Setting up a home studio is easier than it has ever been, which is a great thing for amateur musicians.
Thanks to advances in technology, simple pieces of equipment like audio interfaces, headphones and cables are more affordable than ever. This allows countless musicians to create their own songs and albums, all from the comfort of their bedroom.
Making your own song in a digital audio workstation (DAW) takes a lot of hard work and patience. After finishing the recording process, you need to edit it all together and make sure it sounds good.
When adjusting the overall sound of your mix, you can’t rely on headphones alone. You must play your song through a proper set of speakers to know how it sounds when played out loud. This helps you spot issues you can’t discern with headphones. s
This is where a good studio monitor comes into its own. Studio monitors are professional speakers used in a variety of set-ups, from music studios to home cinemas. They offer good audio quality for checking the quality of your mix when playing out loud.
In this guide, you’ll see some of the best budget studio monitors you can buy for less than $200
Best Studio Monitors Under $200 (Quick Summary)
- POWERFUL DESKTOP COMPUTER SPEAKER SOUND – Based on the award-winning A2, the A1 offers powerful, crystal clear, wired or wireless true stereo sound. Featuring aramid fiber woofers and silk dome tweeters, these desktop speakers deliver high-resolution sound with incredible imaging and rich detail that brings your music to life.
- PREMIUM WIRED OR WIRELESS BLUETOOTH SPEAKERS – Whether you want to stream music wirelessly via aptX Bluetooth or connect directly to your turntable, PC or TV, the A1 Wireless Speaker System has you covered. With a wireless range of up to 100ft, you can enjoy your music from anywhere in the room.
- COMPACT DESIGN – Don’t let limited space cramp your style. At 6″H x 4″W x 5.25″D each, the A1 Laptop/Desktop Speaker System fits seamlessly into any room while still delivering expansive, crystal clear sound. Its elegant design in a versatile grey finish offers a modern complement to any small space.
- HIGH QUALITY COMPONENTS – With a pair of home audio speakers, 6.5ft speaker wire, 6ft AC power cord, 5ft mini-jack audio cable, and setup guide included, you’ll have everything you need to start enjoying your music right out of the box. Easily connect your phone, tablet, or computer in seconds.
- 3 YEAR WARRANTY: Stellar US based customer support and 3 year product warranty is included. Based in Texas, Audioengine has been changing the way people listen to music since 2005. We believe in the power of music and our passion is to inspire you to listen every day.
Many speakers will come with large subwoofers to provide the large amount of bass found in certain genres of music. However, this isn’t necessarily what you want from a pair of studio monitors. Too much bass will distort your track and make it harder to mix.
That’s why these outstanding Audioengine A1 speakers are a superb choice if you want a high-quality sound.
You can connect these monitors to your laptop, phone or PC via an aux cable. So they are simple to set up. You also have the option of connecting to them over Bluetooth, although this may cause a slight dip in quality.
There are outputs on the back for connecting these units to a subwoofer. With this, you can turn up the bass as much as you want.
As they come, both monitors have a 2.75in woofer made from aramid fibers and a silk dome tweeter. This offers an outstanding balance between low, mid, and high frequencies for a clear audio signal.
Thanks to their balance, the A1 makes great studio monitors. This quality will allow you to hear your tracks as they actually sound without boosting the bass or treble.
- Balanced sound that is suitable for audio mixing.
- Option to connect to your PC or phone via Aux or Bluetooth.
- You can link it to a subwoofer for more bass if you require it.
- No dedicated RCA or XLR inputs.
- The compact DM-40 desktop monitors bring excellent audio quality to your home setup. They inherit the best from our professional S-DJX series and Pro Audio speakers, including a front-loaded bass reflex system for a rich, tight bass and DECO* technology for a wider reach and sweet spot. All these features are combined in a compact design making the DM-40 the perfect match for DJing, producing and simply enjoying music at home. The DM-40 speakers are sold as a pair. *Diffusion Effectual Convexity by Olson Specs: Type: 2-way bass reflex, active monitor speakers Tweeter: ¾-inch Soft Dome Woofer: 4-inch Fiberglass What’s in the box: DM-40 x 2, Power cord, 2 m speaker cable (for left/right channel connection), Audio converter cable (3.5 mm stereo mini plug to RCA), Bottom cushion x 8, Operating instructions Dimensions: Left ch: 146 x 227 x 223 mm (5.7 x 8.9 x 8.7 in.) Right ch: 146 x 227 x 210 mm (5.7 x 8.9 x 8.3 in.) Weight: Left ch: 2.7 kg (6 lbs.) Right ch: 2.2 kg (4.8 lbs.) Amplifier Output: Class A/B amp: 2 x 21 W / 4 Ω Frequency Range: 70 – 30000 Hz Impedance: 10 kΩ Inputs: 1 LINE (RCA), 1 LINE (Mini-jack) Outputs: 1 HEADPHONE MONITOR (Mini-jack)
Pioneer build these monitors for music production. We know the brand Pioneer brand for exceptional equipment. They will make a great addition to any home studio.
These monitors have RCA and aux inputs. This gives you a few options for linking them to your set-up. With a front loaded bass reflex system, you will get a great low end from the DM-40s.
These speakers aren’t necessarily all about the bass. With a 4-inch fiberglass woofer and ¾ soft dome tweeters, the DM-40s have balance for easy mixing. You can also easily control the volume with a knob upfront.
There are class AB amplifiers in both units to ensure that the audio quality stays high with minimal distortion.
You also get a pair of bottom cushions in the box, which are great for soaking up vibrations. If you are looking for a powerful set of bookend speakers, then the DM-40s are worth considering.
- Easy to set up with RCA and aux inputs.
- Front loaded bass reflex system provides punchy bass even when speakers are placed against a wall.
- Class AB amplifiers help to reduce distortion.
- The front facing ports may slightly exaggerate bass frequencies.
- Desktop Computer Speakers With Studio Monitor Sound – 120-Watt powered speakers deliver studio speaker sound, perfect for gaming, podcasting, streaming, DJ performances and more
- Premium Components – Studio Speakers with an Acoustically-inert MDF cabinet and bass reflex design for deep, rich sound; 4.5” Kevlar low frequency drivers and 1” natural silk dome tweeters
- An Immersive Listening Experience – Computer-optimized tweeter waveguide for precise imaging; High & Low EQ for dialling in the perfect sound; Rear ports for extended bass response
- Everything You Need – Complete package with microphone, USB adapter & cable, mic cable and desk stand – Perfect for podcasts, voice-overs, streaming or recording musical performances
- Focussed, Detailed Recording – Premium electret condenser microphone with a wide-ranging frequency response and high-sensitivity
If you want to set up your first home studio, the M-Audio BX4s have many bundled accessories to help you.
As well as the monitors themselves, you get a condenser microphone with a stand. You also get a basic audio interface for connecting it to your laptop. These extras are the cherry on top of a brilliant set of speakers that are perfect for amateur musicians.
So far, you’ve seen a lot of balanced speakers so you can accurately hear what your tracks sound like. These monitors take things a step further with controls on the back of the active unit. These controls let you tweak the high and low frequency output.
The basic EQ controls allow you to adjust your output to remove any exaggerated frequencies or distortion from the speakers.
There are RCA inputs for both 1/4in and 1/8in jacks. This means you shouldn’t have any problem connecting these monitors to your existing set-up.
You get all the cables you need in the box so you can start using these speakers when they arrive. This is the perfect product for anyone looking for both a magnificent set of studio monitors and a condenser microphone.
- Basic EQ controls for adjusting the bass and treble.
- Volume knob on the active speaker as well as a headphone port.
- Comes with lots of extras including a condenser microphone, audio interface and production suite.
- No XLR input.
- Separate high-and low-frequency drivers with crossover;40 per channel output power – 80W total
- 5-inch low-frequency driver in ported enclosure delivers rich, tight bass; 1-inch silk dome tweeter provides smooth, clear highs
- High-density wood cabinets suppress unwanted resonances; Carefully formed baffle radiuses reduce edge diffraction
- Elliptical tweeter waveguide optimizes dispersion and stereo imaging
- Feel the bass – Dedicated Bass Boost switch to enhance low end frequencies
The Alesis Elevate 5 monitors are best for gaming set-ups. However, they still provide high enough quality audio for music production. They each have a 5in woofer coupled with 1in silk dome tweeters for a very balanced signal.
The bass boost switch on the back of the active speaker makes these perfect for listening to music and mixing. However, you should not bass boost your clean audio.
With inputs for both RCA and TRS jacks, these monitors are easy to set up. The cables include almost everything you need for an easy setup.
There is also a headphone port on the front of the active speaker. This allows you to listen to their output without disturbing your neighbors. So you get a prominent feature for accessing the speakers pre-amp without having to play them out loud.
Alesis made the Elevate 5 MKIIs with wooden cabinets that are built to be durable and improve their bass response. They may color your tracks a little bit while mixing, but not in a way that will be severely detrimental.
These are a great set of all-purpose monitors that will work well in a home studio. You’ll also find a variety of other applications around your home.
- Bass boost switch on the back for when you want more low-end.
- Headphone port and volume knob on the front of the active speaker.
- Made with durable wooden cabinets.
- High bass may slightly color the sound of your mix.
- BLUETOOTH WIRELESS – Popular classic bookshelf speakers now can be enjoyed without the hassle of wires. Simply connection to an iPhone, Android, Tablet, PC or Mac.
- STUDIO SOUND QUALITY – Naturally fine tuned sound reproduction from 4 inch bass and 13mm silk dome tweeter.
- OPTICAL AND COAXIAL INPUTS – Digital inputs to enable lossless connection to most TV and computers.
- REMOTE CONTROL – Adjust the volume and toggle inputs at your fingertips. Bass and treble control located on the side of main speaker.
- 2 YEAR WARRANTY – Quality components in solid MDF wood housing are built to last. 24 month parts and labor warranty in USA and Canada.
Don’t be fooled by the low price, these Edifier R1280DB’s are a pair of formidable monitors with superb audio quality.
Like the M-Audio BX4’s we looked at earlier, these speakers come with bass and treble controls. This provides excellent control over their output. You can adjust the speakers to remove any distortion of exaggerated frequencies and hear what your mix really sounds like.
Like the last models we looked at, these units have solid wooden casings to provide a natural and smooth sound. This makes them durable. They will look great sitting on your shelf or on a desk. With both optical and coaxial outputs, the R1280DB’s work equally well for a home studio or a home cinema.
You have the option of connecting to them via an RCA cable, an aux or, Bluetooth for a wireless setup.
Some customers shared the Bluetooth is the least stable connection method. However, you would rarely use this feature for music production, anyway.
These speakers even come with a remote control. This allows you to tweak their output from all the way across your studio.
- On-board EQ controls for adjusting bass and treble output.
- Multiple outputs plus Bluetooth compatibility.
- Durable wooden casing that looks great.
- Bluetooth connection is not the most stable.
- A new scientifically designed speaker enclosure and front-firing port offer exceptional low-end extension and accuracy, punch and flexible room-positioning.
With a 5.25in woofer, an 1in soft dome tweeter, and a front firing bass port, the KRK RP5 Rokit offers a complete package.
This makes the KRK RP5 Rokit an excellent studio monitor. It can provide punchy bass, solid mids and sparkling high-end frequencies. Thanks to the front firing ports on this monitor, it won’t cause any unwanted vibrations when placed against a wall.
One of the best features about the Rokit G4 is the active room tuning. This feature comes as an app that you can download for your phone. The app allows you to adjust the EQ on your monitor.
You have complete control over the bass, treble and mid-frequencies. This helps you remove any exaggeration or distortion when listening back to your tracks.
There are high density iso pads on the bottom of the monitor to further minimize vibrations. Unfortunately, you only get one monitor for the price. This means you may want to buy two for the best listening experience in your studio.
Despite this, if you are willing to pay a bit more, these are incredible monitors for any home studio setup.
- Iso pads and front firing port for minimal vibrations.
- Active room tuning via app, allows you to perfectly calibrate the EQ on your monitor.
- High audio quality with a great balance between all the different frequency ranges.
- Speakers sold individually.
Best Studio Monitors – Buyer’s Guide
Finding the right set of studio monitors can be a challenge, as there are so many options to choose from.
With so much choice, you may wonder what you need to look out for. Here are some helpful tips on what to look for when shopping for budget studio monitors.
What is a good wattage for studio monitors?
All speakers need power. A power rating in watts shows how much sound they will kick out.
You may think the higher the watts, the better. However, this isn’t always the case, especially if you are looking for something affordable.
Buying powerful speakers is only worthwhile if you can drive them. This means owning a good pre-amp to convert the digital signal from your laptop into an analog signal your speakers can use to create sound.
You want your speakers to have a lower power rating than your pre-amp, as otherwise they may overload the pre-amp and damage it.
To avoid breaking your equipment, always make sure that your pre-amp is suitable for driving your chosen speakers.
How to determine the sound quality of your studio monitors
As we said above, it isn’t all about finding the loudest speaker you can. You also want your speakers to provide a balanced sound without too much treble or bass.
If your signal is unbalanced, it will color any audio you play through the speaker. This is fine for watching films, playing games and listening to music, however, it isn’t so great for mixing.
Since the whole point of the studio monitors is to let you hear your tracks and songs out loud, rather than just through your headphones, you want as balanced a signal as you can get. This will make it easier to find issues or mistakes in your mix, so you can fix them.
You want to avoid products that are described as having lots of bass. Bass boosting is very common in a lot of modern audio equipment. However, for studio work, it can be more of a problem than a benefit.
Monitors that come with EQ controls for adjusting the bass and treble are a brilliant choice. With these, you can fiddle with the output to see how your mix sounds under different parameters.
Doing this is another great way to find issues with your mix.
What are some good inputs for my studio monitors?
At the very least, you want your speakers to have RCA and aux inputs. XLR inputs can also be great for preserving as much quality as possible from your audio interface to your monitor, but they are a lot more expensive.
RCA inputs will allow you to connect your monitors to most audio interfaces, televisions, and laptops. They are one of the most important inputs to have on your speaker.
Be wary of buying products that are Bluetooth compatible. This is a prominent feature for casually listening to music. However, it will often reduce the audio quality coming out of your speakers.
Naturally, this isn’t what you want for music production. You rarely ever connect to your monitors via Bluetooth in the studio.
Audio outputs for studio monitors
Most of the time, you won’t need to have extra outputs on your speakers, but they can come in handy. Headphone ports are a great example of a useful output to have. They allow you to listen to your mix without disturbing those around you.
Some speakers will also come with the outputs to connect to subwoofers, which are large bass speakers.
This means you can access more low-end frequencies when you want them. You can also rely on the standalone monitors when you need a more balanced signal.
What Controls Should You Have On Studio Monitors?
As we said earlier, EQ controls are one of the most useful features you can find on a studio monitor. These allow you to adjust the high and low frequencies to get the sound the way you want it.
Volume knobs are also very helpful as they allow you to quickly and easily adjust the gain. Some monitors come with remote controls to adjust their settings from across the room. This allows you to walk around your studio and hear how your mix sounds from different angles while controlling your speakers.
What Size Studio Monitors Should You Get?
The size of the ideal studio monitor largely depends on your room size. For smaller rooms, a 5″ or 6″ monitor should be sufficient. For larger rooms, you might need an 8″ or larger monitor. Depending on your desk and recording setup placement, you may want to opt for monitors that provide ample left and right speaker coverage. Each size will vary depending on the room and recording area setup.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is The Difference Between A 2-way And A 3-way Monitor?
2 way monitors, like most of the ones we have looked at on this list, have both a tweeter for delivering high-end frequencies and a woofer for handling the mid and low frequencies.
This provides a pretty balanced sound overall, but some people might want a bit more bass.
In this case, it is better to choose a 3 way speaker that also includes a subwoofer, which is a cone designed specifically for bass.
What Is The Difference Between Studio Monitors and Regular Speakers?
There are a few main key differences between studio monitors and any regular speakers when it comes to mixing and mastering music.
Firstly, studio monitors are much more accurate in the frequencies they emit, as they’re designed with making music as the ultimate goal. Regular speakers are meant to serve a broader purpose of listening to music, and often miss out on frequencies on the lower and higher ends. Some speakers tend to boost bass over treble more than other frequencies, as that’s more enjoyable for certain styles of music.
Studio monitors are more uniform and encompassing, allowing producers to hear in a way that’s reflective of a majority of listening scenarios.
What Do ‘Active’ and ‘Passive’ Mean for Studio Monitors?
You can think about active studio monitors like self-sufficient powerhouses – or what you’d call “powered” speakers. They’re a whole package, amplifiers included, ready to roar right out of the box. And what’s cool about these is that they’re internally wired to optimize the way they play sound.
An added benefit is that there’s no additional assembly required. You just have to plug them into your sound source and a power outlet, and voila! These speakers have their own source of amplification, which allows you to save money and time in setting your studio up. All this leads to a top-tier performance and a clean, uncluttered setup. A lifesaver, especially in tight studio spaces!
Now, let’s flip the coin to passive studio monitors. These don’t come with an in-built amplifier. You’ve got to scout for an external amplifier that’ll complement your speakers in terms of power output and impedance. While it sounds like a bit more work, it also gives you a certain degree of control over your sound because different amplifiers can add unique color to your sound. But remember, with greater control comes more complexity in the setup, and possibly more gear to juggle in your workspace.