3 Easy Tips for Buying Studio Monitors

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3 Easy Tips for Buying Studio Monitors

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Whether you are upgrading a current pair of studio monitors or are preparing to purchase your first set, determining which monitors are best for you can be a confusing and cumbersome task. Often times, people search for the best value for their money, but are unsure what monitors they should choose. The following will provide you with some practical advice to use when choosing your pair.

1. Know Your Music:

1. Know Your Music The first thing you need to establish is what you will be using your monitors for. Will you be producing hip hop beats, pop beats, or R&b beats on the monitors? Will you be using your monitors for songwriting or recording demos? What genre(s) of music will you be working with primarily? Knowing this information is critical when choosing a set of monitors. There are a multitude of monitors to choose from each with their own unique equalization. Some monitors are more pleasing to the ear than others depending on what type of music or sounds will come through them. People who work with a lot of hip hop beats have different monitor needs than people who work with classical music. Knowing what you will use your studio equipment for will be beneficial to you in the long run.

2. Listen:

2. Listen This is probably one of the most obvious pieces of advice but it is often overlooked. Take the time to go to a music store and listen to monitors you are potentially looking to purchase. Great places to do this are Guitar Center and Sam Ash. Create a mix CD of some music that you know well. Make sure it is professionally mixed and mastered. Take this CD to the store and play it over the monitors you are interested in. Do things sound too bassy or boomy? Do the vocals hurt your ears when you listen? How do the drums hit? Ask yourself these and others questions about how the mix of the music translates through the monitors. Look for detail in the low to mid range frequencies on the songs on your CD. Listen for definition in the fingering of various live instruments (if applicable) such as electric bass or cellos.

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Also, pay attention to definition in the high frequencies of the monitors. You don't want monitors that "color" the frequency spectrum and give you an inaccurate picture of what you're hearing. A "good" sounding monitor is not always the best monitor, but a "bad" sounding monitor can help make you competitive with the industry professionals. A prime example of a "bad" sounding set of monitors are the Yamaha NS10s. In the music industry, it is widely believed that if your music sounded good on these, then your mixes would translate well on just about any stereo system. Your CD may sound great at the first listen but don't be fooled! Listen Critically.

3. Work with Your Budget:

3. Work with Your Budget Make sure you establish a budget for your purchase. No matter whether you're a seasoned engineer or just an amateur producer of pop beats, setting a budget for yourself will be extremely helpful. Establish how much you want to spend on your monitors as well as how much you are willing to invest in the acoustic treatment of your room. Having your room acoustically treated will ensure you are getting the most accurate sound out of your studio monitors. Be prepared to invest as much in your acoustic treatment as you do in your monitors. Many people fail to acoustically treat their rooms and consequently, end up getting used to inaccurate representations of sound. This can result in mixes that do not translate well to other speaker systems.

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