Best Studio Monitors - Under $200 - Under $300 - Under $500

Studio Monitor

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Having good listening devices is the most important thing in the art of mixing.

Practicing your craft on substandard speakers will not only make it hard to make critical mix decisions but affect how your mix translates across other people's listening devices. Having a pair of great studio monitors makes it easier for you to perceive every nuance in the sounds you work with. They also enable you to make critical decisions faster than you would on anything less than the best.

For our 2020 update, we see the return of community favorites as well as some new entries in different price ranges. These new entries feature up-to-date technologies that earned them high marks from user and expert reviews. How will they stack up against the community's tried-and-tested favorites?

We have retained our previous categories: The first three are according to specific price ranges and the fourth is a section dedicated to supplementary monitoring that is best used to complement your studio setup should you need additional reference. Ready to upgrade your studio? Here we present to you The Best Studio Monitors - Under $200, Under $300, and Under $500.

The Best Studio Monitors

The Best Cheap Studio Monitors Under $200

Having a limited budget doesn't mean you have to compromise. Studio monitors in the sub-$200 range have technology that has trickled down from high-end speakers from a few years ago. Technology like JBL's Image Control Waveguide which was previously seen on their high-end audiophile components is now on their affordable studio monitor line. Whether you're starting out, or looking for a second pair of monitors that won't break your bank, we have you covered in this section.

NB: All street prices listed below are for single monitors - not pairs

KRK ROKIT 5 G4

96
GEARANK

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

Street Price: 

$179
KRK ROKIT 5 G4 5" Powered Studio Monitor

At publication time this was the Highest Rated Studio Monitor Under $200.

The KRK ROKIT series has been a staple in countless studios around the world.

The ROKIT 5, now on its 4th gen version, loses the round, egg-like curves of its predecessors in favor of a more traditional enclosure with rounded corners. It sports a 5" Kevlar woofer and 1" Kevlar Dome tweeter.

Tweaking controls are done on an app via Bluetooth, for better adjustments without leaving the "sweet spot".

It also includes ISO-foam pads for decoupling from surfaces.

Features:

  • Driver: 5" Kevlar Woofer, 1" Kevlar Dome tweeter
  • Amplifier: 55W Class D
  • Inputs: 1 x XLR-1/4 combo
  • Frequency response: 43Hz-40kHz
  • Crossover Frequency: 3 kHz
  • Enclosure: Ported
  • Controls: Controlled via App
  • Dimensions: 11.22" x 7.48" x 9.49" "
  • Weight: 10.69 lbs.

Pros

While earlier ROKIT generations were criticized for having a bloated low-frequency range, the ROKIT 5 G4 has refined their sound signature and tightens it up with a front-firing port. Many users love the flat but extended response despite being on the smaller scale of studio monitors. EDM producers were happy to still have the low-frequency extension with a more balanced midrange, leading to better mix translation.

Cons

Digital controls turned off some users for being "gimmicky".

Overall

The ROKIT 5 G4 has made converts of former doubters of the ROKIT line. With its new, more balanced sound signature and more serious aesthetic, the KRK ROKIT 5 G4 earns its place as a serious contender at this price point.

Yamaha HS5

95
GEARANK

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

Street Price: 

$200
Yamaha HS5 5" 70W Powered Studio Monitor

While the smallest of the Yamaha HS series, the HS5 still puts out clear and accurate sound with its 5" woofer and 1" tweeter.

The 5" woofer stays true to the heritage of the original Yamaha NS-10 monitor speakers. The smaller form factor also makes Yamaha's brand of sound and build quality more accessible for smaller studios and those with limited budgets.

The unit's Room Control feature is designed for calibration in small (and usually enclosed) studio spaces.

Features:

  • Driver: 5" Woofer, 1" Tweeter
  • Amplifier: 45W LF, 25W HF
  • Inputs: 1 x XLR, 1 x 1/4" TRS
  • Frequency response: 54Hz - 30kHz
  • Crossover Frequency: 2 kHz
  • Enclosure: Ported
  • Controls: Level, Room Control, High Trim, Power
  • Dimensions: 11.2" x 6.7" x 8.7"
  • Weight: 11.7 lbs.

Yamaha HS5 Frequency Response Chart

Yamaha HS5 Frequency Response Chart

Pros

The Yamaha HS5 continues to get favorable reviews, mostly from home studio owners impressed with the improvements it brought into their production process. Sound quality gets praise, along with reliability and value for money. The neutral response, which is a hallmark in classic Yamaha monitors, is liked by many users who have grown used to the sound of the original NS-10.

Cons

Lack of volume and low-frequency punch came up a few times, while some advise that you save up for the bigger HS7 or HS8, or get the matching Yamaha studio subwoofer.

Overall

If you're looking to mix with monitors with a brutally honest upper midrange like the original Yamaha NS-10 monitors, The HS5 is for you. Look elsewhere if you want low-end punch without a subwoofer.

ADAM Audio T5V

95
GEARANK

95 out of 100. Incorporating 225+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$200
ADAM Audio T5V 5" Powered Studio Monitor

For those in the know, ADAM Audio has been making waves in the recording industry the past decade with their innovative designs.

Using proprietary ribbon tweeters, waveguide, and baffle designs, the company has made its way into professional recording studios around the world.

With the T5V, ADAM's lowest-priced offering, they hope to break into the home/project studio and prosumer market.

Features:

  • Driver: 5" Woofer, 1.9" Diameter Equivalent ribbon tweeter
  • Amplifier: 50 W LF, 20W HF
  • Inputs: 1 x XLR, 1 x RCA
  • Frequency response: 45 Hz - 25 kHz
  • Crossover Frequency: 3 kHz
  • Enclosure: Ported
  • Controls: Input Sensitivity, Gain, High-Shelf, Low-Shelf
  • Dimensions: 111.7" x 7" x 11.7"
  • Weight: 12.6 lbs

ADAM Audio T5V Frequency Response Chart

ADAM Audio T5V Frequency Response Chart

Pros

Excellent stereo imaging and separation are what users are saying in their positive reviews of the T5V. For such a small monitor, the placement of layers is precise and clear. High frequencies are always what ADAM monitors excel at and according to various user and expert reviews, it is one of its strongest points.

Cons

Some users found the small size to be lacking in low-frequency response. This is a common tradeoff. ADAM Audio recommends having a subwoofer to go with the T5V.

Overall

People have waited years for a more affordable ADAM monitor and they have done it; a great sounding studio monitor that offers you a healthy serving of the best ADAM has to offer from their top tier ranges. Get it if you want in on the ADAM sound. Avoid it if you don't plan to get a subwoofer. For that, it's better to go up to the T7V instead.

JBL 305P MkII

93
GEARANK

93 out of 100. Incorporating 1050+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$149
JBL 305P MkII 5" Powered Studio Monitor

JBL takes a spot in this list with the 2nd iteration of the 305, carrying over its best features while mixing in improvements that include improved transient response and linearity, new boundary EQ controls to reduce environment-induced low-frequency anomalies, and improved enclosure material (15mm MDF).

At its core is JBL's 5" woofer and 1" tweeter, with JBL's proprietary Image Control waveguide that allows for easier sweet spot positioning.

Features:

  • Driver: 5" Woofer, 1" Tweeter
  • Amplifier: 41W LF, 41W HF
  • Inputs: 1 x XLR, 1 x 1/4" TRS
  • Frequency response: 49Hz - 20kHz (±3dB), 43Hz - 24kHz (-10dB)
  • Crossover Frequency: 1725Hz
  • Enclosure: Ported
  • Controls: Input Sensitivity, Boundary EQ, HF Trim, Volume
  • Dimensions: 11.75" x 7.3" x 9.1"
  • Weight: 10.43 lbs.

JBL 305P MkII Frequency Response Chart

JBL 305P MKII Frequency Response Chart

Pros

The JBL 305P MKII's strong point is its sound quality, which many consider as incredible when considering its price point. Many users specifically mention its highs and midrange to be very life-like, and they report that it helped them hear nuances that they were not able to with their old monitors. The speaker's build quality also gets a lot of thumbs up.

Cons

Some users complain that the low-end is lacking, but given its small 5" woofer, this is to be expected. There are also a few who note that it distorts when pushed hard, but this is more of a physical limitation than a problem.

Overall

If you're looking for a great value studio monitor that performs well even in untreated rooms, the 305p MKII is a great choice. Low end may be lacking but in rooms with less than stellar acoustics, a conservative low-frequency output prevents unrealistic low-frequency projection.

Kali Audio LP-6

93
GEARANK

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

Street Price: 

$149
Kali Audio LP-6 6.5 inch Powered Studio Monitor

Kali Audio is a fairly new entrant to the Studio Monitor market being founded in January 2018.

The "Lone Pine" series is their competitively-priced line, with the LP-6 being the most affordable.

It features a 6.5" Woofer and 1" Soft Dome Tweeter, both operating at 40w each.

On the back, it has an array of dip switches that can be used to fine-tune the monitor's response to the room and proximity to a wall.

Features:

  • Driver: 6.5" Woofer, 1" Soft Dome Tweeter
  • Amplifier: 80W Class D (HF - 40W, LF - 40W)
  • Inputs: 1 x XLR, 1 x RCA , 1 x 1/4"
  • Frequency response: 40Hz to 20 kHz
  • Crossover Frequency: 3 kHz fixed
  • Enclosure: Front Ported
  • Controls: Dip switches for positional adjustment, HF trim, LF Trim, RCA
  • Dimensions: 14.125" x 8.75" x 10.25"
  • Weight: 15.54 lbs.

Kali Audio LP-6 Frequency Response Chart

Kali Audio LP-6 Frequency Response Chart

Pros

Many users and expert reviews give critical acclaim to the LP-6, saying that it's one of the best value studio monitors in the market today. The tweakability from the dip switches behind each speaker is something usually seen on more expensive studio monitors.

Cons

Some users reported some hiss on their units. Comments on these reviews speculate that the hiss may be from the power source/lack of power conditioning in the room.

Overall

It took a while for Kali Audio to take off since launch and now, with more and more positive reviews coming in, it earns a spot on many reviewers' favorite picks. Get it if you want a great budget monitor with a vast amount of tweakability.

The Best Studio Monitors Under $300

No longer in the "budget" category and more into the "entry-level" or "prosumer" category, this price range offers more recent technology for your growing studio needs. Flexible room compensation options, better electronics, and better materials for drivers and enclosures are usually what you'd expect in this range.

NB: All street prices listed below are for single monitors - not pairs

KRK ROKIT 7 G4

93
GEARANK

93 out of 100. Incorporating 100+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$210
KRK ROKIT 7 G4

The ROKIT 7 is a step up in size and power from the ROKIT 5.

Featuring a 7" Kevlar Woofer versus the ROKIT 5's 5" Kevlar Woofer, the ROKIT 7 has a deeper frequency response and overall wider dynamic range.

The front-firing port gives more low-frequency thump without being overbearing.

Features:

  • Driver: 7" Kevlar Woofer, 1" Kevlar Dome Tweeter
  • Amplifier: 145W Class D
  • Inputs: 1 x XLR-1/4" combo
  • Frequency Response:42Hz-40kHz
  • Enclosure: Ported
  • Controls: Controlled via KRK Audio Tools Mobile App
  • Dimensions: 13.35" x 8.86" x 11.19" "
  • Weight: 16.76 lbs.

Pros

The one thing that users keep mentioning is how much of an upgrade this generation is over the last. While the previous generation ROKIT 7 was criticized for its bloated low-frequency range, the G4 felt more refined to some users. The bass is more controlled and consistent (in a well-treated room) and others mentioned that you might not even need a sub if your room is treated well enough.

Cons

The LCD menu behind the speaker is cumbersome to use and many users would rather have knobs and switches.

Overall

If you're already a fan of KRK's ROKIT series and want a more refined low-end thump, less colored midrange, and better overall dynamics, the ROKIT 7 G4 is a good upgrade.

JBL 308P MKII

94
GEARANK

94 out of 100. Incorporating 250+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$249
JBL 308P MKII 8" Powered Studio Monitor

As a successor to the LSR308, the 308P MKII features the same waveguide profile as seen on their 7 Series and M2 Master Reference Monitors.

Another step up from the previous generation is the use of upgraded transducers and new boundary EQ controls in the back.

Features:

  • Driver: 8" Woofer, 1" Dome Tweeter
  • Amplifier: 112W Class D (56W LF, 56W HF)
  • Inputs: 1 x XLR, 1 x 1/4" TRS
  • Frequency Response:45Hz-20kHz (±3dB)
  • Enclosure: Rear Ported
  • Controls: Sensitivity, Boundary EQ, HF Trim
  • Dimensions: 16.5" x 10" x 12.1"
  • Weight: 20.73 lbs.

JBL 308P MKII Frequency Response Chart

JBL 308P MKII Frequency Response Chart

Pros

One consistently reported positive is the wide "sweet spot" the monitor has thanks to it's specially designed waveguide. They are also described to be "crystal clear" with regards to frequency response. They strike a great balance between enjoyable hi-fi listening and critical flat response that translates mixes.

Cons

Some users report noise and hiss from their units. Some wanted a bit more bass response.

Overall

The 308P is a natural evolution of the critically acclaimed LSR 308. With a more refined frequency response building on its predecessor's clear-sounding signature, the 308P is a great pick for small to medium studios.

ADAM Audio T7V

95
GEARANK

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

Street Price: 

$250
ADAM Audio T7V 7" Powered Studio Monitor

At publication time this was the Highest Rated Studio Monitor between $300 and $500.

Adam Audio studio monitors are recording community favorites due to their X-ART Ribbon tweeter technology and fast transient response.

Their proprietary ribbon design is carried over from their "A" series to the more affordable "T" line.

The T7V features a U-ART Ribbon tweeter capable of extending high-frequency projection of up to 25khz.

Features:

  • Driver: 7" Woofer, 1.9" Diameter Equivalent ribbon tweeter
  • Amplifier: 50W LF, 20W HF
  • Inputs: 1 x XLR, 1 x RCA
  • Frequency response: 39 Hz - 25 kHz
  • Crossover Frequency: 2.6 kHz
  • Enclosure: Ported
  • Controls: Input Sensitivity, High Shelf, Low Shelf
  • Dimensions: 13.7" x 8.3" x 11.5”
  • Weight: 15.7 lbs

ADAM Audio T7V Frequency Response Chart

ADAM Audio T7V Frequency Response Chart

Pros

Users note that the high-frequency reproduction to be the best they've heard in this price range. This is useful for balancing cymbals, synths, and other layers with intense high-frequency content. Despite the extended high frequencies, users note that it never becomes shrill or fatiguing. The clear highs also contribute to a great stereo image and strong phantom center for mono tracks.

Cons

None that are crucially detrimental. One user was disappointed that the T7V does not have a power indicator light.

Overall

If you've been following the company for a while, you would know that their "A" series monitors are becoming modern studio standards. Many hit records of the 2010s were mixed on the A series from Country to Metal. Get the T7V if you're looking for crisp high frequencies. If your room is small or untreated, the high frequencies might not be directed properly.

The Best Studio Monitors under $500

At this price range, most companies offer their flagship models. This means that tech here is either cutting-edge or where lower-end models get some of it trickled down to them. Other companies with more expensive offerings seat their "prosumer" to "home professional" offerings here. For other brands, this is where they present speakers with larger woofer diameters and enclosure sizes.

NB: All street prices listed below are for single monitors - not pairs

Yamaha HS7

96
GEARANK

96 out of 100. Incorporating 1250+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$320
Yamaha HS7 Powered Studio Monitor

At publication the this was the Equal Highest Rated Studio Monitor between $300 and $500 along with the Yamaha HS8.

Yamaha continues to be the go-to brand for studio monitors in the entry to the mid-tier market. Yamaha monitors are easy to spot, with their distinct white-colored cone woofers; an element carried over from their legendary NS-10 speaker.

Yamaha's signature sound is a flat low midrange, tight low frequencies, and a brutally revealing upper midrange spike that makes EQ mistakes painfully obvious.

It has a 6.7" woofer paired with a 1" dome tweeter mounted on vibration damping material to eliminate unwanted resonance for distortion and coloration free sound.

Another notable feature is the use of bigger magnets and matching advanced magnetic circuit design.

Finally, the HS7 comes with room and high-trim switches for adjusting the sound to the acoustics of your listening area.

Features:

  • Driver: 6.7" Woofer, 1" Dome Tweeter
  • Amplifier: 60W LF, 35W HF
  • Inputs: 1 x XLR, 1 x 1/4" (TS)
  • Frequency Response: 43Hz-30kHz (-10dB)
  • Crossover Frequency: 2kHz
  • Enclosure: Ported
  • Controls: Level Knob, Room Control Switch, High Trim Switch
  • Dimensions: 13.1" x 8.3" x 11.2"
  • Weight: 18.1 lbs.

Yamaha HS7 Frequency Response Chart

Yamaha HS7 Frequency Response Chart

Pros

The Yamaha HS7 is well received for its "flat" response, which many describe as very natural sounding. The highs and mids are described as very clear and transparent while the low end is just right for most mixing/mastering scenarios. There's also quite a lot of rave about its solid build, including the feel of the knobs.

Cons

There are no notable concerns about the sound, but one user was annoyed by the overly bright LED light.

Overall

The HS7 bridges the gap between their two models, the HS5 and the HS8. If you feel that the HS5 is a bit lacking on the low frequencies but don't want to get a sub, The HS7 is a good pick as long as your room is treated enough to dampen resonance.

Yamaha HS8

96
GEARANK

96 out of 100. Incorporating 1250+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$370
Yamaha HS8 8" 120W Bi-Amp Powered Studio Monitor

At publication the this was the Equal Highest Rated Studio Monitor between $300 and $500 along with the Yamaha HS7.

Thanks to the success of the now legendary NS10 studio monitor, Yamaha continues to enjoy a favorable position in the near field monitoring market. As proof, they have secured multiple recommendations in this guide due to the high ratings their monitors get.

The bigger 8" woofer allows for more headroom and low-end response, while the room and high-trim controls will let you adjust the sound to fit into different studio sizes.

There's nothing special when you look at the spec sheet, but Yamaha made all these small parts work together seamlessly - resulting in outstanding monitoring experience that's reflected by its high ratings and expert recommendations.

It also helps that the HS8 is relatively affordable, you'll have enough cash to spare to buy other important studio gear.

Features:

  • Driver: 8" Woofer, 1" Dome Tweeter
  • Amplifier: 75W LF, 45W HF
  • Inputs: 1 x XLR, 1 x 1/4" (TS)
  • Frequency Response: 38Hz to 30kHz
  • Crossover Frequency: 2kHz
  • Enclosure: Ported
  • Controls: Level Knob, Room Control Switch, High Trim Switch
  • Dimensions: 9.8" x 15.4" x 13.1"
  • Weight: 22.5 lbs.

Yamaha HS8 Frequency Response Chart

Yamaha HS8 Frequency Response Chart

Pros

Accurate and reliable are two prominent descriptions that people use to describe the Yamaha HS8. Compared to their previous affordable monitors, many found the improvement to be dramatic. While those who have more expensive monitors are perplexed as to how close the HS8 is, in terms of quality. Other commendations point to its value for money and longevity.

Cons

There are a few users who complain of interference from other devices. Some also find that it lacks low end, especially for bass-heavy musical styles. It may also be too large for smaller studios and may affect accuracy due to reflections and resonance. For smaller and untreated rooms, the HS5 may be a better pick.

Overall

The Yamaha HS8 is a good safe middle ground for those who want quality, reliability, and versatility. As always mentioned, it carries the legacy of the NS-10; a monitor knows for its flat and revealing frequency response. A cool looking white finish Yamaha HS8 version is also available at Sweetwater.com.

Dynaudio BM5 mkIII

95
GEARANK

95 out of 100. Incorporating 100+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$499
Dynaudio BM5 mkIII Powered Studio Monitor

The Dynaudio BM5 mkIII improves upon its predecessor by putting out more power, a wider frequency range, and higher SPL without distortion.

These improvements result in a clearer sound, better dynamic range, and less distortion at higher playback volumes.

Features:

  • Driver: 7" Thermo Molded MSP Cone, 1" Soft Dome Tweeter
  • Amplifier: 100W (50W LF, 50W HF)
  • Inputs: 1 x XLR, 1 x RCA
  • Frequency Response: 42Hz-24kHz
  • Crossover Frequency: 3kHz
  • Enclosure: Ported
  • Dimensions: 12.5" x 7.3" x 11"
  • Weight: 16.9 lbs.

Pros

Several users note that the monitors deliver very transparent sound. Some users mentioned they didn't need to get adjusted to the monitors to start working on music. Other reviews mention them striking a balance between great-sounding reproduction and critical accuracy. They sounded great for some users that didn't have optimal room treatment. The sound signature was also said to be non-fatiguing.

Cons

The low-frequency extension is present but can be hit-or-miss depending on your room and how well standing waves are treated. Some users report needing a sub for better low-frequency reproduction.

Overall

If you want a transparent and natural sounding monitor that won't fatigue you while making long mixing sessions a joy, the Dynaudio BM5 mkIII is a great pick for your studio.

PreSonus Sceptre S6

95
GEARANK

95 out of 100. Incorporating 30+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$500
PreSonus Sceptre S6

Just one look at the PreSonus Sceptre S6 and you'll notice its standout coaxial design, where the 1" tweeter is positioned front and center of the 6.5" woofer.

Compared to traditional 2-way speakers where the two are separated, this back-to-back configuration allows for a more balanced dispersion.

To better use this design, PreSonus equipped the Sceptre S6 with a dual-core DSP that handles crossover frequency adjustments.

The 180W Class D amplifier features an internal heat sink for longevity and performance.

Controls include level adjustment knob and pre-programmed "acoustic tuning" buttons that let you customize the resulting sound to match the room that you are using it in.

Features:

  • Driver: 6.5" Woofer, 1" Dome Tweeter
  • Amplifier: 90W LF, 90W HF
  • Inputs: 1 x XLR, 1 x TRS
  • Frequency Response: 42Hz–23kHz (-10dB)
  • Crossover Frequency: 2.2 kHz
  • Enclosure: Front Ported
  • Controls: Level, Acoustic Space, HF Driver, HP Filter
  • Dimensions: 13.2" x 9" x 12.2"
  • Weight: 18.8 lbs.

Pros

Experts and users alike have mostly great things to say about the PreSonus Sceptre S6, with specific emphasis on its mid-range clarity and overall sound quality. Even those who were skeptical of the coaxial design report that it improved their monitoring/mixing experience. The linear throw of the speakers helped mixers feel a sense of depth from the stereo image, unlike other designs they tried.

Cons

There are a few who wanted knobs instead of buttons for the acoustic tuning controls. Some experts noticed subtle smearing in the lower frequencies because of its front-ported design.

Overall

The Sceptre S6 is truly unconventional with its design philosophy. The result is a clear midrange, large sweet spot, and stunning stereo separation and depth. Get it if you tend to mix music with dense layers. If you need low-frequency accuracy, the design may not be to your liking.

Supplementary Monitoring

Featured here is a top-rated studio monitor that's popularly used for secondary referencing. These offer tighter response times in exchange for overall frequency response to make you hear transients and details better. They also approximate the frequency response of consumer-grade mono speakers to let you hear what your mix sounds like on other sound sources. Mono balancing is crucial for mixes to translate to mono sound sources like radios, phone speakers, and public address systems

Avantone Pro Active MixCube (Pair)

93
GEARANK

93 out of 100. Incorporating 125+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$479
Avantone Pro Active MixCube

NB: At the time of publication these are currently only available from Amazon as a pair, however, the Sweetwater link provides the option of buying a single monitor.

The Avantone MixCube is a mini reference monitor influenced by the Auratone 5c monitor speakers. The Auratone 5c has been around since the 70s and was a passive design while the Avantone MixCube is a modern powered speaker.

The Mixcube emphasizes the midrange, mimicking the sound of basic sound systems like those found in televisions, mobile phones, car stereos, Bluetooth players, laptops, and more. Monitoring on these so-called "grot boxes" helps give you an additional reference point with regards to hearing your mix on consumer electronics.

It sports a single 5.25" woofer, and produces sound without a tweeter, much like how most budget speakers are setup. There are no fancy controls either, so all you have to do is plug-in, get it in position, and listen to your mix. Avantone assures that each unit is properly shielded so you can use it beside computers without worrying about interference.

Finally, this speaker system comes in a 6.5" cube MDF cabinet that does not require much space, and it comes in black or cream color.

Features:

  • Driver: 5.25" Woofer
  • Amplifier: 60W
  • Inputs: 1 x XLR/TRS Combo
  • Frequency Response: 90Hz-17kHz
  • Enclosure: Sealed
  • Controls: System Gain, Ground Lift
  • Dimensions: 6.5" x 6.5" x 6.5"
  • Weight: 7.13 lbs.

Avantone Pro Active MixCube Frequency Response Chart

Click here to download MixCube Frequency Response Charts.

Pros

Most users consider the MixCube as the ideal monitor for mono mixing, allowing you to audition tracks as you would with real-world media players. Many users felt that it makes for easier mixing of vocals, guitars, and other instruments that sit within the middle frequencies. Experts highly recommended it as a secondary monitor to complement your studio setup.

Cons

Because of its mid-heavy sound, mixing with the Avantone Pro MixCube won't have a full sound - but that's the point. There are a few who commented on the power supply being too bulky for the size of the unit, as the speaker itself is compact and light.

Overall

It is generally not recommended by the recording community to mix only on small speakers like the old Auratone 5c. Thankfully Avantone has tweaked the MixCube to be more versatile than its ancestor with a bit more extension in the lows and highs; making it a good emergency speaker set for on-the-go mixing aside from its intended purpose as a supplementary monitoring system. Get it if you already have bigger speakers at home or have fly-in mixing sessions with studios that have unfamiliar speakers. Avoid it if you're buying your first pair of monitors.

Things To Consider When Buying Studio Monitors

While most studio monitors are reasonably versatile, there's no one pair of monitors that can satisfy everybody, so you must find the ones that fit your needs and resources. The best studio monitor for you will depend mostly on the type of music you're producing, your studio space, and your budget.

  • Speaker Size

    Most studio monitors have 2-way speakers where the sound is divided into Low Frequencies (LF) and High frequencies (HF) and are sent to two different speakers. HF driver (also called a Tweeter) sizes are mostly the same at around 1", but there are greater variations in the size of LF drivers (also called Woofers), and this is important for you to consider. The general idea is that bigger woofers can handle more lows, while smaller ones can better represent the mid frequencies. In line with this, go for bigger woofers if you expect to mix bass-heavy songs, while smaller woofers are recommended if you emphasize clarity of the mids - where most of the vocals and instruments are.

  • Frequency Response

    This specifies the range of frequencies that the monitor can handle, and is usually directly related to the size of the HF and LF Drivers. Wider frequency response can handle more types of music, but these extra frequencies can compete for your attention, which may make you miss important sonic details. If you are into mostly DJ and electronic music, you'll want bigger monitors that can handle the added low frequencies that are usually associated with these styles. On the other hand, if you'll be working with acoustic instruments and vocals, the exaggerated bass can hinder you from mixing and balancing the frequencies properly, so its best to go for flat response studio monitors. We highly recommend having more than one set of monitors - for you to have more sonic references to work with.

  • Power Rating

    The power rating of the amplifier, with speaker size, dictates the headroom and overall loudness limit of the unit. For mixing, you want the volume to be just enough to cover your listening area, without getting it muddied or distorted. You also don't want to tire your ears easily, or disturb your neighbors - so loud is not better. Volume becomes an issue when you have someone else listening with you, or when you audition mixes that are expected to be loud - like rock and electronic music.

  • Positioning and Sweet Spot

    If you want to get the most out of your studio monitors, then you'll want to position them correctly and listen within their sweet spot position. Since each monitor has different baffle and waveguide designs, positioning to find the "sweet spot" will vary, so you'll want to read the manual and adjust your position accordingly. Speaker positioning is not fully covered here, but the video below can give you a good idea of its importance and application:

  • Mixing Environment

    The type of speaker to choose will depend on your mixing environment as well. If your room is untreated (as in the case of a bedroom or home studio), it is best to choose smaller monitors and use headphones for checking low-frequency balance. Untreated rooms tend to bounce sound and have uneven resonances that may affect your perception of frequency levels. Larger speakers with higher volume may introduce a phenomenon called "standing waves" in spaces with parallel walls. This phenomenon causes the low frequencies to either bloat and gather in one spot or disappear entirely depending on where you stand in the room. Having carpeting as absorbers and uneven surfaces like bookshelves close to flat walls as diffusers can help but if you have no plans on fully treating your rooms, stick with speakers with woofers 5" in diameter or lower.

The Best Studio Monitor Selection Methodology

The first edition was published in February of 2016 written by Alexander Briones and the latest edition was published on written by audio engineer Raphael Pulgar with some contributions from Alexander.

The initial step was to look for the most popular and top-rated sub $500 active studio monitors available from major USA based retailers. And for this 2020 update, we ended up including 40 of them on our short-list, and collected over 11,000 relevant rating sources (more than double from the last update) that include customer ratings, user/expert reviews, video reviews, forum posts, and more. The Gearank Algorithm processed this data to provide us with rating scores out of 100 that reflect market sentiment and overall user satisfaction. Finally, we divided the list into three price categories, Under $200, Under $300, and Under $500. We've also included detailed descriptions and specifications for each studio monitor, along with the pros and cons derived from reviews and important community discussions. For more information about our methods see How Gearank Works.

Comments

What about Tascam VL-S5 ?

What about Tascam VL-S5 ? They are the best inexpensive monitors that I've ever had. Incredible flat response. Ideal for small rooms. No bass amplify, clean treble sounds. You should check that out.. Thanks.

Thanks for the tip Emre,

Thanks for the tip Emre,

The Tascam VL-S5 has been discontinued in North America so we haven't published a Gearank Rating for them, but they do have good 5-star ratings at European retailers like Thomann.

Thank you. I have a small

Thank you. I have a small space, not ideal but not terrible. I have two Tascam 5" monitors, they seem good to me (not Abbey Road but...). I record fingerstyle acoustic guitar and singing, some digital drums sometimes but not much. Power is not an issue but it's not for eveyone.
Whatever speakers you choose, whatever music you play, try recording/mixing acoustic - instrument, singing etc. when assessing your speaker placement. If it works like that, it will work with electronic textures but it's much easier to hear "where you are" for the accuracy that we're all looking for. Like the man in the video says, acoustics is a huge subject. Set up your monitors then try mic placements in different parts of the room, hang up a towel behind your mic(s) etc. When you've sorted out your monitors, learn your room. Cheers.

If you want flat a bunch of

If you want flat a bunch of these are junk. My comments reflect the flatness concern. The Jbl 305 are excellent, actually well ahead of ALL in it's price range, and mostly keep up with any few at a higher price they don't beat. The actually have controlled bass deeper than any 5 inch out there. The are industry disrupting good speakers, and a lot of pro engineers agree. The Prosonus Scepter are also excellent. I can't speak for every model, so there may be other ones that come off flat. But Yams are generally mid boost sounding crap. KRk's are bass boosted crap. The ranks are crap if flatness matters, and it generally does. You don't necessarily need expensive monitors if you don't want flatness and excellence. You can use a variety of cheap hifi speakers for comparison, and you should, in different rooms if possible. Good speakers often have the opposite effect vs what is claimed. They don't as often 'reveal the flaws' as they 'make everything sound better' so a weak mix can sound good on great monitors. Beware of that and use a variety of whatever speakers to reveal weaknesses. But also be aware of room nodes. 8 feet is common ceiling height so don't get too much energy in that bass freq. Mix in a big room with higher ceiling if you can, but check it in a normal smallish room.

I don't know of the monitor

I don't know if the monitor comes in pairs or single for the price shown,i mean krk rockit 6.

The street prices above, and

The street prices above, and the prices at both Sweetwater and Amazon, are all for a single speaker.

Today we removed the JBL

Today we removed the JBL LSR308 Mark 1 from the recommended list above because it has been superseded and is no longer widely available in North America.

For those who are interested,

For those who are interested, if you want to avoid big dips in your response due to the comb filtering that occurs when the direct sound from high frequency driver combines with reflected sound from that same driver, try sandwiching a mirror on top of table tops or nearby flat surfaces to determine if you can see a reflection of the high frequency driver. If you can, then you need to move the loudspeakers, change the configuration of the table, or even change the angle of the table so as to eliminate the reflections. The effects of such early reflections are easy to verify by sweeping with a sine wave and observing on an RTA. Basically, if you want accurate response for mixing, you need to create a Reflection Free Zone for the mix position. Not very many people are hip to this technique, but it can really improve the accuracy of your monitoring.

No Yamaha HS5? They sound the

No Yamaha HS5? They sound the closest to the classic industry standard Yamaha NS10.

take a look at the Samson

Take a look at the Samson Resolv series (SE6/SE8, RXA6). reference monitors with flat response at a very attractive price.

Thanks for the tip - we will

Thanks for the tip - we will include the Samson Resolv series of studio monitors in our data set when we next update this guide.

As promised, we did analyze

As promised, we did analyze the Samson Resolv range while we were working on the new version of this guide which was published today.

Unfortunately they didn't make the cut this time around, but you can see the Samson Resolv Gearank Scores in our music gear database.

Interesting list of the best

Interesting list of the best studio speakers. I don't normally see the Mackie HR624mk2, the PreSonus Eris E5, and a couple other monitoring speakers on other best speakers lists. Never tried the two that I've mentioned either so I don't know if they really are great. I've tried majority of the monitoring speakers on other lists, like the Rokit 5, JBL LSR 305, Adam A7X, Yamaha HS7 (my favorite), Focal Alpha 80, Genelec M030A, Focal CMS 65, etc and they're all great as well. Currently I'm using the M-Audio BX5 D2 studio monitors but I'm looking to get a new set so maybe I'll give the PreSonus Eris E5 a try.

I'm glad you found our guide

I'm glad you found our guide interesting Mitch.

The reason our lists of recommended gear are sometimes different to other websites is because Gearank Guides are based upon detailed statistical and sentiment analysis of customer reviews, expert reviews, and forum discussions - a process which is enhanced by our use of the Gearank Algorithm.

This enables us find the gear that musicians actually rate highly themselves making us less susceptible to marketing influences than would otherwise be the case in many instances.

If you'd like to know more about our methodology then please read How Gearank Works.

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