The Best Compact Studio Monitors In 2023 For A Portable Setup

More than ever before, musicians and producers are working and creating from home. With smaller studio space comes the need for quality studio monitors that don’t take up a lot of room.

WINNER

Front view of a pair of Pioneer DM-40 studio monitors

Pioneer DM-40

4.7/5

Dependable set of studio monitors with loud output and rich bass. It also features front bass ports and a headphone jack.

RUNNER UP

Front view of a pair of Mackie CR3-X studio monitors

Mackie CR3-X

4.7/5

An excellent set of small monitors with a budget price. Clean and attractive design with plenty of volume.

The Best Mini Studio Monitors

Below is what we consider being best small studio monitors available in the market today. Whether you’re on a budget, need something portable, or are after professional gear; you’re sure to find a monitor to suit your needs.

Pioneer DM-40 Review

Specifications

Pros

  • Heaps of Volume – The Pioneer DM-40 active monitor speakers pack a serious punch. Plenty of loudness without distortion to fill a good-sized studio space.
  • Satisfying Low-End – The low-end is meaty. While they don’t have the depth of more expensive speakers, they are a good option for DJs looking for extra oomph in a mini speaker form factor.
  • Solid Build Quality – Quality wood cabinet provides good durability. Well crafted with good components. They come with a 1-year warranty if you happen to get a dud set.
  • Good Price Point – Considering the quality components, these speakers are still very well priced. An excellent choice for beginners that want to stretch their studio budget.

Cons

  • No Tuning Options – These speakers don’t offer any options for adjusting the sound. While they sound great out of the box, it would have been good to see at least Bass and Treble control.

The Pioneer DM-40 monitor speakers are a popular choice among DJs. Often included with beginner DJ equipment packages. It makes sense when you factor in the nice low-end and high-volume tolerance. Available in both black and white, so you can match it to your studio decor. This is an excellent choice if you are looking for small powered studio monitors. If you are a DJ, these should definitely be on your shortlist of options.

Read our full Pioneer DM-40 review for more detailed information.

Front view of a pair of Pioneer DM-40 studio monitors

Pioneer DM-40

4.8/5

Mackie CR3-X Review

Specifications

Pros

  • Budget Option – The Mackie CR3-X studio monitors are one of the cheapest studio monitors available. If you have a whole small studio to kit out, they are a great budget alternative to more expensive monitors.
  • Loud Despite The Size – For a 3-inch woofer, these little speakers deliver in volume. Distortion is minimal at higher volumes which is hard to come by for speakers of this size.
  • Included Cable – An often overlooked extra. These speakers come with an RCA cable, so you get set up and running straight away.
  • Front AUX Input – You can plug in your media device directly into the front of the main speaker. A great option for general listening.

Cons

  • Average Build Quality – At this price, I don’t expect high-end components. But it is worth mentioning that these are not the most hard-wearing speakers.

It’s hard not to consider the Mackie CR3-X studio monitors when looking at mini studio monitors. With a small 3-inch woofer, they still offer good sound quality and volume. The green aesthetic may not be to everyone’s liking, but they are certainly eye-catching. They are one of the best studio monitors for small rooms. At such a low price, they provide good value for money, even if they won’t last you a lifetime.

Read our full Mackie CR3-X review for more detailed information.

Three quarter view of a pair of Mackie CR3-X studio monitors.

Mackie CR3-X

4.6/5

Genelec 8010A Review

Specifications

Pros

  • Exceptional Accuracy – The sound profile is very accurate and hugs the baseline with minimal dips and peaks. An ideal choice for serious studio work.
  • Compact And Flexible – Super small footprint and low weight make this studio monitor perfect for tight spaces. Also great for the traveling professional.
  • Rock Solid Enclosure – The die-cast aluminum cabinet is both lightweight and ultra-durable. High-quality components throughout. 
  • Included Iso-Pod – Provides decoupling from surfaces to minimize reflections. You can also tilt the stand to direct the monitor to your ears.

Cons

  • Small Switches – The tuning options are effective at dealing with acoustic issues you might encounter but they are small and hard to reach.

The Genelec 8000 series is among the very best options for professional studio settings. The 8010A is the smallest in the series and offers impeccable quality and superb sound. But it is also expensive and only features an XLR connection point. Despite this, it is still an ideal monitor for working professionals that need compact and accurate monitors for their small studio space.

Read our full Genelec 8010A review for more detailed information.

Three-quarter view of the Genelec 8010A studio monitor.

Genelec 8010A

4.7/5

KRK GOAUX3 Review

Specifications

Pros

  • Well-Rounded Sound – Despite its small footprint and 3-inch woofer the GOAUX3 offers a clear and precise sound that is very satisfying. Neutrality is also quite good for accurate mixing on the go.
  • High Max SPL – While it might only offer 20W of bi-amped power the GOAUX3 has a high max SPL of 105 dB and a continuous max SPL of 95.5 dB. Very loud for a monitor this size.
  • Travel Friendly – This lightweight pair of monitors is the perfect choice for the traveling DJ/producer. The included travel bag is neat and tidy and has room for all of the included accessories.
  • Excellent Accessories – Speaking of accessories the GOAUX3 goes beyond the travel bag and also provides a set of isolation stands. They also tilt for perfect directivity when working on your laptop.

Cons

  • No Balanced Inputs – Unlike the bigger GOAUX4 the smaller GOAUX3 doesn’t feature a balanced input option like XLR or TRS.

The KRK GOAUX 3 is a truly portable solution for people on the go with an all-in-one package that is ready to go anywhere. The excellent sound quality is punchy and lively and will keep you engaged. The iconic yellow woofers also catch the eye with protective grilles for further protection when traveling. If portability is your highest priority, the KRK GOAUX3 is among the best there is.

Front view of the KRK GOAUX3

KRK GOAUX3

4.6/5

ADAM Audio A4V Review

Specifications

Pros

  • Excellent Accuracy – The frequency response is broad and, more importantly, highly accurate. You can have confidence that the decisions you are making will translate well.
  • Rotatable Tweeter – The X-ART accelerated-ribbon tweeter offers supreme high-frequency representation for crystal clear clarity. You can also rotate it for your preferred dispersion orientation.
  • Detailed Tuning – A comprehensive range of tuning options on the back panel ensures you can adapt to any studio space. Also includes deep integration with Sonarworks for added tuning capabilities.
  • Top-Shelf Build Quality – Premium quality components and a solid cabinet. This monitor will stand the test of time and is ideal as a workhorse.

Cons

  • High Price Point – The high build quality and attention to detail equal a high price point. While it is worth it, there are more budget-friendly options out there.

ADAM Audio is one of the industry leaders, and the A4V is one of their most outstanding monitors. For a monitor this size, it offers exceptional performance and supreme accuracy. Small studios often have many sonic issues, so the detailed tuning options also give it a leg up over some of the competition. It is an expensive monitor, but if you require absolute precision, these are a worthwhile investment.

Front view of the ADAM Audio A4V

ADAM Audio A4V

4.6/5

Tannoy Reveal 402 Review

Specifications

Pros

  • Full Range Sound – The Reveal 402 lives up to its name with a detailed and incisive sound profile. Good extension across the frequency response with respectable accuracy for detailed studio work.
  • Generous Dispersion – The wide sweet spot makes finding the ideal listening position hassle-free and a good choice for multiple people working simultaneously. It also boasts excellent stereo imaging.
  • Slick Styling – The expressive curvature adds a dynamic flair to this monitor while retaining a slick and professional appearance.
  • Excellent Value – When you consider the exceptional sound quality, these represent fantastic value for money. A perfect balance between performance, features, and price.

Cons

  • Limited Tuning – A solitary EQ option to adjust high frequencies is a little restrictive. I would have liked to have some control over the low frequencies to help refine output in problematic studio spaces.

The Tannoy Reveal 402 is a reasonably priced studio monitor with a compact profile. It offers excellent sound quality with detailed highs, warms mids, and respectable bass considering the small 4-inch woofer. It also offers balanced and unbalanced input options for maximum flexibility. When you factor in the attractive appearance and low price point, there is little to fault, and a worthy option for studio work.

Front view of the Tannoy Reveal 402

Tannoy Reveal 402

4.6/5

Presonus Eris E4.5 Review

Specifications

Pros

  • Nice Frequency Balance – While I prefer the larger E5, these still deliver a satisfying balance. The lows can be a little muddy, but for general mixing and listening, these are a huge step up from multimedia speakers.
  • Budget Alternative – Coming as a pair, these are outstanding value for money. Even better than speakers that are double the price.
  • Attractive Design – I’m a big fan of the subtle design aesthetic. A smart-looking monitor that can integrate cleanly into your studio setup.
  • Compact Size – Speaking of integration, the more compact size is great for smaller studios.

Cons

  • Hum – Much like the E5, these can suffer from interference issues. Keep other electronics at a reasonable distance, and you should be fine.

The PreSonus Eris E4.5 is another excellent pair of small studio monitors. While not as full-bodied in its sound profile as the Eris E5, it is still a great choice for beginners. This studio monitor suits a smaller studio setup thanks to its relatively modest footprint. Low and high-frequency adjustment is also available for tweaking the output. An affordable and capable set of monitors.

Read our full PreSonus Eris E4.5 review for more detailed information.

Three quarter view of a pair of Presonus Eris E4.5 studio monitors.

Presonus Eris E4.5

4.5/5

IK Multimedia iLoud MTM Review

Specifications

Pros

  • Neutral Frequency Response – The iLoud MTM delivers excellent clarity and neutrality throughout the frequency range. A great choice for serious studio work.
  • Slimline Profile – Narrow profile allows these to squeeze into tight spaces. A solid choice for compact studios and smaller desks.
  • Room Correcting Microphone – ARC microphone for measuring performance in your space. It then adjusts the output for the cleanest possible sound. 
  • Tough Construction – Rock solid molded plastic construction for longevity. The stand is also excellent and helps to decouple the monitors from surfaces.

Cons

  • Disappointing Bass – The dual 3.5-inch woofers don’t offer a lot of low-end bass extension. Not a great choice for fans of bass-heavy music.

The iLoud MTM features a dual woofer and solo tweeter design that delivers exceptional sound quality. The directivity of the drivers also helps minimize reflection and results in a neutral response in a near-field environment. The added room correction technology also adds to the appeal. A slimline and durable monitor that sounds fantastic.

Read our full IK Multimedia iLoud MTM review for more detailed information.

Three quarter view of the IK Multimedia iLoud MTM

IK Multimedia iLoud MTM

4.6/5

Neumann KH 80 Review

Specifications

Pros

  • Excellent Neutrality – The balance between all frequencies is exceptionally flat. Perfect for detailed analytical listening.
  • Clear And Rich Bass – Despite the small woofer, the KH 80 delivers a fantastically rich bass response. Plenty of punch and power.
  • Easy Installation – The built-in M6 threaded points allow for easy mounting on the wall. Vertical connection points keep cables clean and neat.
  • Durable Build – The tough polycarbonate composite cabinet is durable and dependable. Not prone to scratches and can handle the rigors of regular use.

Cons

  • Tuning Controls – It does offer some basic controls on the unit. But to unlock all options, you need to hardwire an iPad and use the app. Unfortunately, there is no Android app available.

This studio monitor from legendary microphone manufacturer Neumann is a solid choice for small studio spaces. It features ultra-clear and precise audio delivery with high volume levels and good bass response. While a little bland in appearance, it is a worthy choice for serious producers who need a compact studio monitor.

Read our full Neumann KH 80 review for more detailed information.

Three quarter view of the Neumann KH 80 DSP studio monitor.

Neumann KH 80

4.5/5

Focal Audio SHAPE 40 Review

Specifications

Pros

  • Accurate and Clear – These speakers sound amazing once you break these in. Clarity is very impressive, and more importantly, they are super accurate. Perfect for mixing and mastering.
  • Great Tuning Options – Tweaking your speakers to accommodate your studio space is critical. Plenty of flexibility here to achieve that.
  • Excellent In Small Studios – Having speakers close to you often leads to issues with sound quality. These are specifically designed with small studios in mind. A fantastic near-field listening experience.
  • Premium Quality – The quality is present from the wood cabinet to the glass-fiber speaker. Great if you prefer to spend more from the outset and have a set of speakers that will last.

Cons

  • Expensive – While these speakers sound amazing, the price is a little high for what you get. You can get a reasonably similar level of quality from cheaper speakers.

The Focal Audio Shape 40 studio monitors are another premium-priced option available. While still more affordable than professional studio gear, they are still expensive. If you are serious about your music studio, it’s worth looking into these. Excellent sound quality and premium-grade materials set these apart from other monitors on this list. One of the best mini studio monitors for mixing.

Three quarter view of the Focal Audio SHAPE 40 studio monitor

Focal Audio SHAPE 40

4.4/5

Yamaha MSP3A Review

Specifications

Pros

  • Capable Sound Profile – Yamaha’s smallest member of the MPS series offers better-than-average sound at a reasonable price. It is a little brash, but there is enough refinement for light studio work.
  • Forward Facing Tuning – Access to both Low and High controls at your fingertips. You won’t need to fiddle around at the rear to make changes like other studio monitors.
  • Small Footprint – The MSP3A makes excellent use of available space to deliver a compact footprint that is ideal for smaller desks.
  • Dual Connections – Two-line connections allow two sources to be plugged in at once. Independent level controls for each on the front add extra convenience.

Cons

  • Rear Ported – Having a rear-facing bass port can make handling bass build-up difficult in a small studio where you are forced to place your monitors against a wall.

Yamaha is another well-respected brand in the audio scene, and the MPS series delivers a comprehensive sound profile in a convenient and compact form. The smallest member can easily squeeze into tight spaces and combines well with the forward-facing controls. The build quality is also impressive for a monitor at this price point. A reasonable choice as long as you don’t need it to sit up against a wall.

Yamaha MSP3A

Yamaha MSP3A

4.4/5

Edifier R1700BT Review

Specifications

Pros

  • Statement Design – In true Edifier fashion, these speakers are great to look at. Whether you have them in your studio or as part of your multimedia setup. Attractive and classy.
  • No Distortion – Clean sound without a hint of distortion, even at high volumes. Further tweaking is available with Trebel and Bass adjustment options on the side.
  • Impressive Volume – Speaking of volume, these get up there. Excellent for listening to music or for when you are watching TV.
  • Remote Control Included – You don’t have to confine these to your studio. If you enjoy a clear and flat soundscape, you can incorporate these into your multimedia center.

Cons

  • Persistent Bluetooth – While Bluetooth connectivity is fantastic for pairing with your various devices, it is impossible to turn off. This a minor quibble but worth noting.

The 2-way R1700BT is another impressive set of monitors from the team at Edifier. The angled design makes for an attractive addition to your studio space. Excellent sound with minimal colorization. The low frequencies are a little disappointing, but you need to keep in mind these are nearfield monitors and not hi-fi speakers. A good option for light studio work or home entertainment applications.

Read our full Edifier R1700BT review for more detailed information.

Three quarter view of a pair of Edifier R1700BT studio monitors.

Edifier R1700BT

4.4/5

Behringer MS16 Review

Specifications

Pros

  • Compact-Sized Monitors – If space is a concern, these speakers should be on your list of options. Being compact, they make for an excellent set of monitors for keyboards and other audio gear.
  • Flat Sound – Good balance between all the frequencies with a wide frequency range. Low-frequency response is softer, but that adds to the appeal. No colored sound here.
  • Microphone Input – An added microphone jack on the front is an unusual inclusion in the monitor space. A good option for a compact performance-based setup and vocal monitoring.
  • Excellent Price – Considering the features included, the MS16 is affordably priced. Impressive value for money, which will appeal to bargain hunters.

Cons

  • Slightly Fragile – While these are great for portability, the component quality is not great. You need to be careful with these.

The Behringer MS16 offers a unique set of features. The microphone input is an appealing addition for vocalists. Sound is also good for a low-cost monitor. No frequency hogs the limelight, which allows for accurate monitoring. For a 4-inch monitor, Behringer has also done an excellent job of keeping the footprint low. Build quality is not amazing, but at this price, I don’t expect to see premium materials.

Three quarter view of a pair of Behringer MS16 studio monitors.

Behringer MS16

4.2/5

Choosing The Smallest Powered Speakers

When you are looking at buying small studio monitors, there are some key things that you need to consider. Below are some points to check before selecting your speakers.

Dimensions

The first thing to consider is the physical dimensions of the speakers. If you are after compact monitors, the differences between a 3-inch and a 4-inch monitor are substantial.

Before selecting monitors, takes some time to measure out the space that you plan to place them in. Visualize how they will look in the broader scheme of your studio area.

You may also want to consider monitor stands and isolation pads as accessories. This can add to the footprint, so keep this in mind when measuring out your space.

Even if you have a small space, there are some fantastic compact monitors available. 

Phot of different sized studio monitors

Choosing the right size studio monitors is an important part of setting up your studio.

Weight

The other crucial component to factor in is the weight of the speakers. There can be a big difference between various models.

If you plan on having the speakers placed on your desk, you can accommodate heavier speakers. But, if you want to place them on bookshelves, it’s worth aiming to get light speakers.

This will reduce pressure on your shelf. Especially if you have floating shelves installed that can only handle a certain amount of weight.

While I always recommend isolation pads, they become even more important if you place speakers on shelves. The vibrations can begin to move your speaker, and you run the risk of them falling off.

Isolation pads will disperse vibrations and keep your monitors secure. Likewise, monitor stands are a good option to prevent speakers from falling. You can also look into monitor stands to get your monitors up to ear level.

Having lighter speakers also becomes important if you plan to move them around. A portable set of studio monitors allows you to move them around your house easily. You may also want to take them to a friend’s house or even to your workplace.

Studio Space

Understanding your studio space is also important when selecting small monitors. Take some time to assess what you need from your speakers.

If you have a large area, you may want more versatile monitors. Flexibility to move them around and tuning options are ideal in these situations.

Tuning options allow you to adjust the output based on your space. For example, you can minimize low-end output for smaller spaces to prevent sound refraction.

If your main need is for near-field monitoring, the size of the space becomes less important. The placement of the speakers comes to the fore in these situations.

Adding A Subwoofer

Another item to consider is if you want to add a subwoofer to your setup. Small monitors tend to have a softer low end. If you want a fuller bass response, you’ll need to look at adding a subwoofer to your setup.

Close up photo of a subwoofer.

Adding a subwoofer to your home studio can enhance your experience.

You can look at this further down the line, but it is worth considering before buying speakers. Once again, assess the available space you have to work with and where you may find room for a sizable subwoofer.

When adding a subwoofer, it is ideal to have speakers that have some tuning options. The sound dynamics will change, so having access to tweak output will give you a better result.

Does Size Matter For Small Rooms?

One thing I’d like to cover is if you are missing out by buying smaller monitors. In one way, you will but in other ways, you won’t.

There is no denying you get a better result from larger monitors. The bigger woofers fill out low-end response better, and you often also gain access to louder volume ranges. Distortion with smaller speakers is not uncommon if you push the volume.

But big monitors can be overkill for a small studio space. This is why selecting the best monitors for small studios is so important.

If you plan on near-field monitoring at reasonable volumes, you won’t need big speakers. Moving down to smaller monitors saves you money.

In some cases, you may be able to invest in higher-quality speakers because the smaller monitors are cheaper.

As with any purchase for your studio having an understanding of your needs is critical to making the right choice.

FAQ

What Size Studio Monitors Should I Get For My Room?

3 or 4-inch monitors are an excellent choice if you have a small studio space. For medium-sized rooms, 5 or 6-inch monitors are ideal. For larger studio spaces, you can opt for 7 or 8-inch studio monitors.

Which One Should You Buy?

We’ve covered the best small-powered studio monitors currently available, with several excellent options within this list, but a few do stand out depending on your needs.

If you are looking for an all-rounder set of monitoring speakers on the smaller side, the Pioneer DM-40 is a great choice. They are affordable, attractive, and capable enough for light studio work. If you want something more affordable, the Mackie CR3-X is a viable alternative. But if you need monitors for serious studio work and have a larger budget, the Genelec 8010A is a spectacular monitor that is worth the higher investment.

No matter which one you end up buying, they will be an improvement over computer speakers while retaining a space-saving form factor that is perfect for smaller studio spaces.

Front view of a pair of Pioneer DM-40 studio monitors

Pioneer DM-40

4.8/5

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Patryk Biernacki

Patryk Biernacki

For over 20 years I've been involved in the world of DJing. Now I want to share my experience so that DJing is more accessible for anyone with a passion for music.

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