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Top 10 Active Studio Monitors 2017

Whether you are outfitting a professional recording studio or simply looking to maximize the excellent of your home stereo system, a pair of extremely good powered studio monitors can be indispensable. They tend toward a flat frequency response, allowing you to hear your preferred music as the artist intended, or to mix your own tunes to perfection. Our list contains options for every level of the audiophile.

Neumann KH 120 A - Active Studio MonitorKRK RP6G3-NA Rokit 6 Generation 3 Powered Studio MonitorAdam Audio A7X 2-way Studio Monitor PairMackie HR824mk2 8-inch 2-Way Studio Monitor (Single Speaker)Audioengine A5+ Premium Powered Speaker Pair (Carbonized Solid Bamboo)Yamaha HS8 Studio Monitor, BlackJBL LSR308 Studio MonitorPreSonus Eris E5 2-Way Active Studio Monitor (Single)Alesis Elevate 6 | 75-watt 6.5M-Audio AV42 | 20-Watt Compact Studio Monitor Speakers with 4-inch Woofer (Pair)

The Importance Of Quality Sound In Your Studio

Having high-quality sound in the home studio can mean the difference between the success and failure of any musical venture. In the early stages of personal recording, sound quality was a nightmare. Old reel-to-reel tape recorders produced only low quality recordings, and each reel could only be used once. The home studio of the time usually consisted of a reel-to-reel recorder and as many reels as the artist could afford. Even in the quietest rooms with no added noise, the quality was poor.

Artists today have no such issue. A recording is all done digitally, with little room for error. Even acoustic music is patched through pickups before reaching the recording software. Many takes of the same piece can be recorded until the ideal performance is realized. High-quality recordings can be created just about anywhere now. Unfortunately for recording artists, this is a bit of a double-edged sword. While it is easier than ever to create high-quality recordings, anything other than perfect sound quality is quickly disregarded by listeners. Many years ago, listeners were used to recordings with poor sound quality and would not immediately dismiss artists just because the recording was low quality.

A successful artist must pair this recording capability with an effective way to monitor changes in the sound they are creating. The capabilities of simple computer speakers are severely limited. These speakers do not have the same playback range as active studio monitors, and the end product will suffer if this is all the artist uses for reference. To achieve the highest quality sound, the best tools need to be used from start to finish.

How The Speaker Changed The Record Label


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Thanks to the creation of the modern speaker, radio waves can be harnessed and delivered to homes across America. Big band crooners of the 1930s and 40s ushered in a new era in the music industry. Singers like Frank Sinatra enjoyed popularity with adolescent girls of the day. This movement sparked new thoughts in the minds of record companies; who until this point had catered mostly to adult audiences. For the first time in history, pop trends were being steered by children rather than adults. The large record companies took control of these trends to grow their bank accounts balances.

Rather than simply being sold a record they could listen to; these adolescents were now also being sold on the experience of the pop icons themselves. From the clothing the artist wore to the way they acted and styled their hair; even the types of songs they sang were chosen to increase the star's popularity with a younger audience. This process was directly influenced by the record label supporting the artist and conveniently benefited the large record company more than anyone else. Artists were held to these conditions by their contracts. Should a musician not like the terms of the agreement, they had to either wait out the contract or suffer the consequences of breaking it.

As the record labels are set up to make the most money from complicated recording contracts, it stands to reason that this is still the current state of the popular music industry. The main focus of the mass culture is not in seeing the live performance of the recording artists; it is in the collection of a large library of records which can be played back on demand at any time.

Evolution of the Speaker


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The first amplifying speakers were not actually speakers at all; they were horns. The horns were able to amplify sound waves created by the needles of record players; though not by much. As the needles dragged across the record's surface, minute variations caused the needle to vibrate. This needle would then vibrate a metal diaphragm; pulling air into the lower end of the horn to create sound. The sound was then channeled through the horn, resonating and reverberating along its walls to amplify the sound to an acceptable level for normal use around the house.

This limited amplification was relatively short lived. In the 1920s, the first electrodynamic speaker was introduced. Electrodynamic speakers use an electromagnet and a diaphragm to create sound. The electromagnet senses electric signals; turning them into tiny movements. A copper wire surrounding the electromagnet moves in response to the magnet. These movements are then transferred to a cone diaphragm, which vibrates accordingly, expanding the sound as it travels outward.

To invent a seemingly simple speaker, one must understand sound waves, the radio, electricity, physics, and chemistry. This is why it took until the 20th century to invent an object which now seems quite common. These speakers remain the standard to this day, though with many enhancements.

One such improvement is in the invention of flat panel speakers. Looking for ways to decrease the size of a speaker box, engineers thought up the flat panel speaker. It is made of a small electromagnetic exciter which vibrates a large rectangular membrane that acts as both diaphragm and resonator. This simple style choice can make a drastic difference in size. Investors are still having difficulty vibrating the entire flat surface area while also allowing for good frequency response, which is why they have yet to see much success in the market.


#10.M-Audio AV42 | 20-Watt Compact Studio Monitor Speakers with 4-inch Woofer (Pair)


Recording engineers and producers in studios from all around the world rely on M-Audio monitors. Now, with the AV42 monitors, you can enjoy the same professional standard of audio quality right on your desktop.

The AV42 takes the acclaimed design of its predecessor to the next level. Dropping weight by nearly half, these desktop monitors are now composed of a special medium-density fiberboard (MDF) and unique interior reinforcement designed to absorb vibration and minimize distortion.

By removing the grill and utilizing flexible, ferrofluid-cooled silk cones, the tweeters are able to take advantage of the OptImage IV’s intricate wave guides for superior imaging and detail. Additionally, our innovative speaker monitor cabinet includes carefully placed acoustic material that makes the AV42 sound much bigger than it is—resulting in a smooth, natural bass response.


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#9.Alesis Elevate 6 | 75-watt 6.5" Premium Active Bi-Amplified Studio Monitor with HF/LF Trim Switches (Single Speaker)


The Alesis Elevate 6 is an active, bi-amplified (50+25 Watts) studio monitor that delivers a flat frequency response, clear stereo imaging, and excellent bass transient response for professional mixing and monitoring.

Equipped with a 6.5-inch woven Kevlar low-frequency driver and 1-inch natural silk dome tweeter, Elevate 6 ensures sound stays accurate and clean across a wide frequency range. Its enhanced elliptical waveguides widen the sweet spot for consistent, stereo listening and enable you to make adjustments to your mix that translate perfectly to any playback system.

Plus, the baffle radiuses were meticulously designed to reduce edge diffraction. The result is a clean transparent sound that enables you to mix, accurately.


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#8.PreSonus Eris E5 2-Way Active Studio Monitor (Single)


When it’s time to upgrade to serious 2-way professional studio monitors, you’re ready for the Eris E5. With Kevlar low-frequency transducers, low-mass silk-dome tweeters, responsive Class AB amplification, and professional acoustic-adjustment controls, the compact Eris E5 represent an outstanding value in its class. It includes RF shielding, current-output limiting, over-temperature protection, and subsonic protection, and unlike comparably priced studio monitors, it has controls for simulating different listening environments and flattening frequency response to enable accurate mixing.


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#7.JBL LSR308 Studio Monitor


Delivering professional performance at most affordable price points, 3 Series Powered Studio Monitors are first to incorporate JBL’s exciting new technology, the Image Control Waveguide. In conjunction with 3 Series high-performance transducers and system components, the Image Control Waveguide lets you hear detail and depth in recordings as you've never heard before.


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#6.Yamaha HS8 Studio Monitor, Black


Bought a pair of these used as an alternative to some NS-10s off of eBay for professional mixing in my home studio. They do not disappoint. These things sound amazing, and my mixes have never been better and more consistent. They sound so good that I've actually found myself staying up into the wee hours just to listen to music. I may add a set to my home theater room as well.


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#5.Audioengine A5+ Premium Powered Speaker Pair (Carbonized Solid Bamboo)


Audioengine 5+ (A5+) Premium Powered Speakers deliver audiophile-quality sound and features at a price that continues to set the standard for affordable high-quality audio. Connect your iDevice, computer, TV, or any other audio component for great stereo sound in any room.


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#4.Mackie HR824mk2 8-inch 2-Way Studio Monitor (Single Speaker)


Our HR824mk2 and HR624mk2 high-resolution Active studio reference monitors represent the evolution of revolutionary thinking. Our engineers, joined by audio gurus from EAW, worked hard to conceive of a way to preserve the all-important character of the original HR while delivering performance—as well as appearance—that’s better than ever. And even more so than the original HR824 and HR624, which were designed apart from each other, the HR824mk2 and HR624mk2 are part of the same family, true siblings in design and sound. Sharing the same engineering, they are created to work together, whether in surround systems or as part of complementary monitoring setups in different sized rooms.


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#3.Adam Audio A7X 2-way Studio Monitor Pair


The predecessor to the A7X, the A7, became the most famous of all ADAM monitors in a very short time. Not only has it been reviewed over three dozen times with outstanding results, it has also received numerous awards. The A7 quickly gained mass appeal, praised in many of the world's largest internet forums. Still today, the A7 are the reference monitors in many smaller studios. With the A7X, ADAM Audio proudly presents the evolution of a legend. It takes everything that made the A7 such an outstanding speaker to a new level.


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#2.KRK RP6G3-NA Rokit 6 Generation 3 Powered Studio Monitor


Now any studio can have pro reference audio with the KRK Rokit 6 Generation 3 Powered Studio Monitor! Over one million Rokit monitors have been sold over the years and for good reason. The KRK Rokit 6 Generation 3 takes the series to the next level in pristine audio and intuitive features. A 6-inch glass-aramid composite woofer delivers clear midrange and tight bass while a 1-inch soft-dome tweeter provides clarity and extended response up to 35kHz for audio quality that competes with the best. KRK gives this reference speaker a bi-amped design with 73 total watts, ideal for a studio of all sizes. The Rokit 6 G3 active monitor also features Proprietary waveguide technology optimized for superior stereo imaging and XLR, 1/4-inch and RCA inputs to fit in with any setup. Whether you’re just starting out in desktop recording, or you’ve already laid down a few thousand tracks, give a listen to the Rokit 6 Generation 3 monitors and experience incredible performance and accuracy.


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#1.Neumann KH 120 A - Active Studio Monitor


Neumann is excited to introduce the first product in the new line of Neumann Studio Monitors: the KH 120. The KH 120 is a compact studio monitor designed for use as a near-field loudspeaker or as a rear loudspeaker in larger multi-channel systems. The latest acoustic and electronic simulation and measurement technologies we used in the development of the KH 120 to ensure reference quality performance. The KH 120 features a Mathematically Modeled Dispersion waveguide (MMD) to deliver a smooth off-axis response. A four position bass, low-mid and treble acoustical controls allow the user to tailor the output appropriate to the listening environment.


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