Best Studio Monitors in 2021 – Which Is The Right One For You?

In this article, we’re going to check out the best studio monitors in 2021. I made this list based on my personal opinion and I try to list them based on their price, quality, durability, and more. Let’s get started number five — Presonus Eris E3.5. Best under a hundred dollars. A relative newcomer to the studio monitor market Presonus’s debut came in 2013 with the release of the Eris E5 and E8 models. Both of which immediately gained a reputation for offering exceptional value for money. Both have now been upgraded to improved XT models but the range has also expanded downwards in the form of the Eris E3.5. As the name suggests the Eris E3.5 is a two-way design with a 3.5-inch woofer which might seem too small to offer sufficient low end, especially for bass, heavy dance music. But the heiress does a respectable job offering a frequency response that extends down to 80 hertz before rolling off while it’s impossible for a driver of this size to match the punch and depth of a larger cone. The Eris 3.5 provides just enough bass clarity to give an overall impression of your low-end mix. There was a time not so long ago when studio monitors at these very low price points would be bordering on unusable. But the Eris range proves that it’s now more than possible to buy clear and surprisingly accurate entry-level monitors they’re definitely not the last word in sonic accuracy of course but for a tiny affordable option, they’re more than capable.

Number four — Yamaha HS5 best for the money. One of the best-known names in audio equipment. Yamaha always delivers great quality. When it comes to the Yamaha HS5 you can rely on them to deliver a great sonic platform. Although the Yamaha HS5 doesn’t feature added treble or bass frequencies this isn’t a design flaw. Instead, the HS5 is created to deliver honest and accurate playback with newly developed transducers. An advanced magnetic field design ensures a regulated and seamless flow of magnetic response. As a result, you’ll benefit from continuous sonic transitions and a smooth response over a relatively wide range of bandwidth for this price, the HS5 is hard to beat. They give you excellent value for money and supreme audio and build quality. Also, the Yamaha HS5 is directly related to the legendary Yamaha NS10. I can guarantee that these speakers are the best you can get at this price range. They’re very clear and accurate in the highs and mids. They lack in the low end, but this should not come as a surprise, considering their size. If you don’t produce bass-intensive music buy them. If you do need the extra bass opt for a larger monitor such as the seven-inch one, or combine the HS5 with a subwoofer. The mixing engineers out there will be happy to know that the HS5 has an eq selection on the back, this allows you to improve your mixes by emulating how small speakers sound.

Number three — JBL 305P MK2 best mid-range option. People might be quick to judge the JBL 305P MK2 because the monitors don’t look great. The glossy finish gives them a slightly cheap and outdated look but the sound that comes out of them tells a different story. The MK2 series features a new enclosure material which is an upgrade over the previous model that had a plastic enclosure. The new enclosure reduces resonance and improves response. The JBL 305P MK2’s strong point is its sound quality which many consider incredible when considering its price point. Many users specifically mention its highs and mid-range to be very lifelike and they report that it helped them hear nuances, they were not able to hear with their old monitors. The speaker’s build quality also gets a lot of thumbs up! What makes these budget speakers different? Is that they leverage technology from JBL’s high-end pro studio speakers technologies such as JBL’s image control waveguide or icw technology, which claims to break up audio frequencies for an expansive center image from nearly any listening position, while still allowing for the sort of accuracy you expect from near field studio monitors. The sound produced by the JBL 305P MK2 is good, almost too good. This means that when mixing you’ll tend to think things sound better than they actually do so that is something you should keep in mind. 

Number two — Yamaha HS8 best runner-up. The Yamaha HS8 studio monitor is one of the very best studio monitors made by one of the best companies in the music gear business accuracy, is the most important thing you want from a studio monitor, and this beast by Yamaha is all about accuracy. Anyone shopping for speakers needs this range of Yamaha’s on their list, they do follow on from the heritage of the legendary NS10s but with the sort of improvements and updated technology that makes the HS8 genuinely classic, charm understated, smooth professional. The HS8 is the larger of the range and slightly imposing. But for the larger room, these are going to rock or dance or jazz or whatever genre you’re playing with it’s pumping out 120 watts of power, through a generous 8-inch woofer, the sort of energy you’ll feel in your chest. No need for unbalanced inputs, a little bit of tone control on the back helps you tune them into your space. The newly designed amplified drivers and scientifically ported enclosures help deliver amazing accuracy and transparency. They won’t make your mixes sound good automatically, they’ll point out all the problems that you didn’t realize were there, and give you a chance to fix them. Definitely, a great studio monitor that doesn’t cost that much. So, I honestly recommend this to everyone who’s looking for a studio monitor.

Number one — Adam Audio A7X. Best overall, if you’re looking for a monitor with excellent frequency response, Adam Audio A7X is what you need. The X-ART Tweeter is what stands out about this monitor. You’re guaranteed a frequency response of up to 50 kilohertz. Also, the X-ART Tweeter has high efficiency and high maximum sound pressure levels. Designed with a seven inch mid-woofer. The lower frequencies are perfectly integrated. The monitor is designed with a much bigger voice coil compared to its predecessors. The mid-woofer and the voice coil combine to give you a crisp sound that’s distortion-free. Each driver has its own dedicated amplifier. The X-ART Tweeter is powered by a 50-watt amplifier while the mid-woofer is driven by a 100-watt pulse width modulation amplifier. The power switch and volume control buttons are on the front panel, on the rear panel are several additional controls including the high frequencies control button. The Adam Audio A7X is made with rare earth magnets and high diaphragm foils. You are therefore assured of reliability and enhanced performance. The state-of-the-art monitor is designed with modern materials that continually elevate the loudspeaker components. The compact design of the monitor makes it easy to use in your studio. The color combination in the monitor is attractive and will catch your eye. If you’re looking for a fatigue-free working environment in your studio this monitor is an excellent choice. With a transmission range of 42 hertz to 50 kilohertz, you’re sure that this monitor won’t hurt your ear. Think of these monitors as a long-term investment for your home studio much like the instruments synthesizers samplers laptops and dolls you regularly use. In this sense, the A7X like any monitor will become an essential aspect or ingredient of your sound. 

What makes a good monitor? 

A good set of monitors should offer a number of qualities including a wide frequency range, that can reproduce both high-end and low-end sounds without distortion. Built-in amps are generally referred to as active monitors which remove the need for an external amp and a flat sound free of the altering effects of room ambiance. But essentially good monitors should give an accurate reproduction of your original audio recordings. Highlighting any weaknesses in the recording so you can edit them out of the finished audio and ensure your finished product sounds exactly as you want it to.

What’s the difference between passive and active speakers 

Put simply the difference between a passive and an active speaker is whether or not the speaker has a built-in amp for producing sounds at loud volumes. An active speaker will have an amp built into the speaker cabinet while a passive speaker will require an additional external amp. This can be problematic if you’re on a tight budget or have limited space. As a general rule, it is best for beginners to stick to active monitors; they’re easier to use and far more common in today’s market. 

Recording space acoustics

Regardless of your budget, it’s important to take your room acoustics into account before taking the plunge on a new studio monitor set. There’s little point in spending a small fortune on your setup then putting it in a room that can’t get the most out of it. And the sound of your audio can be affected by everything from the size of the room to the various objects contained within it and the placement of the monitors themselves, so there can be a lot to consider.

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