Buyer's Guides

The Best Studio Monitors For Any Budget in 2024

Whether you are looking to build a modest studio setup at home, or a full studio complex that would make Rick Rubin jealous, a good pair of studio monitors is essential.

From entry-level models with impressive accuracy to state-of-the-art industry mainstays, choosing the right monitors based on your budget can feel overwhelming.

To help get you off on the right foot, Headliner brings you a complete guide to the best studio monitor money can buy in 2023. You'll soon find there's never been a better time than 2024 to start shopping.

PreSonus Eris E3.5

  • EQ tuning available
  • Very good value

Price: $149/£109

If you're someone who's looking to move beyond working with headphones or laptop speakers to finding your first pair among the best studio monitors, PreSonus could be your first port of call. Not least because of the variety of connections the Eris E3.5 offer and onboard EQ correction, but also due to them being some of the best monitors at the next pricing tier up from regular laptop speakers — they are great value and nicely affordable.

As they are among the more 'true budget' options listed here, you really cannot argue with the sound quality of the Eris 3.5. The low-end is fantastic considering the size, so there really is no excuse to be mixing and mastering on a pair of laptop speakers with monitors like these so readily available.


M-Audio BX4

  • Compact with a durable build quality
  • Low-frequency response is very good

Price: $179/£115

Very much one of the biggest names when it comes to affordable music tech, M-Audio are a very popular brand for their digital interfaces and MIDI controllers. So how do they factor into the best studio monitor conversation? The answer is with the BX4, one of the latest releases from M-Audio.

These monitors are another pair that you should certainly consider in 2023 if you need something for a small studio room. While being very compact, they still offer great bass and high-frequency response. With a painless setup, these are some of the best monitors a budding beginner producer can get their hands on.


JBL One Series 104

  • Impressive range of frequency
  • Stylish and compact design

Price: $209/££239

JBL are a hugely trusted name in the audio world, but that doesn't mean their name doesn't surface in conversations about the best studio monitors on a budget. The One Series 104 is a fantastic choice if it's home recording, podcasting and/or portability you have as priorities.

These studio monitors deliver impressive audio results, particularly at one of the lowest price points you'll find. They offer a very balanced sound across a wide frequency range. And with the option of Bluetooth 5, you can also have these monitors in your living room for a relaxed listening session once studio time is over.


IK Multimedia iLoud Micro Monitor

  • Handy Bluetooth option and portable
  • 56-bit DSP

Price: $350/£260

Another undoubtedly worthy entry to the best studio monitors in the year 2023 has to be the IK Multimedia iLoud Micro Monitor. It has a great USP, designed to be "the smallest active studio reference monitoring system in the world," and is thus one of the best monitor options for you to consider if space is a big consideration for you.

On top of being light enough to carry around and small enough to go on your average desk, you can enjoy both TRS 1/8-inch and RCA inputs, a rear-mounted volume knob, EQ switches and a Bluetooth pairing button.


Yamaha HS5

  • A great choice for those particularly interested in mixing
  • Instantly recognisable design at a great price for the results

Price: $399/£365

It's often said that if your track sounds good on Yamaha monitors, it will sound good coming from any sound source. No bad mix can hide when you hit play on these things. For this reason, Yamaha monitors are fairly iconic, and with the HS5s, you can own a pair for only a few hundred pounds.

Bear in mind these were built with mixing and mastering in mind; controls are located at the rear which may inconvenience some, Bluetooth is not offered and the room correction features are not the most advanced of the options listed below. But at a great price, these are nonetheless some of the best studio monitors you can get your hands on.



  • Already a brilliant product before, the MkII editions lift these monitors even higher
  • Excellent design

Price: $458/£399

A step up in price from the JBL 104 speakers mentioned earlier, the brilliant 306P MkII are some of the best and most professional-sounding monitors you could hope to buy at their price point. They will serve you excellently for mixing, mastering, recording, or every aspect of your music-making.

On top of coming from one the best-loved names in the world of audio, they are packed with features that include a panoramic soundstage, deft integration of the mid/bass and high-frequency drive units, all of which work in conjunction with the mid/bass woofer unit to deliver the highest-quality bass at all volume levels.


Adam Audio T5V

  • Adjustable EQ
  • Nice choice of inputs

Price: $478/£309

The T5V monitors are some of the most affordable speakers available from Adam Audio. But you can still achieve biblical-level sound while producing, mixing or mastering with these products.

The HPS waveguide offers a rich and broad sound, and the top-end is finely-tuned also. The low mid-range frequencies might not be the most immediately prominent, but this only requires a bit of tweaking. Being such brilliant monitors overall at an excellent price, the T5Vs are an absolute winner.


KRK Rokit 7 G4

  • Brilliant bass
  • Impressive graphic EQ

Price: $563/£329

KRK have a particularly high stock within the electronic music community, and the Rokit 7 G4s, from the fourth-generation Rokit series is the most affordable range from KRK. They are among the only monitors at this price range that include a graphic EQ feature on the physical speakers. Other fantastic functions are its tool suite which includes a very useful room analyser to help your monitors sound accurate in the space you use them.

These studio monitors offer some of the best-sounding bass of any of the speakers listed here, and you'll struggle to find many products better suited to small rooms.


Genelec 8010A

  • Impressive build
  • Huge sound considering small monitor size

Price: $700/£599

The 8010As are among the smallest offerings from studio stalwarts Genelec, but they nonetheless pack impressive power. Genelec generally belongs in any conversation regarding the best studio monitors, whether it's for mixing, mastering or general production, and these speakers are the most affordable offering from the Finnish company.

Used equally by music professionals and enthusiasts, these monitors tick so many boxes, including a high-quality build, and excellent durability despite being diminutive. Expect a bigger sound than many speakers three times the size.


Genelec 8020D

  • The usual stunning design expected from Genelec
  • Get the very best of the brand's sound despite relatively small-sized monitors

Price: $1100 /£779

The 8020Ds are the smallest active monitors from the legendary name Genelec, so the company's aim with these powerful speakers is to replace the horrible desk speakers that you were sent free of charge with your computer. Couple them with a good-quality subwoofer, and you've got the perfect setup to go on your desk.

There are many reasons the 8020A monitors are one of the best choices for your mixing, mastering and recording needs, especially in a small room; at only 20 watts and just above nine inches tall, their integrated Iso-Pod also allows for stand mounting, and included are four switches that control treble tilt, bass tilt and bass roll-off (for use with a subwoofer).


Mackie HR624mk2

  • Very useful and high-quality onboard EQ
  • Foam isolation pads come included

Price: $1199/£880

Another pleasingly feature-heavy set of products, Mackie's HR624mk2 speakers offer amplifier output (100Watts LF and 40 Watts HF), 6.7-inch high-precision woofers, and a 1" titanium dome, ferro-fluid cooled tweeter, among other attributes that contribute to them being among the best studio monitors available on the market.

As one would hope from Mackie, these monitors are a solid build with their pleasing waveguide and wood effect finish — very easy on the eye, in other words.


Focal Shape 65

  • EQ control
  • Easy to fit the sound with your space

Price: $1998/£1149

The Focal Shape 65s should be in your thoughts if you have more budget to play with when searching for the best studio monitors for your needs. With a fetching design that would look equally at home in a studio or home cinema, these monitors are packed with features.

They offer great EQ controls located at the rear of the speakers, and the controls make it painless when setting up the sound for the room you put them in. Plenty of flexibility is offered also from the passive radiators.


Are Studio Monitors Better Than Speakers?

Producing music with basic headphones, standard speakers, or laptop speakers is unlikely to yield pro results. It really is essential to be able to hear all the detail and nuance of what you're working on. Most producers would agree that a pair of monitors is the signifier of a 'proper' studio setup, and there are no excuses now that almost every budget can be looked after.

It is now possible to get a pair of monitors from the leading brands for under $200/£200, which will still deliver professional results. Whereas if you have closer to a grand to spend, you can expect the most pristine sound with a deft selection.

To give a real-life example, you may be familiar with the instances where you have spent hours working on a track on a pair of headphones or speakers and it all sounds great, until the track is played from a different source and suddenly, it sounds awful!

This is how the best studio monitors will save you. Unlike consumer speakers and headphones, professional studio monitors will provide a flatter frequency response. Whereas sometimes, certain headphones and laptop speakers will "colour" the sound, perhaps accentuating the bass or the crisp high-frequencies.

Creating a great mix is all about striking a balance that means your tracks will sound great on a wide variety of systems. The best studio monitors will help you achieve this by removing (as much as possible) the variant of frequency colouration.

How far apart should studio monitors be?

The two speakers should be as distant between each speaker as they are from your head (once in the listening position). For example, if the monitors are four feet apart (measured from the centre of the speaker cone), then the listening position needs to be four feet from each speaker. This is what's known as creating an equilateral triangle for your listening experience, where the length of each side of the triangle is the same.

Monitors, monitors, monitors. There are lots of them out there nowadays in 2023, but hopefully this guide to the best studio speakers has helped you zone in on the lucky few deserving of your attention. We're confident you'll make the best choice for your space and budget, and that your new monitors will have you creating greater music than ever before — godspeed!