Your mixes are only as good as your listening environment, which is why it’s so important to make sure you’re using a high-quality set of studio monitors. But with so many options to choose from, it can be hard to pick the right pair for your studio. In this blog, we’ll break down the most popular studio monitors of 2021 to help you find the perfect set of speakers for your needs.
As the popularity of home studios continues to grow and the size of commercial facilities shrinking down, the demand for compact studio-grade monitors is higher than ever. That’s why the Barefoot Sound Footprint 01 studio monitors have been such a big hit this year, as they offer Barefoot’s signature sound quality in a compact, affordable package. Equipped with four class-leading drivers, including two 8-inch “Dual-Force” subwoofers, Footprint 01 studio monitors deliver an extended frequency range from 36 Hz - 45 kHz for crystal-clear sound.
The Kali Audio IN-8 V2 studio monitors achieve a compact design by utilizing coaxial architecture, meaning the tweeter is located in the center of the midrange driver. This allows IN-Series monitors to act as acoustic point sources, resulting in improved accuracy and hyper-realistic imaging. Additionally, the three-way design lets both the woofer and the tweeter do less work, resulting in better headroom and lower distortion.
Another approach to mixing in smaller spaces is to use nearfield monitors, and the Focal Shape 65 studio monitors were one of the most popular nearfield models this year. As the largest of the Shape series, the Shape 65 monitors deliver optimal performance when placed just three feet from the mixing position, and can even be positioned against a wall without extra build up in the lower frequencies. Plus, the natural wood-grain finish looks great on any desktop.
Neumann is one of the most trusted names in the recording industry, and the KH120 studio monitors have a strong reputation to back it up. The small-but-mighty KH120 studio monitors can be used as a near-field monitoring solution, or as the rear loudspeakers in larger multi-channel systems. Combined with Neumann’s Mathematically Modeled Dispersion waveguide technology and powerful analog class-AB amplifiers, the KH120 studio monitors deliver exceptional sound quality.
ADAM Audio studio monitors are known for their unparalleled clarity and detail, largely thanks to their innovative Accelerating Ribbon Technology. A7X studio monitors are equipped with precision X-ART tweeters, handmade in Germany and capable of accurately reproducing frequencies all the way up to 50 kHz. Plus, by folding the X-ART diaphragm, A7X monitors are able to utilize a larger foil and pump out up to 114 dB SPL without breaking up or distorting.
Used by some of the top engineers, producers and sound designers in the world, HEDD studio monitors offer unmatched accuracy. Featuring the brand’s renowned Linearizer, a phase linearization tool used to improve stereo imaging, Type 07 MK2 studio monitors sound great in any setting. And with removable plugs for the bass reflex tubes, you can choose between ported and closed-cabinet design depending on the size of your listening environment.
No studio is complete without a pair of Avantone MixCubes. These classic mini monitors are perfect for referencing your mix on a single-driver system. Tired of running back and forth to your car to tweak your mix? With the MixCubes on your desk, you can rest assured that your track will sound great on any system, from smartphone and laptop speakers to TVs, even your “Alexa.” MixCubes shine a light on any problems in your mix, making them the perfect tool for fine-tuning your tracks.
Tired of the extraneous hype? Check out the ATC SCM25A Pro studio monitors. These active three-way monitors offer a flat, neutral frequency response designed to reveal as much information as possible so you can make more informed decisions about your mix. SCM25A Pro studio monitors combine handbuilt drivers with a custom 235 W class A/B 3-way amplifier for crystal-clear sound that never breaks up or distorts. And with an extended frequency range from 47 Hz - 22 kHz, these compact studio monitors deliver surprisingly powerful bass.
Except for the important classics, most of us have adopted digital technology in our studios, so why are we still using analog monitors? Genelec 8330A studio monitors are designed for the 21st century with Smart Active Monitoring (SAM) technology that automatically calibrates to your listening environment. Combined with Genelec’s innovative Minimum Diffraction Enclosure and Directivity Control Waveguide, 8330A studio monitors ensure precise, accurate sound in any setting.
Inspired by the legendary Yamaha NS10 speakers, HS5 studio monitors feature a powered two-way design that’s perfect for nearfield monitoring. A custom five-inch woofer and one-inch tweeter deliver powerful lows down to 54 Hz and silky-smooth highs up to 30 kHz. Plus, the dedicated room controls on the back make it easy to tame excessive bass when placed near a wall and dial in the right sound for any space.