Best Overall Budget-Friendly Studio Monitors: Pioneer Pro DJ Studio Monitors
A household name in audio products, you can’t go wrong with Pioneer products, and this studio monitor setup guarantees to satisfy everything you need in all areas for a great price.
Best Budget Budget-Friendly Studio Monitors: Mackie Studio Monitors
Small, compact, and super powerful; what more could you ask for with your studio monitors? If you’re looking for a pair of speakers that pack a punch, put these monitors at the top of your list.
Best Premium Budget-Friendly Studio Monitors: Behringer Studio 50USB 150W Studio Reference Monitors
Easily the loudest and proudest studio monitors on our list, if you need to futureproof yourself with some powerhouse speakers that come with everything you need to unlock your full creative potential, these Behringer speakers are it.
Our Top Ten
Whether you’re listening to music at home, working on your latest release in the studio, or experimenting with new digital sounds and you want to see what works and what doesn’t, you’re going to need a pair of studio monitor speakers to help you understand what you’re doing, the sounds you’re making, and to hear all the crisp and tiny details.
However, not all of us have the money to spend on a premium pair of studio monitor speakers, especially ones that are top of the range, and will instead need to opt for a budget-friendly pair, but are these affordable speakers really worth your time or your money?
In short, the answer is yes, they are. There are plenty of outstanding speakers available right now that produce a high-quality sound without breaking the bank. All you need to do now is read through our ten top recommendations of the best budget studio monitors, followed by our complete buying guide to ensure you’re buying the ones that are right for you!
Let’s jump straight into it!
Kickstarting our list, we’ve chosen the Mackie Studio Monitors, and for most producers and audiophiles, these speakers guarantee to tick all the boxes of what you’re looking for. Mackie has been an audio industry leader for some time now, and these speakers are a testament to what they can achieve.
These budget-friendly speakers provide you with a professional-grade audio experience that allows you to hear every single detail of your track or audio samples, even when played at the highest volumes. This is all thanks to the extraordinary frequency response range of 80hz to 20,000hz, ensuring all levels of your sounds are covered.
Quality From Start to Finish
The connection to your computer, digital setup, or any other audio input source has also been optimized for quality thanks to the 1/8″ RCA cable connections that ensure none of your input signal is distorted or interfered with, and therefore neither is your output!
The aesthetics of these speakers are suitable for any studio or home environment, and the backlit volume dial makes it easy to see when the speakers are active and what volume setting you’re using at a single glance. A powerful speaker with effortless operational processes.
Connect Your Way
A highlight feature of these speakers is the fact you can even insert an AUX lead into the front if you want to simply enjoy music from your phone or computer when relaxing, or plug in your headphones into the same front port area if you need to work in silence!
With the ability to pump out your sounds incredibly loud with absolute clarity, a very easy setup that can have these speakers working in a matter of minutes, and a quality build that’s designed to last for many years to come, even after extended use, what more could you ask for from your next pair of studio monitors?
What We Like About It
The popularity of these speakers is a great indicator of the insane performance they provide. Enjoyed by literally thousands of customers around the world, many of which rate these speakers with five-star reviews, if you’re looking for a reliable studio speaker solution that doesn’t break the bank, the Mackie speakers are an excellent choice.
- Optimized RCA connection ports for an outstanding quality input
- Impressive frequency response range of 80-20kHz
- Backlit front dials and volume controls
- Integrated AUX lead and headphone port
While the most premium set of budget-friendly speakers on our list today, if you’re in the market for a set of studio monitors that will give you everything you need, tick all the boxes for most audiophiles, and futureproof you from having to buy any other speakers for the next couple of years, the Yamaha Studio Monitors could be everything you’re looking for.
These two-way speakers come with all the premium technology you would expect in a high-end line, including bi-amplified, bass-reflex amps used for creating a nearfield studio sound experience like none other.
Impressive Frequency Response
This is created using the 5″ cone dome and the 1″ tweeter that actively covers a frequency response range of 54hz all the way up to 30,000Hz. This means your bass sounds will rumble with precision and your treble sounds will glisten with clarity. Ultimately, these speakers are perfect for mastering, producing, editing, and just generally listening to your favorite playlists!
A final note on the performance of these speakers, they offer a 45W LF range, plus a 25W HF bi-amp system, overall totaling 70W of amplified performance sound. With the ability to connect your devices via the XLR connection or the TRS phone jack that’s compatible with both balanced and unbalanced audio signals, you can set up your system however you like, and you can trust that it’s going to perform.
We can’t overstate how much effort has gone into making sure these speakers give you the best experience. As we spoke about above, the technology inside these speakers is simply outstanding, but other aspects help propel these speakers even further.
For example, the dense MDF casing has been designed and manufactured in such a way that it practically eliminates any risk of dampened acoustic resonance and unwanted vibration, ensuring your sounds are as clear and as interference-free as possible. It’s these subtle yet essential details that make these speakers ideal as reference monitors.
With hundreds of five-star reviews from customers, musicians, and sound engineers from around the world, and the iconic Yahama name that holds such a renowned image for quality and reliability, these studio monitors are a great choice for beginner and experienced producers alike.
What We Like About It
An interesting feature that many budget-friendly monitors don’t have is the fact that these speakers are compatible with the Yahama mounting brackets. If you’re designing a professional studio and want to mount these speakers on a wall, the ability to do this comes as standard!
- A powerful 70W system with both HF and LF ranges covered
- A dense MDF build that minimizes traditional speaker output issues
- Compatible with Yahama wall mounting products
- An impressive frequency response range of 54Hz to 30,000Hz
Introducing the first of many Edifier studio monitors we’re going to explore today, the R1280T speakers are a fantastic option if you want a high-quality audio experience that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.
Your Setup, Your Way
First up, these speakers allow you to connect basically any sound input you want thanks to the two AUX connection ports of the standard 3.5mm variety, and a dual RCA output. Both ports have, of course, been optimized to ensure minimal interference and distortion.
This level of quality continues when it comes to the output of these speakers. There’s a dedicated 13mm silk dome tweeter complete with a 4″ full-range unit, ensuring you’re able to listen in on every detail of your sounds with a precision that’s rare with speakers in this price range.
More Control Over Sound
You can even adjust your output using the EQ dials that give you control over the bass and treble of your sounds, giving you a nice amount of room to experiment in real-time. The total output measures a nice 42 watts RMS, which is ideal for musicians starting out and needing an affordable pair of speakers that sound great.
You’ll be able to control your sounds and your preferred input using the adjustable dials located on side of the main speaker, or you can simply use the included remote control so that you can control your sounds effortlessly.
With thousands of highly-rated reviews claiming that these speakers have raised the bar when it comes to home and studio audio, these speakers can be described as an audiophile’s dream. With the perfect combination of simple execution, state-of-the-art technology and a gorgeous MDF aesthetic, this is a new standard for affordable speakers.
What We Like About It
While affordable speakers can be a touch-and-go experience that you want to make sure you get right, Edifier has taken out the worry by offering a two-year warranty with every pair of speakers. This means for the next 24 months from your date of purchase, you know you’re going to have a pair of speakers that will always work when you need them.
- Gorgeous classic MDF wooden aesthetic that you’ll love
- A pumping 42-Watt RMS for crystal-clear audio output
- A full-range speaker with a dedicated silk dome tweeter
- Comes with a two-year warranty to keep you covered against any possible fault
The KRK ROKIT speakers have always been a fan favorite, and they have made an iconic statement with their powerful yellow disc aesthetic that makes them recognizable to any seasoned audiophile instantly. There are several solid reasons why this line makes such a statement.
Push Your Limits
From the top of the speaker down, this best-selling speaker sports a 1-inch tweeter made with a soft dome that covers the higher frequency ranges and even extends your response range far past your traditional speaker up to a breathtaking 35,000kHz. This is an insane quality that really allows you to zero in on the details of any sound you’re listening to.
The mid and low ranges of your sounds are then covered by the 5-inch glass-aramid woofer speaker that balances everything and covers any type of music you might be listening to. When it comes to stereo imaging, there’s no speaker better than this.
Powerful and Pumping
All in all, the speaker can output a juicy 50-Watts RMS, which is bi-amped internally and offers an extremely large
amount of headroom for you to explore all kinds of sound editing and production processes. It is specifically effective when it comes to mastering your tracks.
The final frequency response range covered here is 45hz up to 35kHz, and you can peak these speakers in terms of volume at around the 106dB mark, which is insanely loud and a clear indicator to why these reference speakers are extremely popular with DJs and music producers of any experience level.
Of course, you can connect your audio inputs any way you like thanks to the universal RCA connection ports, an XLR connection port, and a ¼-inch port. This allows these speakers to work flawlessly in any studio environment you may have.
To summarize, if you’re looking for extremely loud and clear studio speakers that can really push your creative opportunities when it comes to enjoying your overall sound and focusing on the minute details that make a track perfect, the ROKIT range is a great tool to have in your arsenal.
What We Like About It
To give you even more control over the final output of your sounds, on the back of the speaker, you’ll find three dials. These control the HF level adjustment, the LF level adjustment, and the overall volume of your device.
Experiment with these settings however you please to find what works best for you!
- An outstanding frequency response range of 45Hz to 35kHz
- A 50-watt RMS output handling up to 106dB of sound
- Connect these speakers to any audio input you need to use
- Dedicated woofer and tweeter for delivering your sounds perfectly
With many affordable speakers, most are limited by the power output that they are capable of working with. Of course, the more expensive your speakers, the higher the quality of the parts and the more you’ll get out of them. However, the experts at Behringer have set out to blur the lines and bring power to the masses.
State of the Art Performance
With Behringer’s 50USB Studio line, you’ll be able to enjoy up to 150W of RMS power, which far surpasses any studio monitor in this price range. With each purchase, you’ll get two two-way speakers for setting up however you want, both coming with a dedicated 5″ woofer and a dedicated 1″ tweeter.
As the title of these speakers suggests, the connection here is via a USB, which may be limiting to some studio setups, but if you can use USB cables to connect everything up, you won’t have any problems whatsoever!
Precise and Accurate
However, while powerful, you don’t need to compromise quality with these speakers, and you’ll still be able to enjoy your sounds with the utmost accuracy. This is thanks to the integrated bi-amplification technology that takes your audio input and amplifies it within each speaker, optimizing your sound and driving it to each speaker with precision.
As you can see, Behringer, in the true fashion they’re known for, have pushed the boat out to what they can achieve. With enhanced crossover points and obvious care taken in wiring the insides of the speaker, every aspect of this speaker has been optimized to give you the very best experience possible.
What We Like About It
We adore the pure black aesthetic of these speakers since they’re neutral, but still striking with their appearance.
It doesn’t matter what kind of studio setup you have; these speakers are going to look great, and with your setup looking its best, you’re simply going to fall in love with the music production process every time you let your creative juices flow!
- A pair of speakers, each with a dedicated woofer and tweeter cone
- Connects to your rig using a clean USB connection
- Delivers up to 150 watts of pure audio power
- Integrated bi-amplification technology to keep your sounds pristine
If you know anything about anything when it comes to speakers, you’ll have heard of the powerhouse brand that is JBL. The company specializes in all kinds of speakers, from portable Bluetooth speakers you’ll have at home to large concert-ready systems. When it comes to their studio monitor range, you can guarantee a quality experience.
Small and Mighty
These small yet powerful speakers are perfect for a smaller studio and desktop placement thanks to their compact size, but they can be used for whatever you want thanks to their copious connection ports. There are three port types in total, including an AUX connection and coaxial LF and HF ports.
You can, of course, control the volume of these speakers using the dial on the front, and there’s even a smart headphone port, so you don’t have to worry about dismantling your system when you need to work in silence (perhaps when you’re grinding on a track late at night)!
60W of Pure Power
Regarding the specs of these speakers, you’ll be able to enjoy a mighty 60 watts of class D power, which comes from 30 watts from each speaker. This is outputted through a 4.5-inch low-frequency driver for managing your bass sounds, and a 0.75-inch tweeter for managing the treble.
JBL hasn’t stopped there. In true company fashion, the coaxial drivers found inside this device have been optimized to deliver an incredibly accurate response rate and industry-defining off-axis performance, which is rare with a speaker in this affordable price bracket.
Whether you’re working in a home studio environment or a professional studio setup, this room-to-room speaker setup will excel and satisfy even the most specific audiophiles who only want the best. No matter what you’re listening to, these speakers will deliver a smile to your face!
What We Like About It
The reliability you’ll find with these JBL speakers can never be overstated. With over 70 years of experience in the industry, JBL has innovated the entire audio industry time and time again, and this factor alone is one of the best reasons why JBL deserves a spot at the top of your list of studio monitor considerations.
- 60 watts of total output for delivering loud and clear sounds
- A dedicated woofer and tweeter for completely covering a great frequency response range
- Three input port types supported for setting up your system however you like
- Designed and manufactured by one of the most prestigious audio companies around
Hand in hand with the speakers above, Pioneer is another innovative brand that has defined a generation with their range of speaker and audio products that cover all areas of the industry. This company needs no introduction, so let’s jump straight into their DM40 professional speakers!
The Very Best of Pioneer
This particular line has basically taken the very best aspects and technology of their premium S-DJX series speaker line and compacted it down into a budget-friendly version that ticks all the boxes. Designed for bass, these speakers come with a dedicated woofer and tweeter system implemented with the patented DECO technology.
These two features alone handle the impressive frequency response range that makes these speakers ideal for DJ’ing, producing, or basically listening to or editing music in any way you know how. If you need to know the facts, this response range ranges from 70hz to a truly outstanding 30kHz with a 10oHm setting.
Fill Your Studio with Sound
A special, worthwhile feature we need to note is the fact these speakers come with Pioneer’s coveted 3D stereo sound technology. This is the DECO technology we mentioned above; it doesn’t matter where you’re standing in a room, because you’re going to hear the sounds with absolute clarity at any volume!
The other premium features of these speakers include time alignment, which basically eliminates traditional crossover distortion, and the class AB amplifiers that ensure your sounds are perfectly balanced on their final output into your studio.
There’s no denying these studio monitor speakers have gone above and beyond the call of duty and are easily one of the best budget-friendly speaker systems available right now. With the additional fact these speakers are effortless to set up, use and remain lightweight so you can set them up anywhere, there may not be any need to look further than this!
What We Like About It
The design of these speakers is one of the most attractive aspects that draws many users and audiophiles to them in the first place. With a beasty curved yet streamlined design that allows you to squeeze these speakers into even the tiniest spaces, it doesn’t matter how much, or how little, room you have to play with, these speakers will fit nicely!
- Two speakers with each purchase totaling over 40w of power
- Superior frequency response range of 70-30,000Hz
- Comes with multiple ports and a 2m connection cable
- Produced by one of the most innovative audio brands in the world
Our second entry from the Edifier speaker range now, the R1700BT speakers are a unique take on reference speakers, and while they are designed to be bookshelf speakers, the stats of these speakers, along with the plethora of features, make them a great choice for anyone looking for a great experience.
Simple Yet Effectice
These speakers cover a suitable frequency response range of 60Hz to 20,000Hz, which may not be as impressive as the other speakers on our list, but it still covers the main ranges that musicians and producers, especially those starting out, will need to hear.
As with all the reference monitors we’ve explored today, these speakers come with both a woofer and a dedicated tweeter, making sure every sound within this range is heard clearly and without error.
Regarding the connectivity of these speakers, your options are limitless. There are two AUX ports for connecting to your computer, tablet, phone, or basically any audio input device with ease, and you can even connect a device for casual listening via Bluetooth. Looking to show someone your latest creation or a track you love? This is a feature you’re going to want to make things easy!
Unlimited Creative Potential
You can even control everything using the included remote control that allows you to adjust the volume, switch between your audio sources, and mute and unmute at the touch of a button, or wirelessly from anywhere in your studio.
Everything is included with your purchase to help you get set up and running in no time at all, including an RCA to RCA cable, an RCA to 3.5mm cable, and a 16-foot speaker cable for making sure everything connects and that you won’t need to make any extra investments.
There’s even a five-pin connector if you want to connect these speakers up to a passive speaker, and you can plug in the AC power supply to the back since both 100v and 240v power supply inputs are supported. It doesn’t matter what your voltage is, these speakers will work well!
As you can see, even though these Edifier speakers have been designed for home use, there’s no reason why they can’t be used as professional studio monitors, especially since they have so many features to help you make your studio a fully-functioning work environment!
What We Like About It
Not sure whether these speakers will last through the extensive use you plan on putting them through? Don’t worry; each speaker comes with a two-year warranty to ensure you’re always covered against any potential fault you may experience!
- Bluetooth connectivity compatible with all Bluetooth devices
- Comes with a remote control for managing your sound levels wirelessly
- A classic Edifier MDF wooden build that’s durable and looks amazing
- Multiple audio input ports to ensure you can work with your sounds your way
Presonus is yet another household name that countless music lovers, audiophiles, and producers swear by, and once you’ve tested one of these outstanding product lines out for yourself, you’ll be hard-pressed to move to another brand. If you’re on the hunt for a complete audio setup without breaking the bank, this could be everything you’ve been looking for.
A Quality Experience
Every aspect of these studio monitors ooze quality. The 3.5-inch woofers have been designed using Kevlar (the same materials they use in some airplanes), and the weave is specially designed to maximize the quality of your sound and the durability of the speaker itself.
Couple this with the dedicated 1-inch silk-dome tweeter and you’ll have an extremely balanced sound across the entire frequency range. Whether you’re listening to bass sounds or trebling highs, these speakers will create an outstanding sound experience that can help you achieve your full creative potential!
Everything here is super easy to set up in just a few minutes, and even operating the controls that are located at the front of the speaker can be done with ease. This means less focus on using your equipment and more focus on doing what you do best.
Everything You Need in One
However, as the title suggests, this setup really comes into its own since it really does provide you with everything you need to get started on a budget. In addition to the two speakers, you’ll have a pair of high-quality, closed-back, over-ear headphones, two Knox Gear Studio Monitor Isolation Pads, and a 3.5mm to ¼-inch Breakout connection cable.
This is everything you need to set up your studio and connect everything up, so you’ll be ready to rock out and make the music you want to make. Every aspect of this kit has been chosen because it creates a quality environment for you to perform your best; do you really need anything else?
What We Like About It
What you’ll love about the design of these speakers is the fact they come with an ultra-wide “sweet spot.” This means you can sit in the middle of your speakers with them set up on each side for the optimal listening experience, or you can move around the room, and you’ll still be able to hear all the details perfectly!
- Kevlar woofer speakers for outstanding durability and performance
- Comes with headphones, isolation pads, and all the cables you need
- Effortless controls that are incredibly simple to use
- Ultra-wide listening range to hear your sounds clearly no matter where you are
Our last entry today takes us back to the JBL range, but this time we’re focusing on one of their latest releases that has rapidly become the number one new release in terms of studio monitors. This is a first-generation monitor that JBL has worked hard on, and this level of effort is clear.
The current flagship of the company, the LSR305’s have taken all the best aspects of JBL’s past speaker lines and combined them into one, all while adding a few extra features, including more detail in the HF ranges to ensure that you get a fantastic level of quality in your mixes and that every tiny detail will be crystal clear.
A Long-Throw Experience
This is coupled by bi-amplification technology and a 3-series “long-throw” woofer that helps to create a wide field of listening, so you don’t need to be directly in front of the speakers to hear your sounds clearly.
There’s also JBL’s Slip Stream port design technology to ensure your low bass output is precise and interference-free, no matter what your desired playback settings are. You can even select the input sensitivity directly from the speakers to a -10dB to +4dB range, making these speakers compatible with all audio input ranges.
With LF and HF trim switches, Class D amplifiers for creating bigger, beefier sounds, and JBL’s patented neodymium tweeters cones for even more detail with your sounds, there’s no way around the fact that these speakers are simply amazing, and you’ll be satisfied with this monitor experience from start to finish.
What We Like About It
What makes the JBL speakers so great, especially this line, is the fact they all go through JBL’s rigorous 100-hour playback test. This means every speaker has gone through 100 hours of continuously outputting sound at full blast to make sure they’re ready for you.
- The current flagship for the JBL studio monitor line
- Customizable HF and LF trim switches for controlling your sound inputs
- Have been through the extensive 100-hour JBL power test
- Comes with Stream Slip technology to be compatible with multiple sound sources
The Complete Online Buying Guide to Budget-Friendly Studio Monitors in 2019
It’s no surprise that it’s such a hard decision to make sure you’re buying the studio monitors that are right for you when there are so many different ones to choose from. Fortunately, to help ensure you’re spending your money in the right place, here’s the complete buying guide with everything you need to think about!
The frequency range of your preferred studio monitor speakers is one of the most important things you’ll need to think about. If you’re working with 40Hz bass sounds, you’ll need speakers that can cope with this level. Otherwise, you won’t be able to hear the sounds properly, or they’ll become distorted.
Of course, most tracks and songs will have many different sounds that will sit in different frequency ranges, so the wider the range you can have, the better. Typically, the wider the range offered, the more expensive the speaker, so as a rule of thumb, you’re going to want a minimum of 80Hz to 20,000Hz.
There’s no point getting yourself a speaker setup that sounds great if you can’t connect it to your digital workspace and equipment. Check what kind of connection ports you have, and then choose the speakers that will fit.
Some of the standard ports available include XLR, RCA, USB, AUX (standard headphone), and Bluetooth. RCA and XLR are deemed the best quality, while Bluetooth the poorest, although this can be good if you want to enjoy music using your speakers when you’re relaxing.
An overlooked feature that makes a great speaker is making sure you can control certain aspects of your speaker easily. These aspects include the volume levels and the source input, whereas more premium speakers will have HF and LF dials, and perhaps even an EQ band control.
You’ll want these controls to be easily accessible, easy to use, and precise in the sense that they hold your settings and you don’t need to worry about them changing throughout your use of them.
The thing with studio monitors is that you’ll use them extensively and for long periods of time, so you’ll need to pick a pair of speakers that are up for the challenge. This means looking at the quality of the speaker build, the quality and the materials the cone is made from, and the quality of the ports.
This is such an important feature that most good speaker manufacturers will mention it in their product descriptions, but just make sure you keep an eye on this to ensure you’re buying speakers that are built to last.
Frequently Asked Questions When Buying Budget-Friendly Studio Monitors
How many watts do my speakers need?
This will solely depend on what you’re after on an individual level, but a good benchmark to aim for is the 50W mark. Power is essential for reproducing your sounds at a loud level, so the more power you have, the louder and more detailed your sounds are going to be.
That being said, if you’re working with really simple sounds, you may be able to get away with a lower wattage, which in turn will be less expensive.
Can I use any speakers as a monitor speaker?
In essence, yes, but you might not get the best experience. Many standard speakers these days will compress sounds to make them more balanced and flatter, producing a general sound that covers all the bases.
However, as a producer or musician, you’re going to want to hear the details as they are produced and recorded without any of this editing, which is why it’s always a good idea to get yourself a dedicated pair of studio monitors.
Now we can hand the baton over to you! With this complete guide, you should have everything you need to find the right studio monitors for you and help yourself to the best experience. Just remember to be knowledgeable about what you want, and you’re sure to make the best investment!