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Studio monitors for every price range.

Studio Monitors Buying Guide

Studio monitor speakers are the crucial last step in your signal chain. Unlike hi-fi speaker systems or your typical home audio speakers, studio monitors are meant to give you a clear, accurate, uncolored picture of the sound you're recording, editing or mixing, without adding distortion or "hyping" or emphasizing any part of the frequency spectrum. A good pair of studio monitors will help you place sounds within the stereo field and reveal to you what's missing from your mixes.

Scroll down for Questions to Ask Before Buying Studio Monitors »

Decent monitors don't have to cost an arm and a leg. That's why we've broken up this guide by price range: to show you our top picks for the best studio monitors under $300, under $500, and under $1000 per pair, as well as the "best of the best." Most models are priced by the single speaker, so as you shop for studio monitors, keep in mind that you'll need to buy two to monitor in stereo.

Shop by price range below to find the right monitors for your studio!
Best Studio Monitors Under $300 a Pair
To outfit your studio with a decent pair of powered studio monitors, you should expect to spend at least $300. At this price point, you're likely to find small-footprint monitors loaded with 5-inch or 6-inch woofers from home-studio favorites like KRK, Mackie, JBL and M-Audio, as well as newer offerings from PreSonus.

The Samson Resolve SE6 monitors are loaded with 6.5" woofers, and Behringer B2030A monitors offer 6.75" woofers -- the largest you're likely to find at their under-$300-per-pair price point.

Shop all studio monitor speakers under $300 »

  JBL LSR305 Powered Studio Monitor
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  Mackie MR5mk3 Powered Studio Monitor
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$134.95
Save 32%
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  M-Audio BX5 Carbon Active Studio Monitor
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$134.95
Save 45%
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  Samson Resolv SE6 Active Studio Monitor
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  PreSonus Eris E4.5 High-Definition Active Studio Monitors
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$179.95
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  PreSonus Eris E5 High-Definition Active Studio Monitor
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$132.95
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Best Studio Monitors Under $500 a Pair
In the $500-per-pair range, you'll find monitors loaded with larger 8" woofers from all the home-studio staple brands. The M-Audio M3-6 active studio monitors are notable for their 3-way design, with a midrange driver and tweeter mounted coaxially in line, in the top half of the cabinet -- one of the few 3-way monitors you'll find for under $500 a pair.

In this happy-medium price range, you'll start to see more "boutiquey" offerings, including powered versions of classic unpowered monitors. The Avantone MixCubes are a modern take on the classic Auratone speakers found in many pro studios. These small single-driver speakers are purposely designed to recreate the sound of "bass-challenged" systems like TVs or iPod docks -- they're an indispensable tool for checking mixes. Then there are the Yamaha HS5 active studio monitors -- Yamaha's modern version of their iconic NS10 passive speakers, known for their flat frequency response.

Shop all studio monitor speakers under $500 »

  JBL LSR308 Powered Studio Monitor
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$219.95
Save 32%
or 4 payments of $62.50
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  Mackie MR8mk3 Powered Studio Monitor
or 4 payments of $62.50
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  KRK RP8G3 Rokit 8 Generation 3 Powered Studio Monitor
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$227.95
Save 45%
or 4 payments of $62.38
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  M-Audio BX8 Carbon Active Studio Monitor
or 4 payments of $62.50
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  M-Audio M3-6 Active Studio Monitor
or 4 payments of $62.50
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  Yamaha HS5 Active Studio Monitor
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  PreSonus Eris E8 Active Studio Monitor
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$223.95
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or 4 payments of $62.49
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Shop all studio monitor speakers under $500 »
Best Studio Monitors Under $1000 a Pair
When you step up to the $500-$1000 price range, you'll find powered monitors that have become studio staples in recent decades, such as Mackie's HR624mk2 -- as well as larger modern versions of much older favorites, like the Yamaha HS8.

In this price range, you'll start to see 3-way monitors -- speakers with three drivers dedicated to lows, midrange and highs, for more detailed sound reproduction across the entire audible range. Check out the KRK Rokit RP10-3, with its large 10" woofer, for mid-field applications, and the Event 2030 for near-field applications.

Shop all studio monitor speakers under $1000 »

  Yamaha HS8 Active Studio Monitor
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$314.95
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or 4 payments of $87.50
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  Mackie HR624mk2 2-Way Active Studio Monitor (1x6")
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$404.95
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or 4 payments of $125.00
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  KRK Rokit RP10-3 Mid-Field Powered Studio Monitor, 3-Way
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$459.95
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or 8 payments of $62.38
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Shop all studio monitor speakers under $1000 »
Best of the Best Studio Monitors
Studio monitors may be more of a practical necessity than an exciting piece of gear. But when you're looking at high-end monitors, the "wow factor" becomes apparent. Cases in point: the distinctive folded ribbon tweeter on the Adam A7X, or the eye-catching coaxial design of the PreSonus Sceptre S8.

If you're looking for time-tested high-performance powered monitors for a somewhat larger control room, you can't go wrong with the Mackie HR824mk2 or the JBL LSR4328P. Both feature larger woofers and rear ports for outstanding bass response, and the JBLs are sold as a pair with a measurement microphone to help you adjust their output to match your room.

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  Adam A7X Powered Studio Monitor
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$677.95
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or 4 payments of $187.25
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  Mackie HR824MKII Running Man 2-Way Active Studio Monitor (1x8")
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$579.95
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or 8 payments of $87.50
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  JBL LSR4328P Powered Studio Monitor (220 Watts, 1x8")
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$1,199.00
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or 12 payments of $129.92
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Questions to Ask Before Buying Studio Monitors

Active/powered vs. passive/unpowered -- which should I get?

All the monitor speakers featured in this guide are active/powered speakers, which means they have built-in power amplifiers, and that you can connect a line-level signal from your audio interface directly to the monitors. Passive speakers need to be fed a more powerful speaker-level signal -- a signal provided by a separate standalone power amplifier. If you happen to already have a 2-channel power amplifier, then a pair of passive studio monitor speakers can be an economical choice. Follow your speaker manufacturer's suggestions for how much power to feed your monitors. A good rule of thumb is to double amplifier power to a speaker's rating: for example, an amplifier that can put out 200 watts per channel is likely to be a good match for a pair of 100-watt speakers.

4-inch, 5-inch, 6-inch, 8-inch -- does woofer size matter?

Larger woofers can reproduce lower frequencies more accurately. And speakers that are loaded with larger woofers tend to be more expensive than the 4" or 5" versions, which might lead you to believe that bigger = better. But that's not always the case. In fact, if you're mixing in a small space, you should use small monitors! You'll get more accurate results. Large speakers are meant to be listened to from a greater distance. In the home studio, you want nearfield monitors, or possibly mid-field monitors if you're lucky enough to be working in a larger room. Beyond the scope of this buying guide, far-field monitors -- we're talking huge 12" and 15" woofers -- are what big studios use for playbacks when they're trying to impress the industry folk sitting in the back of the room.

What's that hole in my speaker? Is it better to have a front port, rear port, or no port?

Many monitor speakers have a hole or slot somewhere in the cabinet. This opening is called a port, and it's not just a hole -- it's carefully tuned to work with the air resonating inside the cabinet to increase the speaker's bass output beyond what the woofer speaker on its own can accomplish. A port can make your speakers louder. That said, there are two schools of thought on this. Some insist that sealed or enclosed speakers are more accurate. The one thing we can say for sure is that if your speakers have rear ports, it's especially important not to place them right next to a wall -- those ports need room to breathe.

How do I place my studio monitors? What's the "Sweet Spot"?

For starters, you'll want to place your monitors as far as you can from the walls or corners. Placing acoustic treatment foam on the walls -- both behind the speakers, and behind the listener -- can help reduce room reflections and make your listening environment more accurate. Most importantly, you'll want to position your pair of stereo monitors in an equilateral triangle with your head. Your speakers should be the same distance from you as they are from each other, putting your head right in the so-called sweet spot. You'll also want the speakers' tweeters to be vertically lined up with your ears. A pair of studio monitor stands can help place your speakers at exactly the right height.

Do I need a monitor subwoofer?

First off, if you're planning on mixing sound for film, TV and games, the subwoofer is a key part of your monitoring system, since you're mixing audio that will be played back on systems that have a sub. If your finished product will be delivered in 5.1 surround format, then the subwoofer is an absolute must. If you're mixing music in stereo, then a subwoofer is not a necessity. That said, if you're building beats intended to be played in a club, that subwoofer's extended frequency range will help you monitor accurately, taking over where your main stereo monitors leave off.

Mixing sound for video? Producing hip-hop or EDM? Consider adding one of these subwoofers to your monitoring setup:
  KRK K10S Active Subwoofer
or 4 payments of $99.75
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  Yamaha HS8S Active Studio Subwoofer
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$399.95
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or 4 payments of $112.50
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  Adam Sub7 Powered Studio Subwoofer
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Shop all studio monitors on zZounds »
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Available on
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Need it now but short of cash? All we need is the first payment up front and the rest in easy monthly payments!

Fast approval.
We approve everyone, with very few exceptions, as long as we can verify your identity.
No interest. Ever.
It's just as if you paid the whole amount up front!
No paperwork. Nothing to track.
No application to mail or fax, no bills to pay. We automatically charge the payments to your credit card.

We'll wait on your money so you don't have to wait for your gear!

When you checkout, just click the Play as you Pay checkbox to indicate which installment plan you wish to use.

close [x]
on most orders $29+

Just $1.99 on
smaller orders

Really heavy stuff might cost you a
little more

learn more

Why fight traffic and pushy salesmen when we'll bring your gear straight to your home, free of charge?

zZounds free shipping is really free!
No hidden charges or hassles on returns.
Fast, reliable delivery
We have warehouses on both coasts, so most shipments arrive in 3 days or less.
We don't collect sales tax. Bonus!
Only NJ residents pay tax during checkout.
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