You spend hours recording and mixing a track to get your desired sound for a project.
And, you don’t want to waste the time and energy you put into your craft, do you?
Good thing the best studio monitors under $300 can help you improve the sound quality of your track.
This article will help you choose the best studio monitors under $300 for your needs.
PreSonus Eris E5 Near Field Studio Monitor
Yamaha HS5 Powered Monitor
KRK RP5 Rokit G4 Studio Monitor
Top Picks for the Best Studio Monitors Under $300
Yamaha HS5 Powered Studio Monitor – Best Overall
- Driver: 5″ Woofer, 1″ Tweeter
- Amplifier: 45W LF, 25W HF
- Frequency response: 54Hz – 30kHz
- Controls: Level, Room Control, High Trim, Power
- Dimensions: 7″ x 9″ x 12″
- Weight: 12 pounds
Just ask hundreds of home studio owners about their experience with Yamaha’s best studio monitor, and they’ll be the first to convince you to buy this powerful musical tool!
Curious about why Yamaha HS5 is the ideal studio monitor for home studios? Here are some reasons:
- You can adjust the response controls to any room’s acoustic design with various detail settings. So, you don’t have to worry about fixing your home studio to get the best sound quality.
- Installation is also quick and easy with the mounting points and screws in the small unit itself. With this setup, you can attach the Yamaha HS5 at the sweet spot of ANY studio setup, may it be the wall, ceiling, or baton brackets.
- If you’re working in untreated rooms, don’t worry. The Yamaha HS5 comes with a trim dial option to tweak the flat frequency response of the studio monitoring speakers from a low to a higher frequency range.
On top of these exceptional benefits, you can also say goodbye to nuances in the overall mix.
Get the crisp, pure sound quality of your mix WITHOUT any noise or resonance interrupting your audio experience.
The Yamaha HS5 brings out the BEST audio quality from your mix, from its intricate design to newly updated transducers.
- Produces accurate sound at middle and high frequencies
- Great trim response controls
- Low resonance enclosure design
- Smallest in the HS series for a home setup
- Lacking bass or low-frequency punch
- Might need a subwoofer that adds to the overall price
KRK RP5 Rokit G4 Studio Monitor – Best Value
- Driver: 5″ Kevlar Woofer, 1″ Kevlar Dome Tweeter
- Amplifier: 55W Class D
- Frequency response: 43Hz – 40kHz
- Controls: Application-based
- Dimensions: 7″ x 9″ x 11″
- Weight: 11 pounds
KRK Rokit studio monitors have been a staple in many music and home studios alike worldwide. There’s no doubt why many musicians, especially a guitarist, love the Rokit series.
It’s no different for the KRK Rokit 5, which comes even BETTER than its predecessor, the KRK RP5G3.
With the KRK Rokit 5 G4, you don’t have to deal with the problems of the previous versions of the KRK Rokit series.
Here are some features users love about the KRK Rokit 5 G4 studio monitors:
- They work with non-professional equipment through the inclusion of RCA input jacks, perfect for home studio owners.
- Class D amplifier improves audio integrity, while the built-in Wall Limiter offers BETTER dynamics at a wider range.
- Distortions and colorizations are also kept at a MINIMUM with a low resonance enclosure.
- High-density isofoam pads REDUCE vibration transmission and INCREASE sound clarity.
The best part about the KRK Rokit 5 G4 is its DSP-driven Active Room Tuning.
With its unique LCD graphic display, you can adjust 25 onboard equalization settings to correct the problems you find in your sound environment.
Sounds cool, right? But, what’s even greater about this product is the KRK phone app.
With the KRK App, you have total control of the acoustics for accurate calibration of EQ settings. The Room Acoustic Analyzer also helps you in level matching and speaker placement in REAL-TIME.
- Offers authentic sounds with no exaggerated highs and lows
- Comes with a low-frequency extension with a balanced midrange for better mix translation
- Containment reduces echoes for a more accurate sound
- Compact design, small, and lightweight for closets or bedrooms
- Some units produce a hissing sound at no volume
- Limited customizability on the KRK app
PreSonus Eris E5 2-Way 5.25″ Near Field Studio Monitor – Budget Pick
- Driver: 5″ Kevlar Woofer, 1″ Silk-dome Tweeter
- Amplifier: 70W Class AB
- Frequency response: 53Hz – 22kHz
- Design: 2-way front-ported
- Dimensions: 7″ x 8″ x 10″
- Weight: 10 pounds
You won’t encounter nuances in your mix with the PreSonus Eris E5, all thanks to its impeccable design and construction. Imagine having all these features in one product:
- Its 5″-woofer breaks a sound wave to reduce reflections perceived by the listener.
- Its silk dome tweeter widens the sweet spot with a wider dispersion pattern for increased sound radiation.
- The monitors can be adjusted to fit your studio and application with no compromises.
- The unit has automatic protection against RF interference, over-temperature, output limiting, transient disturbances, and infrasonic.
During music production, you can also play along with the following controls of the PreSonus Eris E5:
- Adjust the Midrange and High-Frequency controls when mixing in a listening room with highly reflective surfaces.
- Tweak the Low Cutoff to coordinate the bass output with subwoofers onboard.
- Lower the bass boost with the Acoustic Space when the studio monitor is near a wall or in a corner.
- Optimize the signal-to-noise ratio of the audio with Input Gain through three flexible input options (RCA, TRS, XLR).
With all the great benefits you can get from PreSonus Eris E5, you might even want to pay more than its price.
- Adjustable controls for a broad spectrum of functions
- Produces smoother tone with a transient response even at high frequencies
- Flexible connectivity for different devices
- Sleek and compact design to save more space
- Very affordable price
- Questionable durability after some time
- Tends to cut off volume at lower ranges
JBL Professional Studio Monitor, Black, 5-Inch (305PMKII)
- Driver: 5″ Woofer, 1″ Tweeter
- Amplifier: 41W LF, 41W HF
- Frequency response: 49Hz – 20kHz (±3dB)
- Controls: Boundary EQ, HF Trim, Input Sensitivity, Volume
- Dimensions: 12″ x 14″ x 14″
- Weight: 10 pounds
Have you experienced ear fatigue after one recording or mixing session in your studio?
Well, the JBL 305P solves your problem with a disturbingly loud sound in your studio setup across a broad frequency spectrum.
Still, you get a super accurate sound that you could hear some details you’ll miss on other budget studio monitors.
From bass-heavy tracks to high-pitched records, JBL 305P can handle all the sounds you wish to create.
Yet, the listening experience of one user varies from one another, as some reported getting a low-quality frequency response.
Not only that, these powered studio monitors can stand the test of time from one generation to another.
Also, the compact, modern design of JBL 305P adds to the overall visual aesthetic of your studio.
From a whole generation of JBL 7 and M2 Masters Reference Monitors, the JBL 305P offers these features:
- Huge improvements in low-frequency transducers optimized transient responses, enhanced low-frequency linearity, and reduced harmonic distortion.
- The revolutionary Image Control Waveguide gives you detailed imaging and a huge sweet spot for BETTER recording depth and ambiance.
- Superb bass response at any playback level with a double-flared port for lowered turbulence and larger low-frequency extension.
- The Image Control Waveguide of the JBL 305P, from its reference monitors, works wonders in providing a more detailed image of the sound.
Indeed, beginners or professional musicians alike agree that the JBL Professional series offers some of the best studio monitors in today’s market.
Not convinced yet? Listen to stories of a whole generation of JBL 305P users about their experiences.
- Close to real-life midrange and high-frequency sound considering its price point
- Can be used near any magnetically sensitive equipment
- Upgrades from the previous generation of JBL Professional powered studio monitors
- Bulky compared to other best studio monitors under $300 on this page
- Low-end might be lacking
IK Multimedia iLoud Micro Monitors Ultra-Compact 3″ Studio Monitors with Bluetooth
- Driver: 3″ Woofer, 0.75″ Tweeter
- Amplifier: 18W LF, 7W HF
- Frequency response: 45Hz – 20kHz
- Controls: Bluetooth, EQ, Power, Volume Knob
- Dimensions: 4″ x 5″ x 7″
- Weight: 4 pounds
The small but mighty IK Multimedia iLoud Micro Monitors offer what their larger counterparts bring to the home studio table. Don’t let its appearance fool you.
Often sold as a pair of studio monitors, a user might mistake it for multimedia speakers. This pair of cheap studio monitors is of a compact nearfield type which means the source of sound is near its destination.
Combine the weight and size of the pair of IK Multimedia iLoud monitors. And, you still get a smaller and lighter pair of speakers compared to other best studio monitors under $300 on this list.
Without any contentions from other best studio monitors under $300, the IK Multimedia iLoud easily takes the crown for the most home-friendly studio monitors at a lower price range on this list.
Yet, you would never look down on these multimedia monitors upon knowing the benefits they offer as a pair:
- Excellent sound and bass response provided by woofers and tweeters as amplified by efficient class D power amps,
- Authentic and detailed sound even when mixed in a small space or home studio without compromises, thanks to the 56-bit DSP processor.
- Enables you to optimize sound through three switches dedicated for bass, treble, and free field/desktop compensation,
- Comes with isolation bases and adjustable angles of inclination, each for better positioning, and
- Offers various options, from Bluetooth streaming to RCA inputs.
It is small as it seems, but the IK Multimedia iLoud has been a big help for home studio owners for several years.
- Perfect speakers for a small studio setup with its size and weight
- Versatile functionality from voice recordings to orchestral music
- Has Bluetooth option for wireless connectivity
- Reduce reflections that cause excessive bass response
- Can be too loud in home studios
- Dubious material and construction quality
ADAM Audio T7V 7 Inches Powered Studio Monitor
- Driver: 7″ Woofer, 1.9″ Equivalent Ribbon Tweeter
- Amplifier: 50W LF, 20W HF
- Frequency response: 45Hz – 20kHz
- Controls: High/Low Shelf, Input Sensitivity
- Dimensions: 12″ x 15″ x 18″
- Weight: 18 pounds
Adam Audio has been making noise (literally) in the recording industry recently with their innovative takes on music equipment.
Among their renowned products are the best studio monitors for music recording purposes.
Would you believe me if I told you that the largest music hits of the past decade were made possible by the best studio monitors of Adam Audio?
Yes, you heard it right, and we’re talking about songs of different genres, from country to rock.
Imagine getting such sound quality with the best studio monitor under $300. Well, Adam Audio has great news for you.
You can now experience the SUPERIOR sound quality of Adam Audio’s innovative technologies with the best budget studio monitors from their T series.
The best studio monitor under $300 from this series is the Adam Audio T7.
At a lower price range, the ADAM Audio T7 gives its user a feel of the benefits they can get from their A series studio monitors. Get these features at a lower price point:
- Extended high-frequency projection up to 25kHz, thanks to its U-ART ribbon tweeter that also offers a fast transient response,
- Wide sweet spot provided by precision waveguide following the High-Frequency Propagation waveguide model
- On the opposite end of the spectrum, bass extension to as low as 39Hz is delivered by its low-frequency driver.
As an Adam Audio T7V user, you’ll fall in love with its high-frequency reproduction, perfect for balancing high-frequency contents like cymbals and synths without shrill or fatigue.
- Superior sound quality at high frequencies
- Great stereo image and robust phantom center for mono tracks
- Clear and precise layer placement for a small powered studio monitor
- Lacking power indicator light
Things to Consider When Buying Studio Monitors
Equalization is a powerful tool that can work for or against your needs and demands. You can use equalization to either fix audio or create special effects.
Yet, you DON’T NEED to use equalization settings all the time if you know how to set up the studio monitor speakers properly.
We’ll get into that later but let’s dig into the process of equalizing studio monitors.
You can equalize the sound in TWO WAYS.
One way requires a hardware equalizer inserted between the audio interface outputs and the power amplifier outputs.
In this setup, you only need to set the equalizer ONCE based on an extended listening session. After that, you’ll NEVER need to change the settings unless you find something better after some time.
Equalizing is never an issue with the likes of KRK Rokit 5, which has 25 settings onboard at a low price. JBL 305P and IK Multimedia iLoud also have their equalization settings available.
The other way requires you to insert a plugin into the master track of your digital audio workstation. Be mindful, though you need to switch the plugin to bypass or remove it before the mix bouncing.
Here’s the main takeaway: Use equalization SPARINGLY and ensure to hear the results over authentic studio monitors, preferably a powered one.
After all, it depends on your judgment whether you need to equalize the sound or not.
When we talk about the size of the best budget studio monitors, you might find yourself stuck in a dilemma.
That is the dilemma between having small speakers to save space or having large speakers for better bass response.
So, what should you prioritize then? Well, IT DEPENDS on your situation.
Fit Your Room or Fit Your Needs?
Remember to get studio monitors that FIT your control room.
If you’re working on a bedroom or apartment room, you’re better off with a pair of studio monitors, which are NO LARGER than five inches each.
With that, the IK Multimedia iLoud Micro Monitors are perfect for your small setup. They can be placed on each side of your computer, ideal for home gaming setups.
If you have a bigger control room, you’re free to choose any size of monitor speakers that suit your needs. But, how can you tell the ideal speaker size for your recording or mixing needs?
2-Way vs. 3-Way Monitors
Before anything else, it’s important to know if you get a 2-way or 3-way studio monitor. All the best budget studio monitors included in the list are 2-way speakers.
As a user, you need to understand some basics and terminologies before clicking the links to buy studio monitoring speakers at any price.
A 2-way studio monitor is composed of a pair of larger and smaller speakers.
- The larger one (WOOFER) handles low-frequency sound
- The smaller one (TWEETER) deals with high-frequency sound.
When you need a speaker to work with the midrange, you can have an additional speaker in a 3-way studio monitor.
Why Do the Differences Matter?
You might ask, why do woofers and tweeters differ in size? Also, why do you need more than one speaker?
If you have only one speaker, you only get to hear the frequencies sent to it for reproduction. That’s where the problem comes out.
Small speakers reproduce high frequencies well, while large speakers only do well with lower and midrange frequencies.
Get anything in between, and you fall short in EITHER low or high-frequency range.
To fix this problem, you need to get a pair or more speakers inside the same enclosure. In that way, you optimize the frequency ranges that the pair of monitors can reproduce.
Woofers are generally larger than tweeters since the speaker cone must move farther to create the sound wave.
Also, the speakers must project a greater volume of sound to perceive low-frequency sound.
What helps the woofer to deliver a crisp, clean bass sound is the ENCLOSURE. Expect a larger woofer to bring a deeper and tighter bass response in the process.
With KPK Rokit 5 and PreSonus Eris E5, you get the right woofer size that saves you some space while having an excellent bass response at a low price. Now, when do you need a subwoofer?
Is a Subwoofer Necessary?
You wish to play your audio in a sub-included system such as those in dance clubs, or you’re mixing audio for a film. Then, you might need a subwoofer to extend the frequency ranges.
But, putting a subwoofer in a small room will bring more problems than benefits. You’ll end up with a mess of unbalanced sound in your studio.
So, it’s up to your decision whether you need a subwoofer for your project.
Meanwhile, tweeters are designed to be SMALLER as they only reproduce frequencies above a certain threshold.
With tweeters, you need to consider the dispersion pattern of high-frequency sound for accuracy.
Sure, the wide dispersion trend of PreSonus Eris E5 is great for hearing accurate sound over a wide area.
However, wide dispersions might confuse one about the sound source, while too narrow dispersions limit the number of listening positions available.
Aside from the size, you also need to consider the type of tweeter integrated into your monitoring speakers.
NOTE: Each type delivers unique sound characteristics.
For instance, you get tight focused highs with the silk dome tweeters of the PreSonus Eris E5 and the ribbon tweeter of Adam Audio T7V.
When you’re working in a small studio, saving space is a priority. That is, the studio monitors only occupy a small area in your working desk and can be kept in a small storage place.
Yet, PORTABILITY is NOT ALL about size.
You also need to consider the weight of studio monitors if you’re working in different studios, for instance.
In that case, IK Multimedia iLoud Micro Monitors are no doubt the lightest studio monitors on the list.
Yet, PreSonus Eris E5 and JBL 305P are also great choices for portable multimedia monitors at a low price.
Meanwhile, the perfect tensile strength-to-weight ratio of the drivers of KRK Rokit 5 links to the reduced distortions in the sound across a broad frequency spectrum.
Talking about the power of the system, keep in mind that it affects the volume of the sound.
It also influences your dynamic range, which refers to the amount of headroom you have before the signal’s peak.
Well, more power DOES NOT necessarily mean extra volume. Make sure that you get enough power to cover your listening area without distorting the signal.
You don’t want to be loud when you work in an apartment studio, for example.
Dynamic Range and Power
With dynamic range, remember that music peaks can demand up to ten times the power of your music material.
That means you need as much as 150 watts in your program to peak for a certain volume level that demands 15 watts on average.
If you fall short on the power demand, you’ll notice more distortions and clipping during the musical peak.
Generally, studio monitors at a low price point offer low wattage. So, you’re better off with high-price studio monitors that give higher wattage.
Yet, you can still get a decent amount of power with some of the best studio monitors under $300 on the list.
The JBL 305P can provide as much as 80W total power, while the PreSonus Eris E5 can have up to 70W total power at a low price.
Passive vs. Active Monitors
When it comes to power, you could either have passive or active monitors. Passive monitors need separate amplifiers that match the speakers, while active monitors have built-in amplifiers onboard.
So, you’ll get a better value with an active powered studio monitor unless you see that you need a passive monitor for some reason.
Single-Amp, Bi-Amp, Tri-Amp
If you’re concerned about the power configuration of your system, you’ll have a single-amp, bi-amp, or tri-amp configuration.
In a single-amp configuration, you have a crossover network that divides the output of one amplifier into the corresponding frequencies for each speaker.
A bi-amp configuration has two separate amplifiers through the crossover network, each dedicated to power each speaker of the pair.
Most monitors on the list have bi-amplified designs like the KRK Rokit 5 and the PreSonus Eris E5.
Let’s say you have a midrange speaker; you need a tri-amp configuration to power each speaker. Separate amplifiers power the low-, mid-, and high-frequency speakers.
Generally, bi-amp and tri-amp configurations deliver more accurate frequency responses with greater definitions.
As each driver, powered by a separate amplifier, reproduces the sound of its corresponding frequency, you’ll hear a clearer and more defined sound.
What we mean by frequency response is the range of frequencies that the monitors can handle. You’ll notice that the frequency response is related to the size of the HF and LF drivers.
With a BROADER frequency response, you can work with a large set of music types. Be careful when dealing with the extra frequencies; you might miss some relevant sonic details.
These added frequencies can be helpful if you engage in electronic music, especially the low frequencies associated with this style.
With that, you’ll need larger monitors with larger woofers and more powerful amplifiers. Things are different when you’re working with acoustic instruments and vocals.
Too much bass can complicate your mixing process as they hinder proper balancing of the frequencies.
Having multiple monitors allows you to work with more sonic references. A reference monitor can help you listen to an authentic and accurate sound.
Yet, the frequency response of the KRK RP5 is the largest on this list.
What’s even better is that it has insulation pads that reduce the build-up of lower frequencies behind your monitors that could disrupt the sound you hear.
Input and Output Types
When working on a home or other small studios, you want to get the BEST VALUE of monitoring speakers at the right price.
A versatile studio monitor that suits your different needs will help you achieve this goal.
Maximize the price of your studio monitor by looking at its available inputs and outputs.
Working with various devices in the studio can be made EASIER if you have a studio monitor with plenty of inputs available.
RCA inputs are the best when working with non-professional level equipment. XLR and TRS inputs can expand the capacity of your studio monitor when working with multiple devices.
How Should You Set Up Your Studio Monitors?
The position of the speakers is critical to listening to accurate audio from your monitors.
Place the speakers wherein the pair of speakers and your head form an equilateral triangle inside the studio.
Each speaker is placed at the SAME DISTANCE from you and between themselves. Also, remember to position the tweeters at your ear level at the sweet spot.
As you listen to the delivered audio, you can tell any nuances on the track that need to be removed in the editing process.
But be careful not to get out of the sweet spot because then, everything you’ll hear is vague and smeared.
Everything will boil down to monitoring the audio with the pair of speakers, ESPECIALLY the frequency balance.
What If You’re Still Not Satisfied With the Audio?
You could consider equalization in the monitoring chain.
Beyond positioning, there are OTHER CONSIDERATIONS you need to remember when setting up your monitors.
Examine your studio and see if you need a closed or ported cabinet for your monitors.
If you plan to place your speakers near walls or corners, you better get a front-ported or closed pair of monitors for better accuracy.
Speaker stands can also improve your monitoring by reducing the effect of comb-filtering in your studio.
Should You Clean Your Speakers?
It’s important to clean your speakers the right way regularly. Be careful not to use any simple household cleaner to clean your monitors.
You can use a cloth or non-abrasive fabric to wipe the dirt off your monitors without scratching them. Also, remember not to apply much pressure on the woofer and tweeter to avoid damage.
If you have a brush and portable vacuum cleaner available, you can use them simultaneously to clean your monitors.
Hold the vacuum cleaner in one hand and run it over the monitor as you brush off the dust.
When you see some stains, you can wet the brush hair a bit to remove smudges.
A Recap of the Top Picks for Studio Monitors Under $300
Best Budget Pick: PreSonus Eris E5 2-Way 5.25″ Near Field Studio Monitor
It might have the least expensive price range among the budget studio monitors on this list, but the PreSonus Eris E5 can keep up with the others thanks to its groundbreaking features.
The 5-inch woofer design, multiple input options (RCA, TLS, XLR), and dome tweeter ensure you get top-tier performance for every recording session.
Not bad for a studio monitor that goes for a low price point!
Best Value: KRK RP5 Rokit G4 Studio Monitor
If you’re looking for a studio monitor that offers great value for money, try out the KRK RP5 Rokit G4 Studio Monitor.
Made with high-grade materials, these studio monitors have a superb tensile strength-to-weight ratio that reduces distortions across a wide frequency range.
Best Overall: Yamaha HS5 Powered Studio Monitor
We can’t deny how the Yamaha HS5 Powered Studio Monitor brings out the best that Yamaha has yet to offer.
Customizable frequency responses, easy-to-use response controls, and an ergonomic size help you get the MOST OPTIMAL home studio experience.
With all its outstanding features, you’ll get more than what you paid for these studio monitor speakers.
Before you click the purchase links, remember all the considerations in choosing the ideal studio monitor at the right price.
In the end, your goal is to monitor audio properly to get the best results.
If you’re still confused what’s the difference between a studio monitor from regular speakers, we have the guide just for you!
And if you’re looking for much cheaper choices, check out our list of the Best Studio Monitors Under $200.
April 26, 2022 – minor content edits