The best active professional monitors for your home system
The best active professional monitors for your home system
The best active professional monitors for your home system

The best studio monitors right now

A well-known way to get more sound for the same money is to opt for professional active monitors for use in your home audio system. Yes, their appearance is quite utilitarian, but they have such undeniable advantages as active bandpass amplification, in which each of the built-in amplifiers delivers a narrow frequency band, high overload capacity and low intermodulation distortion.

For successful operation as part of a home stereo system, you will need a pre-amplifier, long interconnect cables (from 1.5 meters) and network cables for each of the monitors.

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Focal Alpha 65 Evo

The new generation of budget Alpha monitors from the French Focal has a two-way configuration. The high-frequency driver is equipped with the company’s traditional inverted dome made of aluminum measuring 25 mm, the midrange/woofer is equipped with a 165 mm diffuser made of proprietary Slatefiber material, which is a composite of non-woven carbon fibers. Class D amplifiers produce 55 watts in bass and 25 watts in highs. The body is made of fiberboard and plastic and has an acoustic design in the form of a slotted phase inverter located on the front panel. There are three inputs on the rear panel – unbalanced on RCA and two balanced on XLR and TRS, the input impedance is the same for all inputs – 10 kOhm, there is also an input sensitivity switch – 0 and +6 dB. In addition, HF and LF timbres allow you to adjust the output in the room in the corresponding part of the frequency range. Overall dimensions of one monitor – 339 x 261 x 289 mm, weight – 7.6 kg.

Pros – proprietary sound with good HF resolution, controls for adjusting the output to the room, full switching

Cons – power is not too high, design

Verdict: Similar sound in home audio costs much more

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RCF Ayra Pro 6

The well-known Italian manufacturer of professional equipment offers good near-field monitors, distinguished by original solutions. In particular, the model implements proprietary FiRPHASE technology, which provides the most linear phase-frequency response. The total power of the Class D amplifiers built into each monitor is 120 Watts, the maximum sound pressure level reaches 109 dB. Connection is possible to an unbalanced RCA input, as well as to balanced XLR and TRS. The dome tweeter is loaded on a large waveguide, and the low-frequency driver is equipped with a 6.5-inch fiberglass cone and is driven by a dual bass reflex driver on the front panel. On the back wall there is a knob for adjusting the input sensitivity, as well as switches for controlling the HF and LF output. Each monitor weighs 5.5 kg and measures 210 x 340 x 290 mm.

Pros – the ability to create an excellent scene, a full range of inputs and adjustments

Cons – not the most powerful bass

Verdict: Lively and fast sound with good volume

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Mackie MR624

An old friend of all studio employees, a classic near-field monitor from an American company. An important feature is that the built-in amplifier with a total power of 65 watts operates in class AB, and the inch tweeter loaded on a “logarithmic” waveguide helps to form a wide polar pattern. The 6.5-inch woofer is loaded with a bass reflex, while the Acoustic Space function allows you to adjust the bass output depending on the distance to the walls. The maximum sound pressure level is an impressive 111 dB, and there is a full range of inputs for connection – balanced XLR and TRS and unbalanced RCA. The overall dimensions of one monitor are 382 x 211 x 284 mm, each speaker weighs 7.5 kg.

Pros – excellent dynamics, wide listening area, class AB amplifier

Cons: Lacks a bit of refinement

Verdict: Classic never gets old, a great choice for rock lovers

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ADAM T7V

Near-field monitors equipped with a U-ART ribbon high-frequency driver loaded on an HPS waveguide, as well as a woofer with a 7-inch diameter polypropylene cone. The bass reflex is located on the rear panel of the case, which must be taken into account during installation. The amplifiers operate in class D and produce 20 watts for each tweeter and 50 watts for each woofer. The active crossover (crossover frequency 2.6 kHz) is equipped with a built-in digital signal processor; the monitor provides adjustment of the bass and treble output within +/- 2 dB. Connection to the pre-amplifier is possible through unbalanced and balanced connectors, input impedance – 10 kOhm and 20 kOhm, respectively. Input sensitivity is also widely adjustable. The maximum sound pressure developed by the monitors is 110 dB, dimensions are 347 x 210 x 293 mm, weight – 7.1 kilograms.

Pros – luxurious HF, high power for a two-way design, convenient switching

Cons – digitization of the input signal

Verdict: The best choice for those who need the most detailed HF

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KRK RP7 G4

The fourth generation of the popular near-field monitor, which still uses emitters with Kevlar membranes of a characteristic yellow color. An inch tweeter operates at high frequencies, while mid and low frequencies are voiced by a driver with a 6.5-inch diffuser loaded onto a slotted bass reflex on the front panel. The total power of the Class D amplifiers built into each monitor is 145 Watts, and the monitor settings can be controlled both through the display located on the rear panel and the proprietary KRK App mobile application, which helps adjust the sound to the acoustic characteristics of the room. The built-in equalizer has 25 presets. There is only one combined XLR/TRS connector for connecting to a signal source. With overall dimensions of 393 x 225 x 284 mm, each monitor weighs 7.5 kg. Maximum sound pressure – 110 dB.

Pros – high power, mobile application, flexible settings

Cons – no single-ended input

Verdict: Recognizable appearance and tight, dynamic sound

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JBL 306PMKII

While there are still monitors produced by JBL on sale, it makes sense to take care of purchasing a pair for your system. Moreover, the two-way near-field monitor is made according to all proprietary patterns – an inch dome tweeter with a neodymium magnetic system is installed deep in the original waveguide, and all frequencies below 1,425 Hz are given to the main driver measuring 6.5 inches. The built-in class D amplifier produces 56 watts for each of the bands, the round bass reflex port is located on the rear wall. The monitors allow adjustment of the HF and LF output using switches on the rear panel, where the input sensitivity switch is also located, as well as a knob for adjusting the overall gain level. The peak sound pressure is 110 dB, the lower limit frequency is stated at 39 Hz at a level of -10 dB. The monitor weighs 6 kg and measures 408 x 285 x 328 mm.

Pros – luxurious stage, high dynamics, excellent bass

Cons – only XLR and TRS inputs

Verdict: Perhaps the most musical of inexpensive monitors

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Kali Audio IN-8 V2

A solid three-way studio monitor from a well-known Californian manufacturer of studio equipment. Highs and mids are delivered by a coaxial driver that includes a one-inch soft dome tweeter and a four-inch midrange driver with a polymer-coated paper cone. The bass register is entrusted to an 8-inch speaker loaded on the front bass reflex. The power of the built-in amplifiers in class D is distributed as follows – 40 watts for HF and midrange and 60 watts for LF. The active crossover filter is activated at 280 Hz and 2.8 kHz, the lower cutoff frequency is 37 Hz at a level of -10 dB, the maximum sound pressure level is 117 dB, which is very respectable for a monitor measuring 285 x 254 x 451 mm and weighing 10 .4 kg. To connect signal sources, three analog inputs are provided – RCA, XLR and TRS.

Pros – high power, full set of connectors for connection, three-way design

Disadvantages – perhaps amplification in class D

Verdict: Lots of power and clear sound for a low price