Best Budget Studio Monitor Speakers Under $100, $200 or $300

Best Budget Studio Monitor SpeakersIf you make music and have been mixing it on standard PC speakers, or even on high-end Hi-Fi speakers, you have been doing it wrong. Most standard PC speakers are not going to give you the clear sound quality you need, and high-quality Hi-Fi speakers will try to get the best out of your music by emphasising certain frequencies. However, when mixing, you need to hear your music exactly as it is, without any enhancements. That’s exactly what studio monitor speakers are for.

Of course, you can end up paying a LOT of money for studio monitors, but what if you don’t have that kind of money? If you are on a limited budget, you can still get some good studio monitors which will be far better for mixing than what you have used before. Here I present the best monitors at a range of price points from $100-$300, depending on your particular budget.


Please note: I will receive a commission if you buy through any links on my website, at no extra cost to you. I only recommend products that I use myself or products that I think are great after doing research.


Choose Your Budget:


BEST STUDIO MONITORS UNDER $100

Mackie CR Series CR3


Pros

  • Nice design
  • Comes with isolation pads
  • Headphones output on the front
  • Cabinet made with MDF wood
  • Excellent audio clarity for price
  • Very good value for money

Cons

  • Not very loud
  • Not quite professional quality
  • You may miss the lack of bass
  • Speaker wire is short

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For under $100 you get some great studio monitor speakers here. You probably won’t find any other speakers this good for such a low price. They are well made, with a nice design, and excellent audio clarity for this price level. However, if you are intending to do professional quality audio mixing, you may want to look at paying a bit more money.


BEST STUDIO MONITORS UNDER $150

Mackie CR4

Pros

  • Nice design
  • Comes with isolation pads
  • Headphones output on the front
  • Cabinet made with MDF wood
  • Excellent audio clarity for price
  • Very good value for money

Cons

  • Not very loud
  • Not quite professional quality
  • You may miss the lack of bass
  • Speaker wire is short

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These speakers are just a larger version of the CR3 speakers above, so you are pretty much just paying the extra price for larger speakers. But even at this price, they still offer a great sound for your money. However, as with the CR3 speakers, they are not quite professional quality. So, if you are making your own sounds for fun, they are absolutely fine and will do a great job; but if you are mixing sound professionally, you still might want to aim a little bit higher price-wise.


BEST STUDIO MONITORS UNDER $200

PreSonus Eris E4.5

Pros

  • Accurate, crisp sound
  • Mid-range sounds are particularly good
  • Input gain and EQ controls
  • More audible low end than other speakers of this size
  • Will help you get better mixes
  • They can go very loud
  • Great design
  • Good value for money

Cons

  • Will require a subwoofer for bass

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These are definitely a step up from the lower priced speakers. Whether you consider them to be professional quality studio monitors kind of depends which direction you are approaching them from. If you have only ever used standard speakers before, these will provide the clearest sounds you have ever heard from recorded audio. However, one experienced audio engineer said that to his ears they stopped slightly short of what he would consider truly professional studio monitors. But we are restricted to a budget here.


BEST STUDIO MONITORS UNDER $250

JBL LSR305 Professional Studio Monitor

Pros

  • Full spectrum clarity
  • Good bass response
  • Great stereo imaging
  • They make mixing easy
  • Sound good even at high volumes

Cons

  • Take up a lot of space
  • Rather ugly design

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With the JBL LSR305’s you’ll get a very clear sound across the whole spectrum, apart from the very low bass notes. Don’t be mistaken, though, they do have good bass, just not in the extremely low frequencies. However, that is quite typical of studio monitor speakers as they are not intended for producing house-shaking sub-bass. For that, you would need to get a separate sub-woofer, and that would be true for pretty much any studio monitors.

Users say that the stereo mix is so good that it actually sounds like the speakers aren’t even there, or that there is a third speaker in the middle. Of course, this is only true if you position them correctly.


BEST STUDIO MONITORS UNDER $300

KRK RP5G3-NA Rokit 5

Pros

  • Accurate, crystal clear sound
  • Solid construction
  • Beautiful design
  • Brand is the industry standard
  • Best monitors for the price

Cons

  • Cables not included
  • You will need a subwoofer to hear very low bass sounds

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Again, as with other studio monitors on this list, you will need an additional subwoofer if you want to make music with house-shaking bass such as Dubstep. That’s true of all studio monitor speakers if they consist of just two medium sized speakers. Some people refer to the KRK RP5G3-NA Rokit 5 speakers as being “entry level”, yet here they are as the most expensive on my list. So it’s worth keeping in mind that this whole list is a set of budget studio monitors at various prices. These are the best monitors that you could probably still call “budget”, and they give you very clear sound for doing your mixing.


I hope you found this review of the best budget studio monitor speakers helpful, but if you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them in the comments section below and I will reply as soon as I can.

All the best,
Marcus.

2 Comments

  1. Stephen

    Hi Marcus! Another great review on studio monitor speakers – especially as you clearly contrast them from standard PC speakers and high-end Hi-Fi speakers here! Consumers visiting here will quiet possibly appreciate your budget categories on offer and I want to bookmark this page because personally I’ve been looking around for the right mix of these stuff to use from home.

    Reply
    1. Marcus (Post author)

      Thanks Stephen, I’m glad you found it helpful!

      Reply

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