Best Studio Monitors 2017 - Buyer's Guide

A pair of a decent studio monitors could be all you need to march into stardom. But which are the best studio monitors and which factors should you consider when making a purchase? That's our focus in this article

Get me well, studio monitors won’t turn you into a mixing god, don’t get me wrong. The best thing is that will be your honest friend as they offer you the truest and most honest opinion as far as your audio pieces are concerned.

Whether you’re a professional recording artist or you just have enough reasons to believe that you can add something to the music industry, your studio isn’t complete without proper sound evaluation devices.

You may be asking yourself “Can’t I just use my home speakers?”

home studio

​Related articles

If you are just starting and you are also looking for a pair of  studio headphones, audio interfaces, a versatile recording mic or the best laptop for music production, we have separate reviews for them too

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Well, there’re no rules that object you from using home speakers. However, remember home speakers and studio monitors are 2 sides of the same coin.

While both are meant to play audios, your regular home speakers tend to add some ‘sexy coloration’ that enhances the sounds for an appealing listening experience.

On the contrary, studio monitors are designed for audio editing. They aim at playing the music in its natural raw form with no distortion whatsoever. Talk about honesty at its best. That’s exactly what you need to determine how your tracks sound in other people’s ears.

Below is our selection of the best models in this niche. Well, some may not be suitable for everyone. However, they emerged the best from a plethora of the studio monitors we researched on. 

The table below captures the best 10 best studio monitors alongside some of their basic features and specifications. We shall also tell you why Yamaha studio monitors and jbl studio monitors are some of the best 

10. Samson MBT5 Active Studio Monitors - Best Bluetooth Studio Monitors

Our tenth pick in our list of the best studio monitors for sale isn’t a surprise to many, especially the audiophiles and those who have been scouring the web pretty much for something great for their home or professional studio. 

You must have heard of this manufacturer whilst hunting for the best mixers, acoustic guitar, amplifiers, and processors among other great hits accessories. 

Simply put, Samson Technologies is one company that other underdog manufacturers are benchmarking their products with. 

A company that tested the waters with its first wireless microphone system has now extended its reach over time to deliver amongst the best audio products for musicians and podcast enthusiasts alike.

Well, because this company knows its stuff and knows how to make it right for you.​

However, for the sake of those who’re hearing Samson Technologies for the first time, this is a New York-based manufacturer that has been in this niche since 1980.​

Features Highlight

  • Made for multimedia
  • Supports Bluetooth connectivity
  • Packaged as a stereo pair
  • AV Shield Technology for multimedia sound clarity
  • Speaker cable included
  • 2-way active speakers
  • 20W per channel RMS 40W per channel peak
  • Front panel LED indicator
  • 1’’ silk dome-shaped tweeter 
  • 3.5mm stereo input
  • Headphone output
  • Dimensions: 9 by 8 x 11 in
  • Weight: 22 lbs5’’ woofer
  • Connectivity: Wired and wireless (Bluetooth)

Construction and Design

One thing that we really appreciated about these studio monitors is their compact design. These bad boys measure approximately 8 x 9 x 11 inches each. Needless to say, these are a perfect match for a small home or college apartment studio. They’ll sit on your studio tables or bookshelves without displacing everything else.

Another feature that we liked is their all-black satin vinyl finish. This makes it a sleek pair that you won’t struggle finding words to explain to your buddies how on earth you fell for it. Again, this pair’s elegance will blend in quite easily with other entertainment equipment in your studio.

Samson MBT5 speakers also flaunt metal grills covering the woofer and tweeter components whilst complementing their superior look. However, some of our testers noted that the grills gave the speakers that traditional look that most of us have known since toddlerhood.

Performance and ease of use

Whether you need studio monitor speakers for gaming, producing tracks, or simply playing your music, MBT5 is a reliable option. Regardless of your level of knowledge in these audio products, Samson Technologies has designed this pair to offer the easiest operations ever for both the newbie and tech savvies.

This model’s dual connectivity option is what bought guaranteed slot on our list. If you’re among the countless many who don’t like wires getting in their way while doing their music or video thing, you’ll be happy to know that you can connect your laptop, Smartphone, or Tablet wirelessly through Bluetooth. This is done by a simple touch a button on a control panel at the rear side of the speaker.

For secondary sources of signal with no Bluetooth support feature, a 3.5mm stereo input has been precisely located at the front side of the parent control speaker for them.

Sound Quality

These speakers deliver a non-overwhelming deep and rich sound. The bass and treble are well balanced and offer a superb experience especially for gaming and movies. This is made possible since they deliver 20W per channel RMS and 40W of full-range audio.

Again, these speakers are fitted with 5’’ copolymer woofers. Worth mentioning, MBT5 also features 1’’ dome-shaped tweeters and AV Shield technology that filters your game and video sounds of all unwanted noise.

Even better, for that time when you want to watch your videos or listen to your music without disturbing other people’s peace, the headphone output and volume control output features offer this convenience.

Importantly, it’s safe to inform you that you shouldn’t expect wall-breaking bass with these speakers. As such, MBT5 monitors may not be the best for serious music producers.

What users are saying

Most of its buyers are excited about the amount of sound obtained from these small-sized speakers. Others also appreciate their good solid bass and sound clarity. However, others pointed out that the sound isn’t the best though it’s quite incredible for speakers of their size.

In case previous users star rating matters a big deal to you, MBT5 has garnered a favorable 4.2/5 rating from and enjoys impressive rating from independent reviewers.


Pros

  • Has superb sound quality
  • Has dual connectivity
  • Fast Bluetooth connections with no lags
  • Has noise cancellation feature
  • Superior designPerfect for gaming

Cons

  • Bluetooth supports only 1 device at a time
  • Not perfect for serious music recording and production



9. M-Audio BX8 D2 2-Way Monitor Speakers - 60 Watts Nearfield Studio Monitors

Our next option in the hunt for the best yet cheap studio monitors is this M-Audio BX8 D2. This model comes from a manufacturer that has several independent production facilities in the USA, UK, Germany, Canada, France and Japan. Formerly known as Music Soft, this company was later renamed to Midiman before being entirely re-branded to M-Audio a few years back. 

Now, in case you need something more convincing and motivating about this brand, know that we’re talking about a company that The Black Eyed Peas, Jimmy Chamberlain, and Coldcut among other artists and top music producers have relied on in their entertainment career.​

This is a company that was branded as fastest growing company in 2001 and 2002 the in the USA, having recorded an impeccable growth rate of 128% and 68% respectively. 

Hoping that those stats are quite convincing to you, allow me to walk you through a few reasons why M-Audio BX8 D2 made it on this list.

Features Highlight

  • Sweet-spot finder
  • Rear-ported cabinet design
  • Bi-amped design
  • Balanced and unbalanced inputs support
  • 8’’ woofer
  • 1.25’’ silk dome tweeter
  • Low-frequency driver size: 8.''
  • High-frequency driver size: 1.25.''
  • Low-frequency amp power: 70 watts
  • High-frequency amp power: 60 watts
  • Frequency response: 30-22,000 Hz
  • Crossover Frequency: 2.2 kHz

Construction and Design

Being fair enough, BX8 D2 studio has a more advanced cabinet design than Samson MBT5- If looks matter to you. It’ll doubtlessly give any home-based or professional music studio a decent serious look. This design is again accentuated by its well-finished and rounded edges that resist diffraction. It also has a less-busy face with all the control units featured at its rear side.

Still, on this note, you’ll also appreciate these speakers’ Rear-ported cabinet design that requires little space but maximize on sound quality (we’ll come to this later, though).

M-Audio BX8 D2 also has something that you won’t find with any other studio monitor speaker on this list; a pinhole bright LED. In case you’re wondering what in the music industry this is, it is a sweetspot’ finder. It aids in targeting the right sitting position where you can perfectly hear what’s in your mixes and soundtracks. 

You know that you’re getting accurate monitoring when the LEDs appear brightest from where you sit. These speakers are again fitted with 8’’ woven Kevlar low-frequency driver and a 1.25’’ high-frequency driver.

Performance and ease of use

The ‘sweet spot’ locator in with this model is a handy addition that allows you to get a near-perfect glimpse of how your soundtracks will be to others.

Uniquely, these boxes are bi-amplified. This means that each of its drivers (high and low) is fed with the frequencies that it can deliver efficiently with. As expected, you get incredible tonal accuracy with detailed (though not perfect) highs, outstanding mids, and an awesome bass.

What are users saying?

At the moment of writing this review, this unit had a favorable 4.4/5 star rating on is a proof that BX8 D2 has received such a great appreciation from its users. Though the pair isn’t the crème de la crème out there, you still get quality sounding speakers for your bucks.

Verdict

Whether you need studio monitors for your brass instruments, guitar, or keyboard or you need an improvement in your movie watching experience, M-Audio BX8 D2 is a brilliant bet. Its balanced and unbalanced inputs allow you to connect an array of studio gear connections. Its 8’’ woven Kevlar woofer and 1.25’’ silk tweeter offer incredible highs, mids, and lows. we also appreciated the fact that BX8 D2 eliminates the need for subwoofers.

Pros

  • Has a comprehensive cabinetry
  • It’s bi-amped
  • Has near-perfect bass
  • No need for subwoofer
  • Great for pros and beginners

Cons

  • Not the perfect volume knob





8. KEK RP5G3-NA Rokit 5 -   Editor's Choice Best Studio Monitors Under $200

The next studio monitors on this list is a pair that any professional in the music business shouldn’t lack by now. Simply put, you’ve not yet listened to good music if you don’t have this pair on your desk!

​This speaker comes from a company that takes acoustic interpretation pretty seriously. Founded in 1986 by Keith Klawitter, KRK has been able to command great respect in this business.

​What makes KRK a force to reckon with is its’ believe that any speaker that isn’t as par the standards shouldn’t go to the market.

While it’s easy to blush all this as a mere marketing buzzword, this products review will convince you otherwise. Let’s see.​

RP5G3 isn’t any other fly-by-night speaker. This one follows the same production design that several generations before and after it have been subjected to.​

Regardless of the fact that RP5G3 isn’t Rokit’s latest (Rokit 10-3 G3 is) and neither is it the first, we chose to feature it here due to its transparency to its sound quality.​

  • Bi-amped (Class A-B Amplifiers)
  • Front firing port
  • 1’’ soft-dome tweeter
  • 5’’ woofer with superior mids and tight bass (glass aramid composite)
  • Proprietary waveguide technology
  • Bottom foam pads
  • Configuration: 2-Way
  • High-Frequency: 1" soft dome tweeter
  • Low-Frequency: 5" Mid-Frequency: N/A
  • Frequency Response: 45Hz - 35kHz
  • Max Peak SPL: 106 dB
  • Amplifier Class: Class A-B
  • Total Power Output: 50W

Construction and Design

When Rokit tells you that their engineers have crafted this studio with you in mind, do know that they mean every word. This sound cabinet has an A+ in terms of looks. It has a super construction with rubber pads at the bottom to reduce the buzz effects.

We appreciated its all-black vinyl finish and a yellow ring on its parent speaker. However, you’ll also get a white model of it at a slightly higher price if color matters to you. RP5G3 also features detailed edging to prevent and reduce diffraction.

Moreover, like most of the reviewers, we appreciated that RP5G3’s has a front-facing firing bass port. This seems like it’s in Rokit’s tradition of doing this considering that this feature is found in about all its monitors and subwoofers.

In case you don't know how on earth this makes it superior to those with rear-facing ports, this is why. First, it allows you flexible placement of the sound monitors due to reduced boundary coupling. Secondly, this front-facing bass port lets you listen to your music from almost anywhere in your room without losing the sweet-spot easily.

Performance and ease of use

This monitor flaunts multiple input connections at its back including XLR, TSR, and RCA Jack. This is a nice thing since you can rely on it for almost any system configuration. You’ll also find 3 other knobs to adjust the volume, bass, and treble. A unique thing about these knobs is that you can easily tell the number of times you’ve turned them.

These speakers are bi-amped and have 1’’ soft-dome tweeters. Resultantly, you experience clear highs that not many other monitors in this list will beat. They also deliver some pretty cool bass. However, we noted that the bass tends to get a little muddier as you turn the knob. But that doesn’t mean that M-Audio BX8 D2 will beat it at this.

What are users saying?

Rokit RP5G3 currently boasts the second best rating on 4.6/5. This enough proves that these are fantastic speakers that are doing their users some good. Only a few complained about the bass. However, they appreciated that the control knobs at the back makes up for that.

Verdict

We were quite attracted to these monitors by their sound quality. The multiple connections are a great addition which allows universal connectivity in almost any studio setting. Its adjustment knobs make it a go-to choice for both the beginners and studio pros. Again, their front-facing firing port allows convenient positioning.

Pros

  • Has quality construction
  • Multiple connections for universal usability
  • 3 sound adjustment knobs for precision
  • Great for different studios

Cons

  • Not the perfect base
  • Come with 1 TRS cable only
  • Are heavy at 13 lbs.

7.  Yamah HS5 Studio Monitor – High Resolution, Flat Response Nearfield Studio Monitors

Diving deeper into the world of studio monitors, you’ll find this highly acclaimed Yamaha HS5 Powered Monitor.

Allow me to point out that HS5 is a serious model for both serious and beginner recording artists who want to spend a little bit more in a pair that will let them listen to their sounds without any funny or ‘sexy’ colorations.

​Before delving much into this pair’s review, let’s enlighten us on Yamaha’s history. In case you didn’t know, Yamaha was celebrating its 100th in 1987. You got it right…1987.

This company was established in 1887 by Torakusu Yamaha as a piano and reed manufacturing company.

The company has however diversified its reach in the music industry to become the world’s leading and largest music instrument company.​

With that, let’s see what Yamaha’s over 100 years of experience brings us in this HS5 Studio Monitor.​

  • High-performance amp unit
  • 5’’ cone woofer
  • 1’’ dome tweeter
  • 2-way bass reflex
  • Bi-amplified
  • High Trim response controls
  • Supports balanced and unbalanced sources
  • XLR and TRS jack inputs
  • Output power: 45W HF+ 25W LF (70W)
  • Weight: 5.3 kgs
  • Dimensions: 7x9x12 inches
  • Frequency range: 54HZ- 30kHz

Construction and Design

As I hinted before, HS5 monitors aim at taking your studio to the next stage. Their solid build could be just what you’ve lacked to take your stardom by storm.

These monsters are pretty huge. As such, you may be forced to give your room some adjustments if it lacks in space. These speakers are sold as a pair and measure 7x9x12 inches. In case, your desk is somehow busy, an alternative would be to invest in a pair of sturdy stands.

Similar to other babies from this brand, HS5’s enclosure cabinet is crafted not from solid wood but dense MDF. MDF outperforms solid wood in that it’s able to withstand acute changes in heat and humidity. This means that your tracks will always be played in the most natural and undistorted form from season to season. MDF is also preferred due to its damped acoustic response and ability to alleviate all unwanted resonance.

Again, this is a bi-amplified piece of technology which eliminates the need for having a separate amplifier. This also helps in saving your space, remember. Without forgetting, Yamaha HS5 monitors are fitted with a 5’’ cone woofer and 1’’ tweeter which is an upgrade from the ¾’’ found in the previous models.

Performance and ease of use

Simply put this pair just phenomenal. What most people love about these speakers is that they offer convenience by being able to support both balanced and unbalanced sources including keyboards and mixers. Their XLR and TRS ports, on the other hand, allow you to play your hits from other audio interfaces.

Equipped with a high-performance amp unit and state-of-the-art transducers, these speaker delivers top notch performance with clean and great lows and pretty tight and punchy bass.

These speakers continue to get favorable reviews due to their great features which are;

What are users saying ?

Though pricey, most of its users confirm that this pair is the best you can get at this price range. They appreciate that these studio monitors offer a complete range of experience with almost any music genre. With 88% of its 143 verified purchasers (at the time of writing this) giving the pair a clean 5/5 star rating, just prepare to be amazed.

Verdict

Though pricey, these monitors stand out in terms of sound quality in this list. Their Cutting Edge Noise Reduction Technology and MDF construction enhance sound accuracy and honesty.

Pros

  • True to the original sound
  • Incredibly clean sound
  • Enough bass
  • Support different sources

Cons

  • Have poor shielding
  • Too large for a small studio



6. BEHRINGER MS16 Best Studio Monitor Under 100

If you’ve had your share of issues from Behringer (like me), you’ll probably be the first to haul stones at me if I said that this company is not as it was years back.

It might have been, several decades ago but that isn’t the case today.

However, this piece isn’t about tainting Behringer’s name. In fact, it’s not about discouraging you from purchasing from this company either.

Furthermore, this is amongst a few other manufacturers that deliver high-value equipment at amazingly affordable prices to the amateurs.

While some are dead giveaway rip-offs, others are original, like these Behringer MS16 Studio Monitors.​

This is a great pair if your trusty pair of monitors has just broken down on you. It’s also a safe territory for the beginners who just need something to help them learn the ropes before putting huge monies for advanced studio equipment.

  • Bi-amped
  • 16 watts total power
  • Magnetically shielded to reduce distortion
  • Multiple input options (RCA, TRS)
  • Separately adjustable microphone input
  • Volume, Bass, and Treble controls
  • Product dimensions 5.9 x 5.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Weight: 8.7 pounds (for the 2)

Construction and Design

MS16 is a creative-looking pair of speakers that any musician trying to get a true picture of their masterpieces can rely on. These pieces of technology are compact sized and, therefore, ideal for home-based studios.

In our search for the studio monitors for sale, we appreciated that MS16 hasn’t disregarded an impressive appearance in exchange for affordability. This pair’s all-black finish and radiused edges give it a classic and next-generation look.

The set also has an impressive rugged construction with well designed and easily adjustable volume, mic level, bass, and treble knobs for extended life.

They sport 4’’ powerful woofers and 1.5’’ tweeters both caged in metallic grills that add to their elegance. These woofers and tweeters receive a total of 16W from the 2 8-watts amplifiers onboard.

Even better, these budget-friendly studio monitors flaunt a built-in mixer which allows multiple audio input options. Its 1/8’’ inputs, for instance, enable you to connect your CD, MD, and MP3 players. You also get dual RCA jacks with which you can connect your tape decks and keyboard modules. Moreover, its ¼’’ jack is a handy addition for your electric guitar and karaoke sessions

Performance and ease of use

Thanks to Behringer, everyone can now enjoy some honest imaging of their sound tracks without robbing the bank. MS16 remains a top choice due to its excellent sound quality for a pair of monitor at its price range and size.

Its 4’’ woofers and 1.5’’ tweeters deliver consistent sounds from your computers, guitars, keyboard, and mp3s. You’ll definitely love their bass. However, if you’re looking for something to blow your walls off, these won’t. They are only 16 watts, remember.

In case you like traveling with your music instruments a lot, this pair is yours given its compact design and built-in amps and mixer.

What are users saying?

Some users love this pair while others simply love to hate it. A 3.8/5 star rating isn’t the best though not the worst either. Some refer to them as dynamite and are amazed by their sound quality given their price and size. Others feel that the sound isn’t satisfactory especially at full blast but choose to excuse them for their low power amps.

Verdict

This pair is yours if you’re looking for an affordable way to upgrade your studio’s sound system. We loved the front-facing sound quality adjustment controls which make the set a great option for a small sized studio. The built-in mixer and amplifier also make it an incredible choice for traveling.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Full packed sound quality control
  • Separately adjustable mic inputSupports different stereo sources
  • Magnetically shielded

Cons

  • Low power output





5. Presonus Eris E66Best Studio Monitors for Vertical and Horizontal Placement

I won’t tell you that PreSonus can stand Yamaha or KRK in terms of age in this business. That will be a fat white lie. However, I can boldly tell you that this is the best place to go if you feel that you’ve saved enough for your next big thing.

Though established just the other year- 1995 to be precise- this company has emerged to be a leader in designing and manufacturing of the best entertainment-related accessories.

While its Eris E66 ranks highly whenever we discuss best studio monitors under 500, PreSonus Eris E4.5 (also reviewed here) is a great option in the best studio monitors under 200 bucks list.

So, let’s see why you need this speaker today, and why they are a top contender of the our studio monitors reviews.

  • 6.5’’ woven Kevlar LF drivers
  • Conventional speaker design with MTM/D’Appolito configuration
  • 140-watts bi-amplification
  • 1.25’’ HF drivers
  • Frequency Response: 45 Hz – 22 kHz
  • Amplifier power: LF 80W, HF 65W
  • Compatible sources: Balanced XLR and ¼” TRS, Unbalanced RCA
  • Acoustic tuning controls

Construction and Design

Eris E66 has a cabinet measuring 18.1x8.5x9.8 inches and weighs 23.4 lbs. The box is crafted from solid MDF with a black vinyl-laminated finish. Though this model doesn’t offer you the most impressive appearance, it isn’t the ugliest in this list. It’s easily assumable that Presonus was quite busy ensuring that you get a captivating audio experience rather than giving this piece a hot n’ sexy aesthetic look.

E66 sports dual 6.5’’ bass woofers crafted from custom-woven Kevlar. This placement of the 2 components has raised a lot of discussion among studio monitor enthusiasts and professionals.

Some argue that this design may create interferences at some frequencies thereby affecting its honesty in soundtracks. While that is true, PreSonus has edged it out by incorporating Midwoofer-Tweeter-Midwoofer (alias D’Appolito) configuration that alleviates sonic inconsistencies and component interference. It also creates a wider sweet spot so you can monitor your tracks’ sounds from anywhere within the room.

Its thoughtful craftsmanship also allows you to place the cabinet either in its vertical or horizontal orientation without interfering with its performance integrity.

Performance and ease of use

We were also blown away by E66’s Acoustic Space Switch which helps in managing the bass boost that occurs in placing the speaker in corners. Its rear-located high and mid controls, on the other hand, help in correcting any inconveniences resulting from studio room anomalies.

What are users saying?

Most people who’ve used this beast seem quite satisfied with its performance. Though a few (serious professionals) were disturbed by its not-the-best bass, they still appreciated that the acoustic tuning controls and the Space Switch make up for that.

Verdict

Though slightly tilted on the pricier side, E66 packs a punch in terms of features and specifications. Its D’Appolito configuration, 6.5’’ LF components and acoustic controls result in incredible sound delivery. These features guarantee that this piece is worth your every penny.

Pros

  • Transparent and cohesive
  • Offers consistent listening
  • Ultra-wide sweet spot
  • Customizable placement orientation

Cons

  • Quite large for a small studio
  • On the pricier side



4. Presonus Eris E.4.5 - Professional 2-Way Powered Studio Monitors

As I had hinted earlier on, PreSonus Eris E4.5 is a pair that no comprehensive list of the best studio monitors 2017 would be complete without.

There’re also a few things that I need to disclose to you about this manufacturer.

Presonus is a Louisiana- based company. It comprises of artists who specialize in engineering sound systems during the day and rocking the local club scenes overnight in the name of test-driving.

Most of this manufacturer’s audio accessories are able to meet most artists’ needs since they’re created by musicians for musicians.

If you believe in the ‘Good things come small’ school of thought, these speakers are a must-try for you. Let’s find out why.

  • 3 different types of stereo inputs
  • 1/8’’ headphone output
  • Acoustic-tuning controls
  • Balanced ¼’’ TRS
  • Unbalanced 1/8’’ TS
  • Ultra-wide listening area
  • 1’’ HF transducers
  • Rear-firing bass port
  • Low cutoff filter for subwoofer addition
  • Dimensions: 10x15x10-inches

Construction and Design

The market today is full of studio monitors. These accessories come in all sizes. What most experts will always point out is that performance isn’t, by any chance, directly proportional to the size of a monitor’s cabinet. To cut a long story short, you’ll be swept away by the amount of sound that these studio monitors deliver albeit their small size.

PreSonus E4.5 measure 10 x 15 x 10 inches and weigh around 17’’ in total. These dimensions make them a perfect option if you’re hunting for a replacement for your computer speakers or a small studio.

Like their big brother Eris E66 above, they also feature solid MDF build and black vinyl finish. As expected, they also have little to boast in the aesthetic field. But who cares provided they’re able to deliver quality sound with no unwanted coloration.

These cuties are fitted with 4.5’’ LF transducers and 1’’ ultra-low-mass tweeters (we’ll come back to these soon).

Performance and ease of use

E4.5 offers 3 different stereo inputs (¼”, 1/8”, and RCA) that allow you to connect several line-level sources including mixers and media players including your mp3 player and Smartphone. Besides being compactly designed, this model has an Acoustic Space switch which offers more freedom regarding speaker placement.

This means that you can stick the pair in a corner or close to the wall without experiencing any bass anomalies. This is made even better by these speakers’ high and mids controls at the back. In case you feel that a subwoofer is a must-have, then the low cutoff filter feature has been incorporated purposely for that.

Its Kevlar LF transducers and HF tweeters offer smooth and accurately defined responses in a beautiful, flat, and honest manner. The tweeters are silk-domed and have a wider dispersion pattern that creates a large yet truthful sweet spot.

What are users saying?

A 4.5/5 star rating is a clear indication that E4.5 studio sound right in its previous users’ studios. Most of them found the sound incredible for their size. Only a few suggested that the bass firing port shouldn’t be at the back.

Verdict

PreSonus E4.5 easily passes as a great option for your computer speakers’ replacement or home studio. Though small, they’re packed with quality components that rival the performance of several highly priced giants out there.

Bottom line: This is accuracy defined.

Pros

  • Compact yet powerful
  • Packed with quality components
  • Reasonable pricing

Cons

  • Not the best for commercial recording studios



3. JBL LSR305Best Studio Monitors under 300

Our next studio monitor in this list is this highly-priced but amazing JBL LSR305.

These sound units come from an American based manufacturer- JBL Professionals- named after its principal James Bullough Lansing (JBL). First established as Lansing Sound Incorporation, this company was later renamed to JBL Sounds in the 1940s.

JBL is known for its solidity in engineering PA Systems. As such, the birth of these studio monitors came as good new to artists and music producers hunting for honest devices with satisfying musical performance.

However, be warned. This isn’t your thing if you’re seeking for aesthetically appealing cabinets.

While it isn’t the most attractive, you’ll be surprised to hear that this pair is amongst the best units in this list. It has been able to blow the most acclaimed, Rockit in terms of clarity, accuracy, and honesty.

I don’t mean that LSR305 puts RP5G3-NA Rokit 5 down in all fights, however. Don’t go me wrong. RP5G3’s front-facing bass port may give LSR305 a good knockout kick, for instance.

  • Patent-pending Image Control Waveguide technology
  • Bi-amplified
  • Amp power: 41W HF+ 41W LF
  • Woofer: 5 in
  • Tweeter: Neodymium 1’’
  • Inputs: XLR, TRS
  • Weight: 10.12 lbs

Construction and Design

These cabinets measure 22.5x12.5x17.3 inches which is almost twice the size of Eris E4.5. Regardless of its not-so-good looks, JBL claims that its shape was arrived at after 72 measurements. No wonder these boxes can deliver such reliable all-round sounds on any playback system.

Again, these monitors are passed through a thorough 100-hour non-stop play at full output just to make sure that they’ll sound right in your studio for several years.

Performance and ease of use

LSR305 has a reputation of being the best in the industry due to a patent-pending Image Control Waveguide used in its make. In case you’ve not heard it before, this tech was developed purposely for JBL’S M2 Mastering Monitor which goes for around 20 grand. As such, the addition of this tech into these compact sized monitors brings them closer to being an “audio god.”

These monitors are bi-amplified and feature a 5-inch long-throw LF transducer coupled with a 1’’ soft-dome HF Neodymium tweeter for a big, powerful sound. These monitors’ 82W bi-amps deliver near-perfect bass, extremely clear highs, and flawless mids.

What are users saying?

LSR305’s 4.5/5 users from its around 300 verified purchasers is a clear indication that it has what music lovers want. In fact, some claim that this pair works great than Rokit model.

Verdict

JBL’S LSR305 offers an impressive performance thanks to M2’s Image Control Waveguide. With these long-throw woofers and state-of-the-art neodymium tweeters, this model delivers a natural response with brilliant sound imaging and negligible distortion. It’s pricey and fails miserably in aesthetics but will add good flavors to your studio.

Pros

  • Professional performance
  • Thoroughly tested
  • Image Control Waveguide for impeccable sound qualities

Cons

  • Not the best for small studios




2. Edifier R1280TThe Best Studio Monitors Under $100

Our second best pair in our list of the best studio speakers comes from a Beijing-based company, Edifier. If you’ve just started trying your luck in recording the other day, Edifier may sound new to you.

However, do know that this manufacturer has been around for almost 2 decades now.

Again, it has set its foot in over 70 countries globally and has enormous operations in America, Europe, Pacific Asia, and the Middle East.

Edifier stands out from the crowd by not only bringing you concise sound image but enhancing your studio’s aesthetics too. So, let’s see what it brings us in this compact sized R1280T.

If the best selling status is anything to go by Edifier R1280T is one of the budget friendly yet great studio monitors

  • 2 RCA inputs that work simultaneously
  • MDF wood construction
  • Classic wood finish
  • Standard speaker to speaker wire included
  • Treble and bass micro adjustment capability
  • 4’’ woofer
  • 13mm silk dome tweeter

Construction and Design

R1280T’s cabinets are crafted from high-quality MDF wood. Their retro look is then finished with wood effect vinyl which brings out their modern sense. They measure 6.9 x 9.4 x 5.7-inches and weigh 10.8 pounds.

Each of these units again comes fitted with a silver color mesh grill. Uniquely, the mesh is removable so the monitors can be used with or without it. The rear side of the right (active) speaker features a well-built on/off switch and 2 RCA inputs. These inputs allow you to connect your monitors to your tablet, phone, PC, record player, or any other compatible sources.

Performance and ease of use

These funky units take their creativity beyond their eye-pleasing design. Their incredible ease of use is handy for starters as well as professionals who have other devices to attend to. Their 4’’ full range unit and 13mm dome tweeter deliver natural sound with brilliant imaging and low distortion.

One thing that its users adore is its built-in tone control. With this, you can adjust your bass and treble between -6 and +6 dB. Moreover, they have an easily rotating volume knob that lets you lower the sound just in case you want to work late into the night.

R1280T also comes with a remote control unit with which you can adjust the volume without reaching for the speakers.

This pair of monitors has been crafted purposely for small home studios and your bookshelves. It’s simplistic design and features also make it a go-to for entry-level buyers who are not after spending several hundred dollars for a pair. So, here are its features.

What are users saying?

Buyers hunting for cheap studio monitors were doubtlessly awed by the miniaturized goodness with this pair. 80% of the 493 verified purchasers (at the time of writing this) gave it a favorable 5/5 star rating which is a clear show that the babies are pretty good for your studio too.

If you are under a tight budget, and you badly need a good studio monitors, this is our recommendation. Despite being cheap, this studio monitor can meet the standard of other highly priced studio monitors on sale.​

Verdict

One thing that we did like with Edifier R1280T was its retro look with a decent touch. We also appreciated its crisp sound and its ability to support multiple connections. If you’re searching for lowly priced studio monitors that will also improve your home studio’s aesthetics, R1280T are here for you.

Pros

  • Vibrant design
  • True to original sound
  • Micro adjustable bass and treble

Cons

  • Best for home studios only



1. Mackie CR Series CR3 Editors Choice for the Best Studio Monitors 2017

Our unbeatable contender on this list of the is Mackie CR3. These studio monitors come from a US-based company formed by an ex-Boeing worker.


Mackie is a greatly revered name in the sound industry and has amongst the best mixers, PA systems, recorders, and, of course, studio monitors.

First, CR3 is the most compact in a series of other monitors from this brand.

Before digging deeper, let me make clear that these aren’t the best for professional sound making.

However, their great craftsmanship could be your gateway to professionalism and stardom.

Let's now get into M​ackie CR3 review

  • Inputs: RCA, ¼’’, and 1/8’’
  • 3’’ polypropylene-coated woofer
  • 0.75″ ferrofluid-cooled silk dome tweeter
  • Power: 50 watts
  • Isolation pads included
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • All accessories included
  • All-wood construction

Construction and Design

These monitors have an arguably eye-pleasing black and green exterior with good quality wood construction and excellent finish. The boxes measure 8.5 x 15.3 x 11.5 inches and weigh 6 pounds. These dimensions make them a reliable pair if you need something for on-road use.

Each speaker is fitted with a 3’’ polypropylene-coated woofer and a 0.75’’ ferrofluid-cooled silk-dome tweeter. A unique feature that you won’t with any other monitor here is the freedom to decide which side the volume control is. As simple as it may sound, this feature is handy since it makes the monitors compatible with about any studio’s setup.

CR3 also flaunts a front-facing aux input for phones and tablets. Even better, its Bluetooth connectivity is a top notch addition that offers hassle-free music streaming and enjoyment. We love that this manufacturer states that these units are ideal for at-home music listeners, game lovers, and multimedia creation. However, they are still reliable if you need an affordable pair to monitor your mixes on.

Performance and ease of use

These multimedia monitor speakers are common with video editors, podcasters, and game makers. Though they won’t offer crystal-clear studio-quality sounds, an experienced person with a good set of ears won’t have trouble using them.

This pair powers its HF and LF transducers with 50-watts of power and also offer a frequency range of 80Hz-20kHz.

We like that the on/off switch and the aux and headphone ports have been conveniently placed at the front panel making it easy to use.

What are users saying?

This pair is the most reviewed in this list though not the best highly-rated. Its reviewers appreciate that its sounds are clear and powerful. However, some did highlight that this pair isn’t completely transparent and not the best for professional studio monitoring.

Verdict

One thing that we did like with this pair is that the package ships with all the necessary accessories. As such, you can connect it to your mixer or phone right away. We also loved its versatile connectivity and ease of transport. Its close-to-no-cash price tag makes it a reliable option if you need a pair to usher you in these studio things.

Pros

  • Versatile connectivity
  • Ultra-handy features
  • Sleek design
  • All accessories available

Cons

  • Best for starters only




Your Ultimate Guide to Buying Studio Monitors 

Studio monitors are the most revered pieces of equipment in a studio. Simply put, they differentiate between a noteworthy masterpiece and any other piece of crap. As such, it’s only imperative that you invest in some quality research before settling on a model.

You need to be skeptical about any monitor that is thrown your way nuanced as the best. This is because what’s good for you depends on a few factors including your personal preferences and your audio projects.

Finding the perfect set of monitors for your studio isn’t a walk in the park given the numerous considerations there’re to make. However, a handy guide may lead you to a pair that’ll meet your specific needs in a breeze. We also came across this free course about studio monitors on this site

Here’s what you need to know when shopping for studio monitors

Home Speakers Vs Studio Monitors

As I had said earlier on, these 2 are worlds apart and work differently. If you’re new to studio monitors, I pretty much guarantee you won’t like how flat these things sound at first. But that’s how they have been designed to operate. Their honesty is their strength, and that’s exactly what you should be looking for.

On the other hand, home speakers are made with casual listening in mind. These will add some flavor to any audio played through them. These subtle colorations may lead to distortion of the original content rendering them unreliable for audio editing.

It’s also worth mentioning that studio monitors are meant to withstand dynamic peaks from uncompressed input signals that would otherwise destroy your regular home speakers. Here’s a deeper insight on the difference between these 2.

Speaker size Vs Studio size

It’s hard to emphasize this point enough. For optimum performance, ensure that your speaker size is fitted to your room’s size. Large spaces require large monitors with more amplifying power. Vice versa is true.

No matter how good and heavenly a set of small monitors is said to be, they’ll certainly sound horrendous if you intend to use them in a mega hall. On the other hand, an enormous pair mixed with a small room has the most disappointing performance.

Active Vs Passive Monitors

As you scour harder in this niche, you’ll realize that studio monitors come in 2 broad categories; active and passive. The difference between them is quite simple as it is interesting.

Active speakers feature a built-in amplification unit. This feature gives them a competitive edge over their immediate rivals. A passive studio monitor will require that you have an amplifier separately. So, what difference does that make?

Well, this means that active speakers are friendlier since you have the weight of one piece of gear off your shoulders. Secondly, you can count on them for a tight studio since you’ll have one less equipment on your tables. Even better, since the onboard amplifier is factory-fitted, you can be sure that it’s right for your speakers.

These devices are also easy to transport for on-the-go use.

However, that doesn’t render passive monitors any useless. You’re free to go for them if you want total freedom on the type of amplifier you need for your sounds provided the 2 are compatible.

Monitor placement options

How and where you place your monitors dictates whether you get the correct sound imaging or not. As a rule of thumb, these speakers should be pointed directly at you in an equilateral triangle form.

Remember that all you need is honesty and trust. You can achieve this by placing the speakers on your desktop or stands. Professionally, mounting your monitors on stands is the surest way of getting accurate sound responses that are true to the source with no smearing.

On this point too, near-field, mid-field, and far-field are some common terms that you’ll come across in your hunt for studio monitors. Let them not scare you. They simply refer to the distance from which a model can deliver accurate and precise results

Specifications

It’s also worth considering these monitors’ specs in relation to your studio’s size and music preference. The frequency range, for instance, determines the speakers’ clarity when dealing with varying frequencies.

Your ideal pair should handle different frequencies without causing weird distortion. Ideally, opt for a model that can offer good quality sounds in a frequency range of between 50 Hz and 20 kHz. Talking about distortion, go for a monitor with less than 1% Total Harmonic Distortion since honesty and accuracy are all you are after.

Other features to consider include the size of the woofer and tweeter units. The placement of the bass firing ports is also worth considering. Front-facing ports are considered ideal since their effect isn’t affected by the speakers’ closeness to walls and corners.

Connections

You don’t want a pair of monitors that won’t connect to your music equipment, do you? As such, pay considerable attention to what connection options each model offers to prevent last minute inconveniences.

The majority of monitors offer both balanced and unbalanced audio input options. XLR and ¼” TRS ports mean that the device supports balanced audio sources while RCA and ¼” TS ports are for unbalanced sources such as mixers and keyboards.

Wrap up for our best studio monitors 2017

So, there you have it. A handy list of 10 of both expensive and cheap studio monitors we have on the market and a comprehensive buying guide. Its not a surprise that some of these monitors featured in our list of best studio monitors 2016. Remember that the best speaker for one artist may not automatically be perfect for you. This is because there are several guidelines to follow including your ears’ expertise in picking different sounds and your studio’s design.

Whether you decide to go for the enormous PreSonus Eris E66 or the most compact sized Mackie CR Series CR3 remember what matters at the end of the day is the honesty of your studio monitors.

We tried our level best to include something for everyone in terms of budget, size, brand, and style. We have no doubts that you’ll find your perfect pair here. We’ll also keep updating this list from time to time, so your studio will always be treated to the best masterpieces in town.

Apart from that, we guarantee you that out of our studio monitors reviews, consists of units from reputable brands. So, shop with utmost confidence. 

Have you used any of the monitors in this list? Do you feel that there’s a great model that demands a slot in our list of best studio monitors in 2017?

We are eager to hear about it.

Finally, do you know of friends who need to upgrade their studio monitors we’ve just reviewed? Feel free to share this article with them.

  • Updated October 9, 2017