10 Best Studio Monitors For Your Home Studio: the colour of the sound!

studio monitors

If there’s one piece of gear you should spend some extra time choosing for your home recording studio, it’s the monitors! The best studio monitors for a home studio are going to be the link between your digital workstation and your ears. Without a solid pair of monitors, you can’t mix your piece to perfection and prepare it for the masses!
There’s no shortage of monitors to choose from and hours of search have given us the selection of the best studio monitors available at the moment.

What Exactly Are Studio Monitors?

Studio monitors are a must-have for anyone serious about making radio-ready music. At face value, this equipment looks like standard loudspeakers you might see at a venue. However, they’re designed with a very distinct purpose in mind!

Studio monitors are engineered to provide you with accurate sound in the studio. It’s not about pumping out the most volume or shaking the room with some killer bass.

When you’re creating music in the studio, the goal is to make your mix sound as good as possible in as many setups as possible. Unfortunately, that’s easier said than done because most commercial speakers are heavily colored. Manufacturers want to provide their own distinct sound and enhance the music. As a result, most speakers on the market these days sound warm and bass-heavy. They typically have a noticeable spectral curve that enhances certain parts of the mix, too.

Studio monitors don’t have any of those issues. They’re flat, neutral, and highly accurate. This equipment is meant to act as your reference point, ensuring that your finished piece sounds great no matter what it’s being played on.


Our selection of best studio monitors

Please find below the best studio monitor we have found in the market right now. To help you in your quest we divided our selection with the best cheap studio monitors, best small studio monitor for small room, best studio monitor for mixing and recording, and best professional studio monitor. Which one are you looking for?

Review #1: 
Best Cheap Studio Monitors For Beginners

You don’t have to spend a fortune to get some good studio monitors. Here’s a selection of monitors that provide good sound quality without breaking the bank!

1. JBL Professional 305P MkII Next-Generation Studio Monitors

 JBL Professional 305P MkII Next-Generation Studio Monitors

Pros:

  • Flexible sweet spot
  • Decent volume capabilities
  • Good bass response
  • Neutral tone

Cons:

  • May produce distortion at lower volumes

Key Features:

  • Active studio monitors
  • Two drivers
  • Total watts: 82
  • Frequency response: 43 Hz to 24 kHz

JBL has a solid reputation for producing some great audio gear. These monitors are no exception. They have that high-quality build that the brand is known for. Plus, they have a good sound to boot!

The best part of these monitors is the wide sweet spot. JBL implements Image Control Waveguide technology into the monitors. This unique feature opens up the sweet spot quite a bit, providing you with more leniency when you set up the room.

As for sound quality, the 305P MkII monitors don’t disappoint. The frequency response is respectable. There’s also a Slip Stream low-frequency port. When positioned correctly, this port will assist the woofer to create some punchy bass.

2. Samson MediaOne BT3 Active Studio Monitors

Samson MediaOne BT3 Active Studio Monitors

Pros:

  • Compact footprint
  • Good highs and mids
  • Accurate bass
  • Simple controls

Cons:

  • Bluetooth streaming doesn’t have the best quality

Key Features:

  • Active studio monitors
  • Two drivers
  • Total watts: 60
  • Frequency response: 80 Hz to 27 kHz

Don’t let the small size of these monitors fool you. They are fully capable of being used in your studio. The frequency response is relatively flat. The high and mid-range frequencies are surprisingly crisp for a speaker of this size. The same goes for the bass, which is accurate enough for mixing.

These monitors do not have the highest power rating. But, that doesn’t stop them from producing decent volumes. While higher output isn’t super necessary in the studio, these monitors have the ability to stream audio via Bluetooth!

You can connect wirelessly and enjoy your music collection during mixing breaks. Or, you can move them to a different room to jam out. Setup is quick and easy, so you won’t have any issues finding the perfect sweet spot when it’s time to work.

3. Pioneer DJ Studio Monitors

Pioneer DJ Studio Monitors

Pros:

  • Strong bass response
  • Good for small or medium-sized rooms
  • Low distortion
  • Wider sweet spot

Cons:

  • Annoying auto-shutoff feature

Key Features:

  • Active studio monitors
  • Two drivers
  • Total watts: 42
  • Frequency response: 70 Hz to 30 kHz

Here’s another small set of studio monitors that packs an impressive punch. Despite weighing less than 13 pounds, these monitors can fill your studio with sound. The volume capabilities are great. Not only that, but the technology inside the monitors helps to produce a much wider sweet spot for mixing.

This technology is called DECO, or Diffusion Effectual Convexity by Oslen. Fancy technical jargon aside, this feature produces great throws. It projects the sound across a larger surface area, allowing you to enjoy an accurate sound from a couple of different places. You don’t have to be so exact with your placement, making it a great option for rooms with some acoustic issues. If you also like to spin some vinyl in your home studio this can be a very good DJ speaker option thanks to the great frequency response and sound quality in highs, mids and lows.

Review #2:
Best Small Studio Monitors for Small Room

You don’t need an enormous room to start creating music. The following monitors are only a fraction of the size as some other models. But, they have the guts to produce a big sound.

1. Presonus E4.5-4.5″ Small Studio Monitors

Presonus E4.5-4.5" Small Studio Monitors

Pros:

  • Built-in EQ
  • Smooth high-end
  • Clean bass
  • Convenient front-facing controls

Cons:

  • Not completely shielded
  • Doesn’t get as low as other monitors

Key Features:

  • Active studio monitors
  • Two drivers
  • Total watts: 50
  • Frequency response: 70 Hz to 20 kHz

Chances are, you’ve played around with Presonus gear at some point. PreSonus is a favorite brand among at-home mixers and audio engineers. These studio monitors show why. They’re one of the best studio monitors for a small room.

Despite the affordable price tag and small size, these monitors produce very good sound. The silk dome tweets create a nice refined sound on the top end. It does a fantastic job of recreating those intricate transient noises. Meanwhile, a composite weave is used for the woofer. It disperses low-end sound evenly, minimizing that muddiness that often comes with low-quality monitors.

Overall, this is some fine gear worth considering. The sound quality is crisp and neutral, making it a solid choice for mixing.

2. IK Multimedia iLoud Micro Studio Monitors

IK Multimedia iLoud Micro Studio Monitors

Pros:

  • Can be positioned very close to the head
  • Compact design
  • Great stereo imaging
  • EQ correction built in
  • Easy to adjust

Cons:

  • Prone to clipping on low end

Key Features:

  • Active studio monitors
  • Two drivers
  • Total watts: 70
  • Frequency response: 45 Hz to 20 kHz

Believe it or not, these pint-sized monitors do a fine job of producing clear sound for mixing. One of the coolest things about this model is the design. It’s specifically engineered for ultra-near-field listening.

You don’t have to prop it up on a shelf or invest in a separate stand. Though, that is possible if you want to go the extra mile. If not, just place it on your desk! The adjustable feet make it easy to angle the monitors up and create that coveted sweet spot.

In terms of sound quality, these monitors are decent. There’s an advanced digital crossover, so the stereo image is surprisingly accurate for the size.

Review #3:
Best Studio Monitors for Mixing and Recording

If mixing and recording are your main game, give these studio monitors a shot. They’re designed for near-field critical listening, which is perfect for fine-tuning your work.

1. KRK RP5 Rokit G4 Studio Monitors

KRK RP5 Rokit G4 Studio Monitors

Pros:

  • Balanced sound
  • Impressive high-end response
  • Active room tuning app
  • Kevlar woofer and tweeter
  • Digital EQ

Key Features:

  • Active studio monitors
  • Two drivers
  • Total watts: 55
  • Frequency response: 43 Hz to 40 kHz

If you want monitors that you can fine-tune to your room, this KRK model is an excellent choice. These are some of the best studio monitors available in terms of flexibility! You’re getting a ton of options to modify sound based on your room.

On the back, you’ll find a digital EQ. A small screen lets you make adjustments on the fly if things change. For even more control, the monitors work with a tuning app. Using your smartphone, you can calibrate the EQ settings. It’s quick, easy, and highly effective!

All in all, these monitors have a lot to offer. Thanks to the Kevlar tweeters and woofers, the sound quality is superb. Plus, the material provides a great look for your studio.

2. Mackie Studio Monitor, 8-inch

Mackie Studio Monitor, 8-inch

Pros:

  • Wide sweet spot
  • Quick adjustment settings
  • Multiple input options
  • Nice flat sound

Cons:

  • Not a stereo set

Key Features:

  • Active studio monitors
  • Two drivers
  • Total watts: 65
  • Frequency response: 35 Hz to 20 kHz

From Mackie is this sleek studio monitor. While the monitor looks simple, it’s packing a lot of advanced technology under the hood. The most impressive is the logarithmic waveguide design. We won’t get into the specifics of this technology here, but it’s a special feature that Mackie incorporates in many of its high-end gear.

The design helps to create acoustical alignment across the frequency spectrum. In layman terms: it makes an ultra-wide sweet spot with crystal-clear sound!

The monitor is very easy to set up and comes with a variety of connection options. This is a professional-quality piece of gear, so you can easily incorporate it into a complex setup complete with other monitors or woofers

3. Yamaha HS5 Nearfield Powered Studio Monitors

Yamaha HS5 Nearfield Powered Studio Monitors

Pros:

  • Built-in noise reduction
  • Accurate highs and mids
  • Low resonance
  • Flexible controls

Cons:

  • Bass isn’t that strong

Key Features:

  • Active studio monitors
  • Two drivers
  • Total watts: 70
  • Frequency response: 54 Hz to 30 kHz

These near-field studio monitors from Yamaha offer professional-quality sound at a relatively affordable price. Yamaha has gone to great lengths to ensure that the sound produced by these monitors is as flat as possible. That all starts with the amplification process.

These monitors have a bi-amp design. This means that both the tweeter and the woofer are powered by an independent amp. The design minimizes distortion while ensuring that the monitor delivers high-quality sound across the entire frequency spectrum.

There’s even built-in noise reduction. The speaker port on the back has an innovative design that prevents air vibrations from occurring. As a result, your audio will sound crisp and clear no matter what you’re playing.

review #4:
Best Professional Studio Monitors

1. Adam Audio A7X Powered Studio Monitor

Adam Audio A7X Powered Studio Monitor

Pros:

  • Ultra-wide frequency response
  • Impressive max output
  • Smooth crossover
  • Clean and neutral sound

Cons:

  • Not a studio pair

Key Features:

  • Active studio monitor
  • Two drivers
  • Total watts: 75
  • Frequency response: 42 Hz to 50 kHz

Here’s a studio monitor that can produce impeccable sound with the right tuning. It’s sporting a 7-inch woofer. This woofer controls the bass and low-mid range. Up top, you have a 2-inch tweeter. It outputs the highs and high-mids. An effective crossover helps to merge those two frequency bands. The final result is smooth and seamless.

The bottom of the monitor is sporting two bass reflex ports. They work in tandem with the powerful woofer to create some nice low-end punch. That said, the bass is not overbearing. It’s controlled and clean, making the monitor an excellent choice for critical listening and mixing.

2. Neumann KH 120 A – Active Studio Monitor

Neumann KH 120 A - Active Studio Monitor

Pros:

  • Aluminum housing
  • Good off-axis response
  • Minimal distortion
  • Flexible acoustic controls

Cons:

  • Not a studio pair

Key Features:

  • Active studio monitor
  • Two drivers
  • Total watts: 50
  • Frequency response: 52 Hz to 21 kHz

As one of the most respected brands in the professional audio world, Neumann had a lot to live up to with this studio monitor. Luckily, the brand didn’t disappoint. Every detail is carefully thought out to provide the very best listening experience possible.

You have a punchy wide-throw woofer to deliver low-frequency sounds across the room. Meanwhile, the titanium fabric tweeter creates those coveted high-end transients without missing a beat. Even the enclosure, which is made out of aluminum, is built to prevent coloration!

Neumann also utilizes the Mathematically Modeled Dispersion waveguide design. This helps to improve off-axis listening. As a result, you can open up that sweet spot and get a bit more flexibility with positioning.


What’s the Difference Between Powered Speakers and Studio Monitors?

When people are unfamiliar with audio gear, you’ll often see them confusing powered speakers with studio monitors. This is an easy mistake to make! Technically speaking, studio monitors can be powered but powered speakers can’t be studio monitors.

Confused yet? Let me explain…

Powered speakers are a unique type of active speaker that’s designed for listening. Think of a bookshelf speaker that you connect to your record player or sound system. These are commercial devices meant to make your music collection sound good. Thus, you’ll experience that aforementioned coloration.

Now, the best studio monitors for mixing are also usually active. That just means that they are powered internally with a built-in amp. However, the difference is that they have a flat frequency response to produce accurate audio.

The best way to differentiate the two is that one is made for average consumers (powered speakers) while the other is made for professionals.

Another key difference is placement. We’ll get into this more in a bit. But for now, know that powered speakers are typically engineered to project sound across a large room. Meanwhile, studio monitors are more focused on creating an intimate listening experience up close.

How to Choose the Best Studio Monitors

Studio monitors come in all shapes, sizes, and specifications. Keeping your budget in mind, there’s a lot of other things you need to think about when choosing monitors.

Room Size

Bigger is not always better when it comes to studio monitors. One of the first things to think about is the size of your room. Generally, home studios are pretty small. If all you plan on doing is mixing, you can go even smaller!

How does room size relate to studio monitors? 

Well, bigger monitors are more powerful. They can quickly overpower a room, leading to issues like distortion, excessive reflections, and phase interference. The best studio monitors for small rooms will not be oversized. Instead, they will be appropriately sized for the room.

Frequency Response

The frequency response refers to the specific frequency range that the speakers can produce. A wider range is always preferred. How do you expect to hear all of that intricate bass detail if your monitors can’t get that low? Generally, a range of 50 Hz to 20 kHz is adequate for mixing. That’s pretty close to the range of human hearing.

Power

All speakers have a specific wattage rating. It represents the amount of power that you can send through the speakers to produce sound. Generally, this affects perceived loudness. A higher wattage rating means that the speaker is capable of producing higher decibel levels.

Of course, loudness isn’t a huge issue with studio monitoring. But, it’s still a parameter you want to pay attention to. If you are connecting the speakers to an external amplifier, you have to match wattage ratings to prevent blowout.

Drivers and Crossovers

Like traditional speakers, studio monitors are equipped with multiple drivers. These drivers are responsible for certain frequency bands. Generally, more drivers are always recommended.

In a two-driver setup, the tweeter is controlling the higher frequencies while the woofer takes care of mids and lows. In a three-driver setup, you have separate equipment for highs, mids, and lows. This can result in a more accurate sound.

The crossover is basically a filter that separates the sound signal into those separate bands. A high-quality active crossover will produce a smoother transition, making the audio sound pristine.

Things You Should Know About When You’re Displaying Your Studio Monitors

Even after you find the best studio monitors for mixing that money can buy, your job isn’t done yet. This isn’t like your average consumer audio equipment. Proper placement and studio preparation are key to getting high-quality sound.

Listening & Mixing Distance

Let’s start with the position of your monitors. There is a right and wrong way to go about this! Remember how we said that studio monitors were focused on creating an intimate listening experience up close? Well, to achieve that, you’ll need to position your monitors very strategically.

Studio monitors should be between equidistant away from the “Sweet Spot.” This is a term used to describe the focal point of the speakers where both sides of the stereo image converge.

sweet spot

Basically, think of the “Sweet Spot” as your ears! Visualize lines from your mixing position and each of the monitors. They need to create an equilateral triangle. Thus, the distance from your right ear to the right speaker should be the same as the distance from your left ear and the left speaker. Even the distance from the right and left monitors need to follow this measurement.

Now, angle both speakers inward about 30 degrees to the middle point. Then, put them at ear level. Viola! Just like that, you’ve created the perfect listening spot to take advantage of what your monitors have to offer.

Isolation

Vibrations are your worst enemy in the studio. Monitors are notorious for transferring vibrations to other surfaces, which leads to audio issues. To prevent that problem, you’ll need to isolate your monitors. You can do this with a technique called “decoupling.” Invest in a stand and add some acoustic foam to dampen those vibrations.

Acoustic Treatments

Speaking of acoustic foam, it’s always a good idea to control reflection in your studio. No matter how perfect you place those monitors, you’re going to have to deal with sound reflections.

The issue with reflections is that they can greatly affect the audio quality. When reflections meet, they cancel each other out. This creates an issue known as comb filtering.

Install acoustic foam at various points throughout the room. Pay close attention to points where reflections will make contact with the wall. This includes directly next to the mixing position.

Bass Traps

Bass traps are another form of acoustic treatment. But, they’re specifically made to tackle low-frequency sound energy. Place them in the corners of the room where low frequencies tend to build up. This will improve the sound quality dramatically.

Listen to Your Heart

The best studio monitors can do a lot to enhance the mixing and recording process. Instead of relying on cheap clunky speakers, it’s time that you upgraded to something a bit more professional!

Any of our picks can up your mixing game. But if we had to choose a winner, it’d be the Rockit 5 G4 monitors from KRK. While the sound quality is not going to compete with something like the Neumann model, you can’t beat the features you’re getting for the price.

These monitors have an in-depth tuning system built right in. The fact that you can easily adapt performance to work for your room is impressive! Other monitors, like the models from Mackie and IK Multimedia, have built-in EQ. But, it’s nowhere near as user-friendly as the KRK system.

Pair that tuning system with neutral sound, a wide frequency response, and Kevlar components, and you have a clear winner. Give the KRK monitors a shot and see what you think! 

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Giorgio P
Giorgio P
Music has always led the path and I’ve been following doubtlessly. After many years of recording in studios as a singer of a swing/cabaret band, I decided to create my own home recording studio and built a blog about it. It involves exactly the things I love the most which are writing, creating, and learning. And that’s why I called the blog Sounds Wow. It really does!