Anyone who has tried to mix and master music in the studio knows how difficult it is to find the best studio monitors for that purpose. Even if you’re trying to learn the basics of music in the studio, you know how important equipment is. It is already a long and arduous journey in the world of producing music. With that said, you always got to start from somewhere, even if it’s one of the best powered speakers from our recommendations. It is certainly a fact that having the right equipment can make your voyage a bit easier, however, it is not the be-all and end-all of music production in the long run. Maybe you just want to upgrade your pre-existing speaker setup with some of the best studio speakers out there, in order to elevate your production to the next level.
Whatever the case may be, we are all in agreement here that the right equipment is always crucial in music production. When you are in the studio, you want to hear every single detail unlike casual listening on your desk which can be done using budget speakers as well. The best studio monitors have a flat, neutral, and reference style sound signature. However, nowadays you have to be wary of the new trends that are emerging in the market of studio speakers. A lot of manufactures are trying to add some excitement to these studio speakers. Some of them even add a lot of bass to the speakers. Try to stay away from these, as they defeat the entire purpose of studio monitors.
Our Picks for the Best Studio Speakers
|1||Adam Audio A7X Powered Studio Monitor||Best Premium Studio Monitors|| |
|2||PreSonus Eris E8 XT Studio Monitor||Best Mixing Studio Monitors|| |
|3||JBL Professional 306P MKII Powered Studio Monitor||Best Budget Studio Monitors|| |
|4||Yamaha HS8 Studio Monitor||Best Home Studio Monitors|| |
|5||Mackie CR-X Series 8-Inch Multimedia Monitors||Most Versatile Studio Monitors|| |
|Product Name||Adam Audio A7X Powered Studio Monitor|
|Award||Best Premium Studio Monitors|
|Product Name||PreSonus Eris E8 XT Studio Monitor|
|Award||Best Mixing Studio Monitors|
|Product Name||JBL Professional 306P MKII Powered Studio Monitor|
|Award||Best Budget Studio Monitors|
|Product Name||Yamaha HS8 Studio Monitor|
|Award||Best Home Studio Monitors|
|Product Name||Mackie CR-X Series 8-Inch Multimedia Monitors|
|Award||Most Versatile Studio Monitors|
Last Update on 2021-11-27 at 10:20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Even though manufacturers might be getting clever with tricks like the ones mentioned above, there are a lot of great studio monitors out there. It is often difficult for many people to narrow it down to one of three. We’re here to make your lives a bit easier. Like with any purchase, there are a lot of factors that you should consider before making this purchase, some of which we have discussed later on in the article. It must also be noted that studio monitors differ in function from gaming speakers so that is something you have to decide beforehand. But first, let’s cut the small talk and get straight to it with some of the best studio speakers in 2021.
Power Handling: 100W | Configuration: 7-inch woofer and 1-inch tweeter | Input: XLR, RCA
REASONS TO BUY
- Excellent Natural Sound Signature
- Modern Streamlined Design
- Superb Build Quality
- Clever Folded Ribbon Tweeter
- Very Dynamic
REASONS TO AVOID
- Quite Expensive
- No TRS Input
Adam Audio is a legendary brand when it comes to studio monitors. Their AX series is quite successful if you can fork over the cash for them. However, these just might be the last studio monitors you ever end up buying. Yes, they are good. But let’s have a look at what makes them this good. You might also want to check out our recommendations on the best Bluetooth speakers under $50 if you are interested in budget speakers.
The AX7 we’re looking at is the 7-inch version of the AX range. There is an A3X and A5X variation as well. Design-wise, these look phenomenal. The cabinet is heavy and rugged and weighs in at 20 pounds. This handles distortion and resonance quite well. The low-frequency of42Hz is handled by bass ports and woofer. Similarly, the max 50kHz frequency is handled by a tweeter.
The crossover is at 2500Hz. The tweeter is quite impressive here and has a distinct design. Instead of a silk dome tweeter, this uses a folded ribbon Twitter. It is much wider and moves air faster when it leaves the tweeter. This gives the monitors an immense dynamic range and transient response. The nice angled design takes us down to the woofer.
This woofer is made out of a carbon composite and works well. The front-firing bass ports are in a good location and throw out a lot of low-end. Sound quality is natural, and reference-grade. You’ll be able to pick up details you never noticed before while mixing. The inputs include an unbalanced RCA and a balanced XLR input. We even have tone controls to change the frequency balance.
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Overall, these are hands down the best studio monitors for most people. Of course, they are a bit expensive and require a bit of setup. However, you get a lot of value in exchange for your money and patience.
Power Handling: 140W | Configuration: 8-inch woofer and 1-inch tweeter | Input: XLR, TRS, RCA
REASONS TO BUY
- EBM Waveguide
- Custom Kevlar Woofer
- Great Performance For The Studio
- Good Transient Response
- Lots Of Inputs
REASONS TO AVOID
- Mediocre Cables
- High Price
Like many others on this list, PreSonus is a well-known brand. This is especially true among budding audiophiles. PreSonus offers excellent value and performance in all of its products. The ERIS E8 XT studio monitors are no different. These are excellent studio monitors, and they earn a strong recommendation from us.
The Eris XT is an enhanced version of popular reference monitors. They made various improvements over their predecessors. They have a better transient response and a wider stereo image. This comes together to give you a bigger sweet spot. The low-end is also much better and focused on these monitors. If you are interested in speakers that are similar in function but for home use, check out our picks for the best floor-standing speakers to buy in 2021.
The E8XT features an 8-inch custom-woven Kevlar woofer. As for the tweeter, it’s your standard 1-inch silk dome tweeter. These drivers deliver 140W of power, which is more than enough for both studio and general use. They have a low frequency of 35Hz. These monitors are versatile and provide great control over audio. You get three separate inputs: Balanced XLR, Balanced TRS, and an RCA unbalanced port.
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Apart from all of that, you also get level control and dedicated eq controls. Of course, room tuning is also available here. Position matters a lot for studio speakers so the acoustic space control feature helps out here. The only downside is that these monitors come with mediocre cables. Apart from that, these are excellent studio monitors for the money. Enthusiasts might demand more, but these are great for more than 90% of people.
The JBL 306 MKII studio monitors are well known as the king of budget studio monitors. Not all studio monitors need to cost an arm and a leg. However, entry-level monitors don’t always sound the best. Surprisingly, the existence of the 306 MKII makes this statement false. These are the best value on this list, and we don’t see that changing any time soon.
To the surprise of many, these studio monitors are actually larger than first initially thought, unlike any party speakers you might currently have. They are quite big and have some weight to them for a 6-inch subwoofer. Both speakers have a plate amp and options for balanced XLR or quarter-inch TRS input. These are active powered speakers. You get switches to adjust high and low frequencies according to your liking.
The build quality isn’t exactly the best. The cabinet can feel a bit cheap at times. Aesthetics aren’t all that impressive either, as they look plasticky and don’t have that premium feel to them. The waveguide on the front tweeter doesn’t help much either.
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These might not be the absolute best studio speakers out there in terms of build quality, however, these speakers redeem themselves with sound quality. They have an incredible low end, and the mid-range is well detailed. The trebles are bright and pleasant to listen to. As we said, these are an excellent value. Well, if you can look past the design and build quality.
Power Handling: 120W | Configuration: 8-inch woofer and 1-inch tweeter | Input: XLR, TRS
REASONS TO BUY
- Iconic Design
- Phenomenal Build Quality
- Natural And Refined Sound
- Clean Aesthetics
REASONS TO AVOID
- Soundstage Isn't The Widest
- Might Require a Subwoofer
- No RCA Input
The Yamaha HS8 studio monitors are most likely the easiest to recognize for most people. These are based on the NS10 studio monitors, which are the most famous studio monitors of all that. The HS8 lives up to that legacy. This remains true both in design and performance.
The HS8 studio monitors have already earned a cult-like following. They are awesome for mixing and mastering. Successful studios require great monitors, and these live up to that criteria. They even have the iconic cone sub-woofer. Of course, this is painted white to keep that classic retro look alive. Yamaha has also added a blue LED at the front. Such classy monitors should be paired with the best speaker wires too, as can be found in our recommendations.
We are big fans of the minimalistic, clean, and simple design here. The crossover is rated 2000 Hz. As for the frequency response, it comes in at 38Hz-30kHz. These are active studio monitors with built-in amplifiers. Hence, the sound quality is flat and natural. So, these deliver transparent and full-range performance. The volume knob is located at the back.
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Overall, we are still big fans of the Yamaha HS8. They could benefit from a wider soundstage, especially if you are mixing audio for films or something similar. So, adding a subwoofer might be necessary if you really want to bring these to life.
5. Most Versatile Studio Monitors - Mackie CR-X Series 8-Inch Multimedia Monitors
Power Handling: 160W | Configuration: 8-inch woofer and 1-inch tweeter | Input: TRS, RCA
REASONS TO BUY
- Affordable Price
- Bluetooth Connectivity
- Front Headphone Jack
REASONS TO AVOID
- Not Quite Reference-grade
- Quality Control Issues
- Bluetooth Stability Issues
- Controversial Looks
The Mackie CR-X Series 8 are excellent entry-level studio monitors. Mackie is often the go-to brand for people who are just learning to work in the studio. However, Mackie terms these studio monitors, as “Multimedia monitors”. That’s an interesting take, for sure. Regardless, these 8-inch studio monitors are a great budget option.
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These have an 8-inch subwoofer paired with a 1-inch silk dome tweeter. They have that sleek look we’ve come to expect from Mackie monitors. The brushed metal faceplate, textured cabinet, and classic green accents provide a unique but somewhat controversial look. And with the volume/power knob on the front panel, you can easily tune the audio to your liking.
These CR-X monitors have a headphone output built-in and it’s right there on the front panel. Furthermore, these multi-media monitors even have built-in Bluetooth. This is important if you want to use them for general listening sessions. All things considered, these monitors are great for content creation, gaming, and home studio use.
However, they sound more enjoyable rather than flat or neutral. Don’t get us wrong, they are good for mixing and mastering. Still, if you need that exact precision and accuracy, then these aren’t for you. There have also been some quality control issues among a few users. If you can look past the trivial issues here and there, then these are probably some of the best studio monitors on a budget.
Factors to Consider Before Buying Studio Speakers
We have concluded this review list for the best studio speakers on the market for a broad spectrum of our readers. The vastly varying price and feature differences among many speaker types and brands can create perplexing options. Studio speakers come in different shapes and sizes. There are many speakers out of which many can fulfill different requirements. Every type fulfills a different purpose, like you wouldn’t want a wireless speaker for a studio setting and so on. Some are a deal-breaker while others might be out of your budget. You may be aware of the specifications and configurations of speakers but you are still confused about what to get. Don’t be afraid, just scroll down further and let’s take a look at some of the most critical factors before closing in on your speaker’s purchase.
It isn’t compulsory for studio speakers to be just as louder as it gets more powerful. Power is measured in watts which indicates a studio speaker’s ability to handle audio. Yes, there is a notable relation between audibility and the power of studio speakers’ handling. More powerful speakers are capable of louder sounds at full dynamic range without distortion. Distortion is often caused when playing low-frequency audio which is most noticeable with lower quality speakers. Try playing a loud audio recording on a laptop and a TV, and then compare the sound quality between the two. With powerful speakers, you have more control over the fine-tuning of audio output. Yes, more power means more bass but it’s irrelevant from a professional’s perspective. The Mackie 8RX and Eris E8 are the two most powerful speakers on our list.
As described before, studio speakers come in all shapes and sizes. With that said, speakers come in varying configurations. There are different types of audio drivers on a studio speaker driver such as a tweeter and a woofer. Tweeters are small audio drivers that play high-frequency sounds whereas a woofer has a larger diameter, specialized for lower frequency ranges. Woofers with large diameter tend to be much louder with richer base and frequency ranges provided that it is operated on sufficient wattages. Subwoofers on the other hand aren’t required but are recommended and are used externally. Speakers with large enclosures also tend to have the most ports and features that otherwise would be sacrificed for compact form factors.
So those were some of the factors that you should definitely consider before purchasing a studio monitor. Evidently, buying the best studio speakers for your particular setup might not be as easy as one might expect, since there are a lot of little things that pop up in the purchasing process. Some of these steps we have also covered in detail in our center channel speaker buying guide. Still, we hope to have made your decision a bit easier with our guide on the best studio monitors.
Best Studio Speakers - FAQs
Studio speaker size depends on your personal preference. Either you set up a space for your speakers of a particular size or you choose a speaker that takes as much space as your room allows for. Larger studio monitors are more powerful and have the most features and ports whereas more compact solutions offer much less.
Studio monitors are audio output devices in large enclosures that produce high-quality and audible sounds. They aren’t indifferent to regular speakers. Studio monitors are essential for professional usage such as music and television production where audio quality is crucial. These can produce flat linear phase frequency and audio. Some even have built-in amplifiers.
Connecting studio monitors to your computer is rather simple. You can connect through an audio interface via the 3.5mm audio jack or Bluetooth. Although sometimes Bluetooth connections may have latency or quality issues depending on your system.
JBL Professional 306P is the cheapest studio monitor on our list. At a low price point, it packs a lot of punch. With a 6 inch woofer and 1-inch tweeter and decent power and selection of ports, there is no way to get dissatisfied with this speaker.