Best Studio Monitors: A Full Round-Up

Looking to get into music production? Or are you looking for the next best studio monitor upgrade for your home music studio?

In this guide, we round up the best studio monitors on the market that you can buy today.

Studio monitors are essential for music production. When flat, neutral sound is needed for mixing and referencing, studio monitors are the best kind of speakers for the job.

Sure, studio headphones are also great, but studio monitors are the real deal when it comes to music production, offering a fully accurate representation of sound played in a spatial environment.

In our best studio monitor round-up, we have included budget-friendly studio monitors as well as high-end professional studio monitors – all manufactured from the best studio monitor brands around.

So, whether you are just getting started on your music production journey or are looking for the next best studio monitors to add to your studio setup, this studio monitor guide has you covered.

KRK Classic 5

KRK Classic 5

KRKs are some of the most recognizable studio monitors in the industry due to the yellow woofers that feature across their monitor lineup. But KRK studio monitors don’t just stand out, they sound the part as well with superb value for money.

KRK monitors are loved by beginner bedroom music producers and professional producers. They are rock-solid in terms of durability and lifespan, offering both power and an accurate frequency response fit for any genre.

Pros

  • KRK – one of the best, most trusted studio monitor brands for both beginners and professional
  • Good all-rounder – complete monitors for beginner music production and professional cross-referencing
  • Controls – features rear controls for manually adjusting high frequencies, and low frequencies, and volume output
  • Active – no amplifier required with these studio monitors
  • Affordable – KRKs are a reputable brand with affordable prices

Cons

  • 50 watts – these studio monitors are ideal for bedroom and small room use, but nothing more

Also available to purchase at:

KRK Classic 5 Professional Bi-Amp 5" Powered Studio Monitor
  • High/Low-frequency controls contour your sound for environment, preference, and music style, and the custom bi-amped, class A/B amp offers large headroom and low distortion
  • Soft-dome tweeter with optimized waveguide provides smooth, pristine and articulate highs up to 35kHz
  • The low-resonance enclosure minimizes distortion and color, and the lightweight, glass-aramid composite woofer delivers clear midrange and tight bass
  • Flat Low Frequency Adjustment adding versatility and improved accuracy for mixes that translate in different environments
  • Superior low-end extension with optional setting of plus-2dB KRK Bass Boost acclaimed by music creators worldwide

Yamaha HS5

Yamaha HS5

Yamaha studio monitors are well-trusted by professionals, even if they are just sitting on the side to be used for cross-referencing mixdowns.

The Yamaha NS10s are classic studio monitors found in every studio, and the HS range delivers the same quality across a new and updated lineup.

For 5-inch monitors, the HS5s pack a punch, with a wide frequency response of 54 to 30,000 Hz.

They might cost a bit more than other studio monitors of the same size, but at least you know what you are getting when it comes to Yamaha.

Pros

  • Yamaha – Yamaha has manufactured some of the best (and most iconic) studio monitors and the HS range is no exception
  • Active – amplification built-in, so no amplifier needed
  • Design – reminiscent of the famous Yamaha NS10s, a studio monitor staple
  • 70 watts – plenty of power for small and medium-sized rooms
  • 5, 6.5, or 8-inch woofers – the HS range has a choice of monitor sizes if you want more volume and bass

Cons

  • Mid-range price – Yamaha studio monitors don’t disappoint, but do come with a mid-range price tag

Also available to purchase at:

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

Mackie CR-X

Mackie CR-X

Mackie is another big name in the world of studio monitors. Commercial music producers swear by them, and that includes CR-X series that features 3, 4, 5, and 6-inch monitors for any studio size.

These Mackie studio monitors are active, so you don’t need to worry about hooking them up to an amplifier. The overall design is also top of the line, delivering 80 watts of power in a solid pair of professional studio monitors.

Pros

  • Mackie – Mackies are go-to studio monitors for many professional music producers
  • 80 watts – the Mackie CR-X 5s pack a punch for their size
  • Active – no external amplification needed with these studio monitors
  • 5 or 8-inch woofers – upgrade to the CR-X 8s if you want more bass and volume

Cons

  • No XLR input – while these monitors do feature both ¼ jack and RCA input, XLR loyalists will have to adjust

Also available to purchase at:

Sale
Mackie CR-X Series, 5-Inch Multimedia Monitors with Professional Studio-Quality Sound - Pair (CR5-X)
  • Professional studio-quality sound
  • Front-facing headphone jack auto-defeats speaker output
  • Flexible inputs - 1/4”, 1/8”, and RCA
  • 80 watts of clean, articulate stereo sound
  • Hookup cables included

PreSonus Eris E3.5

PreSonus Eris E3.5

PreSonus is a lesser-known name when it comes to studio monitors, but the Eris lineup shouldn’t be ignored by beginner producers and those on a tight budget.

The E3.5 monitors are also the smallest in a range that includes 5, 6, and 8-inch monitors if you need extra bass and power.

Overall, these PreSonus studio monitors are going to serve their purpose if you are new to the world of music production or just want something that’s budget-friendly and ideal for cross-referencing your mixdowns.

Pros

  • Budget-friendly – budget-friendly studio monitors for the music production beginner
  • Active – convenient with no amplification required
  • Smaller size – ideal for small rooms and small desks
  • Entry-level – if you are new to music production and studio monitors, these are a great first buy

Cons

  • Budget brand – these monitors might not fit the bill for pro music producers and audiophiles
  • No XLR input – ¼ jack and RCA input, but no XLR

Also available to purchase at:

PreSonus Eris E3.5-3.5" Near Field Studio Monitor (Pair)
  • The reviews speak for themselves!
  • The only true studio monitor for multimedia, gaming, watching movies, or producing your next hit.
  • Now comes included with Studio One Prime and Studio Magic plug-in suite, over $1000 USD worth of music production software.
  • 3.5-inch woven composite drivers produce a more powerful bass response with a more accurate overall sound.
  • 1" ultra-low-mass silk-dome tweeters eliminate harshness and provide balanced high-frequency sound.

JBL Professional 305P MKII

JBL Professional 305P MKII

Everyone has heard of JBL. They deliver some of the best speakers on the market, so their studio monitors are worth considering if you want something that’s not going to disappoint sound-wise.

This particular range of JBL studio monitors offers a choice of 5, 6, and 8-inch woofer sizes, all of which sit at a pretty affordable price.

These studio monitors also look the part and are not going to appear out of place in a pro music setup.

Pros

  • 82 watts – powerful sounding studio monitors despite their size
  • 5, 6, or 8-inch woofers – a full choice of woofer size for any studio
  • Active – no need to use an amplifier with these studio monitors
  • Affordable – these monitors sit at an affordable price, despite the JBL brand
  • Controls – rear controls include input sensitivity, high frequency cutoff, and volume

Cons

  • JBL – there’s no doubting that JBL is a trusted speaker brand, but whether their studio monitors are up to scratch is up for debate

Also available to purchase at:

JBL Professional 305P MkII Next-Generation 5-Inch 2-Way Powered Studio Monitor, Sold as Pair (305PMKIISET)
  • MkII series features next-generation JBL transducers, new Boundary EQ, and a sleek new design
  • Updated HF and LF transducers: new design improvements result in optimized Damping for superior transient response and impressive deep bass with lower harmonic distortion
  • New boundary EQ: restores neutral low frequency response when speakers are placed on the work surface and adjacent to walls
  • Sleek, modern design provides a dramatic flair to any studio
  • Broad sweet spot: neutral frequency response across a wide area allows you to fine-tune your mix even while listening off-axis

M-Audio BX5 D3

M-Audio BX5 D3

M-Audio manufactures everything from soundcards and MIDI keyboards to microphones and synthesizers, so you know that you are going to get a quality product if you end up grabbing a pair of their studio monitors.

The BX5s are compact studio monitors despite having a 5-inch woofer. This makes them perfect for small desk setups, with a surprisingly big output at 100 watts.

But if that’s not enough, the BX lineup also includes 5-inch and 8-inch monitors for larger rooms and studios.

Pros

  • Trusted brand – M-Audio make some of the best music production hardware in the industry
  • Affordable – affordable studio monitors despite the big brand name
  • 100 watts – massive power for 5-inch studio monitors
  • Active – no amplifier needed with the BX5s

Cons

  • 5-inch woofers – not the best option in terms of volume for larger rooms and studios

Also available to purchase at:

Sale
M-Audio BX5 D3 | Compact 2-Way 5" Active Studio Monitor Speaker for Music Production and Mixing With Onboard Acoustic Space Control, 1 piece
  • Professional class A/B bi-amplified design with 100 watts of distributed power for studio-grade cohesive, accurate sound and ultra-wide range 52-35kHz frequency response covers full musical spectrum
  • Superior transparent sound quality: 5” low-frequency drivers with Kevlar cones for rich, defined lows and 1” high-frequency drivers with natural silk domes and computer optimised waveguides for smooth, clear highs
  • Versatile, conveniently located XLR balanced and 1/4” balanced/unbalanced inputs for connecting mixers, amplifiers, instruments, DJ gear and more
  • Acoustic Space Control customises the sound output to the listening environment for sonically-true, reassuringly-accurate sound reproduction
  • Extended low-frequency response down to 52Hz courtesy of optimized rear ports that minimize air turbulence and acoustic distortion

Neumann KH 80

Neumann KH 80

Neumann is best known for their microphones – and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a music studio without at least one.

Neumann is a premium brand and the KH80s definitely deliver when it comes to sound quality, frequency response, and build quality.

Because of this, the Neumann KH80 studio monitors also come in at a higher price than the other monitors on this list.

But if you are a professional music producer with high standards, these monitors are not going to disappoint – even with the high price tag.

Pros

  • Active – no outside amplification required
  • Controls – the Neumann KH80s feature input gain, output level, and acoustical controls on the back
  • Neumann – among the most reputable brands in the music production industry
  • Design – these studio monitors are a premium product and it shows
  • 90 watts – plenty of power, versatile enough for small and large rooms

Cons

  • Not budget-friendly – these high-end studio monitors are perfect for pro music producers, but not ideal for beginners on a budget

Also available to purchase at:

Neumann KH 80 Active DSP Powered Studio Monitor
  • Latest modeling techniques used to minimize non-linear distortion Smoother off-axis response, more forgiving of diverse acoustical environments Compact polycarbonate composite cabinet Powerful highly efficient amplifiers with large headroom Wide range input gain and output level controls
  • The Neumann KH 80 Active DSP Powered Studio Monitor is a 2-way active bi-amplified studio monitor featuring a DSP engine with network control, a Mathematically Modeled Dispersion Waveguide (MMD), an analog input and an extensive range of mounting hardware
  • This allows the loudspeaker to be used in diverse acoustical conditions, with any source equipment and in a wide variety of physical locations
  •   The KH 80 Active DSP Powered Studio Monitor is a professional reference monitor representing the latest in acoustic and electronic simulation and measurement technologies to ensure the most accurate sound reproduction possible
  • The KH 80 Active DSP is designed for use as a near-field monitor, as a front loudspeaker in small multi-channel systems, or as a rear loudspeaker in a compact multi-channel systems

Pioneer DM-40

Pioneer DM-40

DJs, from casual at-home DJs to world-famous headliners, trust Pioneer. Their DJ hardware delivers on all fronts, and so their studio monitors are worth considering if you straddle the line between live DJing and music production.

The Pioneer DM40 monitors are small, featuring 4-inch woofers in a rugged casing, making them perfect for small desks, as well as taking them on the road.

They are also highly affordable, but come with the disadvantage of limited low-end frequency response.

Pros

  • Pioneer – a trusted name among DJs worldwide
  • Active – no amplification required for these studio monitors
  • Smaller size – ideal for small desks and small spaces, as well as portable
  • Design – professional-looking studio monitors, as is expected from Pioneer

Cons

  • More suited for DJ use – Pioneer products are suited to DJs and might not be the best choice for music production
  • 4-inch woofers – these monitors lack power in comparison to other entry-level studio monitors
  • No XLR input – the Pioneer DM40 studio monitors are RCA only

Also available to purchase at:

Pioneer DJ DM-40 - 21W 4" Two-Way Active Monitor - Black (Pair)
  • The compact DM-40 desktop monitors bring excellent audio quality to your home setup. They inherit the best from our professional S-DJX series and Pro Audio speakers, including a front-loaded bass reflex system for a rich, tight bass and DECO* technology for a wider reach and sweet spot. All these features are combined in a compact design making the DM-40 the perfect match for DJing, producing and simply enjoying music at home. The DM-40 speakers are sold as a pair. *Diffusion Effectual Convexity by Olson Specs: Type: 2-way bass reflex, active monitor speakers Tweeter: ¾-inch Soft Dome Woofer: 4-inch Fiberglass What's in the box: DM-40 x 2, Power cord, 2 m speaker cable (for left/right channel connection), Audio converter cable (3.5 mm stereo mini plug to RCA), Bottom cushion x 8, Operating instructions Dimensions: Left ch: 146 x 227 x 223 mm (5.7 x 8.9 x 8.7 in.) Right ch: 146 x 227 x 210 mm (5.7 x 8.9 x 8.3 in.) Weight: Left ch: 2.7 kg (6 lbs.) Right ch: 2.2 kg (4.8 lbs.) Amplifier Output: Class A/B amp: 2 x 21 W / 4 Ω Frequency Range: 70 - 30000 Hz Impedance: 10 kΩ Inputs: 1 LINE (RCA), 1 LINE (Mini-jack) Outputs: 1 HEADPHONE MONITOR (Mini-jack)

Rockville APM8W

Rockville APM8W

Like PreSonus, Rockville manufactures affordable studio monitors for beginner producers and those on a budget. But that doesn’t mean they do not deliver in terms of sound quality, as the Rockville APM8Ws boast 8-inch woofers with a massive 500 watts of power.

If you want bass and plenty of volume on a budget price, you won’t find better value for money.

The studio monitors also have a smaller model with 6-inch woofers, complete with the same bass, treble, and volume knobs on the back.

Pros

  • Design – eye-catching, minimalistic studio monitors that will look great on any desk
  • Active – no amplification needed
  • 6 or 8-inch woofers – both options are loud with plenty of bass for any room size
  • Controls – features manual treble, bass, and volume knobs on the back
  • Affordable – Rockville deliver quality at a budget-friendly price

Cons

  • 500 watts – these studio monitors are louder than other monitors of the same size, which might not be ideal for small rooms
Rockville APM8W 8" 2-Way 500W Active/Powered USB Studio Monitor Speakers Pair, White
  • Rockville APM8 8" 2-Way 500 Watt Active USB Studio Monitor Speakers in White (Pair). RMS: 250 Watt. Two-Way Active Studio Monitor Speaker System. Quad Amp Design: Each Driver Features Frequency Specific Independent Amplifiers.
  • The enclosure is 0.5" thick while the front board of it is a full 1" thickness to give you the ultimate best sound quality! Comes in 3 enclosure finish options Wood finish painted black. Wood finish painted white. Wood finish with vinyl front board
  • Full Range Class "D" Amplifier Circuitry with Auto-Switching Power Supply. LED Power on Indicator on Rear Panel. Ferro Fluid Enhanced 1.5" Neodymium Silk Dome Tweeter With Metal Grill Protection. Tweeter has 1" voice coil diameter
  • 110 Volt compatible with SMPS technology. Every Speaker in Production Undergoes a Computer Generated Sound Check Test to Ensure it Upholds to our Specifications and Standards. We use a "6Sigma" style Quality Assurance of Each Product.
  • Transducer Production Line to Make the SPL Performance Stable.One Complete Pair with Mater/Salve Output Connection with Included Noise Rejection Cabling.Includes a noise rejection cable to connect the 2 speakers together.The cable locks in secure & tight

Adam Audio T7V

Adam Audio T7V

Award-winning EDM trio Noisia used to swear by ADAM Audio studio monitors, so the quality of ADAM studio monitors is not to be underestimated.

And while the T7Vs do come with a higher price tag, these are studio monitors that are going to serve you a lifetime.

The ADAM Audio T7V studio monitors boast 7-inch woofers, perfect for any size room with just enough bass to not need a subwoofer.

For audiophiles and pro music producers, ADAM Audio studio monitors are definitely a worthy investment.

Pros

  • Adam Audio – Adam Audio monitors are top of the range and loved by pro music producers
  • Professional product – know that you are getting long-lasting, high quality studio monitors with the T7Vs
  • 70 watts – enough power output for medium and medium-large rooms
  • Active – no need to use external amplification with these monitors

Cons

  • Not budget-friendly – Adam Audio make some of the best studio monitors around and for that reason they are not budget-friendly

Also available to purchase at:

Sale
Adam Audio T7V 7-Inch Powered Studio Monitor
  • U-ART 1.9-Inch Accelerated Ribbon Tweeter: Allows longer operation with fewer signs of fatigue
  • HPS Waveguide: Makes dispersion more consistent and imaging more stable over a wider area
  • Linear Frequency Response: Provides unbiased reproduction in a wide frequency band
  • DSP-Powered Crossover Design: Smooth frequency response without interferences between the drivers in the critical mid-range
  • Premium Construction: Lightweight polypropylene construction for optimal durability

Buyer’s Guide

Studio Monitor Size

Before buying studio monitors, one of the most important things to consider is the size of the studio monitors – specifically, the size of the woofers.

The woofer is the bigger speaker on the studio monitor (the smaller speaker being the tweeter), responsible for delivering low-end frequencies.

The size of the woofer will determine how loud the studio monitors are, as well as how much bass the studio monitors can deliver.

With a larger woofer, you can expect a lower frequency response that will help you to better hear bass frequencies louder and clearer.

5-inch studio monitors are great for beginners and small home studio setups, however do not deliver much bass, unable to produce frequencies no lower than 40 to 50 Hz.

Despite that, small studio monitors can be connected to a subwoofer to make up for their lack of low end.

Studio Monitor Amplification

Before buying a pair of studio monitors, one of the main things to be sure of is whether the studio monitors are active or passive. This will let you know whether the studio monitors require amplification or not.

Active monitors have built-in amplifiers. Active studio monitors are the most common type of studio monitors and are convenient since they do not require external amplification. These are ideal for beginner use as well as professional studio use.

Passive studio monitors, however, require amplification from an external amplifier. Studio monitor amplifiers are purchased separately and can range in quality and price.

Passive monitors are better suited to professional music producers who prefer to amplify their studio monitors separately to improve the sound and performance of the monitors.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is It Worth Getting Studio Monitors?

Studio monitors are used for music production. Unlike commercial speakers, studio monitors are speakers that are designed to deliver a flat frequency response.

The flat frequency response delivers an accurate, unaltered sound, which is ideal for mixing and mastering audio tracks.

If you are doing music production of any kind, studio monitors are the best kind of speakers to buy. The sound that studio monitors produce is designed to be as flat and neutral as possible, allowing you to accurately mix, process, and master audio.

At the same time, even if you are an audiophile or someone who prefers to listen to music without any enhancements to the sound (common with commercial music speakers), then studio monitors are also ideal for this purpose.

Do Studio Monitors Come In Pairs?

Not all studio monitors come in pairs, which makes it important to make sure that you know what you are getting before buying studio monitors.

Make sure to check the listing, or confirm with the supplier, as to whether the price of the studio monitor is for a single monitor or a pair of monitors.

No matter whether you are buying a pair of studio monitors or two single studio monitors separately, the sound from both monitors will be the same.

Whether the studio monitor is left or right also does not matter, as this is configured by the wiring.

Studio monitors are sold as single units as many professional music producers like to cross-reference tracks in mono.

Mono is different from stereo in that the music is heard as one single channel (no stereo width or panning), while stereo is dual channels.

Can I Use Studio Monitors To Listen To Music?

Studio monitors can still be used to listen to music. Studio monitors are professionally designed speakers that deliver an accurate representation of sound without enhancements.

Studio monitors still sound great, offering a full frequency response with plenty of power. In addition, studio monitors have the advantage of allowing you to fully control how your music sounds.

Software and hardware equalizers (EQs) can be used with studio monitors to modify the sound to your liking, and can be turned on and turned off as desired.

Studio monitors can also be used for watching movies and films, and can be placed on either side of your television as long as you have enough space.

Studio monitors are versatile in terms of connection, offering multiple input options such as XLR, ¼ phono jack (6.35mm), and RCA.

Conclusion

Studio monitors are the best music speakers you can buy, even if you are a beginner who is just starting to get into music production.

Studio monitors are designed to deliver a flat, neutral range of sound without any frequency coloring, making them ideal for mixing and mastering sound and audio tracks for both bedroom-produced music and professional, commercial productions.

In our best studio monitor round-up, we included budget studio monitors and professional, high-end studio monitors to give you the best choice – no matter whether you are a bedroom producer or music studio owner.

On top of that, all the music studio monitors that we listed above are manufactured by the most trusted brands in the music industry. So, you can be sure you won’t go wrong no matter which of the above monitors you decide to buy!