The 5 Best Budget Studio Monitors for Home Studios (2021)
Studio monitors should be at the top of your list when setting up your music studio. You need to be able to hear your music properly in order to make the correct production and mixing decisions.
In this article, we’re going to show you 5 of the best budget studio monitors currently available. Of course, this is not a definitive list, and there are many different brands and models of monitors out there.
However, we feel that these are the best options for those setting up a home studio on a budget.
- The 5 Best Budget Studio Monitors – Our Round-Up
- 1. JBL Professional 305P MkII
- 2. Mackie Studio Monitor CR3 (Pair)
- 3. Presonus Eris E3.5-3.5″ Near Field Studio Monitor (Pair)
- 4. Yamaha HS5 Powered Studio Monitor
- 5. KRK RP5 Rokit G4
- Studio Monitors – Frequently Asked Questions
The 5 Best Budget Studio Monitors – Our Round-Up
1. JBL Professional 305P MkII
JBL 305P MkII is a great, mid-range, powered studio monitor for all purposes. It comes as a single monitor, so beware that you would need to buy two to get a pair. You can get these with 5”, 6” and 8” woofer, depending on what you need. For the connection, you can use XLR and TRS inputs which are balanced.
You can also control input sensitivity with a switch on the back where you will also find HF TRIM switch to adjust your sound even more if need be.
Also, boundary EQ can be used to adjust the sound when the speakers are close to walls or other objects. On the front, JBL’s own Image Control Waveguide will give you a large sweet spot in which you can listen to the sounds this baby provides. All in all, this is a great, mid-range monitor that will last you for years.
2. Mackie Studio Monitor CR3 (Pair)
Mackie CR3 is usually priced as the most affordable monitor out of this list, but it has its values as a studio monitor. It comes with a 3” woofer and a 1” tweeter. You can also buy other models in different sizes, but we’re presenting to you the smallest one of the group.
These monitors come in a nice, black-green combination that will sit beautifully with every desk.
As for the connectivity, they have the standard 2 TRS inputs as well as the RCA on the back, with headphone input and volume knob on the front of the speakers.
They present a really nice, clean, straight sound that is great for music and video editing in particular, as it allows you to hear everything just the way it was recorded.
3. Presonus Eris E3.5-3.5″ Near Field Studio Monitor (Pair)
We start off this list with probably the most popular budget studio monitors on the market today. Presonus Eris E3.5 is a great example of a quality, affordable, small studio monitor that will equip you with great sound output. In this package, you will get two speakers, as well as the cables you need to connect them properly.
The monitors themselves have 3.5” woofers as well as the 1” tweeter in front, together with headphone and aux inputs, volume knob, and power button. On the back, you’ll find RCA input and two ¼” jacks, as well as the knobs for the acoustic tuning.
Acoustic tuning is rarely found in this category of monitors and allows for more pristine sound output, even though these monitors are not full-sized studio monitors.
They can pack a punch if you want them to, since they have 25-watt power output. All in all, this is a great buy for anyone looking to get quality small studio monitors for a great price.
4. Yamaha HS5 Powered Studio Monitor
If you’re looking to go higher class, Yamaha HS5 is a great way to start. Coming from an iconic manufacturer, HS5 is a revisited version of the Yamaha HS series way back from the ’70s. You can opt to buy a single one or a pair and you can choose the color of the casing.
This monitor comes with a 5” woofer and a 1” tweeter dome. It has a total power of 70W, so be careful when turning volume knob all the way. You can also change room control, high trim, and the input level of the monitor.
These are all high-end options that will allow you to achieve the best sound possible. For connection, you can use XLR and TRS jacks. Even though these usually come in at a higher price than most of the others on this list, you will get a high-end product if you decide to open your wallet.
5. KRK RP5 Rokit G4
We finish off this list with another higher-end option. KRK Rokit G4 is a great studio monitor, that comes with 5.25” woofer and 1” tweeter. The best thing about this monitor is the active tuning app that comes with it. The monitors already come with an LCD screen to help you set up your EQ settings, but if you connect it to the app, you can get the ultimate control over your monitor setup.
With all of these features and a great manufacturing and materials quality, you will get a high-end studio monitor that will last you for years. The sound quality coming out of these things is great and you’ll immediately notice it.
This is a great option for anyone looking to spend a little more to get a quality set of monitors.
Studio Monitors – Frequently Asked Questions
Do you need two studio monitors?
It’s definitely recommended to use two studio monitors. Most importantly, you can’t hear stereo sound when using just one monitor. So, it’s highly recommended to get a pair of monitors, so you’re not just hearing all of the sound in mono!
Can you use studio monitors to listen to music?
If you will be using the studio monitors in the production of music, then you should listen to your music through monitors to train your ears to the sound they produce.
However, if you’re looking to just buy speakers for music listening then they might not be your best option. The reason is that these monitors flatten the sound, portraying it as clearly and as close to the original sound recorded as possible. If you want to hear tons of bass, then you’re not necessarily going to get them through near-field speakers like this.
Do I need studio monitor stands?
You should use studio monitor stands. This is because of the vibrations that the speakers will create inevitably when playing sounds through them. Because our ears are just thin membranes collecting airwaves and creating sound if there are additional vibrations you can get different sounds than that from the output of the monitor.
This is called the comb filtering effect and can seriously mess up with your sounds, even if you have the best monitors the money can buy. So, get monitor stands if you can.
How does room treatment affect the sound of studio monitors?
The sound of your room affects the sound a LOT. No matter how expensive your studio monitors are, you need to put a bit of work into room treatment. This includes cutting off sound bouncing or reflecting off walls or surfaces in the room. If you are using an untreated room, it can be particularly difficult to get an accurate sense of bass.
The topic of room treatment certainly exceeds the scope of this article so make sure to do some research on this topic. If you’re putting some effort into your studio monitors, you should also put an equal amount of effort into treating the room you’re going to be working in.
That’s our round-up of some of the best budget studio monitors that you can get for music production, film editing, or just entertainment!
You need to have good sound quality in order to make great music. If you’re producing music on a pair of old tin cans or a bad set of headphones, you’re missing out on a LOT.
When I started out making music, I assume that I would need to spend thousands of dollars on studio monitors. Although spending this much will obviously allow you to get your hands on much better sound, you’re still going to tick a lot of the boxes by investing in a pretty basic pair of good quality monitors.