Welcome to the MusicTech Buyer’s Guide, where we round up some of the best products recently reviewed in the magazine. This month, six of the best monitors for all price points, studio sizes and requirements…
Best Small! – IK iLoud Micro Monitors
Price £279 per pair
Contact IK Multimedia
Described as ‘the smallest studio monitors in the world’, it would be easy to dismiss these Micro monitors as simply too small to cut it in music production. But actually, they punch well above their size. We said: “Up against our more expensive monitors, they surprisingly held their own in the bass – one area where we thought they might fall down, given their size.
There must be some colouration added here, we would assume, but IK has done it very well, and the bass sounded round and twangy when needed and not as artificial as some monitors many times the price. When adding more bass instruments, any distinct separation started to fall down somewhat but, you know what, this happens on monitors that can cost £500 or more.”
We concluded: “These are probably the best desktop speakers you can get and punch upwards to studio levels, too. They’re great, simple as!”
Best High-end – Eve Audio SC3010
Contact Nova Distribution Trading Ltd
020 3589 2530
Eve’s SC3010 is a large and powerful three-way monitor that (you might not be surprised, given the price tag), is a pro choice monitor. They’re designed for larger spaces and studios, so if you are in-the-box and in the bedroom, then look elsewhere in this 6 Of The Best.
Reviewer John PIckford said: “These are versatile and extremely capable full-scale monitors able to honestly present your work for lengthy periods of time without causing listener fatigue. Even at just shy of five grand, the Eve SC3010s offer outstanding value for money, giving you so much in terms of advanced technology, thoughtful design and, above all else, superb sound reproduction.”
He concluded: “Voices and instruments are faithfully reproduced with first-rate timbral resolution. These are a superb choice for those luckily enough to have a large mixing room.”
Best Mid-size – Dynaudio LYD 7
The Dynaudio LYD range won our Monitors Of 2016 award and these are the mid-sized ones in the range of three. Reviewer Andy Jones said: “A couple of extras make the 7s more interesting, and ultimately more appealing. While the larger 8s definitely have it in terms of the sound, the 7s had a more rounded response, more even, flatter and tighter.
You might not get quite the low end detail you want (as you’d get with the 8s) but the mix sounded more tempered and balanced. For medium-sized rooms, get them. Possibly the best speakers from a great range.”
Best Beefy detail – KRK V-Series 4 S8
KRK’s latest V-Series has been ‘specifically designed for audio production applications where accurate reproduction is critical’. That’s for all of us, then. Unlike some older KRKs, though, these lack any colouration and performed very well in our tests. Jon Andrews said: “The V8s are, like the engine size of the same name, built for power.
You’ll need a larger setup to get the best from them – and, in my case, bigger speaker stands – but if you have a medium-to-large-sized setup, they won’t disappoint. There’s a separation here across both upper and lower ranges that explodes your mix into the parts that you want to hear, enabling the precision engineering you lust after when mixing. Simply great monitors.”
Best Self-calibrating – Genelec 8330A
Price £1,249 pair
Contact Source Distribution
020 8962 5080
The 8300 series from Genelec includes SAM (Smart Active Monitoring), so can be adjusted to perfection by tailoring them to different rooms. It’s not something that will necessarily correct a bad room, but did work very well with these speakers in our test.
Reviewer Huw Price said: “Music with prominent kick drums and dubby basslines sounded much improved with the calibration. Bass notes had a reduced tendency to pop out of the mix and the more subtle, tonal qualities of kick drums were far easier to discern.
The result of all this automated calibration and fine-tuning was that the monitors sounded excellent in our test room. These are open, real and clear monitors that still benefit from the SAM system.”
Best Mid-priced – Pioneer RM-07
Price £1,150 per pair
0208 836 3500
The RM Series of pro studio monitors wowed us when it came out a couple of years back, and came from a company making strong inroads into the pro-audio market. They’re designed from scratch for mixers and producers and, on the face of it, no compromises have been made. Compared to the smaller 5s, the 7s are definitely the ones to get.
Reviewer Jon Andrews said: “There was a little less muddiness around the 40 to 150Hz region on the 7s, which meant that we could pick out things in our mix that we couldn’t quite reach with the 5s allowing us to reach into the mix for a precise tweak here and there. An impressive and accurate monitor.”