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Online Guide Monitor Speakers
Cabinet Design & Concepts

 

On first inspection, most
Monitor1) Recording studio loudspeaker. 2) Stage loudspeaker, usually wedge-shaped, facing the performers so that they may hear themselves. 3) Computer display screen.
monitor
speakers can appear very similar in design, apparently differing only cosmetically other than their size. Of course in reality, there are many differences between models, and you should familiarise yourself with the
KeyAn additional input on a dynamics processor such as a compressor or noise gate, enabling the dynamics of one signal to control the level of another. This can be used for many functions, including ducking (compressing a music signal when a DJ or announcer speaks), synchronised gating, and (in conjunction with an equaliser) de-essing.
key
features and specifications before deciding on which speakers are right for you.


Infinite
BaffleUsed in speaker cabinets to regulate sound waves and prevent interference between the sound coming from the front and the sound coming out of the rear of the speaker. The baffle normally consists of the board upon which the speaker is mounted.
Baffle
or Reflex

There are two major types of studio
Monitor1) Recording studio loudspeaker. 2) Stage loudspeaker, usually wedge-shaped, facing the performers so that they may hear themselves. 3) Computer display screen.
monitor
design - ‘infinite baffle’ and ‘reflex’. The infinite
BaffleUsed in speaker cabinets to regulate sound waves and prevent interference between the sound coming from the front and the sound coming out of the rear of the speaker. The baffle normally consists of the board upon which the speaker is mounted.
baffle
design has a sealed
CabinetThe housing for a loudspeaker, often abbreviated to "cab".
cabinet
, whereas the
Bass ReflexA system for increasing the low frequency efficiency of an enclosed speaker by placing a port or vent in the front or rear of the cabinet. The vent consists of a (usually) cylindrical tube, the length of which dictates the resonant frequency of the port. The resonance caused by the air moving inside the cabinet results in the bass frequencies being enhanced.
reflex
is
Bass ReflexA system for increasing the low frequency efficiency of an enclosed speaker by placing a port or vent in the front or rear of the cabinet. The vent consists of a (usually) cylindrical tube, the length of which dictates the resonant frequency of the port. The resonance caused by the air moving inside the cabinet results in the bass frequencies being enhanced.
ported
, usually by a hole on the rear, and there are pros and cons to both designs.

The sealed infinite
BaffleUsed in speaker cabinets to regulate sound waves and prevent interference between the sound coming from the front and the sound coming out of the rear of the speaker. The baffle normally consists of the board upon which the speaker is mounted.
baffle
design houses its
DriverComputer software that provides a specific communication link between the operating system and a hardware device such as a sound card or MIDI interface, Steinberg's ASIO driver and Windows' Multimedia drivers being common examples. The driver may need to be installed from a CD included with the device or downloaded from the manufacturer's website.
drivers
in a controlled environment - the
AIRSome artists and producers believe that AIR - Always In Record - is a valuable technique, because it can capture moments of musical magic that may otherwise go unrecorded. It simply means that the tape or hard drive never stops running during a session.
air
inside the
CabinetThe housing for a loudspeaker, often abbreviated to "cab".
cabinet
has to be compressed or expanded for the
DriverComputer software that provides a specific communication link between the operating system and a hardware device such as a sound card or MIDI interface, Steinberg's ASIO driver and Windows' Multimedia drivers being common examples. The driver may need to be installed from a CD included with the device or downloaded from the manufacturer's website.
drivers
to move. This helps to create a smooth
PhaseIn audio and signal processing in general, phase describes the relationship between one or more signals and time. If two signals are identical but one is delayed by less than one complete wave cycle, the difference is described as a phase difference. This is normally expressed in degrees, with 360 representing a full wavelength.
phase
response, and as such is favoured by many engineers. Its drawbacks become apparent particularly with low frequencies though, as the low frequency
DriverComputer software that provides a specific communication link between the operating system and a hardware device such as a sound card or MIDI interface, Steinberg's ASIO driver and Windows' Multimedia drivers being common examples. The driver may need to be installed from a CD included with the device or downloaded from the manufacturer's website.
driver
or ‘woofer’ has to work hard against the high
AIRSome artists and producers believe that AIR - Always In Record - is a valuable technique, because it can capture moments of musical magic that may otherwise go unrecorded. It simply means that the tape or hard drive never stops running during a session.
air
resistance within the
CabinetThe housing for a loudspeaker, often abbreviated to "cab".
cabinet
, and as such this type of speaker tends to suffer from limited
BassThe lowest part of the audio frequency range; in popular music, a (generally) rhythmic, low frequency melodic line emphasising the root notes of the chord progression.
bass
response. A common example of the design is the ubiquitous (but now discontinued) Yamaha NS10M.

Yamaha NS-10M


Yamaha NS-10M Infinite
BaffleUsed in speaker cabinets to regulate sound waves and prevent interference between the sound coming from the front and the sound coming out of the rear of the speaker. The baffle normally consists of the board upon which the speaker is mounted.
Baffle
Monitor1) Recording studio loudspeaker. 2) Stage loudspeaker, usually wedge-shaped, facing the performers so that they may hear themselves. 3) Computer display screen.
Monitors

The more common
Bass ReflexA system for increasing the low frequency efficiency of an enclosed speaker by placing a port or vent in the front or rear of the cabinet. The vent consists of a (usually) cylindrical tube, the length of which dictates the resonant frequency of the port. The resonance caused by the air moving inside the cabinet results in the bass frequencies being enhanced.
ported
Bass ReflexA system for increasing the low frequency efficiency of an enclosed speaker by placing a port or vent in the front or rear of the cabinet. The vent consists of a (usually) cylindrical tube, the length of which dictates the resonant frequency of the port. The resonance caused by the air moving inside the cabinet results in the bass frequencies being enhanced.
reflex
CabinetThe housing for a loudspeaker, often abbreviated to "cab".
cabinet
makes use of its semi-open characteristics by allowing greater
AIRSome artists and producers believe that AIR - Always In Record - is a valuable technique, because it can capture moments of musical magic that may otherwise go unrecorded. It simply means that the tape or hard drive never stops running during a session.
air
flow in and out of the
CabinetThe housing for a loudspeaker, often abbreviated to "cab".
cabinet
, which in turn allows the
WooferThe low-frequency driver in a multi-speaker system. In a two-way speaker, this is used in conjunction with a tweeter which handles high frequencies. The frequency bands are separated using a crossover circuit.
woofer
to move more freely. Most manufacturers also ‘tune’ the port length and diameter and the cabinet’s internal dimensions to
BoostIn audio mixing this refers to increasing the gain or amplitude of an audio signal. Usually employed in equalisation.
boost
the lower frequencies. The ultimate aim of a
Monitor1) Recording studio loudspeaker. 2) Stage loudspeaker, usually wedge-shaped, facing the performers so that they may hear themselves. 3) Computer display screen.
monitor
speaker is to provide a
Flat ResponseTerm which refers to equipment that does not colour the frequency spectrum of a signal passed through it.
flat
and accurate representation of its input signal, so excessive
BassThe lowest part of the audio frequency range; in popular music, a (generally) rhythmic, low frequency melodic line emphasising the root notes of the chord progression.
bass
response from incorrect design or port placement is less than ideal - it’s a fine balance to strike.


PassiveA device which does not include any amplification in its circuitry and therefore (at least in the purest sense of the term) does not require power. Examples include some DI boxes, old EQ designs, and most electric guitars/basses.
Passive
, Powered or Active

This is an important subject to understand and is an area often surrounded by confusion. The
PassiveA device which does not include any amplification in its circuitry and therefore (at least in the purest sense of the term) does not require power. Examples include some DI boxes, old EQ designs, and most electric guitars/basses.
passive
type
Monitor1) Recording studio loudspeaker. 2) Stage loudspeaker, usually wedge-shaped, facing the performers so that they may hear themselves. 3) Computer display screen.
monitor
was the only game in town for many years - they require the use of an external
AmplifierA device for increasing the power of a signal by taking power from a supply and shaping the output to match the input signal.
amplifier
to
BoostIn audio mixing this refers to increasing the gain or amplitude of an audio signal. Usually employed in equalisation.
boost
the
AudioGenerally used to mean "sound"; technically it describes periodic fluctuations of air pressure or electrical energy at frequencies and amplitudes within the human range of hearing; sound, or electrical energy that represents sound; acoustic, mechanical, or electrical frequencies corresponding to normally audible sound waves.
audio
signal up to a sufficient level to power the speaker cones or ‘drivers’. Before reaching the
DriverComputer software that provides a specific communication link between the operating system and a hardware device such as a sound card or MIDI interface, Steinberg's ASIO driver and Windows' Multimedia drivers being common examples. The driver may need to be installed from a CD included with the device or downloaded from the manufacturer's website.
drivers
, the
AudioGenerally used to mean "sound"; technically it describes periodic fluctuations of air pressure or electrical energy at frequencies and amplitudes within the human range of hearing; sound, or electrical energy that represents sound; acoustic, mechanical, or electrical frequencies corresponding to normally audible sound waves.
audio
signal is passed through a
PassiveA device which does not include any amplification in its circuitry and therefore (at least in the purest sense of the term) does not require power. Examples include some DI boxes, old EQ designs, and most electric guitars/basses.
passive
CrossoverA device that splits an audio signal into two or more frequency bands for more efficient amplification.
crossover
, splitting it up and sending the lower frequencies to the ‘woofer’ and the higher frequencies to the ‘tweeter’. The frequency at which the signal is split is called the ‘crossover’ point, which in a 2-way system (of which more later) is typically somewhere in the
RegionA region is usually a section of MIDI or audio first defined by recording or imported length, which can be copied, edited or deleted non-destructively as part of the editing process in a DAW.
region
of 2kHz.

Particular care should be taken when matching an
AmplifierA device for increasing the power of a signal by taking power from a supply and shaping the output to match the input signal.
amplifier
to
PassiveA device which does not include any amplification in its circuitry and therefore (at least in the purest sense of the term) does not require power. Examples include some DI boxes, old EQ designs, and most electric guitars/basses.
passive
Monitor1) Recording studio loudspeaker. 2) Stage loudspeaker, usually wedge-shaped, facing the performers so that they may hear themselves. 3) Computer display screen.
monitors
- most people are aware that you can damage your
Monitor1) Recording studio loudspeaker. 2) Stage loudspeaker, usually wedge-shaped, facing the performers so that they may hear themselves. 3) Computer display screen.
monitors
with an
AmplifierA device for increasing the power of a signal by taking power from a supply and shaping the output to match the input signal.
amplifier
that is too powerful, but in fact an
AmplifierA device for increasing the power of a signal by taking power from a supply and shaping the output to match the input signal.
amplifier
that is underpowered can be more dangerous. This is because a low-powered
AmplifierA device for increasing the power of a signal by taking power from a supply and shaping the output to match the input signal.
amplifier
can easily run out of
HeadroomA safety margin in the audio path over and above that required by a typical signal, the presence of which helps to avoid the possibility of distortion. Specifically in digital audio, the difference between Permitted Maximum Level (PML) and Digital Full Scale (FS, 0dB).
headroom
when a sudden
PeakThe highest point of an audio waveform, or one of the highest points of an audio waveform.
peak
in the signal comes along, and speaker
DriverComputer software that provides a specific communication link between the operating system and a hardware device such as a sound card or MIDI interface, Steinberg's ASIO driver and Windows' Multimedia drivers being common examples. The driver may need to be installed from a CD included with the device or downloaded from the manufacturer's website.
drivers
are actually much more easily blown by this kind of
DistortionIn most cases distortion is an undesirable alteration to a signal which occurs when a piece of equipment is driven with a input level that is too high for its operating level. Sometimes, as in the case of guitar distortion, this can be an intentional and desirable effect.
distortion
at a relatively modest level, than they are by a clean signal at a higher level. In the same way that car tyres are not covered by warranty if you get a puncture, speakers are not covered by warranty if you blow them – so take great care! In general, you should aim for an
AmplifierA device for increasing the power of a signal by taking power from a supply and shaping the output to match the input signal.
amplifier
whose
RMSRoot Mean Square: a way of calculating the average power over time to give a meaningful value representing the power of an audio signal. Generally thought to be the most meaningful way of measuring amplifier power output.
RMS
power rating per channel matches or slightly exceeds the ‘program’ power rating of the speaker, at the speaker’s rated
ImpedanceThe term for electrical resistance when applied to AC current.
impedance
. This assumes that the manufacturer uses sensible parameters to measure the program power, so if in doubt, use the
RMSRoot Mean Square: a way of calculating the average power over time to give a meaningful value representing the power of an audio signal. Generally thought to be the most meaningful way of measuring amplifier power output.
RMS
rating of the speaker and go a little higher with the
AmplifierA device for increasing the power of a signal by taking power from a supply and shaping the output to match the input signal.
amplifier
power. More information on these specifications can be found in the terminology section of this guide.

Passiv/Activ


PassiveA device which does not include any amplification in its circuitry and therefore (at least in the purest sense of the term) does not require power. Examples include some DI boxes, old EQ designs, and most electric guitars/basses.
passive
Monitor1) Recording studio loudspeaker. 2) Stage loudspeaker, usually wedge-shaped, facing the performers so that they may hear themselves. 3) Computer display screen.
Monitor
"Adam ANF10" and
ActiveDescribes an instrument or speaker system that has its own electronic functions built-in, as opposed to requiring external devices. Active speakers have their own amplifiers built-in, while an active instrument such as a guitar or bass will have electronic controls or a pre-amplifier.
active
Monitor1) Recording studio loudspeaker. 2) Stage loudspeaker, usually wedge-shaped, facing the performers so that they may hear themselves. 3) Computer display screen.
Monitor
"Adam A7"

‘Active’ and ‘powered’ speaker types are often mistaken for each other. A powered
Monitor1) Recording studio loudspeaker. 2) Stage loudspeaker, usually wedge-shaped, facing the performers so that they may hear themselves. 3) Computer display screen.
monitor
is best described as a
PassiveA device which does not include any amplification in its circuitry and therefore (at least in the purest sense of the term) does not require power. Examples include some DI boxes, old EQ designs, and most electric guitars/basses.
passive
Monitor1) Recording studio loudspeaker. 2) Stage loudspeaker, usually wedge-shaped, facing the performers so that they may hear themselves. 3) Computer display screen.
monitor
with the
AmplifierA device for increasing the power of a signal by taking power from a supply and shaping the output to match the input signal.
amplifier
and
PassiveA device which does not include any amplification in its circuitry and therefore (at least in the purest sense of the term) does not require power. Examples include some DI boxes, old EQ designs, and most electric guitars/basses.
passive
CrossoverA device that splits an audio signal into two or more frequency bands for more efficient amplification.
crossover
circuitry described above built in. The main advantages over a
PassiveA device which does not include any amplification in its circuitry and therefore (at least in the purest sense of the term) does not require power. Examples include some DI boxes, old EQ designs, and most electric guitars/basses.
passive
system are simpler setup, better
AmplifierA device for increasing the power of a signal by taking power from a supply and shaping the output to match the input signal.
amplifier
to speaker matching (in a well designed speaker), and much shorter speaker-cable lengths.

The
ActiveDescribes an instrument or speaker system that has its own electronic functions built-in, as opposed to requiring external devices. Active speakers have their own amplifiers built-in, while an active instrument such as a guitar or bass will have electronic controls or a pre-amplifier.
active
Monitor1) Recording studio loudspeaker. 2) Stage loudspeaker, usually wedge-shaped, facing the performers so that they may hear themselves. 3) Computer display screen.
monitor
is becoming more and more popular in studios, and differs to powered and
PassiveA device which does not include any amplification in its circuitry and therefore (at least in the purest sense of the term) does not require power. Examples include some DI boxes, old EQ designs, and most electric guitars/basses.
passive
Monitor1) Recording studio loudspeaker. 2) Stage loudspeaker, usually wedge-shaped, facing the performers so that they may hear themselves. 3) Computer display screen.
monitors
in two ways - firstly, the
CrossoverA device that splits an audio signal into two or more frequency bands for more efficient amplification.
crossover
contains
ActiveDescribes an instrument or speaker system that has its own electronic functions built-in, as opposed to requiring external devices. Active speakers have their own amplifiers built-in, while an active instrument such as a guitar or bass will have electronic controls or a pre-amplifier.
active
circuitry which typically operating at line level and allows for easier and more accurate control of the signal. Secondly, the separated signals are sent to multiple amplifiers whose output is then sent to the relevant
DriverComputer software that provides a specific communication link between the operating system and a hardware device such as a sound card or MIDI interface, Steinberg's ASIO driver and Windows' Multimedia drivers being common examples. The driver may need to be installed from a CD included with the device or downloaded from the manufacturer's website.
drivers
. This separation of systems within a single enclosure allows better and more efficient
AmplifierA device for increasing the power of a signal by taking power from a supply and shaping the output to match the input signal.
amplifier
matching, and more accurate and independent control over the splitting of the signal.


Which Way?

Generally speaking,
Monitor1) Recording studio loudspeaker. 2) Stage loudspeaker, usually wedge-shaped, facing the performers so that they may hear themselves. 3) Computer display screen.
monitors
have either two or three
DriverComputer software that provides a specific communication link between the operating system and a hardware device such as a sound card or MIDI interface, Steinberg's ASIO driver and Windows' Multimedia drivers being common examples. The driver may need to be installed from a CD included with the device or downloaded from the manufacturer's website.
drivers
to enable them to handle the full frequency spectrum. ‘3-way’ systems house a
WooferThe low-frequency driver in a multi-speaker system. In a two-way speaker, this is used in conjunction with a tweeter which handles high frequencies. The frequency bands are separated using a crossover circuit.
woofer
, midrange
DriverComputer software that provides a specific communication link between the operating system and a hardware device such as a sound card or MIDI interface, Steinberg's ASIO driver and Windows' Multimedia drivers being common examples. The driver may need to be installed from a CD included with the device or downloaded from the manufacturer's website.
driver
and
TweeterA high frequency loudspeaker driver, usually combined with a woofer (low frequency driver) by means of a crossover within the speaker enclosure.
tweeter
to handle the
BassThe lowest part of the audio frequency range; in popular music, a (generally) rhythmic, low frequency melodic line emphasising the root notes of the chord progression.
bass
, mid and high frequencies respectively, whereas ‘2-way’ systems let the
WooferThe low-frequency driver in a multi-speaker system. In a two-way speaker, this is used in conjunction with a tweeter which handles high frequencies. The frequency bands are separated using a crossover circuit.
woofer
deal with both the low and midrange. In most instances a 3-way design will outperform a similar 2-way system, however this is not always the case - the extra cost associated in producing 3-way
CrossoverA device that splits an audio signal into two or more frequency bands for more efficient amplification.
crossovers
and additional amplifiers can force manufacturers to make savings on other components - trust your ears! You will sometimes come across 2-way designs that have two low-frequency
DriverComputer software that provides a specific communication link between the operating system and a hardware device such as a sound card or MIDI interface, Steinberg's ASIO driver and Windows' Multimedia drivers being common examples. The driver may need to be installed from a CD included with the device or downloaded from the manufacturer's website.
drivers
– these operate in tandem and are either used simply to provide more
BassThe lowest part of the audio frequency range; in popular music, a (generally) rhythmic, low frequency melodic line emphasising the root notes of the chord progression.
bass
from a given
CabinetThe housing for a loudspeaker, often abbreviated to "cab".
cabinet
shape (producing similar results to a single
DriverComputer software that provides a specific communication link between the operating system and a hardware device such as a sound card or MIDI interface, Steinberg's ASIO driver and Windows' Multimedia drivers being common examples. The driver may need to be installed from a CD included with the device or downloaded from the manufacturer's website.
driver
with the combined surface area of the two cones), or, in a ‘D’Appolito configuration’, with one either side of the
TweeterA high frequency loudspeaker driver, usually combined with a woofer (low frequency driver) by means of a crossover within the speaker enclosure.
tweeter
to additionally improve
DispersionDispersion defines how a speaker spreads its sound both horizontally and vertically and is an important element in speaker design. With low frequencies sound is dispersed over a wide angle as the wavelength is generally much larger than the speaker. As the frequency increases and the speaker becomes larger than the wavelength the opposite occurs and the dispersion becomes narrower.
dispersion
. Finally, there exist a few ‘1-way’ designs – these are not exactly ‘hi-fi’, but instead are designed to be used as a secondary reference to give you an idea of what your mix will sound like on a typical domestic system. Auratone’s 5C is a classic of this type, and although long discontinued, there are modern equivalents.

1-way-System


1-way
Monitor1) Recording studio loudspeaker. 2) Stage loudspeaker, usually wedge-shaped, facing the performers so that they may hear themselves. 3) Computer display screen.
Monitor
"Klein+Hummel M 52"

 

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Contents:

[Contents] [Cabinet Design & Concepts] [Subwoofers] [Set-up and Positioning] [Monitoring Levels] [Terminology] [Nearfield & Midfield] [Conclusion] [Hotdeals] [Feedback]