In principle, a studio loudspeaker system hardly differs from loudspeakers in the HiFi segment. However, a studio system is primarily an analytical tool. While in the hi-fi sector alienated (“discolored”) music or speech reproduction can ultimately be perceived as subjectively satisfactory, in the recording studio the objective assessment of recordings and mixes is in the foreground. Therefore, the aim here is as neutral a sound behavior as possible.
While a finished mix can theoretically also be reproduced by a hi-fi loudspeaker, individual tracks and intermediate mixes are not yet compressed when listening and demand extreme dynamics and high level peaks from the loudspeaker , which it must reproduce without distortion and without damage. In addition, finished mixes should not “sound good” due to special characteristics of the speakers; Instead, the system must also be able to reliably reveal minor errors in the production process.
Studio speakers usually have a very directional radiation pattern, i. H. the waves are more concentrated. This means that there are fewer scattered reflections that reflect off the walls and thus interfere with the sound assessment. HiFi speakers, on the other hand, work with a broader radiation pattern in order to enrich the room with music.
In addition to the “near-field monitors” available in every studio, several larger loudspeaker systems are often used for medium or long listening distances, depending on the size of the control room. Some of these are embedded in the wall ("flush mounting"), which offers a number of technical advantages, such as a higher sound pressure level due to radiation into the half-space and the associated lower distortion or the avoidance of interference cancellation due to interface reflection. The near-field monitors, on the other hand, are in the room and therefore closer to the listening position. This position creates a smaller stereo field and is more sensitive to changes in the position of the head, but has a more favorable ratio of direct sound to diffuse sound, which means that the effect of the room is better suppressed.
In the past, studio monitors were mostly passive and could therefore be combined with different amplifiers, but today the trend is towards active systems, because it is possible to split the signal path at low power level with little loss and to operate each speaker system built into the monitor with its own optimized amplifier. Frequently, the frequencies are split fully digitally. The loudspeakers are also increasingly being controlled with digitally controlled power amplifiers.
In the case of an authentic reproduction, in addition to a reproduction that is as linear as possible, impulse fidelity is also important. When using conventional frequency filters, each additional path caused by the division of the frequency spectrum to different individual loudspeakers causes runtime changes and phase errors, which can permanently impair the authenticity of the reproduction. This problem could be avoided by using a full range speaker (one-way speaker system). However, since no broadband loudspeaker can reproduce the entire audible frequency spectrum linearly, many studio loudspeakers are designed using 2-way technology. 3- or 4-way systems, such as those used in systems with sub-bass or in larger studio monitors, are also found, but require a high-quality crossover or, in the case of active systems, a suitable amplifier.
Loudspeakers in multi-way technology are only suitable to a limited extent for near-field technology and must be aligned very precisely so that the desired mixing ratio can be formed on the ear. Nevertheless, these systems show ever smaller errors in the transition area between the two loudspeakers. This problem is countered by shifting the crossover frequency (switching filters or signal processing) or using several different systems.
Several systems also solve the contradiction that arises from the two requirements of accuracy and volume. In well-equipped recording studios you will find a combination of broadband and multi-way speakers at different distances. The greater the distance between the monitors and the ear, the more important the room acoustics become. Therefore, complex and expensive optimizations of the room equipment are sometimes necessary in order to be able to fulfill the function correctly.
- Michael Dickreiter, Volker Dittel, Wolfgang Hoeg, Martin Wöhr (eds.): Manual of the recording studio technology. 8th revised and expanded edition, 2 volumes, Walter de Gruyter, Berlin / Boston 2014, ISBN 978-3-11-028978-7 or e- ISBN 978-3-11-031650-6 .
- Thomas Sandmann: Monitor system in the studio. In: Keys trade journal , issue 11/2008.
- The English two-way monitor LS3 / 5A ("good article" English Wikipedia)
- Advantages and procedure for in-wall loudspeakers. Markus Zehner, accessed on March 27, 2020 .