TV and Audio

The Best Studio Monitors in 2021

the best studio monitors


The best studio monitors are usually found in (surprise, surprise) a studio. Here, professionals use them to record, create new audio tracks, create new content or mix.

Now, the reason professionals need speakers designed for studios is the level of audio quality these can deliver. These devices are made using high-grade materials and implement a carefully crafted configuration that leads to rich audios with great balance, powerful low-ends, and crispy-clear notes.

As you can imagine, professional studio monitors are not exactly affordable, but new technologies and better materials led to more affordable prices for many entry-level monitors. As such, we can now have studio speakers for at-home use, which is fantastic news for audiophiles.

Still, if you’re not familiar with the terminology and you don’t understand the way sound is created by these devices, it’s easy to buy a product that’s not exactly audiophile-grade. To avoid this, make sure to read our guidelines and reviews.

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Last update on 2021-10-19 // The links above are affiliate // Images from Amazon

How To Choose The Best Studio Monitors

We put together a short how-to guideline for audiophiles and professionals who want to find the best studio monitor speakers that fit their budget.

Figure Out the Right Size

Monitor speakers come in all sizes and may have various curves. However, before you go straight to the biggest speaker, you should first consider the size of the room where they’ll be set up.

If you’re looking for speakers that will fit a bedroom (or a bedroom-sized studio) you should do just fine with a pair of 5-inch monitors (the size of the largest speaker cone). If the room is bigger, then you can go for an 8-inch speaker.

However, most at-home studios will do just fine with the 5-inch version.

Figure Out Your Budget

Yes, monitors for at-home studios are more affordable than in the past, but they can still be a big investment for a small budget (if you don’t make the right choice).

Regardless of your needs (entertainment vs audio creation), it’s important to understand that you don’t need ultra-high-end monitors to get amazing sound quality. The studio where you place the speakers will also have an impact, but so do the recording conditions and other factors.

So, it’s OK to find a pair of good-quality speakers at an affordable price. There’s no need to go over budget for big brands or professional tools.

Best Studio Monitors

M-Audio BX3

Impressive 120-Watt Powered Desktop Computer Speakers

m-audio bx3
Designed for a wide range of applications (such as live streaming, podcasting, gaming, watching movies, or listening to your favorite music), the M-Audio’s BX3 speakers feature a solid design and crystal-clear sound quality at 120-Watt power.

The pair is made from one active and one passive speaker, and both are protected by acoustically-inert MDF cabinets with bass-reflex (facilitates a smooth low end) and Kevlar low-frequency drivers. Moreover, the speakers come with enhanced rear ports that make gaming and movies a more immersive experience (due to the increase in low-end frequencies).

Lastly, these speakers support several types of connections such as 1/4”, 1/8”, headphones, and RCA inputs. Also, the controls are easy to understand and master.

Pros:
  • 120-watt of power
  • Acoustically-inert MDF cabinet and bass-reflex design
  • 1” natural silk dome tweeters
  • Supports several different inputs
  • 1 passive speaker & 1 active speaker
Cons:
  • The cables are not the best quality
  • The volume knob is a bit too sensitive

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KRK RP5 Rokit G4 Studio Monitor

The Best Budget Studio Monitors

krk rp5 rokit g4 studio monitor
If you’re looking for a low-cost monitor speaker, the RP5 Rokit G4 should be in your purview. The monitor is equipped with 5-inch woofers, has a built-in digital room correction feature and a front-firing port that offers exceptional low-end extension and accuracy.

The matching drivers made with Kevlar make sure the monitors respect sonic integrity regardless of frequency (it supports between 43Hz – 40KHz). It also comes with an LCD screen and 25 visual graphic EQ settings that can be used to minimize and correct any environment-related acoustic problems.

Overall, these monitors are a great option for DJs, music producers, and audiophiles who don’t have a generous budget (they look amazing as bookshelf speakers). We also like them because users can connect the KRK App (Android & iOS) to set up the surrounding environment for better monitoring and faster mixing.

Pros:
  • Incredibly accurate monitors
  • Great price-value report
  • Work with a smartphone app for more detailed settings
  • High-quality and durable materials
  • LCD screen and 25 visual EQ settings
Cons:
  • The configuration is a bit limited
  • Not designed for highly professional work

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Pioneer Pro DJ Studio Monitor

The Best Studio Monitors Under $200

pioneer pro dj studio monitor
Featuring a compact design, these monitor speakers provide excellent audio quality, which is why we think they’re among the best home studio monitors. The front-loaded 2-way bass reflex system is perfect for a rich low-end, while the DECO technology supports a wider reach and 3D stereo sound regardless of your position in the room.

Each of these active monitor speakers has a ¾-inch soft dome woofer fitted with DECO convex diffusers, a 4-inch fiberglass woofer, and can support a frequency range between 70 and 30000 Hz. In addition, the ducts are designed with grooves to reduce air friction, meaning that the bass will be just as tight, even when the monitors are positioned against a wall (in case you want to use them as PC speakers).

Lastly, the tweeter and woofer are aligned. This way, the monitors don’t suffer from crossover and the response across the frequencies is well-balanced.

Pros:
  • Perfectly designed for at-home use
  • Good audio quality with rich details
  • Great price-value report
  • High-quality materials
  • Easy to set up
Cons:
  • The sound is not particularly booming

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JBL Professional 305P MkII

The Best Cheap Studio Monitors

jbl professional 305p mkii
All the MkII JBL monitor speakers are equipped with next-generation HF and LF transducers designed with optimized damping for superior transient response. As such, these monitors can support a deep bass with lower harmonic distortion, which makes the result quite impressive.

The 305P MkII speakers also come with a new Boundary EQ that helps restore neutral low-frequency response if the speakers are near a wall. The sound is boosted by dual integrated custom Class-D amplifiers that deliver 82 watts of total power.

Lastly, the 305P speakers feature a modern design with a slight inclination towards dramatic flair. The visual scene is taken by the patented Image Control Waveguide, placed at the top. This element provides a room-friendly sweet spot, which makes the audio experience more interesting.

Pros:
  • Modern, sleek design
  • Updated audio technology
  • Low-frequency transducers
  • Superior deep bass
  • Perfect for both studio and home use
Cons:
  • There is a slight hissing sound when quiet
  • The design could have been better

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PreSonus Eris E3.5 BT

Active Media Reference Monitors with Bluetooth

presonus eris e3 5 bt
Small and compact, these rear-ported speakers feature a matte design that makes them easy to integrate into any room (be it at home or at the office).

While small in size, the sound is quite big (25 watts per side of onboard power) and consistent, with a smooth frequency response and tight bass. This is due to the woven composite low-frequency driver (for the bass) and the one-inch silk-dome tweeter (for transients and high frequencies). Moreover, the tweeter makes sound radiate in a wide pattern, which creates a large sweet spot. This way, you don’t have to stay in a specific region to enjoy the optimum power and sound quality of these speakers.

Lastly, the speakers feature wireless (BT) and wired connectivity (¼-inch TRS and RCA inputs and front-panel 1/8” stereo inputs).

Pros:
  • Ideal for gaming and home video production
  • Fast & reliable stereo Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity
  • Wide range of wired connectivity
  • Easy to use controls for easy customization
  • Clean sound and wide sweet spot
Cons:
  • No integrated RF protection
  • They are rear-ported

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Mackie CR3-X

Multimedia Monitors with BT

mackie cr3-x
These speakers look good and sound amazing, especially if we consider the cost! The sleek design fits in any type of room and is bound to make almost any gamer quite happy. Moreover, these work great for a wide range of applications such as listening to music, watching movies, playing games, streaming, creating content, and more.

It also supports a wide range of wired connections such as 1/4”, 1/8”, RCA, and headphones (front-facing). In addition, the front panel has several controls that make it easy to adjust settings (such as volume) without too much trouble.

Lastly, the 3-inch polypropylene-coated woofer and 0.75-inch ferrofluid-cooled silk-dome tweeter work hard at delivering a powerful representation.

Pros:
  • Powerful and clean sound (50-watt power)
  • Wide range of connectivity options
  • A wide range of applications
  • Sleek & modern design
Cons:
  • Sound quality is not at a professional level

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Summary

Whether you’re looking for the best passive studio monitors or the best active monitors, it’s important to remember that the price is an important criterion in this industry. Sure, you can find some great quality monitors for home studios, but if you’re looking for something at a professional level, you will have to invest a bit more.

About author

In her work, Mirela studies, tests and reviews the latest releases in audio, video, gaming, gadgets, and more. Mirela has been writing about tech for over 5 years now, during which she collaborated with people all over the world on various projects.
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