Best Budget Studio Monitor Review – Top Rated Models in 2019 with Buying Guide
This short paragraph will help you find the best budget studio monitor, especially if you are short on time. Finding good budget studio monitor speakers is a necessity when producing music in a small studio. We found out that the Yamaha HS5 model is a great choice. That is because it has two drivers that are large enough to provide the volume needed. The frequency range is also good and it will allow you to listen to clear sounds. With the noise-reduction technology present, the sound waves will be smooth and uninterrupted. Sometimes you can’t find the Yamaha HS5 for sale and if that’s the case, look for the JBL LSR305 model.
Highly Recommended Choices – Reviews & Comparison
Quality budget home studio monitors should be able to provide a clear and natural sound, even in studios that lack the latest technologies. Each monitor has its good and bad points, but in the case of budget models, they should be suitable for most purposes. Here are our budget studio monitor reviews for some of the models that we believe to be a great choice. If you think you need more than a studio monitor, you might try some studio headphones too.
If you are looking for a monitor that can provide quality in every aspect, this model will not let you down. The woofer is one that measures 5 inches and is capable of providing enough volume, while the tweeter is 1 inch wide.
In terms of frequency range, this monitor is able to offer sounds between 54 Hz and 30 kHz and that means the high sounds will be heard really well. The Yamaha brand is known to make quality products and this model is no exception.
Accepting both balanced and unbalanced XLR and TRS inputs, the device has a great look and it fits well in any room. It also provides a high trim response control, for the best sounds. The power that it can put out is 70 watts in total.
That is enough for a small or medium room. The noise reduction technology used in this monitor ensures a clear sound at all times.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($399.98)
The black design offers a pleasing feeling while visually ensuring you that the monitor is capable of delivering quality sound and good volume. The manufacturers have made it a priority to build this monitor in such a manner that it sounds good no matter where you position it in the room.
That is what will provide you with accurate sounds wherever you are, close to the monitor or far away. The brand is known as one that produces its own electronics and that helps with allowing it to construct the monitors as it wishes. In the making of this model, the brand uses components that can be found in high-end models.
One advantage of doing this is that the monitor provides great low-frequency sounds. The bass is something that stands out well when using it. With 41 watts of power, the monitor isn’t the loudest but it allows the listener to hear everything he or she needs.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($178.4)
This monitor isn’t big at all and that is an advantage when you have a small studio and a budget to match it. It will sit very well on a workstation, bookshelf or next to your computer. Although small, it’s a model that is very sturdy. The company also offers some bigger variants too and they all come with the striking green colored rims that give them a special look.
In the construction of this monitor, the makers have ensured that the quality of the lows, mids, and highs was heavily tested.
That resulted in a monitor that is capable of delivering great high-frequency sounds and the clarity of those sounds is impressive. No matter the volume, the sound is a neutral, natural one, and that is always a good thing for music producers.
Having a frequency that ranges from 80 Hz to 20 kHz, the monitor lacks a bit in the bass department but it is still suitable for studio use.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($99)
Design-wise this monitor is really impressive. Being so compact and featuring wood veneer paneling on the sides, this monitor speaker will sit well on any desk. It features gray cloth covering panels but they can be removed to expose the neat-looking woofer and tweeter.
As you might expect, the model is one that offers near-field capabilities and that means that you should position it on your desk or very close to where you are working. The package contains two speakers and each of them has a 4-inch woofer and a 13mm tweeter. Together they are capable of delivering 42 watts of power.
Given those numbers, the two speakers are capable of putting out a good volume. However, when the sound is too loud, the speakers tend to distort it. To work against this issue, the manufacturers have included a port that lets air flow better but that doesn’t work when listening at the highest volume.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($99.99)
KRK RP6G3 6
The distinctive look of this device has been a common presence in the studio in the past years. This particular model has been constructed so it appeals to the budget-conscious or beginner studio owner. But the sizes of the woofer – measuring 6 inches, and of the tweeter – one inch, make it impressive.
The working frequency range is also one that stands out, with the sounds that the monitor can produce being between 47.5 Hz and 34.5 kHz.
A sound variation of 3dB shows that the monitor is capable of offering good sound, no matter the volume. And with a total power of 75 watts, the speaker can deliver the sound needed to fill a medium-sized room.
A frontal bass port ensures that, when positioned close to a wall, the speaker is still able to deliver the low sounds with ease.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($189.5)
PreSonus Eris E3.5
Featuring a pair of Kevlar drivers, these monitors are capable of offering clear low-frequency sounds without the danger of distortion. The tweeters are silk-dome and they are used to offer balanced and smooth highs. In total, the monitors offer a sound that you can rely on, even when mixing the most difficult pieces of music.
In the case of budget studios, you might be forced to place your monitors close to a wall. And that is usually a bad idea because that causes the walls to vibrate at very low frequencies and makes them act like speaker cones too. But that is not the case with these monitor speakers, as they feature acoustic tuning controls to counter that issue.
You can cut the bass with 6dB and that can make a huge difference in tight spaces. Additionally, the power is 50 watts. This is enough for a small to medium room and it offers the user enough space to operate in.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($99.95)
Adam Audio F5 5″
The Adam brand may be known as one that provides quality speakers but only for professional use. However, it has created some models that are targeted for the more casual users, or for those that want to start to create music, and this is one of them. This series has two models and this is the smaller version. Both of them have a subwoofer that can be added to the set.
Surprisingly, the tweeter has a folded-membrane construction and it’s handmade in the company’s Berlin factory. There is a front-facing port that is slightly flattened to allow the air to flow and reduce the noise.
You have the option to adjust the volume of specific sound frequencies that you want to come out of the monitor. Controls placed on the rear panel allow you to filter sounds above 5 kHz and under 300 Hz. It’s important to notice that the monitors’ frequency range is 52 Hz to 50 kHz.
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KRK RP5G3 – 59107
With its own research department, ready to come up with new ideas, KRK created this model, an improved one compared to its predecessors. The company has worked to make it as small as possible yet still capable of providing lots of power.
Design-wise, the yellow cone captures the attention and has become a trademark of the company. In terms of drivers, the model offers a one-inch tweeter that is slightly more powerful than similar drivers and a 5-inch woofer. Being made of glass-aramid composite, this woofer is capable of putting out precise sound waves.
In total, the drivers offer 50 watts of power and that is good for a budget studio that is placed in a small or medium room. The sound is flat and neutral and that makes it a joy to listen to songs in the purpose of mixing them.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($299)
Yearly Guide & Report
Low budget studio monitors don’t offer all the features that can be found in professional models, but they should still let you experience a natural and consistent sound. We believe that the following aspects are important when choosing a monitor for your studio.
What gives the monitors their specific power are the drivers. These are the physical parts that create the sound. A usual speaker has two drivers: a woofer and a twitter. Their names suggest what kind of sounds they can produce.
Tweeters are the ones used for high-frequency sounds, while woofers are the ones that produce the lows and mids. In certain cases, monitors have additional drivers that are used to help the woofer. Some such drivers can boost a higher volume in the mid frequencies while others are better at low frequencies and are thus called subwoofers.
Different materials can be used when producing the drivers and based on the intended purpose of the final product, each material has its qualities. When there is the need for higher power handling, a driver is made of carbon, glass or metal. These materials produce the most accurate sound and a good high-frequency response.
The drivers are used for pumping out sounds and the higher their watt power, the more volume they can provide. Most casual users are accustomed to this concept. However, studio monitors don’t really need a high power because they shouldn’t be used to blast music in a room.
They just need to produce a volume that is good enough to allow the listener to distinguish the sounds well. That is why a power between 10 and 60 watts is enough to fill a small or medium-sized room. If the room is bigger you might need something in the range of hundreds.
But volume is not the only thing that watts affect. The quality of the sound is also a factor. Monitors with a higher watt power will produce less distortion for certain sounds like the hit on a snare drum. If you have a pop song that’s full of kick drum sounds, you will surely need a monitor with some high watt power.
If you want to output enough volume you need good studio recording microphones, and that is very important when you want the music to sound well.
But even if you have all the watts in the world, you still need the monitor to be able to provide accurate harmonies in all the frequencies. This is, at the end of it all, what makes a monitor good or not. The frequency range is an important indicator in the use of headphones for music production too.
You want the speakers to handle all the frequency ranges of the music you are recording and that is why a range between 50 Hz and 20 kHz is employed by most models because it’s good in almost all applications.
Most studio monitors, as you will be able to see, show their frequency range, but some provide more information and display the sound variation as well. This variation shows what is the difference in volume between certain frequencies played.
For example, a number of + or – 2 or 3 decibels describes a monitor that is capable of providing almost the same volume no matter the frequency range. You also need to make sure that you have the recording capabilities in place and for that, you need quality home studio mics. Also, if you record drums a lot, you should have your own overhead drum mics to be able to record all the frequencies.
Near, mid or far-field models
Small studio monitors are most often the ones that provide a near-field sound. It means that they are best heard when the listener is close to them. The “field” thus means, in this case, how far away the monitors should be positioned from the listener in order to provide the best sounds.
Compact models that provide sound in a small area around them are generally good budget studio monitors because they allow the listener to hear the sounds directly, without any bad influence from the environment. That is a great thing when you haven’t invested that much in your studio.
Because the sound only travels a short distance, it doesn’t interact that much with most objects in your room, thus it doesn’t get distorted. They’re also quite easy to position, even if you set them on your desk. The important thing is to know that you need to place them so that your head forms the tip of an equilateral triangle with them.
This is the sweet spot of listening as it offers a natural sound that can be heard stereo. But if you have a bigger room, you will need larger studio monitors that are able to provide more power in a medium-field or far-field manner.
Of course, finding the perfect spot for big speakers is always hard, particularly when you don’t have a professional studio, but if you manage to acoustically treat your walls and eliminate most objects in the room, you will have a great listening experience.
If you’re a musician that’s always on the road and you need to record your ideas quickly, you should have a look at our guide on audio recorders. Also, if you use your small studio to mainly record vocals, see what we have to say about studio microphones for vocals.
Best studio monitor brands
This is a brand that specializes in creating musical instruments and it’s known as the company with the most piano sales. Taking this into account, it’s no wonder that the brand is capable of producing quality studio monitors too. The Japanese company uses its knowledge and the latest technologies in creating great monitors.
You will be able to find both professional models and budget studio monitors that it sells. It has been creating them since the 1970’s and its monitors have been a standard in the industry due to their consistency and accuracy. Its models are designed to offer an honest and precise sound.
If you really like products made in the US, you will be glad to find out that JBL is a brand that is based in Los Angeles. What recommends it is the fact that it specializes in producing loudspeakers and the electronics needed in them. It offers a wide range of monitors and it has two divisions, one for consumer products and one for professional musicians.
Because it produces its own electronics, the company has enough potential to create what it wants. It has also patented some components that it uses in making the monitors. Its care for looks can be observed in the nice designs that its products have.
This company is based in Florida and it has been providing monitors and control room solutions since 1984. Offering its products through online dealers, the brand makes professional studio monitors, headphones, subwoofers and basically any sound-producing device that can be found in a studio.
Its monitors are made for professional purposes and they have been used by professional musicians in mixing their albums. The models can be usually characterized by a large frequency range and a good vocal clarity. You can find in the company’s offer some monitors that have front-facing bass ports that allow you to position them in the room more freely.