I’ve received a number of e-mails asking what I use to compare audio samples in some of my tests. Besides a nice set of studio headphones I also use a compact but decent set of Near field Studio monitor speakers. If you’re not familiar with the term “nearfield”  it simply means that the speakers are designed to be in close proximity to the listener.

The pair of Fostex PM0.5 studio monitors I use at my editing bay are not by any means the top of the line in terms of studio monitor speakers (the sky is the limit if you have the budget), but they are a very good mix between sound quality, flat response, and price. At $350 Fostex PM0.5 studio monitors are compact, clean, and provide you with 70 watts of power from the built in power amp. This makes them a pretty good choice for small home studios and video editing. There’s a reason why  Fostex has been able to sell this line of speakers for so long. But there are a few things you need to remember if you’re in the market for a set of studio monitors.

First and probably most important if you’ve never used studio monitors is that the speakers aren’t designed to give you heavy bass or mid range. Flat response means that the speakers are designed to color the sound being played back as little as possible. That way you hear the audio that was recorded correctly. This might not be ideal if you like heavy pulsing bass in everything you listen to. So if you’re plan is to rock out in your living room, these speakers probably aren’t going to make you very happy. If you are looking for a proper reproduction of an audio source, studio monitors speakers are what you need.

The other thing to think about is volume levels. The Fostex PM0.5 studio monitors provide plenty of volume for one or two people in front of a nice 27 inch monitor, but if you’re trying to please a full room of clients 70 watts probably wont be enough to adequately cover a large room.

If $350 is to much, you might also want to take a look at the Alesis M1active studio monitors for $199. Not quit as flat of a response as the Fostex set, but they still do a pretty good job for the price. Regardless of your choice, studio monitor speakers are a good way to help you better edit audio on your next important project and well worth the investment if you do a lot of audio work.

Update: As I was typing this post, the price on the Fostex speakers actually dropped down the $289, just click on the link bellow the price that says “see current price” for the sales price.

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