Desktop Studio Monitors

Mar 1, 2012 9:00 AM, By the Mix Editors



Education Guide

Mix is gearing up to present its longstanding annual Audio Education Guide in its November 2014 issue. Want to have your school listed in the directory, or do you need to update your current directory listing? Add an image, program description, or a logo to your listing! Get your school in the Mix Education Guide 2014.

Everything gets smaller. Consoles upward of 80 inputs and stretching the width of the control room get replaced by 256-input models that fit on a desk in an edit suite. Recorders the size of mini-refrigerators get replaced by ADATs, then pocket-sized multichannel units with built-in mics, then hard drives. Echo chambers now come in software.

But speakers? They still have to push air, right? How small can you go and still have the power and clarity needed for pro-level production? There has been a move lately to go even more compact than near-field, down to the desktop. A number of factors drive this: the changing methods of production, now more mobile and based around a laptop or private production space. The need for new markets for the manufacturers themselves, and the opening up to a whole new generation of pros/high-end hobbyists. The merging of audio and video production onto a single CPU.

But there have always been smaller speakers found in pro studios. Producer Joe Chiccarelli fondly remembers AR Powered Partners from the early ‘80s, telling me that Bob Rock mixed Metallica and Bon Jovi on them. “They were computer speakers before there were computers,” he says. But typically, monitors with a less-than-6-inch woofer have been used for reference, with engineers checking on how tracks translate to the consumer, to make sure their mixes hold up. Auratones are legend in some circles.

The difference today is that the monitors under 6 inches are definitely being used in professional production, and there will be more on the way. Arguably the trend seems to be toward getting the amps outside the box, like the Pelonis Model 42 and the admittedly larger sE Egg. Mix took this opportunity to survey the market and present Desktop Monitors available over the last several years. The list is by no means comprehensive, as the line blurs here between pro and hi-fi. And prices have been omitted, as we all know that shopping around is half the fun.

photo of ADAM A5X


ADAM’s A3X ($329 each) measures 9.9x5.9x7.2 inches (HxWxD) and includes an X-ART tweeter, a 4.5-inch mid/low frequency driver with a very light but stiff carbon fiber diaphragm for absolute transparency, and two 25-watt amplifiers to power each driver. The A5X ($499 each) includes the X-ART tweeter, a 5.5-inch mid/woofer that reproduces frequencies below 2.5 kHz, and twice the power of ADAM's A5 (25W tweeter and 50W). The speakers feature 110dB max peak SPL per pair.

photo of Roland MA15D

Roland MA15D

Roland MA15D
The front-ported MA15D monitors from Roland, with 4-inch woofer and 2-inch tweeter, offer front panel controls for bass and treble enhancement and two independent volume controls. Other features include digital inputs, 1/8-inch, RCA and S/PDIF inputs, headphone output, 192kHz/24-bit converters and 15W per channel.

photo of Tannoy Reveal 501a

Tannoy Reveal 501a

Tannoy Reveal 501a
The Reveal 501a from Tannoy, with 5-inch driver and 1-inch soft-dome tweeter, offers a Wideband tweeter design that extends response to 30 kHz to improve audible phase response, power status LED, +1.5/0/-1.5dB HF trim switch for custom room adjustment, rear volume control, and XLR balanced or unbalanced inputs.

photo of Focal CMS 50

Focal CMS 50

Focal CMS 50
The Focal CMS 50s, with 5-inch Polyglass cone drive unit and inverted-dome tweeter, feature XLR or RCA inputs, adjustable HP filter plus LF and HF shelving control, sensitivity adjustment, standby switch and front facing volume control.

Acceptable Use Policy
blog comments powered by Disqus

Mix Books

Modern Recording and Mixing

This 2-DVD set will show you how the best in the music industry set up a studio to make world-class records. Regardless of what gear you are using, the information you'll find here will allow you to take advantage of decades of expert knowledge. Order now $39.95

Mastering Cubase 4

Electronic Musician magazine and Thomson Course Technology PTR have joined forces again to create the second volume in their Personal Studio Series, Mastering Steinberg's Cubase(tm). Edited and produced by the staff of Electronic Musician, this special issue is not only a must-read for users of Cubase(tm) software, but it also delivers essential information for anyone recording/producing music in a personal-studio. Order now $12.95



Delivered straight to your inbox every other week, MixLine takes you straight into the studio, with new product announcements, industry news, upcoming events, recent recording/post projects and much more. Click here to read the latest edition; sign up here.

MixLine Live

Delivered straight to your inbox every other week, MixLine Live takes you on the road with today's hottest tours, new sound reinforcement professional products, recent installs, industry news and much more. Click here to read the latest edition; sign up here.

[an error occurred while processing this directive]

The Wire, a virtual press conference offering postings of the latest gear and music news, direct from the source. Visit the The Wire for the latest press postings.