The best studio monitors are usually found in (surprise, surprise) a studio. Here, professionals use them to record, create new audio tracks, create new content or mix.
Now, the reason professionals need speakers designed for studios is the level of audio quality these can deliver. These devices are made using high-grade materials and implement a carefully crafted configuration that leads to rich audios with great balance, powerful low-ends, and crispy-clear notes.
As you can imagine, professional studio monitors are not exactly affordable, but new technologies and better materials led to more affordable prices for many entry-level monitors. As such, we can now have studio speakers for at-home use, which is fantastic news for audiophiles.
Still, if you’re not familiar with the terminology and you don’t understand the way sound is created by these devices, it’s easy to buy a product that’s not exactly audiophile-grade. To avoid this, make sure to read our guidelines and reviews.
How To Choose The Best Studio Monitors
We put together a short how-to guideline for audiophiles and professionals who want to find the best studio monitor speakers that fit their budget.
Figure Out the Right Size
Monitor speakers come in all sizes and may have various curves. However, before you go straight to the biggest speaker, you should first consider the size of the room where they’ll be set up.
If you’re looking for speakers that will fit a bedroom (or a bedroom-sized studio) you should do just fine with a pair of 5-inch monitors (the size of the largest speaker cone). If the room is bigger, then you can go for an 8-inch speaker.
However, most at-home studios will do just fine with the 5-inch version.
Figure Out Your Budget
Yes, monitors for at-home studios are more affordable than in the past, but they can still be a big investment for a small budget (if you don’t make the right choice).
Regardless of your needs (entertainment vs audio creation), it’s important to understand that you don’t need ultra-high-end monitors to get amazing sound quality. The studio where you place the speakers will also have an impact, but so do the recording conditions and other factors.
So, it’s OK to find a pair of good-quality speakers at an affordable price. There’s no need to go over budget for big brands or professional tools.
6 Best Studio Monitors
Yamaha Hs8 Studio Monitor
The Best Studio Monitors Under $500
The HS series of monitors includes some of the most accurate speakers in the industry. The sonic platform used in these studio monitors is one of the most precise and honest.
The Hs8 studio monitor is equipped with an 8-inch cone woofer and a 1-inch dome tweeter that manage to deliver high sound quality with low distortion and a well-defined bottom end regardless of the output level.
It can support a frequency response between 38Hz and 30kHz with high trim control for a high-frequency response. This speaker will reproduce an extremely accurate audio image, with incredible details. In addition, the bi-amplification system (combined 120-Watt amplification) shows the speaker is quite powerful, with a high response rate.
Lastly, the Hs8 is equipped with a 2-Way bass reflex system (there’s no need for a subwoofer) and everything is housed in an MDF enclosure to avoid getting any resonance. In addition, these speakers have room control – this means that you can place them near walls.
Overall, this monitor is ideal for producers who own a studio regardless of the size (room control and high trim control provide make it easily adaptable to all surroundings). It’s also great as a recording monitor or for audiophiles who want to make sure they get incredible detail and clarity.
- Ideal for producers and recording studios
- Delivers high sound quality with incredible detail
- There’s no need to use it with a subwoofer
- Perfectly adaptable to the surrounding environment
- It also works as a home speaker
- They are pretty big
- You need to get your own cables
KRK RP5 Rokit G4 Studio Monitor
The Best Budget Studio Monitors
If you’re looking for a low-cost monitor speaker, the RP5 Rokit G4 should be in your purview. The monitor is equipped with 5-inch woofers, has a built-in digital room correction feature and a front-firing port that offers exceptional low-end extension and accuracy.
The matching drivers made with Kevlar make sure the monitors respect sonic integrity regardless of frequency (it supports between 43Hz – 40KHz). It also comes with an LCD screen and 25 visual graphic EQ settings that can be used to minimize and correct any environment-related acoustic problems.
Overall, these monitors are a great option for DJs, music producers, and audiophiles who don’t have a generous budget (they look amazing as bookshelf speakers). We also like them because users can connect the KRK App (Android & iOS) to set up the surrounding environment for better monitoring and faster mixing.
- Incredibly accurate monitors
- Great price-value report
- Work with a smartphone app for more detailed settings
- High-quality and durable materials
- LCD screen and 25 visual EQ settings
- The configuration is a bit limited
- Not designed for highly professional work
Pioneer Pro DJ Studio Monitor
The Best Studio Monitors Under $200
Featuring a compact design, these monitor speakers provide excellent audio quality, which is why we think they’re among the best home studio monitors. The front-loaded 2-way bass reflex system is perfect for a rich low-end, while the DECO technology supports a wider reach and 3D stereo sound regardless of your position in the room.
Each of these active monitor speakers has a ¾-inch soft dome woofer fitted with DECO convex diffusers, a 4-inch fiberglass woofer, and can support a frequency range between 70 and 30000 Hz. In addition, the ducts are designed with grooves to reduce air friction, meaning that the bass will be just as tight, even when the monitors are positioned against a wall (in case you want to use them as PC speakers).
Lastly, the tweeter and woofer are aligned. This way, the monitors don’t suffer from crossover and the response across the frequencies is well-balanced.
- Perfectly designed for at-home use
- Good audio quality with rich details
- Great price-value report
- High-quality materials
- Easy to set up
- The sound is not particularly booming
JBL Professional 305P MkII
The Best Cheap Studio Monitors
All the MkII JBL monitor speakers are equipped with next-generation HF and LF transducers designed with optimized damping for superior transient response. As such, these monitors can support a deep bass with lower harmonic distortion, which makes the result quite impressive.
The 305P MkII speakers also come with a new Boundary EQ that helps restore neutral low-frequency response if the speakers are near a wall. The sound is boosted by dual integrated custom Class-D amplifiers that deliver 82 watts of total power.
Lastly, the 305P speakers feature a modern design with a slight inclination towards dramatic flair. The visual scene is taken by the patented Image Control Waveguide, placed at the top. This element provides a room-friendly sweet spot, which makes the audio experience more interesting.
- Modern, sleek design
- Updated audio technology
- Low-frequency transducers
- Superior deep bass
- Perfect for both studio and home use
- There is a slight hissing sound when quiet
- The design could have been better
Presonus Studio Monitor (Eris E5)
The Best Studio Monitors for Mixing
Are you looking to upgrade your studio? Then you may want to check out these 2-way professional studio monitors!
One of the reasons your home-made mixes don’t get as much attention as you’d like is the lack of balance that comes from monitors that don’t deliver true audio quality. So, if you’re tired of muffled low-ends or extremely crispy high-ends in your mixes, the Eris E5 monitors are just right.
These bad boys are active monitors, and each is equipped with one 5.25-inch Kevlar low-frequency transducer and one 1-inch ultra-low-mass silk dome high-frequency transducer. They also support 80-watt class A/B bi-amplification and have built-in protection from RF interference and others.
Overall, the Eris E5 speakers are powerful enough to produce studio-quality audio, but they are quite affordable so audiophiles can set them up in their homes.
- 102dB Peak SPL
- 53 Hz – 22 kHz frequency range
- Great value for the money
- Modern design that’s easy to integrate
- Powerful bass and rich notes
- The RCA input is low-quality
The Best Studio Monitors Under $300
A refreshing look, a compact design, and a great price for the value! The CR5BT speakers from Mackie are ideal for at-home use for video editing, listening to music, watching movies, or enjoying some video games.
They support an ultra-wide frequency range (60Hz – 20kHz) that covers all multimedia channels. Also, they support BT connectivity which allows users to stream music, movies, or audiobooks from their mobile devices. Of course, other inputs are available such as 1/4″, 1/8″ and RCA ports).
These speakers are powerful for their size (50 watts) and deliver clear stereo sound quality due to the 5-inch polypropylene-coated woofer. The quality of sound is also supported by the wooden cabinet that provides a natural sonic booster.
Lastly, these speakers can be used as-is or with headphones. But you can also use them as an auxiliary device!
- Beautiful & modern design
- They are versatile
- Studio monitor quality
- The wide frequency range for multimedia formats
- Great soundstage
- Ideal for at-home use
- There is a bit of mid and bass hype
Whether you’re looking for the best passive studio monitors or the best active monitors, it’s important to remember that the price is an important criterion in this industry. Sure, you can find some great quality monitors for home studios, but if you’re looking for something at a professional level, you will have to invest a bit more.