Setting up a modern studio is nothing without a pair of studio monitor speakers, and if you’re a beginner, you don’t want to be investing a lot of money on just any piece of equipment. If you’re building a home recording studio or really just want to upgrade your current speakers, you’ve made a great decision (I remember I used laptop speakers and cheap headphones for the first 2-3 years of my production life and although it wasn’t necessarily “bad”, it definitely came to a point when I needed to get more serious). Studio monitors are the perfect solution to have just “better speakers” but also attain a certain quality only musicians will appreciate — a flat response, clear sound, no jumble in the high or low-ends. This combination will allow us to simply make better music, or just enjoy what we listen to more fully. Let’s get into some details before we recommend you some picks.
Finding the best beginner studio monitors
All in all, there is no undermining studio monitor speakers to your studio setup. You can’t make anything worthwhile if you can’t hear it, right? That’s why we list these pretty high up in our beginner music equipment guide, and even list them as important in our how to build a home studio piece. With that being said, keep in mind your budget. We didn’t get too crazy below with our picks. Because honestly, some high-end monitors can get into the multiple-thousands, and right now as we start, it just isn’t worth it.
We’ve even recommended studio monitor speakers for those who want to listen to music leisurely and don’t even produce or make music. These things are just the cream of the crop — accurate sound, stable builds, and reliable internal skeletons. Even some pros wouldn’t suggest going nuts with engineer-like monitors that are mainly used for advanced mastering (that usually smaller artists don’t even use, let alone do themselves). We’ve gotten by with some great pairs of studio monitor speakers for nothing more than $500 or less, typically.
Also keep in mind that many of these are sold in pairs. When factoring your budget, if you find a nice monitor (we recommended a few that come in singles), don’t be fooled by thinking the price is for two — you may have to double it.
The best studio monitor speakers for beginners
The RP5G3 are highly rated around the net, in fact KRK’s line of monitors are all over the place and most offer us great value for the money. A lot of people are familiar with that black and yellow build (we’re looking at our KRK’s right now as we type this). Online reviews on this studio monitor are mostly positive with some of its strongholds being good neutral frequency response and sturdy performance. They come fully equipped with a proprietary waveguide that has been optimized for top quality imaging. Moreover, each woofer provides extended frequency response of up to 35 kHz and offers flawless clarity by means of their soft-dome tweeters which are strategically located right above the yellow speaker. Both class B and A amplifiers are also inside which reduces the amount of sound distortion and increases headroom.
More importantly, users are in a position to adjust the system to fit their personal taste using the high frequency adjustment options. At the end of the day, the KRK RP5G3 are good value for your money, thus, making it one of the best starter studio monitor speakers in the market in our opinion. You just can’t beat the reputation these have. Not to mention they have tons of options in their KRK line for many different budget types.
PreSonus Eris E4.5
Up next, we have another popular pair of beginner monitor speakers that have been out for quite some time and have developed a nice reputation. PreSonus defines the Eris 4.5 as “sound you can trust”. True to this statement, the Eris E 4.5 is among the best studio monitor speakers for starters because the overall sound offered is clean since the 4.5 inch woofer has been specifically structured to maintain a stable dispersion pattern at any frequency range. Additionally, each of the woofers has a dome tweeter that correctly reproduces both high and transient frequencies. Their dispersion pattern is fair and with the ability to radiate sound through wide spaces. Additionally, the Eris E 4.5 comes with an ‘Acoustic Space’ switch with as many as three positions.
This goes a long way in regulating bass boost while the mid/high controls take care of any room anomalies that might interfere with sound quality especially when the speakers are positioned at the corner of a room. It is also quite easy to integrate the Temblor subwoofer into your setup due to the low cutoff if you want even more bass. Look into the PreSonus Eris E4.5 as the best studio monitor speakers for beginners if you want an affordable pair.
The Mackie CR3 is known to deliver performance driven and flexible features that allow sound engineers to go about all kinds of multimedia creation. It is considered to be one of the best studio monitors for beginners on the basis of its extensive connectivity capabilities, convenience, Bluetooth features, and premium components. It is one of the few monitors available at that price to have premium features including a classy build comprising of all-wood cabinet, a waveguide system and high-output drivers. In as far as convenience and flexibility are concerned, the Mackie CR3 is at the top of its game. It has quite a number of handy features including a front panel aux input that can be used for headphones, tablet or phone connections.
The front panel also includes a volume knob and a speaker switch which allows engineers to pick which side of the setup to tweak. Additionally with this monitor, it is possible to stream music via Bluetooth and comes with a number of accessories such as a speaker-to-speaker cable, acoustic pads, CR4/CR3 smartphone cable and an RCA connector. We love the Mackie CR3 for a variety of uses as another one of our favorite picks to be the best beginners studio monitors for the money.
There is more to this pretty good studio monitor than meets the eye. HS5 is the earlier version of the HS8 which is obviously more superior with specific regards to its sound abilities. The HS5 has more or less has similar features to its older brother with the exception of lower power and a 5 inch driver which is relatively smaller. Being one of the best beginners studio monitor speakers recommended by too many to count, the pair has a couple of interesting features that make it stand out from the rest. Among these is its tweeter, which is about 1 inch long, and has some pretty good performance specs. Unlike most monitor tweeters available in the market, Yamaha went all out with this one and achieved a maximum frequency range of 30 kHz.
The only other monitor speaker in the market with a similar tweeter frequency range is the Adam listed later on. The Yamaha HS5 offers equally flattering sound production at only a fraction of Adam’s price, which goes to show why it is ranked among the best studio monitor speakers for beginners.
JBL 305P MkII
For decades, JBL has been a major force in the music industry. Its legendary reputation stems from its persistent ability to push the boundaries of studio monitor designs. Among its most recent products is the JBL 305P, which offers a great quality design whilst maintaining affordability. Moreover, the JBL 305P MkII boasts of a five-inch woofer, which is considerably big for that price. A one-inch dome tweeter is used to balance both woofers, which are powered equally. Its active design negates the need for an extra amplifier. As such, the lack of an amplifier helps save up on space, thus, making this JHBL studio monitor a reliable choice for desktop producers.
One of the standout design features is the image control waveguide which allows music engineers to listen to meticulous reproduction of the sounds they are creating. Noteworthy, the M2 Master Reference Monitors also utilize a similar kind of technology despite them being more costly. On the whole, its features give the impression that the JBL 305P MkII is under-priced, making it another one of the best studio monitor speakers for starters out right now.
These next few picks will get us in the higher-end price-point and over quality of monitor. The T7V near-field monitor by Adam Audio is a great bargain for its relatively low price. This speaker was the MIPA Award 2018 winner solely due to its impressive features which include a U-ART tweeter diaphragm, two Class-D amplifiers and a bass reflex port. It is specifically designed for near-field use. This 7 inch two-way studio monitor offers its users bass extension of up to 39 Hz, giving you a crisp booming sound.
Moreover, the U-ART diaphragm installed within the tweeter allows the speaker to offer high frequency responses of up to 25 kHz to an extended range. Power is generated from two Class-D amplifiers; one generating up to 50 watts while the other generates 20 watts. At peak performance, a pair of the T7V yields a whopping 110 dB SPL. As such, it is safe to assert that the Adam T7V is a beautiful route to go if your cash allows.
The last recommended beginners studio monitor speaker we’ll list here is the Genelec 8010A. With this studio monitor, reliability meets accuracy in a compact speaker that was obviously made for individuals that are ever on the road. Keep in mind these are sold separately and not in a pair. This monitor combines solid quality SPL with accurate sound reproduction, and a tightly packed package to create the ideal travel partner for music lovers. It has a sturdy build and comes with mounting accessories meant to allow users to comfortably utilize it in whatever area. Each of the monitors includes a 3 inch woofer, twin power amplifiers (class D), perfectly balanced inputs (XLR) and 1.9 centimeter tweeters.
The company’s trademark circuitry, i.e. ISS (Intelligent Signal Sensing) has also been included in the package, thus, make sure that the monitors automatically switch to stand-by mode whenever they are not in use. This environmentally friendly feature works towards saving power. Other key technologies that make up the Genelec 8010A highly rated monitor include optimized amplifiers, active crossovers, reflex port design, and MDE (Minimum Diffraction Enclosure).