- For tighter studios (and budgets), small monitors are an affordable alternative to traditional studio monitors.
- These monitors are just as flat and responsive as their larger counterparts.
- Find the perfect set of small monitors for production, gaming, and entertainment.
With the massive increase of home and project studios, small monitors have become increasingly popular. They’re convenient, affordable, and maintain the same “flat” frequency response that all monitors should – even if the range is not as deep.
More often than not, these monitors have to get the job done in small bedrooms, spare rooms or a corner of your mom’s living room.
Whatever the case may be, small studio monitors still need to give you a reliable picture of what you are listening to so you can make the right decisions when it comes to tracking, mixing and making music in general.
Here, we explore the 7 best small studio monitors for reduced spaces. You might also like these monitors for gaming and general home entertainment.
(To find the perfect sub for your monitors, check out 6 Unrivalled Studio Monitor Subs For Music Production)
Which Are The 7 Best Small Studio Monitors?
Our pick for the best small studio monitor is the Yamaha HS5. It comes from the popular HS series from Yamaha, which builds on the tradition of the legendary NS10 monitors.
For truly reduced spaces, our choice is the IK Multimedia iLoud Micro, with its small size and big sound.
And for those that need a portable choice that allows for reliable audio work, the Genelec 8010 is the way to go. Additionally, if you are on a budget, check out the Mackie CR5-XBT for a solid low cost solution.
Here are our candidates for Best Small Studio Monitors:
- Yamaha HS5 (Our Pick)
- PreSonus Eris E3.5
- KRK Rokit 5 G4
- JBL 305P MkII
- IK Multimedia iLoud Micro (Best for Reduced Spaces) – (If you want to check out our review of the iLoud Micro you can click here).
- Genelec 8010A (Most Portable)
- Mackie CR5-XBT (Best Value)
1. Yamaha HS5 (Our Pick)
Yamaha holds a special place in professional recording studios thanks to its legendary NS-10 monitors. These have been discontinued for years and are highly sought-after because if a mix sounds good on them, it will likely translate well everywhere.
The HS series monitors build on this legacy and offer a variety of speaker sizes, the smallest of them being the HS5.
With newly designed bi-amplified drivers and scientifically ported enclosures, the HS series delivers great accuracy and low coloration. The HS5 is our pick for the best small studio monitor.
Yamaha has continuously developed and perfected their monitors, resulting in HS series monitors that deliver amazing accuracy and vanishingly low coloration.
- Great for reduced spaces
- High-performance drivers
- Optimum response in any room
- Accurate and flat sound for ideal frequency response
- A great option for near field or far-field
- Continuation of the Yamaha NS-10 monitor legacy
- 5-inch woofer and a 1-inch tweeter
- Tailor your sound to your space with attenuators
The HS5 studio monitors feature high-performance drivers that offer great audio reproduction that is made even better by an advanced mounting system.
Through Yamaha’s scientific arrangement of screws and a custom-designed mounting ring, all unwanted vibration and resonance are eliminated. As a result, this set of speakers reach their full sonic potential without distortion.
Yamaha opted to use beefy magnets to optimize the low-end response of all the speakers in the HS Series. These magnets are extra-large to deliver a robust, uniform, and tightly controlled field that delivers very smooth response and dynamic efficiency.
These monitors feature a frequency range of 54 Hz to 30 kHz.
The tweeter frames utilize an advanced smooth contour design that reduces losses and this helps in optimizing the accuracy of mids and highs. The extra-thick tweeter frames on the Yamaha HS5 monitors also reduce any resonances that may interfere with the high-frequency clarity.
Another great feature of this five-inch driver speaker is the Room Control switch. It lets you choose between 0, -2 dB, and -4 dB of attenuation at 500 Hz, making it easier to tailor the sound to your space.
This function is especially useful for rooms that force you to place the speaker in close proximity to a wall. By attenuating at 500 Hz, you can further control the excessive midrange that can arise in these setups.
To top it off, the Yamaha HS5 also features a High Trim response control with -2 dB and + 2 dB at 2 kHz, for better control of the high frequencies. In short, this is a very strong choice for reduced spaces, offering one of the best benefit-cost ratios on the market today.
2. PreSonus Eris E3.5
The PreSonus Eris E3.5 is a great choice for musicians, producers, and engineers that need a reliable set of small studio monitors that are affordable and small but that will also get the job done.
These nearfield monitors feature robust woven composite woofers that offer good low-frequency reproduction with almost no distortion as well as silk-dome tweeters that deliver smooth and balanced highs. These are a great pick for small spaces and reduced budgets.
You don't need to spend a fortune to get accurate sound, and with PreSonus Eris E3.5 studio monitors, the proof is in the pudding.
- Smooth and refined sound
- Great in reduced spaces
- Minimal bass distortion
- 3.5″ woven composite woofers for solid low-end with minimal bass distortion
- 1″ ultra-low-mass silk-dome tweeters
- 50-watt Class AB amplification (25 Watts per speaker)
- RCA and balanced 1/4″ inputs
- Aux input for connecting your smartphone or media player
Every Eris series studio monitor uses a woven composite, low-frequency driver.
The weave and nature of the Eris E3.5’s 3.5-inch woofer result in a more constant dispersion pattern throughout the frequency range, resulting in less time-smeared audio and a cleaner overall sound.
This small studio monitor features a one-inch silk-dome tweeter that produces a smooth and refined sound, accurately reproducing transients and high frequencies.
The tweeter is built to radiate sound with a fairly wide dispersion pattern, creating a large optimal listening area or “sweet spot” so you can move around and still hear everything accurately.
Additionally, the Eris E.35 features three different types of audio inputs. Located in the rear panel, there are ¼-inch TRS and RCA inputs.
There is also a front-panel, ⅛-inch, stereo unbalanced line inputs for use with mobile audio devices.
With this selection, you can easily hook your Eris speakers up with virtually any line-level source, including your smartphone or tablet.
3. KRK Rokit 5 G4
KRK Rokits are some of the most popular nearfield studio monitors on the market today, and for good reason, as they offer a great balance between cost and quality.
Already on its fourth generation, the Rokit 5 features low distortion Kevlar drivers pushed by a Class D power amp with a brick wall limiter.
These small monitors are a great choice for anyone that has a reduced space but does not want to sacrifice quality.
The Rokit 5 features a pro-grade design, with low-distortion Kevlar drivers pushed by an efficient Class D power amp with a built-in brick wall limiter.
- Extreme rigidity
- High-quality sound
- Balanced sound
- Optimized high-frequency waveguide for a wide, deep sweet spot and great imaging
- Low-resonance enclosure
- Front-firing port for great low-end response
- DSP includes room correction, an LCD visual EQ, and more
- KRK app adjusts EQ settings, subwoofer levels, crossover settings, and polarity settings and aids with speaker placement and level matching
The KRK Rokit 5 is one of the most durable monitors on the market today. It was built with high-grade materials and features extreme rigidity as well as an impressive tensile strength to weight ratio.
These small speakers feature Kevlar drivers to ensure low distortion across the entire frequency range.
These speakers feature a Class D power amplifier that is efficient and maintains the integrity of your audio.
The built-in brick wall limiter automatically engages when you max out the amp to ensure a balanced sound, safeguard the system against damage, and maintain your audio’s dynamics.
The Rokit 5 studio monitors provide great sound quality at any volume, all while safeguarding against speaker damage and maintaining your track’s dynamics. The G4 produces a nice sweet spot for a speaker of this size.
The Rokit 5 features great DSP capabilities to help you make the most out of your acoustic environment. Its visual graphic EQ is a great tool for minimizing and correcting room problems with ease.
You get at-a-glance confirmation of your EQ settings with the Rokit 5’s built-in LCD graph, as well as real-time spectral analysis from the KRK app on your iOS or Android smart device.
The KRK app offers EQ settings, and can also be of great help with speaker placement and level matching, along with adjusting subwoofer levels, crossover settings, and polarity.
4. JBL 305P MkII
JBL has been one of the most respected names in audio for years. With the JBL 305P MkII, this company offers a great nearfield solution for anyone looking for a powered, active small studio monitor.
If you have a reduced space but don’t want to sacrifice monitoring accuracy, the JBL 305P MkII is a strong choice.
BL 305P MkII active studio monitors are a great nearfield solution for any serious audio engineer or music producer.
- Features legendary JBL performance
- Incredible stereo imaging
- Enhanced linearity
- Next-generation JBL transducers for better transient response and enhanced linearity
- Boundary EQ settings compensate for environmentally-induced low-frequency anomalies
- Patented Image Control Waveguide for detailed imaging and a wide, room-friendly sweet spot
- Integrated custom Class D amplifiers for 82 watts of power
- Frequency response of (±3dB): 49Hz–20kHz
The 305P MkII was designed with innovative elements from JBL’s 7 Series and M2 Master Reference Monitors for enhanced reproduction capabilities.
One of its most impressive features is the Image Control Waveguide design. This helps the 305P MkII offer a deep and detailed soundstage, as well as a wide sweet spot.
This speaker relies on JBL’s Slip Stream low-frequency port to avoid loss of quality and reliability in the bass region when monitoring at low levels.
This double flared port shape also helps reduce the turbulence that plagues some ported designs. In turn, this allows for the bass response to remain pure at any volume.
The 305P MkII also features flexible connectivity with balanced XLR and 1/4″ TRS inputs, +4 dBu/–10dBV input-sensitivity switch, and volume control.
It is engineered to JBL Linear Spatial Reference design criteria for exceptional accuracy in any acoustical environment and features a sleek, modern design and a compact footprint that accommodates a variety of studio spaces, especially smaller ones.
As far as durability, JBL conducts a strenuous 100-hour power test to ensure years of reliability on its speakers. Simply put, one of the best choices in the market today.
5. IK Multimedia iLoud Micro (Best for Reduced Spaces)
IK Multimedia’s iLoud Micro Monitors are based on the original iLoud speaker. However, this new model comes with more power, bigger bass, and better sound.
Low-resonance molded enclosures provide a neutral starting point for the powerful two-way speaker systems while the 3″ neodymium drivers are bass-ported to reproduce frequencies down to 55Hz.
If you have a truly reduced space, the iLoud Micro speakers are likely your best choice.
IK Multimedia's iLoud Micro Monitors build on the original iLoud speaker with more power, bigger bass, and true professional playback.
- New and improved model
- Rich listening experience
- Superb stereo imaging
- 25 watts of power per speaker
- 3″ drivers with neodymium magnets, ported for bigger bass
- 3/4″ silk dome tweeters
- 3 EQ switches: high-cut, low-cut, and desktop
- Isolation bases with adjustable angles decouple speakers from your desk and point them up at your ears
IK Multimedia’s iLoud Micro Monitors offer reference-quality sound for those that are severely restricted in terms of studio space.
These speakers come with adjustable isolation bases to decouple them from your desk and direct sound to your ears. Included are three EQ switches to help you adjust to your room, providing the best monitoring experience in a reduced space.
IK Multimedia’s iLoud Micro monitors offer Bluetooth connectivity, stereo RCA and 1/8″ inputs, to connect turntable systems and older music players.
These speakers are lightweight (just 3.79 lbs combined) and quite portable and feature a frequency response of 55Hz-20kHz. They come with a 4-pin stereo link cable and power supply.
If you need a set of monitors to take on tour, or just have very limited space, the iLoud Micro set is a good choice.
6. Genelec 8010A (Most Portable)
One of the best speaker makers in the game, Genelec offers a fantastic choice with the 8010s.
If you are really limited by space and/or budget but still want to have reliable speakers to work on, the Genelec 8010 bi-amplified is a strong choice.
With its 3″ woofer and a 3/4″ tweeter, the 8010 delivers a remarkable frequency response, going from approximately 74 Hz to 20 kHz. It also features a steady low-end balance, uncommon for such a small nearfield model.
A pair of 8010s and a laptop will have you set up for mobile production, and you can even combine five 8010s with a subwoofer for an affordable 5.1 surround system.
Although this pint-sized studio monitor features a 3" woofer and a 3/4" tweeter, it delivers a remarkable frequency response, extending from approximately 74Hz to 20kHz.
- Ideal in very reduced spaces
- Remarkably flat frequency response
- Exceptional mechanical strength
- Small studio monitor that’s ideal for mobile applications and tight spaces
- Minimum Diffraction Enclosure (MDE) ensures low distortion performance
- 3″ woofer and 3/4″ tweeter for flat frequency response from 74 Hz to 20 kHz
- Iso-Pod foot provides isolation and angle control
- Can be paired with a 7050B subwoofer for 2.1 or 5.1 monitoring
Genelec brought all of its speaker expertise to the 8010 and created a superior mini speaker that is ideal for travel and very reduced spaces.
This set of small speakers feature natural, uncolored, and extremely low distortion reproduction characteristics.
Genelec tried to reproduce all the strong traits of the 8000 series speakers here in the 8010, with an eye on those that need portability and accuracy when monitoring.
(Producers that like to move around will love our roundup of the 7 Best Portable MIDI Keyboards)
The 8010 features a die-cast aluminum Minimum Diffraction Enclosure (MDE), which features relatively large internal volumes, softly curved edges, and exceptional mechanical strength.
All of these make for the 8010’s exceptional imaging accuracy and low-frequency extension. To achieve this level of accuracy on such a compact enclosure is quite a feat.
Simply said, if you need a reliable but small and truly portable set of speakers to take on the road with you, look no further than the Genelec 8010.
7. Mackie CR5-XBT (Best Value)
Mackie has been a respected company in the audio world for decades now. The Mackie CR5-XBT offers a good quality cost ratio and is our budget choice for this list.
It features a 5-inch woofer that delivers a good bass response, as Mackie places extra emphasis on the low end.
The CR5-X5 is a well-built and durable small monitor that will get the job done without breaking the bank.
Mackie CR5-XBT Multimedia Monitors put studio-quality sound right on your desktop at a great value.
- Fantastic balance across the frequencies
- Frequency response of 50 Hz to 20 kHz (-10dB)
- Inputs: 1 x 1/8″ (aux), 2 x 1/4″, 1 x Dual RCA Stereo
- Outputs: bare wire connectors +/- (connects pair), 1 x 1/8″ (headphones)
- 80 W total power, Class AB
- 5″ Polypropylene-coated woofer with a Ferrofluid-cooled silk-dome 0.75″ tweeter
The Mackie CR5-XBT small monitors are an excellent choice for engineers, producers, or musicians on a budget. These speakers feature mids that retain a good amount of warmth and clarity with a crystal clear high end.
This set of budget-conscious speakers also offers fantastic balance across the frequencies with a great soundstage that displays a good depth of field.
The CR5-XBT can also be used for mixing as their sound is mostly flat and neutral. Naturally, they are not the ultimate choice for mixing but will do a good enough job for those that can’t afford more reliable speakers.
As far as build quality goes, the CR5-XBT feels solid and better than other budget options, with a wood cabinet that adds heft but without it making the enclosure excessively heavy.
Besides the expected uses of tracking, producing, and mixing on a budget, this set of speakers can also be a great choice for casual listening.
For years, Mackie has provided musicians with valuable tools to do a great job of balancing quality and budget, and the CR5-XBT speakers are further proof of that commitment.