There’s no doubt about it – high-end studio monitors with amazing sound tend to be very expensive.
But nowadays, it’s absolutely possible to get cheap studio monitors with good sound quality.
So if you’re looking for a budget-friendly solution, read on – in today’s post, we review the best budget studio monitors in the market right now.
From cheap but reliable monitors ideal for gaming to affordable monitors that will allow you to make music at home, there’s something for everyone.
1. IK Multimedia iLoud Micro – Best portable studio monitors
If you’re looking for small, portable studio monitors, look no further than IK Multimedia iLoud Micro.
These tiny monitors are ideal for people who have smaller home studios or musicians and producers who tend to work on the go.
But don’t let their size fool you – they offer amazing value, and their sound reproduction is superb.
Bluetooth inclusion is also a nice touch, and the room-correcting EQ features will come in handy too.
With their sonic accuracy, compact design, and reasonable price, it’s no wonder they’re one of the most popular studio monitors out there.
They’re ideal for recording, mixing, and mastering audio, and they can fit any workstation.
2. M-Audio BX5-D3 – Best budget monitors for beginners
M-Audio BX5-D3 is an excellent choice for newcomers.
They can create a powerful, accurate sound, and that’s one of the most important things to look for in studio monitors.
Its design focuses on high-frequency dispersion, and its dome tweeter delivers nuanced high-frequency details.
The acoustic space control adjusts bass response so it fits your mixing environment.
Its front panel LED shines brightly when the speaker is positioned at an ideal monitor angle.
And you can easily incorporate BX5-D3 into your setup – it connects to all studio equipment, including audio interfaces, mixers, and DJ gear.
It’s almost hard to believe these monitors cost less than $200.
3. JBL One Series 104 – Best compact studio monitors
If you’re looking for compact studio monitors that can deliver accurate sound and that won’t cost you a fortune, you should check out JBL One Series 104.
These eye-catching studio monitors are an excellent choice for recording studios and home studios as well as cinemas and stages.
They provide clarity and detail, with no coloration, delivering crisp highs and rich bass.
Moreover, they offer a high-frequency range and impressive off-axis performance.
The only drawback is that since they have no onboard compensation EQ, you should position them no more than about 12 inches from a wall, in order to avoid additional low-frequency build-up.
Nevertheless, JBL’s One Series 104 monitors are definitely worth checking out.
4. PreSonus Eris E3.5 – Best affordable PreSonus monitors
PreSonus is a popular name in music production – the company produces great audio interfaces, DAWs, and controllers as well as good-quality speakers.
And their Eris Studio Series is ideal for people looking for affordable monitors for their home recording studio.
They are well-designed and compact so they can fit anywhere.
On top of that, they deliver high-quality, detailed sound, with a frequency range of 80 – 20,000 Hz and good treble and bass controls.
Thanks to their rear-panel ¼-inch TRS and RCA inputs and a front-panel ⅛-inch stereo line input, you can connect them to any line-level audio source, including mobile devices.
Finally, the Eris E3.5 media reference monitors come with a special edition of PreSonus Studio One Prime recording and production software.
All things considered, this is a top choice for beginners and experienced producers alike.
5. Mackie CR3-X – Best under $100
Mackie CR3-X is a great choice for anyone looking for quality studio monitors under $100.
And yes, it’s possible to get good quality sound and performance from cheap studio monitors.
These popular monitors are the best proof – they deliver flat response, even though they don’t have EQ controls.
They may not be suitable for professional audio production, but they are a great option for beginners and smaller home studios.
So if you’re just starting out with music production and you want to get beginner monitors that won’t cost you that much, the Mackies are definitely a good option for you.
6. Pioneer DJ DM-50D – Best for versatility
Pioneer DJ is a company known primarily for DJ gear.
But these amazing monitors are suitable for DJing as well as music production, as they allow you to easily switch between the DJ and production modes.
They feature onboard DSP, and they have different outputs, including RCA, mini-jack, and TRS.
There’s Bluetooth connectivity as well.
Their excellent connectivity and flexibility truly make the DM range stand out from the crowd.
On top of that, it’s a rather affordable range, so they’re a great budget-friendly option.
Whether you want to use them for DJing or editing, mixing, and mastering, Pioneer DJ DM-50D won’t let you down.
7. KRK Rokit 5 G4 – Best budget industry-level monitors
If you want to get industry-level studio monitors that are reasonably priced, you should check out KRK Rokit 5 G4.
This bi-amp monitor is equipped with a 5″ glass aramid woofer and a 1″ glass aramid tweeter.
Its DSP-controlled equalizer is designed as a graphic EQ and is controlled by 25 different presets.
And the built-in brickwall limiter protects the speaker when it is pushed to its limits, which leads to a balanced sound.
All in all, this is an excellent budget choice for anyone starting out with music production.
After all, the KRK brand has a long-standing reputation, and it’s widely known for manufacturing top-quality audio equipment.
8. Alesis Elevate 5 MKII – Best for flexibility
When it comes to the best budget nearfield monitors, Alesis Elevate 5 MKII monitors definitely deserve your attention.
They’re equipped with a 5″ Woofer LF driver, 1″ silk tweeter HF driver, and RCA and 6.3 mm jack audio inputs.
But they stand out from the crowd because of their dedicated bass boost switch.
Studio monitors normally don’t change or enhance the sound in any way, as that allows producers to hear their tracks in an accurate way.
But these Alesis monitors can be used for music production tasks as well as casual music listening.
In that sense, they’re very flexible, and they’re a perfect choice for those who want to get reliable monitors that can be used for a variety of situations.
9. Fostex PM0.3 – Best for volume
If you’re searching for small-footprint monitors, Fostex PMO.3 monitors are worthy of consideration.
Apart from being affordable, they provide impressive volume.
And since each speaker unit is just under 4” wide, you can easily incorporate them into your desk.
This powerful monitor speaker system is truly a great opportunity to get quality equipment for a relatively small price.
And with a 110Hz – 20kHz frequency response and good audio performance, they are suitable for any home recording project.
10. Yamaha HS5
Yamaha HS5 is a 2-way bass-reflex bi-amplified nearfield studio monitor that will certainly meet your expectations.
It’s great for editing, mixing, and mastering, as it offers a very flat frequency response.
The only drawback is a lack of definition in the low end; but if you’re interested in EDM and hip-hop, you can get a subwoofer to compensate.
The HS5 monitors are also the smallest monitors from Yamaha’s HS range, so they can easily fit in an average-sized home studio.
All things considered, if you’re interested in buying budget studio monitors from a reputable brand, Yamaha HS5 is always a good choice.
Home Listening Speakers & Studio Monitors – Is There a Difference?
Now that you know all about the best budget studio monitors, perhaps you’re wondering: why not get ‘normal’ home listening speakers?
Well, first of all, that depends on what you intend to use them for.
If you’re building a home recording studio and you need reliable speakers that will allow you to mix and edit your tracks, getting studio monitors is a must.
The thing is, home listening speakers tend to change bass and treble frequencies and apply other predefined EQ settings – they’re made for your listening pleasure.
Unlike regular speakers for music, studio monitors are not designed to make music sound good.
They are designed to provide you with accurate sound so that you can notice all the details in your mix.
And clean, accurate sound is crucial in the music production process – that’s the only way to really hear what your tracks sound like.
Good studio monitors can reveal a lot about your music, and they can help you hear things that you normally wouldn’t.
All professional studios have high-end monitors, as they are necessary for finding any potential weak spots.
And if you use regular speakers, you won’t be able to hear all the nuances and make improvements.
But studio monitors have a flat frequency response, so they produce the sound exactly as it’s received.
And if your track sounds good on your studio monitors (even if they’re budget-friendly), you can rest assured it will sound good in a car, on smartphones, computers, etc.
So if you’re still wondering whether you really need studio monitors, the answer is simple – if you want to make music in a professional way, yes, you should invest in a pair of studio monitors.
And as you can see, you don’t have to spend a fortune to get good-quality monitors.
There are many budget-friendly options worth checking out.
How to Choose Studio Monitors
Whether they’re budget-friendly or expensive, studio monitors come in a variety of shapes and sizes.
So apart from pricing, there’s a variety of factors to take into account when choosing monitors for your home studio.
For instance, you should think about the place you want to put them – the size of your home studio or room is important here.
If you intend to place the speakers in an average-sized room, 4 inches is more than enough, and if you produce music in a larger room or a studio, you should opt for 7-8 inch speakers.
Furthermore, you should make sure studio monitors offer everything you need to make quality music.
First and foremost, they need to have a flat frequency response – what you hear shouldn’t be enhanced or changed in any way.
Good studio monitors need to have good frequency response and clarity, and the wider the quoted frequency response the better.
In terms of connectivity, all the top studio monitors are generally hooked up to devices via USB, XLR, or by shielded ¼” jack cables, as the shielding helps reduce the hum from nearby electrical equipment or lights.
The layout of the monitors is important as well.
Many beginner studio monitors feature one woofer (for producing low frequencies) and a tweeter that kicks out high-mid and high frequencies, while high-end monitors usually have three-way or four-way designs that employ more speaker drivers.
But at the end of the day, it all depends on your specific situation and personal preferences.
Best Budget Studio Monitors – Final Thoughts
If you want to create music at home, finding a good pair of studio monitors that meets your needs is essential.
They will allow you to hear your track in an accurate way, as they will not change the sound in any way.
Luckily, there are many great budget studio monitors in the market, so you don’t have to break the bank to get what you want.
And once you get a pair of monitors you’re satisfied with, you’ll bring your music-production process to the next level.
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