Gear Rundown: Studio monitors

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Gear Rundown: Studio monitors

Studios monitors
Words by Benjamin Lamb

We check out what rig your favourite artists are using around the globe.

Continuing our journey into all things monitoring, today we’re diving into the bevy of studio monitors that your favourite musos use. We’ve got metalheads, DJ’s, rappers, and a whole lot more in store for you.

Studio monitors

Studio monitors, while varying wildly in sonics, physical footprint and aesthetics, are also such a personal choice that engineers, producers and musicians eventually make. While specifications for high-end monitors explain the differences in THD, frequency response and more, it’s really about finding the right monitor for you. Maybe more importantly, it’s about finding the right monitor for your room. High-powered drivers are great, but not in a room that’ll turn those accurate sounds into mud via room modes and other problems.

In a small space, smaller monitors make sense, whereas in custom built mixing environments, the room will sometimes be built around the monitors and the sound they’re putting out. Here’s a handful of your favourite artists and the monitors that they trust.

Read all the latest features, columns and more here.

Barefoot Sound MicroMain27 – John Frusciante

Barefoot Sound’s MicroMain27 all-in-one monitor has brought music making into a new frontier with their unique development.

The Micromain 27 Gen 2 has just been released, and holds a lot of the same build as its predecessor with some 10” subs, but with some high tech updates, although the Barefoot brand’s effortless audio quality has been kept through these adjustments.

The new additions include an awesome 1” tweeter, perfect for mastering those kind of upper frequency/higher frequency sounds Frusciante loves in his solo work, a 1dB stepped attenuator to make sure you get clear sound no matter the volume. It’s also got some sophisticated Hypex amplification, advanced DSP integration and 5.25″ extended-range neodymium motor mid-bass drivers, so it’s perfect for whatever type of music you’re making.

Check out some more info about Barefoot here.

Focal SM9 – Devin Townsend

Focal SM9 studio monitors in purple studio

The Focal Monitors are among some of the best monitors for clear and precise audio work.

The clear and pristine sound making it the monitor of choice for musos like Devin Townsend who’s intricate and layered work requires this sort of detailed playback. Focal Monitors aim to maximise audio and decrease speaker noise, making sure the audio quality is unparalleled.

Much alike the Micromain, the SM9 houses a 1” tweeter, but also has a 6.5 and 8″ drivers, really making sure it brings out the best of those deeper sounds in your music. These monitors are ideal for those rock musos and metal heads out there alongside many other genres.

Check out some more info about the SM9 here.

KRK ROKIT 5 G3 – Kaytranada

Kaytranada mixing records in home studio in front of KRK monitors

Dance music and hip-hop acts like Kaytranada love the KRK Rokit 5 Gen 3 for its extended bass heavy audio response, and integrability across a bunch of different avenues.

The KRK’s 5” glass-aramid woofer build puts it at the top of its class, it being the optimal material for sound building and consistent perfect audio quality on the lower end of your music. It’s also got a high tech Class A/B amp, giving you SPL up to around 110db. This kind of monitor being perfect for those looking for a bit more oomf on the bottom end.

The KRK’s have been a constant in the world of hip-hop and electronic music over the last number of years, the compact build and relatively inexpensive price has made it a standard for all types of DIY DJ’s and beat makers.

Read more about KRK’s influence on music and monitoring through our recent feature here.

Genelec 1031A – Moby

The Genelec 1013A covers a lot of ground in the audio world, making it the monitor of choice for genre-bending artists like Moby.

The 1031A houses a two-way active system, making it easy to adapt to any type of environment you’re making music in. The monitor’s amplifier houses a low signal level crossover, two strong power amplifiers and state of the art overload protection for each driver, allowing for a lot more flexibility in your music making.

The monitor’s exemplary dispersion and precise imaging matched with its easy-to-move size makes it optimal for audio work on the go. The compact build doesn’t deteriorate the quality—with Genelec moving forward with smaller Minimum Diffraction Enclosure loudspeakers in the models that replaced the 1031A that are considered some of the best out there.

Check out some awards that Genelec has won recently here.

PreSonus Eris Studio monitors – Warren Huart

If there’s anyone who knows monitors – it’s Warren Huart. Having engineered for the likes of Aerosmith, The Fray, KISS’s Ace Frehly and more, Warren speaks below to the amazing sound of the PreSonus Eris Studios monitors, specifically the Eris Studio 8. The Eris range has expanded into more accessible and expansive monitors, the most recent addition to the range being the Eris Pro 4 monitors, perfect for use in Dolby Atmos setups.

The Eris Studio 8 monitors are great bang for buck, while having fantastic low end extension. Coupled with a great sounding room, like any monitor, Huart feels like he can trust the Eris Studio 8 monitors to get the best sound and performance out of the world-class performers he works with.

In Warren’s words: “Bravo to PreSonus.”

For local PreSonus enquiries, visit Link Audio here.

Augspurger – Snoop Dogg

Snoop Dogg in lakers jersey in front of Augsperger monitor speakers

Hip Hop greats like Snoop Dogg, Jay-Z and hip hop producer Dave Pensado have given homes to the Augspurger studio monitors due to the notable bottom end ‘feel factor’ and low end extension.

An important thing to note about Augspurger monitors is the size —Snoop’s custom monitor sitting at over 10,000 watts. With Soffit mounted 4X15 Mains, tuneable DSP, high-definition and a high-power amp, it benefits those low end/hip-hop oriented sounds in your music. Augspurger monitors are also super popular due to their capability in reproducing the intricate sounds of a club or live music venue inside the studio, making it awesome for any type of music maker.

Check out some more info on Augspurger here.

Yamaha HS7 – Kevin Parker

Multi-instrumentalist Kevin Parker puts a lot of focus on the gear he chooses, so you know the HS7 ’s are a good choice.

The monitor is an updated take on brand’s popular NS-10 monitor, with Yamaha taking the popular aspects of their best-seller and putting them into the HS7—most notably the phenomenal transient repose, delivering your music without fault.

The accuracy of the HS7 is what attracts musicians towards it—and appeals to Tame Impala’s layered, intricate music. The team behind these monitors have taken the best of every other monitor out there and put it into their HS series; things like a 6.5″ cone woofer and 1″ dome tweeter, making sure it can replicate any genre of music you’re creating.

Check out our feature on Yamaha’s HS series of monitors here.

Adam A7X – Carl Cox and Alesso

The A7X’s versatile and bass-strong build makes them studio monitors of choice for dance producers like Alesso and Carl Cox.

The X-ART tweeter holds power and keeps high end clarity strong over extended studio sessions, and paired with a 150 Watts of RMS A/B amplification, the bass response is powerful and precise, making it ideal for producers and DJs alike. The A7X is also strong across all different elements—from your smallest noise to your biggest bass drop, the monitor reproduces it without fail.

Adam have broken a lot of ground with their monitors, featuring a ribbon tweeter giving the highest quality output for your music making. Brands like Presonus and Eve Audio have subsequently used a ribbon tweeter in their monitors for that extra special response.

Keep reading about Adam Audio here.

Dynaudio BM6A – Flying Lotus

Hip-Hop and Experimental producer Flying Lotus holds the Dynaudio BM6A in high regard due to its impeccable audio response at any volume.

It’s got an electronic 4th order phase-aligned crossover, which feeds two high performance amplifiers at 100W each. The sophisticated speaker has high and low shelves available allowing an option between extended, damped, or a higher response with less low frequency output, making it great for those EDM-oriented sounds.

The classy-looking matte cabin coupled with the BM6A studio monitors build front baffle build allows an even further beneficial audio quality.

Read some recent Dynaudio news here.

Looking to treat your room as well? Ready about some DIY acoustic panels here.