Are Studio Monitors Good for Listening to Music?

You finally bought a pair of studio monitors. Nice! Although you probably bought them for mixing, mastering and/or music production, you might ask “are studio monitors good for listening to music?”.

The answer is yes… but it depends. (Depends? what do you mean?)

There are some things to consider so let’s go into further into detail on the subject.

Quick Recommendation – A Studio monitor we immediately recommend is the KRK Rokit 7 G4 Studio Monitors (Pair). Really affordable and nice!

Okay… let’s continue talking about studio monitors 😎

What are studio monitors primarily used for?

Studio monitors are primarily used as speakers in a music studio. The goal is for the studio monitors to reproduce the audio coming from a digital or analog source as accurately as possible. This means that the frequency response of most monitors is “flat”.

With this in mind, some audio enthusiasts/producers/engineers prefer some monitors over others due to quality, music application and frequency response.

Check out this short video to learn more about frequency speaker response

What are regular home Speakers used for?

Regular home speakers are designed to be used solely for listening and enjoying music.  Because of this, the frequency response of these speakers have been modified by the manufacturers to sound really good and pleasing to the ear.

This modification in exchange for a “nice sounding sound” means that the sound coming from the home speaker is not accurate and a song you are listening to may sound completely different in a car or your headphones. Some of these speakers have heavy compression/limiting built in to protect the speaker from getting way too loud. This can create a pumping effect with home speakers that aren’t that great.

RELATED: Audio Interfaces: The Definitive Guide

Regardless, home speakers usually sound really good and pleasing to the average listener.

Why are there so many studio monitors out there?

As you have probably noticed, there are many studio monitors out there to choose from! The reason for this is because many of these speakers sound different on purpose because thats how the manufacturers wanted it.

Each manufacturer has a specific goal in mind for how they want their monitors to sound. Some of these monitors are bass heavy, some sound boxy and others sound crisp and clear in the high frequencies.

Many people prefer a bass heavy studio monitor like the KRK Rokit 6, while others prefer a “flatter” sound like the Yamaha HS8s.

These 2 speakers give a completely different sound when you listen carefully because the producer/engineer/audio enthusiast wanted to hear that specific (“flat” vs “bass heavy”) modification when listening.

In specific instances like mixing, most mix engineers would lean towards the Yamaha speakers because their goal is to create a clean sound that will sound great everywhere (car, ear phones, etc).

In music production, a lot of music producers like bass heavy speakers like the KRK series because we all know that everyone loves bass! It just sounds deep and exciting to the listener and at times, thats all the inspiration thats needed to get the music producer going on to the next idea and the next one.

Fun Fact – The “pros” usually have multiple monitors hooked up to a device like the PreSonus Monitor Station V2. This allows someone to instantly switch between monitors for a different sound instantly. Maybe this is something you want to look into…

Whats the difference between studio monitors and home speakers?

There are some key differences between studio monitors and home speakers so lets talk about the highlights below.

Studio Monitors

  • Accurate Sound. Like we learned earlier above, the goal of studio monitors is to reproduce an accurate sound. They accomplish this by being made to have as flat of a frequency response as possible. Depending on your use case, you can purposely get monitors that are bass heavy or have very crisp highs. Regardless though, even if the other speakers have a frequency bump, its not like regular home speakers
  • Designed to be listened at short distance. A lot of studio monitors are called “near field” monitors because they are designed to be listened at a short distance from your ears. (Around 3-6 feet, but it depends on the monitor). Listening at short distances allows the stereo imaging to be perfect and not out of shape.
  • Power. Some studio monitors require an external source of power like an amplifier, while most include the power internally so it just needs to be plugged into an outlet. In most instances, the power requirements of a studio monitor is greater than your typical home speakers

Typical Home Speakers (including Hi-Fi speakers)

  • Exaggerated sound. The manufacturers of these speakers have an agenda in mind and thats for the speakers to “sound extremely good”. The highs and lows on these speakers usually sound very exaggerated to the trained ear. This kind of frequency curve makes it sound good which means more sales! You won’t get an accurate sound this way.
  • Designed to be listened at any distance. Many of these Home speakers are either stereo or mono but it’s designed to be listened at any distance which means that the stereo information doesn’t really matter when listening unless you specifically set it that way.
  • Power. You don’t have to worry about an external amplifier or anything of the sort with more home speakers. The power supply is usually internal and allows you to plug into a wall or power brick.

Speaker Recommendations

Incase you wanted to pick up some, here are some studio monitors that we recommend. We have tested these and can assure you that these sound amazing.

Sale
Yamaha HS7 7-Inch Powered Studio Monitor Pair
  • 43Hz - 30kHz frequency response
  • XLR and TRS phone jack inputs accept balanced or unbalanced signals
  • 60W LF plus 35W HF bi-amp system for high-performance 95W power amplification
  • XLR and TRS phone jack inputs accept balanced or unbalanced signals
  • Bundles includes a pair of two monitors
KRK Rokit 7 G4 Studio Monitor Speaker Bundle - Pair
  • 7" Powered Near-Field Studio Monitor
  • Matching Kevlar Drivers
  • DSP-driven Onboard EQ with Visual LCD
  • Scientifically Designed Enclosure
  • Custom Class D power amplifier

So… Are Studio Monitors Good for Listening to Music?

Yes, studio monitors are excellent when it comes to listening to music, however there are certain things to keep in mind if your sole purpose is to just listen to music.

Although they sound great, if you are just using studio monitors for listening purposes, they might be too expensive for that use case.

It’s best to get studio monitors if you know that you are going to be doing other things with it (like mixing, mastering, production etc.) versus just getting them specifically for listening.

Plus if you get them specifically just to listen, keep in mind that you will have to be sitting within the stereo field of the speakers to get a great stereo image.

On the other hand, regular home speakers are designed for enjoyable listening anywhere. The manufacturers know this so they are designed a specific way for this.

Although you can sit anywhere in your room and listen to great music on a stereo speaker, the trade off is… you wont get as accurate of a sound as intended due to these speakers’ frequency being designed in a way to sound more pleasing to the ear.

Hope this explanation was helpful. Let us know in the comments below!

Last update on 2021-04-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

1 thought on “Are Studio Monitors Good for Listening to Music?”

  1. Yes studio monitors maybe more expensive. But you do not have to buy an amplifier an in some cases can even do without a preamp. I have used active studio monitors quite a lot(Tannoy,Fostex,Focal) and love the direct, immediate sound.

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