GEAR EXPO 2021: A reliable pair of monitors is essential for producing music that will sound great no matter where it’s been played. Mixing and mastering your music is the finishing touch that can elevate that WIP home demo into a slick, professional future classic, but to do so you need to invest in the best and hear your music for what it really is.
So to help you make your best music, we’ve selected 2021’s most exciting and great-sounding monitors and mixing solutions below.
Output and Barefoot Audio Frontier monitors
Output and Barefoot Sound's new Frontier monitors promise “the new gold standard in studio sound”.
They have a solid walnut base for isolation and 6.5-inch/1.25-inch coaxial aluminium drivers – designed and tuned by Thomas Barefoot – that promise flat anechoic response and low distortion, and a 200-watt combined bi-amplified architecture.
The Frontiers ship in 100% recyclable packaging and have an EcoMode that reduces power consumption, so they could be a more planet-friendly option, too.
You’ll have to join a waiting list if you want a pair of Frontiers, which will set you back $1,399/£1,259. They can be ordered direct from the Output website, and there’s a free 30-day returns policy if you’re not happy with your purchase.
Yamaha's MSP3A improves on its predecessor, the MSP3, and promises improved performance for smaller studios.
This is the first Yamaha monitor in this series to feature the company’s Twisted Flare Port technology, which is designed to create a clearer and tighter low-end. There’s a 22W power amp, which drives a 10-cm (4-inch) woofer and 2.2cm (.87-inch) tweeter. The result, we’re assured, is a clear and natural reference sound.
The MSP3 has a simple, understated look, with controls on the front and plenty of connectivity to be found round the back. The price and release date are still to be confirmed.
Find out more on the Yamaha website.
Mackie’s Onyx8, Onyx12, Onyx16 and Onyx24
Mackie have three new models for their Onyx range. These “premium analogue” boards have the added bonus of USB multitrack recording, so you can capture audio of up to 24-bit/96kHz quality and send it to your computer.
There are four models in the range – the Onyx8, Onyx12, Onyx16 and Onyx24 – with the numbers referring to the number of channels on offer. There’s a 3-band Perkins EQ (modelled on a British EQ from ‘60s and ‘70s mixing desks) and built-in effects, too.
A full-colour Studio Command display is included and you can stream audio into a channel via Bluetooth or, if you’re away from your computer, record a stereo mix to an SD card.
Prices TBC. Find out more on the Mackie website.