As an aspiring musician, you need to grasp the importance of your studio equipment. Without the right equipment, your beautiful voice may not translate so beautifully.
In order to ensure that everything is translated into your recording software with immaculate clarity, it is imperative to equip yourself with some of the best studio monitors.
In this regard, you will need some excellent studio speakers, which will give you the ability to hear precisely what you’re recording. This equipment is absolutely imperative and should not be ignored.
There is an abundance of studio monitors and finding the right ones for your specific situation can be difficult. Below, you will find a breakdown of some of the best on the market.
In a hurry? Here are our top picks for the best studio monitors
Editors Pick - Mackie CR4
Best Value Cheap Studio Monitors - Behringer 1C-BK
Best Studio Monitors under £100 - M-Audio AV42
Best Passive Home Studio Monitors - KRK Rokit R6
Best for Beginner Home Studio - PreSonus Eris E5
Best Monitors Under £200 - Pyle-Pro PPHP103MU
Best Studio Monitors
1. Mackie CR4
A high-quality speaker will definitely determine whether or not your music is studio-quality.
The Mackie CR4 is ideal for professional media creation and plus they will make a great addition to your home studio.
These speakers are available in 3” and 4” styles, so you will have no problem finding the perfect size to suit your needs.
The Mackie CR4 is integrated with professional-grade features and components to offer superior performance.
The cabinet is constructed out of wood, which will offer durability unlike the plastic, lower quality competitor brand.
Do not be put off by the compact size, because they are capable of producing a crisp and loud sound.
- Available in 3” and 4” styles
- Very compact and will be perfect for a small studio
- All-wood construction
- Includes all connection cables, so you do not have to purchase any extra accessories
- Very affordable
- Compatible with iOS devices and PC
- 50-watt speakers
- Bass is not capable of reaching extremely low frequency response
Overall, the Mackie CR4 is superbly designed and will stand up to the test of time. The compact design is very desirable for someone that has limited studio space. You will not beat the price tag or the superior sound quality.
Amazon Customer Reviews
"Very, very clear. Great for production." - By Benjamin Dodsworth
"Great value package, great sound quality, needs a touch more bass." - By Ethan
Best Value Cheap Studio Monitors
2. Behringer 1C-BK
If you are big on home entertainment systems, then you know how important it is to have the best quality equipment.
You want you sound to come through clear at an effective noise level. This is exactly what the Behringer 1C-BK can provide you with.
While it is suitable for surround-sound systems it can also be used for home recording studios. This truly is an all in one product that provides outstanding quality.
This Studio monitor is capable of producing a full range output with very little distortion. The 5-½ inch woofer has an extremely lightweight cellulose cone.
Not to mention the absolute phase linearity that you receive from the ½ inch tweeter. This product is capable of providing users with a frequency response of 60 Hz up to 23 kHz.
You never have to worry about damaging the tweeter thanks to the auto overload protection that will reset itself automatically. The dimensions of the product are 8.9 (H) x 5.9 (W) x 5.6 (L). The monitor weighs in at exactly 4 pounds. This really is one of the best value cheap studio monitors that you can buy.
- Affordable for the average person
- Can be used for home studios and surround-sound systems
- Full range high end output with little distortion
- Auto overload protection prevent tweeter damage
- Will require an amplifier that is sold separately
- Does not include all the features that a more expensive product would include
Overall, the Behringer 1C-BK is designed to offer durability and longevity. If you are searching for an affordable monitor, you should look no further than this brand.
Amazon Customer Reviews
"Great budget option for small studios" - By Garj
"Excellent quality sound and small and attractive." - By Cricket Buff
3. M-Audio AV42
Those that are looking for an excellent set of speakers, but don’t want to splurge, will most certainly want to check out the M-Audio AV42.
These monitor speakers are more than capable of satisfying the majority of musicians and are built for added longevity.
Despite their affordable price tag, the speakers are fitted with 4-inch polypropylene-coated woofers.
These woofers help to deliver an immaculate bass sound with perfect translation.
The 1-inch tweeters are ideal for those that want to experience highs with pure clarity. The speakers are very impressive and are more than affordable enough to fit in any musician’s arsenal.
The speakers weigh just 3.4 kg, so you will have no difficulty getting them positioned away inside of your studio.
The speakers deliver an impressive frequency response range of 75 Hz to 20 kHz, which will be more than sufficient for the majority of musicians. More pros can cons can be found below.
- The speakers are immensely affordable and will not break the bank
- They’re designed high end to last and are backed up by a warranty
- 90 dB Signal-to-Noise ratio ensures excellent clarity
- Hookup and setup couldn’t be easier
- 4-inch woofers deliver impressive accuracy for bass lovers
- 1-inch tweeters ensure highs are delivered perfectly
- Can’t beat the most expensive models
All in all, there is plenty to like with the M-Audio AV42. The speakers are unbelievably affordable, yet powerful enough to deliver a pleasing experience.
Those that want to add a little something extra to their studio, but refuse to splurge, will definitely want to spend a moment to check out these speakers.
Amazon Customer Reviews
"For the price you literally can't beat them!" - By James Henrick
"Great speakers! The headphone jack works very well" - By Sean Snyder
Best Looking Studio Monitors
4. JBL LSR305
Although many musicians won’t put a lot of stock in the exterior design of their studio monitors, some will.
If you truly wish to obtain the best-looking monitors, you will definitely want to check out the JBL LSR305.
These monitor speakers are gorgeous, thanks to the shiny black finish. Of course, this isn’t the only impressive feature.
The speakers are equipped with professionally balanced inputs, which guarantee that the connection is solid and the music is undistorted.
The speakers weigh just 6 kg, which ensures that you’ll have no difficulty moving them about. The speakers deliver 80 watts of power, which is more than sufficient.
The speakers come with a sensitivity switch, which offers a broad range of signal sources. When utilizing these speakers, you will be able to rest assured knowing that professional quality sound will be delivered consistently.
Despite the small stature of these speakers, they’re capable of deliver a big, bold performance. More pros can be found below.
- Very stylish design, which will satisfy any perfectionist
- Delivers excellent bass sound, which isn’t overwhelming
- Perfectly balanced and more than sufficient for studio engineers
- Not overly expensive
- Small in stature and light in weight
- Professional balanced inputs are a plus
- Image Control Waveguide Technology is respectable
- Bass might not thump enough for some
If you’re looking for an excellent studio monitor, which will impress in not only style, but also performance, you will definitely want to check out the JBL LSR305.
These speakers are solidly built, very stylish and more than suitable for professional musicians. Despite all of the enormously beneficial features, the price is still affordable.
For that, these monitor speakers are well worth exploring in greater detail.
Amazon Customer Reviews
"The sound quality is so good you start hearing instruments never heard before" - By Shahid
"I've been running these monitors for months now and they're excellent." - By C Speed
Best For Beginner Home Studio
5. PreSonus Eris E5
Those that are new to the genre might not want to splurge on their first set of equipment.
If you fit into this category, you should opt for something a little less costly. The PreSonus Eris E5 is perfect for these individuals.
These speakers are excellent in various categories and are more than affordable enough for the beginner, who may wish to upgrade to something more costly in the future.
The speakers come with multiple inputs, which will provide you with an array of options.
For added convenience, you can purchase both speakers for a low fee. This makes the process immensely easier and should be very reassuring for those new to the recording game.
The speakers come with compact 5.25” Kevlar bass drivers, which will deliver an impressive thump and excellent clarity. The speakers are slightly heavier, at 12 kg, but this only helps to ensure that they’ll last for an extensive period of time.
Take note that the speakers only come with power cords, so you will need to make some additional purchases, in order to start using them.
- An excellent value for 2 speakers
- Absolutely perfect for beginners, who may wish to upgrade their home studio later
- Not overly heavy and won’t consume too much space
- 5.25” Kevlar bass drivers are great and deliver an excellent thump
- Many options and numerous inputs
- Exterior design is beautiful and will enhance your studio’s appearance
- Not ideal for advanced musicians
All in all, there is a lot to like about the PreSonus Eris E5. These speakers are undoubtedly the best for the beginner home studio.
The speakers are more than affordable, yet will deliver an impressive performance. If you’re looking for great starter speakers, these are well worth checking out.
Amazon Customer Reviews
"Surprisingly good for the Money. Arguably better than most of the monitors in the price bracket." - By P Monk
"Amazing, absolutely AMAZING! I suppose I should also mention the speakers are fantastic." - By Felicia Kourtis
6. Pyle-Pro PPHP103MU
Are you looking for a speaker that you can use with your MP3 files from your SD card?
If so, you should not look any further than the Pyle-Pro. It is designed to produce a sound quality like no other.
The PPHP103MU is integrated with a variety of features that will definitely make your media experience more intense.
The volume is loud enough that you can still hear your favorite tunes over loud external noises.
This is a very user-friendly device that is equipped with control buttons that are labeled, so you can use it without having to use the instruction guide. Pyle-Pro’s compact size of 15” is suitable for those that are always on the goal.
- Plays music directly from an SD card
- Equipped with a built-in MP3 player
- User friendly
- Compact design (15”), so you can take it everywhere you go
- Equipped with a 3.5-millimeter jack for easy PC connection
- Superior sound output
- Built-in mount for a speaker stand
- Price tag is a little expensive
- MAINS power cable is too short
Overall, the Pyle-Pro is one of the best monitors under £200. It is integrated with MIC input, so you can hook up your microphone and use it for voice recording.
There is no ends to the possibilities that you can receive from the Pyle-Pro.
Amazon Customer Reviews
"Well built unit, good powerful sound output. Balanced mic input works well" - By Amazon Customer
"Works great and gives good sound and volume,on P.A., MP3 , and SD cards" - By Enefjay
How to Choose a Studio Monitor
That’s the question, isn’t it? How do you choose a studio monitor, and how do you know it’s going to be the right one for you? There are quite a few things to take into consideration, but the below section explores each of the key aspects in details, so you know exactly what to keep your eye on. Take a look and see if it’s of any help.
Type of Studio Monitor
The types of studio monitor tend to be in a few different categories:
What you choose all depends on your personal preference, the size of the room in question, and the kind of sounds you are creating. For example, near field studio monitors are perfect for small rooms because that is what they have bee designed for, and far-field ones are suited to more spacious areas. It’s all about doing a little bit of research before you commit to buy.
Active or Passive Studio Monitors
An interesting fact to note is that the recording industry has used passive monitors since its conception. Although they recently switched to active ones for the sake of convenience. There are a few differences between them, but they are both equally good choices. It all comes down to personal preference in the end.
Passive studio monitors are modular, which means you need to match them an amplifier and crossover that works with it. Active studio monitors, on the other hand, already have all of this built into them so that you are ready to go immediately.
The active models are easier in that there is no need to modify them and you know they have already been fitted with all the latest gear and tech. However, the passive ones mean that you do get the opportunity to really customise your build.
Cabinet Design – Ported or Closed
This is an important feature to take into consideration before you buy a studio monitor. Many of them will have a ported cabinet, which is used to extend the frequency response so that you can get more bass.
While this can be a great feature, the sonic accuracy may not be as precise when compared to a closed design. Therefore, it really depends on your preferences as well as the way your studio has been set up.
Power - How Many Watts Do I Need
The amount of power you have in your studio monitor system has a big impact on the sound, and this is in terms of volume, dynamic range, and headroom. A higher wattage means you will be able to hear more transient detail, which ensures a better listening experience as well as more accurate adjustments.
A good amount to go for is 200w, because this offers you excellent levels of power so that you can keep things detailed. Lower wattage, say something in the 70w range, means more distortion and a greater chance of poor-quality music.
Different Driver Types and Why They Matter
What the driver is made of isn’t necessarily as important as the kind of driver that has been installed in your studio monitor. It’s all about the quality, the sound, and the feel of the driver; not the material it’s been made from. Check out the applications of the driver first, and the materials second.
What about the types of driver?
Well, there are two; woofers and tweeters. There is also the mid-
range driver, but these aren’t very common because they are found in a three-way system. When you are using a two-way monitor, the woofer looks after the low, low-mid, and midrange frequency response, while the tweeter handles all the high stuff.
When you have a three-way monitor, the mid-range driver takes control of all the mid frequencies so that the woofer and tweeter can handle the lows and highs respectively. If you decide to add a subwoofer, this will take over all the low frequency response for an even broader range of sound.
Placement and Isolation
You and your speakers should be placed in a wide triangle. So, your speakers are the two bottom points, and your head is the top. This will create a beautifully clear stereo sound, as well as a strong
frequency response for the best musical results.
Speaker stands can help to improve this even more, especially because there is less for the sound to reflect off before it reaches your ears. The stands isolate the sound, creating something that is clearer crisper, and more enjoyable for your listeners.
The amount you have to spend is important, because you need to be able to find something that suits your budget. That is why I work so hard to ensure that there are products available in a whole load of price ranges; we don’t all have £500 to blow on new equipment.
However, just because you don’t have that much doesn’t mean you can’t find something that will perform well. It’s true that the cheaper models might have a few more issues, but you’ll also be surprised by how
brilliantly many of them perform. Plus, I only bring you the best so you can trust my choices with regards to the models and cost.
The Size of the Speakers
You have to be sensible here, because the speakers should be appropriate for the size of the room in question. Too big or too small, and you aren’t going to end up with the results you expect. It will be more accurate if you buy home studio monitors that are actually scaled according to the size of your room.
Yes, larger speakers might be able to provide you with more sound variations and additional features, but that isn’t something you are going to notice if the space is too small.
Do I Need a Subwoofer?
This really does depend on what you are doing. Let’s break it down a little:
- Mixing sound for film and TV: subwoofer
- Demo tracks: no subwoofer
Home studios cinema systems and dance clubs will also benefit from a subwoofer because it unlocks new tones that can change the entire feel of the situation. But, for stuff that will just be listened to on a phone or in a car, there isn’t much point because the listener won’t be able to hear it.
All in all, the market is overflowing with awesome home studio monitors, but only one of these products will suit your needs and desires to perfection.
In order to find the right one, which you allow you to achieve your goals, it is essential to first identify what you need. Once you’ve done this, you’ll want to refer to our comprehensive breakdowns above.
Therefore, you will find an abundance of information on your studio monitor, which will guide you in the right direction.