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An essential part of your studio set up is going to be a pair of monitors.
But not all monitors are made equal.
We cover 5 of the best budget studio monitors in 2021.
The DM40s are a good starting point if you are purchasing your first set of monitors and produce more electronic or dance music.
They come with a sleek looking design that is also robust, which is great if you find yourself needing to transport them anywhere.
For the price you pay, you will get a great sound however it is worth bearing in mind that these monitors focus a bit more on the low end, with the top end not being as crisp as other monitors on the market.
This isn’t a bad thing at all if you are predominantly working with electronic-based music however if you are going to be mixing more acoustic or band based music it is probably worth considering a different pair to get more value in the long run.
The monitors themselves are powerful which is great if you are going to be DJ’ing and offer both RCA and 1/8” jack inputs.
✔ Affordable, robust and great starting point.
✘ Exaggerated low-end might not be for everyone
✘ No balanced jack inputs.
The compact DM-40 desktop monitors bring excellent audio quality to your home setup. They inherit the best from our professional S-DJX series and Pro Audio speakers, including a front-loaded bass reflex system for a rich, tight bass and DECO* technology for a wider reach and sweet spot.
The CR4BT’s are another great first monitor purchase, with a simple-but-cool luminous green design around the speaker cones.
These monitors are often referred to as ‘multimedia speakers’ i.e. not specifically intended for music production, but a rather broad spectrum of video editors, YouTubers, and vloggers, etc.
Whether or not it is intentional due to this, you will find they lack slightly when it comes to low end, but nonetheless, the CR4BTs are still great value for money and will stand up well against competitors in a similar price range.
You have the option to hook up either RCA cables, ¼” jack leads and a 1/8” input which is perfect if you want to play music off your phone or laptop.
✔ Great sound for the price
✔ Has Bluetooth option
✔ Sleek design
You also have the option of adjusting the mid and highs of the monitors themselves which is a good starting point should you be thinking about acoustic treatment and tuning your monitors to your room. The higher frequencies can come across a little harsh so the added option to tweak the high end is really useful.
✔ Several customizable features, great for home or small studios.
✘ Higher frequencies can be a little harsh.
✘ Low-end may be inadequate for certain music styles.
Eris E4.5 active monitors boast 4.5" woofers and 1" silk-dome tweeters. Ideal for gaming and home video production, the Eris E4.5 delivers studio-quality sound yet is compact enough to fit almost anywhere.
Alesis Elevate 5 studio speakers enable you to listen to mixes, masters and multimedia content with impressive clarity and warm, full sound. Elevate 5 speakers bring out every detail of your sound, unencumbered and crystal clear.
The 305Ps are a great investment whether you’re just starting out or an experienced producer or studio engineer.
For the budget price, you get a clear representation throughout the spectrum, with higher frequency content remaining crisp without being harsh. This no doubt helps combat ear fatigue particularly if you are mixing throughout a long session.
The low end is particularly impressive as well, especially if you are working on bass-heavy tracks. However, the trade-off here is that the frequency response isn’t as flat as you would get with other speakers. This isn’t a bad thing as there is a certain amount of character added but it is worth considering when purchasing.
✔ Great for beginners and experienced producers
✔ Rugged build quality
✘ Frequency response isn’t completely flat which may not suit certain producers
This 5" powered studio monitor is a great fit for a project home studio. With a 5" low-frequency transducer outputting solid mids and bass, and a 1-inch high-frequency transducer, broadcasting clear highs, you'll benefit from balanced accurate audio for mixing, mastering and production.
Monitors are the speakers you’ll use to mix (and master) your music so a good pair is imperative to make sure your work is the best it can be.
Mixing on a quality set of monitors enables you to hear intricacies in your music that enable you to make decisions on how to tackle the mix process.
Studio monitors are generally designed to give you a flat frequency response, meaning that they will give you a true representation of the music you are working on which is essential when it comes to EQ’ing.
The characteristics of each pair of monitors will still differ however, with some reacting better to different frequencies and therefore making them more suitable for certain purposes than others.
Tips For Buying Your First Pair Of Studio Monitors
There are a few points to consider before making your final choice.
Once you have decided on a budget, think about the power of the monitors you are looking at. More power doesn’t necessarily constitute extra volume but it will help with dynamic range.
Also, take into account the room you will be using them in. Is it acoustically treated? If not consider a pair of monitors with room adjustment controls which allow you to compensate if your room
exaggerates certain frequencies. This isn’t a foolproof fix but it will make a big difference (for more advice on treating your studio you can check out our 4 Tips To Improve Room Acoustics With Zero Budget).
Think about where you will place the speakers — will you have enough room behind them?
Generally, lower frequencies can build up behind your monitors so you may want to invest in stands, or isolation pads for them.
You’ll want to be able to angle them level with your ears to get the most accurate sound.
Lastly, always double-check what you are purchasing online. It’s not uncommon for retailers to sell single monitors rather than pairs.
Imagine the disappointment of opening a box to discover you’ve blown your budget on a single speaker!
Last update on 2021-06-12 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API