best budget studio monitors 2021

The Ultimate List Of Best Studio Monitors In 2021

Table of Contents

The Ultimate List Of Best Studio Monitors In 2021. There are a few things music producers cannot live without. Next to a good pair of studio headphones, studio monitors are definitely next on that list. As a music producer, it is critically important to get a pair of decent studio monitors early on. Monitors will help you to critically listen to your music, while also being able to enjoy your music as it’s being created. Besides, working with headphones on all the time can really drain your ears which is never a smart thing to do!

What are studio monitors?

You know that famous phrase, what you see is what you get? Well, with studio monitors what you hear is what you get. Good studio monitors are designed to give you a true and honest representation of your mix. No filters or sugar coated lies! You might be asking yourself, are studio monitors necessary? Yes! You need to be able to hear the mix in its rawest form so you’ll know what parts of your song need extra tweaking and filtering.

What is the difference between studio monitors and regular speakers?

Now while your Bose home cinema system might sound amazing when watching Netflix or listening to music on Spotify, one thing regular speakers won’t do, is give you a true and honest representation of your mix. Speakers of let’s say your Hi-Fi set, or your car audio system are artificially enhanced and tweaked to give the listener a more satisfying sound. The same can be said for regular headphones and earbuds compared to studio headphones. As a producer, you’ll need to be able to hear your mix in its true unfiltered form. You’ll need to be able to make your music sound good through flat speakers first. If you can achieve that, they will sound good on just about any speakers or sound system.

Also interesting: The top 6 best studio headphones in 2021

How to choose the right pair

With that being said, as a music producer and especially a beginner producer a quality set of studio monitors should be a priority on your shopping list. But with so many different brands, sizes, options and prices you might get a little overwhelmed at first. Let’s first get into a few important factors to think about when deciding to buy your first pair of studio monitors:

Determine your budget

As with everything, it all starts with choosing a realistic budget for your investment. Very few quality studio monitors come in cheap, so be prepared to save up a little before you start thinking about purchasing studio monitors. We have tried our best to make this list suitable for everyone regardless of budget. Another thing to keep in mind is that most studio monitors are (usually) not sold in pairs. You will have to pay for each speaker individually. So don’t let the price card fool you.

How big is your studio?

Another important criteria when it comes to finding the right pair of studio monitors, is the size of your studio. Studio monitors can either be near field or mid field. Near field monitors are designed to be approx. one or two meters away from the listener. If you work in a small studio environment such as a bedroom, smaller near field studio monitors will get the job done perfectly. Putting large studio monitors in a small bedroom or space is not a good idea. This will result in boominess, causing the sound to bounce off surfaces more easily, which will mess with the sound. If you’re working in a bigger room, you’re gonna have to place the monitors a bit further away from you. This is where mid field monitors come into play. Mid field monitors are generally larger and are therefore positioned between two to four meters away from the listener. A common mistake rookies often make is getting the biggest studio monitors they can afford.

Has your room been acoustically treated?

Now another important thing to consider is the acoustic treatment of your working space/studio. Great studio monitors will only sound great if your room is well-treated. It make no sense to spend money on a top notch pair of studio monitors if your room has shitty acoustic treatment, or no acoustic treatment at all. It’s generally known that the treatment of your room is even more important than the quality of your studio monitors. A cheap pair of studio monitors will sound a lot better in a well-treated room, than an expensive set in a room without any acoustic treatment. If you haven’t treated your room yet, read our beginner’s guide to treating your room for mixing, mastering and recording. 

Also interesting: Beginner’s guide to treating your room for mixing and mastering

Be sure to consider these important aspects before spending the big bucks on a pair of studio monitors. Now that you know what to look out for, let’s get into our list of the best studio monitors available in 2021. We will start off with entry-level monitors

Budget studio monitors pairs < $400

Here are the best cheap entry level studio monitors for mixing, recording and beatmaking.

KRK Rokit 5

Price per pair: $358
Frequency response: 43Hz-40kHz
Speaker configuration: 2-way
Driver size: 5”, 1”
Inputs: XLR
Our rating: ⭐⭐⭐

Best budget studio monitors 2021
Source: KRK Audio

What’s great about em?
If you’re into music, chances are you have heard or seen photos of the KRK Rokits in a recording setting before. They stand out for their iconic yellow and black speaker cones making them attractive to the eye. The kevlar tweeter allows for long-term durability and the overall build quality of the KRK Rokit is of high level. KRK now has an app that helps you to calibrate your pair of KRK monitors to your room. KRK Rokit’s are best known for their well-balanced low-end response, making them great for bass heavy music genres. They are also very affordable making them one of the most popular choices for beginner music producers.

Sweetwater price Check Amazon Price

 

JBL LSR305P MKII

Price per pair: $238
Frequency response: 49Hz–20kHz
Speaker configuration: 2-way
Driver size: 5”, 1”
Inputs: XLR
Our rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

best budget studio monitor
Image source: JBL

What’s great about em?
The JBL 305PMKII are a great choice for beginners just getting into the world of music production. These bad boys, like the KRK Rokit’s 5 are great for handling bass-heavy musical genres. They are designed to sound good in just about any room, small or large. This means you don’t necessarily have to get new studio monitors whenever you move our of your mom’s basement, or your bedroom. The 305Ps sound amazing, are one of the easiest studio monitors to setup, and are equipped with cutting edge technology that will make your music studio sounding excellent. On top of all that, they’r also incredibly cheap! No brainer.

Sweetwater price Check Amazon Price

PreSonus Eris E5

Price per pair: $250
Frequency response: 53Hz-22kHz
Speaker configuration: 2-way
Driver size: 5”, 1.25″
Inputs: 1 x RCA, 1 x 1/4″, 1 x XLR
Our rating: ⭐⭐⭐

Best studio monitors

The Presonus Eris E5s are a great pair of beginner studio monitors to start off with. The silk dome tweeter of the E5 creates crystal clear high-end frequencies without becoming distorted. This is something that you will usually only find in higher priced monitors. On the other hand, the low-end is something that lacks a bit with the E5s, as it misses out on the sub frequencies below 53Hz. Therefore getting an additional subwoofer, or a pair of studio headphones is recommended. It doesn’t mean they’re useless when it comes to bass. Just keep in mind that they offer an 80Hz/100Hz low-cut.

Sweetwater price Check Amazon Price

Yamaha HS5

Price per pair: $399
Frequency response: 54Hz-30kHz
Speaker configuration: 2-way
Driver size: 5”, 1″
Inputs: 1 x XLR, 1 x 1/4″ TRS
Our rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Image source: Yamaha

The Yamaha HS5 is a great monitor that is often the go-to choice of most music producers. The Yamaha Hs series (HS5, HS7, HS8) provide excellent quality and perhaps stand out most for their recognizable white and black designs. A pair of HS5s is available for just under $400 bucks, making them a great set of budget studio monitors. You will not be disappointed by picking Yamaha as your first studio monitors. These monitors will sound great in just about any setting, and allow you to mix, master and record with great accuracy. The Yamaha HS series also come with room control and high trim response controls that allow you to adjust the monitor to sound perfect in your mix environment.

Sweetwater price

Check Amazon Price
 

Kali Audio LP-6

Price per pair: $298
Frequency response: 45Hz-21kHz
Speaker configuration: 2-way
Driver size: 6.5”, 1″
Inputs: 1 x XLR, 1 TRS
Our rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Image cource: Kali Audio

When it comes to transparency, the Kali Audio LP-6s are top of the list. This pair of studio monitors really shouldn’t be so cheap giving their excellent quality. Kali’s Boundary EQ allows you to tweak the settings on the monitors to your mixing environment or room setup. This makes these speakers versatile and adaptable to any room or setting. With their flat and neutral frequency response the Kali Audio LP-6s are one of the best budget studio monitors for beginners on the market.

Sweetwater price

Check Amazon Price
 

Mackie CR3

Price per pair: $99.99
Frequency response: 70Hz-20kHz
Speaker configuration: 2-way
Driver size: 3”, .75″
Inputs: 2 x 1/4″ TRS, 1 x Dual RCA Stereo, 1 x 1/8″ TS
Our rating: ⭐⭐

best studio monitors under 200
Image source: Mackie

The Mackie CR3s are the cheapest pair of studio monitors on our budget list. We usually won’t recommend going this cheap but the Mackie CR3s made the list for a reason, they’re actually pretty damn good! The Mackie CR3s have a professional build quality that you usually will only find on more expensive monitors. It features 3-inch woofers and a .75 inch silk dome tweeter. The woofer delivers a nice rich low end while the tweeter does not sound thin at all. If you’re working with a smaller budget, the Mackie CR3s are definitely the best buy you can find.

Sweetwater price

Check Amazon Price
 

Samson MediaOne BT4

Price per pair: $168
Frequency response: 54Hz-27kHz
Speaker configuration: 2-way
Driver size: 4”, 1″
Inputs: RCA and 1/8″ Stereo Line Inputs
Our rating: ⭐⭐

Best studio monitors under 300
Image source: Bax-Shop

The Samson MediaOne BT4 studio monitors aren’t just studio monitors, they can be used for multiple purposes such as, for example DJing. This pair of studio monitors is equipped with Bluetooth connectivity which comes in handy if you don’t have an audio interface. You can easily connect your speakers to your laptop, PC, phone or even tablet. The monitors are equipped with 4-inch copolymer woofers and 1-inch silk dome tweeters. They receive 20 watts of power, which is a bit lower than the average of 50 watts for other monitors in this price range. These monitors are kind of a hybrid between studio monitors and computer speakers, and although they’re not bad at all, you can definitely get more out of the $168 they cost for a pair.

Sweetwater price

Check Amazon Price
 

Best intermediate studio monitors pairs > $400 – $1000

Now let’s get into some of the more expensive monitors. As with everything, the more money you invest, the higher the quality will be. We recommend to have a look into this list if you’ve been producing, or recording for a few years and are ready for an upgrade.
 

Yamaha HS8

Price per pair: $740
Frequency response: 38Hz-30kHz
Speaker configuration: 2-way
Driver size: 8”, 1”
Inputs: XLR and TRS phone jack inputs
Our rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

best studio monitors 2020
Image source: Yamaha

Another studio monitor from the Yamaha HS series, the HS8 do everything the HS5 do, but better hence the higher price. Especially the low-end response on the HS8 is much more improved. WIth 8″ woofers the HS8 can handle frequency responses down to 38hz. This means they can pretty much handle all the low-end frequencies you’d ever use on a track. The HS8 is the perfect choice if you’re ready to upgrade your setup.

Sweetwater price

Check Amazon Price
 

KRK Rokit RP7 G4

Price per pair: $420
Frequency response: 42Hz-40kHz
Speaker configuration: 2-way
Driver size: 7”, 1”
Inputs: Balanced TRS/XLR Combo Jacks
Our rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

best studio monitors for mixing
Image source: KRK Audio

The RP7s similar to the HS8, are an upgrade to the Rokit 5s. The RP7s will give you everything you need from a studio monitor. Long-term reliability, flexibility, versatility, limited ear fatigue and a better low-end frequency response. The 7″ woofer will allow you to capture the most important sub frequencies, making it perfect for bass-heavy genres. Grabbing a pair of RP7s will cost you just over $400, making them an excellent pick for producers wanting to to step their game up a little, while not spending too much.

Sweetwater price

Check Amazon Price
 

Genelec 8010A

Price per pair: $700
Frequency response: 74Hz-20kHz
Speaker configuration: 2-way
Driver size: 3”, 0.75”
Inputs: 1 x XLR Analog Input
Our rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

best studio monitors for recording
Image source: Genelec

Genelec are one of the top brands in the business of pro audio. Genelec speakers are to be found in the best studios around the world. The 8010As are an excellent choice especially for smaller mixing/studio environments. The monitors are equipped with smaller drivers, so the low-end will be a bit limited in bigger rooms. It is therefore recommended to get a pair of monitoring headphones to couple the 8010As with if you’re working in a bigger environment.

Sweetwater price
 

Mackie MR824

Price per pair: $540
Frequency response: 35Hz-20kHz
Speaker configuration: 2-way
Driver size: 8”, 1”
Inputs: 1⁄4-inch TRS, XLR, or RCA
Our rating: ⭐⭐⭐

Best studio monitors 2021
Image source: Gear4Music

The Mackie MR824s are a great choice for their price and performance. Their polypropylene woofer and silk-dome tweeter are deliver a perfectly balanced response that makes these monitors very versatile across different genres. Next to music production, you can use these monitors for podcasting, recording and even DJing. The wooden cabinet makes them look classy and sleek, adding a classic look to your studio. A cool extra if you’re a Pro Tools user, you’ll get Mackie’s 21-plugin Musician Collection library for free.

Sweetwater price

Check Amazon Price
 

Dynaudio BM5 mkIII

Price per pair: $1000
Frequency response: 42Hz-24kHz
Speaker configuration: 2-way
Driver size: 7”, 1”
Inputs: Balanced analog input (XLR) 4. Unbalanced analog input (RCA) 5
Our rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Best studio monitor for hip hop
Image source: Sweetwater

Dynaudio have been in the game for a long time with nearly 40 years of experience, they produce some of the best studio monitors on the market. These BM5s are their flagship monitors designed for near-field use. The BM5s offer a complete full-end response and the power that you would usually find in larger monitors. The BM5s also come with high pass filter features for subwoofer adaptation and a hand-crafted build. This excellent pair of studio monitors are a great pick coming in for just $1000.

Sweetwater price
 

Best professional studio monitors pairs $1000-$5000

Now let’s move on to the real deal. Professional studio monitors you will find in professional recording studios. If you’ve been in the game for years, and ready make big moves like building your own professional studio environment, this is the list you’ll need to have a look at.
 

Focal Shape 65

Price per pair: $2000
Frequency response: 40Hz-35kHz
Speaker configuration: 2-way
Driver size: 6.5”, 1”
Inputs: 1 x XLR Unbalanced: 1 x RCA IEC
Our rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

best professional studio monitors
Image source: MusicRadar

The Shape 65s feature a passive radiator on the side of each speaker. This helps to remove much of the low-frequency buildup that takes place in smaller mixing rooms. This allows you to put the monitors closer to a wall without any issues. Focal Shape monitors are renowned for their clarity and flatness. This is especially notable in the mid and high frequencies. These professional studio monitors are one of the best options out there for a professional home studio.

Sweetwater price

Check Amazon Price
 

Neumann KH 310

Price per pair: $4.400
Frequency response: 34Hz-21kHz
Speaker configuration: 3-way
Driver size: 8.25”, 3”, 1”
Inputs: 1 x XLR Unbalanced
Our rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

best pro studio monitors
Image source: Amazon

The Neumann KH 310s are just an incredible pair of pro studio monitors that deliver stunning sound. The three-way design will give you excellent clarity throughout the mid-range. This makes them great for vocals, synths, guitars and other instruments. The woofers are 8.25″ and provide a fullness that is perfect for mixing electronic music. If you’re looking for the perfect low-end response monitors, this is it right here. Neumann’s iPad app also lets you calibrate the monitors to your room type.

Sweetwater price

Check Amazon Price
 

Focal Solo6 Be

Price per pair: $2998
Frequency response: 40Hz-40kHz
Speaker configuration: 2-way
Driver size: 6.5″, 1″
Inputs: 1 x XLR Unbalanced
Our rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

best professional studio monitors pair
Image source: Tom Lee Music

The Focal Solo6 Be are a great versatile set of studio monitors which can be used for recording, mixing and mastering. The Solo6 Be has an amazing bass response for its size, all the way down to 40Hz. Next to that let’s not forget the super impressive upper-frequency response that reaches beyond human hearing all the way to 40kHz. This studio monitor is much more than just the specs. It’s complete, it provides clarity and crispness. The Solo6 Be is an excellent pick for those seeking professional audio.

Sweetwater price

Check Amazon Price
 

Adam A7X

Price per pair: $1.500
Frequency response: 42Hz-50kHz
Speaker configuration: 2-way
Driver size: 7”, 2”
Inputs: 1 x XLR Unbalanced
Our rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Adam A7X
Image source: Sweetwater

Adam Audio is like the Mercedes of studio monitors. Handmade in Berlin, Germany, these monitors offer high performance, coming from sleek monitors that any professional audio engineer would love to be working with. These monitors are a great choice for small to medium-sized working environments. The X-ART Folded-ribbon tweeters will produce frequencies above most other monitors in this price range with ease.

Sweetwater price

Check Amazon Price
 

Best high-end industry standard studio monitors pairs $5000 and up

Now lets get down to business. We’ve handled the best budget studio monitors, the best intermediate studio monitors, the best professional studio monitors and now its gonna come down to the best of the best studio monitors money can buy in 2021.

Genelic The Ones 8341A

Price per pair: $5.900
Frequency response: 45Hz-20kHz
Speaker configuration: 3-way
Driver size: 6.6”, 3.5”, 0.75”
Inputs: 1 x XLR Analog Input, 1 x XLR AES/EBU Input
Our rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

best expensive studio monitors
Image source: SX Pro Audio

Now there is a reason these monitors are called “The Ones”. For Genelec, to name a set of monitors “The Ones” they must have had to be really convinced of the performance these monitors deliver. They are not wrong. The Ones translate between nearfield and midfield settings and offer a tight and neutral frequency response. Genelec comes with Smart Active Monitors technology that allows you to optimize the monitor to your mix room. If you’re looking for state-of-the-art sound quality, these will be your best pick. Hence their name…. The Ones…

Sweetwater price
 

Focal Trio6 Be

Price per pair: $5.998
Frequency response: 35Hz-40kHz
Speaker configuration: 3-way
Driver size: 8”, 5”, 1”
Inputs: 1 x XLR, 1 x 1/4″
Our rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

best focal studio monitors
Image source: PA Shop

The Focal Trio6 Be are a three-way version of the Solo6s. These monitors will deliver an even better neutrality level with a more lush low-end. These top-notch studio monitors have been used by top engineers in studios all over the world. Most engineers stand on having multiple sets of studio monitors in their studio to switch between. The Trio6s can do this with a single set of monitors. You can remotely switch between the three-way to a two-way setup that uses only the 5″ and 1″ drivers offering a frequency response between 90Hz-20kHz. Similar to the Solo6s, the beryllium tweeters on the Trio6 Be will give you state-of-the-art transparency on the high end which makes these monitors great for mixing vocals.

Sweetwater price

Check Amazon Price
 

ATC SCM50ASL Pro 9

Price per pair: $15.500
Frequency response: 38Hz-20kHz
Speaker configuration: 3-way
Driver size: 9.2″, 3″, 1″
Inputs: 1 x XLR
Our rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

best profressional studio monitor pairs
Image source: Reflexion Arts

Professional engineers choose the ATC SCM50ASL active monitors for their unrivaled accuracy and precision. These monitors deliver exceptional performance, which is why you can find these monitors in the studios of Goerge Massenburg, Chuck Ainlay, Nathaniel Kunkel, and many other world-renowned engineers. These wonderful monitors are hand-crafted in the U.K with cutting-edge components and processes. Its no coincidence these monitors are one of the finest reference monitors in the world. If you want the absolute best mastering-quality monitoring system you should look no further than the ATC SCM50ASL active monitors.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on google
Share on linkedin
Share on reddit
Share on whatsapp
Share on email
MellaMayne

MellaMayne

Producer/DJ and founder of Musiciangoods.

Newcomers

Boost your sound library with high-quality samples

Drum machine stands

The sexiest drum machine stands on the internet

Subscribe to our newsletter!

Get the best of our production tips and news, weekly in your inbox.

X
Add to cart
Black friday all week long

Save up to 70%

Get notified about new products, articles, tutorials & more.

Receive the latest news

Subscribe To Our Newsletter And Get A 10GB Sample Pack

Get notified about new products, articles, tutorials & more.