The Best Studio Monitor Speakers for Music Production and Home Recording!
Goes without saying that monitors are essential in any recording studio. To pick only six of the best studio monitor speakers in the market is not an easy task.
You need to listen to your tracks exactly how they sound. Therefore you cannot rely on just a pair of headphones or any hi-fi or computer speakers. Devices that are designed to make the sound more attractive to your ears, rather than a proper flat response, are not recommended for home recording studios.
It is not quite right to simply make a list of the “best studio monitor speakers” or “best monitors for home studio” and successfully cover all your needs. Speaker preference is ultimately a personal thing. To make the right choice depends at first on your studio, it’s size, available space, your available budget, and of-course personal preference on the sound response.
The sound quality is subjective; what you like somebody else might hates!
Spending more money doesn’t guarantee better speakers. Studio monitors achieve full potential in rooms with acoustic that compliments them.
Your preference in music genres doesn’t affect the monitor selection as long as they provide a friendly, accurate, and flat sound.
For a good pair of home studio monitors, you do NOT have to spend big.
Contrary to common belief, studio monitors are not very expensive. There are plenty of excellent options available for less than $500 a pair. For home and semi-pro recording studios, those pairs are ideal, offering great audio sound and long-term use.
What to consider before buying your studio monitor speaker:
- Passive or Active:
Studio monitor speakers are separated into Active and Passive. Active monitors, also known as powered, have an amplifier built into them, so you don’t need anything else to start using them. Passive monitors, on the other hand, need an external amp to power them. In our list, we will explore active monitor speakers that the manufacturer adds the perfect internal amp with the speaker, leading to the best possible performance.
- Speaker size:
By speaker size, we mean woofer size. It’s pretty easy to recognize them by name. Yamaha HS5 has a 5″ inch woofer, HS7 has 7″inch, and so on. The size of the woofer is a fundamental matter to consider, and the choice should be proportionate to the size of your room. As well as the bass response you desire in your home recording studio. Big speakers sound better in big rooms and small speakers in smaller spaces. To own a tiny home studio and purchase speakers over 5 inches, is pointless.
- Frequency response:
The average human ears enjoy frequencies from 20Hz to 20kHz. Studio monitors will specify their frequency range, something between 35Hz to 35kHz. Those specs should be expected on speakers with woofer over 8″ inch. On 5″ inch woofers, you will hear from 45Hz to 35kHz. Once again, the sound quality is subjective; what you like somebody else might hates!
Is a pair of studio monitors enough, or do I need a subwoofer?
For starters, a good pair of speakers is perfect. However, most semi-pro and pro studios have more than one pair. That way, they have the opportunity to listen to a track from different sound perspectives. If you also add a nice pair of studio headphones, then you have a broad range of different sound outputs to help you get the best results in your productions. The installation of a subwoofer in your studio is a nice idea but only to delight your ears. Otherwise, it will boost the bass, and you won’t hear an accurate sound to deliver proper mixing and mastering.
If you still want a full-range bass sound in your home studio, check the best studio monitor subwoofers.
Our top choices for the best studio monitor speakers for 2020 are:
- Yamaha HS
- KRK Rokit
- JBL LSR
- FOCAL ALPHA
- PreSonus Eris E
- Genelec 8010A
Pieces of information, such as personal experience, reviews, characteristics, and budget, led us on this list of the best studio monitor speakers for home recording and music production.
Top 6 Best Studio Monitor Speakers in 2020 – Reviews
1. YAMAHA HS 5/7/8
Since 1980, the legendary NS10M, people were waiting for a modern equivalent of it, and years later Yamaha produced the new HS series. YAMAHA HS is available with 3 different woofer sizes, HS5= 5″, HS7= 6.5″ and HS8=8″.
Yamaha HS is a superb monitor speaker. It offers incredibly flat frequency response, outstanding clarity, and competence that you will not find in any other speaker at this price range. The cutting edge noise reduction technology and the integrated amplifier unit perfectly matched to each model of the series will deliver high-resolution sound. The high frequencies are excellent, and the bass response is deep and clear to work perfectly well in your studio without the need for a sub.
The pair by Yamaha might not have any special feature that out-stands others but offers a nice depth of field and excellent sense of stereo positioning. There are both XLR and TRS jack inputs with the outputs to the main speakers on balanced XLRs. One of the reasons that put this pair on the top of our list of the best studio monitors is the nearly perfect reviews and ratings by users all around the globe.
Conclusion: One of the most accurate studio monitors is also super affordable. Unless you work in a big studio room, then the HS5 or HS7 will get the job done. The design is neat with a black plastic foil covering cabinets and white cone woofer that reminds us of the legendary NS10. But with remarkable improvements in sound quality is totally worth the investment.
Musicians who use it: Linkin Park, Kygo, Digitalism, Amine Edge
|Woofer Size:||5″ / 6.5″ / 8″|
|Frequency Response:||54Hz-30kHz / 43Hz – 30kHz / 38Hz – 30kHz|
|Output Power:||75W / 95W / 120W|
2. KRK ROKIT G3 RP5/6/8/10
KRK studio is well known for accurate, reliable, and innovative engineering audio equipment. I have changed a couple of studio monitors before I rest with the Rokit G3 RP6 by KRK. Fortunately, I had a friend back then working with a Rokit RP8 in his well-soundproofed studio room, and I got amazed by the power and sound quality of this pair.
If you also want excellent acoustics in your studio, check How to soundproof your room.
KRK Rokit may not offer such a perfectly flat frequency response as the HS by Yamaha, but it provides impressive deep, punchy and tight bass, along with balanced mids and highs. The ROKIT 6 G3 includes a 1” soft-dome tweeter and 6” glass-Aramid composite yellow-colored woofer. At the back of the speaker, there are controls to adjust the high and low frequencies settings in four steps -2dB, -1dB, 0dB, and +2dB.
The KRK studio monitors come in four different woofer sizes, 5″,6″,8″ and 10″ as seen by the names Rokit RP5/RP6/RP8/RP10. The RP5 and RP6 are great for any small to a middle-sized recording studio. Otherwise, 8″ or 10″ is the choice if your room is relatively big. The biggest model of this series it’s a 3-way speaker. So you will not need to spend money on a new subwoofer.
A custom-designed amplifier delivers SPL up to 107dB, along with multiple input connections, will easily connect to all your studio equipment.
Conclusion: The yellow feature woofer by KRK appears in most electronic recording studios and not only. The deep bass response and clear highs make it ideal for any music genres with punchy sounds. With a sweet price, the top-rated KRK RP6 is, without a doubt, an excellent choice for your home recording studio. This studio monitor will fit perfectly with the matched subwoofer by KRK.
Musicians who use it: Adam Port, &ME, Guy J, Skrillex, Kygo, Nicky Romero, and the majority of electronic music producers.
|Woofer Size:||5″ / 6″ / 8″ /10″|
|Frequency Response:||45Hz-35kHz / 38Hz – 35kHz / 35Hz – 35kHz / 31Hz – 30kHz|
|Output Power:||50W / 73W / 100W / 140W|
3. JBL LSR 305 / 308 MKII
JBL is a popular brand not only to music producers but musicians of all kind. It is also known for the production of high-quality studio monitors, PA systems and really powerful subwoofers.
JBL LSR 305 and 308 offer 5″ and 8-inch woofer sizes, respectively, and cannot go unnoticed by anyone with a tight budget. The Mk II series features updated high and low-frequency transducers, which respectively optimized damping for a superior sound response. This studio monitor offers excellent sound quality with smooth and precise mids and highs. Along with impressively deep bass with lower harmonic distortion, due to the slipstream low-frequency port design.
Even tho LSR is not such a popular monitor speaker compare to the above. It has satisfied users and hundreds of great reviews on the web, giving us one more reason to trust this serie by JBL. However, there are a couple of reviews by users not satisfied with the performance of mid frequencies. We believe it is because of high standards or lousy room acoustics.
Conclusion: JBL studio monitors have a beautifully sleek, modern design that makes it a significant upgrade to any studio. To get a pair of pro-5-inch studio monitors with impressive performance, well-defined bass for such a low price, then it surely is an excellent “value for money” purchase. The only minus is the relatively low output power, as 41 Watts (LSR305) doesn’t even come close to the 70Watts of Yamaha HS5.
|Models:||LSR 305/LSR 308|
|Woofer Size:||5″ / 8″|
|Frequency Response:||43Hz – 24kHz / 37Hz – 24kHz|
|Output Power:||41W / 56W|
4. FOCAL ALPHA 50/65/804
The award-winning by Music Tech, Focal Alpha 50/65/80 can satisfy even the most demanding users and owners of any recording studio. Focal professional is not a commercial brand like Yamaha and KRK but is very famous to experienced studio owners.
Focal Alpha is available in 3 different woofer sizes, 5″, 6,5″ and 8″ as indicates the models’ name. Its sound quality outperforms most of its competitors, with deep and clear bass, smooth high frequencies and balanced midrange response.
The ALPHA65 has a 6.5-inch powerful poly-glass cone subwoofer and 1-inch aluminum inverted dome tweeter. The Woofer has a 70W amplifier, and the tweeter has a 35W amp. It is giving total output power 103Watts with a frequency response of 40Hz to 22kHz. It also has room correction EQ, and you can connect up to 2 audio sources.
The details make the difference, and Focal Alpha even offers an automatic standby mode that turns off the speaker after 30 minutes of inactivity. A pretty useful feature for forgetful users like me. Important to add the 15mm thick MDF build, partially with a vinyl finish that will make your speaker handle any hardship.
A slide switch boosts the volume up to 6dB if needed, and twin shelving EQs with corner frequencies at 300Hz and 4.5kHz allow you to adjust the monitor’s frequency response at your desire.
Conclusion: As we mentioned before, Focal doesn’t have a big audience like other brands, but this small crowd gives excellent reviews. The price tag is the only misgiving of the Focal Alpha series. But if you want loud monitors with powerful bass and quality audio to vibe up your studio, then the Alpha 80 is a perfect choice.
|Woofer Size:||5″ / 6.5″ / 8″|
|Frequency Response:||45Hz – 22kHz / 40Hz – 22kHz / 35Hz – 22kHz|
|Output Power:||103W / 105W / 140W|
5. PreSonus Eris E 5/8/44/66
PreSonus is an American manufacturer with over 23 years in the professional audio equipment and software industry. The Eris series comes with 3.5″, 4,5″, 5″ and 8″-inch woofer. Plus two more models the 44 and 66 with dual woofers 4,5″ and 6.5″.
In general, the sound response is flat, and the mids and highs are highly detailed, crisp, and revealing. The E5 may not be able to produce a significant amount of deep low frequencies. You do have a tight and solid bass but not on the level of the above models. The 5″-inch woofer model offers 80W amp and 102 dB maximum SPL for intense studio sessions.
The Presonus Eris has a relatively simple appearance, but the matte black finish gives a modern and sleek design to look great in any studio setup. It is also very portable, as it weighs around 10lbs, which is a few pounds lighter compared to most 5-inch studio speakers.
Eris E monitor series is suitable for an extensive range of musicians. The versatility offered by the rear-panel controls on the speakers will fit ideally in a studio of most electronic and hip-hop music producers.
Conclusion: There may be some better studio monitors out there, but at this price range, not many speakers can beat the Eris. It’s light, portable, and if you have a small home studio, even the 3.5″ and 4.5″-inch model will cover your needs. Without a doubt, one of the best studio monitor speaker for the money.
|Frequency Response:||53Hz-22kHz / 35Hz-22kHz / 55Hz-22kHz / 45Hz- 22kHz|
|Output Power:||80W / 140W / 135W / 145W|
6. GENELEC 8010A
Genelec is a high-end brand with lots of fans, trusted by many musicians and used in many professional recording studios. If your pocket can afford it, Genelec sound is probably the best you will ever get in your home recording studio.
You will be amazed by the smooth and loud sound with a superb deep bass that comes out from this tiny studio monitor. To add also the and accurate mids and highs that make it perfect for every producer. It doesn’t fill your eye that this 3-inch woofer that is smaller than the size of your palm, but it does deliver a crystal clear sound.
Conclusion: Genelec is the Lamborghini of speakers, and 8010A is a fantastic studio monitor, but not very budget-friendly. There are also other similar models with bigger woofer size than 8010A, like the 8020CPM, 8030B, 8040B and 8050B, but except the first one, all the rest are very expensive.
|Frequency Response:||74Hz – 20kHz|
These were our top 6 picks for the best studio monitor speakers in the market today!
Can you use studio monitors for regular speakers?
Yes, you can use them, but not in big spaces and rooms. The bass and sound will not be heard if you will be sitting far from the monitor. You will need large studio monitors for a party or an event. Otherwise, they won’t work for you. Check here some of the best powered speakers for DJs and loud environments if you heave different audio needs.
What tools you will need to complete your home studio
The additional tools that will complete your home recording studio are the audio interface, DAW, and MIDI keyboard. In our article The Best Audio Interface under $200 and The Best Thunderbolt interfaces, you will find popular brands that will include music production software such as Ableton Live.
Here you will find everything on how to build a home recording studio at under $600.
Monitoring speakers are an essential studio tool for creating high-quality recordings and mixes. Since you’ll probably be using your monitor speakers a lot, it’s worth getting a pair that you’ll be 100% pleased with the results. It is a studio tool that you should not be afraid to spend a little more.
The Yamaha studio monitor speaker will be ideal for nearly every musician out there. KRK and JBL are known world-wide for perfect studio monitors for electronic music. And noone can ignore the high-end sound quality of Genelec speakers.
Without a doubt, it is a hard choice, but all options will fit perfectly in any home recording studio. All models above offer a nice flat and balanced sound, in a lovely designed housing, available on many woofer sizes and with a friendly price tag.
There were a few more models that could fit on that list such as Equator D5, Mackie MR5, but we preferred to keep the list tight and make your choice easier. Keep in mind that you will need to buy a pair, as they are often sold separately, which can be a little confusing.
Did you find this article helpful? Feel free to drop some knowledge on any of the studio monitors in this list or add your thoughts and questions.