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 -
Best Value Cheap Monitors - Behringer 1C-BK
Best Small Compact Studio Monitors - Tannoy Reveal 402
Best Powered/ Active Speakers - Mackie Thump 12 PA
Top Rated Studio Monitors - Yamaha HS8
Best Monitors under £100 - M-Audio AV42
Best Passive Studio Monitors - KRK Rokit R6
Best Ideal for Professional Media Creation - JBL LSR305
Best for Beginner Home Studio - PreSonus Eris E5
Best Monitors Under £200 - Pyle-Pro PPHP103MU
Top 10 Studio Speakers
Best Value Cheap Monitors
1. 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 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 range 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 monitors that you can buy.
- Affordable for the average person
- Can be used for home recording studios and surround-sound systems
- Full range 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
Best Small Compact Studio Monitors
2. Tannoy Reveal 402
If you are in the market for a good quality speaker, but just do not have the room for a large speaker, then you need to consider the Tannoy Reveal 402.
This is not to mention the fact that most quality speakers are off the chart expensive, but this product is affordable the everyday person.
For a small compact studio monitors, you simply cannot find a better low-frequency response. The Reveal offers users an excellent sound quality in a very compact form.
The bass is designed for precise performance due to the ample amounts of power, combined with efficient woofers. The timing between the custom designed drivers is right on due to the perfectly tweaked crossover-filter-alignment.
This feature allows you to move around you home and not loss the sound, or if you are using theses speakers for recording purposes then you will be able to move around and still capture the sound you are looking for.
Upon the purchase of the speaker, you will also receive a 5-meter jack cable. The jack in combination with the AUX Link feature allows users to hookup the monitors quicker and easier than anything they have ever seen before.
- Very affordable product that provides great quality
- Very compact for those in need of space
- Expertly designed to deliver amazing sounding bass
- Tweaked crossover-filter-alignment allows you to move around
- Can be used for recording music or in a surround-sound system
- A compact product, but not really mini speakers
Overall, the Tannoy Reveal 402 is designed to produce a crisp sound and a long service life. It will make a great addition to your home studio, plus it will not require a lot of storage space.
Amazon Customer Reviews
"Lovely sounding speakers" - By T. Mein
"Amazing Value and quality sound" - By Andrew
Q: Are they active or do they need power?
A: Yes, these are active monitors. They need mains power but no external amp is need.
Q: Is the price fòr one speaker or a pair?
A: The price is for a single speaker. These are amazing little speakers and the sound they put out is astonishing for there size!
Best Powered/ Active Speakers
3. Mackie Thump 12 PA
If you like your music to thump, then you definitely will know how important it is to have the right speakers.
If you do not have the right speakers your music is going to come out all distorted and just sounding awful. If this sounds like something that you are interested in, then you need to be looking at the Mackie Thump 12 PA speakers.
While they are not the cheapest studio monitors on the market, they are not the most expensive, but can provide pristine quality.
Thump speakers have always been known for their thump, but this new generation of speakers really brings the thump.
This time around the company has increased the amount of low-end thump. These speakers are now offering a higher output and even more bass.
The newly installed dynamic bass response technology provides customers with deep, hard-hitting lows that they have never heard before. These speakers are packed full of 1000W Class D power.
The speakers can now be portable thanks to the robust drivers that are installed within them. The lightweight design also makes them very portable. These speakers are one of the best powered/ active speakers on the market.
- Thump speakers are a longtime speaker company
- Higher output and bass
- Dynamic bass response technology provide hard-hitting lows
- Uses 1000W Class D power
- Can be used for portable applications
- Lightweight design provide portability
- Not the cheapest speaker on the market
- Might need a subwoofer, if you are looking for tons of bass
Overall, the Mackie Thump 12 PA cannot be beat as far as power and price goes. These speakers will definitely make a great addition to your home studio.
Amazon Customer Reviews
"Tremendous value for money." - By Mr. D E Dowers
"Brilliant! Very happy!" - By Habib Farid
Top Rated Studio Monitors
4. Yamaha HS8
If you are a fan of surround-sound systems or you are in the music recording business, then you know how important it is to have the right speakers.
If you do not have the right speakers, your sound quality will not come out right. Your end product either comes out with a whole bunch of distortion or just ends up sounding like static.
If you are looking for a high-quality speaker and do not care to spend a little extra, you need to check out the Yamaha HS8.
Yamaha has been in the business of making instrument and musical equipment for a long time now. In the music industry the name Yamaha means quality.
This speaker is a bi-amplified monitor that was designed to provide accurate sound production. The speaker is capable of up to 120W of output.
The 8-inch subwoofer and 1-inch tweeter come with a waveguide that is capable of producing frequencies all the way up to 30 kHz. You can choose between a XLR input and a ¼” input.
This makes these speakers compatible with a variety of studio setups. The cabinets are designed specifically to eliminate resonance and increase the sound quality. This truly is one of the best top rated monitors on today’s market.
- Yamaha is a long-standing company in the music industry
- Capable of 120W output
- Designed to provide accurate sound production
- Capable of producing frequencies up to 30 kHz
- Compatible with several different studio setups
- Not the cheapest speakers on the market
- These speakers are a little big and may not be suitable, if you have a small studio
Overall, the Yamaha HS8 is designed to produce a quality sound without distortion, even when the volume is turned up to the maximum level.
Amazon Customer Reviews
"Great reference point for any kind of audio mixing" - By Elliott
"Love these. Perfect in every way" - By Brett
5. 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 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 Passive Studio Monitors
6. KRK Rokit R6
There are many musicians, who would prefer passive studio monitors. Those that fit within this category will definitely want to check out the KRK Rokit R6 Passive Monitor.
Although these speaks are certainly a little more costly, they deliver an enhanced audio performance, which justifies the price hike to no end.
The 6” woven Kevlar woofer can take a beating. Despite the thrashing, they’ll continue dumping out immaculate bass quality.
When compared to the majority of other speakers, the KRK Rokit R6 is capable of delivering much more accurate sound reproduction, which will enhance your ability to create pleasurable music.
Although these speakers are undoubtedly perfect for various situations and setups, they’ll work immensely well within your desktop or bedroom studio.
If you plan on playing live, the speakers are more than sufficient for small to moderate venues. The highs delivers are clear and the bass is downright perfect. More pros and cons can be found below.
- Not overly expensive, yet parallel the performance of those that are
- More than suitable for studio or live performance
- 6” woven Kevlar woofers deliver a big thump
- Binding post and bare-wire connections make setup effortless
- Weigh just 7 kg
- Built to last and will definitely do it
If you fully understand the difference between active and passive speakers, and still decide to opt for the latter, you should look no further than the KRK Rokit R6.
These speakers are excellent in all regards and are definitely capable of enhancing your ability to produce awesome tunes.
Whether you wish to use the speakers in your studio or at a live performance, they should not be ignored. Be sure to check them out for yourself today.
Amazon Customer Reviews
"Five Stars" - By Bill Flowerpot
"Good size and great quality. Ideal for a desktop studio." - By Mr. David Robertson
7. JBL LSR305
Although many musicians won’t put a lot of stock in the exterior design of their 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
Ideal for Professional Media Creation
8. 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 frequencies
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 For Beginner Home Studio
9. 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 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
10. 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 Monitor
The types of 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 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 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 monitors are modular, which means you need to match them an amplifier and crossover that works with it. Active 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 frequencies, 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 frequencies 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 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 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 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.
The size of your room also plays a part because if you have one that is very small, you are going to be victim to a load of sonic inaccuracies that can ruin the overall feel of your music. Small rooms are best without a subwoofer so that you end up with quality sounds instead of distortion and sonic inaccuracies.
All in all, the market is overflowing with awesome 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, which will guide you in the right direction.