Monitoring is one of the most crucial jobs of every recording studio. How the music sounds when it's coming through the control room speakers has a direct effect on the quality of the representation of the source material. If you are a mix engineer, you know your monitoring environment can make or break the impact of your mix. Choosing the right monitor amplifier is critical to the sound and performance of your studio monitors. Upgrading your monitor amp is a fast and easy way to up your whole music production game.
The world of monitor amplifiers is not that complicated, though there a number of features and specifications to keep in mind. Most of these will be somewhat dictated by the equipment you plan to connect to your monitor amp. You should start by picking an amp that is a good match for your speakers. Consider how many sets of speakers you want to power, as well as how many amps you want to use to do it. You can get single channel amps and pick up one for each channel, and or try 4 channel amps which you can use to power two sets of speakers from the same unit. Since most people want one unit to power a pair of monitors, 2 channel monitor amps are the most common.
We have monitor amplifiers to suit the smallest bedroom studio all the way up to the swankiest up-town mixing rooms. They range from around 50W per side up to 300W. Make sure you check the wattage of your intended speakers before choosing an amp. A mismatch of watts can spell trouble, at best under powering your monitors making them sound thin, and at worst blowing your speakers making them sound broken. Ideally your monitor amp should be around 20% to 30% more powerful than the speaker it's driving. This gives you plenty of headroom and increased dynamic range. Just be careful not to go too far if you start nudging the levels.
Power amps have become so compact that most monitor amps only take up one or two rack spaces. Long gone are the days of the gargantuan, 80-pound brick that doubled as the studio furnace in the winter time. Today's monitor amp models are lighter and thinner than ever before. Do double check though because several models are 3U. On the flip side, you can get a desktop monitor amplifier that will drive your speakers and provide a separate headphone out - super convenient for your small project studio.
Input and output options are pretty much what you'd expect: XLR, 1/4 inch and RCA. Most amps come with the ability to accept a variety of connector types. Monitor amplifiers are one of those rare beasts in the universe of music gear that only does one thing - and does it well.
If you have any questions about which monitor unit is the best choice for your system, give us a call and one of our friendly Sales Engineers will help you digest the options and pick the right monitor amplifier for your system.
Sweetwater's Sales Engineers are regarded as the most experienced and knowledgeable professionals in the music industry, with extensive music backgrounds and intense training on the latest products and technologies. They are available to offer you personalized product advice any time you need it.