Advice for Studio Monitors

I am a composer looking to get into writing electronic and electro-acoustic music. As it stands right now, I do work in my Brooklyn apartment… an untreated room, fairly cramped. This situation is not likely to change in the next few years.

I am looking to buy some studio monitors. Right now I have some decent headphones (Behringer DT-770 pro), but I’m aware this isn’t ideal. I have more or less decided that I’d like to get active speakers (as I don’t have a mixer except for the one inside my Echo Layla 3g). I don’t have that much money to spend, although I could be convinced to spend more if I were buying monitors that will last for years and be worth it for an untreated, cramped room.

Right now I’m leaning towards something that can bridge the gap between me working where I am now, and somewhere better (university studio, my own home studio when I’m in a more stable place financially, etc.) The question then becomes “How cheap is too cheap?” The M-Audio BX5as seem to be on the lower end of cost, and I’m sure they’re not great, but would they be a waste of money compared to my stereo speakers, and would I be getting something significantly better for another $100? My “low end” budget would probably be $350 or less, with less being better. The KRK Rokit 5 G2s look pretty good for around that price too. I’m alright with imperfections at this price point… if I go this rout I want something “good for now” that I can sell on e-bay in a few years.

That’s my take on the low end of things…

Now, if I’m going to spend money on something significantly nicer, I’m willing to throw down $800 or so, BUT if I were to do that I’d have to know I was not only getting monitors of significantly better quality, but also getting monitors that I could still use when I’m in a more ideal situation. Please remember that right now I am in a cramped and untreated Brooklyn apartment. I was thinking about something like ADAM A3x or A5s or KRK VXT 4s or 6s. Something small that might require a woofer down the line.

I am very interested in what you guys have to say, but I’m most interested in your reasons why!

Are you mixing or just composing?

Ever look on the gearslutz forum. Tons of info there on this kind of stuff.

Check Samson’s Resolv 65a or Rubicon 6a. They must be very cheap over there. I think you can’t buy better ones for this money (and no they’re not hi-fi) btw, aren’t your headphones made by beyerdynamic and not behringer? cheers

I am going to be composing, but I’ve also done some audio editing of nature sounds for my music and use a few soft synths, and definitely want to be fairly particular to make things sound the way I want with. I wouldn’t mind being able to record, but that’s not a high priority at the moment.

I am most interested in avante garde stuff like Stockhausen, Xenakis, Subotnick, etc. Sort of, not really, but close enough.

I have done a teeny bit of reading on gearslutz, but I figured it wouldn’t hurt to ask here either. I’ll dig deeper there and perhaps post.

And yeah… Beyerdynamic… love em… not Behringer :blush:

And finally, just a general question…
is it worth it to spend money on decent monitors in an untreated room?

Edit: Manakesna, I will keep the monitors you mentioned in mind, they fit right into what I was asking.

Thank God for that… For a moment I thought Behringer had gone the last mile in counterfeiting :laughing:

My take on the monitor thing.

Whatever monitors you put in your room will always be affected by the same acoustics regardless (unless you treat the room) so if you’re looking for a future investment get the best you can and just keep the volume down.

If the acoustics are really bad then don’t get something with a lot of bottom end (big monitors) as it’ll just make things worse.

I’ve never regretted buying quality.

Sure it is.

Room treatment is important too but you can do that later.

I always go for monitors that don’t hype frequencies, flat response is for me.

Yeah, good ol’ flat monitors that sit next to a wall that blooms 80hz -> 90hz by 2db. And, absorbs 20% of the 2k band… That’s the ticket. Room tuning is for suckers

Anything constructive to add? or just sarcasm?

nope, just sarcasm … unless the sarcasm is understood to mean, “no such thing as flat monitors” and “room tuning > mythical flat monitors”


The KRK RP5G2 are good value and sound as good as you can expect for the money. I think the M-Audio BX5’s are good too, but more like a secondary speaker, and that goes for the Yamaha HS50 as well.

Those are speakers that would sit well next to -say- bigger Genelecs or something as a secondary reference for mixing. I would not want to have to listen to those all day long. The KRK is a better all-round performer at the price, a litte more pleasant and ‘hi-fi’ than the immediate competition.

A good room is important, but with $300 nearfields I wouldn’t worry about it. Nearfields are designed to be listened to from (duh) up close, so if you don’t blast them the room shouldn’t be too much of an issue.


I think the best advice is to buy the best you can afford, but listen to them first! :wink:

If there is a decent pro audio store around you it is worthwhile taking a few cds you know the sound of and testing out a bunch of speakers to see what you like.

Hi, Near fields seem to be the ticket for me in my relativley small room. I’ve had a pair of Alesis monitor 1 mk2s (not powered, though I think now they do have powered sets)for a couple of years now that i got on sale (got to watch my budget here also) and they have done very well. Got them hanging off my studio desk (with felt pads attached)from each corner about 2 1/2 ft away so I don’t disrupt the entire houshold or bang my eardrums to death. :slight_smile:

I think I’m going to stop by my local Guitar Center when it’s slow and listen to a few sets of monitors. I will let you guys know what I end up buying.

Thanks to everyone for the help!

What those speakers sound like at Guitar Center will sound nothing like what they sound like at your location. If you actually want the monitors to act as monitors and not just speakers, you HAVE to measure your room and take appropriate measures. The idea that near fields don’t require as much room treatment because you sit close to them is … well can’t say what I want, so I’ll just say it is incorrect.

So, should you listen to them at GC? Yes. Then see if you can borrow a set to use for a day or two. Then you will pretty much see the $ for performance curve. Buy what you can afford, THEN FIX YOUR DAMN ROOM! It will make vastly more difference than a $250->$500 difference in the cost of a pair of speakers.


2-Get to know your room.
3-Never have to think about this topic again.