If you are setting up your studio, one of the key aspects you need to focus on is proper sound output.
Purchasing the best kind of studio monitor speakers is important for creating your studio, whether it is at home or is a professional one.
Studio monitor speakers, also known as workroom monitors, are speakers that, as the name indicates, are designed specifically to be used inside a studio.
If you are a music producer, you would know that the best studio monitor speakers have a high level of precision that allows the listener to differentiate between every sound.
Studio monitors may be designed for studios, but you can use also connect them to your TV or desktop to get better sound while watching movies or gaming.
Even though they are pretty high-tech, you may be pleasantly surprised to hear that many of the best monitor speakers are pretty cost-effective without undermining quality.
Here are some of the top studio monitor that we hand-picked for every budget.
Best Studio Monitor Speakers
Winner: Edifier R1280DB Bluetooth Speakers
- The sound is pretty solid for an entry-level studio monitor
- The 4-inch LF woofer is quite loud for a bookshelf speaker.
- Volume, bass, and treble controls are located on the speaker’s side rather than the back which makes them easy to access.
- Although the remote control can be better, it still allows adequate flexibility to adjust settings from a range.
- Beautiful black or wood-grain finish has an understated style that blends in with your studio setting.
- You can keep or remove the front fabric speaker grille according to your style.
- 2-year warranty in the US and Canada.
- Although Bluetooth is a wonderful addition, it can be tricky to pair the device through it. Once paired, though, there is no loss of quality.
- You may hear some distortion if you raise the volume near the max, which can be disappointing to people who like to listen to really loud music.
The black MDF and wood-grain finished Edifier R1280DB Powered Bluetooth Bookshelf Speakers are stylish and functional.
Although they are designed for bookshelf use and are pretty compact, they are very versatile and work great for your home DJ studio. They also work perfectly for your computer or TV.
The device is equipped with a 4-inch woofer and a 13 mm silk dome tweeter. The sound quality is stable and sound and has a beautifully flat response without any overcompensation on the lows and high.
Because of this balance, they are one of the best home studio monitors for mixing.
Another added advantage is that the speakers offer a good selection of connection options, including wireless Bluetooth connectivity, which is a big benefit for people who like to move their speakers around and want flexibility when connecting to their DJ gear.
As an entry-level and affordable studio monitor, the Edifier R1280DB is a strong contender.
Runner-up: PreSonus Near Field Studio Monitor
- 102db at a 1-meter distance means the monitor speakers are quite impactful
- Wide dispersion pattern provides a large optimal listening area which gives you freedom to move around the room without having any difficulty in listening.
- Have a reduced footprint and a small size, but still deliver good volume and smooth sound without any harsh edges.
- Equipped with all types of connection ports so that you can easily connect them to mixing tool as well as computers, smartphones, and mobile devices.
- Equipped with Kevlar woofers for exceptional durability and performance.
- Comes with accessories like headphones, isolation pads, and other cables.
- No EQ or bass boost in the end, which means output sound is as natural as possible.
- Equipped with tuning options that are usually only available in high-priced models.
- Equipped with RF Shielding that protects from external interference.
- Very affordable
- Bass isn’t huge and the sound is lacking in the low end. Slights improvements can be made by adjusting the tuning options but don’t expect the best bass.
- May break if you drop them
The PreSonus Eris E3.5 Near Field studio monitors are equipped with many premium features that are normally seen in only high-end brands. The studio system is equipped with Kevlar drivers that offer clear low-frequency sound without distortion and offers high durability.
The high-frequency speakers are silk-dome offer smooth and balanced highs. These monitors help you provide the ideal sounds even when you are mixing some complex pieces of music.
Additionally, if you are in small spaces, you can use their room tuning controls and cut the bass with 6Db. With a power of 50W, these speakers are enough to personalize the sound output if you are in small to medium rooms.
The studio monitors come with additional accessories like a pair of closed-back over-ear headphones, a 3.5mm Breakout connection cable and two Knox Gear Studio Monitor Isolation Pads.
In short, the PreSonus Eris E3.5 is one of the best nearfield monitors in the market that you can get to set up your home studio without busting your budget.
alternatives: JBL Professional 305P MkII
- The sound quality is exceptional considering the price.
- Produces very life-like mid and high ranges and you can hear greater depth and nuances in your recordings.
- Sound build quality
- Its Boundary EQ are designed to reduce the boom-factor when speakers are placed too close to the walls.
- Some complaints that the studio monitors lack a low-end, which is expected considering its 5-inch woofer. It’s a good idea to invest in a subwoofer.
- The sound may distort when speakers are pushed to the maximum
- Some users complain about a hissing noise.
JBL Professional 305P MkII Next-Generation 5″ 2-Way Powered Studio Monitor is a studio monitor that not just carries over the best features of its 302 predecessor but also comes with improved tech like new Boundary EQ controls, improved 15mm MDF enclosure material and better transient response.
The studio monitors are equipped with 5-inch woofer and 1-inch tweeter with JBL’s proprietary technology, Image Control waveguide that allows for the best sweet spot positioning. The monitors have a frequency response rate of 49 Hz to 20k Hz, so getting a subwoofer may be a wise choice.
The low-end may be lacking but in rooms that don’t have the best acoustics, but the device comes with Boundary EQ controls on the back which can help users adjust low and high frequencies and get the most out of the systems with the acoustics of your room.
Additionally, the port on the back of each studio monitor is equipped with Slip Stream technology, to make sure low frequency doesn’t overload the woofers.
When it comes to the best studio speakers, JBL is the industry standard and if you need compact, high-quality studio monitors for your home studio, these are the one of the best in the market.
KRK RP5 Rokit G4 Studio Monitor
- The iconic black and yellow scheme is back and the design has become more subdued and refined than the previous versions.
- Equipped with an on-board digital signal processing system with an LCD screen. Users can select from a wide range of tuning options to get the best speaker sound.
- High-quality Kevlar woofer and tweeter enable consistent sound distribution.
- Outstanding sound quality making casual listening and studio sessions enjoyable.
- Not the best monitor speakers for analytical listening since they do not offer the best flat response.
- Reproduction of sound is not entirely balanced.
KRK has been synonymous with pro audio systems since the 90s and its best studio monitors have found their way inside top recording studios. The Rokit G4 is the latest version featuring the black enclosures and iconic yellow cones.
They do not produce the flattest response but they compensate for it by providing excellent sound and a whole range of tuning options which is not usually found at this particular price point.
They are one of the best studio monitors for working with readymade sounds, synths, and samples, and offer a clean and crisp listening experience. However, they do not work that great for analyzing or sculpting recorded audio of tricky recorded acoustic instruments.
Similar to the previous G3 series, the Rokit G4 has a great low end response, courtesy of the bass port beneath the woofer.
The frequency response ranges from 40Hz to 40kHz and the system is equipped with a new DSP-powered visual LCD to adjust the 6-band EQ in the back to get the best performance.
Both the woofer and the tweeter are made of matching Kevlar for maximum clarity and amateur and professional producers can work on these for hours without getting ear fatigue.
Although they are not a complete studio monitoring system for producing and mixing, they can be your main monitoring system if you are operating on a budget.
Edifier R1700BT Bluetooth Bookshelf Speakers
- Classic MDF wooden build that looks great and provides extra durability
- Equipped with Bluetooth connectivity that is compatible with all Bluetooth devices
- Has a beautiful midrange
- Comes with a remote control to adjust sound levels remotely
- 2-year warranty
- Comes with multiple audio input ports so that you can work with your sounds.
- Some users complain of a boomy bass
- Slightly thin treble
- Controls need to be more refined
The walnut vinyl and the black MDF body of the Edifier R1700BT Bluetooth Bookshelf Speakers set these studio monitor speakers apart even before they are turned on.
But the biggest advantage is their Bluetooth connectivity option, which offers you a hassle-free wireless experience. What’s more, they are compatible with all Android, iOS, Mac, and Window devices.
The speakers have a frequency response of 60Hz to 20,000Hz, which may not be as impressive as some of the picks above but still is enough to cover the main ranges that music producers need to hear.
Additionally, they are equipped with a built-in DSP and Dynamic Range Control that prevent distortion
The 19-mm tweeter produces a clear crystal sound while the 4-inch woofers are great at creating rich lows. The systems come with front-facing bass reflex port that intensifies low frequency resulting in a powerful bass.
The speakers are also set at a 10 degree angle to direct the sound right at you for a more powerful listening experience.
With the two auxiliary inputs, you can easily connect any device with a dual RCA output or a 3.5 mm headphone output.
Additionally, you can also connect two devices at the same time using these auxiliary outputs without switching the cords. The remote control can be used to switch input source as well as adjust the volume.
These speakers get very loud even in large rooms without users having to crank their volume all the way up. If you are looking for some cost-effective studio monitors with connectivity options without compromising quality, they are definitely one of the best budget studio monitors in the market.
Best Studio Monitor Speakers: Buying Advice
Although the best studio monitor speakers are designed to flexible and versatile, no one monitor can fulfill the needs of every music producer.
If you want to get the best studio monitors, you should understand a few things:
Most studio monitors have two different speakers; the high frequency (HF) drivers or tweeters, or low frequency (LF) drivers or woofers.
Typically, tweeters are about an inch in size but the larger woofers can have more variations.
The bigger the size of the woofer, the better it can handle lows, so if you intend to mix bass-heavy music, you should go for bigger sized woofers.
However if you want to make your midranges clear, you should get speakers with smaller woofers.
The frequency response is the range of frequency that a studio monitor can handle.
Wider frequency response can handle more types of acoustics, but these frequencies can compete for your attention, which means you may miss nuances in the music.
If you are in the electronic music or DJ scene, you will need larger monitors that can handle low frequencies.
However, if you are working with vocals and other instruments, too much bass can prevent you from mixing properly.
In this case, flat response studio monitors are your best bet.
The power rating controls how loud your unit can be.
If you are mixing, you want the volume to just be enough to cover your room without getting distorted or muddied.
You also don’t want to suffer from ear fatigue, so just having a loud speaker isn’t always better.
Volume can be an issue if you want o play in a bigger room or when you are mixing heavy metal or electronic music or other music that is expected to be loud.
There are two main types of monitors: near field monitor or far field/soffit monitors.
- Near field monitors work well if you are listening from a close distance. Usually they are designed to sit 4-5 feet away from where you sit, which makes them great for home studios that do not have adequate acoustic treatment.
- Far field monitors are designed to be listened to from a distance. Typically, they are elevated or built into the back walls of music studios. These monitors are quite big and pretty expensive and are only worth the investment if you have a large studio with acoustic panels and bass traps. These monitors are great for checking low end of the mix.
Before you buy your studio monitor, make sure it can be easily connected to the devices you have at home.
The standard ports are XLR, TRS, RCA, USB, AUX, and Bluetooth. RCA and XLR are considered to be the best quality connections.
Bluetooth can be tricky to set up and may result in poor quality connectivity in some cases, but the monitors in our list can easily be connected via Bluetooth without any loss in quality.
To ensure quality, you don’t always need to get the higher-priced items. You can get the best budget studio monitors for less than $150 or $200, as you can see from our list.
Studio Monitors FAQ
What is a studio monitor used for?
Studio monitors are used by music producers in recording studios to precisely hear the sounds they are working on in order to determine which nuances need improvements and which frequencies need enhancements.
To ensure that, you need an audio output device that is not excessively loud and does not distort sounds.
This is what a studio monitor is used for and why it is necessary for recording, playback and mixing music.
Are studio monitors necessary?
For an ordinary person, a studio monitor may not be necessary.
However, for a music producer, a studio monitor is the one major thing that makes it possible to crate good music.
Regular speakers add a lot of extra enhancements to sound like treble, bass, resonance, and distortion.
However, a producer needs to hear the sounds exactly as they were produced and for that a regular speaker is not enough.
Instead, studio monitors are necessary. These monitors produce flat frequencies with a wide range of frequency response and their cabinet is designed to reduce resonance.
This way, you heat precise playback and shows the producer what his actual recordings sound like.
Many modern studio monitors are room-friendly so a room that is not acoustics-treated, like your bedroom, can still be a good place to use these speakers for recording.
What is the difference between studio monitors and speakers?
The difference between studio monitors and regular speakers is that studio monitors follow a higher standard when it comes to delivering sound as compared to their more commercial counterparts.
Regular speakers place coloration and effects in the sound produced by boosting certain frequencies, most commonly the bass.
However, studio monitors are designed to produce the flattest frequencies, which means all the frequency produced have the same volume as others.
This allows producers to hear the sounds exactly as they have been produced.
Additionally, it also allows them to hear nuances or any errors they may have made during the mixing or recording process.
This is often dependent on the quality of the material from which the monitor is made.
Studio monitors also have faster responses to accentuate each sound clearly and correctly. For example, the bassline requires more attention from the drivers.
Can I use studio monitors to listen to music?
The biggest advantage of studio monitors is that not only can be used to listen to music, they will help you recognize how plain music, without any coloration, should sound and you can have a better understanding of all the nuances of sound that appear in that piece of music.
For new users, hearing music without effects may take some getting used to and you may feel you need more bass or treble during the first time around.
However, this can give you a more natural representation of music. You may not necessarily enjoy this type of music but you there is no harm in trying.
Additionally, the best studio monitors also come with tuning options that can help you adjust the frequencies in the way you like.
Can you mix without monitors?
Ideally, you wouldn’t want to mix without studio monitors; however, it is still possible.
The one important thing you will need is a quality pair of headphones, but remember, it can still be very tricky.
For example, since headphones feed each ear independently with a speaker that is very close to your ear drum, the sound you will hear has attributes that are quite different from near field monitors.
Often, you will find that the low end is boosted and it may result in quicker ear fatigue.
Plus, since each ear hears from only a single speaker, certain phasing issues can be harder to recognize.
Once you come up with some rough mixes with a good pair of headphones, you should definitely move on to studio monitors to improve your music production.
Whether you want to dip your toes in the music producing scene or simply want to upgrade your TV or computer’s sound system, finding a good studio monitor speaker will help you exponentially improve the sound quality.
Before you place your heart on one, you need to find out which studio monitor speaker best fits the type of music you will be recording or listening to.
For those of you who want to buy home studio monitors on a budget, keep our list of the top studio monitors in mind.