There’s a pretty good chance that you’re reading this article because you’re looking to connect studio monitors to laptop or directly into the headphone jack.
If you’ve done any research on studio monitor connections, you’ve probably found yourself in a state of confusion about what exactly monitor cables are and what they do.
To connect studio monitors to your laptop, you’re going to need a pair of cables that will carry both the audio and the electrical signals from your speakers to whatever device is providing those signals.
There are all kinds of cables performing this task, so it can be difficult to identify which ones you actually need.
But there is good news: you simply need to ensure that whatever cables you get are compatible with the audio source you’re using.
Here’s what you need to know about studio monitor cables:
Mono and stereo cables. Say you’re using a pair of studio monitors to listen to an album over your phone, but the cable that came with your phone is just a little too short. What do you do?
This is where stereo and mono cables come in.
Stereo cables can carry a stereo signal, which is pretty important if you’re using more than one monitor.
However, they may not be able to carry the higher-quality type of signal desired by the studio monitors (which is where mono cables come in).
What kind of cable you need will depend on what your monitor’s input is capable of carrying.
Balanced cables. Balanced cables are designed to carry a signal with the least amount of noise possible.
So if you have the choice between balanced and unbalanced cables for your studio monitors, always opt for the balanced option.
Shielded cables. Studio monitor cables are shielded to protect the signal they’re carrying. If you’re using unshielded cables (which can be useful.
For example, if you’re recording in a noisy room), just know that they can pick up interference.
Now, let’s make sure we’re on the same page as to what a studio monitor is and why you should care.
What are Studio Monitors?
Put simply, studio monitors are speakers that provide flat frequency response.
This means that any sound played through them is reproduced in an unaltered manner. That includes the good, the bad, and the ugly.
By contrast, most TV speakers, car stereos, and home theater systems color your listening/viewing experience with a heavy dose of bass and treble that doesn’t exist in the original source.
How to Connect Studio Monitors to Laptop?
Now that we’ve addressed the basics, let’s get to connect your studio monitors.
Step 1: Check Your Headphone Jack For Stereo Output
To connect studio monitors to laptop, the first thing you will need to do is check if your headphone jack provides a stereo interface. If it only outputs one channel (mono), then it will not be compatible with your studio monitors.
Step 2: Turn Off Your Headphones
Turn off your headphones if they’re already plugged into the headphone jack. Any sound played through them before completing the connection will end up back in your mix.
Step 3: Connect Your Studio Monitors To Your Laptop
To complete this step, make sure the power to your studio monitors is off. Connect one end of an RCA cable to the headphone output on your mixer or audio interface if it has one. Connect the other end of the RCA cable to either of your studio monitor’s inputs.
Step 4: Turn On Your Studio Monitors
Turn on your studio speakers and ensure that they are off-axis from you at this stage (i.e. don’t have them facing you directly).
Step 5: Play Your Music Through The Studio Monitors
Finally, play your music on the laptop through the studio monitors. If it sounds good, then everything is connected correctly and you’re done!
Step 6: Turn On Your Headphones
If the sound isn’t good, then you’re going to want to check each step along the way. If your studio monitors are off-axis from you now, turn them so that they face you directly and try again. If this still doesn’t work, make sure you’ve turned on your headphones as well as your studio monitors and try again.
Step 7: Troubleshooting (Advanced)
If you still can’t get it to work, there’s a chance that your studio monitors don’t provide enough power even when off-axis.
If this is the case, you will need to either run them through an external amplifier or speaker management unit (essentially a powered mixer).
The only other option would be to use an RCA splitter cable, which I don’t recommend for a number of reasons.
If you still can’t get it to work and none of the above options are available or appealing to you, don’t worry.
You can always buy speakers specifically designed for use with laptops such as the M-Audio AV32’s or the Mackie CR3’s, which don’t require an external amplifier and provide a ton of functionality even if they’re used without a computer.
If you are still not understanding how to connect studio monitors to laptop, this tutorial might help you:
How To Connect Studio Monitors To Phone?
Now let’s talk about if you can connect studio monitors with the phone. If you’re wondering if studio monitors will work with phones, the answer is yes.
You can connect your studio monitors with your phone easily.
However, it may take some time to figure out how exactly you should connect them without something like an interface or sound card.
And if you’re wondering whether you can use this connection for mixing, well that’s another question entirely.
So let’s get into the best possible options to use studio monitors with phones.
You need to use an interface.
If you’re wondering what this is, it’s a device that allows you to connect studio monitors and other equipment with your phone.
Follow these steps to connect your studio monitor with your phone:
Step 1: Get an interface that’s compatible with your smartphone.
Step 2: Connect one end of a USB cable to the interface and the other end to your smartphone. This will enable you to directly connect your smartphone to the interface.
Step 3: Turn on the interface and connect it to your studio monitor. Make sure that one end of the USB cable is at the interface and that the other end is connected to your smartphone.
Once this is done, you can turn on the interface to connect studio monitors to laptop.
Step 4: Turn on your audio interface and connect it to your smartphone. Make sure that you turn on the audio interface first before connecting it to your phone.
Step 5: Turn on the studio monitor and adjust the volume. This will depend on how loud or low you want the sound to be.
Now you know how to connect studio monitors to laptop and phones. Studio monitors are great to use when you want to make sure that your music doesn’t sound flat on the different types of speakers.
They help you measure how your song sounds across different devices which is perfect if you want something that will be played on many devices without any issues.
And with these, it’s easy enough for anyone to get started using a studio monitor for their music. You just need to connect them to your phone or laptop and then start playing around with the volume level.
And if you’re wondering what monitors you should get, well that all depends on where you’re planning to use it, how big your budget is, and the type of music that you want to produce.
I hope that this article helped you with how to connect studio monitors to laptop.