So you’ve taken the plunge and started looking into the best beginner studio monitors – you purchased an audio interface, some headphones, got your DAW all loaded up and are on your way to perfecting that mix. Something doesn’t seem right though – once you bounce your track and listen in your car, it’s too boomy/scratchy/noisey/whatever! Not only do you need to work on your mix, but you realize your hardware might also be limiting you too.
Studio monitors are another key item in any producer’s journey. While they won’t completely fix a mix (you’ll still hear the issues – trust me), they will help you with a few important aspects as a beginner:
- Stereo width and clarity. Headphones are awesome at providing isolation and the ability to produce without much noise, but monitors are king at providing stereo width and clarity when mixing. If you have phasing issues (conflicting frequencies on your left and right bands), you’ll be more in tune with them with monitors over headphones as well.
- Variety of tools. While it is perfectly fine to mix with only headphones, you’ll find that having monitors is nice to switch between and work out nuances with a mix through multiple mediums. Having a rounded perspective will lead you closer to perfecting that mix.
Since budget is probably an issue and you’ve already spent a portion of your wad, we’re going to look into cheaper monitoring options that are very popular and of high quality.
Keep in mind that this is just an educational resource for you to expand on your research. Use it along other sources. I have provided links to Amazon for each of these products; I do earn a commission through the link as a means to keep the website up and running. Your support is very appreciated :).
Things to Look for in Studio Monitors
Before diving into Amazon and ultimately your pockets, there are a few things you need to consider when purchasing studio monitors.
Woofer and Tweeter Size
Each monitor comes with a subwoofer and a tweeter – the size will determine how loud, and how far, the frequency range will go. Larger woofers often mean lower and wider bass response, at the cost of size and convenience.
Our ears process audio from about 20hz – 20khz. Look for the frequency range on each monitor to determine whether basses will speak louder.
How much power you drive into the monitors determines loudness and clarity. Built into each monitor is an amplifier – the higher the wattage, the more power is drawn and typically the louder/clearer the monitor.
It is very important to look out for which connecting cables you need for your setup. Some monitors come with a plethora – 1/8″ aux, TRS, RCA, and others are commonplace. Other monitors only come with TRS or XLR.
Best Beginner Studio Monitors
Editors Choice: JBL 305P 5″ Monitors
For those with a larger budget, the JBL 5″ monitors provide a studio solution from one of the world’s most popular audio manufacturers.
- 5″ Two-Way Studio Monitor
- 82 Watts
- Backed by 100-hour full-power audio test
While over double in price from the other options below, these monitors stand out as clear as day. JBL is world-renowned and it’s seen here – updated HF and LF transducers result in damping for transient response and more impressive basses than other monitors. Their new Boundary EQ tech restores neutral low frequency response when placed on a work surface next to walls. A broad sweet spot means you and your friends can hear clearly what’s playing across a wide area.
PreSonus Eris E3.5-3.5″ Monitors
Thousands of reviews speak to the quality of these monitors.
- 3.5″ Woven Composite Drivers
- 1″ ultra-low-mass silk-dome tweeters
- Comes with acoustic tuning
- Convenient aux in/out and power button location
When it comes to budget friendly monitors, PreSonus is king. The Eris 3.5″ studio monitors are one of the best bang-for-buck studio monitors on the market. With 3.5″ Drivers, 1″ tweeters, convenient peripherals, and a wide variety of input choices, you will not go wrong with these monitors.
Mackie CR3-X 3″ Monitors
- 3″ Polypropylene-Coated Woofer
- .75″ Silk Dome Tweeter
- All Wood Cabinet
The Mackie CR3 3″ monitors are another popular option on Amazon. With a variety of inputs (1/4″, 1/8″, and RCA) and a 50 watt setup, Mackie definitely provides a solid budget option for studio monitors.
Yamaha HS5 5″ Monitors
These monitors are more for the intermediate producer. That being said, they still provide an awesome experience for the price.
- 5″ Cone woofer w/ 1″ dome tweeter
- XLR/TRS ONLY
Yamaha is another world renowned brand and you’ll find their HS5 monitors live up to the name. With 2 response controls, these monitors adapt to a variety of room shapes and acoustics. Noise reduction is built into the monitors themselves, adopting an advanced noise reduction technology pioneered by Yamaha. NOTE: These monitors connect by XLR and TRS only. Keep your setup in mind, should you go this route.
KRK RP5 Rokit 5 G4 5″ Monitors
- 5″ Woofer w/ 1″ Tweeter
- Proprietary speaker drivers
- Onboard LCD visual EQ
- Front-firing port
The KRK RP5 monitors are an excellent choice for the producer looking for something mid-range with a wide variety of features. DSP-driven Active Room Tuning lends a helping hand in correcting problems in any room, along with the 25 different eq settings that come onboard. KRK is a very reliable choice when selecting monitors.
Studio monitors are another piece of the producer puzzle. Once you get your hands on these, you’ll find that a larger toolbox will help guide you on your journey. We hope our article served to help you find the best beginner studio monitors.
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