5 Best Studio Monitors That You Must Check Out

If you are looking to make better music mixes, there is one piece of musical equipment that needs to be on top of your buying list: a studio monitor. 

Investing in a good quality studio monitor is essential whether you like making music in a studio or at home. After all, nobody wants to spend hours perfecting a track only to find out that it sounds completely altered (awful!) in a different space. 

Studio monitors allow you to hear, and I mean really hear, what your mix sounds like. So, you can fine-tune it as per your liking – but how do you know which studio monitor is perfect for you? After extensive research, I have come up with 5 of the best studio monitors in the market. So, if you’re looking to level up your sound, read on. 

What Does A Studio Monitor Do And Why You Need It

What makes studio monitors perfect for sound engineers and music artists is that they allow you to hear how your mix truly sounds without altering the output; this will enable you to make better decisions when it comes to making changes to your tracks, something you cannot do with Hi-Fi speakers. 

Now, don’t get me wrong, Hi-Fi speakers work great for the average listener. However, if you want to become a better producer, an uncolored, albeit less pleasant, picture of your audio will help you make the right adjustments. Using studio monitors, you can be sure that your mix will translate true to any playback method, whether it’s a car radio or a phone. 

What To Consider When Purchasing a Studio Monitor

Before you go through my top 5 studio monitors, it is essential to determine your needs. Studio monitors come in all kinds of sizes, with varying specifications and fluctuating budgets. Thus, before buying a studio monitor for yourself, consider the following:

How Much Are You Willing To Spend

The first thing you need to define is your budget. While studio monitors are available in different price ranges, they usually tend to be on the pricier side. And, if there is one piece of equipment in your studio that you want to splurge on, I suggest you make it this one.

From entry-level to professional gear, there can be a massive price increase. However, with good money, you get better quality. Skimping on quality, in the beginning, will result in frequent upgrades costing you more in the long run. 

Room Size Vs. Speaker Size 

You might be tempted to buy bigger speakers; after all, bigger is better, right? Well, think again.

The size of the speakers depends directly on the size of your room. While bigger speakers usually pack more power, you will get better sound in a small room with smaller speakers – big speakers might overwhelm your setup.

Keep in mind that size doesn’t always resonate with quality. A bigger monitor could very well be less balanced than a smaller monitor more suitable for your studio.  

Go for a 5-inch model if you work in an average-sized room. 

Acoustic Treatment and Why It Matters 

Your room’s acoustics play a pivotal role in how your monitor will perform. Therefore, auditioning studio monitors elsewhere can never provide an accurate picture of how your mix will sound in your room. 

Since studio monitors are usually a significant investment, they aren’t worth it if you do not plan on getting absorbent acoustic treatment. In addition, controlling your room’s acoustics will allow you to hear the speaker better. Otherwise, your room’s reflections will come in the way of you properly taking advantage of your studio monitor.  

Ported Cabinets Vs. Closed Cabinets 

While monitors with ported cabinets allow for more bass, they lag in sonic accuracy compared to monitors with closed cabinets. This drawback of ported cabinets is enhanced, especially when the monitor is placed too close to the wall with rear ports. 

However, I understand sometimes, space restriction does not allow much room for movement. In that case, your best bet is to go for a closed or front-ported design.  

Compatibility 

Check your existing setup to make sure that the studio monitors you buy will be compatible. For example, check whether your monitor comes with a ¼-inch input or an XLR input. Also, check if it comes with RCA cables or not. 

Determine your interface output options and whether you need a particular connection. For example, for an interface with balanced outputs, go for the jack or balanced XLR input, resulting in diminishing noise. 

In some cases, monitor integration into your existing setup will require converter cables. 

What Is So Great About a Studio Monitor Anyway?

Studio monitors are a hefty investment, so it is imperative to learn why they are so important. 

Flat Frequency Response

The biggest perk of owning a studio monitor is flat frequency response. Studio monitors play your track in a neutral state, allowing you to make changes and produce a track that will sound just as great on a car stereo as it would on a home system.  

Excellent Sound Quality

When I say studio monitors provide excellent sound quality, it by no means translates to a pleasant listening experience. Studio monitors are not listener-friendly per se. Their whole job is to present sound just as it is, where you can hear every instrument spike and make changes as you like. 

Distortion Prevention 

When compared to an average speaker, studio monitors work much better at preventing distortion at high volume. Meanwhile, their cheaper counterparts are unable to present distortion-free sound after a specific volume. 

5 Best Studio Monitors to Elevate Your Music Mix To Another Level

Now that you understand why studio monitors are imperative in sound mixing and what considerations to make before buying them, let us go through the top 5 picks. 

Yamaha HS8

The Yamaha HS8 is an exceptionally balanced monitor with an excellent low-frequency range for music with heavy bass. 

Another great feature is that it comes with a hanging option, making it a great fit for you if you are short on space. As with everything else produced by Yamaha, there is no compromise on quality. If you are someone who spends hours on end in a studio, this is a perfect option for you, thanks to low ear fatigue. 

With a 4.8/5 rating on Amazon, the HS8 is a customer favorite. As one user noted, “Not exaggerating when I say it makes songs I’ve listened to for 20 years sound new – I can hear things I never heard before”.

Even though it is heavy on the pocket, the quality you get from this particular sound monitor is a producer’s dream. 

Sale
YAMAHA HS8 Studio Monitor, Black, 8 Inch
  • 8 inch cone woofer and 1 inch dome tweeter; Produce low distortion sound with a well-defined bottom end at any output level
  • 38Hz to 30kHz frequency response; Power consumption: 60 watts
  • 75W LF plus 45W HF bi amp system 120W total; Level control ( 4dB/center click), EQ: High trim switch ( / 2dB at HF) / Room control switch (0/2/4 dB under 500Hz)
  • Room control and high trim response controls
  • XLR and TRS phone jack inputs. Crossover: 2kHz

KRK Classic 5 

KRK Classic 5 professional studio monitors follow in the footsteps of the just as popular ROKIT Pro monitors. When it comes to music production, there are few names as reliable as KRK. These monitors have a Class A/B amplifier with an automatic limiter. The highlight feature is the presence of multiple input connections, which make it easy for the user to integrate the monitors with their existing system configurations. 

KRK is a lightweight, budget-friendly monitor that gets the job done. Numerous customers laud this model for its accuracy and bass response. “For my home studio, these sound great. Plenty of bass response, but also extremely flat and clear”, wrote Matthew Brown, a satisfied owner. 

You may feel lag when getting the monitor back to work after no signal for over an hour. This is because the monitors go into sleep mode and need a little time to get up and running. However, this saves you from turning them on and off repeatedly. 

Sale
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

PreSonus Eris E3.5 BT

If you want an entry-level studio monitor that does not cost you an arm and a leg, PreSonus Eris E3.5 BT is just the studio monitor for you. For a smaller studio space, this compact monitor works perfectly. Moreover, it is a budget-friendly option that does not skimp on quality.

For a 3.5-inch speaker, its highs, mids, and lows are smooth and the response clear. All in all, these are remarkably balanced monitors for the price. If you are starting with music production, investing in this model is a no-brainer. 

Eris’ number 1 ranking in the Studio Audio Monitors category on Amazon is a testimony to its excellent quality. One of the thousands of satisfied customers, Robert Lane, praised the accuracy of the Eris E3.5. “The response is flat with a little more low-end punch than I would have expected for a monitor this size. I’m outright surprised how much low-end (bass) comes out of this small-ish pair,” he wrote. 

If I had to point one thing out, it would be that this monitor has a narrow sweet spot, and while it will not work as a home audio loudspeaker. However, that is not the intention anyway. This model is a near-field monitor intended for mixing and mastering, and it does that job perfectly fine. 

Sale
PreSonus Eris E3.5 BT-3.5" Near Field Studio Monitors with Bluetooth, Black, (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.
  • Bluetooth 5.0 wireless stereo connectivity lets you play audio from smart devices or go cord-free.

JBL Professional 305P MkII

JBL is a trusted name for studio monitors, and time and again, prove why that is. The JBL Professional 305P MkII takes the daunting task of pleasing the audiophile along with the casual market and passes with flying colors. 

JBL’s patented Image Control Waveguide allows a bigger sound space thanks to a broader sweet spot. This makes this monitor an excellent choice for medium to large studio spaces. While studio monitors are not bass-heavy like commercial speakers, JBL Professional 305P MkII still has an impressive low-frequency response. 

This monitor has rounded up hundreds of 5-star ratings on Amazon. One customer detailed its terrific sound quality. He wrote, “I would summarize their sound as follows: imaging is big, separation is very good, the bass is dynamic, mids are well-balanced; not recessed, not sticking out, not syrupy, just well-behaved, and treble is detailed, polite, and never harsh. Hmm, I’m really impressed overall.”

However, some users complain of a slight hissing sound when playing music at a low volume. Sadly, this problem is rather rampant when it comes to studio monitors. But, the sound quality is excellent at mid to high volume. 

JBL Professional Studio Monitor, Black, 5-Inch (305PMKII)
  • 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

Mackie CR-X Series

Remember when I said bigger does not always mean better? The Mackie CR-X Series is proof of just that. 

If you have smaller studio space or are just starting with music mixing and production, this monitor could be just what you need. 

For the price you are paying, the quality of the sound is pretty solid. The great thing about these monitors is that they maintain sound quality at different volume levels and, boy, are they loud! – especially if you consider the size. 

Who does not like great quality sound for an even better price? No wonder this series is so popular. One satisfied Amazon praised the CR-X Series for its crisp audio. “The Mackie CRX-5’s far exceeded my expectations. He wrote that they are “crisp, clear, and have a pure and clean sound reproduction range.” 

Although the highs as mids sound great, you cannot say the same about the bass. However, with monitors this size, it is, unfortunately, a common occurrence. Invest in a subwoofer if you want to enjoy bass-heavy tracks. Despite this, anyone would be hard-pressed to find a better-performing studio monitor in this price range. 

Mackie CR-X Series, 3-Inch Multimedia Monitors with Professional Studio-Quality Sound - Pair (CR3-X)
  • 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

Major Takeaways

Studio monitors are more often than not a hefty investment, but worth it. They provide you with an unfiltered picture of your mix, without which you would never be able to perfect it for various playback options. Thus, studio monitors are essential for improving the quality of your mix – it is as simple as that. 

Since they tend to cost quite a bit, consider what kind of studio monitors suit your needs. Think about the size of your studio and what kind of music you will be mixing. Consider whether you will be hard-pressed for space or not and what kind of budget you have. I highly recommend acoustic treatment to use the studio monitors to their full potential. Even though on the pricier side, nothing beats the quality of the Yamaha HS8. So, if I had to recommend one above all, it would be this. After all, we get what we pay for!