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The 10 Best Studio Monitors Reviewed [2020] - Home DJ Studio

The Best Studio Monitors In 2020

Comparing and working out what the best studio monitor is can be a daunting task. In this review, we’ve done all the research for you and have listed the top 10 studio monitors currently available.

Top 10 Studio Monitors

STUDIO MONITORTYPE
Yamaha HS7Beginner
Pioneer DM-40Beginner
Presonus Eris E3.5Small
Mackie CR3Small
Yamaha HS55-Inch
JBL 305P MkII5-Inch
KRK Rokit 8 G48-Inch
Yamaha HS88-Inch
Edifier R1280DBBudget
JBL One Series 104Budget

Studio monitors are one of the most important parts of your music studio. Selecting the right speakers to meet your needs is not an easy task.

Many manufacturers create excellent studio monitors. Some have been in the market for decades while others are new contenders.

In this guide, we check out a range of excellent studio monitors. From compact monitors for small home studios to larger monitors with more flexible options.

Studio Monitor Reviews

Below you’ll find our reviews for the best studio monitors currently available. There are several categories to explore. Plenty of high-quality choices are available so let’s dive into the details.

Best Beginner Studio Monitors

Yamaha HS7

Yamaha has an excellent reputation in the studio monitor market and for good reason. They consistently deliver outstanding products. So much so that three of their monitors have made this list.

The Yamaha HS7 is a high-quality studio monitor that delivers outstanding sound quality. It has a precise response across all frequencies and offers a balanced sound. No frequency takes the limelight.

A couple of refined tuning options make it ideal to adjust to your studio space. Couple that with clean minimalist design and you have a monitor that is perfect for beginners.

While a little expensive since it is a 7-inch monitor it is well worth every dollar.

>> CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON <<
>> FULL YAMAHA HS7 REVIEW <<

Pioneer DM-40

Pioneer holds a commanding dominance in the professional DJ gear market. While they are not as well known in the studio monitor space they still offer some great choices for producers.

The Pioneer DM-40 is an affordably priced entry-level studio monitor. With a 4-inch woofer, it delivers a satisfying and meaty low-end that will please DJs.

Unfortunately, it isn’t as flat as other monitors so it isn’t the best for precise analytical listening.

Available in both black and white it’s an excellent starting point. Especially for DJs looking for a studio monitor to connect to their DJ controller.

>> CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON <<
>> FULL PIONEER DM-40 REVIEW <<

Best Small Studio Monitors

Presonus Eris E3.5

Smaller studio monitors tend to struggle to compete with larger studio monitors. The Presonus Eris E3.5 turns this perception on its head. It is a capable studio monitor that offers a very smooth and flat response.

This studio monitor is perfect for smaller home studios. The accurate response across frequencies is also well suited to producers that seek detail.

At an aggressive price point, it’s a great first pair of studio monitors. The attractive design adds to the appeal. Matte finish coupled with distinct blue accents. At this price, it offers lots of value.

>> CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON <<
>> FULL PRESONUS ERIS E3.5 REVIEW <<

Mackie CR3

Mackie has a great range of entry-level studio monitors. They offer producers an affordable and feature-packed option.

The Mackie CR3 is a 3-inch compact monitor that has a unique and striking design. If you like your gear to make a statement you’ll love these.

Extra functionality takes these beyond other options at this size. The front AUX port allows for easy connection of media devices. The ability to toggle which speaker is the primary is also another benefit.

While the build quality is not amazing it still delivers lots of added value including isolation pads. If you are on a budget these are among the best small monitors available. 

>> CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON <<
>> FULL MACKIE CR3 REVIEW <<

Best 5 Inch Studio Monitors

Yamaha HS5

The 5-inch HS5 is another excellent studio monitor from Yamaha. It retains all the qualities of the HS7 and HS8 but in a more compact package.

Clarity is superb and the balance between frequencies is solid. The 5-Inch version does begin to show some softness in low-end delivery. But, it’s still flat and precise for accurate mixing and mastering.

The HS range has install options available which are a great way to get these off your desk. This gives you more room for the rest of your production gear.

If the larger HS7 and HS8 are overbearing for your space the HS5 is an excellent alternative.

>> CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON <<
>> FULL YAMAHA HS5 REVIEW <<

JBL 305P MkII

The JBL 305p MkII is another excellent 5-inch studio monitor.

It offers producers and DJs a larger soundstage. This makes the available sweet spot more generous allowing for easy placement on your work surface.

Balance is not as refined as other options with a meatier low-end. For some, this will be a benefit but for analytical listening, they are not the best.

It has useful tuning options and impressive build quality. This makes them an excellent choice especially for DJs that want a heavier low-end response.

>> CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON <<
>> FULL JBL 305P MKII REVIEW <<

Best 8 Inch Studio Monitors

KRK Rokit 8 G4

KRK is no stranger to the studio monitor market. Their iconic yellow and black speakers have been a mainstay of music studios for years.

The latest generation kicks it up a gear. The KRK Rokit 8 G4 is an excellent studio monitor that delivers on all fronts. High build-quality ensures these will last you a long time.

The next-generation set of tuning options is a big improvement. Now with a convenient LCD screen, you can quickly cycle through presets to adjust to your studio space.

It offers excellent sound quality and a good balance between frequencies. If you are after a solid 8-inch studio monitor these are one of the best out there.

>> CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON <<
>> FULL KRK ROKIT 8 G4 REVIEW <<

Yamaha HS8

The HS8 completes the range of excellent monitors from Yamaha. The ultra-flat response is a producer’s dream. Clean definition in the highs, smooth mids, and a warm low-end that isn’t boomy.

While ideal for producing the low-end may be underwhelming for some. An easy fix is to add a subwoofer to your studio.

Low ear fatigue is perfect for producers that spent hours in the studio. When you factor in the excellent build quality you have a monitor that will stand the test of time.

An excellent choice for the serious producer.

>> CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON <<
>> FULL YAMAHA HS8 REVIEW <<

Best Budget Studio Monitors

Edifier R1280DB

The Edifier R1280DB steps away from the traditional expectation of studio monitors. It’s an attractive set of monitors that are well suited to both the studio and for your general music needs. The sound is flat but not as precise as other monitors available.

Bluetooth connectivity and conveniently placed tuning options make it a flexible choice. Where it does suffer is at louder volumes. Distortion is a problem if you push these to their limit.

But if you are after an affordable set of monitors that can handle your entertainment needs these are a great choice.

>> CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON <<
>> FULL EDIFIER R1280DB REVIEW <<

JBL One Series 104

The JBL One Series 104 squeezes in a 4.5-inch woofer into a compact design. Ideally suited for small workspaces where space is at a premium.

Backing up the compact design is impressive sound quality. Clean and well defined these also perform very well at loud volumes. At lower volumes, the balance isn’t as tight.

Both balanced and unbalanced connection options are available. Added flexibility with Bluetooth connectivity adds to the value.

If you like working at louder volumes and need to conserve space these should be high on your list of options.

>> CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON <<
>> FULL JBL ONE SERIES 104 REVIEW <<

Best Powered Studio Monitors Buyers Guide

Selecting monitors for your studio is difficult. There are many things you need to consider. Spending some time assessing your needs goes a long way to ensure you get the right monitors for your needs. Below you’ll find some of the most critical things to factor in when selecting monitors.

What Monitor Size Is The Best?

Studio monitors come in a variety of sizes. They typically range from 3-inches up to 8-inches.

Smaller monitors will deliver lower output. The smaller woofer often results in a less pronounced low-end. These monitors will also generally be quieter than bigger monitors. Larger monitors give you greater depth in low-end.

Understanding your needs plays a big role here. It can influence what size is best for you. Items like studio size and table size will narrow your options.

Bigger isn’t always better. Just because a studio monitor is large doesn’t mean it is well balanced. 

How Does Studio Size Impact Your Choices?

This is where studio size also comes into the equation. Smaller monitors are better suited to a small studio space. Large monitors will not only take up a lot of space but may also be too overbearing for your studio.

Studio Monitors sitting next to a computer screen with a MIDI keyboard in front

Smaller studios don’t require large monitors to fill the space with sound.

Most monitors operate best in the near field. This is generally about 1 meter (3-4ft) from where you are sitting. Because of this, you don’t need to have a massive monitor. But if you want to fill your studio space with sound a larger monitor has a greater chance of achieving this.

Do You Want To Add A Subwoofer?

Adding a subwoofer to your studio is an excellent addition. The low-end response is smoother and it places less strain on your primary monitors.

This is where a combination of smaller monitors and a subwoofer may be a better choice than large monitors. For lovers of bass or if you produce bass-heavy music it’s a worthwhile investment. It’s important to check that your studio monitors can support a subwoofer. Ideally, you’ll want some tuning options too.

Do You Need Tuning Options?

Having access to tuning options opens up the flexibility to adjust the output. A studio monitor can sound great in one location but horrible in another. Factors like sound refraction, dampening materials, and monitor placement all impact on the sound quality.

No single studio monitor can handle all studio types. This is where tuning options shine. You can adjust output to handle the nuances of your personal space. You can lower the high end if they sound harsh in your studio. Likewise, you can tweak the low-end. This becomes especially important if you incorporate a subwoofer to your setup.

A monitor with a good selection of tuning options is more likely to be able to adapt to your needs. Even as your studio space changes.

What Connection Options Does The Monitor Offer?

Connectivity is quite the buzzword in today’s modern world. But when it comes to studio monitors it is very important. How you plan to connect your speakers can play a big role in output.

Close up photo of an XLR cable

XLR is a popular balanced connection type since it offers clips to secure the cable.

Unbalanced RCA connections can suffer from external electronic interference. Balanced options like TRS or XLR are good to have. Extras like Bluetooth are a bonus but not a necessity.

Smaller details like cable quality and length also play a role here. Some monitors don’t come with the best cables so you may need to invest in upgrading them.

How Much Do You Have To Spend?

Above all else budget will be a big determining factor. The price of studio monitors varies greatly. Entry-level options are an affordable way to experience a flatter response. But from there the price can quickly skyrocket as you push into the realm of professional gear.

While it can be tempting to skimp on monitors it’s one of the few areas I suggest you invest in. A good set of monitors can last you a long time. Having to upgrade within a few years can add up quickly. As with a lot in life you get what you pay for.

Enjoy The Quality Sound

Sound is as subjective as art. What sounds good to one person may sound rubbish to another. This is where it is difficult to declare an outright best studio monitor. There are so many variables at play.

Having said that every monitor on this list is one I can recommend. Budget options for those buying their first set to more substantial options for seasoned professionals.

There are plenty of audiophiles out there that will be quick to point out the flaws in certain monitors. And while they often make valid points for most the differences are minimal. And in some cases indistinguishable.

No matter what monitor you end up buying you’ll be in for an exciting time. Experiencing music that is as close to how it sounded in the studio is an eye (or should I say ear) opening experience. An experience I recommend to anyone with a passion for music.

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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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