What is the difference between Monitors and Speakers?



Simple question - what is it?

I've been in recording studio's etc and asked the engineers - they didn't seem to acknowledge any difference. I'd always assumed that Monitors were meant to be listened to at high volumes all of the time while normal Hi-Fi Speakers were designed to sound good at both high and low levels


Novice Member
Monitors should cover 20Hz-20KHz, have a very flat sound and be able to handle high SPL for long periods of time whereas speakers generally don't cover the full frequency range and sound "coloured" which gives each set of speakers their own distinctive sound.


Thanks JIT. Pretty much as I thought. Does the fact that they are designed for high SPL's mean that they are less good at lower volumes?

Other than that what are the downsides to "monitors" and if there are none why do people bother making "speakers" and not just concentrate on making monitors instead?

Is such a wide frequency response possible by (very often) such small speakers I always assumed that generating much <50hz required big cones and big amplification

Ian J

I thought that the difference was just the spin put on it by the marketing department.

If monitors go down to 20Hz that rules out all of M&K, none of which go below 80Hz and I wouldn't imagine that the famous BBC LS3/5A would go down that far either


Distinguished Member
I assumed that Monitors had to be very neutral sounding, not sure about the quoted frequency response as most of the monitors I´ve seen don´t get anywhere near 20hz.

Steve Bate

Novice Member
There aren't many floorstanders that get anywhere near 20hz and those that do are massive 4 or 5 way designs that are absolutely immense, think about what size enclosure and drivers subs need to get down to 25hz +/-3dB then apply that to the whole speaker and :eek: :eek:

Monitors are clinical and show up every nuance of the recording so the engineer can hear what he's doing, and hence show up the source and amplification of lesser systems during playback, this can sometimes be seen to be too "bright" personally I feel that especially if your source and amplification are up to it you should have speakers that are truly transparent.

They take up less space too :D


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