With so many options available, selecting monitors for your home setup can be a challenge. To help you tackle this problem, we’ve selected some of the best budget studio monitors for bedroom producers, and we’ll discuss some of the key aspects of why they were chosen.
The article features an up-to-date list of studio monitors that will improve your home studio setup without destroying your budget. But before we get to the list, let’s cover the basics of setting up your studio monitors.
How studio monitors translate to other systems
Choosing a monitor that translates well onto other systems – especially small speakers and earbuds – is a key factor in this process. It’s important to note that in most cases, a revealing set of monitors with good translation properties isn’t necessarily the most fun to work on – especially at first when your ears are still familiarizing themselves.
While translation is often the basis of using one studio monitor instead of another, a good engineer will understand the shortcomings of their speakers and their listening environment over time. For this reason, the cornerstone of monitor selection among professionals comes down to personal taste.
Room size & speaker positioning
The room you’re working in is another important component when it comes to monitoring accuracy. By selecting a monitor that is too small, you might compensate by boosting the low frequencies when you’re working. Alternatively, a speaker that is too large may result in your tracks lacking a low-end punch.
Your studio monitors should be on stands if possible or decoupled from your desk with acoustic foam wedges and angled toward your most comfortable listening position. A minimum distance of 0.5 meters (roughly 1.6 feet) from the wall reduces reflectivity, particularly when dealing with rear-ported speakers, so keep this in mind.
What are the best budget studio monitors in 2022?
Whether it’s music or audio post-production you plan to work on, always consider your workspace and the surrounding environment first. From there, it should be easy to find a set of monitors that best suits your purposes.
These are our favorite affordable studio monitors:
- JBL 305P MKII
- IK Multimedia iLoud Micro
- PreSonus Eris E5 XT
- Kali Audio LP-6 2nd Wave
- Yamaha HS5
We tried to keep our list of budget-oriented studio monitors short so that you’re not overwhelmed with options. Now let’s take a closer look at each model.
JBL 305P MKII
A popular choice for home music production, the 305P MKII is a 5-inch two-way monitor that packs plenty of punch for its size. Their decent low-end response makes them great for electronic music, and the highs are detailed enough to work with speech and vocal material.
The 305P MKII is rear-ported, so remember to place it a fair distance from the wall, if possible. Also, make use of the Boundary EQ and HF Trim switches on the rear panel where necessary.
The projected stereo image is decent overall, which makes these monitors hard to beat for the price.
More info: JBL 305P MKII
IK Multimedia iLoud Micro
Whether you’re looking for a portable monitoring solution or simply running low on desktop space, the iLoud Micro is a choice that is both compact and lightweight. What’s more, they have no shortage of power and are surprisingly analytical for studio monitors of this size.
Although they don’t have a balanced XLR input, these are still professional DSP monitors that are a great option for small spaces and situations where you aren’t using an external audio interface. Connectivity includes mini-jack, RCA, and Bluetooth. IK Multimedia also included three switches for tuning the iLoud Micro to your room.
More info: IK Multimedia iLoud Micro
PreSonus Eris E5 XT
The Eris E5 XT is a compact and affordable nearfield monitor equipped with a 5-inch driver and should be adequate for the average-sized study or small bedroom. Its simple front-ported, two-way bi-amplified design with plenty of corrective controls makes it a great choice for beginners.
The rear panel is equipped with balanced XLR and TRS inputs as well as unbalanced RCA. Meanwhile, the EQ features include 1 kHz midrange and 10 kHz high-frequency controls and a low-cut switch. In addition, the “Acoustic Space” switch reduces all frequencies below 800 Hz to compensate for the boundary effect.
More info: PreSonus Eris E5 XT
Kali Audio LP-6 2nd Wave
If you’re unfamiliar with Kali Audio, it’s because they haven’t been around as long as some of the other famous monitor brands. However, as a manufacturer, Kali Audio has built an outstanding reputation in only a few years, with some of the best budget studio monitors available on the market.
The LP-6 2nd Wave is the most recent edition of Kali’s entry-level two-way nearfield monitor. Its 6.5-inch driver makes sure it puts out enough energy for most standard rooms. The front-ported design favors compact spaces. There are eight position configurations and six additional EQ presets to choose from on the rear panel.
More info: Kali Audio LP-6 2nd Wave
Known worldwide as the bedroom producer’s NS10, the Yamaha HS5 has been used by some of today’s top producers like Finneas O’Connell and many others. From the design to the sound, it’s a plain and simple 5-inch nearfield monitor that translates well on other playback systems.
Although it’s rear-ported, the HS5 is sonically very neutral and has two shelving filters to boost or attenuate frequencies, according to the room. The Room Control switch reduces the level of frequencies below 500 Hz, while the High Trim switch can boost or cut frequencies beyond 2 kHz.
If you’re looking for budget studio monitors that look classy and sound good, the HS5s are a great choice.
More info: Yamaha HS5
Budget Studio Monitors – Reader’s Suggestions
We’re always happy to receive feedback from our readers. The BPB comments are often a source of some incredible tips and insights from fellow bedroom producers.
Here are some additional budget studio monitors you should consider, as suggested in the BPB comments section.
- Genelec 8020D (or 8010A), suggested by Pisces.
- M-Audio BX5 Graphite, suggested by Scott.
- Mackie MR824, suggested by Simba Jahi.
- ADAM Audio T7V, suggested by Navi Retlav Studio.
Which studio monitors are you using? Are you looking to upgrade soon? Do you prefer using headphones?
We’re looking forward to hearing your thoughts and suggestions in the comments section below.
Navi Retlav Studioon
This article is missing the Adam Audio T7V which in my opinion (tested both) are better than Kali Audio LP-6 2nd Wave at the same price.
The Kali LP6 are much more accurate monitors, they are at the moment the most accurate at the price point and then some.
Yeah they are best than anything in this, but Mackie MR range have better bass, with, and stereo image but may no better high as expected ^^
I mean the Adam are the best from this list
Hey Navi Retlav Studio, thanks for the tip. I included the T7V’s in the reader’s suggestions.
Hey BPB, longggg time follower and consumer of great free plugins form what I consider the absolute best place to go for them, no contest. Monitoring and acoustics is my forte and I feel there are some common myths that have made it into your article and I have some extra info for folks who want to go a bit deeper into the differences between these monitors.
Speaker and room size – The issue with a speaker being too large for a room isn’t related to low frequency reproduction, it’s that larger speakers generally need a greater listening distance from the monitor for the wave fronts of the woofer and tweeter to converge. Larger woofers can provide some benefits that you can’t get with smaller ones regardless of room size. Larger woofer can “throw” more speaker energy towards the listener at lower frequencies reducing the impact of the reflected energy from the room. A larger woofer monitor also generally has more amplifier and driver headroom which is crucial when attempting apply corrective room EQ which you will absolutely need for small rooms (Hey you guys should do an article on how to apply corrective room EQ, I can write one up for ya!)
You’re spot on that placement in the room is crucial to a speakers performance. If anyone would like to go a bit more in depth on that I highly recommend Genelecs placement guide.
The new hotness today for comparing speakers is anechoic measurement data, or data gathered by a device called the Klippel NFS (near field scanner). It can produce near anechoic environment data and provide predictions on in room performance and boundary interaction. This kind of info can tricky to obtain but provides an unbiased look at how a speaker performs. As far as I’m aware all the monitors mentioned here have been measured and the info is free.
Long story short, out of everything listed, the Kali LP6 offer the most neutral speaker overall, they will give you the best chance at hearing things accurately. If anyone has any questions on the info shared here feel free to reply and I’ll do my best to get back to you! This is quite a lot of info to be given and to interpret.
JBL 305 MKii – https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/jbl-lsr305p-mkii-and-control-1-pro-monitors-review.10811/
IK Iloud Micro – https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/iloud-micro-monitors-measurements-and-quasi-anechoic-spinorama.10988/
Presonus Eris 5XT – https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/presonus-e5-xt-active-speaker-review.13436/
Kali LP6 – https://www.erinsaudiocorner.com/loudspeakers/kali_lp-6v2/
Yamaha HS5 – https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/yamaha-hs5-powered-monitor-review.10967/
Hey Joshmelo, thank you so much for the useful links! Some great info there.
Er… Before you consider any speaker at any budget, please incorporate acoustic treatment into your budget. Without acoustic treatment, the best monitors in the world have the potential to sound like junk in a poorly treated room.
If you are on a budget, the best option is most likely a half decent pair of headphones, something like the Sennheiser HD650, especially if you’re a beginner. While this is not the perfect solution, headphones will at least cut out any room treatment issues, and should save years of mixing bewilderment and frustration.
If you have a decent acoustic space and reasonable budget, I would suggest trying the Genelec 8020D or if the budget won’t go that far the smaller Genelec 8010A.
Hey Pisces, all good suggestions. Thank you! An article about budget headphones is coming soon.
Monitors are nice to have but the fact that there are so many to choose from helps only those with lots of access to a variety of opportunities to hear thier music on different speakers. Mobile devices tend to produce certain frequencies not at all. Yet we still produce with this scenario in mind. Many tries leads to the best results to hear what you’ve done. Experience is always a pretty damn good teacher. Of which there is no substitute.
Yes, lots of listening and mixing to gain experience is necessary. Also, listening to your mixes on many different systems, including phones and even laptop speakers.
I recently went from my old M-Audio BX5 to Presonus E44 and just WOW. The great stereo field was expected from MTMs, but what really surprized me was low end’s level of detail with just 4.5 inch woofers.
Interesting, thanks for your comment.
I’ll put my M-AUDIO BX5 GRAPHITE’s up against anything here. Super tight graphite fiber woofers, excellent silk dome tweeters with a nice waveguide, rear ported, and high frequency PLUS acoustic space controls. XLR, 1/4″, and RCA inputs. Break these in and they will amaze you with the bang for buck!
Cool, thanks for the suggestion. Added to the article!
I use Behringer studio 50usb. But an upgrade is becoming expedient when I heard the Yamaha HS5 in another studio I just built for a church. I don’t presently have capacity to get it but I alternatively built an active subwoofer speaker to compensate for the low ends. Hoping to have a better mix till my pocket is graced to do the upgrade
I still use my trusty HS5s. Incredible quality for the price.
Mackie mr824 are my monitors of choice full sound and they translate well of course I use sounded in my room
Thanks, added this to the reader’s suggestions.
Shout-out for my trusty JBL LSR305’s (1st generation). Still in love with them after all these years, especially their wide-angle tweeter projection & formidable bass!
Awesome! I love it when a piece of gear lasts for ages.
I absolutely love my Yamaha HS8’s…I think for the money,they are great monitors…
I have Eris E7xt as my main monitors and ILoud micros for travel but at my desktop I have JBL’S 104 ‘s they are pretty good and more flexible hookups than the ILouds nice for a small work area