Studio monitors, household speakers or headphones for music production?


I want to buy Renoise. I plan to use it only vsti, vst. I have no studio monitors. I write music on household speakers with a subwoofer. There is a sound card for the player FiiO X3 (Wolfson WM8740). headphones Knowledge Zenith ZSN Pro. I always use only vsti, vst.
Therefore, I want to know whether studio monitors will affect the quality, or will household speakers be enough? I’ve been trying to figure this out for a long time. Who gave them to listen to their tracks written on ordinary speakers did not notice the difference. And I, too, seem to be listening to everything and can not notice anything. But I don’t work with live instruments only vsti. There is not enough room for monitors. So I’m thinking about using headphones.
Will my sound card and headphones be enough or should I buy even better?
And I don’t know which monitors to choose for home use. Considered PreSonus Eris E3.5 and Mackie CR3.

Help me to understand. When writing music on regular speakers (Sanyoo VS-3100) I kind of immediately notice where something sounds bad or not right. That’s why I think or will there be a difference?

More precisely, will there be any difference in the sound if I use vsti?

Sorry for broken english. This is not my native language.

1 Like

If you’re not having kitchen radio speakers your ordinary (and good) HiFi speakers should be good enough even if some studio monitors as an addition wouldn’t be the worst idea. But if you do so you definitely need good, neutral studio headphones, which doesn’t mean that you have to spend a lot of money. I recommend Audio Technica ATH-M50 X, which are the most neutral I know and the price of 108 € is pretty cheap. I also would recommend using an audio interface as a sound card, because it has got all the inputs and outputs you need for music production (for speakers, headphones, microphone and so on). If you don’t want to spend much money you can try the Focusrite Scarlett Solo for 104 €, which isn’t the best but still ok for music production as a hobby.

Depends on the amount of money you’re willing to spend. Personally I just have bought the Genelec 8030 which cost 539 € per speaker. They sound more or less exactly like my headphones, which is good. But I have to admit that I still use my HiFi speakers as my reference, because these monitors are lacking in the low ends a little. But using monitors is much better for the details.

A difference in relation to what exactly? To studio monitors? Yes, there’s a difference. Every system sounds different. But as I wrote, if your HiFi speakers are good the difference won’t be that big and it’s good enough for music production as a hobby.

Again, a difference in relation to what exactly? If you’re asking if there’s a difference between VSTs and hardware, then yes, there’s a difference, but only slightly. But I’m pretty sure you won’t notice any difference. If you’re asking if there’s a difference in its sound by using speakers or monitors, then yes, of course. How big the difference is depends on your speakers.


Monitors give you the benefit of a flat sound, for mixing and mastering.
There is no problem using headphones only.
But. You should always use different sources of sound, when you mix/master your tracks.

Short answer. Monitors are not mandatory.


It makes no differences whether you’re mixing vsti, live instruments or vocals. It is all about finding the right balance.

Your speakers determine what you hear, obviously. But so does your listening environment. You can have the best speakers in the world… In an untreated room they are pointless.

Studio monitors sound flatter than normal speakers. So you can make better mixing decisions. But the room you’re mixing in has a huge impact on what you’re hearing. Or better said, what you think you are hearing.

Luckily you can mix on headphones. The Sony MDR-7506 headphones come highly recommended.

Ultimately, the quality of your mix isn’t that important. Good music survives a bad mix, within reason of course.


Horror. I was already upset.(

It turns out that if someone does not have equipment, then they do not have the right to write music. All this is sad.
Considering the fact that in a poor country it costs a lot of money to buy even minimal equipment.

For example, I will write how much we have headphones and monitors that were listed above:

Audio Technica ATH-M50 X - 221,71 ($), 188,9 (€). Damn it, we have a minimum wage.

Genelec 8030 - 753,09 ($), 641,71 (€). And this is only for one monitor, not a set. This price is very biting.

The Sony MDR-7506 - 169,45 ($), 144,39 (€). This is still dear to me.

So far I can afford such a price 75 - 100 ($). I don’t know if you can buy something good for that kind of money.

Are there other options that are cheaper?

The fact is that for me my speakers with a subwoofer are also almost a standard.
On them I twisted to the full the same (BASS/TREBLE) and it turned out just perfect. There is a massiveness that I like. Melodies go straight to my head. All I’m trying to find out is how the electronic tracks from 1996-2004 got so swaying.

Therefore, I look after headphones with them it will be easier and you can listen in more detail.

Maybe there are some options from the equipment of previous years that were already in use? I do not hesitate to buy something old.

Renoise I liked the fact that its sound is not the same as that of others. Here it is softer with its own taste.

In this game, all the music is tracker 2001. As I was told, tracker music has some kind of demo scene that gives that sound of the 90s.

Of course you can’t do anything without equipment, but nowadays you can get most of the equipment you need for free, except hardware. But as mentioned you don’t need expensive hardware. Of course it’s harder to find some good stuff which is cheap, but it’s possible if you invest some time. And you always have to invest some time if you want to save money. Check this website and the shown tests regarding to the frequency response to find the neutral headphones you need. You just have to compare the prices, too. Besides of Renoise (60 €) this is all you need to make music. You told us that you don’t have space for studio monitors and you’re fine with your ordinary speakers, so you just have to spend some money for your headphones, right? I made music for 20 years without spending one single cent (I already owned ordinary speakers which I’m using until this day), so yes, it’s possible making music without spending money. It’s even much easier nowadays! :wink:

But of course you can’t expect professional results with the cheapest equipment you can get. Sure, you can get good results even with freeware and cheap equipment, but if you’re aiming for “professional” results you will have to spend some money, no doubt about that.

What do you mean?

If you want something old you mostly will have to buy it in used condition, which is an option, too.

Nearly every song made by the demoscene was made on a tracker. The first tracker ever, SoundTracker (my first DAW btw), was made by Karsten Obarski, who also was a member of the demo scene as far as I know, and it was a huge impact. There are also members of the demoscene here in this forum as you can see in this thread.

1 Like

Yes, buying hardware is expensive. It sucks, especially when money is tight. But if you have a computer? And you can connect it to the speakers you have at home? If so, you’re good to go. Go make music!

If you want to use Renoise it will cost you a bit of money. If you want a free DAW, maybe try Cakewalk’s Sonar. A very capable DAW and free! I have used Sonar for many, many years to make music.

Use Sonarworks Systemwide to correct the sound coming out any set of speakers you got. Seriously - consider it.

You’re recommending something more pricy than Renoise and some studio headphones together to a guy who’s telling you that he can only spend between 75 and 100 dollars max for headphones?

What about saving money until you can afford the desired product? Usually that’s how the world works. :slightly_smiling_face:
But let’s face it, Cakewalk is a piano roll program and it seems that Knyaz is specificly looking for a tracker. So I would recommend SunVox instead. But of course Renoise is king, and if 60 € is too expensive for a longterm hobby then imho you better drop it. :wink:


Sure. I’m just presenting Knyaz a free alternative. With a bit of effort you can make the same music, in any genre in both Cakewalk and Renoise. It is a different way of getting there. And some things are easier to pull off in one program than the other. Yet, taking the hard road with a bunch of work arounds can also lead to creativity. But SunVox is a good suggestion, indeed.

Maybe. Maybe not. Depending on where you are in the world 60 euro can be a lot of money. And if it is, I don’t think that should necessarily keep you from perusing a hobby. You just need to find a way to make it work with where you are in life.

I’m not condoning it, nor encouraging it: I remember seeing a documentary about the early days of Techno. Those kids/young adults couldn’t afford a Roland 808/909. Some of them resorted to credit card fraud and mail order theft to get their hands on equipment. And with that equipment invented a new genre. Literately changing the world.

Who is to say that Knyaz, or anyone isn’t going to do the same for a new generation. Probably not, of course but you never know. Would be a shame for them to not even try because they don’t have a lot of money to spend. Especially since on the software side there are so many high quality free options available these days. So hopefully they won’t have to steal to give it a shot.

That is how I look at it anyway.

1 Like

You’re right, but I assume that someone who owns a computer can also afford Renoise sooner or later. :slightly_smiling_face:

There are 3 studio headphones:which should also be affordable for you in your country:

  1. Status Audio CB-1 (42 €)
  2. AKG K-240 (55 €)
  3. Sennheiser HD.206 (25 €)

These are the cheapest ones I could find, but they also seem to be relatively good for its price.
And if it’s too pricy again in your country, why not trying to import? Maybe importing is cheaper.

1 Like

Not a pro but another cheap headphone is Superlux HD662-evo (or other models of this brand), it has an ok sound if you make some mods to its highs as described under the link, the build quality is bad but it is comfy and includes 4 pads and 2 cables.

Fortunately the devs of Renoise allow you to use the software for free without “game-breaking” limitations.

You can always register and upgrade gear once you can afford it. Don’t let this stop you from exploring.

I have been using for 10 years FL studio 9. I tried a lot, but it turned out to be the most convenient FL.
During this time, I have collected an impressive collection vst, vsti, samples. But their license is expensive. Therefore, I looked after Renoise as it is of a normal price and it is interesting to try to write in it.

1 Like

I am not a poor man. It’s just that there are financial difficulties in life that do not allow you to spend money on your hobby. I could easily buy and save a lot. But for now, more important issues need to be addressed.
I have tried all free trackers. But they didn’t like it. For commercial use, I prefer a licensed DAW.

For 10 years I have been writing music for myself, collecting, studying, experimenting, looking for my own style. Now I want to go further.

  1. Status Audio CB-1 - We do not have such in the market.
  2. AKG K-240 - Price with us 95,8 (€). I read about them.
  3. Sennheiser HD.206 - This is our sales leader. They buy in large numbers in offices. Yes, I have already studied these headphones, but they seemed to me more suitable for listening to music, and not writing it. 43,41 (€).
    It’s real to buy them.
    I am still considering these Audio-Technica ATH-M20X.

It is not profitable not to import.

And here are the sound cards I’m considering:

  1. Asus Xonar AE;
  3. Behringer U-CONTROL UCA222;
  4. Creative Sound Blaster;

I have a hi-fi player FiiO X3 in it there is a dac Wolfson WM8740. It can be run as a sound card on a pc.
Thinking or my Wolfson WM8740 is enough or buy another card?

So you already bought its licenses or do you have a collection of trial versions?

You don’t need to have it in your market because you can order it online and pay via paypal. :wink:
But I couldn’t find its frequency response, only some reviews.

Ok, this is its frequency response (here’s the curve of ATH-M50X for comparison). As you can see it lacks in the lows and the upper mids (or lower highs), but it’s not bad. So go for it. Audio Technica is a good brand. I don’t think that you’ll get something better for 48 €.

I don’t know this card, but if it has got all the inputs and outputs you need and if there’s sound it should be enough. :slightly_smiling_face:

I use a very crappy speaker connected to an audio interface. It’s always good to have a crappy speaker to monitor with because mixing and mastering just on nice speakers can lead to you making a mix that only sounds good on nice speakers, which most people don’t have.

I also use headphones and test everything in the car

I have owned the PreSonus speakers you mentioned and they’re great especially for the price!

Most important thing especially with VSTs is having an ASIO capable audio interface, like the PreSonus Audiobox USB. You can use those with headphones or speakers.