Best Studio Monitors - Under $200 and up to $500

Active Studio Monitor

Originally published on Feb. 4, 2016 and updated on .

When mixing, you need to hear your recorded tracks exactly how they sound, warts and all. And this is what good studio monitors do, they reproduce sound transparently, so you can make honest assessments and correct adjustments. Here we present you with our list of the best studio monitors in the sub $500 price range, updated for 2017, all of which are ideal for home studios. Note that since multimedia and hi-fi speakers tend to color the resulting sound, they are generally not recommended.

Contents

The Best Studio Monitors

LF Driver Gearank Sources Street Price
Under $500:
JBL LSR308 8" 91 250+ $250
Yamaha HS7 6.5" 95 500+ $299
PreSonus Sceptre S6 6.5" 95 20+ $499
Yamaha HS8 8" 94 475+ $349
Focal Alpha 50 5" 93 100+ $300
Genelec 8010 3" 93 40+ $395
KRK Rokit 10 G3 10" 92 20+ $499
Focal CMS 40 4" 92 80+ $425
Under $200:
KRK Rokit 6 G3 6" 93 350+ $200
JBL LSR305 5" 92 800+ $150
KRK Rokit 5 G3 5" 91 750+ $150
Editor's Pick:
Avantone Pro Active MixCube (Pair) 5.25" 93 50+ $479

The Best Studio Monitors under $500

This is where you'll find highly rated studio monitors that are ideal for any home studio. Some of these are bigger and bulkier so they require more space, but they allow for more people to hear your mix, great for impressing friends and clients. There are also compact reference monitors from premium brands included, and they are ideal for small home/room studios. If you want to, you can skip ahead to the Under $200 section.

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

JBL LSR308

91
GEARANK

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

Street Price: 

$250
JBL LSR308

The LSR308 is also part of JBL's Series 3 line of powered studio monitors, with its main distinguishing characteristic being its bigger 8" woofer and more powerful class D bi-amplification. The internal components are housed in the same injection-molded baffle as the LSR305, albeit subtly bigger. JBL's "Image Control Waveguide" is also implemented into the design of this monitor, a feature that spreads the sound more consistently across a wider area, which results in a wider sweetspot. This feature lets you move around your listening area / studio without missing out on important sonic details. Other features include HF and LF trim controls for tweaking the monitor to match the acoustics of your room.

JBL LSR308 Specifications:

  • Driver: 8" Woofer, 1" Dome Tweeter
  • Amplifier: 56W LF, 56W HF
  • Inputs: 1 x XLR, 1 x TRS
  • Frequency Response: 37Hz-24kHz
  • Crossover Frequency: 1.8kHz
  • Enclosure: Ported
  • Controls: LF Trim, HF Trim, Volume, Input Sensitivity
  • Dimensions: 16.5" x 10" x 12.1"
  • Weight: 18.89 lbs.

Pros

Many described the JBL LSR308 as a very honest sounding monitor, some even detailed that the lows and mids are not exaggerated unlike other monitors that they have tried. A good number of users also commented on how responsive it sounds. Positive reviews came from a wide variety of users, including DJs, musicians and engineers, all of which found something to like about this monitor.

Cons

Some users reported that the LSR308 has a bit more bass for their tastes, and this may be due to the extra low-end afforded by its bigger woofer. Finally some users were surprised at how much space this studio monitor requires, it is recommended that you carefully check its dimensions and plan its position before buying as you should do with any new monitors.

Overall

If you're looking for an affordable powered studio monitor that can fill up your listening area then get the JBL LSR308.

Yamaha HS7

95
GEARANK

95 out of 100. Incorporating 500+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$300
Yamaha HS7 Powered Studio Monitor

Yamaha continues to be the go-to brand for studio monitors in the entry to mid tier market. And leading their lineup in terms of ratings and popularity is the HS7, which is known for its flat response, and features Yamaha's distinct white-cone woofers. It has a 6.7" woofer paired with a 1" dome tweeter, both of which are especially mounted to eliminate unwanted vibration and 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.

Yamaha HS7 Specifications:

  • 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.

Pros

Described as having a very natural sound, the Yamaha HS7 impressed quite a lot of users. Many reported that the highs and mids are 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 weren't that many concerns about the sound, but one user was mildly annoyed by the overly bright LED light.

Overall

If you want nothing less than what the market considers as the best monitor in this price range, then go for the Yamaha HS7.

PreSonus Sceptre S6

95
GEARANK

95 out of 100. Incorporating 20+ 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 at the front of 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 utilize 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.

PreSonus Sceptre S6 Specifications:

  • 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 to its mid-range clarity and overall sound quality. Even those who were skeptical with the coaxial design found themselves impressed with how it improved their monitoring/mixing experience.

Cons

There were a few that wanted knobs instead of buttons for the acoustic tuning controls. There were some experts who noticed subtle smearing in the lower frequencies due to its front ported design.

Overall

With its clarity and sound quality, it will be hard to go wrong with the PreSonus Sceptre S6.

Yamaha HS8

94
GEARANK

94 out of 100. Incorporating 475+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$350
Yamaha HS8 8" 120W Bi-Amp Powered Studio Monitor

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 a second slot in this list with the HS8, the bigger and louder sibling of the HS7. The slightly 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 really special when you look at the spec sheet, but Yamaha was able to make all the usual parts click together - 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 spare to buy other important studio gear.

Yamaha HS8 Specifications:

  • 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.

Pros

Accurate and reliable are two prominent descriptions among the flood of positive reviews for the Yamaha HS8. Those who were upgrading found the improvement to be dramatic, while those who had more expensive monitors found themselves perplexed as to how close the HS8 is, in terms of quality. Other commendations point to its value for money and longevity.

Cons

There were a few users who complained that their HS8 was picking up interference from other devices. There were also some who wanted a bit more low end.

Overall

The Yamaha HS8 is a good safe middle ground for those who want quality, reliability and versatility. A cool looking white finish Yamaha HS8 version is also available at Amazon.

Focal Alpha 50

93
GEARANK

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

Street Price: 

$299
Focal Alpha 50

Many professionals and experienced studio owners swear by the Focal brand, so it's not surprising for them to secure a spot in this list. While many of their products have premium price tags, the Alpha 50 makes their brand of quality more accessible. What's unique about this monitor is its low directivity design, which goes against the usual sweetspot focused design that other manufacturers follow. This means that the sound coming from its 5" woofer and 1" dome tweeter are distributed more across the room. Another cool feature of the Focal Alpha 50 is its automatic standby mode, which conveniently turns off the speaker after 30 minutes of inactivity.

Focal Alpha 50 Specifications:

  • Driver: 5" Woofer, 1" Dome Tweeter
  • Amplifier: 35W LF, 20W HF
  • Inputs: 1 x XLR, 1 x RCA
  • Frequency Response: 45Hz-22kHz (-3dB)
  • Enclosure: Ported
  • Controls: Sensitivity, LF Shelving, HF Shelving
  • Dimensions: 12.3" x 8.7" 10.2"
  • Weight: 16.1 lbs.

Pros

Most of the reviews rave about the speaker's uncolored, clear, lively and balanced sound. Many describe the sound as tight yet not overbearing, and attested that this monitor helped reduce their ear fatigue when mixing long hours. Some even went as far as saying that this bottom-of-the-line speaker (at least for Focal) can outclass more premium alternatives.

Cons

There were a few users who recommended getting a sub woofer to get the most out of the Focal Alpha 50. While some complained about the standby mode and wanted it to be optional.

Overall

If accuracy is high on your list but you don't want to stretch your budget too much, then check out the Focal Alpha 50.

Genelec 8010

93
GEARANK

93 out of 100. Incorporating 40+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$295
Genelec 8010

Usually only found on the upper echelons of the market, Genelec is a brand trusted by many professionals and is used in many high-end studios. Thankfully, they have a representative in the sub $500 market, giving us the chance to take a peak at what the pros use, albeit in a smaller package. Speaking of small, this powered studio monitor houses a tiny 3" woofer and .75" tweeter, so don't expect much volume and low end from it and many users would tend to pair this with a Studio Subwoofer. Still, many users found its midrange clarity to be very useful in home studio situations, and since it is the smallest and lightest studio monitor in this list, it is an ideal portable solution for those who want to carry a studio monitor with them.

Genelec 8010 Specifications:

  • Driver: 3" Woofer, 0.75" Dome Tweeter
  • Amplifier: 25W LF, 25W HF
  • Inputs: 1 x XLR
  • Frequency Response: 67Hz-25kHz (-6dB)
  • Crossover Frequency: 3kHz
  • Enclosure: Ported
  • Dimensions: 7.67" x 4.76" x 4.5"
  • Weight: 3.3 lbs.

Pros

Those familiar with the bigger and more expensive Genelec monitors have attested that the smaller 8010 carries the same sonic quality. Many also commented that ear fatigue is not an issue with this speaker, thanks to its low distortion performance and its clean mids and highs.

Cons

Obviously, the low end will be lacking but it can get the job done for most music types and a subwoofer can be added.

Overall

If you're looking for a portable studio monitor, or if you have a small studio space to work with, the Genelec 8010 is highly recommended.

KRK Rokit 10 G3

92
GEARANK

92 out of 100. Incorporating 20+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$499
KRK Rokit 10

The KRK Rokit 10 G3 is a loud three-way active studio monitor that features a 148W 3-way amp, a drives a big 10" aramid glass composite woofer, a 4" mid frequency driver, and a 1" dome tweeter. The bigger woofer and the front firing port makes this studio monitor ideal for mixing bass heavy, and do so at louder volumes. The dedicated mid frequency driver prevents the bottom end from muddying the mids, and it is mounted on a flexible module for easier positioning. With its three drivers and bigger cabinet, expect the KRK Rokit 10 G3 to take a bit more space, and to be heavy. Wrapping up its features is its distinct yellow colored woofer, which is KRK's signature feature, as seen in many home studios.

KRK Rokit 10 G3 Specifications:

  • Driver: 10" Aramid Woofer, 4" Aramid MF Driver, 1" Dome Tweeter
  • Amplifier: 80W LF, 30W MF, 30W HF
  • Inputs: 1 x XLR, 1 x 1/4" TRS, 1 x RCA
  • Frequency Response: 25Hz-30kHz (-10dB)
  • Crossover Frequency: 378Hz, 3.3kHz
  • Enclosure: Ported
  • Controls: Volume, HF Level and LF Level Knobs
  • Dimensions: 14.4" x 12.8" x 21.5"
  • Weight: 46 lbs.

Pros

Most of those who gave the Rokit 10 G3 its high ratings were from users who've found it to be an impressive and reliable bass heavy monitor. A good number of users were also very pleased with its mid-range response. Value for money also came up a number of times, thanks to the Rokit 10 G3's three-way amplifier and speaker system.

Cons

There were a few users who found the Rokit 10 G3 to be a bit on the heavy side, while some users did not like the way the bass frequencies are represented. Some experts cautioned that the volume levels of this monitor may be too much for small listening/mixing spaces, but then again you don't have to turn them all the way up when you don't need to.

Overall

If you have the studio space and you're working with DJ, EDM and other bass heavy styles of music, then the Rokit 10 G3 is for you.

Focal CMS 40

92
GEARANK

92 out of 100. Incorporating 80+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$425
Focal CMS 40

The Focal CMS 40 is a compact yet versatile studio monitor designed for near field use in small studios, or as satellite monitors for studios with bigger/multiple listening areas. It sports a smaller 4" woofer, and 1" polyglass cone tweeter with a max SPL of 97dB, soft enough for long mixing sessions, while keeping the same attention to detail that the bigger CMS models provide. Note that because of its smaller woofers, it may not have the same bass response as its bigger siblings and you may want to pair this with a Studio Subwoofer if you need to mix bass heavy music. To make this monitor compatible with different room types, Focal added low and high frequency shelving filters with adjustable frequencies. And in anticipation of being used as a portable monitor, the cabinet is crafted from die-cast aluminum.

Specifications:

  • Driver: 4" Woofer, 1" Dome Tweeter
  • Amplifier: 25W LF, 25W HF
  • Inputs: 1 x XLR, 1 x RCA
  • Frequency Response: 60hz-28kHz (±3 dB)
  • Enclosure: Ported
  • Controls: LF Shelving, HF Shelving, Input Level, Input Trim
  • Dimensions: 9.38" x 6.13" x 6.13"
  • Weight: 11 lbs.

Pros

The Focal CMS 40 exceeded the expectations of many of experienced users, with some reporting that it surpassed their premium power amplifier plus passive monitor speaker setup. Many described it is as natural and open sounding, and very easy to setup, without any control complications. A good number of reviewers and experts commended it for its ability to improve the overall mixing process.

Cons

As mentioned this doesn't have a deep bass response but a subwoofer can be added.

Overall

The Focal CMS 40 is highly recommended for those who are looking for a high quality plug-and-play compact powered studio monitor.

The Best Cheap Studio Monitors Under $200

Here are great value reference monitors that have satisfied the needs of many. While they may not have the same quality as more expensive ones, they are more than enough to handle the needs of most home studios. With these speakers, you don't need to spend more than $400 (for a pair) to improve the quality of your recordings, saving you money for other essential studio gear.

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

KRK Rokit 6 G3

93
GEARANK

93 out of 100. Incorporating 350+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$200
KRK Rokit 6 G3

The KRK Rokit 6 G3 is the third iteration of one of the most popular studio monitors in the market today, and it is well known for its improved bass response. It has invaded many studios world over, as evidenced by its consistently high ratings, and you can also see their unmistakable yellow woofer on many YouTube videos. The most notable feature of the Rokit 6 is its 6" Kevlar/aramid composite woofer and front firing bass port, which gives it more bass frequency response than other monitors. And because of that, you should keep scrolling down if you are looking for a flat response monitor. This particular model has a 6" Kevlar/aramid composite woofer, which is slightly bigger than the usual 5" configuration you see in this price range.

KRK Rokit 6 G3 Specifications:

  • Driver: 6" Woofer, 1" Dome Tweeter
  • Amplifier: 48W LF, 25W HF
  • Inputs: 1 x XLR, 1 x TRS, 1 x RCA
  • Frequency Response: 38Hz-35kHz (-10dB)
  • Enclosure: Front Ported
  • Controls: Volume, LF Level, HF Level
  • Dimensions: 11.4" x 8.9" x 13.1"
  • Weight: 18.5 lbs.

Pros

Its combination of quality and great value have helped propel it to the top, with most reviewers giving it perfect scores. Other positive traits mentioned on reviews include durability, reliable operation, and compact design.

Cons

There were a few reports of ear fatigue when used for longer periods, but adjusting the monitor positions can help alleviate this. There were some users who were surprised at how bulky the speakers are, and caution that you check the dimensions carefully before buying.

Overall

If you're just starting out or you're budget is limited, and you're looking for a budget friendly monitor with low frequency capabilities, then get the KRK Rokit 6 G3. If like me you're tired of the usual black color schemes used by studio monitors, check out the White finish Rokit 6 which are sold as a pairs.

JBL LSR305

92
GEARANK

92 out of 100. Incorporating 800+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$149
JBL LSR305

JBL is so popular in the audio equipment industry that even non-musicians are familiar with their brand, so it's only natural for them to be embedded in this list. And the JBL LSR305 in particular continues to get rave reviews from experts and users alike, who appreciate its quality and versatility. Housed in its injection-molded ABS baffle is a 5" woofer and a 1" tweeter, that's bi-amplified by dedicated 41W amps. It's most notable feature is its wider center image, thanks to its distinctly designed wave guide, which allows sound to disperse more consistently across a broader area. Other features include magnetically-shielded transducers, and JBL's patented Slip Stream port design that improves bass response.

JBL LSR305 Specifications:

  • Driver: 5" Woofer, 1" Dome Tweeter
  • Amplifier: 41W LF, 41W HF
  • Inputs: 1 x XLR, 1 x 1/4" TRS
  • Frequency response: 43Hz-24kHz
  • Crossover Frequency: 1725Hz
  • Enclosure: Ported
  • Controls: Input Sensitivity, LF Trim, HF Trim, Volume
  • Dimensions: 11.75" x 7.28" x 9.88"
  • Weight: 10.12 lbs.

Pros

Many reviewers liked the LSR305's deep and well defined sound, along with its extended low frequency. Others thought that the upper register was smooth and precise, which gives it a well rounded and balanced sound.

Cons

There are some that comment on the speaker's subtly weaker midrange, but mainly when comparing the LSR305 with more expensive units.

Overall

The JBL LSR305 is easily the best bang per buck studio monitor in this list, and is highly recommended.

KRK Rokit 5 G3

91
GEARANK

91 out of 100. Incorporating 750+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$150
KRK Rokit 5 G3

The Rokit 5 G3 is not your typical flat response monitor, rather it is designed for DJs and producers who are looking for more bass from smaller studio monitors. It brings with it the same yellow woofer scheme and stylish exterior as the bigger Rokits, only this one is meant for beginners and for those with small home studios. The same reliable build and sonic quality is also utilized, albeit with the sound levels being a bit tamer, and more importantly this is the most affordable of the Rokit line. It pairs a 5" woofer crafted from kevlar and aramid fibers with a 1" soft dome tweeter, and both speakers are protected via a built-in limiter system. KRK's front-port design allows the Rokit 5 to have more low-end than others with the same speaker size.

KRK Rokit 5 G3 Specifications:

  • Driver: 5" Woofer, 1" Dome Tweeter
  • Amplifier: 30W LF, 20W HF
  • Inputs: 1 x XLR, 1 x TRS, 1 x RCA
  • Frequency Response: 45Hz-35kHz (-10dB)
  • Enclosure: Front Ported
  • Controls: Volume, HF Level, LF Level
  • Dimensions: 11.2" x 7.4" x 9.7"
  • Weight: 17 lbs.

Pros

Many (over 700) users and experts gave this speaker their thumbs up, and reported that it exceeded their expectations. It is described as having a big and clear sound, and has enough power to fill the average home studio. There were also some users who were happy with how stylish the Rokit 5 G3 is.

Cons

Some users commented that while it can get the job done, you're still better off with a flat response monitor if you'll mostly work on non-bass heavy musical styles.

Overall

There were a few who reported that adding monitor isolation pads helped reduce bass buildup, and improved their monitoring experience with the Rokit 5 G3.

If you're just getting into mixing or you want a compact monitor with some low end capability, then the KRK Rokit 5 G3 is ideal. Rokit 5 is also available in White Finish from Amazon, which are sold as pairs.

Editor's Pick

Featured here is a top rated studio monitor that's popularly used for low-fi and mono auditioning. While it is not meant to be a main monitor, it will make a great addition for you to gauge how the mix will sound on cheaper consumer speakers.

Avantone Pro Active MixCube (Pair Only)

93
GEARANK

93 out of 100. Incorporating 50+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$479
Avantone Pro Active MixCube

NB: These are currently only available as a pair.

The Avantone MixCube is a mini reference monitor with emphasis on the midrange, mimicking the sound of basic sound systems like those found in televisions, mobile phones, car stereos, bluetooth players, laptops and more. 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.

Avantone Pro MixCube Specifications:

  • 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.

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 point. There were a few that commented on the power supply being too bulky for the size of the unit, as the speaker itself is compact and light.

Overall

If you keep needing to change rooms or gear just to audition your mix in lo-fi systems, then the Avantone MixCube will make a useful addition to your home studio.

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'll need to find the ones that fit your needs and resources. The best studio monitor for you will depend mostly on type of music you're producing, your studio space, and your budget.

  • Speaker Size

    Most studio monitors have 2-way speakers where 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 put emphasis on 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. For these reasons, 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, in conjunction 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 necessarily 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 sweetspot position. Since each monitor has different baffle and wave guide designs, positioning to find the "sweetspot" will vary, so you'll want to read the manual and adjust your position accordingly. The topic of speaker positioning is not fully covered here, but the video below can give you a good idea of its importance and application:

Methodology

We decided to stick within the sub $500 price range, which is accessible for most home studios. We looked at all top rated and popular powered studio monitors that you can buy from major USA retailers, and ended up adding more than 25 of them into our database, along with more than 3,500 sources that include customer ratings, user/expert reviews, video reviews, forum posts and more. The Gearank algorithm processed the data we gathered and gave us the scores which we used to narrow down the list to the best of the best. Finally, we divided the list into two price categories, Under $200 and $200 to $500 and arranged the list by price. We've also included detailed descriptions and specifications for each studio monitor, along with pros and cons that were derived from actual reviews. For more information about this process see How Gearank Works.

Comments

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.

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.

No Yamaha HS5? They sound the

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

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  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Comments

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <b> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.