As a music producer, it’s critical that you have the best studio monitors so that you can make the job of production easier and produce better music. Here are some of the things that monitors will do for you:
- Provide the transparency you need to hear sound coming from the DAW
- Relieve the need to use headphones while you’re producing your tracks
- Provide a professional vibe to your production studio, bringing you that much closer to your overall production goals
In this article, we’ll explore some of the best options for studio monitors. Regardless of your production needs, studio setup, or budget, there’s something on this list for you!
Choosing Your Home Studio Room
Of course, before you can think about purchasing your studio monitors, you need to decide what room you plan to set your studio up in. While it’s true that not everyone will be able to choose from several different rooms, it’s a choice that you should not take lightly if you do have options.
There are several qualities to consider when choosing a room for your home studio, including:
Windows can make it difficult to get a clean sound.
Surfaces such as toys, furniture, and other clutter can throw off the ability of the monitor to broadcast with ease.
If the ceilings are low, it can cause soundwaves to bounce, preventing the flow of the sound from properly reaching you. If your ceilings are low, you may end up needing to pad it.
Size/measurements & Shape
The best rooms to set up a home studio have dimensions that are not divisible by each other or by the same number. You want to choose a room that is rectangular instead of square. A square room reflects the soundwaves, which results in crossover and nullification.
Studios tend to have foam padding on the walls to absorb the sound that would otherwise echo off of them. If possible, install padding on your walls.
In a recording studio, it’s best to have hardwood or concrete floors because carpet can drown out the higher-pitched sounds and add shuffling noises to your tracks.
Unfortunately, it’s hard to create a home studio if you live in the city because the walls tend to be fairly thin and the outside noise can get in. Choose a room that is soundproof or away from excessive noise.
Bigger is Better
When you’re setting up a home studio, you want to pick a bigger room over a smaller one whenever possible.
Choosing the Best Studio Monitors for You
When it comes to choosing studio monitors, there are several things that will have an effect on your decision. Following are the questions that you need to be asking yourself when it comes time to buy studio monitors.
How much can I spend?
The first thing you need to understand is that studio monitors are not cheap.
In fact, they are quite an expensive investment. You have to think about how much you’re willing to spend, keeping in mind that spending more does not guarantee that you’re going to make more.
What size is my room?
When you start looking at reviews, you’ll find terms such as mid-field and near-field. A smaller room will require a smaller monitor. When you use a large monitor in a small space, you end up with a “boomy” sound to your tracks.
In a larger room, you’ll want to use a “mid-field” monitor so that you can place it farther away from yourself.
Is my room acoustically treated?
Keep in mind that a good monitor is only going to sound great in a space that has been acoustically treated. If your room hasn’t been treated, there’s no reason to spend the money on a top-of-the-line pair of monitors. Also, remember that acoustic foam is pointless, you need to have heavy bass traps with lots of mass to alter the low-end response of your room.
What type of audio am I producing?
While it’s true that most of the monitors are versatile, there are some that work better in some settings than others. Some of them are better for vocals, while others do better with electronic music production.
The bottom line is that a pair of studio monitors, whether you’re just starting out or you’re already professional-level, will add value to your studio.
Best Studio Monitors
Now, we’ll get into the best studio monitors. We’ll look at the best ones for entry-level producers, best
Best Entry Level (Under $400/pair)
In this section, we’ll look at a few of the best entry-level, budget-friendly options for studio monitors.
JBL LSR305P MKII
- 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
These monitors are only $258 per pair, with a frequency range of 43Hz to 24kHz and a 2-way speaker configuration.
JBL has been a trusted name in the music production industry for many years. These are truly the best option for first-time buyers. The value is unmatched and once you have these, it won’t be necessary to upgrade until you’re ready to invest $1k or more on your next pair. This set offers a balanced EQ spectrum and a wider sweet spot.
Therefore, even if you don’t have the “perfect” room, you can be sure you’ll get the best sound out of these than those that require a stricter room configuration.
KRK Rokit 5
These monitors are $258 per pair, with a frequency range of 43Hz to 40kHxz and a 2-way speaker configuration.
Chances are, you’ve seen these monitors in the studios of your favorite producers. The iconic yellow and black aesthetic is a staple in the electronic music industry. The accompanying app helps with the calibration of the monitors to your room and these are well-appreciated for their balanced low-end response. They are made to be listened to for hours on end with little to no ear fatigue.
These monitors are perfect for the beginner who wishes to invest a lot of time and effort into their work.
PreSonus Eris E5
- An outstanding way to upgrade your monitoring so that your mixes translate.
- Now comes included with Studio One Prime and Studio Magic plug-in suite, over $1000 USD worth of music production software.
- 5.25-inch woven composite woofer delivers solid low-end sound with minimal bass distortion.
- 1-inch ultra-low-mass silk-dome tweeter eliminates harshness and provides balanced high-frequency sound.
- 80 watt, Class AB bi-amplification provides plenty of volume and headroom for nearfield monitoring.
These monitors will cost you around $250 per pair and offer a frequency range of 53Hz to 22kHz. They have a 2-way speaker configuration.
These are a great choice when you’re just starting out in the music production industry, offering smooth frequency responses and an unswerving high end. Of course, the frequencies below 53Hz may be missed, so you’ll need a subwoofer or a pair of monitoring headphones along with these.
- 54Hz - 30kHz frequency response
- 45W LF plus 25W HF bi-amp system for high-performance 70W power amplification
- XLR and TRS phone jack inputs accept balanced or unbalanced signals
- Large magnets in an Advanced Magnetic Circuit design
- Sold as a single unit (not as a pair)
These monitors are priced at around $400 per pair and offer a frequency range from 54Hz to 30kHz and a 2-way speaker configuration.
This set of monitors will sound amazing in a variety of listening scenarios. Plus, with HIGH TRIM and ROOM CONTROL settings, you can adjust the monitors to sound great in any room.
Best Advanced Monitors ($400-$1000/pair)
Now we’ll take a look at some of the middle-of-the-road studio monitors. These are slightly more expensive but offer a little more versatility in recording and playback.
- 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
These studio monitors will run you around $740 per pair and have a frequency range of 38Hz to 30kHz.
The HS8s have all of the features we love of the HS5s, as well as an improvement on the low-end response. These monitors allow for frequency responses as low as 38Hz, which will capture all of the low-end responses you’ll want to add to your track.
The consistent low-end response and clarity offered by Yamaha make this a great option for your home studio.
KRK Rokit RP7 G4
- This bundle includes: 2 x KRK ROKIT RP7G4 7 G4 6.5" 2-Way Active Studio Monitoring Speakers 2 x AxcessAbles SMP02P Studio Monitor Speaker Isolation Foam Pads 1 x eStudioStar Polishing Cloth for Bundles 2 x AxcessAbles TRS14-XLR115M Audio Cable - stereo 1/4" TRS TO XLR male (15ft) 2 x AxcessAbles XLR-XLR20 Audio Cable - XLR Male to XLR Female
- Professional grade 7" (Bi-amp) studio monitor designed and engineered in the USA
- 7" Matching Woofer and 1" Tweeter made with Kevlar
- Built-in efficient Class D power amp
- Proprietary speaker drivers built in-house from the ground up
These will cost you approximately $420 and have a frequency range of 42Hz to 40kHz.
The difference between these and the Rokit 5s is about the same as the difference between the HS5s and HS8s. These monitors offer everything the Rokit 5s offer, along with a greater representation on the low end. These are the perfect solution for those who have a strict budget but want to have larger woofers.
- 85-watt bi-amplified active studio monitor
- 8" polypropylene woofer yields responsive, dynamic lows
- 1" silk-dome tweeter offers extreme clarity and transient response
- Logarithmic waveguide system minimizes diffraction and reflections for enhanced stereo imaging and a large sweet spot
- Precise acoustic alignment supplies balanced sound across the entire frequency spectrum
These studio monitors have a price point of around $540 per pair and offer a frequency range of 35Hz to 20kHz and a 2-way speaker configuration.
When it comes to good quality studio monitors, Mackie has definitely made its presence known. These studio monitors are a great middle-ground in both performance and price point. These monitors offer great performance across a variety of music genres due to the silk-dome tweeter and polypropylene woofer.
These monitors offer versatility, whether you are recording a rapper, producing a podcast, or mixing electronic music.
Dynaudio BM5 MKIII
- Dynaudio Excite X14A Fully Powered High-End Bookshelf Speakers - Pair (Satin Black)
This set of studio monitors will cost you around $1,000 and have a frequency range starting at 42Hz and going up to 24kHz, as well as a 2-way speaker configuration.
Dynaudio has been in the studio monitor scene for almost 40 years and is known for producing some of the best monitors on the market. This is their flagship monitor and is designed to provide the low-end and power of larger monitors, in a smaller package.
All of this paired with the company’s reputation for producing industry-standard speakers and a handcrafted build, and you have a great set of monitors at just under $1,000.
Best Professional Monitors ($1,000-$5,000/pair)
Now, we’ll take a look at some of the higher end, higher priced studio monitors. These are great for those who have been producing for some time and are ready to upgrade to a professional-level set of monitors.
- Active near-field with 7 in. woofer Solid response down to 42Hz Award-winning X-ART high end Small footprint, great for project studios
- Equipped with the X-ART(eXtended Accelerating Ribbon Technology) tweeter and a large (7") midwoofer, double bass reflex tubes, a 50W A/B amplifier for the tweeter and a 150W PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) amplifier for the midwoofer, a gain for the high frequencies (+/- 4dB) and two shelf filters for the high and low frequencies
- More than 30 glowing reviews, numerous awards, and countless dedicated fans made the A7, the predecessor of this new model, a true legend in near-field monitoring
- Now, the legend continues with the A7X: All drivers, all amplifiers, as well as the cabinet have been revised, resulting in a speaker that claims nothing less but to be a new benchmark in near-field monitoring
- Driver technology The first aspect that distinguishes the old from the new model is the X-ART tweeter
These monitors are priced at about $1,500 per pair and offer a frequency range of 42Hz to 50kHz. They have a 2-way speaker configuration.
ADAM Audio is a German-based company and is basically considered to be the BMW of studio monitors. They are handmade in Berlin and are sleek machines offering high-quality performance that any professional would be thrilled with using.
They are a great option for a small to medium-sized room and the tweeters have the ability to produce frequencies beyond most of the other studio monitors in this price point.
Focal Shape 65
- Low tweeter directivity for a flexible listening position
- Designed without a port allowing it to be placed near a wall
- Numerous settings for optimal integration & accurate control, even in the very high end. Numerous settings for optimal integration & accurate control, even in the very high end
- Flax sandwich cone: controlled & articulated bass; natural & detailed lower mid-range; & upper mid-range registers
- Fastening mechanisms present on the back and underneath the loudspeaker: for installing on the ceiling or a wall fastening accessories not supplied
These monitors will run you around $2,000 per pair and offer a frequency range of 40Hz to 35kHz and a 2-way speaker configuration.
These monitors have a passive radiator on the side, which helps to take the edge off some of the low-frequency build up that is known to happen in smaller mix rooms. This means that you can place them close to a wall without worrying too much about it.
Focal Shape is one of the best options for a home-based studio because of the clarity and “flatness” that they offer.
Focal Solo6 Be
- Pur Beryllium inverted dome tweeter: very low directivity, excellent linearity and dynamics.
- "W" composite sandwich cone: neutral sound, no distortion.
- Protected Beryllium dome (the effect of the grille has been compensated on the amplifier to adjust the tonal balance).
- Flax sandwich cone: controlled and articulated bass, natural and detailed lower mid-range and upper
These studio monitors will cost you just under $3,000 for the pair. They offer a frequency range of 40Hz to 40kHz, with a 2-way speaker configuration.
For the price point, these are probably the best ones you’ll find. These monitors are well-known for their neutral response and are quite impressive on the low-end. These monitors come highly recommended for all types of music but are especially great for working with vocals.
Neumann KH 310
These monitors are definitely on the higher end of the price spectrum, running at $4,400 per pair. They do offer a frequency range of 34Hz to 21kHz and a 3-way speaker configuration.
These monitors are definitely something to behold! The three-way speaker configuration provides amazing clarity through the mid-range, that is guitars, vocals, and synths.
These offer a much wider sweet spot than some of the other monitors, which means that you’ll be able to use it in a mix room that isn’t the most ideal layout. Of course, if you buy this particular monitor, it’s because of the low-end response. The iPad app that you can use with these monitors allows you to calibrate them specifically to your room and are a great option for those who want to stick with music production.
As a music producer, you need a studio monitor you can count on to help you produce the high-quality tracks you wish to be known for. There are so many things to consider when it comes to choosing the right studio monitor.
We hope that this article has helped you to make a decision when it comes to the best studio monitors to fit your needs.