Are you looking for the best budget studio monitors for beginners? That’s not as easy to do as you’d want it to be. There are tons of specs to consider, and a lot of producers get overwhelmed in the beginning.
Worry no longer! With my list of the best beginner studio monitors, you won’t have to worry about this again. I handpicked the top quality but still affordable studio monitors that you will love!
Alright, let’s get to the list of beginner affordable studio monitors now!
1) Mackie CR4
These beginner studio monitors are extremely affordable and should fit every beginner’s budget. Mackie offers high-quality products for low prices and is reputable and respected among music producers. You’ll see studio monitors, headphones, audio interfaces, MIDI keyboards, and tons of other products that have been developed and improved for years all over the music industry.
Mackie budget studio monitors will fit every recording studio. They come as a pair but not assigned the specific position – you can pick the sides for both speakers with built-in placement switch! Depending on where your audio interface and power supply are, you’ll be able to set everything up quickly with no hassle.
The frequency range is extensive for the price and gives you the ability to monitor frequencies between 80Hz and 20kHz. As you could’ve guessed, using studio headphones for lower bass and kick frequencies will be beneficial to your overall track image – so use them for the second reference point!
CR4 budget studio monitors come with a volume knob to adjust the sound without changing any settings in your DAW. Note that tweaking it throughout the mix should be avoided. Mackie CR4 also come with foam pads to prevent vibration and position the beginner studio monitors the way you want.
2) M-Audio BX5
BX5 are fantastic beginner studio monitors that will be a sweet addition to any recording studio. Incredibly powerful at 100 Watt and preamplified, they deliver a strong and accurate sound which works wonders for referencing. The response is crystal clear. BX5 budget studio monitors come with a high-temp voice cold and low-frequency driver.
The frequency response is tweaked to be as flat as possible which is perfect for mixing and mastering. Distortion can be a problem with some studio monitors on the market. M-Audio BX5, however, introduces the “No Distortion” built-in add-on that takes care of all unnecessary frequencies. This helps you to remove as much muddiness from your track as possible!
M-Audio budget studio monitors come with a ton of switches and knobs you can use to modify the sound coming out of your speakers. You can adjust the response depending on the size and sound isolation of your room and change it from flat to -2dB to -4dB. Try different setting and see which one works the best with your music studio acoustics.
On top of everything, the developers of BX5 budget studio monitors for beginners have also included all sorts of inputs to make sure that they will work with any recording studio setup out there. You don’t have to worry about connecting your mixers, audio interfaces, or even the computer for music production itself – all options are covered if you invest in a pair of M-Audio BX5 studio monitors.
3) PreSonus Eris E4.5
PreSonus studio monitors for beginners are one of my personal favorites. The first thing that catches your eyes is a modest yet professional design. They are powerful for any music studio yet affordable for almost any budget. The construction is incredibly robust and high-quality which means they are future-proof and will last you a while.
Speaking of PreSonus, they also develop the most solid budget audio interfaces for beginners, mixer, and a ton of other stuff. The brand is reliable and trustworthy, so there is no need to worry whether the actual product looks like anything on the image. Eris E4.5 budget studio monitors are used on radio, TV, podcasts – you don’t have to limit their usage to music production only.
The developers took the back panel design to a whole new level. Unlike a more common on/off switch and a copyright statement, PreSonus Eris E4.5 comes with a flowchart that shows you the signal flow and usage of every knob on the device.
You can tweak the acoustic space setting similarly to the previous budget studio monitors. On the top of that, Eris E4.5 lets you add a variable high pass to completely cut off the unnecessary frequencies off the edge of the range. The bass frequencies delivered don’t sound muffled and trick you into adding extra mud to your track.
4) Pioneer Pro DJ DM-40
If you’ve ever been around DJs or played a gig at a club, you know that Pioneer is a well-known and reputable brand in the music industry. They’ve developed tens of tens of mixers, audio interface, studio monitors, and MIDI keyboards that producers love. Will these budget studio monitors be any different? Luckily, not at all. They are also loved by DJs and music enthusiasts all over the world!
For the price, the sound and built-quality are incredible. Clarity over the entire frequency range from bass to treble is above-average for budget studio monitors. If you pay close attention to mid and high frequencies when producing music, you are in luck. Pioneer Pro DJ replicate them better than any other beginner studio monitors.
Another amazing feature is the standby mode. When Pioneer beginner studio monitors don’t get any signal for a while – they turn on automatically. Once the studio monitors start receiving the signal – they turn on automatically. If you pay your own electricity bills and want your studio monitors to last longer – you should really consider investing in studio monitors with standby mode.
If you are into EDM and focus on electronic music production for your DJ gigs, Pioneer Pro DJ are the best budget studio monitors for you. While the accurate bass feedback is questionable, they will do wonders when producing EDM. For the price, you can’t find better monitors for electronic music production.
5) KRK Rokit 6
If you google “music studio” and go to images, you’ll likely see a ton of these budget studio monitors shining on producer’s desks. Why? Because KRK studio monitors rock. They offer fantastic and crystal clear sound quality, outstanding drivers, and great specs. They are often called the industry standards of home recording studios – and some professional studios as well.
The design and built are top-notch and way above average when it comes to beginner studio monitors. Front plates are designed to remove any possible distortion from the track and provide you with the best feedback possible. Now you are good to mix even the busiest tracks with tons of elements and effects.
The ports in the back of these beginner studio monitors amplify low-frequency feedback by adding bass coupling with walls and corners. As a result, it’s easier to see what’s happening in the lower frequencies range. With KRK Rokit studio monitors you’ll finally be able to clean up all the mud bass frequencies can make!
The developers have managed to achieve extreme levels of accuracy when it comes to referencing – all the coloration and emphasis on making a track sound “better” were removed. All you get is the cold response which will let you base your decisions a lot more rationally. Accurate response throughout the entire frequency range is achieved by years of improving their budget studio monitors for beginners!
6) JBL 306PMKII
If you want to step up your music production game and come up with better mixed and mastered tracks – look into there JBL beginner studio monitors. They are by no means cheap but are worth every penny you’d spend on them. The sound quality and ability to modify the feedback up to your liking are 2 out of many features that will make you fall in love with JBL studio monitors for beginners.
306PMKII studio monitors come with 2 different inputs – XLR and TRS – to seamlessly fit into any music studio setup. Moreover, you can tweak the sensitivity of the studio monitors and their volume level. If you are a beginner who is shopping for budget studio monitors – that’s already more than you need. However, features don’t end here.
Besides the common features I’ve talked about already, these budget studio monitors have new improved HF and LF transducers. As a result, the transient response is nothing less of superior, with modified deeper bass. Note that JBL studio monitors don’t equalize the feedback by adding emphasis or coloring to any parts of the frequency range which is excellent as you see your track the way it’s meant to be.
JBL 306PMKII also restore the lower end response when all the bass is absorbed by walls and other surfaces, so you can get the more precise picture of what you are working with. The budget studio monitors are also built to last you for years – a great proof of that is the full-power 100-hour test that every pair of JBL studio monitors is subjected to. Don’t worry about your budget studio monitors dying after a year of extensive use – not with JBL 306PMKII!
7) Yamaha HS5
You must’ve heard of Yamaha and their products before even if you’ve never been into music or music production before. They make pianos, keyboards, audio interfaces, studio monitors, studio headphones, and a million other things. To put it simply, you can trust them when buying a pair of budget studio monitors for beginners – you’ll get an above average product quality for a moderate price.
HS5 beginner studio monitors are fantastic in terms of built and sound design and will fit not only beginners’ but also professionals’ needs. That’s something that isn’t even questionable. With great frequency response from 54Hz to 30kHz and low impedance, you can confidently work on your music without worrying about getting poor feedback from your budget studio monitors.
HF and LF clarity are other things you can be confident in when buying HS5. The studio monitors weren’t developed to make your track sound good but rather to give you a better picture of what it actually sounds like. If you are switching your budget studio monitors in the middle of finishing the track, you may notice a substantial difference after switching to HS5.
These beginner studio monitors come bundled with cables and stands. Both accessories are very durable and high-quality. It’s nice to have an all-in-one bundle, so you don’t have to keep ordering the accessories for your HS5 separately. Combine them with all the neat features of the HS5 beginner studio monitors and never look back again.
8) JBL 1 Series 104
These JBL budget studio monitors may look like cheap Logitech speakers, but as the old saying goes – don’t judge the book by its cover. First of all, they are incredibly compact, which means that these beginner studio monitors will into every recording studio setup. Moreover, the developers made sure JBL studio monitors are optimized for desktop placement.
Therefore, if you don’t have studio monitor stands, that’s not a big deal anymore. They are designed to create little to no vibrations that can interfere with the frequency range image by simulating bassy frequencies. You are winning already! You get 2 powerful drivers – LF and HF – and a 60-watt amplifier.
The sound coming out of JBLs is not colorized or equalized to sound the best. Instead, these beginner studio monitors give you a flat and cold response – the response you should strive for. They come with the volume knob and a headphone jack on the front.
A neat feature JBL 1 budget studio monitors for beginners come with is that the second you plug in your studio headphones into the jack – studio monitors go quiet. This way the sound isolation can be achieved in one easy step. You don’t have to remember where you had the volume knob last time and wonder why the track sounds different because you’ve changed the gain settings.
9) Swans X4
Swans X4 are outstanding quality and popularity budget studio monitors that are perfect for track referencing. They were designed to accommodate even the busiest music studio without underdelivering in terms of quality and durability. These beginner studio monitors will work for referencing, mixing, and mastering
Swans come with a rubber base under each studio monitor to absorb excessive bass frequencies and vibration in order to give you a clearer image of your track. Moreover, you can tilt them up and down to achieve the desired linear response. They are also extremely flexible – connect them to your computer for music production, tablet, phone, and even console.
The response is fantastic – it extends from 60Hz all the way to 20kHz. The monitors are designed to keep the response flat – no coloration added! The volume knob is conveniently located on the side of the monitor. Besides that, you are able to modify the response of low, mid, and high-frequency ranges with switches on the back.
X4 are designed for XLR inputs to provide the best signal quality. Each speaker comes with its own power cable to provide sufficient power and best quality sound. If you are a beginner looking for compact and budget studio monitors – I don’t see a single reason why you wouldn’t be satisfied with Swans.
10) Neumann KH 120-A
Neumann studio monitors are nowhere close to budget. Why did I add them on the list? Because they are one of the best ones in the industry right now. If you’ve seen my post about best condenser mics for vocals, you’d know that Neumann only makes the top-of-the-line products for DJs and producers all over the world.
These studio monitors can be used by beginners as well. Moreover, they’ll make it so much easier for you to train your ears to the real sound and improve at mixing and mastering very fast. However, a lot of the times it’s hard to justify the cost if you are on a budget.
Let’s go over the insane specs to prove my point. First of all, these studio monitors are the only bi-amplified ones at 100 watts in total and most powerful on this list. The sound-staging and imaging are superb, and the enclosure materials make sure no coloration is ever introduced to the reference. The frequency range is also fantastic – 52Hz to 21kHz. You can’t possibly ask for better studio monitors.
The distortion is the lowest I’ve ever seen – actually I haven’t noticed any. You can easily tweak the settings to emphasize the lower end, mids, or treble – depending on which sounds you are working at the moment. Besides delivering the highest-quality sound possible, these Neumann studio monitors are incredibly durable and robust and will last you a lifetime. I can go on and on for pages, but in order to keep the guide short and to-the-point, I suggest going to their official website or the Amazon listing below.
Things To Consider When Buying
Budget Studio Monitors For Beginners
There are a ton of specs and factors a music producer should consider when buying a pair of budget studio monitors for beginners. Let’s go over them and help you figure out which one will be the best fit for your budget music studio.
1) Look for the studio monitors within your budget!
It feels great to imagine how you’d look with a pair of $1200 Neumann premium studio monitors. You’d probably be like DJ Mustard or Metro Boomin, right? Well, not quite. Going for the premium studio monitors and expecting to become the best producer is not the best idea – it’s the ear, not the gear.
If you have 2k laying around in your bank account and you don’t need them for anything important anytime soon, go for it – but don’t expect to become the best producer right away. The last thing you should do is using your credit card without being able to pay it off simply for the sake of buying expensive, high-quality studio monitors.
When you are a beginner, any pair of decent studio monitors – literally every single pair on the list – will do fine! Don’t stress about it too much.
2) Look for the studio monitors that fit into your music studio setup!
It’s essential to pick the best-sized studio monitors that will work well and deliver low-distorted and quality feedback in your home studio. There is no point in going for 100-watt studio monitors with amplifiers if you record in your bedroom. Even though some producers say something like “the bigger, the better” when it comes to amplifiers and driver sizes, that’s nearly never the case.
Having 5 inches budget studio monitors in your bedroom oftentimes will deliver better performance than huge studio monitors you’ll see a professional music producer uses. You have to always take the room size into consideration.
3) Don’t rethink your purchase a million times!
Who hasn’t been in this situation? You read a book and love it lots. Then one day you go to a forum and see that it has 2 out of 5 , and “famous” critics call it horrible? The same thing happens when you look for budget studio monitors for beginners. Well, it happened to me personally.
I’ve spent a ton of time and money buying and returning monitors after someone told me that the brand they use is the best and my beginner studio monitors aren’t good for anything.
At the end of the day, there are way too many factors when it comes to music production. Having the best budget studio monitors is only a small part of the equation. It’s essential, but nowhere close a deal breaker. Learning more about your studio monitor performance and understanding whether there is distortion or equalization present are far more critical factors.
Studio monitors are nothing but a tool to help you succeed. If you don’t put in the work to learn and produce yourself – even the best studio monitors won’t help you. Decide on a pair of budget studio monitors that suits your needs and get to work already!
Commonly Asked Questions About
Budget Studio Monitors For Beginners
Let’s look at the most popular questions producers who are getting into music ask.
What specs should I look at when picking studio monitors?
Studio monitors, like other music studio gear, have tons of specs and numbers you should look at. While the size of drivers, impedance, frequency range, equalization, and other factors matter – you shouldn’t use them as the only reference points.
Once in a while, you’ll notice how a pair of $100 JBL studio monitors will have better numbers than $1200 pair of Neumanns. Clearly, you can’t expect the former to perform better than the latter ones. Moreover, some specs are not quite standardized, and manufacturers may try “playing the numbers” to attract more customers.
At the end of the day, the main thing you should rely on is your ears. Unfortunately, it’s a little complicated for beginners as they don’t know what sound they are looking for in budget studio monitors. Hopefully, my guide will help you with that a little bit!
What frequency range do I need my studio monitors to have?
If you think about it theoretically, our ears can hear frequencies between 20Hz and 20kHz. However, this doesn’t mean that your studio monitors should have this particular range as well. Most commonly, both budget and professional monitors will have a range of around 50Hz to 20kHz.
You have to also note that some budget studio monitors for beginners introduce distortion and coloration which negatively affect your track. Some more reputable studio monitor brands will tell you that there is variation present, but others will hope beginners won’t ask such questions and simply go for the best number they see.
Therefore, it’s always the best to do your own research and avoid trusting everything the developers say about their product. Real music producers and DJs will tell you a lot more. If the product such as budget studio monitors isn’t good – you’ll know by simply googling it!
What’s wattage in studio monitors?
Similarly to other powered gear in your studio, it indicates how powerful the output and performance of the piece of gear is. If you are building a music studio at home, this is not a major concern because your room isn’t very big. In big studios, higher wattage studio monitors are required for the best results.
How to position studio monitors for best performance?
Every producer must’ve heard the phrase “sweet spot” – the optimal position of your studio monitors. Depending on the size of your room, your recording studio setup, and the type and power of your studio monitors, you can pick either far, mid, or near-field design. Most of the time, the studio monitors will be optimized to perform the best at a particular position at the development stage – check the official website and manuals.
If you are reading this far into the post about studio monitors, you must be an audiophile or some kind of music freak! Let's be honest – picking beginner studio monitors is not as fun as choosing a dynamic microphone or a MIDI. All this stuff about frequency ranges, distortions, and colorations seems so boring – I feel you!
However, it’s an essential part of a music studio, and you don’t want to waste your money and/or time picking the first thing you see on Amazon. Do a little research on budget studio monitors, and you’ll be fine. My list was the first and essential step – the rest will be easier.
Maybe take your time and do a little more digging for specs of a pair you’ve liked and go to Amazon and read reviews. I strongly discourage just reading the reviews without doing any other research, because you can always find bad reviews and get completely discouraged. That’s what I used to do when I was picking the very first beginner studio monitors.
If anything, just do the math. You see more than 80% of reviews are good – the product is probably worthy. It’s that easy – another element of your music studio is set in place!
Last update on 2021-03-06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API