Upgrading Your Studio Monitors Part 1, (Under 300 Dollars)
Todd Simpson
Oct 21 2020, 03:25 AM
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From: Atlanta, Georgia, USA
If I had to pick one purchase that can drastically improve the results from a Home Studio, I’d have to say, get a good pair of studio monitors. Your monitors are the window to your mix. If you have bad monitors, your going to have a bad mix. People start off with whatever they have, which is normal and to be expected. You may have started off with a pair of stereo speakers from your playback system at home. Some people start off with a pair of apple earbuds or something similar, as that is what came with their phone. You gotta start somewhere. It’s possible to make music with just about anything. However, it’s always a good idea to invest in a pair of studio monitors as soon as possible. There are several options that are very affordable. Let’s look at a few of them. For this article, let’s start with some of the less expensive options.

PRESONUS ERIS 3.5 ($99 per pair)
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These are the least expensive monitors of the bunch. They are made by presonus who has a good reputation in the industry. and they have a very good build quality. They have a 3.5 inch woofer and 1 inch dome tweeter. They are powered by an 80 watt amp that lives in one speaker and is connected by a speaker wire to the second. They have RCA inputs and a headphone output and the volume control is on the front of the left speaker. I own a pair of the 4.5 version of this monitor and I like them. They are clear and detailed and sound very good for the price. However, they have almost no bass. If you do buy a pair of these, you will eventually want to add a matched subwoofer to them to provide bass. You can still get work done with these monitors. They have a good stereo field and are relatively flat, which is what you need. You can use a pair of headphones to check to see if the bass has gotten out of control, before you invest in a sub.

JBL LSR305 MKII ($260 Per Pair)

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These are a very nice pair of powered monitors from JBL. They have a 5 inch woofer and a 1 inch tweeter. Also, very good build quality and made by a reputable vendor. Unlike the ERIS, these have separate power amps in each speaker so each speaker has it’s own volume control. I’ve owned a pair of these as well and I really liked them. They had good bass response, and very clear treble. I never got ear fatigue with these and found them very pleasant for extended listening. They do have boundary eq controls to modify the output based on where they are placed, but it’s somewhat limited. These cost a bit more, if you are ready for your second pair of studio monitors (don’t throw away your first pair or sell them if you can avoid it, having more than one pair of monitors can be very handy. It lets you switch between two playback choices to see if your mix is going to “travel” well. If our first pair has a smaller woofer, great, they will make a good A/B pair)

KALI AUDIO LP6 - ($300 Per Pair)

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KALI is a relatively new contender in the Pro Audio segment. They are a new company made up of people who came over from JBL and other places. This is their first offering and it’s impressive. These have a 6.5 in woofer and a 1 inch tweeter and are ported in the front. Despite being ported, the bass is very accurate. These are detailed and rich and yet are still relatively flat which is a requirement for any set of studio monitors. The boundary EQ settings on these are one of the best features. There are a plethora of settings to allow for many different speaker placements. These are feature rich and sound great and they are only $300 a pair. I have a set of these and they are my main monitors. I was using a pair of KRK monitors and sold them for these. I A/B tested with the KALI and afterwards sold the KRK set. The Kali are the best monitors under $500 currently available on the market IMHO.

Several Monitors Reviewed By Sweetwater
https://youtu.be/Mk3_THZooz4

KALI Audio LP6 Monitors Reviewed by FLUFF
https://youtu.be/F0FgddxpLgs

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This post has been edited by Todd Simpson: Oct 21 2020, 03:30 AM
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Phil66
Oct 21 2020, 04:11 PM
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Posts: 7.874
Joined: 5-July 14
From: The Black Country, England
Nice post Todd,

I haven't looked at the specs for these but another thing to think about is checking that the ones you buy are near field, these are designed for close listening ie at your recording desk.

Some good info here https://www.izotope.com/en/learn/types-of-s...20home%20studio.

Cheers

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klasaine
Oct 21 2020, 07:29 PM
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These are what I'm using. Also ex JBL employees.
https://www.fluidaudio.com/fx50.html
$300.00 US a pair.
*I was using them as home stereo speakers but re-purposed them when I got serious about home recording back in April.
If I didn't already have the Fluids, I would have gone for Todd's rec on the Kalis. They seem to be the 'hot' near field of choice in that price range.

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This post has been edited by klasaine: Oct 21 2020, 07:31 PM
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