8 Best Budget Studio Monitors


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The list we have compiled are all relatively affordable in the grand scheme of studio monitors, but we have made sure to only include products that have high audio quality and equally high build quality.

All the products on our list are durable and robust, and they should last a very long time with repeated use.

We have included the features and characteristics of each of the studio monitors on the list, along with the pros and cons of each model.

Our Best Budget Studio Monitors Reviews 

KRK RP5 Rokit G4

KRK RP5 Rokit G4 Studio Monitor, Black (RP5G4-NA)

Studio monitors range widely in price, but you don’t need to break the bank for a decent pair of monitors for your home studio.

There are plenty of brands who manufacture high-quality studio monitors that are also inexpensive. We’ve compiled a list of the best studio monitors that you can buy if you’re on a tight budget.

These affordable and compact monitors produce really punchy bass. For this reason, they are a favorite of many EDM and hip hop producers, and have been for many years at this point.

Aside from being a little heavy on the bass side, the frequency response is very clear and flat.

The 5” wide woofer on these monitors provides a great booming bass without sounding muddy or blending in with the mid-range frequencies.

These monitors feature multiple inputs on the back including a standard RCA input, quarter inch jack input and XLR inputs.

Thanks to this great range of inputs, you can connect these monitors to pretty much any source of audio.

The KRK RP5 Rokit G4s are bi-amped with 50 watts, which gives you minimum distortion even at high volumes. The peak SPL is 106dB, which is plenty of volume for pretty much any work setting.

If you’re a producer who primarily works from a home studio, these popular and budget-friendly studio monitors are certainly worth trying.

Pros

  • Punchy bass
  • Multiple input options
  • Minimal distortion

Cons

  • A little heavy in the lower frequencies

The KRK RP5 Rokit G4 studio monitors can also be purchased from the following webstores:

Krk Music

Guitar Center

Sweetwater

KRK RP5 Rokit G4 Studio Monitor, Black (RP5G4-NA)
  • A new scientifically designed speaker enclosure and front-firing port offer exceptional low-end extension and accuracy, punch and flexible room-positioning.

Kali Audio IN-8

IN-8 3-Way Powered Studio Monitor White

Not many people know of the Californian company Kali Audio, but hose who do know how incredible and reasonably-priced these monitors are.

What makes the Kali Audio IN-8s different from other studio monitors is that the 1” tweeter is located in the center of the 4” mid driver.

On most other studio monitors, the tweeter is located above the woofer and mid-range driver.

According to Kali Audio, this design provides a “stereo soundstage that presents the listener with a hyperrealistic level of detail.

The soundstage that you hear will have every detail that’s present in the mix”.

The high detail and clarity that these studio monitors provide make it great for music producers.

Of course, when you’re recording or mixing music, you want to be able to hear every little detail in as much clarity as possible so that you can hear any mistakes or blemishes on your recording.

The Kali Audio IN-8s have 140 watts of power, and they have a max SPL of 114dB.

This gives you plenty of headroom before you get any distortion, and as studio monitors they are applicable to almost any work environment.

For a set of monitors with pristine clarity, plenty of volume, and a wide dynamic range, the Kali Audio IN-8s are a great option.

Pros

  • Super-wide stereo spacing
  • Pristine sound quality for the price
  • Easy to set up

Cons

  • Could be considered too much for small working spaces

The Kali Audio IN-8 can also be purchased from the following webstores:

Kalia Audio 

Sweetwater

Alto Music

Fluid Audio FX80

Fluid Audio FX80 : 8' Single Point Source Coax Reference Monitor, Bi-Amplified 110w 35Hz - 22kHz (+/-3db)

These reasonably priced coaxial studio monitors from Fluid Audio have a really big sound. The bass/mid driver is a whopping 8” in diameter, and at the front of this driver there is a silk dome tweeter.

Similarly to the Kali Audio IN-8s, this coaxial driver design provides a great audio experience, without any phase issues that you may get from traditionally–designed speakers.

With the FX80s, Fluid Audio provide you with a range of different inputs, such as a balanced, unbalanced, TRS, and XLR inputs, as well as a set of dip switchers that you can set to suit your working environment.

The Fluid Audio FX80s are a great budget-friendly option with plenty of low-end. They are also relatively easy to set up, and they are applicable for a range of different working environments.

Pros

  • Excellent bass extension
  • Great overall performance
  • Competitive price

Cons

  • Slight amplifier hiss
  • Slight low to mid-range coloration

The Fluid Audio FX80 can also be purchased from the following webstores:

Fluid Audio

Musicians Friend

American Musical

Fluid Audio FX80 : 8" Single Point Source Coax Reference Monitor, Bi-Amplified 110w 35Hz - 22kHz (+/-3db)
  • 8" Coaxial Studio Monitor
  • Frequency response: 35Hz-22kHz (+/- 3dB)
  • Crossover frequency: 2.4kHz
  • Class D and DSP powered
  • Signal-to-noise: 100dB (typical A-weighted)

Adam Audio T5V

ADAM Audio T5V Studio Monitor Single

Adam Audio are very well-known in the industry for super high-end monitors that are also on the high end in terms of price. Fortunately, they have entered the more budget-friendly market with the T5Vs.

For bedroom producers, the Adam Audio T5Vs are probably the perfect studio monitors out there.

If you’re working in a limited space, the T5Vs will give you amazing sound thanks to their ultra-wide sweet spot, balanced frequency output, and incredible detail, even in a tiny room.

The T5Vs are perfect for music making and mid-level mixing prior to the mastering stage.

Their frequency response ranges from 45Hz up to 25kHz, which is impressive for monitors of this size.

Their 5” woofer provide a tight and punchy bass, powered by 50 watts from the low-end amp. On the other end of the spectrum, the high frequencies are clear and detailed thanks to the ribbon tweeter.

The T5Vs have two analog inputs, RCA and XLR. The built-in amplifier is a 50 watt class-D for the woofer, and an additional 20 watt class-D amp for the tweeter.

The SPL for the T5Vs are up to 106dB per pair.

Pros

  • Great frequency response for the size
  • Fantastic build quality, with acoustically-optimized cabinets
  • Incredible value for money

Cons

  • It is lacking an indicator light
  • There is no volume notch

The Adam Audio T5V can also be purchased from the following webstores:

Adam Audio

Slick Audio

Sweetwater

Guitar Center

Sale
ADAM Audio T5V Studio Monitor Single
  • HPS Waveguide: Makes dispersion more consistent and imaging more stable over a wider area
  • Acoustic Adjustments: Allows optimal adaptation to acoustically difficult listening environments or individual preferences
  • 1.9-Inch Accelerated Ribbon Tweeter: Advanced dynamic range due to acoustically effective diaphragm surface that is 2.5 times bigger (compared to a classic tweeter according to the piston principle)
  • Premium Construction: Lightweight polypropylene construction for optimal durability
  • DSP-Powered Crossover Design: Smooth frequency response without interferences between the drivers in the critical mid-range

Presonus Eris E5 XT

PreSonus Eris E5 XT 5.25' Near Field Studio Monitor with EBM Waveguide (Single)

The Presonus Eris E5 XT are a great set of active studio monitors for a home studio at a very reasonable price.

The E5 XTs have incredible low-end despite their relatively small size.

Within their laminated MDF enclosure, there is a 1” driver made from silk for the high frequencies, and a 5” driver made from woven Kevlar for the low frequencies.

What gives these monitors extra low-end presence is the open horizontal port.

Powered by 80 watts, these studio monitors can handle up to 102 dB of output with minimal distortion.

They also have a choice of inputs, such as RCA, TRS, and XLR.

On the back of the speakers, there are controls for tweaking the mid and higher frequencies, in addition to a low frequency cutoff and acoustic space adjustment.

These controls are great for customizing the sound of the monitors to suit the space in which they are used.

For music making, especially genres like EDM, hip hop, and other bass-driven styles, the Presonus Eris E5 XTs are a great choice.

Pros

  • Great bass response
  • Compact size
  • Tunable speakers

Cons

  • Slight AC hum and RF interference

The Presonus Eris E5 XT can also be bought from the following webstores:

Presonus

Sweetwater

Thomann Music

Guitar Center

PreSonus Eris E5 XT 5.25" Near Field Studio Monitor with EBM Waveguide (Single)
  • 5-inch woven composite low-frequency transducer offers deep lows.
  • 1-inch ultra-low-mass, silk-dome, high-frequency transducer boasts smooth highs.
  • Now comes included with Studio One Prime and Studio Magic plug-in suite, over $1000 USD worth of music production software.
  • State-of-the-art front-ported enclosure creates tight bass frequencies.
  • Innovative 100°(H) x 60°(V) EBM waveguide makes way for a wide sweet spot and solid imaging.

Mackie CR5-XBT

Mackie CR3-X 3-Inch Creative Reference Multimedia Professional Studio Monitors - Pair

These incredible value speakers are marketed as multimedia speakers, rather than designated studio monitors, but they do that job just as well as other speakers you can find on our list.

Since they have a variety of applications, they also provide a variety of connectivity options. Along with the typical inputs of ¼” jack and RCA, you also have Bluetooth connectivity.

Despite the low price tag, the sound quality of the Mackie CR5-XBTs is really high.

Powered by 80 watts, these speakers provide crystal clear audio thanks to its 5” bass driver and ¾” tweeter.

These sleek-looking speakers are housed in an all-wood cabinet, with a power button and volume control knob on the front. Additionally, they have a headphone jack output on the front of them.

These speakers give you a great bass response that is punchy and tight without getting muddy or distorted.

The midrange retains much of its clarity and warmth even at high volumes, and the high frequencies are clear and pristine.

For a budget-friendly option with multiple applications, the Mackie CR5-XBTs are a terrific choice.

Pros

  • Punchy bass response
  • Sleek design
  • Amazing value for money

Cons

  • Audio loses quality when using Bluetooth connectivity

The Mackie CR5-XBT can also be purchased from the following webstores:

Mackie

Sweetwater

Guitar Center

Mackie CR3-X 3-Inch Creative Reference Multimedia Professional Studio Monitors - Pair
  • Professional studio-quality sound
  • Front-facing headphone jack auto-defeats speaker output
  • Flexible inputs - 1/4”, 1/8”, and RCA
  • 50 watts of clean, articulate stereo sound
  • Hookup cables included

Edifier R1280T Powered Bookshelf Speakers

Edifier R1280T Powered Bookshelf Speakers - 2.0 Stereo Active Near Field Monitors - Studio Monitor Speaker - Wooden Enclosure - 42 Watts RMS

These powered bookshelf speakers look as incredible as they sound. They are relatively bulky and heavy, but they wouldn’t look out of place on any desk or bookshelf.

Although they aren’t marketed as studio monitors, the high-quality audio provided by these Edifier speakers make them suitable for that application.

Apart from the high-quality sound, the build quality is equally excellent.

With the subtle exposed wood tones on the sides, and the pale gray grille, they look elegant and classy. These speakers will look great in a modern living room or in your home studio.

Unfortunately, these speakers come up short when it comes to sound-shaping ability.

You do not have any EQ controls. Additionally, there are limited options for connectivity, as they only have a standard RCA inputs.

Surprisingly, for the size of the drivers, each speaker provides only 21 watts of output.

Each speaker has a 4” driver and a tiny 13 mm tweeter. According to Edifier, these speakers put out 85 dB. For speakers as bulky as these, you might expect something a little more powerful.

Pros

  • Aesthetically-pleasing design
  • Great value for money
  • High-quality audio

Cons

  • Not many options for connectivity
  • Lacking sound-shaping controls

The Edifier R1280T Powered Bookshelf Speakers can also be purchased from the following websites:

Gamestop

Bestbuy

Edifier Online

Rofoxe

Sale
Edifier R1280T Powered Bookshelf Speakers - 2.0 Stereo Active Near Field Monitors - Studio Monitor Speaker - Wooden Enclosure - 42 Watts RMS
  • 2 x AUX INPUT - Convenient connection to any device that has a 3.5mm headphone output or dual RCA output. Connect to two devices via AUX at the same time, no plugging and switching needed. (None Bluetooth version)
  • STUDIO SOUND QUALITY - Natural sound reproduction from 13mm silk dome tweeter and 4 inch full range unit
  • REMOTE CONTROL - Adjust volume at your figure tips. Bass and treble control located on the side of main speaker.
  • CLASSIC WOOD FINISH - High quality MDF wood build finished with wood effect vinyl serves as a great compliment to any home decor.
  • 2 YEAR WARRANTY - Guaranteed high quality and reliability with hassle-free parts and labor warranty for two years in USA and Canada.

Yamaha HS5 Powered Studio Monitors

Yamaha HS5 Powered Studio Monitor

Yamaha is a very established brand in the field of audio equipment, and the HS5s are a favorite of many producers and music makers in the industry.

The HS5s provide you with a flat frequency response, which makes these monitors great for mixing and mastering.

The highs and mids are pristine, clear, and crisp, which makes music making with these monitors a joy.

Yamaha live up to their strong reputation with the HS5s, as the build quality is excellent. You can be certain that these monitors will last you a lifetime.

The Yamaha’s understated but sleek design look great in any home studio set up. They are constructed from dense MDF board that is designed to reduce any unwanted resonance.

With a 5” driver situated below a 1” tweeter, these studio monitors provide a wide frequency range of 54 Hz to 30 kHz.

These speakers feature RCA, XLR, and TRS inputs, which should be sufficient for the needs of any home studio.

Pros

  • Pristine, flat frequency response
  • Sleek design
  • Excellent build quality
  • Great choice for both mixing and mastering

Cons

  • Cables are not provided
  • Lack of very low frequencies

The Yamaha HS5 Powered Studio Monitors can also be purchased from the following webstores:

Yamaha

Sweetwater

Guitar Center

Bass And Treble

Yamaha HS5 Powered Studio Monitor
  • 2-Way bass-reflex bi-amplified nearfield studio monitor with 5" cone woofer and 1" dome tweeter
  • 54Hz-30kHz frequency response
  • 45W LF plus 25W HF bi-amp system for high-performance 70W power amplification
  • Room Control and High TRIM response controls
  • XLR and TRS phone jack inputs accept balanced or unbalanced signals

That concludes our list of the best home studio monitors when you’re on a tight budget.

We hope this list has given you a clear idea and understanding of the various aspects and features of studio monitors in this price range.

Buyer’s Guide

Top Pick

Our top pick for great value and great overall quality has to be the KRK RP5 Rokit G4. These compact little monitors are the favorite of so many producers, and we can see why.

They pack such a punch in the low to mid-range, and they have enough power to satisfy the needs of pretty much any home producer.

The frequency response that these small studio monitors can give you is seriously impressive considering their compact size.

These make them perfect for your home studio set up, particularly if you make bass-driven music such as hip hop or EDM.

The KRKs also give you a range of different input options, which is very convenient for a home studio set up.

The simple and sleek design of these speakers, with their characteristic yellow speaker cone, look so good in any studio.

They are instantly recognizable, and their compact size make them easily transportable.

The build quality of the KRKs is simply excellent and very durable. These studio monitors can definitely last you many years, if not a whole lifetime, of consistent use.

Top Value Pick

In terms of great value for money, you cannot beat the Mackie CR5-XBT.

These astoundingly inexpensive, multimedia speakers aren’t only very affordable, but very good in terms of sound and build quality.

The Mackies are a great set of speakers if it’s your first time buying studio monitors, and you’re on a tight budget. It’s hard to find better quality speakers for this low price.

Despite their incredibly competitive price, they do not sacrifice sound or build quality too much. Of course, you can

get a better sound from an expensive pair of studio monitors, but for such a low price, who could ask for more?

The Mackies are the only set of speakers on our list that also feature Bluetooth connectivity, and they’re also the least expensive monitors on our list.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I Need Studio Monitors For Mixing?

When we say “mixing” in this context, we mean mixing in terms of music production, rather than DJ mixing. If you’re taking music production seriously, you will want to have a good pair of studio monitors.

While it’s true that you can just use a good pair of open-back headphones for mixing, it’s important to listen to your tracks from a variety of audio sources such as studio monitors, car stereos, laptop speakers etc.

This is to get a clear idea of how your music will sound when you release it. A good pair of studio monitors is essential for getting your mix sounding the best it possibly can.

Do I Need 1 Or 2 Studio Monitors?

To listen to music in stereo, you will need to have two studio monitors. You should set up your studio monitors a couple meters apart from each other to get the full stereo image of the music.

Are Mackie Studio Monitors Good?

Despite their affordable price, Mackie is a well-known and respected brand in the audio industry.

They have built a great reputation over the years for manufacturing quality audio gear for low prices. We recommend their studio monitors as an affordable option.

Are Bookshelf Speakers The Same As Studio Monitors?

Bookshelf speakers are designed for casual listening, whereas studio monitors are designed for monitoring the mix of a song in a studio environment.

Because of this, bookshelf speakers have a less detailed sound compared to studio monitors.

You can, however, still use bookshelf speakers in your home studio, and there are good quality bookshelf speakers available on the market.

Why Are Speakers Called Monitors?

In the context of a music production studio, monitors are loudspeakers that are used to “monitor” the sound of a track.

In other words, studio monitors are used for critical listening during the recording, mixing, and mastering stages of producing music