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Voiceover Technology FAQ > AUDIO HARDWARE > What makes a good studio monitor speaker?

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Studio monitors are designed to be accurate.  That is to say they should accurately portray the sound of the recorded audio played through them.  By in large self powered monitors are the norm.  They are the easiest to setup and tend to be cost effective and reliable.  They're difficult to overload since they have internal circuitry to protect the drivers and amp, and the amplifiers are matched to the drivers.   Generally, speakers with entirely plastic construction should be avoided.  I haven't heard a pair of powered monitor speakers worth using for less than $300 or so. 

The challenge is that monitors only sound as good as the room in which they are used.  When you listen to audio through the monitors you are hearing the sound directly from the drivers plus reflections of the sound from the room around you.  The closer you place them to your ears, the more directly you hear the sound.  What's important is to realize that your needs are NOT as critical to those of a recording engineer mixing a final product. They provide you a reference of your sound, and a way to hear yourself outside the confines of headphones, but will never be truly accurate unless your room is designed for monitoring. 

Last updated on October 11, 2009 by George Whittam