Are Studio Monitors Good for Music (Movies, Gaming, Stereo)

There are a couple of things you should know about me, besides my passion for music production I absolutely love listening to music, watching movies and playing games. 

But to enjoy these activities, it’s essential to have excellent audio quality and volume! Therefore, I decided to investigate if studio monitors are good for music, movies, gaming, and as a home-stereo setup. That why I created this complete guide; this is what I discovered.

Yes, studio monitors are good for listening to music, playing games, and they are great as a home stereo set up! However, since studio monitors perform better when listened to adjacently, its recommended for watching movies to use large or hybrid monitors because they provide a wider sweet spot.

Below I walk you through and show you which studio monitors are best for you, plus, for watching films, playing games, and listening to music.

Let’s begin!

When to Choose Studio Monitors over Regular Speakers

You should opt for a pair of studio monitors when the following criteria are met:

1) You consider your self an audiophile.

If you enjoy listening to music, experiencing your favorite songs through studio monitors will positively surprise you! 

You will discover a whole new world of sound, being able to listen to music the way it was intended to without artificial enhancements. 

Yet, if you enjoy listening to music with added bass, in this article, I have listed three great options for all the bass heads out there. 

Do you know how many studio monitors you need??

Click the video to find out👆

2) You want to produce or mix your own tracks

If you are an aspiring music producer, you absolutely need a pair of good studio monitors. You can also use them for everyday use, such as music listening, movies, or gaming. Btw if you want to learn what skills you need as a music producer, check out this article also, if you are interested in the pros and cons of being a music producer, have a look at this post.

3) You will place your studio monitors relatively close

Proper mixing requires small studio monitors to be placed about arm’s length and larger monitors about double that distance. 

As we will discuss later on, if you intend to use the monitors for music listening, you could place them up to 10-15 feet without noticing any major changes in sound.

Can You Use Studio Monitors as Regular Speakers?

Yes, most studio monitors can be used as regular speakers. However, when it comes to everyday use, some studio monitors are better than others, and not all monitors will provide the best listening experience.

One thing you should consider is the distance you’ll place your studio monitors. I say this because studio monitors are designed to perform better when listened to adjacently (close), this provides a sweet spot for the listener. 

What is a sweet spot?

A sweet spot is a spot between you and your monitors where you experience optimum sound quality and balance. Mixing engineers, music producers, and technicians prefer this because it allows them to hear all the details. Also, having the monitors close means that the room-size will have less effect on the sound.

On the other hand; consumer speakers offer the ability of even sound distribution even in large rooms, but they generally produce a less detailed sound compared to studio monitors.

But when it comes to everyday use, distance shouldn’t be a factor since you won’t notice any significant alternation in sound even if you place your monitors up to 15 feet distance. 

Bellow, I explain more about the differences between traditional speakers and studio monitors, active vs passive.

Traditional Speakers vs Studio Monitors

Apart from the distance factor covered above, the main difference between conventional speakers and studio monitors is that studio monitors reproduce more detailed and better sound quality.
But this doesn’t always necessarily translate into a great listening experience. Allow me to elaborate; 

You must understand that the job of a music producer, mixing engineer, and recording producer is to create the best possible tracks they can.
And for a song to sound great on different speaker sizes ( phone, laptop, hi-fi, car speakers etc) the mixing and mastering engineer must properly optimize the track.

In other words, they must be able to cut or boost certain frequencies. 

One of the tools they use to discover these frequencies is through quality studio monitors.

Generally, When We Are in the Studio, We Expect Two Things from Our Monitors

  1. A flat frequency response
    We want studio monitors to have a flat frequency response; in other words, we want them to NOT color the sound by adding more bass or treble.

    A flat frequency response is necessary for the producer and engineer to have a clear picture of what needs to be added or removed from the mix.

  2. Or we want studio monitors to boost specific frequencies.
    Color and increase only the frequencies we want them to.
    This is necessary to eliminate specific frequencies that “muddle” the mix or frequencies that are harsh on the listener’s ears.

Take an example the legendary Yamaha NS10’s, a lot of producers swear by them, but others can’t stand them. This is due to their strange and “unique” sound; they are built in such a way that they cut a great deal of the lower frequencies and boosts the middle spectrum. 

Simply put, they deliver a sound that is NOT pleasant for listening to the new album from your favorite band.Of course, not all studio monitors sound like the NS10’s. Most monitors are suitable for everyday use.

Should I Buy Active or Passive Studio Monitors?

In most cases, it’s better to choose active studio monitors.

The biggest difference between active or passive studio monitors is present in the crossover, which does split a signal before its send to the individual drivers.  After the signal is splited by the crossover it’s sent to the proper parts of the speaker such as tweeters and woofers.

At passive studio monitors, the high input audio signal is delivered to the speaker through the amp. Therefore the advantage of passive monitors is that you can easily upgrade the amp, this that is much more difficult at active studio monitors.

That said, I almost always recommend active studio monitors since the cost is relatively low compared to a passive monitor set up. Also, when it comes to active monitors, there are many more options out there that will deliver outstanding sound quality!

Best Studio Monitors for Music Production

Choosing the right studio monitors for music production is not a simple task; there are a lot of options and a lot to consider. That’s why I have covered everything you need to know in a separate article.

If you want to discover the best studio monitors for music production and how to determine which one is best for you, read:

My favorite skill for being a music producer… plus 15 more. In there I dive deep into studio monitors for music production and how to choose them, plus I reveal the 16 skills every music producer needs!

Best Studio Monitors with Huge Bass

You can use these monitors for music production, music listening, games, movies, and testing how your tracks sound on large systems with a lot of bass. 

PROTIP: I would purchase the Yamaha HS8 as they are my personal favorite, but I gurantee you will be satisfied no matter which one you choose from my list! If I were you, I wouldn’t want to overpay; just look at which one fits within your current budget and go for that one.

As we saw above, most studio monitors have a flat frequency response; in other words, they are designed to deliver music with as little coloration possible.

I already hear all the “bassheads” complaining about the lack of lower frequencies 🙂 don’t worry though! There are studio monitors that have so much low that will satisfy even the most demanding bass lovers.

(click on the link to visit amazon)

The monstrous Behringer B1031A’s are a great budget-friendly option and are one of the two studio monitor sets I use in my own home studio.

These monitors look and sound very similar to a pair of KRK’s, but weigh in at half the price.

Some of the features of the B1031A include:

  • An 8-inch woofer Kevlar cone, and a 1-inch silk dome tweeter
  • A total output of 150 watt
  • Extremely large “sweet spot”
  • Frequency response: 35 Hz – 20 kHz

On the back of the Behringer B1031A you can adjust the output signal by adjusting the EQ parameters, they provide three adjustable settings:

  • High frequency (-2db,+4db)
  • Low frequency (0db,-3db)
  • Room compensation (0db,-6db)

The B1031 (otherwise known as Behringer Truth) has a HUGE bass/sub, a good mid response, and good highs. However, what they win in bass they somewhat loose in clarity since they are a bit less detailed compared to the Yamahas or the KRK’s described bellow. 

That said if you want a HUGE bass, don’t mind about a little less detail in the mids and highs or are on a budget I would definitely purchase these babies!

(click on the link to visit amazon)

The KRK RP5 is a mid-budget popular choice amongst music producers and music enthusiasts. The new generation (Gen 4) offers a more flat frequency response, and a stronger bass compared to the older generation 3.

The KRK RP7’s are a solid choice. These are some of the features they offer:

  • 7-inch cone woofer and a 1inch kevlar tweeter
  • 55 Watts output
  • Frequency response: 43Hz – 40KHz
  • 25 visual Graphic EQ settings for different environments
  • KRK App with Room Correction Tools
  • Onboard LCD Visual DSP-driven EQ

I want to talk a bit about something really exciting, the LCD screen found on the back of the RP5! 

KRK is the first company to implement such features to studio monitors; what this screen does is help you get the perfect acoustic tuning for your environment. You can also download an app for android and apple that guides you through the process and helps you with proper speaker placement, subwoofer level, and level matching. 

I believe this is the way of the future, and I hope other companies will follow KRK’s example!

(click on the link to visit amazon)

Even if I have their smaller brother, I absolutely love my Yamahas. Same as the smaller Yamaha HS5; the HS8 deliver great mid-range and high clarity that will suprise you.

These are a few features that come with the HS8:

  • The HS8 feature an 8-inch cone woofer and a 1inch dome tweeter
  • They produce low distortion sound with a well-defined bottom
  • They have a 38Hz to 30kHz frequency response
  • A total of 120W output

On the back of the Yamaha HS8, you can adjust the output signal by adjusting the EQ parameters, they provide two adjustable settings:

  • High trim switch (+/- 2dB at HF) / 
  • Room control switch (0/2/4 dB under 500Hz)

I have found the EQ control to be very useful since with proper adjustment, you can replicate the sound of the legendary Yamaha NS10!

Best Studio Monitors for Music with a Flat Frequency Response

As an audiophile, I know that to really enjoy a piece of music, you need good speakers or monitors. 

When it comes to studio monitors for music listening, I would choose one of the following:

(click on the links to visit amazon)

 Normally I would recommend the ADAM A7, but since they are discontinued, I discovered the much better ADAM T7V. These monitors deliver the company’s signature pristine sound at a very affordable price!

The T7V is similar to the more costly ADAM speakers, which also use a

  • 1.9‑inch Accelerated Ribbon Tweeter;
  • the bass goes as low as 39Hz
  • with the tweeter reaching 25KHz.
  • The T7V offers a large sweet spot, and if you have a smaller room, you should consider the ADAM T5V that comes with a smaller 5-inch woofer.

These are on my Christmas list! 🙂

(click on the link to visit amazon)

Above, we saw that the Yamaha HS8 has excellent bass, but what I did not mention is that even if they have a small boost at the lower end and a small drop at the higher end, they are very balanced and offer an overall very flat frequency response.

If you want to read the features that come with the HS8 scroll up to read my review of them.

Can I Use Studio Monitors for Watching Movies?

When it comes to watching movies, studio monitors are a great option, but I would not recommend them in all situations. For example, if you have a huge living room, regular studio monitors may not be the best solution. 

But What Set up Do I Need to Watch Movies?

Well, this depends on the room size and the number of people you usually watch movies with. 

Most studio monitors are designed for mid and near-field listening. 

Yes, they can fill a room, but the studio monitors ideal sweet spot is going to be much closer even if you create an equal triangle between them and your listening position.

This Is Why You Need a Wide Sweet Spot for Watching Movies

Accuracy at proximity is necessary for mixing music, but having some coloration in the speaker’s sound and a wider sweet spot is more suitable for movies. A wider sweet spot means that you will experience the same quality in more than one listening positions.

As mentioned before, it all comes down to the room size and with how many people you usually watch movies with. If it’s just you and your spouse, I wouldn’t stress about it, just pick anyone you want from this list.

But if you are planning on regularly watching movies together with 3-4 friends and you all are spread out across the room, then I would recommend speakers with a wider sweet spot

For these reasons I recommend the following studio monitors

Best Studio Monitors for Watching Movies

Tannoy Reveal 502

(click on the link to visit amazon)

This is a great budget option that offers a wide sweet spot and excellent quality for the price. They offer good bass but don’t expect to hear the same bass magnitute as the Yamaha HS8 or the Behringer B1031A.

THe Reveal 502 come with:

  • A 5-inch woofer and a 1-inch Tweeter
  • A total of 75 Watt Bi-Amp (50W + 25W)
  • A 3,5 mm Stereo-Mini jack AUX input for Smartphone or Tablet
  • An EQ with the options “high boost,” “neutral,” and “high cut.”

(click on the link to visit amazon)

Also in this category, the HS8 deserve a spot. Their size allows them to offer a wide sweet spot and their awesome bass makes them perfect candidates for watching movies.

Definitive Technology SM55

(click on the link to visit amazon)

These babies are hybrid monitors, the SM stands for studio monitors, but in essence, they are speakers. Buy them only if you can afford them otherwise go for the Reveal 502 covered above.

Keep in mind that the SM55 are NOT active (they are passive) and they DO need a separate amp. A speaker that is passive draws its power from an external amp wich is connected to the amp via speaker wire. I will list below a few good amp options for you to choose from.

Best Amps for Definitive Technology sm55 Speakers

Most amplifiers and AV receivers, should drive the StudioMonitor 55 bookshelf speaker with ease. The StudioMonitor 55’s frequency response is 32 Hz to 30 kHz, which means you don’t really need a subwoofer.

To discover the right amp for the SM55 you need to perform a few calucations, they are not complex but for to save you some time I have done them for you. The only factor you’ll have to consider is the overall loudness you’re planning to enjoy your music.

As a general guideline consider the following dB numbers:

  • 70-80dB is suitable for speech only
  • 80-95dB is great for light music
  • 95-110dB is best for heavy music

I strongly recommend the Fosi Audio BT20A Bluetooth 4.2 amp (click on the link to visit amazon) .

Fosi Audio BT20A Bluetooth 4.2 amp

This amp is good for light and heavy music up to 97dB, also it can drive up to 280watts (8 ohms) or 320watts (4 ohms) speakers; thus they are perfect for the Definitive Technology SM55. 

If for whatever reason you don’t like the Fosi have a look at the Pyle Home Audio Power Amplifier System (80watt) which will go up to 92dB;  

Pyle Home Audio Power Amplifier System (80watt)

(click on the link to visit amazon)

 Or the Pyle 3000 Watt Premium; this one is good for about 108dB!

Pyle 3000 Watt Premium

It really doesn’t matter which one you choose since all three are excellent candidates.

Best Studio Monitors for Playing Games

It’s true that to enjoy a good game; you need the right volume and sound quality. 🙂

You can either pick one of the “Basshead” monitors (covered above) that offer a great bass response or select one of the following:

KRK RP5 Studio Monitor, Black (RP5G4-NA)

(click on the link to visit amazon)

The KRK RP5 is the smaller brother of the KRK RP7 (covered above). The RP5 is a mid-budget popular choice amongst music producers and music enthusiasts.
The new generation (Gen 4) offers a more flat frequency response, and a stronger bass compared to the older generation 3. If you want to read more about the KRK RP5 scroll a bit up to read my review. 

Tannoy Reveal 502 (covered above)

(click on the link to visit amazon)

This is a great budget option that offers a wide sweet spot and excellent quality for the price. If you want to read more about the Reveal 502 scroll a bit up to read my review.

Or Pick one of the “Basshead” monitors covered above. If your main concern if huge bass scroll up tor read my review about bass-heavy monitors.

Conclusion & Best All-Around Studio Monitor Setup

If you are confused and don’t know which one to select, I’ll narrow it down to just two options for you!

If I had to choose one all-around studio monitor; that doesn’t break the bank, has decent bass, is suitable for music production, good for watching movies, listening to music, playing games and something I could use as a home stere set up; I would choose the:

  1. Tannoy Reveal 502  (covered above)

With their affordable price, wide sweet spot, good audio quality and decent bass, they are an excellent option, If you want an all-around studio monitor that will perform well in all the above situations, the Reveal 502 is what you need!

Now, if I had a bigger budget, I would buy the: 

2) Yamaha HS8 (covered above) 

Because the Yamaha HS8 has all the benefits of the Reveal 502 but with an added sound definition and honestly, what is not to love about Yamaha? 🙂

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