The best monitor for you is the one that enables you to monitor the true sounds of what you are recording and helps you construct a spectacular mix that translates on every sound system it is played on. Do not get fooled just because some famous mixing engineer used a certain pair of monitor that you can mix as good as him. Studio monitors are just one piece of the puzzle in producing a great mix. Other factors such as your enviroemnt, your personel taste, your ears, skill level, and knowledge of mixing music all play a role in how your mix comes out.
Active Or Passive Monitors
These monitors are self-powered and they receive a line level form your audio interface or mixer's main outs.The crossover inputs are at line level and this makes it far less likely that the circuits will overheat and degrade the sound.
These types of monitors are not powered and it gets it power from an amplifier. The audio signal that enters the monitors come from this powered amplifier. When used for a long period of time, the circuits have a build-up of considerable heat in its crossover circuitry. This causes a change in the character of the sound it produces. This means that passive speakers can sound different at the start of the day, compared to the end of the day.
Different Types Of Monitors
Near-field monitors were created to be at least 3.3 feet (1 meter) apart from each other with your head making a point of a perfect triangle. As a rule, the monitors should be the same distance from your head (listing position) as they are apart from each other. If the near-field monitors are 4 1/2 feet apart from each other, then your head should be 4 1/2 feet from each monitor.
The average distance for your monitors and head should be around 3 to 5 feet. They are made to be listened to at a close distance, so you hear more of the speakers and less of the room. Every recording and mixing studio has a set of nearfield monitors. The monitor you chose should be as flat as possible with no hyped frequencies. It should have tight lows and clear highs.
Mid-Filed studio monitors are made for your larger rooms. Most of them are 3-way speaker systems and their woofer size is around 8 to 10 inches. these monitors will give you a better bass extension, it will disperse the midrange and upper frequencies at further distances. This is why they will do good in a larger room studio.
These types of monitors you will usually see built inside a wall or placed on a stand on the back wall. The typical distance they are from you can be 10 to 20 feet. Since they are further away from the mixing engineer, the sound that comes from these types are very dependent on their environment. Far-Field monitors perform best in a room that has been acoustically treated and tuned. If your room is not, then I would not even think about getting a pair of these monitors.
Pros of having far-field monitors
They usually include a subwoofer and this will give you a great low-end frequency response to better evaluate the low and sub bass frequencies of the mix that you cannot hear on near-field monitor systems unless they have a separate subwoofer as in a 2.1 sound system.
The sweet spot is so much wider for mixing audio. If you are in a crowded room with musicians, producers, audio engineers and 'groupies', then Far-field monitors will give you an accurate image of your mix.
One last advantage is the esthetics of how they look in your studio. The cosmetic appeal will raise your emotions and hopefully that can cause you to mix a better song.
Cons of having them
If your room sounds bad, then you will not get a good sound out of these monitors. They are heavily dependent on their environment being acoustically tuned.
If you need to tune your room, it can cost you thousands of dollars to do it right.
Auratones, Mix Cubes And Other Small Speakers
It is very important to make your mixes sound great on every sound system someone can play your song back on. You need to predict and plan on your listener listening to your songs on every imaginable sound system. This includes the car, earbuds, smartphones, laptop speakers, etc, etc, etc. To foresee and anticipate what they will listen to your music on, you need to reference your mixes on them or on monitors made to simulate them. They really do not sound good, but its a great tool to see how it will sound on playback systems outside your studio
Auratones is the most common brand name in this kind of reference monitors. A lot of the classic hits have been mixed with an Auratone placed dead center of the mixing console and mixed in primarily in mono, occasionally checking it in stereo. If you can make your mix sound great in mono, then you have a greater chance of it sounding good on other sound systems.