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The 7 Best Studio Monitors Reviewed [2019] - Home DJ Studio

The Best Studio Monitors In 2019

If you are in a hurry and just want to find out what the best studio monitors are, then we recommend the JBL 305P MkII as the best one.

As a DJ, your most important pieces of gear are your controller and your headphones. Coming in closely behind and often overlooked are your speakers. When setting up your home DJ studio selecting the right speakers for your needs will enhance your time on the decks.

Selecting your speakers can be a daunting task with so much choice available. In this guide, we’ll go over our top picks for the top studio monitors for DJs.

Best Studio Speakers

Let’s get into the reviews. They are ordered by the size of the woofer ranging from the smallest studio monitors at 3 inches all the way up to 8 inches. You can also check out the individual studio monitor reviews for further info.

Mackie CR3 Review (4/5)

The CR3 is an attractive and powerful little speaker for your home DJ studio. These Mackie studio monitors offer a 3-inch woofer housed within a wooden cabinet.

It still manages to deliver decent performance with some interesting extra features. One such feature allows you to toggle which speaker is your primary allowing you freedom in placement for easy access to the volume control. A solid entry-level studio monitor that is held back by a few niggling issues. Despite these issues, they are one of the best small studio monitors available.

Pros

  • Affordable Entry Option – There is no denying that these are good cheap studio monitors. When setting up your home studio initial costs can balloon out which can make these an attractive option.
  • Good Sound Quality – With a large frequency range of 80 Hz-20 kHz, they do have some depth to the sound they output. Mids and Highs are solid and fairly balanced with the Lows.
  • Loud For The Size – For a small 3-inch woofer these little beasts do pack a punch. For a small-sized studio, you’ll certainly be able to fill the space with sound.
  • Attractive Design – Speaker design is subjective but I do like the green accents. A sleek attractive design that also includes an illuminated volume control knob when turned on.
  • Front Input Options – For the casual listener, it’s nice to have an AUX and headphone port on the front of the speaker. It’s a convenient way to review your DJ sets when in the studio.
  • Accessories Included – They come packaged with cables and isolation pads. While not the best isolation pads it is a nice bonus that can trim even more cost from your initial setup

Cons

  • Not The Best For Bass – If you like to mix Electronic or Hip Hop you may find these a bit lacking in the low end. That isn’t uncommon among 3-inch studio monitors. In a very small space, they still have some oomph but it does leave a bit to be desired in a larger space.
  • Lifespan Issues – While the build quality is decent there is the possibility of these ceasing to work within a year or two. Mackie has a good reputation for after-sales service. Even then be mindful that these may not be a good long term option.
>> CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON <<
>> FULL MACKIE CR3 REVIEW <<

Edifier R1280DB Review (4.1/5)

Stylish and functional. These 4-inch Studio Monitors are an all-rounder that is great for your home DJ studio. They also work great as speakers for other components like TV’s or your computer. Offering a good selection of connection options is also a benefit giving you good flexibility when connecting to your DJ gear. As an entry-level studio monitor, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by its performance.

Pros

  • Great Sound Quality – For an entry-level speaker, the sound quality is solid. A nice flat response without any obvious overcompensation on the lows or highs. This balanced sound makes them one of the best studio monitors for mixing.
  • Very Loud – The 4-inch woofer helps in making this rather loud for what is designed as a bookshelf speaker. If you like your music loud you’ll be satisfied with the output for its size.
  • Good Function Placement – Convenient bass, treble and volume control is located on the side of the speaker. Other speakers place these function in the back which can be difficult to access depending on where you place your speaker.
  • Remote Control – While not the best remote control it still offers you extra flexibility to adjust settings from range. This is especially handy if you end up using these as both your Dj and TV speakers.
  • Stylish Design – A subtle understated design which will blend into your studio setup. Black and Wood Grain finishes are available. Looks great with or without the front fabric speaker grille. For those that don’t like the garish nature of some studio monitors, this will be a good choice.

Cons

  • Fiddly Bluetooth – Bluetooth studio monitors are not that common. While it is a nice addition it can be tricky to pair with devices. This can lead to some frustration. Luckily once paired there is no reduction in sound quality.
  • Distortion – While these are loud if you push them to the limit you will begin to hear some distortion. For those that find themselves constantly wanting to turn up the volume, you may be disappointed once you reach the peak.
>> CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON <<
>> FULL EDIFIER R1280DB REVIEW <<

Yamaha HS5 Review (4.2/5)

Yamaha has a long history of producing quality audio gear and the HS5 is no exception. These are 5-inch studio monitors which you would think would result in better bass output than similar size speakers. Unfortunately, this is one of the only areas where it falls flat for DJs. These studio monitors with subwoofer attached make them a lot better but that could be said of any of the monitors on this list.

But, if you love the clear and accurate sound with an eye to moving into production down the track it becomes a serious contender.

Pros

  • Clear Flat Sound – If you like your music to be as accurate as possible these are a great option. Clear Mids and Highs. The clarity brings out some of the often subtle and unheard parts of your favorite music.
  • Subtle Clean Design – Available in black and white. The subtle understated nature of the speakers instantly gives them a professional look.
  • Solid Build Quality – The high-quality wooden box means that even if you happen to drop these they should still be fine.
  • Good For Production – If you plan on moving into music production you’ll appreciate the sound quality and flat nature of the sound. Mixing and mastering with these will go a long way to making sure your musical creations will sound great on other speakers.

Cons

  • Lacking in Bass – While the clear flat sound is great for music production it does leave a bit to be desired for bass lovers. If you primarily want these for your DJ setup and love playing bass-heavy music you may find yourself wanting more in the low end. Of course, adding a subwoofer will fix the problem but that could be said for all Studio Monitors.
  • No Cables Included – A power cable is included and that’s it. Factor in having to buy audio cables and a digital to analog converter if you plan on plugging these into your computer.
>> CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON <<
>> FULL YAMAHA HS5 REVIEW <<

KRK Rokit 5 G4 Review (4.3/5)

KRK is another company with a long history in the studio monitor game. The previous G3 range of studio monitors found their way into many studios. Both hobby producers and professionals liked how you could work on them for hours without ear fatigue. The new Rokit 5 G4 continues this tradition. They are not the flattest studio monitor. But, they do offer excellent sound and a suite of tuning options which is not found at this price point.

Pros

  • Top-Notch Tuning Options – Offers an on-board DSP with an LCD screen. You can select from a large range of tuning options to get the best sound from your speaker.
  • Refined Design – The iconic black and yellow color scheme returns. More refined and subdued to previous models makes this an attractive studio monitor.
  • Kevlar Woofer and Tweeter – High-quality materials have been used throughout the speaker including a Kevlar woofer and tweeter for consistent distribution of sound.
  • Easy Listening – Excellent sound quality. They are great for both casual listening and also long studio sessions.

Cons

  • Not Ideal For Analytical Listening – The new Rokit 5 G4 so not offer as flat a response as other studio monitors. If you need precise analytical control you may need to look elsewhere.
>> CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON <<
>> FULL KRK ROKIT 5 G4 REVIEW <<

PreSonus Eris E5 Review (4.5/5)

These PreSonus studio monitors sit at an attractive price. As a result, it has solidified the Eris E5 as a great option. It comes with many features that you don’t normally see at the entry-level price point. It’s these features that set it apart allowing you to personalize the sound output based on your studio needs. This level of detail backed by quality materials makes it a great choice for a home DJ studio.

Pros

  • Excellent Build Quality – With a Kevlar woofer and solid construction they look and feel amazing. You definitely won’t feel like you are holding a relatively budget orientated studio monitor.
  • Loud Yet Clear – With up to 102db at a 1-meter distance, these speakers pack a huge punch. With a solid flat sound to back it up. If you have a small to medium-sized room these should comfortably fill it with sound.
  • Tuning Options – Comes with tuning options that are usually reserved for more expensive speakers. These options allow you to maximize performance based on your studio space and speaker placement. If you have a highly sound reflective environment you’ll appreciate the addition of this option.
  • Price to Quality – Usually spending more will result in better speakers. Here is an unusual exception to that rule. One of the best studio monitors for the money you’ll spend.
  • RF Shielding – Added protection against interference from external sources. This helps ensure nothing but your music is coming out of your speakers.

Cons

  • Don’t Expect Huge Bass – As with many Studio Monitors, the sound is flat and slightly lacking in the low end. Playing with the tuning can help but don’t expect this speaker to rumble your bones.
>> CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON <<
>> FULL PRESONUS ERIS E5 REVIEW <<

JBL 305P mkII Review (4.8/5)

The JBL 305P MkII is the latest model in the very popular JBL studio monitors range. While still within the entry-level and budget-minded range. For a home DJ studio, they also give the added benefit of having a little bit more punch in the bass. They also manage to offer a much larger field of sound which helps when trying to get a good level of sound in medium-sized studios. This combination makes them one of the best 5-inch studio monitors available.

Pros

  • Excellent Sound Imaging – The JBL 305P MkII has an excellent sound stage. This means that the sweet spot for sound is much larger compared to other near-field speakers.
  • Bass Without The Boom – While offering clear flat mids and highs it still has solid depth in bass. Normally this results in a Hi-Fi like boominess but that’s not present in the JBL 305P.
  • High-End Technology – JBL has several patents on technology that is used for their more expensive line of speakers. They have managed to incorporate that in-depth knowledge from their JBL professional studio monitors ranges into their more budget-friendly models. This results in a speaker that is great value for money.
  • Attractive Design – Sleek polished plastic gives these speakers a distinctly different look.
  • Tuning Options – Ability to trim off the low or high end makes them flexible for your studio space. If you place the speaker near a wall and find the bass too overpowering you can quickly adjust the settings.
  • Long-Lasting – The MkI version of the speaker was known as a solid dependable product. Luckily that remains the same for the MkII versions.

Cons

  • Slight Hiss – When no sound is fed through the speakers there can be a slightly audible hiss that comes from the speakers. While not a deal-breaker it is worth noting.
  • More Expensive – It is starting to push up towards the limit of entry-level priced options.
>> CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON <<
>> FULL JBL 305P MKII REVIEW <<

Yamaha HS8 Review (4.7/5)

The HS8 is the largest is the Yamaha studio monitors range. I covered the HS5 earlier in this review and many of the same benefits apply to the HS8. There is one clear difference of course. With a bigger 8 inch woofer, you get louder and better bass. For a home DJ studio, there will be times where some of the smaller monitors will feel lacking in bass. If you are after more punch 8-inch studio monitors will deliver.

Pros

  • History of Excellence – Yamaha has been producing quality speakers since the 1970s. The HS8 is the spiritual successor to the much-loved NS10 which was a top-rated studio monitors for years. The HS8 continues that tradition with a well-focused monitor.
  • Clear, Flat, Crisp – These speakers sound great. The mids and highs are crisp and the lows are smooth. As a DJ speaker, you’ll be able to hear the fine details of your transitions while still enjoying the depth in the bass.
  • Better Bass – The biggest upgrade from the HS5 is the deeper and more accurate bass. You can comfortably enjoy a reasonable amount of bass without needing to invest in a subwoofer. A subwoofer is always a good addition but if you don’t have space or budget you can get by without one.
  • Tuning Options – Plenty of options are available to adjust the speaker to suit your space. If you have a small or medium studio you should have no trouble getting quality sound out of these speakers.
  • Wall Mount Studio Monitors – Another added benefit is the ability to buy a version with dedicated mounting points and screws. If you are light on desk space this could be a good way to keep your DJ studio less cluttered.

Cons

  • Not So Budget-Friendly – There is no denying that these are moving more into the mid-range of speakers. If you are on a tight budget these may not be a suitable option.
>> CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON <<
>> FULL YAMAHA HS8 REVIEW <<

DJ Speakers VS Studio Monitors

There is quite a difference between studio monitors vs speakers. Speakers DJs use in a live setting are very different from studio monitors.

You may be wondering what are studio monitors? Studio monitors are designed for accurate sound reproduction in a near-field environment. This is why they are often called near field studio monitors. They provide unaltered audio that is ideal for music production and mixing. If you were to compare them to headphones they’re closer to open back headphones where the goal is for natural and accurate sound.

Why have we selected these? When setting up your own home studio for DJing it’s important to have an accurate representation of your DJ mixes. This can help you improve your mixing by noticing the subtle differences in your transitions and help you master EQing. Studio monitors are also great for casual listening. Having said that everyone has different needs and wants from their studio. Depending on your setup studio monitors may not be what you are after.

The scope of loudness on these won’t fill a huge room. But, they will give you plenty of punch to enjoy your own mixes within your personal studio.

Having the best studio monitors from the start can also be an advantage if you do plan on moving into music production down the line.

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

Studio monitors are better suited to music production.

DJ speakers are designed for the performing DJ. These DJs will play gigs like parties or wedding receptions and need to be prepared to rock that party with speakers that are loud enough for the job. They have a set goal in mind much like the best DJ headphones are designed for the working professional. These DJ Speakers (or PA Speakers) don’t really have a place in a typical home studio setup. In most cases, they are overkill and will actually hinder your experience on the decks at home.

Your Studio Space

There is another thing that you need to consider when selecting the best studio monitors. Everyone will have a different space they will be working with when setting up their studio.

If you only have a very small space to work with there are some compact studio monitors that will be ideal both in size and output. In the speaker space bigger usually equals louder and better. There are however some small studio monitors that still pack quite the punch despite their small size. If your studio space is large it’s better to get larger studio monitors to help fill the room with sound from the outset. This will prevent you from having to upgrade to a bigger set down the track.

Also, keep in mind if you will need portable studio monitors. The bigger the monitors the harder it will be to move them between locations.

Knowing your needs is half the battle so take some time to consider your space before selecting your speakers. This will make sure you get the best home studio speakers for your needs.

Active VS Passive Studio Monitors

The next thing of note is the difference between active studio monitors and passive studio monitors. Active speakers have the amplifier built-in. Passive speakers need you to plug them into an external amplifier.

Active speakers tend to be a simple plug and play experience with your DJ setup. The world of sound can get quite complicated. We are not about complicated. We have curated a selection of the best powered studio monitors that will make your life easier when setting up your home DJ studio. The last thing you want when setting up your studio is to be overwhelmed in cables and connections.

Check out this quick summary video that covers some more of the differences between active and passive speakers.

If you are interested in learning more about speaker specs you can check out our guide here.

Budget

When it comes to the best studio monitors there are massive differences in price. High-end studio monitors can be extremely expensive. Luckily you don’t need to buy the most expensive studio monitors to enjoy quality sound. While price can be a sign of quality the general reputation of the brand and the individual speaker model are far more important.

You can get good studio monitors that even professionals use at a reasonable price. Likewise, there are some very expensive options out there for the audiophiles.

Be careful though as the speaker space is filled with a lot of cheap studio monitors that promise the world but don’t deliver. Even the best cheap studio monitors will struggle to deliver the performance you want. It’s better to spend a little more on quality gear than having to replace your speakers on a regular basis.

In our review, we have selected the best budget studio monitors that still pack a powerful punch.

One other thing to take notice of when selecting the best studio monitors your studio is whether they come as a pair or just a single monitor. While in some instances a single monitor might be fine I would suggest you stick to getting a pair. It allows you to position them so you can enjoy the stereo sound and any panning effects in the music you play. It may not seem like much but you don’t want to be expecting to get two and then discover there is only one in the box when it arrives!

Also, be aware of the connection types available on your starter DJ controller. Many of these controllers may not support the connection type available on some studio monitors.

At the end of the day, you want the best value studio monitors without compromising on quality.

Accessories

When you set up studio monitors there is one final point to consider. It’s worth allocating a small amount of your budget to accommodate speaker stands, speaker isolation pads or wall mounts.

Speaker isolation pads are inexpensive and will prevent some common problems you may encounter. You’ll be giving your professional studio monitors a little bit of extra protection to increase their lifespan. You’ll also minimize the potential for your speakers to vibrate and fall off the shelf. It will also prevent that horrible buzzing sound from vibrating on your desk.

If you don’t have a good spot to place your speakers at head height speaker stands are a good choice. They are a little more expensive but may be necessary depending on your studio layout.

If your studio monitors support wall mounting you can look at this as an option. Wall-mounted studio monitors can free up a lot of space on your main work surface.

The Verdict

When it comes to sound it is very subjective. To the average listener, one speaker might sound great. While to an audiophile, it might sound horrible. For many of us growing up, we became adjusted to the altered sound that comes from Hi-Fi sound systems. It’s not until you experience your favorite music through quality studio monitors that you realize what you’ve been missing.

All the options I’ve covered would be suitable for a small DJ studio but do factor in the various differences when exploring your options. They are some of the best affordable studio monitors on the market today.

You can spend a lot of money on studio monitors and the range I reviewed had the mindset of someone starting out on building their home DJ studio. Entry-level within a reasonable budget.

Luckily even within that range, there are some fantastic choices. We have covered the best monitor speakers available and it’s hard to pick one but the JBL 305P MkII stands out as a solid first choice. As a DJ you’ll enjoy the extra punch it packs both in loudness and bass compared to some of the other small and cheaper options. The flexibility it offers to accommodate your personal studio space is also a big benefit.

No matter which Studio Monitor you end up selecting be sure to treat them with care. Take the time to place them in a good spot to prevent them from getting damaged and also maximize sound quality. You’ll get to enjoy the quality sound both when you are on the decks mixing and when you are listening back to your mixes.

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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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