49 min Accessories Audio monitor or speaker: which is better for professional use?

49 min Accessories Audio monitor or speaker: which is better for professional use?

When setting up a recording studio or an editing room, there is a question: use an audio monitor or traditional speakers? Although they are accessories for audio reproduction, each one of them has certain particularities.

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Having a sound system for work is considerably different from an entertainment-oriented setup. It is at this point that the differences between the two devices and their day-to-day uses begin.

Understand the differences between speakers and audio monitors, including possible applications in home and professional environments. Also, know which points should be considered when buying these accessories.

There are currently a variety of speaker models and formats (Image: Jeff Sheldon/Stocksnap)

Sound box

Generally speaking, speakers are made up of an acoustic box and at least one speaker. These accessories have the simple objective of propagating the sound generated from an electronic device, be it a computer, cell phone, television, mini system or any other.

In order to meet different purposes, part of the equipment comes with factory pre-configured equalizations and frequencies. Thus, these devices can play different categories of audio with quality.

Due to these adjustments, the speakers do not deliver sounds faithful to the original recordings. Therefore, these equipments are not usually recommended for professionals who work with audio and video editing.

Audio Monitors are speakers with balanced frequencies and no equalization (Image: Marinko Krsmanovic/Pexels)

Audio Monitors

Common in recording and editing spaces, audio monitors are used to reference source material. These devices reproduce the sounds with the highest level of fidelity compared to the original recording.

The devices have balanced frequencies and no pre-defined equalization. The result is a “flat” reproduction, that is, faithful to the original record and without interference from the settings of a common speaker.

This is essential for sound engineers to be able to mix music tracks following the reference of the raw material recorded by the musicians. In addition, minor modifications and corrections are possible.

Video and podcast editors also benefit from audio monitors by being able to work with tracks that are more faithful to the original recordings. As well, this makes it easier to mix the content with the soundtracks.

Audiophiles often use audio monitors to listen to vinyl records with greater fidelity (Image: Spencer Selover/Pexels)

Recommendations for home use

Speakers are still the most suitable accessories for home use. In addition to affordable values, it is simpler to integrate a home theater system with a sound system and create a more complete entertainment experience.

The market also offers excellent options for soundbars and subwoofers. In general, devices bring audio presets for certain occasions, such as watching movies, playing games or listening to certain music genres.

However, audiophiles use audio monitors in conjunction with special stereos. This is especially true for vinyl record collectors who seek to hear recordings with the highest level of fidelity.

Thus, the suggestion is to purchase monitors that have their own amplifiers. Currently, it is possible to find affordable input options for those who want to “upgrade” their home sound system.

Audio monitors are essential for professionals working in audiovisual editing (Image: Josh Sorenson/Pexels)

Recommendations for professional use

It’s clear that audio monitors are essential for any editing-related activity. These are must-haves in any recording studio, from small home studios to large professional rooms.

The equipment provides all the necessary resources to carry out audiovisual editing work. A task that really requires referencing the source material with the highest possible level of fidelity.

Ordinary speakers in general do not have the exact balance between high, mid and low tones. In this way, the attenuated – or “colored” – frequency can mislead the person editing the material.

According to professionals, the secret to good mixing is listening to the original recordings with a high level of fidelity. As a result, this contributes to the creation of high quality audio content.

Audio monitors have different settings that need to adjust to the environment (Image: Josh Sorenson/Pexels)

Choosing the audio monitor

Whether for professional or personal use, it is important to know which aspects are important when purchasing an audio monitor. Therefore, we have separated some elements that should be considered when choosing the product.


In general, there are options for audio monitors with speakers between 5 and 10 inches. However, these sizes must suit the location used for edits.

Models between 5 and 7 inches are recommended for small spaces, such as home studios. 8-inch speakers are suggested for medium-sized rooms and, of course, 10-inch monitors are recommended for larger environments.

In addition, it is important to know that these audio devices work with a short, medium or long sound field. This refers to the distance that the equipment must be in relation to the user.

Devices with a short sound field have a suitable distance of one meter to 1.5 meters, while the medium should be in a range of 3 meters. Finally, monitors with a long sound field work with the ideal distance of 4 meters.

Active or passive

This is a specification that confuses many people when purchasing an audio monitor. Especially, those who are not very familiar with the equipment.

Active models work independently with a built-in amplifier. That way, just plug the device into the outlet, connect the pairs and plug it into an output or a soundboard.

Passive devices need an amplifier to work. Although they are cheaper, these models require investment in other devices to power them and amplify the sound.

Audio monitors also assist musicians during recording (Image: Davis Sanchez/Pexels)


Just like regular stereos, the power of audio monitors is measured in Watts. Although it’s a flashy specification, you need to be careful.

Higher power devices do not always deliver superior sound quality. For example, there may be distortions when the model reaches maximum volume and interferes with the editing work.

The suggestion is to personally get to know the equipment and test it in physical stores. If this is not possible, reading product reviews or talking to owners of these devices can solve most of the doubts.

number of lanes

The number of lanes refers to the speakers that are part of the audio monitor. In general, the equipment has the following configurations:

  • 2-way: a speaker for mids and bass and a tweeter for highs;
  • 3-way: a dedicated speaker for bass, one for mids and a tweeter for treble;
  • 4-way: one dedicated bass speaker, two dedicated mids and a tweeter for treble.

Despite the four-way models being flashy, the devices with only one way dedicated to bass sounds are enough to have a quality sound. With this, the professional will be able to work with well-defined tone frequencies.

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