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The Best Studio Monitors For Both Professional And Home Studios

Deciding which studio monitors are best for your studio can be a challenging task. Whether you are setting up your first studio or upgrading your current one, this guide will help.

Best Studio Monitors
Photo from adam.audio.com

Below is a list of the best high-budget studio monitors. If you are on a budget and looking for the best studio monitors in your price range, check out our 10 top choices here.

Here we focus on monitors costing $500 and above.

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The Best Studio Monitors

We listed monitors from some of the top manufactures that operate in the upper echelons of the professional audio market, including Neumann, Focal, and Genelec, selecting some of their best studio monitors to share with you.

All monitors below are near-field and are suitable for both professional or home studio set up.

Focal Shape 65

Focal introduce a monitor with an unusual shape and design with their Shape Series – we recommend the Shape 65 here.

The monitor’s main body is a black-painted MDF, finish with walnut veneer, which veers from the usual construct of “normal” studio speakers.

The Shape 65 is a 2-way monitor with a 6.5″ woofer and a 1″ M-shaped tweeter.

The purpose of the M-tweeter is to improve rigidity, produce less distortion, provide a more linear frequency response curve below 6kHz.

The woofer cone is made from the natural material of the Flax plant. Because Flax fibres are hollow, it is very lightweight, have excellent damping properties, which makes them ideal to use for bass driver cones.

In addition to the 6.5″ woofer, both sides of the cabinet have a 6.5″ passive radiators. They are equivalent of a bass port, which compensates for close wall positioning.

The back panel features a balanced XLR and an unbalanced RCA input.

The EQ controls allow you to tailor the monitor’s frequency response to the listening environment and application.

The low-shelving control provides a 6dB boost or cut of frequencies below 250Hz, and the high-shelving offers a 3dB cut or boost at 4.5kHz and above.

The Shape 65 also offers a bell-curve low-mid EQ control, which have a 160Hz centre frequency, a Q of 1 and allow you to cut or boost by 3dB.

When it comes to sound, the Shape 65 has a well-balanced bass response, the mid-range detailed and transparent, and the high frequency is smooth and without distortion.

If space is an issue for you, then the Shape 65 is the best studio monitor for you because the Shape Series monitors are optimised for small-acoustic spaces.

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Genelec 8050B

If the previous monitor is ideal for small spaces, the Genelec 8050B is for larger studios and longer listening distances.

This powerful monitor comprises an 8″ woofer and a 1″ metal-dome tweeter and capable of 110dB SPL.

A 150Watt Class A/B amplifier powers the bass woofer, which handles frequencies down to 32Hz.

The tweeter is powered by a 120Watt Class A/B amplifier and handle frequencies up to 25kHz.

This 2-way active monitor features a two-part aluminium die-cast cabinet with generously flared reflex ports exiting on the back of the rear section.

According to Genelec, the reflex port minimises noise, compression and distortion.

The back panel houses the single XLR input, the DIP bank and IEC main socket with a voltage selector switch.

The DIP bank is EQ configuration switches that allow you to adjust the monitor according to placement.

The EQ options include a bass roll-off and tilt, high-frequency tilt and a desktop profile that introduces a 4dB cut at 160Hz.

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Adam A77X

The A77X is an active, horizontally positioned, and Adam’s most affordable three-way monitor.

On its front panel, a 1.5″ X‑ART ribbon tweeter sits between the centre of two 7″ drivers, about it is the on/off switch and the volume control.

The distinctive crisp detail sound of the ART ribbon tweeter has set Adam’s monitors apart from others.

The A77X features an upgraded version, X-ART (eXtended Accelerating Ribbon Technology), of Adam’s iconic ribbon tweeter.

The design of the X-ART results in an extremely efficient driver that has unprecedented clarity and transient response, reaching frequencies up to 50kHz.

Both woofers are a construction of Adam’s Hexacomb, with fibreglass and high excursion cones.

Though identical, each woofer performs different tasks. One driver handles the bass frequencies 400Hz and below. The other cover the bass frequency along with the mid-range up to 3kHz.

Three separate amplifiers power each driver unit. A 50Watt A/B amp for the X-ART tweeter and a 100Watt PWM amp for each of the bass and midrange diver.

Also on the front panel are two bass ports for a possible extended low-frequency response. Adam seems to tune the port to limit colouration and bass overhangs.

The back panel houses an RCA and XLR input, IEC main socket and three filter controls to tailor the monitor frequency response to the environment.

Two controls adjust the high-shelving and low-shelving filter by over +/-6dB at 5kHz and 300Hz respectively.

The other control adjusts the tweeter level over a range of +/-4dB.

In term of sound, the A77X have a full, punchy bottom end, a clean mid-range and a clear top-end with lots of presences.

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Neumann KH120

The KH120A from Neumann is a small 2-way active, ported nearfield monitor.

The smallest monitor on the list, the KH120A cast-aluminium cabinet is just 11.9″ H x 7.2 W x 8.1 D with a 5.25″ bass driver and a 1″ titanium-fabric tweeter.

The internal power amplifier comprises a pair of 80 Watt Class-A/B, one per driver.

Despite the size, the performance of the KH120A is impressive. The bass response extends down to 54hz, which is quite remarkable when you consider the woofer size.

The bass sound is punchy with very natural dynamics, and the mids/highs are smooth, clear and transparent.

The high-frequency response and extends up to 20kHz.

The rear panel features a single balanced XLR line input, an input gain knob and switches that adjust the monitor’s performance.

The first three sets of switches enable you to contour the monitor’s frequency response to the acoustic environment.

The low-shelving filter allows you to attenuate the bass frequency below 400Hz by 2.5dB, 5dB or 7.5dB.

The mid-range bell-curve filter (centre frequencies at 60Hz and 1.5kHz) allow you to attenuate by 1.5dB, 3dB or 4.5dB.

The high-shelving filter allows you to cut frequencies above 5kHz by 1dB or 2dB or boosted by 1dB.

An output switch set the monitor’s output level at 94, 100, 108 or 114 dB SPL at one metre, which is achieved when the input level is 0dBu.

With the gain knob, you can attenuate the input by up to 15dB if you wish to fine-tune the volume level.

The size and quality make the KH120A a great portable reference monitor and would suit a mobile engineer.

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EVE Audio SC207

Is it an Adam Audio monitor? No, the SC207 is from Eve Audio.

The founder of Eve Audio was the co-founder of Adam, so we can understand why the monitors bare some resemblance.

But in no way is Eve monitor designs are similar to that of Adam Audio.

The Eve SC207 uses a DSP instead of analogue circuitry for all the crossover and processing functions.

The analogue inputs (from an XLR or RCA connector) feeds into a Burr-Brown A-D converter where the signal is processed by Eve’s DSP engine, before entering the PWM amplifier.

DSP also replaced the volume, filter, phase and room-acoustic controls, which are all control via the single rotary knob on the front panel.

The filters (Low, Desk, and High) allow you to shape the monitor tonal characteristics to the studio environment.

You can cut or boost the low-shelf (300Hz), and the high-shelf (3kHz) filters by +3dB and -5dB.

The Desk Filter operates at two different centre frequencies. It allows you to cut up to -5dB at 170Hz or boost by +3dB at 80Hz.

According to Eve, this is to help counter the effects of mounting the speakers above a reflective desk’s surface.

Eve SC207 uses a 1.5″ AMT ‘Air Motion Transformer technology’ ribbon tweeter, which was designed and manufactured specifically for Eve monitors.

It features a bigger front plate and a larger magnet than the Adam’s and handles frequencies up to 21kHz.

The 6.5″ SilverCone woofer handles frequency down to an impressive 44Hz.

The bass port at the rear of the monitor is tuned to help keep the bass response even throughout the low and low-mid frequency range with minimal ‘overhang’.

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Focal Solo6 Be

The Solo6 Be is everything you need in a studio monitor.

This 2-way active monitor features a 1″ Beryllium inverted dome tweeter, a 6.5″ woofer and a front bass port across the bottom of the cabinet.

The stylish cabinet features Focal’s signature red veneer wood on the sides.

The technical aspect of the Focal Solo6 Be is even more remarkable.

The back includes an XLR input, a high-shelf (+/- 3dB at 5kHz) and a low-shelf (+/- 3dB at 150Hz) controls for room tuning.

A 100Watt Class-AB amplifier powers the tweeter and a 150 Watt BASH amp powers the woofer.

The 25 microns thick tweeter was designed to prevent the comb-filtering that results from non-concentric tweeters, whilst reproducing frequencies up to a generous 40kHz.

The woofer is made with Focal’s W-Cone technology.

It provides an unprecedented stiffness-to-mass ratio that results in less colouration in the bass response.

The low-end clarity and overall transparency of the Solo6 Be make this monitor worth the money.

If you have the budget and ready to invest in a high-quality piece of equipment, then the Solo6 Be is the best studio monitor for you.

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Hedd Type 20

Hedd Type 20 best studio monitors

At first sight, you may think this is Adam Audio speaker, but it’s the Type 20 monitor from HEDD Audio.

HEDD Audio is also company set up by a former head of Adam Audio.

A detailed look and listen, and you quickly can see that the Type 20 is’t Adam’s monitor.

HEDD Type 20 is a 3-way active monitor, with a 7″ bass driver, 4.7″ mid-range diver and a 1″ AMT ribbon-style tweeter.

This compact arrangement of the Type 20 places the high and mid drivers in the vertical array with the woofer sitting to the side of it.

The arrangement offers a consistent horizontal dispersion of sound for better stereo imaging.

What’s more, the Type 20 features a stand-alone VST/AU plugin called Lineariser.

Lineariser allows you to configure the monitor’s frequency response and the linear phase response from inside your DAW.

What’s impressive about the Type 20 is that each of its drivers is powered by a 300Watt Class-D amplifier, which means more headroom and a higher SPL.

The bass frequencies are so detailed and pronounced that you forget that this is a ported monitor.

The mid-range is clean and well balanced, and the high-frequency performance is very detailed and uncoloured.

Tonal balance, clarity, minimal distortion and a focus stereo image all describe the Type 20 performance.

If you are seeking a monitor with a full-range presentation, the Hedd Type 20 is right for your studio.

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Avantone CLA-10A

Avantone-CLA-10A - best studio monitors

One look and the Avantone CLA-10A reminds you of the iconic Yamaha N1-10s, as it should, because the CLA-10A is a reboot of the Yamaha NS‑10.

It looks just the same as the NS-10 with its black portless cabinet, 7″ mid/bass white cone and a 1.3″ tweeter.

Just like the NS-10, the CLA-10A is a 2-way monitor, the CLA-10A is active and not passive like the NS-10 was.

The frequency response of the CLA-10A is 60Hz-20,000Hz. The monitor reproduce accurate bass frequencies, clear mids and bright highs.

Avantone and mix engineer Chris Lord‑Alge, who help design the reproduction, make every effort to make a replica of the NS-10.

Like the Yamaha NS-10, the CLA-10A have a emphasise high-frequency balance.

If bright and bold high frequencies are what you are looking for or a recreation of the NS-10s, then the CLA-10A is the best studio monitor for you.

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