Studio Monitors vs. Speakers: What’s The Difference?

Studio Monitors Vs. Speakers: What's The Difference?

When producing music, every possible step is taken to ensure that the end product is of highest quality.

At a professional level, this could mean heavy investment in various studio equipment, which can cost hundreds and thousands of dollars.

The area of a studio which accounts for perhaps the most considerable size of investment is studio monitors.

Whether, you are an audio professional or simply someone who enjoys listening to music, it is important to understand the essentials you need in a home studio.

But a layperson might not know the technical difference in equipment which apparently looks the same.

This is exactly why most people think of speakers and studio monitors as the same.

However, there are a few differences. In this article, you will find out answers of a few questions which will help enhance your knowledge of a home studio.

You will learn what a studio monitor and a speaker is. You will also learn the difference between the two.

As you learn the basic differences, it will be easier to conclude whether the two can be used as a substitute or not.

Finally, you will learn how many studio monitors you will need in a home studio. So let’s get started.

If you’d like to see a graphical breakdown of studio monitor vs speaker, we got you covered:

Studio Monitor vs. Speakers

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Speakers

Wooden Speakers

Speakers are output devices which are connected to a device which generates sound loud enough to be heard by the listener.

Speakers can be connected to any type of sound system or computer and are primarily used to playback the recording in a relatively louder voice.

The output generated by the speakers is defined by frequency and amplitude.

Amplitude simply refers to loudness. This occurs as the air pressure of the sound wave changes.

So as you increase the volume of the speaker, you are actually increasing the air pressure.

On the other hand, frequency determines the pitch. So if a speaker can accurately reproduce frequencies, it will produce clear audio quality.

Why Are They Important?

So essentially, speakers amplify the sound and add more bass.

If you have a computer, a laptop or any other audio system, you will need speakers to ensure that you can listen to the music in a loud volume.

Studio Monitors

Studio Monitors

Studio monitors also known as monitor speakers are a special type of speakers which have very specific response.

They are intended to produce a ‘flat frequency response’. This means that using sound monitors, you can playback the audio exactly as intended, without any coloration.

In simple terms, that would mean that the speakers respond evenly to the frequency range of the sound without changing it.

Why Are They Important?

In a professional environment, this ability of a studio monitor allows you to mix sounds without exaggerating or understating their frequencies.

It allows you to improve every mix. Using studio monitors, you can remove a lot of distractions and provide an exact picture of what is happening in the track.

Studio monitors ensure that what you listen is actually what is happening in the track.

Though, they are expensive, studio monitors are essential for every home studio.

Studio Monitors vs. Speakers

Now that you know what studio monitors and speakers are, let’s take a detailed look at the differences between the two.

They are Designed to Serve Different Purposes

Studio Monitors

Speakers are primarily for listening. Using speakers, you can alter the sound and amplify it to your desired level.

But speakers do not focus on accuracy. On the other hand, studio monitors are designed for a different purpose.

They allow music professionals to deliver unaltered sound so that you can get a better mix.

Price

Another distinguishing factors when it comes to speakers and studio monitors is price.

Since both speakers and studio monitors are designed for a different market, they come under different price range.

Normal speakers target layman so they are usually on a budget. However, studio monitors come under the category of professional equipment.

So a professional will not want to compromise the quality just because of price. So studio monitors normally come at a higher price compared to speakers.

Use of Material

Speakers and studio monitors are not only designed to serve different purposes, but they are also made up of different materials.

Speakers are usually made up of plastic and wood. Most of the speakers you will find in stores do not have a magnetic shield.

Since the target market for speakers are common men, they are made up of cheap components.

This is one of the biggest reasons why you can find speakers on a budget. On the other hand, studio monitors are made up of metal and wood.

The internal components are magnetically shielded and are more durable. No wonder, studio monitors are expensive.

Difference in Sound Quality

Young Boy Listening To Music

Since they are designed to serve a different purpose, there is a difference in the sound quality of both speakers and studio monitors.

When it comes to sound quality, speakers are better. This is because they are built for this purpose.

They alter the frequency and amplitude to make the sound better. But when it comes to studio monitors, professionals want unaltered frequency.

So the sound is delivered from a studio monitor is neutral and is not enhanced to make it sound better.

Distortion

In case of normal speakers, as you increase the volume, you will notice a distortion.

Speakers, specially on the budget, are not designed to deliver undistorted sound at a higher volume.

On the other hand, studio monitors are different.

Since they are primarily used for mixing sounds, studio monitors are designed in a way that they can well handle high volume.

At the same time, they keep the distortion away. Thus, using studio monitors, you get a more accurate mix of sounds.

Dynamic Range

Another distinguishing factor when it comes to speakers vs. studio monitors is dynamic range.

This range is defined as the difference between the highest and lowest intensity of the sound.

Though the dynamic range is good when it comes to speakers, it is not as good as compared to studio monitors.

Since studio monitors allow for the right mixing of sounds, they are designed to handle more dynamic range to get a better mix.

Frequency Response

Neutral Frequency Response

An important factor in determining the quality of sound output is frequency response.

Normal speakers are designed to alter the frequency but they can do so only at certain areas of the spectrum.

On the other hand, studio monitors have a neutral frequency curve so they provide a flatter frequency response.

This quality of studio monitors make it the most suitable equipment for mixing.

Are Monitor Speakers Good For Listening To Music?

Listening to music can be aspiring but you cannot fully enjoy the beat unless you use a good set of speakers.

Both speakers and studio monitors can be used for listening to music. However, as mentioned earlier, they are built for different purposes.

Essentially, studio monitors are used when mixing music.

So, if you listening to music as a leisure activity using a studio monitor should not be a problem but it not an ideal solution.

Ideally, you should use speakers for listening music as they give better sound quality.

However, if you are a music professional, listening to music for mixing and editing, they studio monitors should be your choice.

In all, most music professionals rely on using a mix of using speakers and studio monitors in their home studios. 

How Many Studio Monitors Do You Need In Your Home Studio? 

Studio Monitors In Home Studio

Most owners of home studio often invest in one pair of studio monitors.

If you are one of those who think one pair of studio monitors is enough for your home studio, think again.

A pair of studio monitor might be enough but this is not all you will need in your home studio.

Can You Use Ordinary Speakers For Your Home Studio?

To completely understand how your music will translate to people beyond your studio, you need to invest in a pair of speakers along with a pair of studio monitors.

This two tonged approach will allow you to hear your music mix the way most of your listeners will hear it.

Since they won’t be listening it through the studio monitor, investing in speakers will give you a more accurate picture.

In all, a home studio must have at least one pair of studio monitors along with a set of speakers.

Conclusion

Your home studio is incomplete unless you invest in both studio monitors and speakers.

Each one is designed to serve a specific purpose. So when planning to set up a home studio, your approach shouldn’t be speakers vs. studio monitors.

Instead, it has to be more like speakers and studio monitors. Only then, you will get a complete sense of your music.

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