Ok all you tweakers and peekers. this will be the beginning of the sticking for monitors. I will take the jewels and edit out the rest and make a sticky out of it. Picking monitors for mastering: first you have to really think about what you are trying to achieve. Basically you want to hear what is there, you want to hear when you change something. Listening to a potential set of monitors is a very difficult and time consuming process. Preconceived Ideas about how you think or remember something to sound like is really really hard to get away from. If you've listened to say Michael Jackson's Bad on your mackies for 2 years and you take that CD into a place and play it on another set of monitors, What are you hearing? Are you hearing what is there? are you hearing what is different? are you hearing what you like? Are you remembering what you thought it sounded like? there are so many things that play into listening to a set of monitors that the first 10 times you listen, I feel it's not real unless you are really used to listening on different systems. It's a mental game you have to play for a bit before you can really hear what's going on. If you are shopping for your real first set of monitors, don't take anything at face value. At first you may listen and discount a pair because it doesn't have the snap or punch that you think it should have. But compared to what? Compared to what you are used to? to what you thought it should sound like? I've owned several different kinds of monitoring systems. Some I thought I liked to only find out that they were lying to me. Some I thought I should liked because x amount of people liked them. It really took me several years to reduce (because you can't eliminate) the mental aspect of picking a pair of monitors. Once you begin to notice a certain style of what you like to hear in a monitor, can you then begin to evaluate them based on what you get back from them. And this will change as you progress, so it's a never ending endevor, but it does slow down a bit. How does the low end hit me? how do they handle the low mids? is the midrange forward and resessed? Is the top end silky or brutal? Do I hear the cabinet or are they invisible? Is the soundstage huge or small? How will what i'm hearing change the way I approach something. These are all things you have to take into account. and again, don't trust your first impressions unless you've been doing this for awhile. Not only do your ears have to acclimate but so does your mind. Choice of music, amps, room, so many things come into play that at first it's overwhelming. It literally took me years to pick something that I was comfortable with. I'm not at all saying that what I picked is perfect, but what I picked made me react a certain way. gave me enough information to choose options relatively quickly. and last but not least, gave my clients something they could relate to. This is a key point if you have people attending your sessions. They also have to hear it in a way that they can say yes or no to. So as you can see, there are many factors involved in choosing monitors. What you should know is good doesn't come cheap. By good I mean all of the above factors. You also have to be aware of why a pair of monitors are the way they are. Is it for looks? is it for price? is it for volume? is it for soundstage? is it for durability? Then you have to weigh the benifits and the cons do this. When picking a pair of monitors for mastering, price should be low on the list. I know everyone has a budget, but forget about money for now. Listen without this weight on you. Your monitors are your window to the audio world. This is what you are going to be looking through and as a result, your end product. If you start thinking that the end user is listening to this on a pair of ipod earbuds, that shouldn't I use the same lowest common denominator kind of approach, then you are missing the point of mastering. You are looking to achieve the highest level with the information that will let you know how it will translate to the lowest level. Ok, chime in.