Top 7 Studio Monitor Speakers

Home Studio? Recording Artist? Mixtape master? Podcast Enthusiast? Content Creator?

Did you know studio monitor speakers are one of the best tools for all your audio creations? Don’t get me wrong. You’re going to need mixers, and instruments. You’ll need vocals, skills, an idea, creativity, and the like – but in order to bring that work of art to life, you need the right set of studio speakers.

If you’re in the business of creating Audio or Video pieces, you know just how important it is to have the right setup. You can give your all to a creation, but if you don’t have the proper equipment, it just won’t hit the right chord. Unfortunately, that means all your hard work and passion ends up falling flat, not from lack of effort, but lack of proper equipment.

This can be frustrating, especially for the ones just starting out, the hobbyist, or even the frugal pro. The search for the best quality sound is at a peak, and that means prices are steep. Researching is a great way to locate the equipment you need, but it’s time consuming and overwhelming. You also tend to run into the highest priced items on reviews, rather than the systems that sit at ‘Best bang for your buck’ pricing. That’s where this snippet comes in.

Being a hobbyist, and frugal at heart, I have spent hours upon hours looking for the perfect studio monitors, and managed to come up with a tried and true tested list of setups below. These are studio monitor speakers I own, have owned, or have drooled over when experiencing them with associates. Hopefully, this helps feed your inner sudiophile, and gets you back to creating that much sooner as you’re about to read a top 7 countdown!

Best Cheap Studio Monitors Review

1. KRK RP5G3 ROKIT 5 2-Way Powered Studio Monitor

Just getting your feet wet? Need something robust, easy to manage, and (of course) putting out professional, clean sound? Kicking off my list of must haves would be the often sought out KPK RP5G3. Even in physical construction, these speakers are striking. Bold black, Crisp white or cool silver meets canary yellow in a strong blocked casing. Obviously, we’re not here for the looks of the speakers, it’s what’s on the inside that counts! Inside these beauties, you’ll find:

  • 1” soft dome tweeter helping to minimize break-up modes, and otherwise subduing disturbances. Soft dome tweeters are great for the rich, clean sound you’re looking for in your finished piece.
  • 4” glass-Aramid composite woofer adding a stiffness that allows for your intended sound, and minimizes shake or residual sound after output. This has a ‘snap back’ feel that plays just your sound, and stops exactly after that.
  • Bi-Amped class A/B amplifiers allowing for SPL of up to 106dB.
  • Rokit Waveguide technology for the most detailed imaging while in listening position.
  • Front-Firing bass port allowing flexible positioning and even reducing diffraction distortion.
  • An array of input connections for ease while configuring to your system setup.

Read the full review

For entry level pricing, with high expectations on output, and ease of setup – these are your Go-To for beginners.

2. Yamaha HS8 Studio Monitor

If you’re a classic type personality, or you grew up with adults that enjoyed sound, chances are you’re familiar with Yamaha sound. Yamaha has been producing sound equipment since 1887, and they’re still competing with the top of the top all the way in 2019. That brings me to the Yamaha HS8. The squared simple black and white construction of these speakers may create nostalgia as they come into sight. These babies are very reminiscent of their relatives from 1978 which was fondly toted as ‘the most important loudspeaker you’ve never heard of’ in past mentions. So what’s inside?

  • Separate dedicated amp for both the woofer and the tweeter creating consistently high resolution with a perfectly flat response on the sound spectrum.
  • 75W LF Plus 45W HF Bi-Amp giving a full 120W total with level control, and Equalizer.
  • Room Control helping to account for exaggerated low-end sound that can occur with speaker placement on or next to walls – making placement versatile.
  • HTR (High Trim Response) control allowing a fuller, more flexible control of High Frequency Response.
  • XLR and TRS Phone input jacks opening up the range of sources giving you the ability to hook up to a mix board, a keyboard, phones, and more.
  • Noise Reduction Technology control and reduce the vortex, enhancing the overall clarity in sound.

Read the full review

Okay, okay. I know this is the higher end of the spectrum in this list.. With a bit of a steeper price tag. I completely understand if that’s a bit of sticker shock for you – however, when you look at the quality build materials, the finished design, and the following behind Yamaha itself, you’ll quickly understand that the higher price tag is for the luxury of having it all. If you’re ready to really flaunt your talents, and send out flawlessly finished pieces, the Yamaha HS8 will help you get there.

3. JBL Professional 305P MKII 2-Way Powered Studio Monitor

JBL has been in the sound industry for 70 years! Offering outstanding sound quality and an easy mix experience with an out of this world price tag, the JBL Professional 305PMKII is in that perfect sweet spot of sound and function rounding out the experience with a gorgeous all black casing. Have you had the opportunity to check out the JBL LSR305? This 305PMKII edition is the newest adaptation of the LSR. Everything you’ve loved about LSR – packed with updates and adjustments to make this set that much better. Let’s break it down:

  • Increased HF detail for a greater depth and ambience in your recordings, ensuring those subtle details you’ve added in can be heard, even in a more dense mix.
  • Full-Room sound you no longer have to be right up on your speakers to get a good feel/adjust your sound. You will hear the same tones right next to your speakers as you do in various parts of your room making this a dream for accuracy.
  • Broad Sweet Spot With 3-Series speakers, you’ll receive the most natural sound in an unusually large working space, even without proper room acoustics.
  • Magnetically-Shielded 5” Low Frequency Transducer preventing any damage to your equipment if and when you experience any interference while in use.

Read the full review

If you’ve noticed your mixes don’t quite hit the rich point you’re trying for, or if you’re recording in a room that hasn’t been equipped with proper studio sounding, the JBL 305PMKII can help you get the same feel of that studio experience.

4. PreSonus Eris E5 2-Way Active Studio Monitor

Are you looking for heaven on earth for the heavy Mixer? Enter: PreSonus Eris E5. Boasting the truest sound output, this speaker cannot tell a lie. Ever spend hours crafting the perfect piece, then hearing the playback on a different system, and notice big differences? When you’re mixing, you need a true output with no enhancements, no compliments, and no added extras to your sound. When you use certain speaker systems that praise their ability to enhance your mix, you have to make sure that what you hear on that set will be heard on other systems, brands, and setups. With PreSonus Eris E5, you don’t have to worry about the quality degrading on another system, as you’re receiving your sound at it’s purest form. The ease of setup, and adjustment on top of that true-form sound output makes this the ultimate dream for that mixing enthusiast. Why spend time fixing your setup, when you really want to get right into mixing? The inner beauty of these speakers?

  • Lightweight construction – easing transport, display, and even hanging efforts.
  • Low Frequency Kevlar transducers creating that soul pounding bass free of distortion even in mid-range notes.
  • Silk dome tweeter – creating a warmer, more mellow sound. This helps to balance the overall feel of the sound, making your piece that much more refined, even in high volume.
  • 80 watt AB Class Bi-Amplifier giving you the proper SPL for a naturally rich, quality sound
  • Professional Acoustic adjustment controls offering a wide variety of Mid range, High Frequency, High Pass, and even Acoustic Space settings for an accurately dialed in experience.
  • Input Gain allowing you the ability to adjust the signal-to-noise ratio, really giving you that professional clean final piece.

Read the full review

At the end of the day, this is a great piece for anyone. The full range of sound can appeal to DJs, bass-lovers, mix-fiends, and acoustic lovers alike. Coming in as low as less than $150, this is an amazing deal of a steal.

5. Mackie Creative Reference Multimedia Monitor CR4

It’s a mouthful, right? Cultivating it’s own little cult of fans, Mackie’s CR4 setup has a fun punch to it with the neon green trim on the all black speaker system and stick figure jammin’ out to the marvelous noises that come from this speaker. If you jump from project to project, and you’re constantly switching between media sets, this one may be just what the doctor ordered. Easily adaptable for your genre of music, and quickly switches into movie/video mode for another submersive experience. You get excellent quality of build and hardware for an affordable home-price. Let’s cut it open, and check out the insides!

  • Well planned out design  – this is perfect for anyone to put on display, regardless of your use. With it’s playful/ energetic design, it can be a nice pop of color.  It’s also sleek enough to sit in a more professional setting.
  • .75” ferrofluid-cooled silk-dome tweeter – if you’ve read the previous lists, we know that silk dome tweeters offer a cleaner, more rich sound, which is exactly what you’ll get with this!
  • 4” polypropylene-coated woofer a great, low price – high quality option for those who need power handling and low frequency response rates.
  • Wide frequency range giving you full-range multimedia at 70Hz – 20kHz!
  • Smartphone play adaptability – If you mix on the go, or spend errand time collecting different bits to use once you’re back in your creative chair, this makes for a quick and easy plug n play feature
  • An array of inputs with ¼”, ⅛”, and RCA already included in the box, you should have a large variety of devices you can play with right out of the box.
  • Waveguide boasting almost perfect sound dispersion, regardless of the listening level, along with unmatched sound clarity.
  • Acoustic Isolation pads allowing you to tone down those boomy bass pieces, and giving you tilt control for a better listening experience.

This is really an all-in-one that you can’t go wrong with. With the sturdy construction, this is a set that you could even think about letting your kid use without worrying about more fragile/expensive pieces suffering damage. The design, the ease, the sound rounds this out nicely.

6. M-Audio AV42 Compact Studio Monitor Speakers with 4-inch Woofer

Next on my list would have to be the compact styling of the M-Audios AV42. It looks pintsized at first glance, but it can run with the best of them. This is one of those entry-level priced, bang-for-your-buck setups. Out of the box, you have simple setup notes, a great mixing of input possibilities for plug and play fun, a smaller size for those cramped spaces, a more ‘out of this world’ look, and a nice robust sound. Looks can be deceiving once you realize the delicious bits that are stored inside this setup:

  • 1” ferrofluid silk cone tweeter for those deliciously clean notes.
  • 4” woofer that, for its size, can pack a punch
  • Class A/B Amplifier allowing for 20-watts per channel
  • Inputs galore including an RCA, and three ⅛” input/output ports, making this possibly the most versatile speaker in the list, considering the amount of devices you can connect.
  • Blue LED indicator aiding in easy initial setup, and perfect alignment for the waveguide
  • Inner acoustic material for an innovative listening experience, completing that natural, smooth bass.

The build of this set really gives you the ability to take these on the go, or mount them in more unique ways, as the weight for the pair totals a little more than 7 pounds, making that 3.5 pounds a piece. Easy to take into your traveling equipment case, and easy to hang without worry.  The ability to plug into phones, tablets, mix boards, keyboards, gaming systems, DJ gear, and more sends this sailing over the top. No longer do you have to gather all of your clips from all of your devices, just to utilize them from one main device. You can literally pull from anything with the simple act of plug-n-play adjustment.  Don’t let their looks fool you, this set is a great way to jump into the game, or continue on your path.

7. Pioneer Pro DJ Studio Monitor DM40

If I’m honest, I’m very fond of Pioneer Pro. My first mix-pad was Pioneer Pro, and the boomboxes following were all Pioneer Pro. Pioneer pro has done well for its name, and it’s product. The DM40 DJ Studio monitor is no exception. Offering a more compact feel, this set is uniquely shaped with a gorgeous curvy feel to the front panel. These may be stripped down for a more throw-back feel offering two inputs (RCA and mini Jack)inera – where things were made just a little more tough. They could withstand some impact and they could last. These are no different, and the sound quality is superb. Enough of the look though, let’s get to the meat of these guys.

  • ¾” soft dome tweeter for all those rich, clear, ‘take me back to yesterday’ jam feels.
  • BONUS Deco-convex diffusers for a 3D, high frequency sound in all directions.
  • 4” fiberglass woofer for an amazing light feel, but a strong room-filling impact.
  • A/B Class amplifier with 2x 21 watt output.
  • Simple set-up and intuitive use even if you’re technically challenged, these are easy to use on first setup.

All in all, Pioneer Pro has been around for decades. When a company manages to stay around, stay relevant, and keep up with the times, you know that they’re doing something right. I believe Pioneer Pro is the great, sought after sound company it always has been. Always bringing top-line systems into homes with affordable construction and pricing, these are sure to suit your needs.

 

Conclusion

I’m confident that within this list, you’ve seen at least two systems that speak to you. Two systems that fit your needs, and provide you with the quality you’re looking for. There’s a lot of competition out there, especially where sound is concerned, and it’s hard to come out on top when there’s so much saturation in the industry. The fact that these brand names are familiar to you (they should be) should give you a bit of perspective as to their quality. If you’ve had experience with any of these, I’d love to hear about it! If I’ve missed something that you think just has to be on the list, please throw your feedback in. From one audiophile to another, I wish you the best of luck in the adoption of your new system, and I can’t wait to see all the new creations that come from these setups. Will you be the next big track? Only time will tell.