The term "studio monitor" refers to a speaker that has a flat response
. Flat response is a good thing, since a perfectly flat response is effectively a perfect speaker. If you could get a perfectly flat-response stereo microphone and perfectly flat response speakers, no blindfolded human being or measurement device would be able to tell the difference between genuine sound and the reproduced sound. In reality, "perfect" flat mic and flat speakers are impossible, but you can usually get both to within +/-2dBA of a perfect response, and also only within a specific range.
The Eris E4.5, for example, offer a flat response from about 80Hz to beyond the upper limit of human hearing; You can usually ignore the upper frequency specs on any half-decent speaker because at 22KHz nobody beyond puberty is going to be able to hear that high. 80Hz is good, but lacks the truly powerful rumbles of bass drums or game and movie explosions. At 4.5" the bass is going to have the same sort of punch as a $75 2.1 speaker set. It'll be far more accurate and it'll handle faster/busier basslines than a compact subwoofer, which can sound "muddy" or "blurry", but it won't deliver anything deeper or lower than those. Your money is being spent on the accuracy and clarity of the flat response. If you want earth-rumbling bass that you can feel in your chest, you're going to need to fork out hundreds of dollars for something with a 10" subwoofer, like the Z906 or buy a deidicate sub to accompany the studio monitors. The Mackie CR5 monitors go down to 60Hz with a flat response, which is borderline low enough to not want a sub.Active studio monitors
are often used as high-end computer speakers because they tend to be higher quality with a focus on use in prosumer and professional recording studios, and the "active" part is useful for a desktop since they can take a low-level input direct from a PC, DAC, soundcard or laptop headphone socket without needing a separate dedicated amp like typical HiFi speakers that you tend to find in most audio stores. There's nothing to stop you using normal HiFi speakers but you'll need a dedicated amp to go with them, which drives up the cost, and they don't usually offer a flat response, they add "character" (stupid audiophile term to describe a non-flat response) which tends to make certain types of music and sound sound better at the cost of making other types of music and sounds worse.
A more relatable example of flat vs character is how 2.1 computer speakers and TV sound systems are: Their character is often described as "boom and hiss" or "punchy and crisp" because the sub is able to punch and boom, whilst the tiny satellites can cover the crisp trebles. It makes gunfire and explosive movies sound awesome and drum-heavy, simple-bassline pop music sounds good, but anything in the midrange (specifically vocals, complex bass that's too fast for the sub, and full-orchestral or richer music with more instruments and a denser scoresheet) will really struggle to sound good.
Hsldn wrote:What you should get comes down to budget. If you can afford the desktop size and outlay of 6" monitors, these are the ones to get since you can almost certainly get away without ever feeling you want a subwoofer. The Eris E4.5 is the best thing at it's price range, but I'd buy the Mackie CR5 if I had more budget to spend. Sound quality is partly down to build quality and partly the size of the drivers. The A5+ are great speakers but at list price they're a rip-off. For the same money you could get better-sounding 6" or even 8" monitors.
would you go with Mackie Cr5 or PreSonus Eris 4.5 ?
how do these compare to AudioEngine A5+? It is pricier than these ,more than double in PreSonus case, is it worth?