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Best Budget Studio Monitors (2023)

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If you’re just starting to get into recording, you’re probably looking to get your first set of studio monitors. It can be a little overwhelming trying to decide which studio monitors to go with, so we’ve compiled a list of the best budget friendly studio monitors!

One of the most important aspects of music production is being able to hear the intricate details of your mixes. Being able to hear these intricacies is important for making decisions when adjusting your mix. With a good set of studio monitors you can avoid the common scenario of spending hours dialing a mix on your not so great speakers only to hear it sound awful elsewhere. With a solid set of studio monitors you’ll be able to hear the most honest reflection of your mix and dial it in much more easily.

Studio monitors can range widely in price and specs, but we’re going to focus on the budget picks!

Our Top 3 Studio Monitors (Budget Friendly)

Mackie CR5-XBT
  • Professional studio-quality sound
  • Flexible inputs - 1/4”, RCA, and Bluetooth
  • All-wood cabinet provides a natural sonic character
  • Hookup cables and isolation pads included, all for under $200
PreSonus Eris E.45 HD
  • Includes active EQ controls, a rare feature for monitors under $200
  • 4.5in woofer and 1in tweeder
  • Super handy aux input on front of speakers
  • Great sound quality in a small and affordable package
KRK RP5 Rokit 5 G4
  • A classic, tried and true studio monitor at an affordable price
  • Built in room tuning and graphic EQ help you tailor these speakers to your room
  • Amazing sound quality, built with premium materials
  • Our top pick at under $400 for a pair!

Mackie CR5-X Budget Studio Monitors

The Mackie CR5-X studio monitors offer impressive sound performance and versatility. With a 5-inch polypropylene woofer and 0.75-inch silk-dome tweeter, they deliver clear and accurate audio reproduction. These monitors feature convenient front-panel controls for volume, tone, and input selection. The CR5-Xs also come with a headphone output and an aux input for easy connectivity. With their sleek design and affordable price, they are a popular choice for multimedia applications.

  • Professional studio-quality sound
  • Flexible inputs - 1/4”, RCA, and Bluetooth
  • 80 watts of clean, articulate stereo sound
  • All-wood cabinet provides a natural sonic character
  • Hookup cables and isolation pads included

PreSonus Eris E4.5Budget Studio Monitors

The PreSonus Eris 4.5 are a beginner-friendly set of studio monitors at a great, approachable price point. Surprisingly balanced, the neutral response of these make them great for mixing and mastering. The highs are well-defined with precise, well-rounded mids. The lows do lack a little warmth and fullness, but overall the PreSonus Eris E4.5’s offer a great soundscape. Just be sure to pay attention to the lows a little more.

What the PreSonus Eris E4.5 studio monitors lack in bass they more than make up for in other areas. Overall build quality is excellent and they look good too. The PreSonus Eris E4.5 monitors punch above their weight and certainly above many other studio monitors at this price point. Building out your first home studio or just getting into music production in general can get expensive quickly, so it’s nice to see a solid option like this available that won’t break that bank.

  • Acoustic Tuning Adjustment Controls
  • 1" Silk Dome Tweeter for Treble
  • 4.5" Kevlar Woofer Cone for Bass
  • 25W Class AB Amplification

KRK Classic 5 Budget Studio Monitors

Maybe one of the more recognizable studio monitors, the KRK Classic 5’s aren’t just about looks. The Classic 5 studio monitors can hang with more expensive units. KRK designed the Classic 5’s from concepts used on their renowned ROKIT line, meaning these Classic 5 studio monitors sound great and are nicely balanced right out of the box. A major selling point with the Classic 5 monitors are the knobs on the back that will allow you to tweak them to the most ideal settings for your particular room dynamics, as well as the type of music you’re working on.

Delving further into the sound, the KRK Classic 5 studio monitors deliver good clarity and depth that work well musically. These are the most expensive speakers in our top three at just around $400 a pair. That being said, these studio monitors offer the best sound and flexibility for any set of speakers in this price range!

  • Professional grade 5“ (bi-amp) studio monitor designed and engineered in the USA
  • 5” matching woofer and 1” tweeter made with Kevlar
  • Proprietary speaker drivers built in-house from the ground up
  • Onboard LCD visual ds-driven EQ


More Budget Studio Monitors to Consider

If you want to explore even more picks outside of our top 3, we have even more budget studio monitors to pick from!

The Ultimate Budget Studio Monitor: Edifier MR4

The Edifier MR4 studio monitors are the best pick for those on a tight budget. With a very approachable price tag, it’s impressive what the Edifier MR4’s are capable of. You get several input options, front-panel headphone output, and even some EQ controls. The controls do tend to be rather subtle though. Overall, these are smaller monitors, but they perform well when you consider the price. If you keep your expectations in check, these will certainly do the trick for producers and mixers on a budget!

  • 1-inch silk dome tweeters and 4-inch composite woofers produce a clear, smooth, and overall sound
  • Convenient AUX and headphone ports
  • Switch between "monitor" and "music" mode on the fly
  • Equipped with two knobs to adjust high- and low-frequency controls separately, and a convenient front-panel knob to set volume and sound modes.

Rockville APM5W

Rockville is a newer audio company, and their recently launched APM5W monitors are an impressive entry into the budget friendly speaker world! One unique feature of these speakers is their built in USB port, allowing you to connect them directly to your computer without an interface.

These speakers also include isolation pads, so you can reduce vibrations to your desk or speaker stands. Overall, the APM5W strike a great balance between build quality and value.

  • Built in USB port for easy connectivity
  • Included isolation pads
  • On board EQ for dialing in your preferred sound

Also Consider: Kali Audio LP-6 V2 (The Premium Pick) 

If you have some more room in your budget, you might also consider the Kali Audio LP-6 V2 studio monitors. The LP-6 V2 studio monitors are some of the most accurate monitors at this price point. A very honest studio monitor with nothing spicing up the sound – what you hear is what you get. This makes them a great choice for mixing and mastering. You do get some options to refine the sound, such as boundary compensation EQ to adjust the response for whatever your room setup is. The waveguide design port also ensures you get punchy bass even at lower volumes. The LP-6 V2’s will let you mix with confidence, and they are a premium product, meaning you won’t need to upgrade anytime soon. In the studio world, buy once cry once is a phrase to live by.

  • Robust SDP system for flat frequency response
  • Updated boundary EQ for high-quality audio output no matter where they're placed - on a stand, against a wall, or on your desk!
  • 80 watts of power for a room-filling sound
  • High quality build that won't totally break the bank
  • Make sure to buy 2!

Final Thoughts on Budget Studio Monitors

Thanks to advances in technology, budget studio monitors are constantly improving. Nowadays, you can get a pair of serviceable studio monitors for under $200, which is something that was out of the question when I first got in to recording. All of the speakers on this list will help you improve your mixing and mastering quality, especially when compared to computer speakers or cheap headphones.

Any of the budget friendly studio monitors on this list will serve you well on your quest to build an amazing studio, but if you want more info, check out our Budget Studio Monitors Buyer’s Guide below!

Mackie CR5-XBT
  • Professional studio-quality sound
  • Flexible inputs - 1/4”, RCA, and Bluetooth
  • All-wood cabinet provides a natural sonic character
  • Hookup cables and isolation pads included, all for under $200
PreSonus Eris E.45 HD
  • Includes active EQ controls, a rare feature for monitors under $200
  • 4.5in woofer and 1in tweeder
  • Super handy aux input on front of speakers
  • Great sound quality in a small and affordable package
KRK RP5 Rokit 5 G4
  • A classic, tried and true studio monitor at an affordable price
  • Built in room tuning and graphic EQ help you tailor these speakers to your room
  • Amazing sound quality, built with premium materials
  • Our top pick at under $400 for a pair!


Budget Studio Monitors Buyer’s Guide 

When selecting studio monitors, it’s essential to consider various factors to ensure accurate and reliable sound reproduction in your studio environment.

Frequency Response and Why It Matters

Having a flat frequency response in studio monitors is crucial because it ensures that the sound we hear is accurate and unaltered. Different speakers and headphones can emphasize certain parts of the sound, like making the bass really booming or the treble very sharp. However, with flat frequency monitors, this doesn’t happen. They reproduce all the frequencies equally. This is extremely important for music producers and sound engineers who need to hear the music exactly as it is, without any changes. It allows them to ensure that the different instruments and sounds are balanced just right and that the mix sounds clear and natural. Additionally, using flat frequency monitors helps ensure that the music will still sound good on other devices, like different speakers or headphones, because the mix remains consistent. So, having flat frequency monitors is like having a reliable tool that helps us create and enjoy high-quality music with all its original details and balance intact.

Key Factors when Purchasing Studio Monitors

  1. Active Studio Monitors vs. Passive Studio Monitors:

    Active monitors have built-in amplifiers, making them easier to set up and use. They eliminate the need for external amplifiers, making them ideal for beginners or those seeking convenience. Passive monitors require separate power amplifiers and offer more flexibility in customization, but require additional equipment and setup expertise. All of the speakers in our top budget friendly studio monitors list are active, meaning you can save $$$ on an amp.
  2. Speaker Size:

    Speaker size affects the frequency response and overall sound reproduction. Larger woofers provide more low-frequency response, while smaller ones offer greater detail in the mid and high frequencies. Consider the size of your studio space, preferred music genres, and the level of bass response you require. If you have larger speakers or a small desk, you may need desktop or floor standing speaker stands!
  3. Frequency Range:

    Look for studio monitors with a wide frequency range to ensure accurate reproduction of low and high frequencies. The standard frequency range for studio monitors is around 50Hz to 20kHz. However, some models may extend beyond these limits, providing more comprehensive frequency coverage.
  4. Connection Types:

    Consider the connectivity options available on the studio monitors. Most monitors offer balanced XLR or TRS inputs, which minimize noise and interference. Additionally, some models provide unbalanced RCA inputs, making them compatible with consumer-grade audio devices. Ensure that the monitors have the necessary inputs to connect to your audio interface or other equipment.
  5. Room Acoustics:

    Keep in mind that your studio environment and room acoustics greatly impact the sound reproduction. Consider the size, shape, and treatment of your studio space. Acoustic treatments such as bass traps, diffusers, and absorbers can help optimize the monitoring environment and improve overall accuracy.
  6. Budget and Brand:

    Determine your budget and prioritize features accordingly. Consider reputable brands known for their quality and accuracy. There are more affordable options to choose from than ever, and reputable brands like KRK, Mackie, and PreSonus now have great studio monitor options that won’t break the bank!

Tweeter Materials


Different materials used for studio monitor tweeters:

  1. Silk:

    Known for its smooth and warm sound reproduction, silk tweeters offer a pleasing and refined high-frequency response. They reduce harshness and provide a relaxed listening experience.
  2. Metal (aluminum or titanium):

    Metal tweeters provide excellent transient response and clarity. They deliver precise and detailed high-frequency reproduction with crispness and an extended frequency range.
  3. Soft dome (fabric or synthetic blends):

    Soft dome tweeters strike a balance between silk and metal tweeters. They offer a natural and balanced sound with good dispersion characteristics.
  4. Exotic materials (beryllium or diamond):

    High-end studio monitors may feature tweeters made from beryllium or diamond. Beryllium tweeters have exceptional stiffness-to-weight ratio for fast and accurate transient response. Diamond tweeters offer incredible precision and minimal distortion due to their exceptional rigidity and low resonance.

The choice of tweeter material depends on the desired sound signature, application, and personal preference. Factors such as overall system design, room acoustics, and project requirements are considered when selecting studio monitors with the most suitable tweeter material.

Should I Get Headphones Instead?

Both studio monitors and headphones have their strengths and limitations. Studio monitors excel in providing a more accurate representation of sound in a room, allowing for better spatial perception and collaboration in professional audio environments. Headphones, on the other hand, offer isolation, portability, and a more intimate listening experience suitable for individual editing and monitoring needs.

In audio production, it is often recommended to use both studio monitors and headphones to complement each other. Studio monitors provide a reference point for accurate sound reproduction, while headphones offer a close and detailed examination of specific audio elements. This combination helps ensure a well-balanced mix that translates well across different playback systems and listening environments.

Best Budget Studio Monitors
Mackie CR5-XBT
  • Professional studio-quality sound
  • Flexible inputs - 1/4”, RCA, and Bluetooth
  • All-wood cabinet provides a natural sonic character
  • Hookup cables and isolation pads included, all for under $200
PreSonus Eris E.45 HD
  • Includes active EQ controls, a rare feature for monitors under $200
  • 4.5in woofer and 1in tweeder
  • Super handy aux input on front of speakers
  • Great sound quality in a small and affordable package
KRK RP5 Rokit 5 G4
  • A classic, tried and true studio monitor at an affordable price
  • Built in room tuning and graphic EQ help you tailor these speakers to your room
  • Amazing sound quality, built with premium materials
  • Our top pick at under $400 for a pair!

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About the Author: Thomas Filbert

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Thomas is the owner of VRATIM, the Drum Shoe company, and a member of tour bands like Secret Keeper and Conversation Piece. With over a decade of experience in the music industry, Thomas brings his touring and managerial experience to Make That Louder.

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