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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.
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.
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.
Optimized high-frequency waveguide for a wide, deep sweet spot and great imaging
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.