Subscribe

x

Homesthetics

10 Best Studio Monitor Speakers [Under $500] of 2018 Reviewed

10 Best Studio Monitor Speakers Under $500 of 2018 Reviewed

Looking to take your music production quality to the next level? You have come to the right place, the best monitor speakers under 500 are here ! 

If you’re someone who works with music, then you’re probably well aware of how vital a great pair of studio monitors are.

They are, by far, the single most crucial piece of equipment that will help you in achieving stunning production quality.

As a producer or a mixer, you need to hear your tracks just the way it sounds. Traditional speakers, even the more expensive ones, are not efficient in reproducing all the complicated frequencies produced in a studio.

That’s when you need a good quality studio monitor that will help you assess the tracks produced by reproducing every minute detail that you put in them.

So, if you’re looking to get yourself a decent pair of studio monitors without burning a hole in your pocket, this guide is just the one you need!

We have thoroughly reviewed 10 of the best Studio Monitor Speakers available in the market that you can get your hands on for under $500!

So let’s get started!

Best Studio Monitor Speakers Under $500

1. Yamaha HS8

Yamaha HS8 Powered Studio Monitors Pair White w/ Strukture...
  • This Bundle contains: (2) Yamaha HS8 8 inch Powered Studio...
  • 2-way bass-reflex bi-amplified nearfield studio monitor with...
  • 38Hz - 30kHz frequency response
  • 75W LF plus 45W HF bi-amp system for high-performance 120W...

The HS Series studio monitors by Yamaha are one of the most popular studio monitors in pretty much every price range that they are available in. The brilliant design, combined with the top-notch specifications that come packed into these studio monitors make it an extremely popular choice among producers.

The HS8 by Yamaha is arguably one of the best in the series and is definitely the best in the under-$500 category.

Experience

The first thing that struck us when we received our pair of the HS8s was the strikingly minimalist design. Like the previous models in the HS Series, the HS8s also come with the same sturdy build quality, being made up of some of the best materials in this price range.

The HS8s come with a large 8″ woofer coupled with a 1″ dome twitter for the crispy high frequencies. The back side of these monitors are quite standard, featuring an XLR and TRS Phone jack inputs, and the room control and high trim options.

When it comes to performance, the HS8s absolutely blew us over with amazingly crispy highs and extremely powerful lows. To be very honest, we were not expecting such an outstanding sound quality from monitors under the $500 range. The HS8s brought to life every track that we played and was definitely one of the most “natural” sounding studio monitors in this range.

The bass was massive but well-articulated, and the mid frequencies were pretty tight. The high frequencies were also very sharp, and when combined with the Room Acoustic controls, they really make for a fantastic pair of studio monitors for an average sized studio!

Verdict

Overall, the HS8s are one of the best budget-friendly studio monitors out there in the market, and for the price that you pay for these, you get a whole lot more value out of it. They are perfect if you have a small to a medium-sized studio.

And with some tweaks in the room acoustic controls and high trim options, we believe they might even work well in a relatively large-sized studio!

Pros
  • Excellent build quality with a neat and clean design
  • Very balanced sound quality across all frequencies 
  • Room Acoustic Controls and High trim options allow for a proper monitoring solution 
Cons
  • Might catch interference from other devices, as has been reported by a few users 
  • Should be kept at some distance from walls as the rear-firing ports tend to get distorted if kept too close 

2. Edifier S2000 Pro

Sale
Edifier S2000pro Powered Bluetooth Bookshelf Speakers -...
  • AUDIOPHILE COMPONENTS - Built with flat diaphragm tweeters...
  • BLUETOOTH WIRELESS - BT v4.0 with aptX decoder makes playing...
  • OPTICAL/COAXIAL INPUTS - Connect S2000pro via toslink or...
  • INCLUDES REMOTE - A large remote control with clearly...

Edifier is a brand that is not as well recognized as most of the mainstream brands when it comes to the market for audio gear. But recently, they have shot up in popularity worldwide thanks to a combination of innovative product design coupled with an outstanding performance at relatively low prices.

The S2000 Pro gets the second spot in our list of the best studio monitors thanks to its incredible design and stunning audio quality.

Experience

Studio Monitors don’t usually have a lot of variety when it comes to product design. Most manufacturers tend to place more importance on the performance part and pretty much overlook the design. But Edifier brings out the best of both worlds with their S2000 Pro Studio Monitors.

The aesthetics of these models are undoubtedly their most prominent feature, but they don’t come at the cost of a lowered performance. The build quality of these monitors are way beyond its competition, and they come with the sides and top covered with a thick wood veneer.

At about 9 kgs per cabinet, these are extremely solid and well-braced, thus ensuring you don’t have to worry about any background vibration ruining the overall sound quality.

Performance-wise, the S2000 is best described as well-balanced with some spectacularly warm mids. The ribbon tweeters do a great job at reproducing the top frequencies, the sound quality of which is akin to monitors at much higher price ranges.

The bass response is outstanding despite only packing a 5.5″ woofer, and you can expect quite a deep and powerful punch coming out of these woofers without disrupting the overall musicality of the tracks.

Verdict

Superb build quality, fantastic performance and aesthetics to die for, Edifier have done an outstanding job with the S2000 Pro. At under-$500, these are definitely at the top when it comes to the best budget-friendly studio monitors!

Pros
  • Great aesthetics and innovative design 
  • Sturdy build quality which drastically improves audio quality 
  • Very well-balanced throughout the frequencies 
Cons
  • No USB Port 
  • Unnecessarily long connection cable 

3. KRK Rockit 10 G3

KRK Rokit Powered 10-3 Pair Mid-Field 3-Way Powered Studio...
  • This bundle contains: Two (2) KRK RP10-3 ROKIT Powered 10-3...
  • True 3-Way Design enabling the most important part of the...
  • Axis Control - The monitors can be placed and positioned...
  • Mid-Field - The Rokit Powered 10-3 is a mid-field monitor,...

When it comes to a cost-efficient studio monitor that provides outstanding value for money, the KRK Rockit Series takes the cake. These monitors have garnered a massive following of loyal customers thanks to their incredible performance which can easily give some of the $500+ monitors a run for their money.

With the introduction of the new 3rd Generation of the Rockit Series, particularly the Rockit 10 G3, we can only expect their fan following to rise!

Experience

If performance is your top priority and you are willing to sacrifice a little in terms of build, then the KRK Rockit 10 G3 is just the studio monitor you need.

At under $500, you are getting a monitor with an active three-way design which offers a midfield monitoring performance while being portable enough for you to carry around. These monitors are optimized for a listening distance between 1 and 4 meters and feature a large 148W amp which was enough to shake up our studio!

While testing out the Rockit 10 G3, it was clear that these monitors are perfect for mixing bass-heavy tracks, all thanks to the enormous woofers and the front firing port. They also come with a dedicated mid frequency driver, which ensures the lows don’t overwhelm the mids.

Another interesting feature about these monitors is that the entire baffle section, which includes the mid driver and the twitter can be rotated through 90 degrees. This will allow you to use the speakers on its side without hampering the audio quality even a bit!

Verdict

If you have a fairly large studio and are looking to get yourself a powerful, bass-heavy monitor, the KRK Rockit 10 G3 is a perfect choice. At under $500, you can’t really expect to get high-end, esoteric 3-way speakers, and the Rockit 10 G3 is as close as it gets to that at this price point!

Pros
  • Extremely powerful woofers delivering tight and boomy lows
  • Mid frequency drivers ensure crisp mids 
  • Looks aesthetic 
Cons
  • Not suitable for a small room/studio 
  • Some users might find the lows to be a little overwhelming 

4. JBL Pro LSR308

JBL Pro LSR308-PAIR Studio Montior
  • Includes (1) PAIR of JBL LSR308 Monitors with all items as...

JBL is a brand that needs no introduction when it comes to the market for audio gear. While the speakers and headphones by the brand are some of the best in the market, not many people know that JBL also manufactures some excellent quality studio equipment, including studio monitors.

The LSR308 is the successor to the legendary LSR305 and coming with a price tag below $500; it is definitely one of the most value for money studio monitors out there!

Experience

Soon as we pulled these out of the box, we could tell they were going to be really loud by merely looking at the massive 8″ woofers and the carefully designed waveguides. The LSR308s have a frequency response between 37Hz-24kHz and a peak SPL of 112dB which is achieved thanks to a pair of 56-watt, Class D amplifiers that power each driver.

There were also exciting elements about the design of these monitors that caught our eyes. The JBL Image Control Waveguide, situated directly above the woofers, are designed for listeners to hear the sound with an added sense of depth and quality. Then there’s also JBL’s patented Slip Stream rear-port design that is meant to produce an accurate bass response at all playback levels.

When it comes to the sound quality, the LSR308 was off the charts! The bass was powerful and tight, the mids were clear and sounded natural, and the treble was similarly clear didn’t sound overhyped. For a monitor below the $500 range, the performance was outstanding!

Verdict

The JBL LSR308s definitely deserves some serious consideration if you’re looking for a budget-friendly studio monitor for your personal studio. At the sub $500 range, the LSR308 offers you a pro-level playback and makes for an excellent monitoring solution for your all your mixing needs.

Pros
  • Extremely powerful 
  • Wide stereo landscape 
  • Peak SPL of 112dB makes it well suited for large studios 
  • Clear stereo imaging
Cons
  • Doesn’t come with an auto-standby mode
  • Power switch at the rear 

5. Mackie XR824

Sale
Mackie XR824 Professional Studio Monitor, 8"
  • Logarithmic waveguide provides acoustic alignment for...
  • ELP Bass Reflex System engineered for zero turbulence,...
  • 8" Kevlar woofer offers fast transient recovery for...
  • 160W Class-D amplification and 36Hz - 22 kHz frequency...

Although Mackie is better known for their studio monitors in the lower end of the price range, they do have a few models that are simply outstanding and can easily compete in the upper-middle price range. The XR824 is one such model by the brand which gives you professional grade audio and build quality at a price tag of less than $500!

Experience

Mackie has indeed done an incredible job with XR824s, improving upon the legendary HR824s Mk2 which found a lot of success in both home and professional studios. Coming at about half the price of its predecessor, the XR824 is definitely one of the best studio monitors in the sub-$500 category!

The design is quite simple on the XR824s, and it seems that Mackie has laid more importance on the performance aspect of the monitors instead of focusing on aesthetics. The cabinet is made out of MDF, and the baffle comes with a logarithmic waveguide. They also have a port in the rear which is elliptical and goes a long way in refining the audio quality by quite a bit!

Performance is undoubtedly the most noteworthy aspect of these monitors, and soon as we fired them up, it totally blew us away!

The bass response is brilliant and extremely well defined, which in part can be credited to the usage of Kevlar as the primary material in the massive 8″ woofers. Then there is also the ELP Bass Reflex System in the back combined with the logarithmic waveguide which makes for an overall well-balanced package!

Verdict

Overall, the Mackie XR824s are incredibly well-balanced and optimized set of studio monitors that are suited for both professionals and casual users. At under-$500, they provide excellent value for the money you pay.

Pros
  • EQ Adjustment Options 
  • Extremely well detailed low-end frequencies 
  • Comes with bespoke foam isolation pads
Cons
  • The mid-range is not very impressive
  • The acoustic controls are weird

6. Focal Alpha 80

Focal Alpha 80 8" Powered Studio Monitor
  • General Size: Near-field System type: Active Configuration:...
  • The Focal Alpha 80 is a versatile studio monitor with...
  • It serves beautifully in a variety of capacities, performing...
  • This model comprises an 8" (21cm) woofer/ midrange speaker...

Focal might not be that well-known in the market for studio equipment, but they have been around for more than 30 years producing studio monitors primarily in the upper price bracket. For people that know the brand, they are well aware of their reputation as an outstanding high-end monitor maker.

With the Alpha Series, Focal has stepped into the mid-range monitor market, and the Alpha 80 is the flagship of the series.

Experience

After testing out the Alpha 80 on a wide variety of mixes, we were definitely impressed at how well-optimized and sharp the quality was throughout the frequencies. The build quality of these monitors is just fantastic, and they are slightly bigger than the average 8″ near-field monitor.

The first that was noticeable as soon as we fired up the monitors was how stable the center image was. The vocals were astonishingly clear, as were the delays and reverbs. You can clearly hear the mids coming out of the left and right speakers with excellent clarity. These are all signs of excellent hardware quality being used to make up the monitors.

 

The bass response on the Alpha 80s was very deep and remained even across the entire range. It can easily fill a mid to large sized studio with ample bass and volume while maintaining clarity and crisp in the mids and the highs.

Verdict

The Focal Alpha 80 is a great pair of studio monitors if you’re looking to upgrade from a low-end monitor and get yourself a studio-grade monitoring solution. It has a decent bottom end combined with incredible overall clarity and makes for an excellent monitor for the price they come in!

Pros
  • The tonal balance is maintained even at low listening levels 
  • Low-frequency response is great 
  • Has an automatic standby mode  
Cons
  • Not the best in terms of aesthetics 
  • Has no detents on EQ trim controls 

7. PreSonus Eris E8

PreSonus Eris E8 2-Way Active Studio Monitors (Single)
  • 8-inch Kevlar low-frequency transducer and 1.25-inch (32...
  • 140 watt, Class AB amplification; 105 dB maximum continuous...
  • Front-firing acoustic port for superior bass-frequency...
  • Midrange (+/-6 dB, continuously variable), HF (+/-6 dB,...

For anyone who is familiar with studio equipment, PreSonus is quite a familiar name. They are well-known for their brilliant quality audio interfaces, mixers and monitor controllers. With the launch of the Eris Series, they have formally stepped into the studio monitor market.

The Eris E8 by PreSonus is one of the best quality monitors in the entire range, and with a price tag at less than $500, it is undoubtedly one of the most value for money monitors out there!

Experience

Starting off with the design and build, we can definitely say that the Eris E8 does a beautiful job in both those aspects. It has simplistic looks that are quite aesthetic in an understated way with the cabinet build out of vinyl-laminated MDF.

The Eris E8 is bi-amped, and the 8-inch Kevlar low-frequency transducer is powered by a 75-watt class AB amplifier. The tweeter is 1.25-inch silk dome and is powered by 65 watts of class AB Amplification.

After firing up the speakers and testing them out on a variety of tracks, we can say the PreSonus Eris E8 can easily take care of most mixing and recording requirements if you plan on using it in a small studio.

The overall audio clarity was superb, and the balance is retained quite efficiently across the frequencies. The bass is tight and powerful while the top end is immensely prominent and not overpowered by the low end. The reverbs, vocals and all other fine details in the tracks were clear and crisp.

Verdict

At the price they come in, the Eris E8s by PreSonus offer incredible value for money. If you plan on using these in a home studio or a small sized studio, they will most definitely take care of all your monitoring needs.

Pros
  • A lot of volume available 
  • Has tone shaping controls 
  • Bass reproduction is pretty decent 
  • Has great acoustic controls  
Cons
  • Not suitable for mid to large sized studios  

8. Adam Audio F7

Adam Audio "F7 7"" Powered Studio Monitor"
  • "General Size: Near-field System type: Active Configuration:...
  • The F7 has the same dimensions and a similar sound quality...
  • TweeterThe F7 features ADAM Audio' proprietary Accelerating...
  • MidwooferThe 7A carbon/paper-midwoofer comes with a 37mm...

Adam Audio is quite a well-known name in the professional audio sphere thanks to a number of fascinating innovations in the field. They are mostly hailed as a high-end speaker and studio monitor manufacturer, but with their new F-Series, they have entered the more affordable end of the market while still retaining some of their high-end technologies in them.

Experience

The F7 by Adam Audio is essentially a lower-cost version of the legendary monitor by the company, the A7X. They offer great value for money, combining many of the features of the AX Series and putting them in a cheaper, more affordable package.

The primary element in the design of the F7 that catches the eyes is its ribbon monitor. The design combines glass fiber and a paper backing while the tweeters feature the X-Art design by Adam. The quality and feel of these monitors are quite ordinary, MDF being the primary component in the build.

10 Best Studio Monitor Speakers [Under $500] of 2018 Reviewed

When it comes to the performance, the F7s do quite an impressive job given the price at which they come in. The ribbon tweeters do a fantastic job in delivering brilliant clarity at the top ends of the mix. They are also extremely loud; more than enough to fill a decent sized studio.

The low end is warm and punchy while the mids are vibrant and clear. Thanks to the extended range of the tweeters, the highs exhibit a lot of detail and is undoubtedly the best attribute in terms of its sound quality.

Verdict

The Adam Audio F7 is an excellent pair of studio monitors if you are willing to compromise on the design and build aspects. The audio quality is superb, especially at the higher frequencies. Overall, a great buy if you’re looking for a pair of decent studio monitors for a home or small studio!

Pros
  • High frequencies exhibit a lot of detail and clarity 
  • Deep and authoritative bass 
  • Good stereo imaging  
Cons
  • EQ options not explained well  
  • The sweet spot is quite limited 

9. M-Audio BX8 Carbon

M-Audio BX8 Carbon Black Studio Monitor (Each)
  • BX8 Carbon Black Studio Monitor (Each)
  • "The BX8 Carbon studio monitor helps you track, monitor, and...
  • Equipped with a 8"" woven Kevlar low-frequency driver and 1
  • 25"" natural silk dome tweeter, the BX8 Carbon delivers a...

The BX Series by M-Audio is one of the best-selling studio monitors in the recent past, and with the new ‘Carbon’ update, they just got a whole lot better!

With this new update, M-Audio has improved on some of the flaws reported by their users and wholly redesigned the interiors along with some added external styling.

Experience

Although the BX8s come at an extremely affordable price, the sound quality, as well as the build, are much better than you’d expect at this range. These monitors are equipped with an 8″ woven Kevlar low-frequency driver and they also feature a 1.25″ natural silk dome tweeter.

The best thing about these monitors is that M-Audio has enhanced the tweeter’s waveguide in order to provide an extended sweet spot along with brilliant stereo imaging. This wider mix position allows you to get a professional monitoring experience for any studio that you decide to put these in!

The bass is very deep and authoritative and a warm character to it along with a tonal balance that is very trustworthy while mixing bass-heavy tracks. They also feature Acoustic Space Controls which go a long way in providing optimal conditions for mixing and monitoring in almost all types of studios.

Verdict

If you have a medium to a large-sized studio and are looking for an affordable monitoring solution, the BX8 Carbon by M-Audio is perfect for the job. For the price at which they come in, they provide a lot more value and is definitely one of the most VFM studio monitors in the market.

Pros
  • Well suited for large and medium-sized studios 
  • Enhanced tweeter wavelength guide for superior imaging 
  • Very affordable 
Cons
  • Not suitable for home/small sized studios 

10. Genelec 8010A

Genelec 8010 Bi-Amplified Monitor System (Each)
  • "General Size: Near-field System type: Active Configuration:...
  • "Exceptional sound quality, small size and universal mains...
  • With a balanced XLR input, 3-inch woofer, 3/4-inch tweeter...
  • It features Genelec Intelligent Signal Sensing (ISS)...

Coming in at the last spot in our list of the best studio monitors under $500 is a monitor by a brand that is known to be solely a producer of top-end studio monitors. The Genelec 8010A brings the signature Genelec sound quality into the market for budget sound monitors.

Experience

The Genelec 8010As are the smallest monitors in the entire list, featuring a tiny 3″ woofer and a 0.75″ tweeter. But this small package packs quite a bit of punch which really took us by surprise!

These things are designed primarily to enable professional mixers to work in compact studios and while they are on the move. They provide an incredibly accurate monitoring solution at a price that is astonishing. They are also extremely well-built, featuring a die-cast aluminum enclosure along with metal driver grilles.

For a woofer that is only 3 inches, the bass response completely blew us away and far exceeded our expectations. Despite sound pressure of just 96dB, the response from these speakers is surprisingly robust.

The frequency response on these speakers range from 74Hz to 20 kHz, and they do an incredible job at balancing the mids and lows. Overall, the performance far exceeded our expectations in every sphere we looked into.

Verdict

The Genelec 8010As are the perfect studio monitors if you’re looking to work in a studio with limited space or if portability is a requirement. They are incredibly affordable, and for the price tag they come in, the sound quality is truly awe-inspiring.

Pros
  • Accurate sound quality with a huge presence 
  • Portable 
  • Low distortion along with clean and crisp highs and mids  
Cons
  • Lacks a powerful bass 

Studio Monitor Buying Guide

When it comes to choosing a Studio Monitor for your home or professional studio, you have an ample number of choices. However, circumstances vary from user to user and thus it is essential to consider a few things regarding your requirements and studio conditions before purchasing a studio monitor!

What kind of studio monitor you require depends on a few factors, such as the type of music you produce, the size of your studio and lastly how much you’re willing to shell out.

We will explain in details a few of these factors that should be considered before buying a studio monitor!

1. Frequency Response

The frequency response is the range of frequencies that the studio monitors are capable of handling. They usually depend on the size of the LF and HF drivers.
A wider frequency range translates to your monitor being capable of handling a broader spectrum of music. But at the same time, all the different frequencies will compete for your attention and can lead to you missing out important details.
Thus, it is essential to take a look at the monitor’s frequency response before buying it. If you are into electronic music that features a lot of bass heavy tracks, then getting a bigger monitor with an extended low-end frequency response is important.

However, if you work mostly with acoustic and vocal elements, it’s wiser to go for a flat response studio monitor!

2. Power Rating

The power rating on your monitor’s amplifiers, along with the frequency response, dictate how loud your studio monitors are going to be. Now, this has a lot to do with how big your studio is.

If you have a small studio, you’d want a monitor with a lower power rating which is just enough to cover the listening area. Bigger the studio, higher the power rating you’d need!

3. Positioning

Positioning your monitors to ensure your listening area falls within the sweet spot of the speaker is of great importance while mixing tracks. Different monitors have a different baffle and waveguide designs, and so it is better to do a little research regarding the positioning and sweet spot coverage of your monitor before buying.

Conclusion

Investing in a good pair of studio monitors is extremely important if you’re looking to get the best out of your production capabilities. All the models listed in the article are some of the best you can get your hands on at under $500.

We hope this guide has helped you in making your decision!

Read next

5 Best Bookshelf Speakers [Under $100] of 2018 Reviewed

Learn The 15 Massage Chair Benefits That You Cannot Miss Today

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *