The Best Affordable Studio Monitors in 2018
Having the right sound in the place where you’ll be working for several hours is essential. With so many choices out there to choose from, it can be tedious to find the best affordable studio monitors that’s right for you.
So I’ve decided to narrow it down to what I feel is the best affordable studio monitors. Keeping in mind that you want to maintain a professional sound in all of your mixes.
Types of Studio Monitors:
The most commonly used studio monitors today are what we would call active two way speakers. This means that the active part of the monitor is self contained. Another way of saying they don’t require any additional power source to provide sound.
Depending on what you’re trying to achieve, even the best sounding monitors and the most popular brands might not necessarily be what you need. Let’s say you’re mixing for clubs. Or even mixing for acoustic jazz. Or how about hip hop beats and music. You’ll need to consider all of these things as you make a decision to buy. Additionally, depending on the room you’re mixing in, it could help or hurt the sound of your mix even with the best monitors found out there.
The basic affordable monitors that sound decent enough
When you see the word bookshelf monitors it probably makes you think of something cheap that doesn’t sound good. That ain’t necessarily true nowadays. Over the past few years, some of the newer models have been reviewed by top producers.
Even though they’re small, many of the newer ones have a clearly defined bass resignation as well as pretty solid mid to high range definition. They might not put out the volume you’re looking for but if you’re mixing at a low volume, which you should be, they tell a pretty clear picture with your mixes.
There’s nothing wrong with grabbing a pair of these for low volume clean mixes.
Let’s start with the Mackie CR3
The CR3s for sure qualify as one of the best affordable studio monitors on the market today. Mackie did an excellent job with these!
These monitors have a nice slick model and they sound real clean. The Mackie CR3 provide a pretty flat audio response which is good because you’ll get a clean an accurate sound one your mixes. Additionally this means that the bass will stand clear of overwhelming other frequencies. A lot of monitors at this size tend to over take the vocals and that is certainly not what we’re trying to do. The Mackie CR3 will provide clean and direct audio response at ear level.
Mackie CR3 Style
These Mackie CR3’s are housed in a wooden box which is not a normal thing for monitors priced this way. They come with foam padding for those of you who don’t want any overwhelming bass frequencies. Including foam pads for speakers even still, is quite un heard of. But never the less I believe that Mackie wants to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth.
Another cool and convenient thing about these monitors is that they have a front end aux port and headphone port for quick and easy connections.
I definitely like the Mackie CR3 studio monitors and I think you’re getting a whole lot for the money!
Nice small design. These actually surprised the crap of me! Super in expensive but what’s more, they sound great. I originally didn’t have any high expectations for these even though they had hundreds of 5 star reviews on Amazon. I’m still very skeptical when it comes to studio monitors.
I went ahead and ordered these reluctantly and to my surprise I was getting a nice clean full sound. These rank as one of the highest ranking bookshelf speakers in my opinion. Great for a budget studio.
Great job Edifier! additionally, they come with a very small remote. I found this to be quite useless. Sorry! It’s really small but doesn’t do too much. It has volume, mute, e.t.c.
But it could be a convenience if you want turn the volume up and down from way across the room.
- 2 x AUX INPUT – Convenient connection to any device that has a 3.5mm headphone output or dual RCA output. Connect to two devices via AUX at the same time, no plugging and switching needed.
- STUDIO SOUND QUALITY – Natural sound reproduction from 13mm silk dome tweeter and 4 inch full range unit
- REMOTE CONTROL – Adjust volume at your figure tips. Bass and treble control located on the side of main speaker.
- CLASSIC WOOD FINISH – High quality MDF wood build finished with wood effect vinyl serves as a great compliment to any home decor.
- 2 YEAR WARRANTY – Guaranteed high quality and reliability with hassle-free parts and labor warranty for two years in USA and Canada.
Next up is the KRK RP5G3-NA Rokit 5 Studio Monitors.
Now these have been on the market for sometime now. They’re known mostly for there clean sound and colorization. They come highly recommended by industry pros as one of the best affordable studio monitors. KRK only make studio monitors and headphones, nothing else. So it’s not far fetched to say the company knows they’re stuff when it comes to good sounding studio monitors.
I consider these great speakers for the home based recording studio environment. They’ve settled in the about $300 price range and for the sound quality and truth telling, I think they’re a nice pair to have in a home based studio.
This version is the 5 in series but they also have an six inch and 8 inch versions too. All of which are great speakers in my opinion. Personally I use the five inch version. I don’t really need to pump that much volume and with the KRK RP5G3-NA Rokit I’m getting a clean and true sound and that’s what matters most to me. I think the five inch will be perfect for most people in most situations.
You can use a sub if you want. I turn mines on occasionally. They will still project a clean and well defined sound. KRK certainly has one of the best affordable studio monitors on the market!
Build and design
The KRKs have a bass port on the bottom front which can be a good thing or bad thing depending on the situation. If you keep these close to a wall which I don’t recommend, you’re allowing bass to build up in the room which could create unclean audio wave responses.
Overall, a good pair of speakers. Nice clean sound. They’ve got a little bit of color added which is not always a bad thing.
You’ll always notice the yellow on the front 5 inch circle. It’s kinda they’re thing as I haven’t seen them in too many other places.
These are powered monitors like most of the monitors made these days. Input has XLR, RCA and balanced quarter inch for quick connecting too.
It’s a pretty standard speaker. A bit heavier than you might think for it’s size. Just remember this is KRK. They specialize in studio monitors. Their monitors have been seen all over the world in some of the best studios so its hard to go wrong with them.
You might have to excuse the fact that I may be a bit bias when it comes to the Yamaha Hs5. These have been sitting in my studio now for more than 10 years! Why? Simply because I trust them. When I’m working on something serious or really important, I need something that ain’t gonna lie to me. I wan speakers to give it to me like it is. And that’s exactly what the yamaha HS5 powered monitors do.
Excellent frequency response range with clear as day mid rang and high frequency. The Hs5 pair of studio monitors add no color. You will need to work hard to get your mixes to sound good in these. They ain’t nothin but the truth! And trust me, that’s what you want! i’m can’t promise that you’ll hear frequencies way down at 20 khz, but even still, they have excellent bass response for their size. These speakers will make listening to music fun. Not too sure if the come bi amped.
They come solid with the following.
- 2-Way bass-reflex bi-amplified nearfield studio monitor with 5″ Cone woofer and 1″ dome tweeter
- They also have monitor emphasize sonic purity without any coloring or alternation of the original sound. This is what you need!
- 54Hz-30kHz frequency response; 45W LF plus 25W HF bi-amp system for high-performance 70W power amplification. Plenty of power
- XLR and TRS phone jack inputs accept balanced or unbalanced Signals which are standard in powered monitors.
Your mixes are sure to sound good if you can get them to sound good in the Yamaha Hs5!
Summing it up
A few final thoughts on how best to choose and use near field studio monitors. This post talks mainly about near field monitors specifically. These would need to be placed about a meter or two from your listening position. This would be about three to five feet. Having these speakers placed in a good listening position provides accurate response of sound. And not what is bouncing off the walls, floor, or any other surfaces that may be in you room.
With that said, please understand that no matter what you do, your room will have an impact on what you’re hearing. But having a set of studio monitors you can trust to make final and accurate mixing decisions is perhaps the most important part of the recording process. This though was originally said by Tannoy Studio and I could not have said it better.
With so many option out their the task couldn’t be more frustrating for those who really want the best possible sound when mixing. But choosing a monitor that fits your needs and budget doesn’t have to be a difficult process. having some basic knowledge of what features monitors have will make your decision a whole lot easier.
Setting up and using your monitors properly will help you to get the absolute most out of your purchase. many studios are designed for many different purposes. An example of this is if you’re mixing for the club sound versus the radio sound. If you’re mixing for a club sound you’ll find that far field monitors that are several meters away are better for this task. Why? because that’s how the sound is hear at a night club.
Near field monitors are better for commercial and radio mixes. Like if you want the final mix to sound good in a car or on a tv. Understanding the purpose of certain monitors will certainly help you along the way when making your final decision.
When it comes to deciding on a pair of monitors, accuracy is perhaps the most important thing you should be considering. Even though there are some monitors that add color in the eq and other frequencies, that doesn’t mean they are not accurate.
What you want is the best possible representation of what your mix will sound like in the real world. And not something that is adding or taking away specific frequencies in your final mix. What you’re trying to hear and what you’re trying to achieve with a good pair of studio monitors is a representation of a flat frequency response across the audio spectrum at all volumes. In other words you don’t want the monitor to change the sound you have recorded.
Two way monitors which are mostly what is discussed in this post are speakers that have two separate drivers to handle different parts of the frequency spectrum. these are your most common near field monitors.
So many have asked me which speakers are the best affordable studio monitors to grab. Hopefully I’ve cleared most of this up for you.
One of the most important things many people have forgotten, is that the sound of your room and / or room treatment is the most underrated consideration. Even if you have a good pair of studio monitors, you can still hear uneven and badly equalized sound coming from your room. This is why I think placement is important as well as keeping your monitors at ear level in the shape of a triangle. if you put the most expensive speakers in the bathroom what will it sound like? You guessed right! It will sound like horse crap!
Keep this in mind while making your desision!
I hope this post has cleared things up for you!