What separates the Focal SM9s from the rest of powered studio monitors available on the market is the ability to switch between the 2-way and 3-way operating modes. 3-way mode brings together the full-range that these speakers are capable of producing, working with a 1” pure Beryllium inverted-dome tweeter, a 6.5 inch Focal “W” cone for midrange, and an 8 inch Focal “W” cone for the low end. This killer combo unearths elements that might otherwise never go noticed on lesser speakers.
The 2-way mode cuts out the 8 inch low-frequency driver, eliminating sub-frequencies that most consumers won’t ever be able to hear. This allows you to make adjustments to the parts that are the most important to the common man. Just a heads up, the SM9s come separately so you’ll need to make the purchase twice. The price tag definitely will scare off casual hobbyists but for those who are really ready to hear music like they’ve never heard it before, these are the only option to be considered.
Dynaudio’s BM15A powered studio monitor brings to the table an immaculate audio performance powered by the company’s totally custom-designed and built drivers, cabinets, and electronics. A 10 inch woofer cranks out powerful bass frequencies while the unit’s bass reflex cabinet helps to enhance the low frequency response. A pair of discrete MOSFET amplifiers are responsible for the clear signal that comes out of these speakers, offering 200 watts for the low frequency driver and 100 for the highs. Meanwhile, the precision protection circuitry promises that those drivers will remain safe from any damage during use. To top it all off, the unit features an elegant matte finish that makes this thing look majestic which definitely helps the visual aesthetic of your studio. Note: Many retailers sell each side individually, so make sure you order a matching set.
The Neumann KH 120 powered studio monitor represents the marriage between the impressive build standards of Neumann and the pristine audio quality of Klein + Hummel. The KH 120 features a Mathematically Modeled Dispersion (MMD) waveguide, resulting in a wide sweet spot no matter where you sit in the studio. The unit’s low-frequency drivers help to reduce distortion while also dispensing marvelous mid-range and high frequencies. The design of the drivers is calibrated in a sandwich cone shape, which works against breakup and also reduces low-frequency distortion. The monitor’s large front panel ports also work to reduce bass compression and make it easier to mount the speaker in tight spaces.
Comprised by an 8 inch cone woofer and 1 inch dome tweeter, the Yamaha HS8 studio monitor offers a bi-amplified driver and ported enclosures that offer up an honest, untampered sound. This speaker features room control and high-trim response controls that allow the monitor to be tailored to any room that it sits in, meaning that you’ll never worry that the room isn’t doing your mix justice. The HS8 sits in an enclosure that has been designed to eliminate any unwanted frequencies that could potentially influence the sound that comes through the monitor. This monitor is also equipped with an advanced magnetic circuit design that provides a tightly controlled flux field. The end result is a smooth response and dynamic efficiency that will allow you to take your mixes to a whole new level of precision.
Engineers and producers who are looking for affordable studio monitors to use when mixing music would do well to check out the JBL Professional 305P. The unit utilizes the same stereo imaging elements employed in the company’s flagship M2 Master Reference monitors to give a wide spectrum to play with. This gives you a more sound platform to make judgments in the sound of the mix. JBL’s patented Slip Stream low-frequency port allows for accurate bass response even when the monitor is playing back at a low level, a tactic that's a great way to check a mix. High frequency and low frequency trim controls allow users to make adjustments to the playback of the monitor to fit the acoustics of the room that they sit in. And the wider sweet spot this unit offers means you don’t have to necessarily be sitting in the captain’s chair in order to hear the best it has to offer.
Those who have spent even a small amount of time working in music production and mixing are surely familiar with the trademark yellow and black design of the KRK Rokit studio monitor. The company’s Rokit 5 G3 model sports a Class A/B amplifier to drive the woofer and soft-dome tweeter, which are combined into a single composite. The Rokit 5’s active two way electronics offer plenty of headroom while keeping noise amplification to a minimum. A front-slotted bass port and resonant-free cabinet contributes to the monitor’s clear and supreme sound. The Rokit 5 also features a limiter to prevent nasty unwanted peaks from doing any damage to the speaker.