing tracks for your home recording studio.
When I first started mixing songs, the only means I had in my hand was money to buy for a cheap pair of headphones. In fact, here’s the picture of my very first headphone today.
Don’t be fooled by the looks of it. The Superlux HD-660 still does the job for me. I use this as my reference headphones when I need to check any resonance or issues that I am hearing from the tracks. The only downside of using this trusty old pair is the crumbling peels of the leather pads that actually stick to the sides of your face. It is quite annoying.
I know some of you have a very simple home studio set up and I bet some started with their old computer or laptop and some headphones as well. That’s nothing to be ashamed of, actually. I always take pride with my humble beginnings, and you should, too. However, at some point in time, you also need to open your ears up. How do you open your ears to sound frequencies with your headphones?
It helps, but…
You really need studio monitors.
My good old pair of headphones…
What’s the Need for Studio Monitors?
Studio monitors produces sound transparently compared to headphones as headphones tend to emit sound closely to your ears. What does this mean to you?
This means that your two ears hear the sound from the headphones exactly at the same time. This way your perspective on what you hear comes from inside your head, instead from your forefront. With headphones, panning instruments will sound wider than it is, and other effects such as reverbs and delays will appear wider and deeper to you. So, at the back of your head, you are asking now what’s wrong with headphone mixing?
Are Headphones Bad to Your Ears?
It is not. The good thing about mixing with headphones is that you hear every detail. But, the problem with this is that you can easily misjudge your mixes and your perspective on what you hear may not actually be true.
Just by mixing with headphones, your brain tricks you to think that you already have enough reverb or delays on your vocals, or the stereo field is already wide. And I have been a victim to that several times. That’s the main reason why I was always asked why my first mixes had too much reverb when in fact, I thought it didn’t have much.
There were two YouTube collaborations I had that made me start doubting about my job. Both asked me what was up with the reverb. When I went back to listen to the mix using just crappy speakers, the reverb was glaring right at me.
And that’s the start of my AHA moment!
So, I am sharing with you three factors you need to look at in choosing the best studio monitors:
How Big the Environment Is
Size Matters. When choosing the best studio monitor for your home studio, the first step is to check the size of your room. Most home recording studio rooms are quite small compared to the commercial ones, so it means that the size of the studio monitor depends on the size of the room. This means small room equals to a small studio monitor. Big room means big studio monitors.
How Much Money You Have
This is one of the first factors to consider when buying your gear. Since you already know at this time the size of the monitors that you need to buy, then the next question is – your budget. A good pair of powered monitors ranges from a few hundred dollars up to more than a thousand dollars.
As a rule of thumb, do not spend more than you cannot afford. If you have a lot of money, good for you. However, even with that amount of money you have, you still need to consider buying a studio monitor based on your production needs, not wants. Of course, we all want the most expensive pair of monitors for our set up. But, at a lower price point, you can already get a speaker that sounds amazing. What you need to do is do a lot of researching on the prices and types on the particular size of the speaker. Reviews will help you determine the right speakers for your home studio set up.
Hey, don’t forget to check out the Resources where you can see my home studio gears. You may want to start there for your research.
Buy the Best Studio Monitors and Get to Work
Once you’re done with your diligent research, go ahead and purchase what you have chosen. Then, use and abuse it. Simple.
At the end of the day, all home music producers listen to different pairs of headphones, different pairs of studio monitors, and different types of gear. The most important principle that you need to live by when it comes to music production is Less is More.
Less is more means that do with what is available to you. Use that one studio monitor you bought and start mixing your tracks. Your ears are far more important than your gear. You must train to open your ears to frequencies, practice daily mixing, spend 10,000 diligent hours on honing your craft.
There are a lot of specifications that you must know in buying studio monitors. That’s why you need to spend time in research. You are not limited by whatever gear you have. Your limitless possibilities lie on what you can do and produce from your tools in your home studio.