The Best Stage Monitors - Powered Monitor Speakers Under $500

The Highest Rated Powered Stage Monitors

Here are the best stage monitors available, and the key features that make them market favorites.

Having a good stage monitor can spell the difference between good and bad gigs. Musicians play well when they hear themselves properly. The more experienced they are, the more they require good stage monitor speakers.


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Many things can go wrong when band members are not hearing each other clearly. Singers may sing out of tune, the bass may not stick with the drummer, and the keys and guitars may go out of place.

This is why good stage monitor speakers are critical to live setups. Here we'll provide comprehensive information that can help you select the best stage monitor to suit your specific requirements.

Most of the selections are priced just right so you can invest in multiple units even if you're on a budget.

If you're looking for a quieter alternative to stage monitoring, then check out our guide to Wireless In-Ear Monitors. They give you better isolation and more control over stage volume. Note that floor monitors have a unique ability to move air that cannot be replicated by In-ear monitors.

The Best Stage Monitors Under $500 - May 2023

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. It is also worth mentioning that these stage monitors can also be used as high-quality front-of-house (FOH) speakers.

Behringer Eurolive B205D


92 out of 100. Incorporating 2000+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

Behringer Eurolive B205D 5.25” 150 watt Powered Floor Monitor


  • Limited Power / Volume
  • Lacks Bass
  • May not cover multiple performers well on stage.
  • Some defective units reported.


  • Good as a Personal Monitor
  • Super Lightweight and Compact
  • Mic Stand Mountable
  • Budget Friendly
  • Nice 3 Channel Mixer with Eq

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

It's equipped with a 5.25" LF driver, and a 150W amplifier. This may seem underpowered compared to the other items on this list. 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 loudspeaker 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. Another noteworthy feature is the 3-band EQ, which allows for fine-tuning of the sound.

Note that 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 set up this compact active speaker carefully, specifically when handling the supplied power cord, or when mounting it on a mic stand. You don't want it to fall down during a performance.

If you're looking for cheap monitor speakers, then take a closer look at the B205D.

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.

Rating Source Highlight

Website Source *Rating Value
Youtube David Murphey 90/100
*Displayed values are prior to the Gearank Algorithm's adjustments it makes when evaluating the source.

Behringer Eurolive B112D


92 out of 100. Incorporating 650+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

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


  • No Preset 'Floor' Voicing
  • Controls positioned to suit upright usage


  • Full Sound with Good Headroom
  • Budget Friendly
  • PA Speaker Capability

Behringer knows how to balance price and quality, to the detriment of the competition in the 12 inch speakers market segment. 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. When using this on the floor you should consider cutting the bass to offset the deep bass buildup this position can add.

All these features are packed inside a lightweight plastic cabinet. This makes the B112D a good portable stage monitor for those who are looking for one with 12" woofers. More importantly, its accessible price makes it one of the best floor monitors for those with limited funds. It can even be a viable for use as cheap DJ speakers.

Get two or three of these and you have good stage speakers for smaller venues and pop-up events.

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.

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. This is 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


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

Street Price: 

Yamaha DBR10 10" 700 Watt Powered PA Speaker


  • Enclosure can be prone to scratching
  • Could have a better handle


  • Great all-rounder - suitable for most PA applications
  • DSP 'Monitor' mode prevents bass buildup when sitting on the floor
  • Professional appearance suitable for weddings and corporate gigs

With an option to set these as a floor monitor, plus the dedicated DSP mode, the DBR10 makes a really good option as stage monitor. The 'Monitor' mode reduces the low frequencies to compensate for the bass build-up when used in the floor position.

The angled section you rest it on seems a bit small at first but the cabinet balances sufficiently well. You certainly won't want to be resting your foot on it during a solo like you could with a dedicated floor monitor unit though.

Yamaha DBR10 Front Floor Monitor View
Yamaha DBR10 Front Floor Monitor View

The feel of the cabinet is pretty sturdy for such a lightweight unit and you get the impression it would be able to take a fair bit of impact. The molded enclosure does look like it could scratch pretty easily and others have reported this happening. But so far I've only experienced a few minor ones as you can (or can't) see from the photo above.

The sound is quite clear, loud, and surprisingly full. It has a smooth frequency response. Its smaller size is handy if you have limited stage space.

One issue is that the mixing panel on the back is difficult to access or see when floor mounted which makes it impractical to adjust settings live. Some sound guys might see this as a virtue, stopping performers from messing with their settings.

Another criticism I have of the body is that it would have been good to have side handles that you can grip properly. Instead of traditional handles, this stage monitor features a top slot where you can slide your hand in and carry the monitor upright. The top slot handle design can be functional for some as it reduces weight. But it may not be as secure as some users would prefer and could potentially be tiring for extended use.

Despite my minor concerns, this is a fantastic, affordable, lightweight speaker that sounds great and offers a ton of versatility. It looks good and has been a reliable workhorse for many (including me). And it is backed by Yamaha's 7-year warranty. It's suitable for use everywhere from practice to stage performance. It can be a good powered monitor or an instrument amp. If you're looking for Yamaha outdoor speakers, the DBR10 can serve as main PA speakers for smaller venues, and it can be coupled with subwoofers for larger venues.

If you're interested in the FRFR aspect of the DBR10, we go into much more detail in this extended review.

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 SPL(Sound Pressure Level)
  • Inputs: 2 x XLR/TRS Combo, 1 x Stereo
  • Outputs: 1 x XLR
  • Mounting: Pole, Floor Wedge
  • Weight: 23.2 lbs.

Rating Source Highlights

Website Source *Rating Value
Gearank Daniel Barnett 98/100
Sound On Sound Paul White 98/100
YouTube Gear It First 96/100
*Displayed values are prior to the Gearank Algorithm's adjustments it makes when evaluating the source.

Mackie Thump15A


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

Street Price: 

Mackie Thump15A Powered Speaker 15" - 1300W


  • Overkill if you don't need/want the bass /response
  • 1 Year Warranty and reports of mediocre service
  • Sharp corners can get dented


  • Strong Low Frequency Response
  • Good for Drums, Keyboards, Bass
  • Has a Specific 'Monitor' Voicing
  • Main PA Speaker Capability

While a 15" woofer may be excessive for some, it is particularly useful for drummers and bassists. It is also great for those who need to hear low-frequency sounds with great clarity and power, like EDM musicians and DJs. This extra bottom end makes the Thump15A one of the best DJ speakers for FOH and stage monitor use.

With its 15" LF driver, this powered floor monitor better emphasizes low frequencies compared to its smaller siblings. But aside from its bigger woofer, everything else about this powered monitor speaker follows the same specs and configuration as the Thump 12A. This includes having a 1,300 watt Class D amplifier and Mackie's Dynamic Bass Response technology.

Many bands and DJs use this as the main FOH speakers for their PA system. And it's also often used as stage monitors for drummers who use electronic drums. It's also great for keyboardists, electronic musicians, bassists, and even guitarists who use guitar modeling processors.

It includes a DSP driven 'Monitor' mode to tame that bass 'thump' for floor use especially. There's also a mode for use with a subwoofer that can be used for taming the bass even more. There's a 2 channel combo mixer and built-in thermal limiter for speaker protection.

If you're looking for a generic vocal monitor, then the extra power handling of this unit is probably overkill. But, if you need a monitor that can double up as a DJ Speaker, with extra emphasis on bass frequencies, then the Mackie Thump15A is highly recommended.

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.

Rating Source Highlights

Website Source *Rating Value
LiquidAudio Stefan 85/100
AudioFanzine JimboSpins 80/100
*Displayed values are prior to the Gearank Algorithm's adjustments it makes when evaluating the source.



98 out of 100. Incorporating 200+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

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


  • A bit lacking on the bottom end - not the best drum monitor


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

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

The CP8 features QSC's good sound quality at a reasonable price (compared to other QSC speakers). Its ability to reproduce sonic detail and nuances makes it ideal for stage monitor use.

It has a 1000W Class D 3-channel amplifier that drives smaller speakers - an 8" woofer and a 1.4" tweeter. Both drivers are designed and built to QSC's strict quality requirements. To achieve the 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 and it sounds good in all of them. With its clarity, this is also a good speaker to stream music on to. It is one of the best powered PA speakers, so it is equally adept at handling FOH duties.

It's hard to go wrong with the QSC CP8 when you're looking for a high-quality powered speaker for floor monitor use.

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.

Rating Source Highlights

Website Source *Rating Value
Sound On Sound Mike Crofts 94/100
Production Partner Anselm Goertz 97/100
*Displayed values are prior to the Gearank Algorithm's adjustments it makes when evaluating the source.

Things to Consider When Buying Stage Monitors

Powered Monitor (aka active) vs Passive Monitor

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 give you the freedom to pick an amplifier of your choice. 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 for a powered monitor speaker. Also remember that powered monitor 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 opting for powered stage monitors due to their ease of use and convenience.

How many do you need?

The number of floor monitors you need is influenced greatly by the size of the stage and the number of performers. The most ideal is to set up a powered wedge monitor for each performer, otherwise they may have to share a stage monitor. A good rule of thumb is to start with two monitor powered speakers for small to medium 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 stage 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. To help with that, we have put the weight of each stage monitor listed in the features section.
For buskers, you may want to get a compact battery powered pa speaker.

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 backup 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.


Connectivity is another important factor to consider. You'll want power outlets and cables setup properly along with your stage monitors. Speaker connectivity and jack positioning should also be considered. The ability to connect wirelessly is another plus. Bluetooth PA speakers are convenient if you want to wirelessly stream tracks without the need for an outboard mixer.

The Best Stage Monitors for Drummers

Some powered monitors are specifically designed for drummers, we feature the best of them in our guide to the Best Electronic Drum Amps / Drum Monitors.

Best Stage Monitor Selection Methodology

The first edition was published in 2016 and the current edition was published on May 2023.

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 45 options on our short-list for closer 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 16,500 sources were processed for this edition - an 26.3% increase over the previous 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 an experienced audio engineer, not only in the studio but on stage as well. Having done live sound for numerous international touring acts and festivals, I have years of both technical and creative experience in the field and have taught seminars on basic live sound setup in the mid 2010's.


Daniel Barnett: Yamaha DBR10 Review.
Alexander Briones: Update and Editing.
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 except for the Yamaha DBR10 Floor View which was photographed by Daniel Barnett.


I would love to see continued

I would love to see continued reviews of passive monitors. For the shows I put on having to run power and signal is an extra headache, plus I can then control the monitors from backstage without interrupting the show.

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.