The Best Studio Monitor Speakers are certainly not the most exciting things to think about or buy when setting up a studio. Microphones, quality pre-amplifiers, amazing compressors, etc. are much more fun to buy because you can play with them. You can adjust them and get different sounds from them. They are tangible and give you a good feeling. Loudspeakers, on the other hand, are just focused on you all day. They almost never need adjustments and are not exactly fun to play with.
But they are probably the most important part of every set-up, from the smallest installation for recordings from home to the largest studios on earth. Because they tell you how your mix sounds. You have to know them and you have to trust them. They influence, more than anything else in your studio, how the rest of the world hears your mixes, so choosing The Best studio monitor speakers on the market is of the utmost importance.
Best Studio Monitor Speakers in 2020
Today we’ll mention ten of the Best Studio Monitor Speakers, semi-professional, or even professional studio, whether you have a limited budget or have saved a considerable amount of money. Studio monitors are exceptional in terms of sound accuracy, especially aimed at musicians and producers who mix or master tracks. Unlike typical market speakers of the popular brands we see on TV, most of them are on bass or treble frequencies or pay less attention to driver detail to appeal to the larger market.
JBL has been a major player in the audio world for generations. Their legendary reputation when it comes to pushing the limits of the design of studio monitors has given us the LSR305P. It offers excellent design features while maintaining affordability, and features a 5-inch woofer of modest size, balanced by a one-inch dome tweeter, both equally powerful. The active design denies the need for an additional amplifier. This saves space and makes this one of the best studio monitor speakers right now.
A unique design feature in the LSR305P’s is the inclusion of what JBL calls its image control waveguide. This helps the engineer to listen to the accurate reproduction of what they are working on, even if they are not in the so-called, the sweet spot. It should be noted that this is exactly the same technology as that used on the much more expensive M2 Master Reference Monitors from JBL. And it’s great to see it on a reasonably priced pair of monitors that would not be out of place in a small bedroom. The rear of the speakers is equipped with volume control, hi and low cut shelf operation, together with XLR and ¼ “TRS connections.
- Impressive power delivery.
- Great sound.
- Strong construction.
- A few quality control issues.
Neumann KH 120A
Best known as makers of many of the best microphones in the world, Neumann entered the market for studio monitors as early as 2010, when they took over the now-retired Klein + Hummel line. Their first release was the respectable ‘Neumann KH-line’, with the now popular Neumann KH 120. Striking features of these monitors are the Mathematically Modeled Dispersion (MMD) waveguide, the titanium dust dome drivers, and the composite sandwich cone design.
All this technology makes these speakers sound incredible. Clear in the highlights, but tight in the low section. They are great at getting your mixes to translate perfectly into real-world systems. But that obviously yields a price. If you like spending the money, these are certainly one of the best studio monitor speakers right now
- Great sound.
- Strong construction.
- Impressive power output.
Adam Audio A7X
Adam Audio is one of the youngest companies on this list. Already founded in 1999 in Germany. Currently, they offer three-line monitors, the high-end SX series, the budget F series, and the midrange AX series. No surprise, the AX series is the most popular. And inside, the Adam Audio A7X is by far the most sought-after model. Best known for his unique X-ART Tweeter, probably the most hi-tech tweeter design on this entire list. The specifications are very impressive, with the most striking being the ability to reproduce frequencies up to 50 kHz.
That goes far beyond the limit of human hearing! For reference only, the human ear can recognize sounds up to 20kHz when it’s young, but it decreases as you get older. But these speakers were not designed for dogs (which have a much higher frequency range than people, up to 60 kHz) to mix. They go up to 50 kHz to provide an extremely flat frequency response across the entire range, which we can hear people, which is about 20 Hz to 20 kHz. Another nice feature of the A7X is the front bass ports, which ensure better placement of walls in smaller rooms. Overall, this is one of the best studio monitor speakers to buy right now.
- Responsive ribbon tweeter.
- Impressive transparent output.
- Decent power.
- Great design.
- It takes a bit of time to get used to them sonically.
The NS-10 was, and still is, THE speaker in your studio to this day. It is actually difficult to find a photograph of the control room of one of the most legendary studios in the world without a few NS-10s sitting on the mixer. You will not find it difficult to see them, they are the speakers with the white cone woofers. But it is very difficult to find a few NS-10s, they were stopped in 2001 and those you do think are ridiculously expensive for second-hand speakers who are between 20 and 50 years old.
Yamaha has replaced the NS-10 with the HS8, which combines the sound of the classic with new technology. Directly recognizable with the same signature white coned woofers as the NS-10, these monitors have long since solidified their iconic status. Some of their salient features include a unique mounting system that minimizes vibration and improves their performance. They are also equipped with extra-large magnets that make them respond smoother, over a wider frequency range
And if you want a version with a smaller or higher power supply, they are also available. With Yamaha, the HS5 offers a 5 “cone, the HS7 with a 7” cone, and the HS8S with a larger 150 W driver. For monitors that are considered ‘professional’ quality by most, the Yamaha HS8s are about as cheap as they are. And are one of the best studio monitor speakers if you do not want to spend a fortune.
- Legendary heritage.
- Superb sound clarity.
- Impressive detailing.
- Great imaging and transient response.
- Not much loud
KRK RP5G3-NA Rokit 5 Generation 3
When you surf online, looking at photos of other people’s home studios, did you notice a few small speakers with yellow-colored woofers? If so, look at KRKs and most likely the KRK RP5G3-NA Rokit 5. The reason you see them everywhere is that there are no other monitors at the entry-level, which are more popular and more recommended than these. While most monitors in this lower price range receive many more complaints than praise.
It is a fact that you can read a review after reviewing these KRSs, without finding a single bad word. The other, more expensive speakers in this overview are clearly better than these KRKs in most ways, but for the price, they are just great. That is why they are the right choice for starting studios or for a very limited budget and are one of the best studio monitor speakers right now.
- Solid performance.
- Excellent value for money.
- Great neutral frequency response.
- The bass feels slightly hyped
M-Audio AV42 20-Watt
Another budget offer, but this time from M-Audio. Good for anyone on a limited budget and an alternative that is worth comparing with the KRK we have just discussed. They are clearly not one of the most versatile speakers in this review and the subs/tweeters are not really big or high end, but if you have a small budget, they are worth considering The frequency response is in the above-average figure for the price at 85 Hz to 20 kHz. Anyway, the 4 “woofers and 1” tweeters give them a good feeling in terms of low and high frequencies and are one of the best studio monitor speakers to go for.
- Great value for money.
- A simple design.
- Gives a slightly raw sounding response.
Pioneer DJ DM-40
Pioneer, are not really known for their studio monitors. Better known for high-quality domestic audio products and of course their very impressive DJ product line. On the subject, we assume that Pioneer is planning to sell it to their regular DJ customers, but since music is ultimately music, how would these monitors work for non-DJs? They look sleek and professional and have a black/dark gray finish or in white. They are rather small in size, which is great if you are limited in space and made of wood (we assume MDF).
The left speaker is the main powered loudspeaker, with the built-in amplifier and the audio inputs, the on/off switch and the volume control. The right speaker is the slave. They are fresh, with nicely defined highs, rich mids, and spicy bass. The sound is full, with a lot of volumes (for the mentioned 21 watts each), giving you the illusion that you are actually listening to more expensive monitors. Overall, these are one of the best studio monitor speakers on the market.
- Quality construction.
- Great sound reproduction.
- They tend to shut off randomly.
Avantone Pro MixCube
The y are much better sounding speakers. But having said that, you could not use them as your main reference monitors, their frequency range is not broad enough. But for fulfilling the role of the original Auratone they are fantastic. You do not need a pair either. Most studios had only one Aurotone, with which they could not only control the sound in low-quality conditions but also in mono. The Auratone was actually designed to mimic the sound of a mono television speaker.
It is vital to ensure that your mix works in mono, so that it translates into all real-world mono sources, from smartphones to background music in supermarkets. Auratones are only sold for this reason. They are available as powered or unpowered. The choice is yours, personally, we prefer unpowered because it gives you a choice of which amplifier you want to use. But the powerful versions sound good and work well. We, therefore, advise you to take a Mix Cube yourself. It will be a wonderful addition to this list of best studio monitor speakers.
- Impressive sound quality.
- Great construction.
- Good value for money.
- It cannot be used as your only monitor.
Genelec M040 Active
Genelec has found a way to make itself at least somewhat affordable for owners of smaller studios and home set-ups. The Genelec M040 is the most popular model in the series. It has a downward-facing bass port, making it ideal for use in smaller rooms. They also have energy-friendly class D amplifiers and automatic deactivation of the intelligent signal detection, keeping them in standby mode when there is no signal going through them. Both factors should imply that you do not get the same electricity bill as Abbey Road. Overall, these are one of the best studio monitor speakers to buy right now.
- Great sound.
- Environmentally-friendly construction.
- Auto-sensing power supply.
- Very expensive.
The HS5 is the baby brother of the HS8 that we have already discussed and you will be glad that I will not start thinking about old photographs of mixing tables with NS-10 speakers. I think you already have too much for one article. As mentioned, it is the baby brother of the HS8 and is basically the same except with a smaller 5 “driver and less power. The 1-inch tweeter comes with some interesting specifications for performance because the frequency range is up to 30 kHz. Much like the Adam, we discussed rather clearly, nowhere near so high.
This has the same advantage as Adam’s design in producing a flatter frequency response to the human ear. This is very impressive since the HS5 is a fraction of the price of Adam. It is a good speaker for the price, but if you can stretch to buy the HS8s, I would like to recommend them because of the higher power and the wider dynamic range. All such things make this one of the best studio monitor speakers to buy right now.
- Great aesthetics.
- Impressive performance.
- Great durability.
- Some feel the woofer might be underpowered.