Studio monitors are speakers or a speaker system most used into recording studios, mixing, mastering, radio, TV, and more. The sound engineer shapes the sound depending on what he hears in his audio monitors, making sure that the audio material can be heard properly on any audio system or as many audio systems.
Studio monitors can be active or passive .
Active monitors have integrated an amplifier specifically built for them and they often are bi – amplified , this mean the monitors can have separate amplifier for each speaker , depending on the frequency range rendered by that speaker. The advantages are that you do not need a separate amplifier for them. The signal from the mixer or your sound board (audio interface) is perfect to send it directly to the monitors.
Passive monitors not have integrated any amplifier , so for them you need a separate amplifier . The advantages are that you can put any amplifier, and you can change it if you want with something better , you can combine any monitor with any amp . A disadvantage is an extra space occupied in the studio, and the output signal line must go to the amplifier , then the amplifier cables go to monitors.
Monitors can be with bass – reflex or closed , those with bass – reflex have a hole where the air is pushed through that orifice . Both types of monitors sound good on low frequencies, but there will be some differences. Choose them according to your needs and preference.
Also, an important element when using studio monitors is the room acoustics. This will have a large influence on what you hear in the monitors, because you will not only hear what comes out of the monitors but also direct reflections of the walls of the room. Therefore you have some information about the acoustic treatment.
Some monitors are placed close to the sound engineer, other at a long distance, or average, “nearfield” and “close field”.
A good way is to place each studio monitor on a special support that will be symmetric with walls on the long sides of the room.
Vertical or horizontal positioning of monitors is based on the manufacturer’s specifications. A bad positioning can lead to a degradation of the stereo image, and then the final mix will not be the at a good quality.
A studio room must be treated with absorption panels that absorb much of the sound that reaches them, and reflecting a (very) small part of it, trapping bass (bass traps) used in corners of the room to absorb the low frequencies especially bass accumulates in corners, diffusion panels, which dissipate sound, it scatters in different directions, but does not reflect such as a straight wall.
This article is intended as a starting guide for purchasing a pair of studio monitors and do a basic acoustic treatment of the studio room. I recommend reading the reviews for various monitors. It’s useful to listen to several models before choosing a pair / set.
For acoustic treatment I recommend you to study articles, books, and specialty materials for more details. Talk to people who have already done this and you can learn from them.