Making a home studio for the first time brings several questions and confusion regarding which studio gear to buy first and which ones to get later. In this article, however, we are tackling one question that several of you have asked yourself over time. Do I need studio Monitors for mixing and mastering?
Or, Are you just fine without studio monitors for a while?
The fact that high-quality studio monitors involve a hefty price tag often leave producers indecisive about their decision. It happens with everyone and such confusions clouded my mind too.
But, I have a plan and some answers for you.
Do I need Studio Monitors for Mixing and Mastering?
The fact that studio monitors have a flat frequency response and do not add colour to the sound like a bookshelf or regular speakers makes them an absolute choice for professional-grade sound analysis. It helps in mixing and mastering the audio to the greatest of precision that other speakers cannot do.
In addition, people using studio monitors in a professional environment are incredibly conscious about the audio they hear. So, a pair of good studio monitors becomes an absolute necessity. So, anyone having a bit of producing experience and songs on their computer can get a studio monitor to make them sound professional and universal.
However, the case is entirely different for a beginner-level music producer.
Such a producer must be bothered more about essential recording equipment like an audio interface, microphones, MIDI keyboards/instruments, cables, and every other instrument that will help you make audio that you can mix or master.
A Basic mix can also be achieved on a pair of headphones. But first, produce music/audio. If there is no audio, there is no point in thinking about mixing and mastering.
For a newbie artist, I would recommend getting all the essential equipment for recording. If you gained some confidence in music-making or whatever you are into, investing in a good pair of studio monitors makes more sense.
On the contrary, you may buy a pair of studio monitor after all the research just to know that you will need other studio grade equipment too. In such cases, monitors will be of no significant importance and utility.
Do you need Studio Monitors for Home Studio?
Yes, absolutely! Considering you have all the essential studio equipment, recording gear, and a decent amount of money, investing in a pair of studio monitors can level up your audio mixing or mastering skills. But, for newbie artists, the choice of buying studio monitors should come after you have a basic recording setup.
The basic recording setup includes but is not limited to the audio interface, instruments like guitar and MIDI instruments, microphones, cables and studio headphones for basic mixing of the audio tracks. This equipment will allow you to create your songs.
So, I would say that for a person who is starting from scratch, studio monitors will not help as much as having a recording setup will do.
Having a basic studio setup will allow you to produce some tracks you can mix in the future.
Can you mix without Studio Monitors?
You can mix on any type of speaker. Whether it is bookshelf speakers, regular speakers or studio monitors, you can mix on any speaker you like. The only thing that is going to differ is the quality of the mix. The sound that is mixed on studio monitors will sound better on most of the speakers.
On the other hand, the mixing done on regular speakers will sound better on only those speakers and may probably sound horrible on a different speaker set.
Such differences occur due to the differences in manufacturing of each speaker built for personal use. It masks certain frequencies to make the best frequencies shine more.
Why is it better to Mix on Studio Monitors?
So, in the previous section, we told you that quality of mix varies from speaker to speaker and the audio that is mixed on studio monitors sounds better on most speakes whereas sound mixed on a regular speaker sounds good only on that speaker.
So, what is the reason behind studio monitors giving a better sound quality?
The studio monitors are designed specifically to give a flat frequency response. This means that there is no color added to the sound coming out of studio monitors. On the other hand, regular or bookshelf speakers have a boost in certain frequencies that make them sound better. It makes regular speakers more appealing for commercial use but not for studio mixing.
Therefore, most of the websites build around music industry will advice you to mix on studio monitors.
Can I record without Studio Monitors?
The studio monitors are not going to help you in the process of producing or recording music. Most of your recordings will require instruments, an audio interface, and a mic to capture vocals and live instruments. You can also use compressors, mixers, and other analog gear to add certain effects to your recordings.
The studio monitors are helpful for what you do with your tracks after arranging them, i.e., mixing and mastering. In other words, studio monitors make sure that your songs sound great on all types of speakers.
Now, you know the answers to various questions in detail and how you should go about them. In addition, I want to make one thing clear: I am not against studio monitors. You can buy a pair of studio monitors if you want to.
These are some of my opinions bases on my experience and better resource management as I reflect back to the time I made my home studio. The final decision stays with you.
In conclusion, I hope this quick Q&A guide helped you out in your decision making.
All in all, we saw different questions that surround a person’s mind looking to buy a set of monitors.