If you play folk music and you have a home studio, you need the best studio monitor speakers for folk musicians, right? After all, paying for a professional studio to record your demo could cost you around $30 to $100 an hour. Not many people can afford that, and even if you can, having a set up in your own home where you can record any time you like has major perks.
And keep in mind that it takes well over an hour just to lay down one track, so a pro recording cost will quickly add up and get out of control.
Whether you are just getting into home recording, or you are already an expert, keeping up with the latest trends and the newest equipment can be tough. Considering the leaps and bounds technology takes, you certainly don't want to miss out on something new if it's going to be the best equipment for the job.
Folk music is a little different than other types of music like EDM or hard rock. However, since the primary job of any studio monitor speaker is to give the flattest most uncolored representation of the music possible -- people's favorite speakers tend to work well across all genres. On the whole, whether you are editing, mixing, recording, or mastering audio, you need to do it on a system that will allow you to hear the music as precisely as possible.
Regular speakers generally have tweaks to their internals to create a deeper, more vibrant sound. Listening to the track played flat on decent studio monitor speakers allows you to play with different elements of the recording and raise and lower the volume on those as you see fit. You can find different nuances and subtle sounds using these speakers, which translates to a much fuller, more vibrant end-product.
Before we dig in, there are a few things you need to understand concerning stereo monitor speakers. First, let's talk about active versus passive monitors. An active monitor is one that has the amplifier built right into the speaker itself. Conversely, if you choose a passive monitor, you will need to purchase and hook up an additional amp or crossover the whole system. We only included active monitors.
Secondly, let's talk about the cabinet, or housing, of the speakers. A vast majority of stereo monitor speakers on the market have ported cabinets. A ported cabinet allows the speaker to lower the frequency response for a bass boost. If you get a closed cabinet, that won't be an option. However, a closed cabinet will ultimately be more sonically precise. Although this may be true and closed speakers are more accurate, a lot of artists and studios prefer a ported cabinet so they can hear that bass.
With your studio monitor speakers, the system's handling of the power counts for more than just volume. Overall, the total wattage of a system will have a significant impact on both the dynamic range of your sound as well as the "headroom" you have before your signals peak. So, while you won't get a huge jump in volume if you go from a 50-watt to a 100-watt system, your headroom increases substantially.
Of course, you may have already noticed that there are a ton of technical terms when it comes to items like studio monitor speakers. First, speaker size does not describe the size of the whole product, but the size of the speaker itself. A larger speaker will allow you to hear more depth of sound as well as increase the volume. However, your needs depend mainly upon the size of the room you plan to use.
Nearfield is another term you will hear. Nearfield is the description of the range of frequencies the monitor is capable of reproducing. Generally, a nearfield monitor is not capable of producing much in the way of low frequencies. Considering folk music isn't overly bass heavy, a nearfield monitor should suit your needs perfectly. However, keep in mind that you can always add a subwoofer later on if you need more bass in your life.
You will sometimes see the term, "dual amplifiers," or "bi-amplify," or even, "tri-amped." Every monitor will have at least a couple of different outputs, or drivers (tweeter versus woofer). Generally, there's a driver for highs and mids and another for lows. Depending on the brand, each monitor will have a different amplifier for each of those outputs.
Finally, you will see the term "frequency range," and "frequency response." Frequency range is the entire range of frequencies that the audio gear can reproduce or transmit. Frequency response is the "frequency range versus the amplitude." In other words, the frequency response means that the already known frequency range will be "reproduced within the specified range of levels," give or take three decibels.
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We can't possibly include all the technical terms here, unfortunately, or we would never get to the best studio speakers. Don't fret; there's a whole guide online.
So that you know we did our homework, here's how we found the studio monitor speakers we included on our list. First, we located every professional review we could find to see what's popular in the industry. Second, we researched what the best-selling speakers are currently. After that, we checked those items against real customer reviews.
We made sure to include speakers at many different price points to fit in any number of different budgets. Additionally, please keep in mind that these speakers are generally sold one at a time. However, usually, you can find a bundle deal where you can get two. These items are in no particular order.
First, we have the budget-friendly JBL 3 Series MkII. JBL packed these particular studio monitor speakers with exciting new tech at an affordable price point. They added a revolutionary Image Control Waveguide which offers the end-user stunning detail as well as a wide "sweet spot." These come in several speaker sizes -- 305P MkII, 306P MkII, and 308P MkII.
Second on our search to find you the best studio monitor speakers is the Yamaha HS Series. Overall, the difference between the regular HS5 and the HS5I is that on the I model, there are mounting points on four of its surfaces. The stats we included below are for the model HS7.
Third on our search for the best studio monitor speakers is the budget-friendly KRK Rokit Powered G4 Series. KRK reports the company has sold over one million of the monitors in this series. Available in this series is the Rokit 4 G3, Rokit 5 G3, Rokit 6 G3, and the Rokit 8 G3. They are all active two-way monitors with a glass-aramid composite woofer. For our purposes, the rest of the stats below pertain to the Rokit 5 G4.
Fourth, we have the Neumann KH 120 A G EU. This studio monitor speaker is one on the list that has a price point that's pretty up there. Of course, the specs below will show you that if you have the dough, this monitor is packed full of goodies.
Finally, we round out our list of amazing studio monitor speakers with the Adam Audio AX Series. Of course, last certainly does not mean least. In this series, you can find the A3X, the A5X, the A7X, and the A8X. However, if you want to step it up and you need a subwoofer, the company also has the A77X available. The A77X combines the features from the entire series. The specs below are for the A7X.
It's easy to see that there are a ton of options out there. So, finding the best studio monitor speakers for your setup should now be a breeze. Of course, you don't have to go with one from our list. Though, make sure you read the reviews on whatever you select otherwise, as there are some bad monitors on the market.
No matter which one you select, we hope you have many successful hours of recording and mastering ahead of you, and we wish you the best of luck on your musical journey. And from those of us that don't play, and only listen while we write -- thank you.