10 Best Studio Monitors & Speakers of 2021

Dave Mostert
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If you are in the market for getting a pair of speakers or monitors, you may find it hard to find the information you are after without browsing a thousand different sites.

Please, read on to find out what are the top 10 best studio monitors and speakers reviewed on Watch Out.

You should also check out our best studio headsets to buy.

NameCategoryProduct
YAMAHA HS8 Studio MonitorBest OverallYAMAHA HS8 Studio Monitor
K & M Microphone StandBudget PickK & M Microphone Stand
Focal Solo6 Be 6.5 Inches Powered Studio MonitorUpgrade PickFocal Solo6 Be 6.5 Inches Powered Studio Monitor

1. YAMAHA HS8 Studio Monitor

Our rating: 9 / 10

YAMAHA HS8 Studio Monitor

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Pros:

  • High quality studio monitors
  • Compact size
  • Crisp, clear sound

Cons:

  • Lacks features, like Bluetooth and NFC
  • Distortion around loud volumes
  • Lacks in bass

When shopping for the best studio monitors, you want sound that's neither too bright nor too dark. Yamaha's HS8 studio monitors provide sound that feels full from top to bottom.

The 8-inch cone woofers aren't just made of thin paper; they're crafted from durable Kevlar fiber. So you know that Yamaha invested in the material quality. The Kevlar cones provide accurate bass output and clarity that's typically lacking in woofers that size. The tweeter uses a waveguide to contain and funnel the higher frequencies. Some people call that technology a tweeter dome, but Yamaha refers to it as a waveguide.

Regardless of what you call it, the waveguide allows the HS8 monitor to reproduce crisp, clear high frequencies. The waveguide causes some ripples around the tweeter but isn't too distracting. You can disable it for a more uniform sound if you want.

2. Adam Audio A7X Powered Studio Monitor

Our rating: 9 / 10

Adam Audio A7X Powered Studio Monitor

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Pros:

  • Excellent clarity
  • Reduced distortion
  • No coloration of the sound
  • High build quality
  • Solid lows
  • Tight bass
  • Beautiful cone design
  • Good for any style of music
  • Option to control volume from control unit (optional)
  • Clear speech

Cons:

  • Some users feel slight coloration on the high notes
  • Powerful amplifier might be too expensive for some
  • High frequency drivers tend to blow out at high volumes

The Adam Audio A7X Powered Studio Monitor is an excellent choice for the musician, engineer, producer, or anyone else that needs exceptional sound quality in their studio monitors.

3. Neumann KH 120 A

Our rating: 9 / 10

Neumann KH 120 A

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Pros:

  • Hi-Res capable
  • Solidly built and sturdy
  • Premium sound quality
  • Studio-quality specs at a household price

Cons:

  • May be too expensive for casual listeners
  • No port connectivity in the back

The Neumann KH 120 A Active Studio Monitor is a great choice for audio buffs who are after excellent sound quality and pristine clarity. It utilizes a 6.5-inch mid/bass driver and a 1-inch Neodymium soft-dome tweeter for powerful yet crystal clear highs and mid.

Aside from the quality of the sound itself, the build is quite solid, coming with a mix of plastic and metal to make it both sturdy and lightweight. The drivers are also secured in a rigid casing, so you’re guaranteed the monitor will travel safely when you transport it after purchase.

It also comes with an adapter that allows you to connect it to your smartphone, iPod, or laptop. The three-way selector knob makes it easy to adjust the monitor accordingly.

4. Mackie HR824mkii 8-inch2-Way Studio Monitor

Our rating: 8 / 10

Mackie HR824mkii 8-inch2-Way Studio Monitor

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Pros:

  • High-quality studio reference monitors
  • Compatible with mobile devices
  • Flawless and balanced sound
  • Can be placed near the wall with great results
  • Can be placed within 4 inches of other speakers without major issues
  • Dual Redesigned 5-inch woofers

Cons:

  • Very large
  • Weight capacity is a bit low
  • On-board controls get easier to use

If you’re a serious listener, a major part of your experience will be to see how well a pair of speakers can reproduce your favorite instrument. The higher midrange frequencies are where nearly any speaker struggles to reproduce. However, these speakers understand that, and what they do is they compensate by giving an upper bass and higher midrange frequency response. They’re perfect for people who are working in proper recording studios or rooms.

The reason why these are entry-level speakers is because of their wide frequency range. You may see some higher end speakers in the market, but they don’t really cater to users who do not want to go with something pricey.

5. Focal Solo6 Be 6.5 Inches Powered Studio Monitor

Our rating: 7 / 10

Focal Solo6 Be 6.5 Inches Powered Studio Monitor

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Pros:

  • Lightweight and portable
  • Great for rock, hip-hop, and electronic music
  • Solid construction
  • Has a headphone output
  • Also includes a remote control with volume and EQ knobs/buttons
  • Comes with nice speaker stands

The Focal Solo6 is our top pick in this category. Its clean design will blend in with most desktops, and you can use it to create some sick mixes when you listen to your favorite songs. The highly acclaimed Solo6 provides a flat and clear sound with a surprising amount of detail, and it’ll especially pop if you listen to classical, vocal, folk, and jazz music.

It’s the perfect option if you’re looking for studio monitors to use for passive monitoring, as it’s not too boomy and has crisp drums and a beautiful midrange. We also love the fact that these bookshelf speakers come with a remote, which makes it a lot easier for you to adjust the volume, bass, and treble while mixing.

6. K & M Microphone Stand

Our rating: 7 / 10

K & M Microphone Stand

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Pros:

  • Very low level microphone boom design
  • Easy assembly
  • Small and portable
  • Easy to use for beginners to pro's
  • Great Customer Service

Cons:

  • You must purchase the separate microphone mount
  • Weak materials for construction
  • Sponge rubber grip is slippery when used on solid surface

This microphone boom stand is a great choice for those looking for a microphone stand that is very lightweight and compact, on a budget. Although the materials used are not the highest quality, this microphone boom stand gets the job done. It is stable and adjustable, coming with a height of 35-62 inches.

This stand weighs about half a pound with a ratio of one pound to two-thirds. The length of the tube is 12 inches, and it has a diameter of 1 and a quarter inches. The metal is sturdy stainless steel, and there are no signs of any rust or wear and tear.

While this trunk is attached to the base of the stand, it still manages to be compact to save on space in your home or studio. It does not interfere with your ability to tilt the boom, swivel or extend the microphone or head assembly.

7. KRK RP5G3W-NA Rokit 5 Generation 3 Powered Studio Monitor

Our rating: 7 / 10

KRK RP5G3W-NA Rokit 5 Generation 3 Powered Studio Monitor

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Pros:

  • High-quality audio equipment
  • Studio-grade durability
  • Crisp, clear sound
  • Versatile usage

Cons:

  • Some users have reported hearing some static on low-frequency tracks
  • Some users have reported oversaturation of certain frequencies

One of the best studio monitors to consider in 2016 is the KRK Rokit 5 Generation 3. This is a set of two monitors with a white finish. There are also black and red options available if you prefer.

No matter what you’re looking for to help you get the job done, you can count on this unit to deliver the kind of sound quality you need. It’s highly customizable and has a powerful interface that allows you to make changes to most of the settings. It also provides professional-grade sound that will help you get the most out of your music productions.

This speaker. This speaker is designed for use with home or professional music studios, and is compatible with several different pieces of audio equipment, including computers, mixers, multi-track recorders, and even amplifiers.

8. KRK Studio Moniror

Our rating: 6 / 10

KRK Studio Moniror

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Pros:

  • Solid build quality
  • Multiple input options
  • Solid technical specs and attributes

Cons:

  • Relatively high price point
  • Not suitable for use in smaller studios or home users

For those looking for studio monitors that deliver superior sound performance, the KRK studio monitor series are a great option. The monitor comes in various sizes, and while it’s one of the pricier options here, the price that you’ll pay will be worth it. It’s well-designed and solidly built, with multiple inputs and outputs, while having a clean yet striking appearance.

The monitor has a flexible, well-rounded design, offering four different options for checkout: 2" at a 55-degree angle, or 2" at a 45-degree angle or the Rokit 6" option with a 30-degree upward angle.

The monitor has a high-frequency performance curve of 38 Hz to 20 kHz, with a flat frequency response of 38 Hz to 22 kHz. You can also count on the monitor to last a while, as it’s built to withstand extensive use, being designed to last you years to come.

9. Genelec M040 Active 2-Way Monitor

Our rating: 6 / 10

Genelec M040 Active 2-Way Monitor

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Pros:

  • High-quality, accurate sound
  • Solid construction
  • Perfect for the studio
  • 5-inch glass fiber woofer
  • Versatile angled top-plate
  • Sturdy and attractive design

These monitors from Genelec are some of the best studio monitors in the industry. They are flat, neutral sounding, and don’t tend to hype the mid-range – plus, they look great. Another positive we see is the sturdy construction that allows you to use and abuse these monitors without having to worry about them breaking easily. The black and white color combination looks great as well.

The M040 monitors are designed with a studio monitor sound in mind, so they don’t provide much bass. However, the two 5-inch glass fiber woofers provide more than enough for the lower frequencies. These monitors are the standard size for studios, and the pads on the side make them look very attractive.

We also want to mention the angled top plate, which helps these monitors become self-standing – just like some other studio monitors on this list. The sound is very crisp and accurate, making them perfect for mixing.

10. Dynaudio Acoustics BM6 mkIII Studio Monitor

Our rating: 6 / 10

Dynaudio Acoustics BM6 mkIII Studio Monitor

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Pros:

  • High-quality sound
  • Compact design
  • Exceptional customer and technical support
  • Pair with Dynaudio Acoustics MB42X mkII+ studio monitors for the ultimate setup

Cons:

  • Custom-made speakers can take a while to be made and delivered
  • Different options are available – consult a professional to help you choose the right model

These studio monitors are perfect for the person who wants to step up their audio game … without breaking the bank. Dynaudio Acoustics produce some of the finest speakers for home studios and pro studios, giving you the best sound possible. Quality (and price) aside, it’s important that you consider the complete system when you purchase studio monitors. High-quality sound can be compromised with equipment when speakers are connected to cheap mic stands, stands that are too short, or from not having enough room around the monitors for proper sound reflection.

Dynaudio Acoustics provides monitors in a range of different styles and sizes to make sure you find something that compliments your space. Their mission is to make sure you have the equipment that you need to create the ideal recording space.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the best studio monitor speakers?

The best studio monitor speakers for the money in our opinion is the Yamaha HS8.

These are the reasons why we chose the HS8 to be the best studio monitor speakers on the market today:

These speakers are extremely accurate. They have a frequency response from 50Hz-30kHz.

The Yamaha HS8 have excellent sound pressure level at 100dB, and a maximum peak sound pressure level at 111dB when tested.

The speakers can be positioned easily, because any two of the speakers can be mounted on a tripod. This enables the placement of the speakers based on your needs.

The speakers have a sleek, modern appearance and durable design.

A small magnet and 6.5‪woofer can deliver a really big sound, and features like the flyable pistons and the used frame structure ensure that the speakers remain stable even at high listening levels.

Are studio monitors better than speakers?

Speakers and studio monitors, like a lot of audio gear, are built for different applications. Generally, speakers are nowhere near as sensitive or as accurate as studio monitors are.

They are normally placed where they will likely get played at moderate or high volumes, which means they are built to handle the power that will be put into them and not blow.

Studio monitors, on the other hand, are built to create a very accurate sound, and while they do produce enough power to play most music at a moderate volume, these speakers mean to perform at their best when they are observing audio tracks at a low volume so the sound can be exactly as the musician intended.

This doesnʼt mean that you canʼt buy speakers to listen to music on, but you need to know what youʼre getting into if you decide to buy speakers for use in your studio setup.

How do I choose a studio monitor?

Choosing a studio monitor is a highly personal process. Studio monitors typically range in size from 6 inches to over 3 feet. But, just because a monitor is compact doesn’t mean it can’t rock out with the best of them (both figuratively and literally). Likewise, a larger monitor may lack the high end tone quality of a smaller monitor. The point is that there is no set guideline on how to choose a studio monitor.

What I can say is that you should look for a monitor that fits your space and budget. For more on this topic, see my studio monitor buying guide.

What are the best affordable studio monitors?

As with most hi-fi and multimedia equipment, you get what you pay for. The best studio monitors can cost thousands of dollars, while the best budget studio monitors can be provided by manufacturers like JBL, Edifier, and KRK.

They may not be as high-end as the Lawrance or Adamson monitors, but they will provide a well-balanced, equally-weighted sound, that will feel just as good as the expensive models. At the end of the day, it really comes down to your budget and the number of things that you want to be able to do with them.

Conclusion

So, now we enter the business end of the drummers’ world of drumming. This is where the sound level diminishes and we find the business end, the studio monitors and speakers.

The good news is that we have researched all the world wide web to find the very best products, and have come up with this short review that we hope will enlighten you with what you need to know about speakers for your home or home studio.

Before we do so, we must first introduce you to the nomenclature.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
YAMAHA HS8 Studio MonitorBest OverallYAMAHA HS8 Studio Monitor
K & M Microphone StandBudget PickK & M Microphone Stand
Focal Solo6 Be 6.5 Inches Powered Studio MonitorUpgrade PickFocal Solo6 Be 6.5 Inches Powered Studio Monitor