Studio monitor speakers and home stereo speakers are not the same products. If you are a serious musician or recording technician, then you need the best studio monitor speakers that you can get your hands on. These products will allow you to hear exactly what is being recorded. So, you will be able to mix the song exactly the way that you want it.
Want to learn more about studio monitor speakers and our recommendations for the top ten products on the market in 2021? Then read on. This article has all of the information you could ever need.
Top 10 Best Studio Monitor Speakers 2021 Reviews
1 Neumann KH 120 A-Active Studio Monitor
Neumann is a German company that specializes in recording equipment. They were founded by Georg Neumann in 1928. Neumann was an inventor who made his mark developing phonograph-cutting machines and rechargeable batteries in addition to increasing sound production. Since their founding, Neumann has been a pioneer in the world of studio sound and recording. They are primarily known for their microphones.
But that’s not all . . .
Neumann is also a manufacturer of studio monitor speakers—and now headphones. Their KH 120 A-Active Studio Monitor Speaker revolutionized the field just like many of the company’s other products. The KH 120 A is a bi-amplified, compact speaker. Neumann has manufactured it to plus or minus .5 dB (decibels) accuracy. Therefore, you always know what you’re hearing is the exact sound being created. Plus, the aluminum enclosure of the KH 120 A is durable and stable. It will not create cabinet colorations in the recording.
2 Dynaudio BM5 MKIII Studio Monitor
Dynaudio was founded in 1977 in Skanderborg, Denmark to create high-quality speakers. Their speaker systems range from home audio products to professional products, to car products. All of the speakers made by Dynaudio have great and accurate sound representation. The company aims to make you think that music was being played live in the room with you.
Keep reading . . .
Dynaudio’s BM5 MKIII Studio Monitor is considered a classic studio monitor. It has greater SPL (sound pressure level) and a larger frequency than early studio monitor speakers. SPL is especially important because it measures the sensitivity volume of the speaker. Additionally, the drivers are hand-made and have aluminum voice coils. The entire studio monitor speaker is made in Denmark, which means it has a long way to travel to reach the United States. But, it will still be of great quality, and a wonderful addition to any professional studio.
3 Adam Audio A7X Powered Studio Monitor
Adam Audio is a relative newcomer on the studio monitor speaker scene. They were founded in 1999 in Berlin. So, this is another German company. Like many German manufacturers, Adam Audio made their mark with innovation. Their X-ART (eXtended Accelerating Ribbon Technology) uses a pleated diaphragm to create the sound in their speakers. The diaphragm allows the air to move much faster than in piston diaphragms.
Plus . . .
Adam Audio has continued innovating since their founding. Today, they use rare-earth magnets and high-strength diaphragms in their products. All of these developments combine to create the best sound possible.
Adam Audio’s design innovation can be seen with their A7X Powered Studio Monitor speak. It is the winner at the Sound on Sound awards, DJ Tech Awards, and Tools4Music. It is also the company’s best selling studio monitor speaker. The frequency range is 42 Hz to 50,000 Hz, which is extremely large. Plus, the A7X has a good SPL number and can reproduce and sound, no matter how small. No wonder it is the industry leader.
4 Yamaha HS8 Studio Monitor
Yamaha is probably the best-known company on this top ten list. The Japanese company is a behemoth in the sound industry—as well as in instrument making and motor vehicles. The company was founded in 1897 to produce upright pianos. But, they quickly expanded to other industries. Today, Yamaha is a huge, world-renowned company that is known for its high-quality and affordable products.
Also . . .
If you are interested in Yamaha products, look closely at their HS8 Studio Monitor. It is almost a studio monitor speaker under $300. It also has an eight-inch cone woofer and one-inch dome tweeter. The versatility of the HS8 cannot be matched. It has a number of installation points and connectivity to accommodate all your needs.
5 Mackie HR824mkii Studio Monitor
Mackie may not be as well known generally as Yamaha, but they still create great recording interfaces, control surfaces, mixers, loud speakers, and studio monitor speakers. This is the first American company on our list. Mackie was founded in Woodinville, WA in 1988. The company makes sound systems and equipment for a number of venues. These include bars and clubs, houses of worship, DJs, restaurants, and studios.
But, read on . . .
The Mackie HR824mkii Studio Monitor is a great example of why the company has lasted over thirty years in the industry. It is designed for performance and appearance. So, this studio monitor speaker will not look out of place in your home or studio. And, it will sound amazing.
The great sound on the HR824mkii comes from the passive radiator design, which increases the bass sound. Also, the amplifiers are truly active. Active amplifiers help the high and low pitches are heard equally. Finally, the entire look of the HR824mkii is not only for aesthetic purposes, but it also helps the sound as well.
6 KRK RP5G3-59107 NA Rokit 5 Generation Studio Monitor
KRK Systems is a member of the Gibson family of brands. Gibson Guitar Corp. is known for their guitars and mandolins. In fact, they have been held up in their over one hundred year history, as an example of the highest quality instruments. To read about recreations of a Gibson mandolin, read this review.
Gibson, even with their restructuring in 2021, is known as such an important instrument manufacturer. It makes sense then that KRK, as a member of the Gibson family, would strive to uphold that legacy.
And, they do . . .
The KRK RP5G3-59107 NA Rokit 5 Generation Studio Monitor comes in a bundle of two. Both of the studio monitors are bi-amped with a class A/B amplifier. The amps make the sound from the RP5G3-59107 clear without much distortion. The single soft-dome tweeter helps make the sound as clear as can be. Additionally, there is an extended frequency response to 35,000 Hz, which is very good. These features are way the RP5G3-59107 is one of the best studio monitors speakers under $300 available.
7 M-Audio AV42 Studio Monitor Speakers
M-Audio has only been using their current name since 2002. But, they were originally founded in 1988 with the name Midiman. Midiman creates hardware and software systems for music-based digital systems. But, with their change of name, the company switched focus to the production and recording of music. And, they are even now creating digital keyboards.
Also . . .
M-Audio has made a name for themselves in the music recording and production sector because of their affordable, entry-level products. The AV42 Studio Monitor Speakers are a great example of the company’s products. This is the best studio monitor speakers under $200 currently on the market.
The AV42 is a pair of speakers with 4-inch woofers. They are compact, and so fit easily on a desk. The RCA inputs allow you to connect anything to these studios monitor speakers. And, the connectivity doesn’t stop there. The AV42 is compatible with your tablets, computers, and mobile devices. For an easy-to-use and super affordable product, you can’t beat the AV42.
8 Yamaha HS8 Studio Monitor
And, Yamaha has made another appearance on our top ten list. As mentioned above, this Japanese company has a stellar reputation in the musical instrument and recording industries. They make a number of professional audio products. These include MIDI controllers, Steinberg products, interfaces, apps, and, of course, studio monitor speakers.
Plus, guess what? . . .
All of Yamaha’s products can be used together in your studio. The HS8 is a great example of this interconnectivity. It is a single unit—you only get one studio monitor. But, the eight-inch cone woofer and one-inch dome tweeter have a huge frequency response: 38 Hz to 30,000 Hz. That is almost as low and much higher than most humans can hear.
The HS8 comes with room control and high trim response controls. It also has XLR and TRS phone jack inputs, so you can hook it up too many other devices. Additionally, the HS8 comes in three different sizes: 5-inch, 6.5-inch, and 8-inch. So, you can choose the size that best fits your situation.
9 Genelec M040 Active 2-Way Monitor
Genelec focuses on home speakers and studio monitors. They were founded in 1978 in Finland. Their goal is to produce products that utilize extensive research and development. Genelec products will be reliable, sound natural, and adapt their frequency response to the environment.
Genelec studio monitor speakers are not cheap. But, when you purchase a Genelec, you are making an investment in your sound reproduction and recording ability. All of the company’s products are high-quality.
So . . .
Try the M040 Studio Monitor Speaker. It was in production from 2013 to 2021 but can still be found online. The speaker was designed by Harri Koskinen and is hand-crafted. It has a number of unique and special features. These include the Intelligent Signal Sensing Technology, which optimizes power usage.
Plus, there is the Laminar Integrated Port Technology. The LIP technology creates amazing bass pitches through the use of two vent tubes. Finally, Genelec’s famous room response compensation means that the loudspeaker will adjust itself based on the room’s acoustics. No other product on our list is “smart” in this way. And, it saves your hearing and improves the sound quality.
10 Yamaha HS5 Powered Studio Monitor
Yet, another Yamaha studio monitor speaker. The Japanese company makes a large number of recording studio equipment. In fact, there are three different series of studio monitor speakers alone.
You can choose from the MSP STUDIO Series, the MSP3 series, or the HS series. All three studio monitor speaker series will contain great products. However, the HS series is known for its accuracy and wonderful sound.
One more time . . .
As you might expect, our final Yamaha studio monitor speaker is part of the HS series. The HS5 is another one of the best studio monitor speakers under $200 available. It is very similar in construction to its larger siblings. For example, the HS5, like the HS8, comes in three sizes: 5-inch, 6.5-inch, and 8-inch.
Also, it has a bi-amplifier and the standard one-inch dome tweeter. The frequency response range is a decent 54 Hz to 30,000 Hz. This range is not nearly as extended as some of the larger studio monitor speakers listed here, but it is quite decent for the money and size of this unit.
Best Studio Monitor Speakers Buying Guide
Now that you have a list of ten of the best studio monitor speakers around, you need to choose between them. You will need to make decisions about the following three features in particular. Your decisions in these categories will help you narrow down your studio monitor speakers’ choices.
Frequency response is a very important part of getting a good studio monitor speaker. This number describes the range that it can handle. You will likely see two numbers in this specification: the highest frequency and the lowest frequency.
The biggest concern for most people is to get a product with a frequency range that’s as close to human hearing as possible. So, bear in mind that most humans can hear between 20 and 20,000 Hz (Hertz). Hertz is the measurement of vibrations (of the sound waves) per second. Therefore, the lower number is the lower pitch and the higher number is the higher pitch.
So, if you want a studio monitor speaker that can play all of the pitches a human can hear, you need to find one with a frequency range of at least 20-20,000 Hz. Some of the products on our top ten list have an even larger range than that.
Studio monitor speakers that have a smaller frequency range than human hearing are not bad. They could still work perfectly for your purposes. However, they may not be able to play all of the pitches of a piece of music. Bass pitches are usually the most affected by limited ranges.
The studio monitor speakers’ size is typically intimately tied up with its frequency response range. Smaller products typically have smaller ranges, and larger products have larger ranges. But, this is not always the case.
Studio monitor speakers are usually named with their woofer size. So, a five-inch studio monitor speaker has a five-inch woofer. And, so on.
Most of the products on this top ten list fall between five-inches and eight-inches. The eight-inch models are the ones with the biggest frequency range. However, their size and weight will be much more than the compact five-inch products.
If you have a small studio space, you should consider a smaller studio monitor speaker. But, if your space is large—or you have wall space to mount it—an eight-inch product will work perfectly. Just keep in mind that the larger products also tend to be the most expensive.
When you hear the term active or passive in relation to studio monitor speakers, the person is talking about the speaker and amplifier. Originally, all speakers were passive. That means that they needed an external amplifier to work. However, most modern speakers are active. This means that they have an internal amplifier. Essentially, you do not need multiple pieces of equipment to get your speakers to work, they are an all-in-one deal.
Active systems are much more common today. So, you will likely never have to make a decision between a passive or active studio monitor system. But, you should be aware of the differences between them so that you can ensure you get the version you want. All of the products on our list today are active systems.
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