When setting up your studio selecting the right sized speaker is important. In this review, we check out the best options available in one of the most popular studio monitor 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 10
When you step up into the 5-inch range of speakers there are some exciting choices 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 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 lovers of bass. 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 does result in an uneven balance between the frequencies. 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
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 of 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 the ear 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 that offers 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
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 – Due to the flat response people have complained about the hollow low end. Remember these are not Hi-Fi speakers. A flatter low-end is preferable for accurate sound reproduction.
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 adds to the appeal. These are worth considering 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
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 in the build quality. Good components including Kevlar woofer. They can run a little hot but nothing that made me concerned about longevity.
- Sweet Spot Guidance – A unique feature to 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
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 allows you to have two separate devices connected. 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 a little flat when it comes to analytical listening. 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 it’s 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.
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 louder volume.
- Cheap Set Of Speakers – A budget alternative to more professional speakers. It is lacking some premium features like tuning options but these are still excellent value for money.
- Good Balance – For a budget set of 5-inch speakers these are surprisingly quite balanced. 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. 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.
Focal Audio ALPHA 50 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.
- Expensive – The Alpha range is a more premium option compared to other options on this list. If you are on a tight budget I’d look at other monitors.
- A Bit Heavy – While the quality is excellent these are on the heavier side. Worth noting if you plan on placing these on shelves.
The Focal Audio ALPHA 50 studio monitors are one of the best sounding speakers on this list. These speakers aim to deliver 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.
Focal Audio ALPHA 50
Edifier S2000Pro Review
- Good Materials – These offer some solid quality components. Aluminum woofers and flat diaphragm tweeters. The wood styling is solid but it is screen printed and not real wood.
- Extensive Connection Options – An impressive selection of inputs including balanced XLR. Capable of handling a variety of connection types.
- Attractive Design – As with most Edifier speakers, these do look great. If you want stylish speakers to match your decor these are an excellent choice.
- Good Balance – Sound quality is pretty good. Not outstanding but still capable. With 4 EQ settings, you can customize these based on what you need. Flatter response for your studio to a more colored output for watching movies.
- Excessively Heavy – I’m amazed at how heavy these are. While it does give these a solid feel these are not great for stands or shelves.
The Edifier S2000Pro is an interesting speaker. Solid EQ and connection options set these apart. Very easy to tailor these to a variety of uses beyond the studio environment. Where I do have concerns is the bulky weight and reported poor after-sales support. These are more expensive than other Edifier options but do give you plenty of flexibility. Sound quality is also good making these a jack of all trades but master of none option.
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 connections 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 between 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.
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 keep in mind 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. The moment a professional hears 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. The most common complaint is that the low end doesn’t have enough oomph. Hi-Fi systems offer an experience that emphasizes the lows and highs but at the cost of correct balance. If you want more oomph from your monitors I’d suggest adding a subwoofer to your setup.
Another key factor to explore is the tuning options available. Despite the increase in 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 quality of the sound.
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 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.
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 when factoring in the need for clear and precise sound the Yamaha HS5 rises to the top. Excellent balance in an attractive and hard-wearing package. A fantastic studio monitor for mastering your latest musical masterpiece.
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.
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.