11 Best Studio Monitors For Perfect Audio Editing

You’ve spent hours tinkering with sound in your studio, only to have it sound completely different when you play it on another set of speakers.

How do you know what the real sound is?

That’s where studio monitor speakers come in. They’re designed for you to be able to hear the true sound you’re making.

This can help you decide what exactly has to be altered so that you can achieve the best sound quality possible.

You can also be sure your sound will translate to any other speakers so everyone can hear your tracks how you want them to be heard.

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What Is a Studio Monitor? Why Might You Need One?

A studio monitor is a kind of speaker which has been specifically designed to monitor the sounds made while recording. The name comes from their use: monitoring sounds in your studio (home or professional).

Most commercial speakers that are available commonly have features to boost the sound of the audio in order to improve the listening experience.

However, this detracts from the true quality of the sound. Professional musicians prefer to utilize studio monitor speakers as they can replicate the actual sound of the recording without altering it anyway.

The fundamental thought process behind studio monitors is that if the person mixing or recording the sound is able to make something that sounds great on a studio monitor, this will sound just as good on an everyday speaker.

7 Factors When Choosing the Best Studio Monitor

There’s more detail after our top picks, but here’s a quick rundown of the seven things you should focus on when evaluating the best studio monitors.

Factor What To Look For
Passive vs Active Active studio monitors come with a built-in amp while passive studio monitors don't.
Speaker Size & Weight Choose a 5-inch woofer if you have a smaller space and choose an 8-inch one if your studio area is larger.
Wattage The higher the watt rating, the more volume you’ll get and the less distortion you’ll have when recording.
Frequency Response The flatter the frequency response of your studio monitor, the more clarity you’ll have.
Listening Distance Near-field monitors are meant to be placed close to the listener’s ears and are meant for smaller rooms. Mid-field and professional monitors are meant to be placed further away in bigger rooms.
Connection Type For active monitors, jacks, USB ports, and more can be plugged directly into your computer. For passive monitors, you have to connect your computer output to an amp and sync that with your monitor.
Speaker Layout You can pick between two-way, three-way, and four-way monitors depending on how much you want to delineate your mid-range frequencies.

1. Focal Shape 65 Studio Monitor

focal shape 65 studio monitor

Benefits

  • The Focal Shape 65 has passive radiators, which give you increased flexibility.
  • It comes with EQ controls in the rear.
  • The Focal Shape 65 can be easily adjusted to suit your room.

Extra Features

  • Has a main speaker cabinet, which is painted black, and comes with a classy looking walnut veneer. This gives it a high-class appearance and can look just as great in your home as in a formal studio.
  • Non-ported and comes with two 6.5-inch passive radiators, one on each side.

Drawbacks

  • The Focal Shape 65 has an automatic bypass function which can be annoying while editing.

Buying Guide

The Focal Shape 65 is the top pick for best price-considered near-field monitors and is a phenomenal example of a 6.5-inch two-way monitor.

2. Yamaha HS5 Studio Monitor

Benefits

  • The Yamaha HS5 is an engineering marvel and a mixer’s dream.
  • Has an iconic and easily recognizable design.
  • Provides great value for your money.

Extra Features

  • The Yamaha HS5 was designed and created for the sole purpose of mixing and monitoring sound. It provides pure accuracy, and while it can be challenging to use, the sound quality you mix is as true as you can get.

Drawbacks

  • The controls are hard to access as they’re located in the back of the monitor.
  • The Yamaha HS5 has no Bluetooth or graphic equalizer.
  • Room correction isn’t that great.

Buying Guide

The Yamaha HS5 is a great two-way speaker which can showcase the true sound of your recording. If you can make your sound shine on these, they’ll sound amazing on any other speaker.

3. JBL 305P Professional Studio Monitor

Benefits

  • The JBL 305P Professional Studio Monitor comes equipped with Class D amplifiers that really show off your recordings in high quality.
  • Increased detail can be heard on higher frequency bands.

Extra Features

  • The JBL 305P Professional Studio Monitor comes with a new, elegant technology called Image Control Waveguide that enables you to hear every nuance in your sound.
  • It also has high-performing transducers that create sound that shines in every element.

Drawbacks

  • The JBL 305P Professional Studio Monitor can be a little expensive compared to other competitors for the title of "Best Studio Monitor."

Buying Guide

The JBL 305P Professional Studio Monitor is amazing for all your professional studio needs thanks to its ability to produce a sound that has great clarity and detail.

4. KRK Rokit RP7 G4 Studio Monitor

Benefits

  • The graphic equalizer on the KRK Rokit RP7 G4 is superb, especially considering its price.
  • Bass can be heard excellently.

Extra Features

  • The KRK Rokit RP7 G4 comes with a graphic EQ function and has a built-in digital signal processing mechanism. This includes a room analyzer that can help the speaker output compensate for dead zones or sonic blind spots.

Drawbacks

  • Primarily suited for electronic music production. There are monitors that are better suited for other types of sounds.

Buying Guide

The KRK Rokit RP7 G4 is a highly affordable near-field monitor that works great for electronic music and bass-heavy sounds. It’s one of the best monitors for small studios.

5. Fluid Audio FX80 Studio Monitor

fluid audio fx80 studio monitor

Benefits

  • The Fluid Audio FX80 produces sharp images of your sound.
  • Has several input options.
  • Very powerful.

Extra Features

  • The Fluid Audio FX80 comes with a dual concentric design. This helps produce a detailed and accurate picture of the sound you’re recording.

Drawbacks

  • The Fluid Audio FX80 doesn’t have EQ control.

Buying Guide

The Fluid Audio FX80 is one of the best two-way studio monitors with a coaxial design and is a great value for your money.

6. HEDD Audio Type 05 Studio Monitor

Benefits

  • The HEDD Audio Type 05 is a phenomenal all-rounder performer.
  • The stereo image produced by this studio monitor is really sharp.
  • Its enormous bottom end helps produce accurate and sterile sound.

Extra Features

  • The HEDD Audio Type 05 comes with an elegant, futuristic appearance.
  • Its three-way design comes with a 5.5-inch woofer and a 6-inch mid-range driver that helps produce a full-bodied, clean sound.

Drawbacks

  • The HEDD Audio Type 05 can be a bit pricier than other studio monitors with similar specifications.

Buying Guide

The HEDD Audio Type 05 is the best high-end studio monitor that you can buy that performs well in every single area, though with a price tag to match.

7. Mackie XR624 Studio Monitor

Benefits

  • The Mackie XR624 has a really sturdy, high-quality build.
  • The onboard equalizer is very functional.
  • It comes with foam isolation pads that really help improve sound clarity.

Extra Features

  • The Mackie XR624 has a rear-ported build which comes with class D amplification. This is great for guitar-heavy recordings but struggles with bass-heavy recordings.

Drawbacks

  • The Mackie XR624 is criticized for having a bass extension that performs below par.

Buying Guide

The Mackie XR624 is one of the best mid-range, two-way monitors and is a great bang-for-your-buck option. It’s especially great for guitar-heavy recordings.

8. Genelec 8010A Studio Monitor

genelec 8010a studio monitor

Benefits

  • The Genelec 8010A has a very accurate frequency response system.
  • Despite being compact, it produces a large sound.
  • Its strong aluminum enclosure protects it while traveling.

Extra Features

  • The Genelec 8010A is one of the lighter mid-range studio monitors, weighing a mere 3 pounds each.
  • They come with a die-cast aluminum enclosure, fitted with metal driver grilles which help the speakers from being damaged in transit.
  • They’re very portable, and their power and input ports are seamlessly integrated in the back of the monitor.
  • Comes with tiltable Iso Pod rubber stands attached to it, which can help take care of the axis angle and help transmission reduction.

Drawbacks

  • A bit more expensive but is well worth the price thanks to its sturdiness and portability for those who need the best portable studio monitor.

Buying Guide

The Genelec 8010A is hands-down the most compact and strongest mid-range two-way studio monitor and is ideal for those who travel often and want to take their studio monitors with them.

9. IK Multimedia iLoud Micro Monitor

Benefits

  • The IK Multimedia iLoud Micro Monitor comes with Bluetooth technology, making listening to your sound super easy.
  • Compact size is very portable.
  • Has an onboard 56-bit digital signal processor (DSP) which helps you listen to even the most minor of details on your recordings.

Extra Features

  • Has a rounded build and good weight, but light and small enough to be easily moved around.
  • The left-side speaker houses the controls and connection ports.

Drawbacks

  • Lacks a battery-powered option which can make it harder to operate in a new location.

Buying Guide

The IK Multimedia iLoud Micro Monitor is one of the best portable two-way studio monitors.

10. Adam Audio T5V Studio Monitor

adam audio t5 studio monitor

Benefits

  • The Adam Audio T5V has a choice of inputs depending on whether your connection is balanced or unbalanced.
  • The footprint of this 5-inch monitor is very compact though it has a deep cabinet.

Extra Features

  • The Adam Audio T5V comes with a 5-inch woofer and Adam’s trademark U-ART (Unique Accelerated Ribbon Tweeter). The top end is excellently tuned while the waveguide helps deliver a lovely horizontal experience. All this helps create higher quality imaging and sound separation.

Drawbacks

  • The Adam Audio T5V’s low and mid-range frequency bands could show a bit more prominence.
  • The rear-mounted power LED is harder to utilize and is thus a bit useless.

Buying Guide

The Adam Audio T5V is one of the most affordable near-field monitors which is especially suited for smaller rooms thanks to its compact build and small footprint.

How To Choose the Best Studio Monitor

Everyone has different requirements when they’re shopping for the best studio monitor for their needs. These seven factors will help you make the right decision.

1. Passive vs Active Studio Monitors

This is the most important consideration when you’re buying studio monitors. There are two kinds of studio monitor speakers available:

  • Passive studio monitors
  • Active studio monitors

Passive studio monitors come without a built-in amplifier. You’ll need to buy and connect external amps to use them. Active studio monitors come with an amplifier that’s built-in so you can use them as they are.

2. Speaker Size & Weight

Studio monitor speakers come in a variety of weights and dimensions.

The general rule about studio monitors: The larger the woofer, the better its bass response.

If you have limited space, you can opt for a 5-inch woofer. However, if your priority is improved bass response, you should go for an 8-inch woofer.

3. Wattage

Wattage, or the power rating of a studio monitor, is an important factor to consider. The higher the watt rating, the more volume you’ll be able to get out of your studio monitor. Higher wattage can also minimize your sound’s distortions and flaws when recording.

4. Frequency Response

When it comes to studio monitors, you need a flat frequency response to be able to hear sound accurately. The flatter the frequency response is, the more clarity you’ll have in your sound.

5. Listening Distance

You can also classify studio monitors based on listening distance and woofer diameter.

Near-field monitors range between 3-8 inches. They’re designed to be placed close to the listener’s ears and are suitable for small and medium rooms. Midfield monitors are designed to be placed further away in bigger rooms while main/full-size monitors are meant for professional large studios.

6. Connection Type

Active monitors come with jacks, phono, digital, XLRs, or USB connections that can be plugged into your computer. With passive monitors, you have to connect your computer output to an amp and then sync that with your monitors.

7. Speaker Layout

Traditionally, two-way monitors use a single woofer that produces lower frequency sounds combined with a tweeter that produces mid-range and higher frequencies. These are kept separate by crossover filters that divide the sound into low and high bands

In more high-end monitors, you can see three or four-way designs that help keep mid-range sounds even more clear and free of crossovers.

Final Thoughts on the Best Studio Monitors

Studio monitors are a great tool for ensuring everyone hears your music as you intend.

If you’re looking for a superb two-way studio monitor, go with the JBL 305P Professional.

If you’re looking a great three-way professional monitor, go with the HEDD Audio Type 05.

If you’re looking for a compact, portable studio monitor, go with the Genelec 8010A.

Good luck with finding the best studio monitor the fits all of your requirements. If you want a great studio monitor stand to pair with it, check out our top picks and buying tips for those.

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