Now you need speakers or a good set of headphones.
But speakers are called “Studio Monitors” and headphones “Audio Mixing Headphones”.
The music industry is rife with naming conventions. In these articles on how to compose music with a computer, I spit out simple terms and analogies to get you going before you head to the store.
So What are They?
High quality speakers used for listening to your audio/recordings. They provide high sound quality. Studio Monitors help you point out flaws in your audio or in the mix of the tracks you have recorded. The intent is to provide the richest sound your music can give while you prepare it for the masses.
One important thought before you release your music. Listen to it on other devices like a phone, laptop, Alexa, Google Home, Sonos or whatever you have. See how it adds up in the real world.
Audio Mixing Headphones (a.k.a. Monitor Headphones)
Basically the same idea as Studio Monitors, but for your ears. Comfort is key. Sound quality equally as important. Here is my best advice. I have worn monitor style headphones for many years. I have worn them for 15 hours a day. Comfort wins it.
The cost ranges from a few hundred per speaker into the tens of thousands. But lets keep things real here. I bought a perfect speaker for me, suitable for my home studio and affordable ($250 per speaker). More on that below.
Audio Mixing Headphones
They also range from affordable to “whoa that’s crazy”. Depending on your situation, they might be a better option to begin with. For example, If you don’t have the space available for speakers but still want a rich beautiful sound. Alternatively, it might be evenings when your creative juices get flowing. As the wife, husband or kids send off to bed, a good set of headphones will go a long way.
I started light but didn’t skimp on quality or comfort. The set I bought locally was the Audio Technica ATH-MX50. They are very comfortable and give a rich sound for my current needs.
What Brands are out there?
There are many manufactures of Studio Monitors. Here is a list on WIKI. I went with KRK’s.
Audio Mixing Headphones
So many brands to choose from, I didnt have a good site to send you to, (only garbage advertising portals that kept popping up). Research a little online, then go to the music store. Ask the pro. Absolutely try them on for comfort and sound. Remember that you will wear them for hours at a time.
Does Studio Monitor Size Matter?
Size does matter, but maybe not what you are thinking. The size and quality of your Studio space will be the deciding factor. To blow this out of proportion, you wouldn’t put concert speakers in your bathroom (Or maybe you would, who am I to say lol).
Point is, you could have the best speakers in the world, even at the right size, yet kill the quality of your sound by setting them up in a room not conducive to sound.
My room is medium sized. I went with mid sized good quality Studio Monitors and it worked perfectly.
So Whats the Verdict?
If you are like me, you won’t be investing $80,000 in pro studio walls and furnishings. So where does that leave you? In the perfect spot. You can easily justify getting a nice set of reasonably priced high quality speakers and be quite satisfied.
Buy Local. Support The People Who Support You.
Support your local music store with any purchases that you can. The people at these stores are exceptionally helpful and keen to give advice. Build a relationship with them over time. They know it’s a complicated topic, and they will likely spend lots of time guiding you to equipment or software that is tailored for you (even if they don’t sell it).
FINALLY Let’s Make Some Music
I began making music, excited to learn the Cubase DAW and download a few free quality VST’s. Then I realized, I need a desk. I need to be more organized about my space. More on that in my next article on how to compose music with a computer.