Which Studio Monitor Speakers Should You Buy?

As you build out your video (or audio) editing studio, one important piece is a solid pair of studio monitor speakers.

Up until this week I've just simply edited any video or audio I've produced while wearing over the ear headphones. But there are a few reasons why you wouldn't want to exclusively edit only wearing headphones.

  • Not everyone that consumes what you make will be wearing headphones.
  • To properly mix the audio you'll want to hear it on different devices/set-ups.
  • You'll often have more than one other person at a time watch or listen to what you're working on.

In this post I'll walk through which speakers you should be looking at buying and if you can't afford them, what headphones to go with in the meantime.

Choosing a Studio Monitor Speaker

Unless you're setting up a professional studio, you should be looking for a good pair of home office studio monitor speakers from $150 to $300. 

The three main options I'd recommend in this price range, from cheapest to most expensive are (at the time of writing this):

I decided on a pair of Mackie MR5 mk3's recently and last weekend I shot a quick unboxing/review for them which you can watch below or on YouTube.

As for the other two, while I haven't used them personally, John Lee Dumas at Entrepreneur on Fire uses the M-Audio AV40's and Ryan Connolly over at Film Riot uses the Rokit 5 G3's, so I'm sure they can vouch for them.

What you'll hear in these speakers in comparison to the built-in speakers in your laptop/monitor or smaller computer speakers is much more definition in the range of frequencies you hear.

Meaning, your bass and treble response will be much more clearly defined and sound fuller. You'll hear more of what's there.

Choosing Studio Monitor Headphones

Some people choose to edit with headphones, and I do a combination of both now, but there is one main thing to be careful of when editing with consumer headphones. 

The main consumer brands (such as Bose, Beats, etc.) all boost the bass and other parts of the frequency spectrum to make music sound "better" in them.

But if you are editing your audio with headphones that don't have a flat Equalization response, you'll assume that your audio sounds better than it actually does.

That's why studio monitor headphones have a completely flat EQ.

Anyway, enough jargon.

Here are four pairs of studio monitor headphones, all from Audio-Technica, that I recommend you get if you're can't quite afford the speakers above (or just need an alternative due to your office or roommate situation). They're in order of cost at the time of writing this.

As you move up in price the headphones get larger speaker diaphragms, swivel features, replaceable cords, cases, etc. 

If you have a pair of monitor speakers or headphones, I'd love to hear what you think of them in the comments below this post.

Caleb Wojcik