Is it okay to have big studio monitors in a small room studio? Which studio monitor size is best for you? Home studio music producers have lots of questions related to studio monitors.
This article will act as a guide to help you how to choose the right near-field monitor size according to your home studio size. You will learn what factors matter the most, how to decide the right monitor size based on these factors, and based on your studio needs.
Which Monitor Size Should you Buy For Home Studio?
Selecting the right studio monitor size for a small home studio depends on three major factors: -
- Low-End Frequency Reproduction
- Room Size and Treatment
- Listening Distance
Low-End Frequency Reproduction
Two-way near-field studio monitors consist of a tweeter and a woofer. The tweeter is responsible for reproducing the high-frequency spectrum, and the woofer is responsible for reproducing the low-end frequency spectrum. Most studio monitors these days provide a one-inch tweeter dome or ribbon tweeter. These can reproduce frequencies up to 20kHz or more with ease. The high-end frequency response of most studio monitors is linear and flat.
But when it comes to reproducing low-end frequencies, size matters.
When the size of a studio monitor is mentioned, it refers to the diameter of the woofer installed. The larger the studio monitor size, the more low-end it can reproduce.
One should buy a studio monitor considering the low-frequency reproduction needs. The bigger the studio monitor woofer size, the more low-end it can produce. For example, Yamaha HS5 studio monitors have a 5-inch woofer and can reproduce bass frequencies around 54Hz. On the other hand, Yamaha HS8 have an 8-inch woofer and can reproduce bass frequencies around 38Hz.
So if you are working with music that has more low-end frequency information, it is better to get a bigger studio monitor. But there is a catch - your studio room size.
If you get a bigger studio monitor and set it up in a small room, a small studio space or an acoustically untreated room, it will easily activate room modes.
Room modes are the collection of resonances that exist in a room when the room is excited by an acoustic source, such as a loudspeaker.
If you buy a large size studio monitor and place it in a small room that is untreated or not properly treated, it will result in chaos. Due to phasing and comb filtering you will end up with issues like room modes activation, shift in frequencies, phase cancellation etc. Reflections and sound build-up will also become an issue.
If you donot have an acoustically treated room or a very large room(atleast 20 Feet length). Getting a large size studio monitor will be the biggest mistake you can make. Sticking to anything below 5 inches will be your safest bet for small size rooms.
If you do not have an acoustically treated room, it is best to get a great pair of professional studio headphones and use any good build bookshelf speakers that you have in your home. Save your money until you treat the room.
Another aspect to consider is listening distance. Bigger studio monitors can be placed farther away from the listening position, and they also have a wider sweet spot range.
Large studio monitors are louder than the smaller ones, hence can also be set up at a distance farther away from the listener. This makes larger monitor sizes more suitable if you have a big mixing console or studio desk setup. You will mostly encounter far-field and larger near-field studio monitors installed in bigger studios.
If you have a small acoustically treated room, getting a near field studio monitor between 5-8inches will be the best option. Most near field studio monitors between 5-inches and 8-inches can be kept at a listening distance between 0.2meters-3meters. So make sure you measure your listening distance from the speaker placement position and match that to the studio monitors of your choice.
Below, I have mentioned some of the best near-field studio monitor options that you can buy in India.
Below 5 Inches Near Field Studio Monitors
Smaller studio monitors are suitable for small untreated rooms. They do not have much power and will not make the listening worse by activating room modes.
Any monitor below 5 inches is a good place to start if you have an untreated room and a low budget. These monitors will not reproduce enough bass and will be low in power, so keeping them in an untreated room is a safe bet.
Small monitors are also a must for treated and professional studios as an extra pair of references. As most music is consumed on a small speaker, it is great to have a small monitor pair in your studio. The small size also makes them portable and easy to move around.
Who Should Buy Studio Monitors Below 5 Inches
Everyone should have a small pair of studio monitors/bookshelf speakers in their studio as a listening reference.
If any of the below-mentioned condition is true for you, you should definitely buy studio monitors below 5 inches only:
- If you have an acoustically untreated home studio room.
- If you are low on budget
Best Studio Monitors Below 5 Inches In India
Here are my top 3 small size studio monitors recommendations that you can buy on a budget.
If you are looking for a high-end small studio monitor under 5 inches in India, do check out the Sonoyne SRP400.
5-Inches To 8-Inches Near Field Studio Monitors
Larger studio monitors are suitable for acoustically treated home studios. You can choose from 5-8 inches woofer size depending on your need for low end and how well you have treated your room. Also, take into consideration the listening distance.
Most small studio producers will be fine with 6.5-8inch studio monitors, as they produce ample low end. If you have a well-treated room, combining a subwoofer to your monitoring system will do wonders.
Who Should Buy Studio Monitors Between 5-8 Inches
- If you have an acoustically treated studio/room.
- You need to monitor low-end frequencies.
- Your Room size is at least 12-15 feet long and over 12 feet (3.66 metres) wide.
Best Near Field Studio Monitors between 5-Inches To 8-Inches
Here are my top 3 studio monitor recommendations that you can buy for your home studio on a budget
If you are looking for high-end near field studio monitors for your home studio, here are my top 3 recommendations: -
- Adam Audio S and AX Series
- Genelec The Ones
Hope this article helped you in finding the right studio monitors according to your room. If you have nay comments or queries, please do post them below.
Suggested Read: Audio Signal Flow And Signal Chain
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