When setting up your studio, selecting the right-sized speaker is important. In this review, we check out some of the best studio monitors in one of the most versatile and popular sizes.
A crystal clear sounding monitor from one of the best audio brands in the world with an attractive and professional design.
JBL 305P MkII
Offers a broad sweet spot with a satisfying low end. Crisp tuning options and fantastic build quality.
A Detailed Review Of The Top 18
When you step up into the 5-inch range of speakers, some exciting choices are available. Let’s check out each option in more detail.
Yamaha HS5 Review
- Clarity – These speakers offer crystal clear sound. A must for detailed and precise monitoring. No muddy tones or overly sensitive pitches.
- Good For Producing – The excellent clarity marries perfectly with the fine balance between frequencies. Nice and flat, making these an ideal candidate for producers.
- Attractive Monitor – The understated and subtle design will look good in any studio. A nice combination of black and white. An all-white version is also available for extra flexibility to match your decor.
- Install Versions Available – Speaking of flexibility, there is also an install version available. This makes it easy to set these up with the wall, ceiling, or baton brackets.
- Could Use Better Shielding – They do tend to pick up interference from anything within a few feet. Easy to avoid by making sure other electronics are not nearby, but worth mentioning if you have a smaller area.
The Yamaha HS5 is an excellent set of studio monitors for production-oriented setups. An impressive soundscape delivers on all fronts. The low end is not as meaty as others, but for production purposes, that is preferable. Further Room Control and HF Trim tuning options complete the package. Yamaha has hit the nail on the head and achieved an affordable set of monitors that offer a great monitoring experience.
Read our full Yamaha HS5 review for more detailed information.
JBL 305P MkII Review
- Satisfying Low-End – For a 5-inch speaker, these deliver a meaty low-end that will please bass lovers. The low end is smooth without any boominess.
- Broad Sound Stage – These offer excellent imaging resulting in a wide sweet spot. Excellent for filling a larger area with defined sound.
- Solid Build Quality – JBL has a reputation for good quality speakers and that shines through here. Good materials make this speaker hard-wearing.
- Good Tuning Options – With Boundry EQ, HF Trim, and Input Sensitivity adjustment. Plenty of flexibility to adjust the sound to your needs.
- Balance Issues – While I love the meatier low end, it creates an uneven frequency balance. But careful adjustment can reduce this.
The JBL 305P MkII is a fantastic speaker. Ideally suited to DJs that want to have a set of speakers that deliver a pleasing experience when DJing. At the same time, they are also good for producing as long as you keep the balance issues in mind when mastering your mix. There is a lot to like here, and at a reasonable price, it’s an excellent choice for a medium-sized home studio.
Read our full JBL 305P MkII review for more detailed information.
JBL 305P MkII
Genelec 8030C Review
- Supreme Accuracy – The 8030C provides exceptional sonic performance with a tight and focused response. An ideal choice for detailed analytical studio work.
- Robust Cabinet – The tough enclosure can take a beating and features minimal diffraction for a precise and clear nearfield listening experience.
- Excellent Imaging – The Directivity Control Waveguide (DCW) delivers excellent dispersion that is focused and accurate across the stereo field.
- Iso-Pod Stand – The included Iso-Pod stand is an added bonus that other companies don’t offer. It provides excellent decoupling from surfaces for smooth audio performance.
- Not Affordable – Genelec is a premium studio monitor brand with a price that matches its excellent reputation. Not an ideal choice if you want to stretch your money.
No conversation regarding studio monitors is complete without mentioning Genelec. This professional-grade monitor is an ideal choice if you need a detailed and accurate response for mixing and mastering. While it is not cheap, it’s an investment that few regret.
Neumann KH 120 Review
- Neutral Sound Profile – The Neumann KH 120 is a great choice for a professional studio or for a professional working at home, thanks to its high level of accuracy and neutrality.
- Satisfying Bass Response – For a 5-inch woofer, the bass response is tight and punchy. The extension is also deep enough for you to make accurate decisions when working with low frequencies.
- Loud Output – With a maximum SPL of 111dB, the KH 120 offers ample headroom. Performance at higher volume levels is also clean without unwanted distortion.
- Forward-Facing Ports – The dual forward-facing bass ports help deliver good bass response and allow for more flexible placement in smaller spaces.
- Expensive – This is a very expensive monitor. There is a case of diminishing returns as you reach this price point for studio monitors.
Legendary microphone manufacturer Neumann also has a superb range of studio monitors within its catalog. The 5-inch KH 120 offers exceptional accuracy and a satisfying and engaging sound profile. While not the best value monitor, it is a workhorse option you can rely on for years to come.
Read our full Neumann KH 120 review for more detailed information.
Neumann KH 120
Kali Audio IN-5 Review
- Sublime Audio Quality – Kali Audio has delivered an exceptional sounding speaker. Ultra flat and precise response across the full frequency range.
- Effective Tuning – Detailed options to adjust output based o your studio space. Low and High Trim, along with room and placement options.
- High Volume Level – A Max SPL of 115dB gives you ample headroom. Delivery is also consistent across volume levels with no distortion.
- Color Selection – Available in both black and white. Depending on your studio, you should have no trouble getting these to blend into your space.
- Fiddly Dip Switches – While supremely effective the little dip switches are a little fiddly. If you have large hands you may find it more annoying that other tuning options like knobs or classic switches.
Kali Audio continues to impress with its range of studio monitors. While slightly high in price they offer exceptional audio quality that punches way above its price point. Rich tonality without any colorization makes these an ideal option for mixing and mastering. An excellent choice for professionals.
Read our full Kali Audio IN-5 review for more detailed information.
Kali Audio IN-5
ADAM Audio T5V Review
- Superb Sound Performance – Excellent balance across all frequencies with plenty of life and precision. A good choice for analytical listening.
- Rich Bass Profile – The low-end delivery is fantastic. Clear yet retaining plenty of warmth and punch. Plus, the bass doesn’t distort at higher volume levels.
- Beginner-Friendly Price – Utilizes technology from ADAM Audio’s more expensive speakers. Despite this, the price tag is low and very approachable for new producers.
- Slimline Design – The front face offers a petite width that allows it to slot into most studio desks comfortably.
- Rear Bass Port – The rear-facing bass port can lead to bass build-up if placed up against a wall. Tuning is available but still not ideal for tight studios.
The legendary ADAM Audio brand delivers with the T5V. An entry-level 5-inch monitor with top-shelf performance. Excellent bass response and a high 106dB Max SPL. Plenty of power but also retains clarity and accuracy. A good choice for serious studio work.
Read our full ADAM Audio T5V Review for more detailed information.
Adam Audio T5V
KRK Rokit 5 G4 Review
- Premium Materials – KRK has pulled out all the stops with this new generation. Kevlar woofer and tweeter, along with premium housing. A solid and dependable set of studio monitors.
- Iconic Styling – I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve seen the iconic yellow and black speakers within studios. Attractive and a statement piece for any studio. The new generation has a more subtle black hue which adds to the appeal. Also available in white.
- Good Price Point – For speakers that offer this much quality, the price is very reasonable. Excellent value for money and a good investment.
- Detailed Tuning Options – The new generation now offers an LCD panel with a staggering amount of tuning options. Excellent for fine-tuning the output for your studio space.
- Not The Flattest Response – The Rokit range has always offered a slightly more colored sound experience. While satisfying to listen to, they are not the best for analytical listening.
This latest update to the popular Rokit range is a winner. The KRK Rokit 5 G4 is an excellent 5-inch monitor with features rarely seen at this price point. By far, the stand-out feature is the detailed room adjustment options. An impressive update to an already excellent range of speakers.
Read our full KRK Rokit 5 G4 review for more detailed information.
KRK Rokit 5 G4
Tannoy GOLD 5 Review
- Concentric Driver Configuration – The dual concentric driver offers a single-point source that minimizes phase issues and provides a generous and harmonious soundscape.
- Discreet Bass Port – The front-facing bass port is wonderfully integrated into the cabinet, with controls masking its appearance without impacting performance.
- Precise Response – Accuracy is exceptional, especially in the mid-range and top-end. Minimal bumps and dips ensure you have maximum confidence in the studio that your mixes will translate well.
- Retro Aesthetic – While some might not like the blingy gold accents, it does set it apart from the competition with a unique and eye-catching appearance.
- Minimal Tuning Flexibility – The front HF trim can tame high frequencies while the rear Bass switch provides some control. Other monitors offer more options.
Tannoy has reinvigorated a classic design and updated it for the modern era. The GOLD 5 retains a unique retro style while offering performance on par with some of the best monitors in the industry. Ingenious design and excellent execution make it a great choice for serious studio work.
Tannoy GOLD 5
IK Multimedia iLoud Precision 5 Review
- Transparent Delivery – A high degree of clarity and sonic integrity gives you a revealing insight that is ideal for detailed analytical tweaking of your latest project.
- X-Monitor Processing – The virtual monitoring application opens up a world of flexibility to alter the voicing of this monitor, including emulating other studio monitors.
- Room Correction Technology – Making corrections to adapt to your studio space can be challenging, but the Precision 5 includes a measuring microphone to help you adapt to your space.
- Low Fatigue Listening – Thanks to its coherent time response and high clarity and precision, you’ll be able to comfortably work all day long without experiencing ear fatigue.
- Overwhelming – While the microphone helps with room correction and the X-Monitor processing opens up options, it can be a bit overwhelming for beginners.
The IK Multimedia iLoud Precision 5 packs a staggering amount of technology into a 5-inch studio monitor. Exceptional performance and accuracy with a deep selection of features to adapt to your space and alter the output. The price tag is a bit prohibitive, but it is a perfect choice if you want maximum control over your monitor.
Read our full IK Multimedia iLoud Precision 5 review for more detailed information.
IK Multimedia iLoud Precision 5
Focal ALPHA 50 Evo Review
- Clear and Detailed – The sound quality that these deliver is excellent. Detailed mids and crisp highs with no harshness. The low end has substance without boominess.
- Professional Level Monitor – These offer an excellent listening experience. Low ear fatigue and flat response make them ideal for long studio sessions.
- Effective Tuning Controls – Both LF and HF Shelving adjustment along with Sensitivity. Changes reflect cleanly. Great for use in untreated rooms.
- Connection Options – The Alpha 50 Evo offers XLR, RCA, and TRS connection options for maximum flexibility. Not something other monitors offer.
- Expensive – The Alpha range is a premium option compared to some of the other options on this list. If you are on a tight budget, I suggest looking at other monitors.
The Focal Audio ALPHA 50 Evo studio monitors are one of the best-sounding speakers on this list. These speakers aim to deliver excellent audio fidelity for more dedicated audiophiles. Something I think they have achieved. Despite the high price, these are a solid investment if you spend a lot of time in your studio.
Read our full Focal Alpha 50 Evo review for more detailed information.
Focal Audio ALPHA 50 Evo
RCF AYRA PRO5 Review
- Impressive Neutrality – For a studio monitor in this price bracket, these are more refined than you might expect. Nice bass for a 5-inch woofer, a slight mid-range dip but nothing major, and refreshing highs.
- Clean Directivity – The forward directivity is fantastic. Smooth and clean without excess abnormalities. Perfect for near-field listening applications.
- Excellent Value – These are remarkably affordable when you factor in how good they are. This price bracket is rather crowded, but these do shine and are among the best available.
- Tough Cabinet – The wooden cabinet is tough and robust and the plastic front panel is equally great. Excellent component quality.
- Resonance Issues – There are some resonances present, especially within the mid-range. Nothing some EQing can’t resolve but still worth highlighting.
The Italian brand RCF might be best known for its lineup of loudspeakers, but they also produce an affordably priced range of studio monitors. The AYRA PRO5 is the smallest in the serious but packs a surprising amount of punch and is neutral enough to be a viable choice for smaller studio spaces. A robust and impressive monitor at a great price point.
RCF AYRA PRO5
Dynaudio LYD 5 Review
- Engaging And Clear – The LYD 5 features clear delivery without distortion or muddiness across the frequency spectrum. It’s accurate but also lively enough so that it doesn’t sound anemic.
- Not A Hint Of Harshness – One common complaint regarding accurate studio monitors is that the highs can sound harsh. That is not the case with the LYD 5. Focused and precise without sharpness.
- Clean Appearance – The attractive cabinet design blends into a studio environment with finesse and class. The monitor is also available in white.
- High-Quality Materials – Component quality is excellent, with a robust cabinet, reliable drivers, and an effective amplification configuration.
- Restrained Bass – The bass response is very accurate with a decent level of punch, but it doesn’t offer as much warmth as some might want.
The LYD series from Dynaudio is an excellent choice for a professional studio or for the dedicated hobbyist at home. The 5-inch model could use some deeper bass, but it is comparable to several other popular 5-inch monitors. A worthy contender if you dislike overly bright highs that feature in other monitors.
Dynaudio LYD 5
Presonus Eris E5 Review
- Perfect For Small Studios – Excellent frequency range and delicate tuning options. These are ideal for small studios with no sound treatment.
- Flat Response – An excellent balance across all frequencies makes these a good option for producers.
- Quality Tuning Options – Detailed tuning options allow for excellent flexibility to adjust to position and space.
- Affordable Price – Affordable studio monitors often suffer in quality, but these are the exception. A great option if you are on a limited budget.
- Don’t Expect Bass – People do mention the hollow low end due to the flat response. But keep in mind, these are not Hi-Fi speakers so a more subdued bass response is a given.
The Presonus Eris E5 is an excellent choice for the budget-conscious producer. Delivering a pleasing flat response for accurate mixing at a very reasonable price. Interference can be an issue so keep other electronics away. Accurate tuning controls that make a noticeable difference add to the appeal. Consider these if you want more money to spend on other studio components.
Read our full Presonus Eris E5 review for more detailed information.
Presonus Eris E5
Pioneer DJ VM-50 Review
- Attractive Design – The Pioneer DJ VM-50 offers a refined and professional appearance. The hexagonal front plate gives it a unique look compared to other monitors.
- Balanced Sound Profile – These are surprisingly balanced for a studio monitor in the Pioneer DJ lineup. No frequency dominates, making it a reasonable option for production work.
- Flexible DSP Control – Control is available over low and high frequencies. Quick and easy to adjust output based on your studio space.
- Good Build Quality – Robust and solid components throughout, including an Aramid fiber cone.
- Rear Bass Port – This monitor is aimed at DJs who often will have these against a wall. The rear-facing port can lead to bass build-up. I would have preferred a forward-facing port.
The VM series from Pioneer DJ offers a sleek and attractive option for both DJs and producers. Capable sound quality with a crisp and tight response. At 107dB Max SPL, it also packs a good punch. A good option for the hybrid DJ/Producer that wants their monitors to pull double duty.
Pioneer DJ VM-50
M-Audio BX5 D3 Review
- Well-Defined Sound – These offer a detailed and rich soundscape. Balanced Highs, Mids, and Lows provide a nice flat response. Great for monitoring.
- Loud – These deliver in volume reaching 110 dB max SPL. If you need to fill a medium-sized studio, these will give you plenty of headroom.
- Good Build Quality – The mid-tier price reflects the build quality. Good components, including a Kevlar woofer. They can run a little hot, but nothing that made me concerned about longevity.
- Sweet Spot Guidance – A unique feature of the BX5. An LED indicator will light up when you are in the ideal sweet spot for monitoring. Great if you don’t know much about speaker placement.
- Limited EQ Options – Unfortunately, the BX5 D3 only offers adjustment of the LF range. Luckily the default sound quality is quite good, but something to keep in mind.
M-Audio has a long history in the audio space, and it shows in the BX5 D3. A well-rounded studio monitor that delivers a satisfying flat response. It also offers excellent definition even at loud volumes, something I like as a DJ. Great for enjoying your time on the decks while having the capability to handle more critical listening. Worth looking into if you like your music loud.
M-Audio BX5 D3
Mackie CR5-XBT Review
- Loud Monitors – For a 5-Inch monitor, these get quite loud. Distortion is also minimal at higher volumes. Excellent for a home DJ studio that requires a louder volume level.
- Cheap Set Of Speakers – A budget alternative to more professional speakers. It lacks some premium features like tuning options, but these are still excellent value for money.
- Good Balance – These are surprisingly quite balanced for a budget set of 5-inch speakers. No frequency dominates the soundscape.
- AUX In – You can connect your device directly via the front AUX input. Great for casual listening and a feature other monitors don’t offer.
- Unreliable Bluetooth – While Bluetooth is a nice addition, it is a little sensitive. The range is not ideal, and dropouts do occur.
The CR5-XBT is an impressive option from Mackie. Known for delivering good speakers on a budget. The sound quality is good, with a nice spread across all frequencies. Build quality is not the best, but at this price point, you can’t set your expectations too high. A good budget option for the producer/DJ that needs some decent volume from their monitors.
Read our full Mackie CR5-XBT review for more detailed information.
Samson Resolv SE5 Review
- Detailed And Revealing – The Resolve SE5 offers a detailed sound profile that is great for finding elements that can be easily missed with lower-quality monitors.
- Affordable Price Tag – Considering the quality of the sound profile, these represent great value for money. Hard to beat at this price point.
- Effective Port – The forward-facing bass reflex port does an excellent job of delivering well-rounded bass without any chuffing or muddiness.
- Good Shielding – The Resolv SE5 features excellent AC shielding to prevent interference issues from other electronic devices. An effective choice for small studios with a lot of gear.
- No Bass Control – The budget price does lead to some shortcomings. The most prevalent is the lack of any low-frequency control. A must-have feature to deal with problematic rooms.
The Samson Resolv SE5 is a well-priced option if you want a 5-inch monitor. The sound quality is better than expected at this price point, and the build quality is equally impressive. While it lacks all the bells and whistles, it is an effective monitor with enough neutrality for studio work.
Samson Resolv SE5
Edifier R2000DB Review
- Flexible Speakers – These speakers bridge the gap between studio monitors and commercial sound gear. Great for your studio for monitoring. Also capable of delivering a satisfying sound experience when used with a TV or other devices.
- Connectivity Choices – Two RCA line-in options allow you to connect two separate devices. Optical Input for lossless transfer and Bluetooth. Great range of choices to handle your preferred setup.
- Decent Balance – Overall, the balance across frequencies is okay. The low end is more colored and pronounced. Switching the unit to classic mode helps balance the frequencies out.
- Stylish Design – Both the black and wood grain finish look fantastic. The angular design also adds a point of difference from the standard rectangular boxes.
- Not The Best For Producing – While these are versatile, they do fall short for analytical listening and studio work. For dedicated producers with a keen ear, I’d suggest looking elsewhere.
There is a lot to like about the Edifier R2000DB. Attractive and powerful it offers options usually reserved for Hi-Fi systems. While it isn’t a monitor I’d suggest to a purist its versatility is appealing to beginner and casual producers. At a very affordable price, you get a pleasing sound experience for both your studio and other multimedia needs.
Read our full Edifier R2000DB review for more detailed information.
Behringer STUDIO 50USB Review
- Budget-Friendly – At this price, it’s hard to complain about these monitors. A bargain option if you need a backup set of monitors or are building your studio on the cheap.
- Good Sound Quality – Considering the price, the sound quality is very good. Other monitors will sound better, but the balance between frequencies is impressive.
- Input Selection – Balanced connection options in both XLR and TRS. Good to see a budget monitor bypass the usual unbalanced RCA option.
- Average Components – It is a cheaper speaker, so component quality is not as high as other options. Having said that, these hold up well. A good compromise between price and quality.
- Short Speaker Cable – The connecting cord between the two speakers is quite short. It will be an issue if you want to keep these at a longer distance from each other.
Behringer has delivered excellent value for money with the Studio 50USB studio monitors. A large sweet spot offers good flexibility in placement despite the short connecting cables. While the balance isn’t as good as more premium speakers, they will get the job done. I would have preferred the trim control at the front as well. Despite these issues, it’s still an excellent budget 5-inch monitor.
Read our full Behringer Studio 50USB review for more detailed information.
Behringer STUDIO 50USB
Our Expert Buying Guide
5-Inch studio monitors are among the most popular monitors in the market. Smaller monitors suffer from an underdeveloped low end. Larger monitors can be cumbersome and overbearing for many studio spaces. The 5-Inch option hits the sweet spot between the two. Here are some extra things to remember when purchasing 5-inch studio monitors.
If the goal of your studio is mixing and mastering, this will be the most important feature. Studio monitors need to deliver a flat response. This results in an accurate representation of the various frequencies from low to high. By having access to that response, you can tailor and adjust your mix to sound exactly how you want it.
Many bedroom producers fall into the trap of producing on Hi-Fi quality speakers. While these sound great, they don’t highlight any flaws in your mix. When a professional listens to your latest creation on a proper pair of studio monitors, those errors will shine through.
Proper studio monitors aim to not place emphasis on any particular frequency.
A flat response can disappoint many first-time buyers. After years of listening to music through colored outputs, it can be hard not to. But the reward is a clear, dynamic, and nuanced sound that is as close to the original recording as possible.
You can take this further by investing in quality headphones to give you a point of reference beyond your monitors. There are some fantastic neutral headphones that are great for studio work. Plus, they are versatile and capable of other tasks like recording in the studio.
The most common complaint is that the low end doesn’t have enough oomph. Hi-Fi systems offer an experience emphasizing the lows and highs but at the cost of correct balance.
Another key factor to explore is the tuning options available. Despite the increased balanced sound in 5-inch monitors, they can still suffer from poor placement. Untreated rooms or awkwardly shaped studio spaces can play a big role in the sound quality.
Small studio spaces are particularly a problem. Often sound refraction is high, or the speakers sit too close to the walls.
To combat this, you’ll need studio monitors with good tuning controls. This allows you to adjust high and low frequencies to reduce refraction and balance out the soundscape. Without these options, even the best studio monitors can sound muddy.
Are Powered Speakers Better Than Passive?
When I was setting up my very first studio space, this was the first question I had to tackle. For years passive speaker systems were all the rage. These systems required an amplifier that would handle power output. These types of systems still play a role in today’s audio landscape. But not in the home studio space. Home theatre systems often use a passive system for satellite speakers.
Passive speakers are not used in many home studios. They are often used in Hi-Fi systems.
Powered monitors dominate the studio monitor space. These speakers contain individual amps within the speaker. This has resulted in a range of excellent tuned studio monitors. Having a dedicated amp customized to the speaker affords less room for user error.
More control over performance for the manufacturers is another benefit. Many now contain bi-amp designs. These monitors have a dedicated amp for the woofer and a dedicated amp for the tweeter. Once again, this allows the experience to be fine-tuned and crafted.
When setting up your studio, I’d suggest you stick to the extensive range of powered monitors.
Should I Get 5-Inch or 8-Inch Studio Monitors?
If your room is smaller than 25 meters squared (80 ft.), you should get 5-inch monitors for your studio. But if you have a large studio space, 8-inch monitors are ideal.
Which One Should You Buy?
There are plenty of solid choices in the 5-Inch studio monitor space. Ranging from more consumer-oriented options to dedicated audiophile-pleasing speakers.
It can be hard to give a definitive winner, but for a clear and precise sound profile, while retaining good value for money, the Yamaha HS5 rises to the top. Excellent balance in an attractive and hard-wearing package. A fantastic studio monitor for your latest project.
But if you are on a tighter budget, the JBL 305P MkII is an affordable alternative. While not as precise, it does offer a satisfying low-end. A good balance for the DJ/producer. For dedicated DJs, the KRK Rokit 5 G4 offers a meaty and warm low-end that is sure to please. And finally, for professionals, it is hard to look past the sensational Genelec 8030C.
No matter which studio monitor you end up selecting I’d like to welcome you to the world of defined and natural sound. Leave those Hi-Fi systems for your gaming and entertainment needs and enjoy the nuance that monitors provide.