So you’ve finally managed to get yourself some studio monitors, but you’re having trouble getting them all set up. No worries; I’ll guide you through the steps of how to plug in your studio monitors with an audio interface.
To begin, let’s see what exactly we need:
- An audio interface (your interface may vary)
- Some XLR cables
- Headphones (to check for sound quality… trust me, it helps)
- Studio monitors
- A computer
- Your computer’s internet connection
Set up your studio monitors so they are both facing you and also angled toward your face. This will allow you to hear the full range of frequency your monitors are capable of.
Connecting cables from the audio interface to the monitors
Connecting the cables from the audio interface to monitors is not an exact science. However, if you follow the steps carefully, you will be fine.
The type of cable you use depends on your audio interface; they can vary in size. The most common cables used are XLR cables. These come in two types: balanced and unbalanced.
To determine which you need, consult the manual for your audio interface (or even Google it).
I’ll run through how to connect up balanced XLR cables; there is no difference when using unbalanced XLR cables.
First, plug one end of your balanced XLR cable into the monitor’s input slot (the same way you would with any ordinary speakers).
Then take your other end and attach it to one of the slots on your audio interface.
Then, plug in another XLR cable from the output slot of your audio interface to your headphone jack (if you have one). If you don’t have a headphone jack, it won’t make a difference.
Next, you will need to connect the monitor’s cables to the back of your audio interface. Simply take your XLR cable and plug one end into your audio interface (the top jack), and then plug the other end into the top monitor port on your interface.
Plug the other end of the monitor cable into a monitor’s speaker port, and then place both monitors in a row. You should also connect your headphones to your audio interface using the headphone jack at the bottom of it.
This way, when you are ready to make adjustments to your mix, you can do so using your headphones until you are satisfied with your sound quality.
Now, it’s time to connect your computer to the audio interface.
Plug one end of an XLR cable into the monitor/headphone output of your interface (this is where you would plug in more studio monitors if you had them), and then plug the other end into an input on the back of your computer.
You should have monitor speakers already plugged into the monitor/headphone port of your interface, so now those monitor speakers will be connected to your computer’s sound card.
It’s time for a quick test!
Make sure you still have everything plugged in correctly, and turn everything on. Now, open up your favorite audio-editing software.
What cables do I need for studio monitors?
1. You’ll need an XLR cable for each monitor.
2. a USB cable to connect the audio interface to your computer.
3. Headphones so you can check your sound quality without disturbing anyone else in your home or studio.
Where should I place my monitors?
Place them so that they are both facing you and angled toward you slightly–this will let you hear what they’re capable of at their full range of frequencies, and ensure that the speakers’ sounds blend well with each other.
When placed like this, you should hear a stereo image (which is where it seems like everything is coming from); if not, keep adjusting them until it does sound like everything’s coming from a certain direction (e.g., directly in front of you.)
How do I know the right Jacks And Connectors to use?
Now, if you have different jacks on your interface–labeled “in,” “out” and maybe even a headphone jack, you’ll need to make sure the right cables are plugged in.
The left monitor port is labeled with an “L,” so that should be where the left monitor wire goes from your audio interface into your speakers. The right side of your interface will have a label that says “input,” so attach the other end of your XLR cable from the speaker to this port.
Next, attach one end of a short 1/4″ patch cord (these look like headphones cords) from the output slot of your audio interface either input or output slots on your computer.
Then, if you have a headphone jack on your interface, plug your headphones into the same port that you plugged your speakers into.
If you’re looking for a way to connect studio monitors, TRS cables are the most common option.
If your interface has two sets of outputs/inputs (one set is labeled as L and R), then it should be easy enough to plug in your balanced XLR cable into the monitor’s input slot (the same way you would with any ordinary speakers).
You’ll need an XLR cable for each speaker and one short 1/4″ patch cord from the output slot of your audio interface either input or output slots on your computer.
Place them so that they’re angled towards you slightly–this will let you hear what they’re capable of at their full range of frequencies, and ensure that both speakers’ sounds blend well together.