Isn’t it time you spruce up your studio a bit? You can have the best software, instruments, and microphone but if you don’t have the best studio monitors installed, none of that will really make a difference.
You won’t really know what your recordings sound like, you won’t impress anyone visiting your studio and most of all you simply won’t enjoy music as much.
So let’s help you fix that problem.Below we listed some of the best studio monitors on the market. Do you need studio monitors for beginners or are you ready to invest in high-end units?
We give you all the information so you can make an informed decision by reviewing these:
In a hurry to get your studio sounding crisp and start producing on your new monitors as soon as tomorrow? Click the link below to check out the complete winner below for sound, build and price.
- 1 Studio Monitors Buyer’s Guide
- 1.1 Why do You Need Studio Monitors?
- 1.2 How to Pick the Best Studio Monitors
- 1.3 Best Cheap Studio Monitors
- 1.4 Should You Worry About Aesthetics?
- 1.5 Active Monitors or Passive?
- 1.6 Which Specs are the Most Important?
- 1.7 Do You Have the Right Drivers?
- 1.8 Do You Want Near Field or Far Field Speakers?
- 1.9 What is the Best in Terms of Amp Options?
- 1.10 How Will You Connect it to Your System?
- 1.11 What is the Sweet Spot?
- 2 Best Monitor Speakers for Your Studio
- 2.1 1. M-Audio AV32 10-Watt
- 2.2 Compact Studio Monitor Speakers with 3-inch Woofer (Pair) 12″
- 2.3 2. Edifier R1280T Powered Bookshelf Speakers 2.0
- 2.4 Active Near Field Monitors – Studio Monitor Speaker Wooden Enclosure – 42 Watts RMS
- 2.5 3. Edifier R1280DB Powered Bluetooth Bookshelf Speakers
- 2.6 Optical Input – Wireless Studio Monitors – 4 Inch Near Field Speaker – 42w RMS – Wood Grain
- 3 Best Portable Studio Monitors
- 4 Best Pro Studio Speakers
- 5 Conclusion
Studio Monitors Buyer’s Guide
Best Monitor Speakers for Your Studio
1. M-Audio AV32 10-Watt
Compact Studio Monitor Speakers with 3-inch Woofer (Pair) 12″
Such a stunning and classic look and technically impressive too.
Yes, this is an entry-level set of speakers but they’ll still do well in most studio setups.
Why? Because you have the benefit of:
- A 3” woofer so your low frequencies are covered
- You have RCA inputs as well as 1/8” output
- A 1” silk cone tweeter
That’s why it can boast of a frequency range of 80Hz – 20kHz.
Admittedly it’s not as impressive on the low sounds but for entry level and a good price, it should suffice.
It weighs only 5.48 lbs., so it’s not too difficult to carry. If you need portable speakers to share your sounds in various locations, these are good options.
One thing to love is that you can connect your headphones to this.
Some producers prefer listening via their earphones even while pumping the audio to the audience in the room.
Now you can do both or simply switch between the two easily.
All of this is encased in a striking black cabinet measuring 5.88”x 5.16”x 7.4”.
The one thing about them—remember they’re only entry level—is that you may experience a slight hum.
This is bound to get worse as they get older especially if pushed past their real capabilities.
2. Edifier R1280T Powered Bookshelf Speakers 2.0
Active Near Field Monitors – Studio Monitor Speaker Wooden Enclosure – 42 Watts RMS
Is there anything as striking as wood exteriors? This connects modern features with the classic feel of old.
This also makes it easy to match to most décor styles so your speakers complement the room.
Remember studio speakers can be handy as part of your entertainment system and these units will make your living room feel warm and cozy still.
You can decide which look you prefer:
- Put the grill on for a sleek look
- Take it off for some character to reveal the drivers and prevent any blockage of audio
You’ll get a 6-ft. cable so you can easily position these on either side of your computer or TV.
However, this may be too short for a very large studio setup. Users find these require two very important very short timelines:
- It doesn’t take long to set up
- The break-in period is short
The knobs for volume, treble, and bass can be found on the side which is easily accessible.
Since you want utmost control when seated at your studio desk this is much better than wasting time to reach to the back of the unit.
It’s also nifty that you can connect to two sources via Aux; instead of unplugging cables you can just switch between the two. It’s awesome when great design helps you get work done faster.
Of course, it’s not a high-end unit so some parts aren’t of the best quality such as the jack input.
There’s also no auto shutoff.
Note that these are active and near-field units.
This makes them ideal for small studios since you don’t need to waste space on an amplifier and the sound will be heard clearly by everyone standing around.
3. Edifier R1280DB Powered Bluetooth Bookshelf Speakers
Optical Input – Wireless Studio Monitors – 4 Inch Near Field Speaker – 42w RMS – Wood Grain
Since cabling is usually in the way and studio owners always want the easiest way to connect to speakers, these units rank high on favorite lists because of their Bluetooth connectivity.
Of course, this isn’t the first choice of everyone and luckily the brand also gives you these options:
- Optical and coaxial inputs
- RCA connections
One important aspect for setting up is that it will only communicate with one device via Bluetooth at a time; so pick your primary device (laptop, phone or other devices) and try to stick to using that.
In such a setup, you don’t have to go through the pairing process multiple times.
It also allows for great versatility in operation thanks to the remote control or you can use the knobs on the side.
When you get to use them you’ll be impressed at the clear audio of even the lower frequencies which isn’t always the case in a more affordable price range like this.
They do weigh over 14 lbs.so these aren’t the most portable speakers, but if you’re setting up a studio that doesn’t matter, right?
These are powered so you won’t need an amplifier. This saves you space so they’re great for placing on your desk.
Note that they’re not designed for mounting. If you want them elevated you’ll need a shelf but the power cord is quite short.
Keep this in mind when planning your layout. Don’t worry about the look.
There are few things as stylish as the black wood grain exterior. The front is super modern and striking thanks to the stunning grills.
Best Portable Studio Monitors
Of course you won’t always use your monitors in one place.
You may be traveling for your craft or you need monitors for a live performance.
Studio monitors have features that are excellent in these circumstances but not any model will do.
We compiled a short list to help you decide.
4. Zotope SP111 Spire Studio
Why lug around a long list of studio items if one unit can do it all, or at least a lot of it?
This unit from iZotope is on our list of best studio monitors because it not only allows you to play your audio it even helps with mixing it.
That’s thanks to functions such as:
- Recording (mic feature and inputs for instruments
- Add effects
Much of this happens thanks to pairing with iOS apps. When you’re finished, you can play that audio or share it with friends via Wi-Fi.
It’s designed to help you share with other Spire users. This is the monitor for the new generation where everything is shared with so much passion.
You can start soon after receiving this because the setup is so easy, but note that it’s designed for iOS and not Android.
You also need iOS 10 or higher to operate it. At only 1.6 lbs., it’s probably the most portable friendly monitor you’ll find on this list.
This makes it easy for music lovers and serious musicians or studio owners to have a better way of doing things:
- Record your songs when the creativity strikes
- Mix easily if you don’t have space or time for large mixers
- Play your songs to others in absolute clarity
Let’s be fair:
This isn’t the best quality you’ll find on the market and plugging in a high-end mic will probably be necessary if you want a quality track.
But it does offer you the opportunity to record something quick which you can take back to the studio to refine or play tracks for others from a device that fits in your backpack.
In terms of being a studio monitor it’s adequate though not the best audio you’ll find on the list here.
5. IK Multimedia iLoud Micro Monitors
Ultra-compact 3″ Studio Monitors with Bluetooth
These rate high in terms of portability because of their compact size of 10.6”x 3.54”x 7.09” but remember you need to carry two of them.
Still, this should suffice and their weight of 3.8 lbs. isn’t too bad either. They’re also popular because you can connect via Bluetooth.
This means you don’t have to set up a lot of cabling or even your computer to share your new tracks with others; simply link your smartphone.
Note that these won’t clearly fill a huge room as it’s ideally listened to from +/- 50cm away, making them nearfield speakers.
If Bluetooth isn’t your thing you can use the RCA connections but notes there’s no XLR or 1.4” jack input as on some of the larger—less portable—units.
Unfortunately, you’re going to pay a bit extra for high tech in small packages. Perhaps the impressive volume and low frequencies make up for this?
Some users complain about how cheap they feel but they definitely don’t look it as the casings are modern and striking.
You also can’t complain of low-end features when you see they included EQ options to compensate for units positioned against a wall.
They’ve powered studio monitors so you don’t need space for an amplifier. You already have four class D amps that will give you 50W of power.
That’s quite impressive for this size of the monitor. Being powered is also great especially if you’re traveling with your gear.
One less thing to set up or find space for.
6. Fender Passport Studio
Portable Powered Studio Monitors
This is the biggest portable units on this list but if you need some power, these are your best options.
Despite them still being compact enough to easily transport, you can get a whopping 150W from these.
Their small design doesn’t limit your options too much as you can adjust bass and treble levels easily.
We love the strip of silver at the bottom for decorative purposes but that also contains the controls. Really impressive aesthetics!
The casing is protective but this is also what makes it practical since it has a handle at the top.
If you’re going to travel a lot with your monitor it’s better to use something designed for that purpose.
There’s less chance of it getting damaged.
Compared to the other portable studio monitors, this is, unfortunately, the heaviest at 18.5 lbs.
The handle makes it easier to carry but be prepared for some heavy weighting.
The 5” woofer and the inverted dome tweeters give you good sound but of course not the best bass you’ll ever hear.
Once again these are designed to transport so they can’t contend with stationary studio monitors in all regards.
Some limitations include them not designed for tripod mounting and the connections are also limited:
- No Bluetooth
- You can only provide input via ¼” TRS connections.
- No RCA
What you will enjoy is the 1/8” headphone output.
Many producers prefer listening through earphones and having these in the speakers means there’s less switching of cabling and fewer cords running to your mobile device or laptop.
Best Pro Studio Speakers
What is your priority?If it’s to create a high-end music studio your speakers need to help you send the right message to your clients or anyone coming to listen.
This is when you invest in Pro studio speakers so you can prove your tracks are on par with the market leaders’.
7. JBL LSR305 Professional Studio Monitor
This pair from JBL incorporate many features that add that X factor when listening in a studio.
They are room friendly so your audience—or you—will hear everything clearly.
Combined with this is a quite a large sweet spot. This is a prime feature on real Pro studio monitors.
They aren’t made for carrying around a lot and the weight of just over 25 lbs. confirms this. So what do they sound like?
In both small and large studios, these can deliver quite impressive audio. You’ll think you installed speakers such as the ones for live shows.
Meanwhile that clear and loud sounds come from a 5” long throw driver and a 1” tweeter made of Neodymium.
You do have limited connections unfortunately but the basics are there. The speakers tend to him if you connect it to power sources with any defects.
This relates to the sensitivity of active speakers so don’t give up on them before you tested them thoroughly with different electric feeds.
This set incorporates upgrades of other JBL models and it shows.
Of course they look great too although not all consumers prefer the shiny exterior to matte.
8. Yamaha HS8 Studio Monitor
The Dance Producers Choice
First off, let’s confirm that this is a single unit and not a set of two as many studio monitors are.
If this is what you want to get ready to pay little more than usual as this is a high-end model.
But if you need to impress people, it may be worth it. Luckily, we also found them extremely durable so this will be a long-term investment.
They’ll keep you a while and you’ll enjoy them a lot since they do produce some of the best audio in the business.
You don’t even have to turn that volume knob all the way around before the audio is blasting ahead.
What’s great about these is that they’re great for starting up your studio.
You could have a normal room that you don’t have the budget to treat yet and these will make it sound as if you already did. That’s thanks to:
- Room control
- Trim options
The tech inside actually allows the speaker to make adjustments based on:
- Room size
- Room shape
- Surface of room
And the great casings will impress visitors or clients too.
The brand does have them in white, which is the ultra-modern option for the producer of today.
Alternatively, they could fit with your living room décor if you’re using these for a home entertainment system.
It might be overkill but those movies will sound epic. It has an 8” woofer which is one of the biggest on this list. No wonder it can handle 38Hz.
Because it’s a pro speaker, it must be compatible with many other sound studio equipment.
This can connect via TRS or XLR. Granted it’s not perfect because you probably want Bluetooth too, right?
Hopefully, we’ll see it in a different Yamaha model in the future.
The classic look suits most studios and the range includes subwoofers if you know you’ll need that extra bass.Yamaha enables you to kit out your studio in style.
9. KRK RP4G3
4″ High Performance Studio Monitors – Black (Pair)
Will some color be the thing that ends up in your studio?We were impressed by these KRK units that could give you clear sounds up to 35kHz.
That’s quite high above the norm so worth a professional studio owner’s consideration.
As a bonus, these—a pair—will cost you somewhat less than the Yamaha also reviewed here.
They weigh less too at 19 lbs.– not ideal for portable units but you can even move them around your studio easier.
The low end is not as impressive as the high frequencies. This means you have to figure out what your priorities are in terms of your application.
Will you miss those low sounds and could it be fixed by adding a subwoofer? Of course, this means some extra costs. The pair is designed for:
There’s quite low distortion and the sweet spot isn’t too limited.
This is also one of the brand’s smaller designs so these would probably fit even in your small home studio.
They’re powered so you don’t even need space for an amplifier. The 4” woofer is not very impressive. After all, you’ve seen better options on this list of reviews.
But this is still a great option in terms of combining affordable pricing with high-quality features.If you’re shopping on a budget, this could be your solution.
Did you find it easy to pick a winner? Remember the best studio monitors are mostly subjective because they must fit in with your applications.
However, we felt the Edifier R1280T is one of the best home studio monitors because it’s dynamic to have equipment that performs at least somewhat in various aspects. Remember this is for smaller studios.
However, if upgrading your studio with one of best high end studio monitors is a priority the Yamaha HS8 may be for you because you can make adjustments based on room size and shape. What’s at the top of your priority list?