It’s surprising that so many monitor speakers are chosen on the words of a review or word of mouth since they’re such a personal item.
It’s more surprising still how little effort is sometimes put into listening to a speaker before purchase.
Here’s an excerpt from Mixing And Mastering With T-Racks that provides some tips for choosing that most special piece of gear.
1) Don’t choose a monitor because someone else is using them.
Monitors are a lot like guitars. Just because Jimmy Page uses a Les Paul doesn’t mean that it’s right for you. It might be too heavy for your frame, the neck might be too wide, and the sound might not be a good match for the type of music you’re playing.
Same with a monitor. Just because your favorite mixer uses a set of Genelec 1032As, it doesn’t mean that they’ll be right for you too.
You may hear differently, your hearing experience is different, the match with your room might not work, the match with the type of music you work on might not be ideal, and if they’re unpowered, you may not have the same amp to drive them with so they’ll sound different as a result.
2) Listen to the monitors before you buy them. Before the pros purchase a monitor, they take their time and listen to them under a wide range of conditions, so why shouldn’t you?
OK, you might not have the luxury of living near a big media center with lots of pro audio dealers, and even if you do, you may not have a relationship with one that allows you a personal demo in your own environment, but that shouldn’t stop you from listening. This is a serious purchase so don’t take it lightly.