We bring you the best among the cheap studio monitors, great for budget home studios and ideal as lo-fi alternatives.
Thanks to technology advancements, we now have access to a number of good monitors at affordable prices. Though these monitors lack top end or low frequencies, they can get essential mixes done without breaking the bank, especially for musicians that mix their own recordings at home. Professionals can also benefit from good cheap studio monitors because they will give you a decent representation of what your music will sound like in the real world - which is dominated by thin sounding mobile music players along with their small speakers and earphones.
To save you from the hassle of sifting through many monitors, we provide you with the cream of the crop based on recommendations, reviews, feedback and popularity.
JBL's popularity as a speaker manufacturer is unquestionable, and so we would expect only good things from even its smaller products like the LSR2325P. Although small, this speaker is designed to provide an impressively wide sweet spot, thanks to its specially designed speaker positioning and curves. The LSR2325P is Bi-Amplified and comes with a 5" woofer and a 1" soft dome tweeter, it has a frequency range of 43Hz-20kHz. Users rave of its clarity, and that it out performs other monitors within its price range. Connectivity options include a balanced XLR, balanced 1/4" TRS, and RCA connectors. These allow for versatile connections from professional mixing consoles to everyday music devices. Other features include level control, low and high frequency trim controls and a neoprene rubber bottom pad. Manufacturer: JBL | Retail Price: $199
KRK Rokit 6
The KRK Rokit 6 Gen 2 is a popular studio monitor, especially among DJs. You will easily see them on Instagram home studio or DJ setup photos, and they are hard to miss because of their distinctive yellow, Aramid composite woofer-cone. These powered studio monitors are popular because of their consistently transparent tone, input versatility and distinctive look. Like the JBL, this monitor is also bi-amplified, it comes with a 1"tweeter and a bigger 6" woofer that covers frequencies from 48Hz to 20kHz. Easy integration into your setup is provided by its RCA, 1/4" and XLR inputs. It also comes with skid-proof pad in the bottom to dampen vibrations. Aside from hitting the sweet spot in terms of flat response audio that sound producers look for, it also hits the sweet spot in terms of pricing and quality balance. Manufacturer: KRK Systems | Retail Price: $199.50
Behringer Behritone C50A
The Behringer Behritone C50A is a great mono monitoring system that gives you an idea of how your mix will sound like on "lo-fi" players. It is based on the old Auratone speaker, a cheap cube speaker with a 5" full range driver that became popular in the '70s. Like the Auratone, the C50A lets you hear your mix from the stand point of reality - behaving like stock TV and Car speakers, and it does a good job of sounding "bad". Within the frequency range of 90Hz-15kHz, the Behritone C50A can help you discover problems in your music production that would otherwise be missed, making it a great tool even for studios with the best set of monitors. Finally this monitor looks nice and will easily blend into any type of desktop or studio furniture. Manufacturer: Behringer | Retail Price: $130
M-Audio AV 40
Instead of being a cheap studio monitor, some would say that this is an expensive computer desktop speaker. I say it sits comfortably somewhere in-between, bearing studio quality audio with computer friendly size and front panel volume control. The AV-40 is highly recommended for entry-level studio use because of its impressive clarity. Its size do limit its frequency response (85Hz-20kHz)and bass, so producers that rely on that might need an alternative, but for everything else the AV 40 can get the job done. Even picky listeners appreciate its detailed high frequencies. Finally after a day's worth of mixing, the M-Audio AV 40 can also work as a great speaker system while you relax and play games or while you listen to your favorite music. Manufacturer: M-Audio | Retail Price: $149
If you are looking for a budget studio monitor that is pleasing to the ears and the eye, then you will appreciate the Fostex PMO.4n. It is a pair of speakers that have an attractive glossy outward appearance and gives you a bunch of color options. Its stylish exterior however is contrasted by its straightforward functionality, it is stripped of bells and whistles to focus on delivering clarity and sound. The PMO.4n is equipped with a 4" cone speaker and a 5/8" soft dome tweeter which together has a frequency response of 60Hz-30kHz. Those who have purchased the PMO.4n have been mostly happy with its performance, especially those that have smaller listening spaces. Manufacturer: Fostex | Retail Price: $199
Alesis M1 Active 320 USB
For its price, the Alesis M1 Active 320 powered monitor speakers pack some nifty features, giving you the best bang for your hard earned bucks. This is a USB powered speaker that delivers 16-bit/44.1-48kHz audio quality with a frequency response of 80Hz-20kHz, ideal for small treated rooms. As a bonus, it also comes with multiple I/O ports for connecting instruments and other audio components for easy computer recording. These features make the Alesis M1 Active 320 a versatile and impressive portable studio speaker. Finally it comes with a nifty Bass Boost switch for reasonable low frequency enhancement. Manufacturer: Alesis | Retail Price: $99
The Numark NPM5 Active 5" Studio Monitors is an active speaker system that works great as budget monitors. There is not much to say about how it looks, it comes in a traditional speaker case bearing conventional speaker connectivity. Each speaker is equipped with a 5" woofer and 1” tweeter, producing 20 watts of power with a 65Hz to 20kHz frequency response. Instead of having bells and whistles, Numark gave this pair a respectable flat response sound, as you would expect from small speakers. Other features include a volume, treble and bass control. Manufacturer: Numark | Retail Price: $109
We have checked high and low to provide you with the best cheap studio monitors, but if you feel that we have missed something, you can let us know via the comments section.
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