Here’s the complete list of best studio monitors in 2021:
- M-Audio BX5-D3
- PreSonus Eris E5
- KRK Rokit 5 G4
- Kali LP8
- Yamaha HS8
- Dynaudio BM5 MkIII
- Genelec 8010A
- Genelec 8030C
- Adam Audio A7X
- Focal Shape 65
No matter if you’re working in a recording studio, or doing music production of your home studios, a good set of studio monitors is a necessity.
While it’s possible to make great mixes on studio headphones, a pair of studio monitors can help you hear the full range of your sound more accurately.
With an over-saturated market, it can be hard to discern between great, and not so great speakers, without a great buying guide.
So, in this article we’re going to cover the best studio monitors in 2021.
Below you’ll find the best budget studio monitors in 2021. If you’re strapped for cash, then this section was made for you ♥
M-Audio BX5-D3 – Super Budget Option
M-Audio are one of the first names that come to mind when talking about budget class hardware, that stands up to scrutiny.
The M-Audio BX5-D3 studio monitors are a great pair to pick up as your first ever studio monitors, if you’re on a tight budget.
Not to blow smoke where it doesn’t shine, we can’t tell you that these are incredible speakers. They’re not… but they’re amazing for the price.
Unlike most other speakers on this list, you won’t be able to use these for a good hi-fi setup.
They are built with the sole purpose of providing an accurate and transparent sound, rather than focusing on an all-rounder approach.
These are great for beginners, because the BX5-D3 monitors tailor their sound to your environment, so you get an accurate sound reproduction.
This can also reduce problematic bass frequencies + even limit the impact of standing waves thanks to the BX5-D3’s room control options.
While these are great beginner monitors, there are definitely some drawbacks.
With the 5 inch woofer, the low-end on these is weak at best, so you might want to add a subwoofer to your setup.
You might be better off saving up for a pair of KRK Rokit’s, than cheaping out on these, but on a super restricted budget, you won’t be disappointed.
If you are looking for compact, affordable monitors, these are one of the best budget designs on the market.
PreSonus Eris E5
The Presonus Eris E5s are another great pick for your first pair of studio monitors.
When it comes to smooth frequency response and an accurate high end, the E5 offers clarity without the high-end harshness found in similarly-priced monitors.
The Eris series monitors deliver a smooth and accurate frequency response and powerful Class AB amplification with loads of headroom.
In addition to the usual gain control, there’s an acoustic space switch that can be used to optimize the bass response to when placed near walls or corners.
The E5’s are great for smaller rooms making sure not to stir up any problems in your room.
This means that you’ll miss out on the sub frequencies below 53Hz though, so you’ll want to pair these with a set of monitoring headphones or a subwoofer.
They have an 80Hz/100Hz low-cut which is great when producing at lower volumes.
This cut also means that incorporating a sub is super easy and straightforward.
Eris monitors are equipped with great silk dome tweeters, with a wide dispersion, which helps to have a wider sweet spot for your high frequencies.
Eris E5 monitors provide balanced XLR, balanced ¼” TRS, and unbalanced RCA line-level inputs.
For anybody looking for a great set of cheap starter monitors, the PreSonus Eris E5’s are a great entry level option to consider.
KRK Rokit 5 G4 – Best Budget Monitors
You’ve undoubtedly seen photos of the KRK Rokit studio monitors in the studios of some of your favourite producers.
Their instantly recognizable yellow and black aesthetic is a staple for many electronic music producers.
Like the classic Yamaha NS-10’s these speakers are absolutely everywhere.
Unlike the NS-10’s however, the KRK Rokit 5s sound really good.
The KRK Rokit 5s are known for their balanced low-end response and are built to be listened to for long hours with minimal ear fatigue.
The woven kevlar woofers, that have been used on more high-end KRK monitors, have been added to the newest, G4 iteration of the Rokits.
These kevlar woofers and tweeters, make the sound very “comfortable” and not tiring at all for longer production sessions.
Lastly the KRK Rokit 5s have great headroom with defined clarity, and low distortion.
When compared to the older Rokit models, you can really crank these without worrying about distortion or weird compression artefacts.
An accompanying KRK app allows you to calibrate the monitors to your room acoustics (though Sonarworks is always more useful).
The KRKs are the best choice for new producers looking to pick up a great set of their first monitors.
Here you’ll find the best mid-range studio monitors on the market.
Kali LP8 – Best Studio Monitors Under $500
The Kali LP8’s are a newcomer to the market of studio monitors.
While they are not the sort of speaker you’d use for hi-fi music listening, the LP8’s are the best monitors you can get at this price range.
The sound quality of the Kali Audio LP8’s is incredible for the price.
If an 8 inch woofer is too big for your room, Kali offer the LP6’s, which feature, a smaller, 6.5 inch woofer, that is every bit as great sounding.
In addition to the woofer, both speakers have a 1 inch tweeter.
The only drawback to their sound is a small bump in the upper mids which may cause you to overcorrect some sounds
The low frequency range is balanced and the highs are clean, which can be an issue with many budget speakers.
What’s more, the mid frequencies of the LP8’s are very honest, lots of mid-range monitors tend to get carried away with a more exciting and energetic sound, which is not what you want when mixing.
The LP8’s are surgically precise, and are sure to make you notice every flaw in your mix. All in all, the Kali Audio LP-8s are great for a mix engineer of any level. They’ll tell you what you need to know and leave it at that.
Their lack of unnecessary hype, high quality and reasonable price make these one of the best studio monitors for the price.
Yamaha HS8 – The Studio Classic
Instantly recognizable for their signature white coned woofers, these Yamaha studio monitors are no less than iconic – and they are fantastic for music production.
Based on the classic Yamaha NS-10’s from back in the day, the Yamaha HS8’s combine a familiar sound, with some new, exciting technology. The Yamaha NS10, famous for their clarity and sound are still in every studio you go to. The HS-8’s are a good alternative to the vintage NS-10
The HS8s feature an 8 inch cone woofer (5 inch for the Yamaha HS5 model), a 1 inch dome tweeter, a 2-way active bass reflex system and powerful 120 bi amped amplification.
Like the NS10, there is nowhere to hide with the HS8. Every single detail is clearly reproduced and amplified, making it perfect for producers looking for a precise studio monitor setup.
If you can hear everything in the mix, then you’re then able to correct it and produce flawless music.
The HS8 are effective in a very wide frequency range, 38Hz to 30kHz.
Combine that with the the 8-inch woofer and the 2-way bass reflex system and you have low-end frequencies that are so powerful and well-defined there is no need for a separate subwoofer.
Additionally, the HS8 is also adaptable outside of the studio, and is a perfect home speaker that will offer audiophiles something that lives up to their high standards.
If you’re looking for a smaller form factor, have a look at the 5 inch Yamaha HS5. While the HS3’s are even smaller, the Yamaha HS5 just sounds better.
If you were a fan of the Yamaha NS10 and are now looking for a modern alternative, then you cannot go wrong with the Yamaha HS8.
Dynaudio BM5 MkIII
Dynaudio has been making speaker drivers for nearly 40 years and produces some of the best studio monitors on the market. And, the BM5’s are their top of the line near-field monitors.
They’re made to for a full low-end and power, reminiscent of much larger monitors in a smaller footprint.
The BM5’s are easily one of the best studio monitors coming in right under $1000.
The MB7 MkIII’s are a mid-near field type of studio monitor, that are a continuation of the now almost 10 year old MkI’s. While the aesthetic design has persisted, the sound of these studio monitors has evolved.
This is most notably present in the low frequency response. The original MkIs went down to 50 Hz, the mkIIIs go right down to 42 Hz. In terms of loudness, the MKIII’s go all the way up to an SPL of 118 dB compared to 115dB of the original models and the 117dB of the mkII’s.
They may not be cheap, but they’re well worth the price – and if you find that you can’t mix on a pair of BM5A MkIIIs, we’d suggest that you think about upgrading your room acoustics!
Genelec 8010A – Tiny but powerful
When it comes to the best names in pro audio, Genelec is near the top of everyone’s list. Go to some of the best studios in the world, and you’ll find Genelec monitors.
The 8010As are ideal to get an accurate sound in smaller rooms. The smaller drivers help limit the boominess that can be characteristic of having speakers too big for your room.
Bear in mind that the low-end response is limited, so electronic producers will want to couple the 8010As with a pair of monitoring headphones.
Seeing the 8010A’s for the first time, made us giggle, wondering about how good, something that’s the size of a small computer speaker, realistically sound.
Honestly, the SPL you get from these is almost unnatural, our minds could not process how loud these could go, when compared to their size (They go up to 96dB).
Size aside, just like their bigger brother, the 8030, the flat frequency response of these is unmatched. The high frequency range is clean, and doesn’t get distorted, while the mids are transparent and precise.
Combine that with excellent build quality and you got a damn good pair of studio monitors.
So don’t let their size fool you, these tiny beasts will put up a fight to any speaker on this list, no problem.
Here you’ll find the most professional studio monitors on the market.
A consistent best-seller, the 8030C sits in the perfect sweet spot of big monitor performance and small footprint.
It offers awesome imaging and impressive depth of detail, and can go both louder and deeper than it’s younger brothers, the 8010 and 8020.
The Genelec 8030 is the ideal near field monitor for both large & small studio application.
They are high-end speakers, and they reflect it, in both sound quality, and the solid build. A consistent trend between user reviews of Genelec speakers, is how loud they can go, for their small size.
It’s true, hearing the max SPL of Genelecs, can feel scary, coming from such tiny speakers.
There are no major drawbacks for the 8030’s, they’re incredibly precise speakers, with a near perfect stereo-imaging.
The only thing that needs to be taken into consideration is bass response.
The lowest these will go is 47Hz. While that’s completely enough for most people, for a more pronounced low-end, a sub can be a great addition.
The 8030’s are often purchased together with the Genelec 7050 subwoofer, the combination of these, is close to the perfect monitoring setup.
All in all, the build quality and the incredible sound of these, makes them, in our opinion, the best studio monitors, you can get.
You can definitely spend more and get something even more precise and transparent, but everything past 2000$ starts to have diminishing returns.
If you’re looking for a set of speakers, that are realistically priced, while being damn near the best you can get, look no further than the Genelec 8030’s
Adam Audio A7X
ADAM Audio makes the BMWs of studio monitors. Handmade in Berlin, they are high performance, sleek machines that any professional audio engineer would be happy using.
The Adam Audio A7X is their best selling nearfield monitor. It is one of the most versatile and balanced speakers avilable on the market right now!
They are pretty much the obvious choice for medium-sized mix rooms. The X-ART ribbon tweeters make the high end of the A7X’s more impressive than most other speakers under 10,000$
Its specs are damn impressive, the most notable one being: the ability to reproduce frequencies all the way up to 50kHz.
The A7X’s reproduce high frequencies extremely efficiently, mostly due to the amazing ribbon tweeters.
Stereo imaging on these is also top-notch, making it easy to place sounds around the stereo ﬁeld.
Getting such a strong and transparent‑sounding mid‑range from a two way speaker is quite a challenge. Adam seem to have managed to pull out a three‑way performance out of a two way box — and they have done so without sacrificing bass end or high‑frequency range extension.
The A7X‘s detailed sonic characteristic and extremely transparent sound stage make these one of the best studio monitors you can get in 2021
The accurate sound, perfect mid range and flat frequency response makes these one of the best studio monitors on the market.
Focal Shape 65
Focal has been long regarded as a big player in the prosumer audio category. Focal’s commitment to innovation, technological development, and absolute sound quality have resulted in the amazing Shape 65s
Focal Shape monitors are known for clarity and “flatness” through the mids and highs, and between that and the controlled low-end response, these are one of the best options for a home studio.
The Focal Shape 65 ‘s tend to sound solid and in control – the bass is tight, dynamic, and extended. The mid-range is precise and detailed, while the treble never loses it’s smoothness, and open clarity.
The sound presentation of The Shape 65’s is extremely well balanced and neutral sounding, making them very revealing without sounding overly clinical.
They look good, are easy to position and their sonic performance is impeccable across the frequency spectrum – especially in the bass.
The Shape 65s have passive radiators on either side of the monitor, which helps alleviate much of the low-frequency buildup that happens in small mix rooms This means that unlike a rear-ported design, you can put these pretty close to a wall without much of an issue).
Another neat feature of the Focal Shape 65s is the material of their speaker cones.
Unlike the traditional aramid, kevlar or polypropylene cones that are commonplace in the industry, Focal have designed their cones with woven flax fiber.
Flax fibres are half the weight of usual cone materials, they have excellent damping characteristics and are also very rigid, making them ideal for use in loudspeaker cones.
This makes the 65s one of the more unique studio monitors around. Both in design and sound quality.
All in all, the Shape 65s might be close to the best-sounding and effective studio monitors in this price range.
Honorable Mention: Avantone MixCube
A common problem when working on high-end monitors is that a mix that sounds spectacular in the studio may not always translate well when played on lo-fi consumer speakers.
To solve this problem, the Auratone company invented a small set of monitors in 1958, known as the Auratone 5C Super Sound Cube.
After the Auratone company was no more, many copycats sprung up, with the Avantone MixCube, being the best replica out there.
The Sound Cube simulates the less-than-ideal performance conditions of typical consumer speakers.
You’ve probably seen a set of Yamaha NS-10’s, which are used for the exact same purpose – referencing your mix.
Don’t take us the wrong way, you definitely don’t NEED a MixCube, it’s a very specific product, for a specific user.
It can however be a great addition to your mixing kit, if you’ve got 200$ burning a whole in your wallet.
Keep in mind though, that a MixCube isn’t for doing any actual mixing, it’s just for reference.
That concludes our list of the 10 best studio monitors on the market today!
Writing a list of the best studio monitors is just as hard, as choosing what to buy.
Whether you’re into music production, mixing or mastering, a good set of studio speakers will be a great addition to your home studio.
So, hopefully this list has provided you with a range of knowledge necessary, to choose the best studio monitors for you.