I'm in the market for stereo speakers, (after "loaning" my Advent Loudspeakers to my brother, who won't give them back). But, my band is in sore need of stage monitors, and I thought I might kill two birds by buying stage monitors and USING them with my stereo, between gigs. What special problems might be involved? Are there stage monitors that would work better in this capacity than other state monitors? Thanks.

2 Answers 2


Stage monitors are designed to do something quite different from what normal stereo speakers are designed to do. That means if you get great stage monitors, they won't sound so great as stereo speakers and vice/versa. But you could use one for the other.

Getting effective stage monitors is more important, to me, because you want to be able to hear yourself without feedback on stage, and that can be a demanding task. You want monitors that are designed to be monitors (not ones that can be monitors or main speakers) so that they have a controlled and fairly tight dispersion. You won't want high frequencies bouncing off all the walls and bleeding into all the microphones on stage if you can avoid it. You also want to limit the low frequency content of stage monitors for many reasons. All of that combined makes for a good monitor, but a bad sounding stereo speaker.

And really you should find a way to get those darn Advents back!

Addendum related to comments

Passive speakers and power amps have a lot of interaction and should be well-paired for both best sound quality and to make sure neither one damages the other. This is one advantage of powered speaker systems. Between home stereo systems and live PA systems there are huge differences in both speakers and amplifiers. So it's much better to connecte home stereo speakers to a home stereo amplifier and to connect live sound speakers to a live sound power amplifier. Attempting to mix the two worlds ranges from difficult to destructive. Just the connector types alone that are commonly available in the two "worlds" of amps & speakers can make it very difficult to mix the two.

If you do want to run PA/stage monitor speakers as part of your home stereo setup, the best way is to buy a power amp that is matched with the speakers (or buy powered speakers) and use a "pre-amp out" from a traditional receiver. Or buy a small mixer and don't use a receiver at all.

The best option (but not the cheapest) is to have two different setups. At home, I have all my musical instruments plugged into a mixer that goes to a power amp and stage monitors. Then my computer (via the normal sound card output jack) and game console are plugged into a normal home audio receiver/tuner which powers a pair of Advents (just a coincidence). The computer is also connected to an audio interface which is then connected to the mixer for using virtual instruments and music production purposes. Even better would be to have two computers - one for normal computing and one for music production.

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    Good points and I agree with all. I would add that many passive monitors designed for use on stage with a PA system are rated for higher wattage output than many typical home stereo speakers. So a 100 watt per channel home stereo receiver might have a hard time driving monitors rated for up to a 1000 watt PA system. And some PA systems will obliterate the cone of a high efficiency home stereo speaker (learned that one the hard way). Commented Jan 13, 2016 at 6:59
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    YEp : you should add to your answer that at the very least make sure the monitor speakers' rated impedance is compatible with your home stereo amp. Commented Jan 13, 2016 at 15:08

Though Todd Wilcox is right that this will be a compromise, I'd say it's not necessarily that bad. True is: classical HiFi speakers are almost completely unusable for any live application, and heavy-duty wedge monitors are quite ridiculous as home speakers.

But there is a decent middle ground nowadays: compact active full-range PA speakers. These are versatile and clean-sounding enough to be enjoyable as a home stereo (though they will sound somewhat harsher than HiFi speakers and more directional, but you can alleviate that with more distant placement and perhaps some EQing), but also rugged, powerful and tighly-responsive enough so you can use them as live monitors. Such speakers generally have angled chassis for that purpose, so you can put them on the ground like special-purpose wedges. Because they're active, you don't have do worry about power amp matching.
The better models, that is. Towards the lower end of the price scale, especially the ruggedness tends to go down; after some mishandling (which inevitably happens at some point, live!) many of these speakers develop really quite nasty and hard-to-fix artifacts, like distortion at low levels in the midrange. They may then still be acceptable as monitors (at least for the less captious positions, like bass or rhythm guitar), but definitely not enjoyable anymore for listening music at home.

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