Recently we reviewed some monitor speakers costing from $100 to $500 and up to $1000 and today we will be reviewing some of the Best Budget Studio Monitors. You may have already bought a quality microphone or an audio interface for your home studio setup, however, it can’t be complete if you lack proper sound output features to help you hear the high-quality sound. Once you’ve got the equipment that’ll help you both create and record your audio, you’ll then need the proper equipment to help you replicate this audio. This is where quality studio monitors come in.
Buying quality studio monitors is key if you want a complete and good quality studio, whether it’s for professional purposes or just a simple home one. The speaker units in your studio will often have a huge effect on the overall sound quality of the music you produce. Studio monitor units provide accurate sounds at all frequencies. The medium and high frequencies are managed by the tweeters while the low frequencies are handled by the subwoofers.
This all must come at a really costly price, right? Wrong. Something you might not know just yet is that there are plenty of good-quality studio monitors out there that come at a pretty affordable price. You don’t have to go for the high-priced product options to get your hands on a top-notch device.
There are so many good options available to you and not only have we listed down some of the ones you should strongly be considering, but we’ve also decided to break down for you exactly what you need to know when it comes to buying a studio monitor. Let’s start with the list, shall we?
List of Best Budget Studio Monitors!
JBL LSR305 Review
The first thing you’ll notice when you look at these studio monitors is their smooth, sleek overall design which makes them seem like they can comfortably fit in any setup. The rolled surround at the top of the textile dome helps prevents any distortion and aids in the sound. The poly-cone 5-inch woofer is built butyl rubber surround so that in can deliver a clean bass sound. The Slip Stream low-frequency port patented by JBL allows this unit to provide accurate bass responses even at very low playback levels.
Containing 82Watts of raw power, this machine certainly packs a punch. This JBL unit has a crossover frequency of about 175Hz and a frequency range of around 24kHz-43kHz. These wider frequency ranges provide for more accuracy when mixing. Their efficient Class D amps provides plenty of power to help offer the dynamic headroom and output required for even the production styles that usually demand the most.
These are affordable top-quality studio monitors that were specifically designed for that serious music producer or audio engineer that doesn’t want to break the bank but still wants something very good. Its innovative Image Control Waveguide features is something all creators are bound to fall in love with. Why? Because it helps them come up with dimensional and well-defined stereo images. This allows the user to hear every sound clearly as well as to help them make accurate sonic judgments.
Edifier R1280T Review
These bookshelf speakers by Edifier are a fantastic choice as far as budget studio monitor systems are concerned. Featuring a calibrated, flared-bass reflex port and a four-inch bass driver, these speakers are guaranteed to provide its user with that rich, deep bass sound everyone enjoys. Crip highs are then produced by the silk-dome 13mm tweeter. The volume, bass and treble controls on the monitor unit will help it come up with the perfect music balance as well as award you full control over all the sound. Additionally, its convenient wireless remote can help you mute the sound or adjust volume from a distance.
The two RCA input features these speakers have means that you can connect them to two separate audio sources. Also included is dual RCA 3.5mm aux cable and an eight-foot speaker, which combined will allow you to start work right from the get-go. They have frequency responses measuring in at between 20kHz-60kHz and pack 42Watts of raw power. Both speakers weigh about 10.8-pounds and measure around 6.9×9.4×5.7-inches.
Gray front panels and classic wood finishes on its sides gives this speaker a sleek and classy overall aesthetic that’ll pair perfectly with almost any computer. You can remove the front grilles if you want the drivers exposed for a better overall look. Also, the sound can sometimes be way clearer when the grilles have been taken out. However, when you aren’t using them you should cover the drivers so as to keep dust away from them. These are a great low-budget studio monitor option that can get almost any job you need done.
PreSonus Eris E4.5 Review
The Eris E4.5 speaker unit is powered by two 25Watt Class AB amps for a staggering combined raw power of 50Watts. Loaded with more than enough power, as you can clearly see, these speakers happen to be some of the best studio monitors you’ll find that come at a relatively cheap price. However, even though the price might be on the lower end, the sound quality they give is something you’ll find in the other more expensive monitors.
Their one-inch silk-dome tweeters have a grille cover protecting them. The 4.5-inch low-frequency transducers it’s equipped with helps it provide the user with a wonderful bass sound. These transducers, made of Kevlar, not only offer a clear, crisp sound but they’re also very durable as well. You’ll both hear as well as feel the bass. They measure about 10x15x10 and measure in at around thirteen pounds. Since they’re light and small, they can be transported to different locations with ease. In fact, their portability is what a lot of people also like about this speaker unit.
The quality woofers and tweeters give the user clean highs and lows. The rich and clear sound quality they provide makes them perfect for multimedia production, as well as for both listening to music and playing games. They can either be used for acoustic settings or upgrade a desktop. The superior accuracy provided by the acoustic-tuning control system makes for the ideal mixing experience.
This is a vital feature because sound waves behave differently in different rooms. Acoustic tuning controls will help you overcome almost any acoustic complication. Acoustic space setting can be used to integrate the speakers into the studio so that accurate playbacks can be listened to.
Mackie CR3 Review – Best Budget Studio Monitor (Author’s Choice)
Taking the number one spot is the Mackie CR3 speaker unit. Designed to produce top-quality studio sound, they’re the perfect companions for the production of multimedia creations. Only the best components have been used to manufacture this product. Consisting of a true studio-monitor waveguide feature, an all-wood cabinet, and high-output drivers, the CR3 unit has been carefully designed to ensure it offers the best sound possible.
The wood cabinet exterior is far much better than the more typical plastic material found on several other studio monitors. Furthermore, a nice bass sound quality is enhanced by custom-tuned rear-firing bass ports. On the front panel is where all the controls have been conveniently placed for easy access. You can connect your tablet or smartphone handset using the aux input.
There’s also a volume (that doubles up as an on/off switch) and a headphone output as well. Oh, and there’s a right/left speaker placement switch that allows you to pick which side you want to place volume control in your setup, giving you more control over the entire system.
It features a frequency range of around 20KHz-80KHz, these speakers provide its user with a full-range audio experience. The subwoofer delivers satisfying lows and measures three inches in size. Its silk dome tweeter speakers produce articulate and smooth highs. This combination between the two helps produce full-range sound quality with superior stereo imaging and consistent dispersion.
Edifier R1700BT Review
What stands out with these studio monitors is that they’re BLUETOOTH bookshelf speakers. If you haven’t gotten it yet, it’s their Bluetooth connectivity option. You can connect your laptop, tablet or smartphone for a hassle-free, wireless experience. They’re compatible with any Windows, macOS or iOS device. This speaker unit is truly versatile and can provide quality sound for your computer, gaming console, and TV. The Dynamic Range Control and in-built Digital Signal Processing prevents distortion.
The four-inch bass drivers found in each speaker unit helps create rich lows while the silk-dome 19mm tweeter provides crystal, clear sound. The front-facing bass reflex port design helps intensify the low frequencies which, in turn, helps provide a powerful bass sound. On the right speaker’s side is where you’ll find the treble, bass and audio controls. For even better overall listening experiences, the 10-degree angle the speakers have been set at helps ensure the sound travels directly to you.
These studio monitor units have frequency responses of between 60kHz-20kHz and 66Watts of power. They measure in at about 8.8×9.1×9.8-inches and weigh in at around 14.6-pounds. Their compact size allows them to fit into almost any work setup comfortably. With its two auxiliary input features, devices that have dual RCA outputs or a 3.5mm headphone port can be conveniently connected to it.
Also Read: Best Studio Monitors under $300
Adam Audio F5 5-Inch Review
Adam is well-known for producing quality speaker units, however, most of them are only for professional use. Nevertheless, they’ve come up with a couple of models that have been manufactured with the casual user, and the one that’s just starting out in music creation, in mind. This happens to be one of them. This particular series offers two model options and this one we’re highlighting today is the smaller one of them. Both allow for subwoofer additions to the set.
The tweeter surprisingly has folded-membrane construction features as well as the fact that they’re handmade in the company factory in Berlin. There’s a front-facing port that’s slightly flattened to allow for noise reduction and enough airflow. This monitor allows you to adjust the sound frequency volumes you want to hear coming out of the speakers. The control features located on the rear panel can be used to filter sounds under 300Hz and above 5kHz. Oh, before we get to mention, the speaker’s frequency ranges measures between 52Hz to 50kHz.
One of the advantages about getting this speaker is that because they’re well-known for producing high-end speaker units when they make budget-friendly alternatives (such as this one right here), they tend to incorporate some of the components you’d expect to find in the models that are more expensive, which happens to be a super plus.
Yamaha HS5 Monitors Review – Best Studio Monitor under Budget (Amazon’s Choice)
If you’re in search of a studio monitor that can offer you quality in every single way at a relatively affordable price, then this speaker unit is what you should be strongly considering right now. It has a five-inch woofer and a one-inch wide tweeter that gives it the ability to produce more than enough volume. As far as frequency range is concerned, this studio monitor can produce sound frequencies in the range of between 30kHz and 54Hz, which means that you’ll be able to hear the high sounds very well.
The Yamaha brand is a world-renowned brand name and is well-known to produce some of the best speaker units on the market. The HS5 monitors are no exception. They accept both unbalanced and balanced TRS and XLR inputs and that device itself will fill well and look great in almost any workstation setup. It also provides some of the best sound because of the high-trim response control features it has.
Oh, and it also has 70Watts of raw power, which is quite a lot. This is more than enough power for a medium or small-sized room. The monitor’s noise reduction tech ensures that the speakers provide a crystal, clear sound quality at all times.
Also Read: Best Monitor Speakers under $200
Buying Guide – What to Look for in a Studio Monitor?
Hereinbelow are some of the important things you need to remember before you go out and buy your very own studio monitor.
The monitor size you’re looking for will largely depend on the overall size of your workstation. Some of you may have very limited workspace and if that’s the case, then your best bet would be to go for the smaller speaker units. When it comes to small spaces, using small studio monitors will help give you more accurate mixing results. If you can mount the unit or you have a little more extra space, then you can go for the speakers that are a bit bigger in size. You should also consider how they need to be placed in order for them to provide the best sound possible.
Most people looking for studio monitors often tend to think they need to break the bank if they want to get good-quality speaker units. However, that’s not necessarily the case. Even just a measly two-hundred dollars is enough to get you some top-notch products that can get almost any job done. Nonetheless, we’re not saying that you have to go straight for one of the cheapest options you can get your hands on. We’re just telling you that you don’t have to spend lots of your hard-earned cash to get a good studio monitor.
It’s vital you pay very close attention as far as the frequency range of the speaker is concerned. Ensure that the speaker unit you happen to be considering can comfortably manage the frequency ranges of the recordings you intend to make. Hertz (Hz) is what’s used to measure the lowest frequency range while kilohertz (kHz) are used to measure the highest frequency range. A lot of recording work tends to need frequency ranges of around 20kHz to 50Hz
If you’re going to be using your studio monitors to record music, then you’ll need to think about the type of music you intend on creating before going to buy a speaker. If the music you’re going to create is on the light side, then you’ll want to look at nearfield studio monitors that have 6, or 4.5-inch woofers. These should be more than enough for that. For hip hop and rock music, you’ll want to consider speaker units that pack a punch so that you can be able to hear your bass sounds clearly.
The number of watts found in the monitors you’re looking to acquire is very important, more so as far as the workstation room size is concerned. What we simply mean here is the size of the room you’re going to be working in will determine how many watts you really need. Bigger rooms will need you to have more power if you want the good sound quality to be delivered in all corners of the said room. For smaller spaces, such as a home studio and the like, you probably won’t need that many watts
Before you make a purchase, ensure that the speaker units you’re looking at have the connections that will allow you to use it along with all your other equipment. Studio monitors often have S/PDIF, XLR, quarter-inch TRS or RCA outputs. Others have balanced input, unbalanced inputs, or both.
Tri-Amp, Bi-Amp or Single Amp
These terms are used to represent the different types of input signals that power the drivers. Single-amplifier monitors divide one amplifier’s output power using a crossover network that sends each monitor the right frequency. In bi-amplifier studio monitors, there are usually 2 separate amps; one that gives power to low frequencies and gives power to high frequencies. Tri-amplifier configurations divide the signal 3 ways into 3 separate amps to drive low, mid and high frequencies.
Tri-amp and bi-amp configurations normally produce a way better sound quality as well as a much more accurate response.
Far-Field Vs Near-Field
The near-field studio monitor is a compact device and is designed for use in closed spaces because it’s initially for close listening ranges. They usually need to be placed about 3-5 feet from where the user will be. This allows them to get more direct sounds from the speaker units rather than getting sound that bounced all over the place. Poor room acoustics has some devastating effects and this helps reduce them.
If most of what you’ll be doing is record yourself singing and/or playing an instrument, say the guitar, near-field studio monitor units will get the job done for you right. Far-field studio monitors are usually placed a bit further away from where the listener is and they’re often able to effectively manage a much louder volume capacity as compared to their near-field counterparts. When you use this type of monitor, sounds will bounce of the walls of the room a lot more meaning you’ll get more room noise as well.
The cabinet design on the studio monitor directly affects the overall sound quality of the speaker. If you don’t want your sound quality to be altered by the cabinets, then you should consider the speaker units that have a sturdy, stiff material such as a dense plastic or all-out metal. A lot of people usually think only aesthetic value when it comes to studio monitor cabinets.
Whether you want to get some recording done at a professional or home studio or whether you’re just upgrading your TV or computer’s sound system, finding top-notch studio monitor units can greatly help you improve sound quality.
Before you make a decision on what you should get, know exactly what type will best suit your needs. Many people tend to go the active speaker route, and a majority of the speakers highlighted on this list at least has one active speaker as part of their set. Decide what will best suit your needs, a far-field or near-field setup, because each of these monitor units are normally specifically designed for either use.
Conclusion – Which is the Best Studio Monitors under Budget?
Cabinets, connections, power, frequency range, tweeters, woofers, and speakers are generally all very equally important things you need to consider when buying this type of speaker unit. With that said, it now comes time to pick the best out of the bunch. Without a doubt, that goes to non-other than the Mackie CR3 that rolls in at number one. A spectacular machine that deserves to sit atop this mountain of products that are all well-deserving as well. If you’re looking for a budget-friendly monitor, then this is it.