The Best Stage Monitors - Powered Speakers Under $500

The Highest Rated Powered Stage Monitors


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Nothing ruins a gig like bad monitoring. When band members don't hear each other properly, singers sing out of tune, the bass doesn't stick with the drummer and the guitars will be everywhere in between.

Great monitoring for yourself or your venue will make the difference between good gigs and bad gigs. Choosing the right stage monitor is just as important as choosing good FOH (Front Of House) speakers.

For this March 2022 edition, we make it easy for you to choose the right stage monitor for your needs. Most of the selections are priced just right so you can invest in multiple units even if you're on a budget.

Higher priced studio monitors up the ante with features, durability and sound quality.

Note that while alternatives like In-Ear Monitors are available, many still prefer the coverage and practicality of floor monitors.

The Best Stage Monitors Under $500

Author & Contributors

Raphael PulgarRaphael Pulgar

I've been an audio engineer for 20 years specializing in rock and metal recordings, and also I play guitar and produce original music for my band and other content creators.

Best Powered Stage Monitor Speakers Under $300

These are market leading powered speakers that are highly rated as floor monitors in the sub $300 price range. Some of them are also great FOH speakers.

Behringer Eurolive B205D


91 out of 100. Incorporating 1500+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

Behringer Eurolive B205D 5.25” 150 watt Powered Floor Monitor

The Behringer Eurolive B205D is the smallest and lightest in this list, weighing at just 7 pounds.

It's equipped with just a 5.25" LF driver, and a 150W amplifier which may seem way under-powered compared to the others but reviews reveal that the projection of this monitor is just enough for small stages and venues.

It is ideal as a stage monitor for vocalists and keyboardists thanks to its mic stand mountable design.

It's also a great speaker for small-scale public address - just plug a microphone directly into the B205D and you're ready to be heard.

And since it has front mounted controls, making on-the-fly changes to your sound is possible without the need for a technician's help.

Speaking of controls, the 3-channel mixer gives you mic and line inputs, including RCAs for music players. And the 3-band EQ lets you fine-tune your sound easily.

Tech Specs

  • LF Driver: 5.25"
  • Power Rating (RMS): 125W
  • Power Rating (Peak): 150W
  • Frequency Range: 105Hz-10kHz
  • Maximum Peak SPL: 112dB
  • Inputs: 1 x XLR, 2 x XLR/TRS Combo, 2 x RCA
  • Outputs: 1 x XLR (Mic/Line)
  • Mounting: Floor Wedge, Pole
  • Weight: 7 lbs.

Aside from its obvious budget friendly price advantage, the Behringer Eurolive B205D is well loved for its portability, as stated by a majority of reviewers. Many users are also pleased with how it sounds, in terms of both projection and quality. From small cafes to a Las Vegas rock band stages, the general consensus is that it gets the job done quite well for the size. The ability to be mounted on a mic stand is also a plus, allowing the performer to better hear the sound coming off the speaker, and giving them easier access to the onboard controls which include a 3-channel mixer and EQ.

There are a few out-of-the-box defects reported, while some report having problems within a year of buying. These can still be covered by warranty so it's not necessarily a deal breaker. But it would still pay to handle and setup this compact active speaker carefully, specifically when mounting it on a mic stand, you don't want it to fall down during a performance.

Easily the best value compact stage monitor on the market today, since you can save a lot by buying this unit, we recommend that you consider also getting a mic stand to get the most benefit.

Behringer Eurolive B112D


92 out of 100. Incorporating 550+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

Behringer Eurolive B112D 1000 watt Powered PA Speaker
At publication time this was the Equal Highest Rated Powered Stage Monitor Under $300 along with the Alto TS308.

Behringer knows how to balance price and quality, to the detriment of the competition. A good example of this is the B112D, which for the price gives you a 12" woofer, a 1.35" tweeter and a 1000-Watt amplifier with built-in DSP for speaker protection.

While it doesn't have multiple voicings, it does come with 2-band EQ controls, which you can use to shape the sound to match the venue and the sound source.

All these features are packed inside a lightweight plastic cabinet, which makes the B112D a good portable stage monitor.

Tech Specs

  • LF Driver: 12"
  • HF Driver: 1.35"
  • Power Rating (RMS): Not Specified
  • Power Rating (Peak): 1000W
  • Frequency Range: 50Hz - 20kHz
  • Maximum Peak SPL: 127dB
  • Inputs: 2 x XLR/TRS Combo
  • Outputs: 1 x XLR
  • Mounting: Pole, Floor Wedge
  • Weight: 27.1 lbs.

There's no stopping the many high ratings that point to the B112D's overall quality. Most users appreciate its fuller sound, which make it work nicely for rock musicians, DJs and many more. There are also plenty of comments speaking about the nice headroom that it has.

Not many complaints from users other than a few experienced owners who are not impressed with its sound.

The Behringer B112D is a budget friendly monitor for those who are looking for one with 12" woofers. For smaller venues and pop up events, it gets the job done for not a lot of cash.

Alto TS308


92 out of 100. Incorporating 300+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

Alto TS308 2000W 8" Powered PA Speaker
At publication time this was the Equal Highest Rated Powered Stage Monitor Under $300 along with the Behringer B112D.

The Alto TS308 features a whopping 1,000W power section driving an 8" LF driver and 1.4" Neodymium magnet HF driver.

The TS308 has multiple anchor points and a pole socket. As a floor monitor, the enclosure has angled sides for proper throw angle.

This power and versatility comes in a compact and lightweight enclosure for maximum portability.

Tech Specs

  • LF Driver: 8""
  • Power Rating (RMS): 1,000W
  • Power Rating (Peak): 2,000W
  • Frequency Range: 62 Hz – 20 kHz
  • Maximum Peak SPL: 129 dB
  • Inputs: 2 x XLR combo
  • Outputs: 1 x XLR
  • Mounting: Floor Wedge, Pole
  • Weight: 20.2 lbs.

Users found that the headroom and power were deceptively loud even for an 8" speaker. As a floor wedge, the smaller speaker size lends itself to clearer monitoring which is essential to keeping stage volume down during gigs. Despite the smaller 8" LF driver (compared to 12"), the TS308 puts out a surprising amount of low frequencies.

One user found that the low end of his keyboard/organ caused the LF driver to distort at loud volumes. For monitoring however, it is usually recommended to roll off the low frequencies at the mixer to keep stage levels uncluttered.

If you need a loud and clear stage monitor at a reasonable price-point, the Alto TS308 is tough to beat for its sheer power and clarity.

Best Powered Stage Monitor Speakers under $500

Many high quality FOH (front of house) speakers in the $300 to $500 price range work just as great when used as stage monitors, thanks to built-in DSP that tweaks the voicing to meet the needs of stage monitoring. In this section, you'll see the best of these versatile speakers.

Yamaha DBR10


96 out of 100. Incorporating 325+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

Yamaha DBR10 Powered PA Speaker

Weighing in at just 23.2 pounds, the Yamaha DBR10 packs quite a lunch of punch, with its 10" LF Driver, 700W (Peak) power rating and max SPL of 129dB.

And since it is also a top rated PA speaker, it can serve as a reliable backup for your FOH speakers.

Its power, portability, flexibility, and Yamaha's reputation for quality makes for a potent mixture of practical traits that many are looking for in a stage monitor.

Tech Specs

  • LF Driver: 10"
  • HF Driver: 1"
  • Power Rating (Continuous): 325W (260 LF | 65 HF)
  • Power Rating (Dynamic): 700W (500 LF | 200 HF)
  • Frequency Range: 55Hz-20kHz (-10dB)
  • Maximum Peak SPL: 129dB
  • Inputs: 2 x XLR/TRS Combo, 1 x Stereo
  • Outputs: 1 x XLR
  • Mounting: Pole, Floor Wedge
  • Weight: 23.2 lbs.

Most commendations point to its clean sound, good projection and portability. Many acknowledge experiencing a big jump in sound quality improvement after switching to the Yamaha DBR10, which is quite special considering its affordable price point, and its light weight. While it does work great as FOH mains and side fills, experts have noted that it works even better as a floor monitor, with its clarity and quiet operation - especially for vocals and acoustic instruments.

The rating would have been higher if not for some users who wanted more bass and projection from its compact 10" speaker, they should have known better and bought something bigger. An expert reviewer cautioned that it can't handle too much lows, but said that this is a physical limitation rather than a fault on the speaker - and it would not be an issue for most musicians when used as a stage monitor.

If you are looking for a quality monitor that's light on your back and your bank, then definitely get this one.

Mackie Thump15A


96 out of 100. Incorporating 950+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

Mackie Thump15A Powered Speaker 15" - 1300W

Who would need a stage monitor with a 15" woofer?

Our research into actual market responses show that there are many - including drummers, bassists, keyboardists, DJs and more.

And this need is addressed by the Mackie Thump15A, with its 15" LF driver that better emphasizes low frequencies compared to its smaller siblings.

But aside from its bigger woofer, everything else about this speaker follows the same specs and configuration as the Thump 12A, including having a 1,300 watt Class D amplifier and Mackie's Dynamic Bass Response technology.

Other features include 4 speaker modes and built-in thermal limiter for speaker protection.

Tech Specs

  • LF Driver: 15"
  • HF Driver: 1.4"
  • Power Rating (RMS): Not Specified
  • Power Rating (Peak): 1300W
  • Frequency Range: 32Hz-23kHz (-10dB)
  • Maximum Peak SPL: 127 dB
  • Inputs: 2 x XLR-1/4" Combo
  • Outputs: 1 x XLR (Mix out)
  • Mounting: Pole, Floor Wedge
  • Weight: 34.8 lbs.

The Mackie Thump15A is rated highly for its great balance of cost, durability and sound quality. Owners are simply blown away by the sound they are getting from the speaker given the money they spent. And while it gets many of its reviews for its outstanding performance as a main FOH speaker, it gets plenty of thumbs up as a stage monitor for drummers who use electric drums, keyboardists and electronic musicians, DJs, bassists and even guitarists who use guitar modeling processors. Durability is also another important factor as to why many recommend the Thump 15A, with some reviewers sharing stories of the Thump 15A surviving various falls and hits.

This is not a good stage monitor for those who prefer more treble and mid-range emphasis over bass.

If you're looking for a monitor with extra emphasis on bass frequencies then the Mackie Thump15A is highly recommended.

Electro-Voice ZLX-12BT


96 out of 100. Incorporating 600+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

Electro-Voice ZLX-12BT

The Electro-Voice ZLX-12BT is a high power, 1000W Class D Powered speaker distributed to a 12" LF Driver and a 1.5" Titanium HF driver.

Onboard DSP enables it to be tweaked according to purpose. As a floor monitor, flexibility in this regard is a welcome feature.

Bluetooth music streaming makes it a great tool for buskers and cafe musicians looking for a one-speaker solution.

Tech Specs

  • LF Driver: 12"
  • HF Driver: 1.5" Titanium driver
  • Power Rating (RMS): Not Specified
  • Power Rating (Peak): 1000W Class D
  • Frequency Range: 50Hz-20kHz (-10dB)
  • Maximum Peak SPL: 126 dB SPL @ 1m
  • Inputs: 2 x XLR-1/4" combo (mic/line), 1 x 1/8" (aux in)
  • Outputs: 1 x XLR (Mix out)
  • Mounting: Pole, Floor Wedge
  • Weight: 34.3 lbs.

"Loud and clear" has been mentioned more than once in many user reviews. The ZLX-12BT performs well as floor monitors thanks to its onboard DSP as it enables fine tweaking of the speakers to filter out unnecessary frequencies that might cause feedback. The tweakability alone makes it very flexible for use with venues and events of different sizes.

The side handle is not on top when used as a floor monitor, which may make it slightly inconvenient to reposition or pick up.

If you need a great, loud and clear floor monitor with DSP that is equally adept at small gigs as with big stages, the ZLX-12BT is a great choice.



98 out of 100. Incorporating 175+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

QSC CP8 Powered PA Speaker
At publication time this was the Highest Rated Powered Stage Monitor Under $500.

Although far from being the cheapest on this list, the CP8 has been the most popular floor monitor with Gearank readers during 2021.

I've installed QSC speakers at a local venue and calibration was a breeze and I found they work well as either FOH or monitor speakers.

The CP8 features QSC's brand of premium sound quality at a reasonable price point, and its ability to reproduce sonic details and nuances make it ideal for stage monitor use.

It has a 1000W Class D 3-channel amplifier that drives an 8" woofer and 1.4" tweeter, all designed and built to QSC's strict quality requirements.

To achieve a clear sound that the brand is known for, CP8 comes with QSC's DMT (Directivity Matched Transition) and Intrinsic Correction DSP.

In addition to its dedicated floor monitor voicing, it comes with 5 other contour modes which include speech, dance and subwoofer ready modes.

Tech Specs

  • LF Driver: 8"
  • HF Driver: 1.4"
  • Power Rating (RMS): 1000W
  • Power Rating (Peak): Not Specified
  • Frequency Range: 56Hz-20kHz (-6dB)
  • Maximum Peak SPL: 124 dB SPL @ 1m
  • Inputs: 2 x XLR-1/4" Combo (Mic/Line), 1 x 1/8" (Aux)
  • Outputs: 1 x XLR (mix out)
  • Mounting: Pole, Floor Wedge
  • Weight: 25.5 lbs.

Musicians of various backgrounds commend the QSC CP8 for its clear and clean sound, reviewers range from guitarists, singer songwriters, saxophonists, keyboardists, vocalists and many more. Some even use it as both main speaker and monitor for small venue performances. It also gets a lot of thumbs up for its sound quality to weight ratio, while others appreciate its solid build quality.

If you're looking for a deeper sounding monitor with more bass then this may not be a good choice.

The QSC CP8 is currently the highest rated powered stage monitor and for good reason, do check it out if you need absolute clarity and don't mind compromising a bit on low frequency push.

Things to Consider When Buying Stage Monitors

Powered (aka active) vs Passive

Powered stage monitors come with built-in amplifiers, while passive ones require a separate amplifier. There's no clear winner between the two, rather, they each have their own advantages over the other. Powered stage monitor speakers make setup simple. Passive monitors require an amplifier. The most practical method is to consider your existing equipment when getting stage monitors, if you already have a dedicated amplifier, then get a passive monitor, if none then go powered. Also remember that powered speakers need to be plugged into a power outlet. Note that since our 2020 edition, we've decided to leave out passive stage monitors entirely, since most people are now looking for powered stage monitors due to their ease of use and convenience.

How many do you need?

The number of monitors you need is influenced greatly by the size of the stage and the number of performers. The most ideal is to setup is a monitor for each performer, otherwise they may have to share a monitor. A good rule of thumb is to start with two monitors for small to medium sized venues, and add as the need for more arises - you'll often need one dedicated to the drummer as it can be difficult to hear every performer from the back of the stage where the drummer is usually positioned.

Speaker Size and Weight

The size of the woofer (LF Driver) is significant in that it will dictate the stage monitor's bass handling and projection. You will want smaller speakers (8" to 12") for vocals and other common instruments that include guitars and keyboards. While bass heavy instruments like drums and bass guitars generally require bigger (12" to 15") woofers - note that some drummers use an additional subwoofer or a dedicated drum monitor for stage monitoring. Portability is an important consideration if you're performance venue constantly changes, and to help with that, we have put the weight of each stage monitor listed on the features section.

Can be used as FOH (Front of House) or General Speakers

Most modern powered PA speakers can double as good stage monitors, making them great bang per buck choices. This means that they can serve as back up FOH speakers should your mains have problems.

Differences between a Floor Wedge and a Stage Monitor

Stage monitor refers to speakers that can be used as monitors, while floor wedge refers to the shape and position of a stage monitor. Many of today's powered speakers have back wedges that allow them to be positioned as floor wedge monitors. And many also come with built-in DSP that can let you switch the voicing of the speaker to compliment the floor wedge position.

The best Stage Monitors for Drummers

There are some great sounding powered monitors that are specifically designed for drummers, we feature the best of them in our guide to the Electronic Drum Amps / Drum Monitors.

Best Stage Monitor Selection Methodology

The first edition was published in 2016 and the current edition was published on March 5, 2022.

This guide complements our Powered PA speakers guide, focusing on top-rated stage monitors that are readily available at major American music stores. After surveying the major retailers we placed the most promising 40 options on our short-list for closing examination.

We gathered relevant reviews, ratings and recommendations for each model and fed the data to the Gearank algorithm to produce the rating scores out of 100 that you see above. Over 13,900 sources were processed for this edition. The resulting scores allow us to rank each monitor according to their ratings and we selected the highest rated ones to recommend above. The list is broken down into sub $300 and sub $500 price categories for convenience. See How Gearank Works for further details on our methods.

About the Author and Contributors

Here are the key people and sources involved in this guide's production - click on linked names for information about their music industry backgrounds.

Lead Author & Researcher

Raphael PulgarRaphael Pulgar

I've been an audio engineer for 20 years specializing in rock and metal recordings, and also I play guitar and produce original music for my band and other content creators.

I'm primarily influenced by guitarists like Kurt Ballou and Paul Gilbert. My favorite pieces of gear are my Ibanez RG550RFR, Orange Brent Hinds Terror amplifier and EQD Acapulco Gold fuzz.


Alexander Briones: Supplemental writing.
Jason Horton: Editing and Illustrating.


Main/Top Image: Created by using photographs of the QSC CP8, Behringer Eurolive B205D and Yamaha DBR10.

The individual product images were sourced from their respective manufacturers' websites, promotional materials or supporting documentation.


Looking for a monitor there

Looking for a monitor there are other considerations such as weight and controls on the front, durability. You can sit at a desk and evaluate but when you have to move equipment around and use it during an event these things are as (or almost) important as quality. So I did get much from this.

Got a Yamaha DBR10 and it is

Got a Yamaha DBR10 and it is great. It’s light, and works great as a stage monitor. Much better than the QSC K10 we were using

I'd like to have seen more

I'd like to have seen more reviews of monitors with a 10" woofer. I know that Yamaha makes one. I have two of the Kustom 10" and I like them for my situation which is in a small church with a relatively small staging area. There has to be other 10" monitors out there under $300.

As part of our December 2017

As part of our December 2017 update we looked very carefully at 10" speakers, however the passive ones at this size didn't rate highly enough for us to recommend them despite powered versions with this size woofer rating quite highly with some being recommenced above.

Nice overview. I would add

Nice overview. I would add that the Peavey PV 12M horn drivers do blow. From my experience, that happens about every 8-10 years if the monitor is used 3-4 times a week in performance and rehearsal. My bands have pushed these units to the limit. They've been impressive and held up to everything we've thrown at them.
How do I know they blow every 8-10 years? I date my drivers when I install them, originally because I was curious as to how long they last. I'm glad I started to do that as I doubt I would remember accurately when I had last replaced them.
These guys are extremely durable and will deliver clean, crisp audio for decades. the pole mount allowed us to use one as a main when we blew a speaker once. And like most Peavey gear, these speakers will handle much more power than Peavey says they will.