A top-quality pair of studio monitors or speakers for recording can easily cost thousands. What you’re paying for is in the science.
If you’re building your own recording studio or have come to replace some of your recording studio gear, studio monitors and speakers may be a part of that. For recording studio equipment, you will see a range of prices, including on monitors.
There are high-quality studio monitors in some of the world’s best recording studios valued as high as $100,000. Here’s why.
Do I Actually Need Studio Monitors Worth Thousands Of Dollars?
Do you need studio monitors worth $100,000? Of course not! These are for big-time pro-level studios, typically used for mixing and mastering.
That said, there are reasons why 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 come down to science.
For that reason, a cheap professional music studio can get by on $30,000 or less in total equipment investment. However, the world’s greatest music studios can have equipment totals ranging up to $3 million or more.
Why Your Studio Monitors Are So Important To The Quality Of Sound
Studio monitors are incredibly 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 and accessible to the ear.
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.
There is a value in that, too. Some listeners will not be listening to your mix on the best speakers so finding the equivalent of some Yamaha NS-10 speakers can be helpful in testing out your mix. Discover what it sounds like on bad speakers. Re-work your mix accordingly.
What Are Studio Monitors Worth To You? From Cheap Speakers To Costly
Some musicians believe that high-quality studio monitors aren’t worth more than a few hundred dollars. After all, expensive studio monitors are not going to make your artistry any better. If you’re a top songwriter, singer, rapper, or producer, you’re going to create art regardless of the equipment you have.
There are also plenty of pretty good monitors available at lesser cost. Barefoot Sound studio monitors are an example. They don’t cost an arm and a leg, and sound great.
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.
What You Get When You Invest In Pro Studio Monitors
A pair of $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 and the best machinery.
When you receive your pair of studio monitors, you don’t need to worry about how they’re going to sound because you’ll already be sure they’re good to go.
While not everyone’s going to go for a high price point on studio monitors, among those who do invest, they do so because they know they’re getting quality. Compare this to a set of cheap monitors or used studio monitors and a trained listener can hear the difference.
Cheap monitors are built cheap. 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.
Do You Need $100,000 Studio Monitors Or Can You Get By On Less?
As much as we’ve been appreciating luxury studio monitors in this article, don’t worry. You don’t need $100,000 studio monitors to make great art. You don’t need monitors so expensive to do mixing and mastering in your recording studio.
In fact, for many modern musicians and producers, a set of $4,000 studio monitors or less will do just as well, especially among beginner producers or inexperienced ears. As an example, here are some of the best studio monitors with a rough idea of what you can expect price-wise.
Focal Shape 65
The Focal Shape 65 is the best nearfield monitor speaker type at a mid-price range. They can be easily tweaked to your room. Find them at between $1,000 and $1,200.
The M-Audio BX4 is compact and affordable with excellent low-frequency response. If you’re a fan of M-Audio, you can’t go wrong with their studio monitors which are available at $200 to $400 and are probably the cheapest you will want to go.
KRK Rokit 7 G4
The KRK Rokit 7 G4 nearfield monitor speakers are EDM-ready. They offer extremely excellent bass sounds and amazing EQ for their price point. They’re in the $700 to $900 range.
The Yamaha HS5 studio speakers deliver an iconic design that any mix engineer will appreciate. Excellent value for someone looking at a Yamaha NS-10 studio monitor alternative. They are available in the $400 to $600 range.
The Genelec 8010A monitors are a compact mid-range 2-way design monitor set with accurate frequency response inside a rugged aluminum enclosure. To buy two, you are looking at roughly $5,000 to $6,000 in total cost.
PreSonus Eris E8XT
The PreSonus Eris E8XT studio monitors are big and powerful, easy to set up, and have lots of tweaking options. Find them in the $800 to $900 range.
IK Multimedia iLoud MTM
The IK Multimedia iLoud MTM speakers are one of the best all-around home studio monitors. They’re very affordable at only $400-$600, are compact and easy to travel with, and have a built-in calibration system.
What You Need To Know About Studio Monitors – The Final Word
What every musician mixing should do is test out their mix on different speakers. Make adjustments as you go and re-test. An outstanding mix can be produced by anyone with the skill and determination to get it right.
Regardless, on expensive high-end studio monitors, it will always be easier to get music done from a technical standpoint. For this reason, the top producers in the last 50 years across every genre – from hip-hop to pop, EDM, rock, and country – are using high-end monitors usually in the range of $10,000-$100,000 in multi-million dollar studios.