Some people wonder what's so special about connecting studio monitors to an audio interface. Well, to be honest, there is a big difference between connecting your regular speakers and studio monitors. With regular speakers, you don't need to worry about much; that works as long as you are getting the sounds.
However, with studio monitors, what type of connectivity you choose plays a huge role in the sound quality you will be getting. So, if you don't know how to connect studio monitors to an audio interface, then I have got you covered.
There are several ways you can connect your studio monitors to your audio interface. Let's get through them one by one and see which one fulfills what kind of purpose.
Related: What is an Audio Interface
Methods of connecting your studio monitors to the audio interface
When it comes to methods, it mostly depends on what kind of cable you are using for connecting your monitors. So, let's look at the different cable types first, then I will take you through the steps you need to follow to connect them with your audio interface.
Different cable types
There are several different types of cables that you can find for your connecting your studio monitors. You can't just choose any of them because they must be compatible with your monitors and audio interface.
Let's check out the different cable options you have available for the connection.
Related: XLR vs TRS, Audio Ports, and Jacks Comparison
This is one of the best connections methods you can use. It's great for professional purposes because you will be getting a balanced and much more secure connection. You can get the best possible sound quality coming from your studio monitors using this kind of connection.
This is another industry-standard option for connecting your studio monitors to your audio interface. It has a Tip, Ring, and Sleeve on the jack to input in your audio interface. Usually, this kind of connection is used for connecting instruments to various audio outputs.
When it comes to home stereos, people choose the most common connectivity options. It's great for traditional music and movie experiences. Even though they aren't as good as the other connectivity options in terms of sound quality, you can still get pretty good quality.
- Optical cable:
Now, here is a tricky option that you may have to choose in some cases. When you use the optical cable as your connectivity option, you can get one of the best possible qualities. However, these cables are pretty weak and can easily get damaged. Also, they are quite expensive and not very long in size. So, this can work out in particular scenarios but not in all.
Usually, studio monitors come with these kinds of connectivity options. Sometimes, you may come across studio monitors with Bluetooth connectivity or AUX connections. But they aren't as important as the ones I mentioned above.
Related: types of audio connectors and adapters
Now, the question is which one to choose and how you can choose it? Let's get through that factor quickly.
Choosing the cable for studio monitor connectivity
Which method you choose depends on several factors. These factors will mostly decide the options you will have for connectivity, and then, you can choose from those limited options.
The first factor is the availability of connection ports you have on your studio monitors and your audio interface. Some studio monitors only have connectivity options like XLR or TRS. In that case, you can't choose other methods even if you want to. The same can happen with your audio interface as well, but that's unlikely to happen.
What to do if you have several connections? Which one is the best? Even though this can be a personal preference, if you have options to connect XLR cables, this is the best pick for you. But if that's not available, then going for the TRS jack works well.
Other than these options, all the other methods are pretty much similar. The differences between the quality of different methods aren't that noticeable.
Related: Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 review, An Audio Interface with Mic Preamps
How to connect your studio monitors to an audio interface?
No matter which method you choose, the steps you have to follow for your connectivity are pretty much the same for all of them. So, let's take a look at the steps you should follow.
- First, you have to figure out where you want to keep your setup. Where you place your speakers is an entirely separate subject. You have to go through that for the best sound quality.
- Next, make sure the devices you are using are all working correctly—the audio interface's drivers, all the connectivity, and ports.
- You have to connect your interface to your computer or laptop first.
- Then, you have to get the volume of your audio interface to completely zero. You have to do the same for your studio monitors as well.
- After that, get your desired cable, whether it be TRS, XLR, or RCA, and plug it into your devices.
- Once they are plugged in, you can simply power your monitors on.
- If there is a knob on the back of the monitors for getting different frequency levels, get them to +/- 0dB.
- Then, you have to get the volume levels of your monitors to 50% and play something according to your liking.
- Once, that happens you have to get the volume down to 25%. If you don't get any sounds, there is something wrong with your connections. Try rechecking it and then follow all these steps again.
Avoid reaching 100% volume right away because it can damage the studio monitors heavily. Especially when you turn up the volume on your audio interface.
To sum up, it's not that difficult to connect your studio monitors to your audio interface. Once you know how to connect studio monitors to an audio interface, it's not that big of a deal. The real thing you have to be concerned with is the cable type or connectivity methods you choose for the purpose.
Graduated with a Bachelor of Audio Engineering and Sound Production. He has worked with a number of studios as a Recording Engineer, with over 10 years of servicing experience in both re-recording mixing and sound editing.