When planning to develop a personal home studio, one of the most important things to consider when setting up is the kind of speakers or monitors to use. Since these speakers will ultimately dictate the sound quality or clarity when listening to your recordings, it would not be helpful to have a cheap set of ineffective monitors because it will affect the output sound of your work. If you are going to spend countless hours recording, mixing, and mastering music then you want your sound quality to be as high and accurate as possible.
However, it is understandable that not everyone will be able to afford $10,000 speakers; thankfully there are great selections of speakers for home studios that are very high quality while simultaneously being in the affordable under-$500 range. Doing proper research on what kind of speakers will best fit your needs is imperative to making the best purchase decision possible because there is no objectively “best” speaker for the lowest value. Keep in mind what your needs are: some people require a flat EQ in order to hear sounds correctly while others want to boost certain frequencies in the high or low range. Knowing what you need beforehand will greatly reduce needing to buy separate speakers down the line.
KRK Rokit 5 G3
These speakers are indisputably popular and versatile, and they are often considered by many to be the industry standard for home studio speakers. They are durable and sized reasonably enough to fit on almost any desk. Furthermore, their sound quality is extremely accurate and the high- and low-range frequencies are adjustable, although some people suggest getting isolation pads to reduce the loud bass frequencies, which may be overpowering depending on the music genre. The yellow and black design has come to be associated with unmistakable musical clarity, and at the price they are possibly the best value speakers on the market. They typically run around $300 for a pair.
M-Audio Studiophile AV 40
These versatile monitors are great for home recording, especially for their price of about $150 for a pair, but they will fall short next to other top-of-the-line speakers. They offer a clear sonic range of 85 Hz to about 20 kHz with their 4” woofers and 1” tweeters, which are adequate for smaller home studios but will ultimately fail in larger scenarios. These speakers are great for someone starting out not looking to invest too much money, but there are definitely more durable and functioning speakers out there.
PreSonus Eris E5
Coming in around $250, these speakers are a great value for the price. The knobs feel nice and the speakers are small enough to be portable but still offer a loud sound fit for almost any home studio. Unlike other speakers, these are specifically designed to offer a very true and flat sound, so you may not be able to get super low or deep bass sounds or resonating high frequencies like other monitors. Instead, the sound tries to be more accurate and simple with regard to frequency output, which makes it a very reliable monitor for recording music.
Many people swear by the Yamaha brand for home studio speakers, and the HS5s offer a very clear and powerful sound that even people besides Yamaha lovers will enjoy. With a 5” woofer cone and 1” dome tweeters, these speakers will offer a wide range of frequencies with a boost in the mid-range. They typically run about $200 for one speaker or $400 for a pair. Their upgraded variations such as the HS8, which has an 8” cone, run a little more and offer a deeper and fuller low end, but for a bit extra you can get a pair for about $600. These come with a unique design for mounting the speakers to avoid unwanted vibrations and frequencies.
These monitors certainly appear very sleek with their silver-white body and solid black speakers, and they certainly deliver a powerful punch to go along with their looks. They run at 150 watts per speaker, which is over three times the power of other speakers on this list. They offer responsive frequencies from 50 Hz to 22 kHz, enough to make both high and low frequencies resonate loudly and clearly. Although they run at about $400 per pair, they are certainly worth the money.
Alesis M1 Active 320
Coming in at roughly $100 per pair, these are great speakers for their price. All things considered, they offer a great frequency range from 80 Hz to 20 kHz, but they are loud enough to work for small home studios. They have a 3” woofer with a standard 1” silk dome tweeter, meaning that it may lack a bit in the lower frequency range. However, they contain many of the needed features of more expensive models, including UBS, headphone, and RCA inputs, without providing some of the flashier elements that make others more expensive. These are great starter monitors that will prove their worth over time.
Many people feel confident about the JBL product line, as evidenced by their popularity in making PA systems, and these would be a good 4 or 5-year investment. They run roughly $250 for a pair, but they run at about 80 watts and come with a 5” woofer and 1” tweeter for frequencies between 43 Hz and 24 kHz. This means they’ll offer a decent bite, loud volume, and clear sound at a fairly low cost compared to other monitors.