If you’re building your own recording studio or have come to replace some of your recording studio gear, you likely are seeing a range of prices including some studio monitors being as costly as $100,000.
Now, do you need studio monitors worth $100,000 – of course not! That said, there’s a reason studio monitors can be so expensive. For as much of an art as writing a song or producing a track is, to get it on record, you rely just as much on science as you do art. High quality studio monitors comes down to science. For that reason, a cheap studio can get by on $30,000 or less and the world’s greatest music studios can range up to $3 million or more.
Monitors are so valuable because they are what you’re testing your mix on. You want speakers that are going to give you an accurate sound, with everything you designed and mixed in readily there. If you’re mixing on cheap headphones, first off, you’re not going to hear all the frequencies that are there. Also, they’re nowhere near as well calibrated as proper studio monitors will be, meaning you have an incomplete picture of how your work actually sounds like.
Expensive studio monitors is not going to make your art any better. If you’re a top songwriter, singer, rapper, or producer, you’re going to create art regardless of the equipment you have. That said, from a technical standpoint, that’s where the difference is. Fortunately, the more expensive the studio monitors are, that doesn’t always equate to quality. There are plenty of pretty good monitors available at lesser cost. That said, there aren’t going to be any “excellent” monitors at anything less than thousands of dollars. To this point, the high cost of studio monitors is easily justifiable as they’re one of the most important elements of a recording studio.
$100,000 studio monitors are coming with hours of labour behind them. They’ve been tested and calibrated just right. They’ve been equipped with all the necessary parts to ensure they’re top quality. They’ve been worked on by the best engineers, the best machinery, and when you receive yours, you don’t need to worry about how they’re going to sound because you’ll already be sure they’re good to go. Not everyone’s going to go for a high price point on studio monitors but among those who do invest, they do so because they know they’re getting quality.
Cheap monitors are built cheap and even at their best, they’re always going to be cheap. They’re usually improperly or lazily calibrated, and only have rudimentary or automated checks prior to shipping. They’re made with cheap parts, they’re not going to last as long, and they’re not given anywhere near the same attention.
Again, you don’t need $100,000 studio monitors to make great art. In fact, in many cases, $4,000 monitors or less will do just as well, especially among beginner producers or inexperienced ears. Regardless, on expensive high-end studio monitors, it’s just easier to get music done from a technical standpoint. For this reason, the top producers in the last fifty years across every genre – hip hop, pop, EDM, rock, and country – are using high-end monitors usually in the range of $10,000-$100,000 in multi-million dollar studios. Check out our article on Barefoot Monitors.