The 10 Best Studio Monitors / Speakers in 2021 -Buying Guide
Budget and pro studio monitors guide
Purchasing a set of top studio monitors for your home recording studio is an important step toward making better mixes. But It is not easy to pick out one set that can be called ‘the best’. There are many important factors to take into consideration such as your budget, compatibility with your existing setup, speaker layout, monitor speaker size, listening distance, etc.
Of course, for your studio setup, you will also need a computer, DAW, an audio interface, microphones, headphones, MIDI controllers, etc. But If you want to find the perfect pair of top studio speakers, the list below will take you through some of the best studio monitors available today.
The Best Studio Monitors Under $500
PreSonus Eris E5 XT delivers exceptional quality at an affordable price. They have standard woofer/tweeter speakers. The most exciting thing about the PreSonus line is that they are very affordable. These studio monitors accept a signal from an XLR, TRS, or RCA output. That is a great feature if you have several different sources you’d like to plug into the speakers. They have controls for lows, mids, and highs. Also, they have a setting for adjusting the sound for the actual placement of the speakers.
- frequency 53 Hz – 22 kHz
- natural, high-quality sound
- high-end build quality
- front-firing bass port
- acoustic tuning controls
- The low-end frequency could be a bit better
If you’re looking for the most versatility and feature set for your buck, PreSonus Eris E5 XT are probably the best studio monitors in this price range.
As we all know, JBL is legendary in sound performance and quality. JBL Professional 305P MkII are professional quality, powered studio monitors that retain the LSR3 series’ image control waveguide for incredible detail and imaging. The monitors make legendary JBL performance available to every studio. The 305P MkII offers stunning detail, precise imaging, a wide sweet spot, and an impressive dynamic range that enhances the mix capabilities.
- frequency 43 Hz – 24 kHz
- delivers superb sound on a budget
- balanced, detailed sound
- huge sweet spot
- great imaging
- Built-in EQ
- A bit big and chunky
If you are looking for a speaker or a studio monitor with cutting edge technology, rugged build quality, at a reasonable price, the JBL Professional 305P is a good option for you.
The KRK RP7 Rokit G4 is truly an impressive monitor. With low end that’s beefy but not overwhelming and crystal clear highs, these studio monitors sound really inspiring and are loaded with features. For example, KRK has developed a smartphone app. With it, you can easily make sure your speakers are angled correctly, check for wiring issues, etc. In other words, this app will help you get the most out of your speakers easily tailor your speakers to the needs of your room acoustics.
- frequency 42Hz – 40KHz
- Iso-foam pads
- kevlar drivers
- KRK app
- dynamic, full-range sound
- class D power amp
- LCD digital EQ
- No low-cut/high pass
The KRK RP7 Rokit G4 is a sleek and intuitive studio monitor. It features Kevlar drivers, room correction feedback, LCD visual EQ, Iso-foam pads, a signal generator, compatibility with IOS apps, and a deep resonance enclosure, plus much more. Therefore, these studio monitors stand out amongst the competition. If you’re looking for studio monitors that will allow you to experience widely dynamic sound, then the G4 may be exactly what you are looking for.
Yamaha HS8 series are affordable, offer fantastic quality, and has become a staple in the home studio. These monitors come in sizes of 5″, 6.5″, and 8″ and are considered by many sound engineers as “professional” quality monitors. They are known for having a flat frequency response. Therefore, you can expect clean and accurate listening from these. They have everything you could ever want from studio monitors.
- frequency range 38Hz to 30kHz – the ideal flat frequency response
- built-in amp and a bi-amp
- good noise reduction
- If you want extensive bass, you’ll need to get a subwoofer
Yamaha HS8 is a great option for most people with a medium-size budget looking for the best sound. The monitors sit right in the middle of the cost and quality and have reach feature set. For example, they have some super handy room control features. In other words, Yamaha HS8 are affordable and offer fantastic quality.
Genelec is a leading manufacturer of professional studio monitors, therefore, you will see Genelec 8010 in major recording studios. If you’ve got a higher budget, Genelec 8010 might be the right way to go. These monitors sound powerful, wide, and accurate. Genelec has also created the GLM kit, which you may want to get as well. This includes all the software and hardware you need to set your speakers up properly.
- frequency range: 74 Hz – 20 kHz
- accurate frequency response
- great sound staging
- high-quality aluminum enclosure.
- signal-detecting autostart function
- a bit pricey, but a good investment
- the bass reflex port is at the back and the sound can reflect off of the walls behind them
It probably doesn’t make sense for you to buy these If you’re on a tight budget. But if you don’t mind spending extra, a pair of Genelec 8010 would be your perfect choice.
Fluid Audio FX80 have a very clean and transparent sound while providing a wide image field. The low end is incredible. These active studio monitors are ideal for producers, engineers, and musicians in small and medium-sized rooms. Thanks to the boundary control EQ switches, you can adjust the proximity of the speakers to the wall behind them.
- frequency 35Hz-22kHz
- class D and DSP powered
- extended low end
- midfield monitor sound
- acoustic space control lets you calibrate the low frequency to your mixing environment
- mid-low–mid-range coloration
The stereo imaging of Fluid Audio FX80 is amazing at any volume level. The sound highs are smooth. Overall, for the money, it is hard to find a better pair of monitors at this price level. These studio monitors are a great choice for anyone in a mid/large size room.
The Mackie MR 8-Inch studio monitor are a low-profile bookshelf studio monitors from one of the most popular manufacturers. These reference monitors are designed to enhance your sonic experience at every level, from start to finish for your music, aimed at revealing the full range and natural character your music deserves. The highs are crisp and airy without being too sharp while the mids are full and precise. These speakers are versatile in terms of setup compatibility as they offer TRS, XLR, and RCA inputs to choose from.
- frequency response: 38Hz – 20kHz
- clear instrument separation and imaging
you can enhance or cut high frequencies with the high boost/cut switch
you can use them in different studio setups thanks to a variety of input options available
if placed near a wall you can hear some bass reflections
The Mackie MR 8-Inch studio monitors are designed for critical music mixing applications but they can be used for other applications as well. These are affordable monitors that rise above the value-priced crowd. You can use these studio monitors with a large number of audio sources including audio interfaces, computers, audio receivers, mixers thanks to the three input options these studio monitors have. This includes balanced TRS and XLR inputs and an unbalanced RCA input.
The Best Studio Monitors between $600- $1000
The ADAM Audio A7X is an extremely good monitor, given its affordable price. Getting such a strong and transparent‑sounding mid‑range from a two‑way speaker is not easy at all, but these studio monitors have an excellent mid-range without sacrificing bass end or high‑frequency extension. The low-end performance is just amazing. Furthermore, the stereo imaging is excellent too.
- excellent performance across the entire audio spectrum
- a profound sense of air and transparency
- exceptional detail
- no magnetic shielding around the woofer
The Focal Shape 50 Studio Monitor are designed to meet the needs of near-field monitoring, they have numerous settings optimized for the acoustics of small listening rooms. Shape 50 have a wide and extremely precise stereo image. The bass is articulated and controlled. The lower mid-range and mid-range are neutral, without any masking effects, making equalization of these registers much easier. The tweeter is very high definition. It reveals any hissing, and it’s also very precise in the high end.
- frequency range: 50 – 35,000 Hz
- tweeter with very low directivity
- designed without a rear bass port – allows placing directly in front of a wall
- numerous settings for optimal integration
- accurate control, even in the very high end
- controlled and articulated bass
- mounting mechanisms on the back and underneath the loudspeaker
- a bit pricey
The Focal Shape 50 Studio Monitor are detailed, natural-sounding. The clarity of sound is very good across the frequency range. Without a doubt, they deserve to be at the top of the list of the best studio monitors.
Neumann, is famous for producing high-quality microphones, but it is also known as a manufacturer of precise studio monitors.
The Neumann KH 120 A are some of the most accurate speakers available today. The highs, mids, and lows are detailed and very natural. The monitors are flat sounding and reveal every nuance of your music. In addition, they have acoustic control switches for the bass, low-mid, and treble frequencies. No doubt, these are some of the best studio monitors on the market.
- Frequency Response: 52 Hz – 21,000 Hz
very accurate and detailed sound
can be positioned against the wall
acoustic control switches for the bass, low-mid, and treble frequencies
excellent build quality – the outer casing is made from aluminum
only one XLR input
The monitors are designed to deliver a flat and uncolored sound and will help you reveal a true picture of your mix. In order to ensure that you are getting the best sound out of your mixes, it is important to invest in the best studio monitors possible.