Best Studio Monitors 2017 – The Complete Guide

KRK Rokit 5 G3 Studio Monitors

Best Studio Monitors 2017

Budget Friendly Studio Monitors

1. KRK Rokit 5 G3

DescriptionKRK Rokit 5 G3 Review

Stanton Magnetics was founded in 1946 and manufactures consumer/professional audio equipment. It’s a subsidiary of Stanton Group that also owns KRK Systems. The company is headquartered in Florida, USA. If you are looking for the best studio monitors for beginners, KRKs are a great start.

KRK has now re-designed its popular series of Rockit monitors. This provides features like new cabinet, wider frequency response, and better balance. Other monitors on the market have ports located on the back of their cabinet. This usually produces bass coupling, which colors the mix. The difference of the KRK Generation 3 Rokit has front-facing ports. The shape/taper helps to lower port turbulence. Even at high SPL the unit provides clean/precise bass performance. KRK is definitely one of the most popular brands of studio monitors. You may see them in tons of music videos and on rapper and beat producer’s Instagram feeds.

The monitor doesn’t just sound good but also includes custom drivers and a new cabinet. The active crossover systems give users frequency response that’s smooth and precise. The bi-amplified amplifier system of KRK provides low distortion for each of the drivers. Another plus is that the unit provides precise diffraction control. This is another plus of the unit that’s worth noting.

Features

  • 5-inch composite woofer: Delivers clear mid-range/tight bass
  • Foam pad: This provides isolation between the speaker and the surface it’s sitting on
  • Waveguide technology: Optimized for high-end stereo imaging
  • Radiuses edges: This helps to reduce distortion that results from diffraction
  • Front Firing Port: reduces boundary coupling and provides low-frequency extension
  • High-frequency adjustment: Allows user to tweak the system to meet personal tastes
  • 50-watts class A/B amplifier: Minimal distortion
  • XLR ¼-inch/RC inputs: Universal connectivity in any type of studio environment
  • 1-inch soft-dome tweeter: Clarity and greater response up to 35 kHz.

Pros

  • Excellent value that exceeds the price
  • Big sound from small speakers
  • Flat response/clarity
  • Durability

Cons

  • Basic monitor for the price. This isn’t’ to take away from the quality of the monitor. However, if you’re looking for more features then you should be prepared to spend more money on a higher-end unit.

2. JBL LSR305JBL LSR305

Description

This monitor has received generally good online reviews. That’s greatly due to the value they provide. They’re able to translate mixes effectively and have an excellent sound. There are tight lows and super accurate mids. They are fairly popular and I would say they are one of the best studio monitors for when you are on a budget.

The woofer is made of plasticized paper and contains a plastic dust cap and rubber surround. The magnet structure is a decent size for the driver and has a secondary magnet for containing any extra magnetic field. This allows the user to use old-school CRT monitors.

The monitor provides excellent sound and especially in terms of the size of the small speaker. The bass is strong and smooth and lacks any major distortion when listening at a high volume. That’s even true when the volume is pushed to a higher level.

The crossover and equalizer are handled. This results in a very smooth sound. The tweeter is bigger than other tweeter drivers added to other speakers on the market with 5-inch woofers. When combined with the horn-like wave guide the tweeter can handle a frequency cross-over that’s lower than other speakers that include 5-inch woofers. This helps to greatly improve the detail close to the crossover. The tweeter’s body pairs up well with the woofer at the cross-over frequency.

Features

  • 3-Series speakers: Provides neutral sound across a big working space that’s independent of the room’s acoustics
  • Higher HF detail: More depth/ambiance in recordings that allows subtle details to be heard

Pros

  • Excellent value for the price
  • Smooth/extended bass
  • Good entry-level speakers: The speakers are especially good for certain genres like rock, pop, dance, and disco.

Cons

  • Entry-level speaker: This could be an issue if you’re looking for more features. However, if you want a basic monitor then this is definitely an excellent option.
  • Weaker with certain genres: That includes ones like jazz, classical, and acoustic.

3. Yamaha HS5Yamaha HS5 Review

Description

The Yamaha HS5 is an excellent monitor even if it’s going to be used in small room. It’s only 6.7-inches x 11.25-inches by 8.75-inches and weighs just 11.7 pounds. You can even use the unit in a con with little room. The Room Control filters of the unit provide 2db or 4db of produce less than 500 Hz when activated. This makes up for the boundary effects of the speaker that would usually make low-frequency response unclear when the monitor is located near a wall. Definitely not a bad choice, another one of the best studio monitors for those on a budget.

The monitor’s High Trim filter increases/cuts the response of the HS5 2dB over 2kHz to compensate for a high damped/live room.

The 5-inch woofer and 1-inch dome tweeter are both bi-amplified with enough power to provide enough volume for just about any situation. A 45-W amplifier juices up the woofer and a 25W amp powers the tweeter. There’s also a level control that’s continuously variable. Balanced TRS and XLR connector provide alternate input. It would have been a plus if the XLR connector was latched but it’s not realistic due to the low cost of the monitor.

The frequency response of the monitor is 74Hz to 24 kHz. If the HS5 will be your only monitor that’s wide-range then you’ll have to add a subwoofer like a Yamaha HS85 to mix bass instruments and others. The response drops sharply under 200Hz. There’s also a small drop between 7kHz – 10kHz. That understates vocal sibilance sound. There’s a big peak in the response ranging between 650 Hz and 1,300 Hz. That brings lead vocals a little forward.

Features

  • 700W power amplification
  • XLR/TRS phone jack inputs
  • Room Control/high TRIM response controls
  • 5-inch cone woofer/1-inch dome tweeter

Pros

  • High-quality performance
  • Flexibility ranging from tight bass to sub frequencies
  • Clean/smooth sound
  • Good option for small rooms
  • Full sound quality

Cons

  • Power cord is only cable
  • High inherent noise

4. PreSonus Eris E5PreSonus Eris E5 Review

Description

When you’re doing mixing it’s important to have a set of studio monitors that shows what you’re really listening to. These speakers are designed to deliver that. It has a 5-inch Kevlar transducer that’s low-frequency. There’s also a silk-dome tweeter. This provides a loud and clean 102 dB SPL peak. The frequency response has a rating of 53 Hz to 22kHz. The monitor is definitely impressive in terms of the size/price class. It includes low-frequency Kevlar transducers that are designed well. There’s also responsive Class AB amplification, low-ass dome, and quality controls for acoustic adjustment.

This unit provides customers with balanced XLR/TRS/ and unbalanced RA line-level inputs. In the case that the 2 balanced connections are being use the TRS input passes the XLR input. The RCA input goes into the signal path. Due to this option you won’t have any problems connecting the Eris speakers to just about all line-level sources.

Music producers today must dale with several types of music genres and frequently work in multiple locations. Taking the Eris speakers with you whenever you have to work in another location is very easy. In fact, it’s nearly as simple to customize the sound for your particular room and music genre.

The Input Gain is the most basic control. It determines the signal level prior to riches a power amp. It’s part of the overall system that sets the levels of each part of the recording chain. That helps to get the best level of clean audio that’s comprehensive. After gain-staging the system you’re using you won’t have to deal with this control again. So it’s definitely an important issue to consider.

Features

  • Kevlar low-frequency transducer
  • Acoustic Tuning control
  • 102 db max. continuous SPL
  • Balanced XLR ¼-inch/unbalanced CA inputs
  • Optimized internal bracing
  • Front-facing acoustic port

Pros

  • Clean/loud sound
  • Good price for small speakers

Cons

  • Small speakers
  • Rear ports

Midrange Studio Monitors

5. Genelec 8010AGenelec 8010A Review

Description

The monitor is described as very compact and able to help professional to do audio work in compact environments. However, it might be surprising to discover that the monitors are small enough to fit into a backpack like in the promotional pictures.

Genelec uses metal covers to protect the woofer/tweeter and the connections/switches are protected from damage. The Genelec isn’t just portable but is also an accurate tool for monitoring. The 8010A looks like a computer speaker instead of a studio near filed. However, it gets its power from the mains instead of a wall outlet. There are no link cables to deal with and the unit includes individual Class D controls and amplification.

The 3-inch woofer receives 80 watts of power while the ¾-inch metal dome tweeter receives 50W. This might seem surprising at first. However, the issue is about the headroom instead of just the volume. The input connector has a balanced XLR input. However, it can be linked to an unbalanced source via an adapter.

Another key feature of the monitor is the Intelligent Signal Sensing (ISS) circuitry from Genelec. This switches this monitor to standby in the case that there’s no audio input detected. It takes about a half Secord to switch on but if it’s a problem for you another option is to turn off the ISS function. There’s another dipswitch that can set the monitor’s input sensitivity. Normal is the default setting. Meanwhile, the dipswitch alters this to 10dB.

Features

  • 2-way drivers: this includes low-frequency and mid-frequency driver
  • Balanced XLR input
  • 3-inch woofer
  • ¾-inch tweeter
  • Mounting accessories: This makes installation ideal for mobile vans, music studios, and portable recording devices
  • Intelligence Signal Sensing (ISS) circuitry: Switches monitor to standby when no detection of audio input
  • Universal mains

Pros

  • Easy Installation
  • Clear highs and stage/imaging
  • Excellent sound quality

Cons

  • Mids not very clear
  • Weak bass

6. KRK Rokit 8 G3KRK Rokit 8 G3 Review

Description

This monitor was designed/engineered in the US by manufactured in China. The Rockit 8 is the biggest of the 2-way models in the company’s Rokit series, which includes 3 units. It’s now in the 3rd generation and includes several upgrades from the generation 2 model. That includes an improved amplifier/tweeter and adjustment for low frequency.

It’s not surprising that the G3 RP8 is a lot like the previous model physically. However, it has a redesign that makes the front panel curvier. It’s lost the screws and includes a new shape added for the unit’s bass reflex port.

This monitor is the biggest of the Rockit two-ay units and is a big monitor. There are 3 settings beside flat. The low end can be dropped by 1db/2dB or boosted by 1dB to add some extra bass. The monitor also includes a high-frequency knob that allows the user to add the same changes to the top end.

Regardless of which cable you use you can use them for the RP8 since there are different connections including 1-4inch jack, XLR, and RCA phono. The cabinets also include foam pad located at the base. This de-couples them from the surface they’re resting on.

Features

  • 8-inch composite woofer provides tight bass and clear mid-range
  • Wave-guide tech: This is optimized for high-end stereo imaging
  • 100-watt class A/B amplifier: This provides max. headroom and low distortion
  • 2-way configuration
  • XLR and ¼-inch/RCA inputs: This provides connectivity in all studio environments
  • 1-inch tweeter: This provides clarity/extended response

Pros

  • Clear/loud sound
  • Clear bass y
  • Affordable solution
  • Tweeter provides crisp highs
  • Excellent value
  • Quality monitor

Cons

  • Big 8 monitors: Each speaker needs about 12-width
  • Back power switch
  • Durability: Some customers have reported that the unit stopped operating after a short time and sometimes within 1 day.

7. Yamaha HS8Yamaha HS8 Review

Description

Yama monitors are well-known to produce super clear audio. The speakers in the HS product line were very impressive. However, Yamaha thought that they could improve them even more. This has resulted in HS8 Studio Monitors from Yamaha.

The HS8 monitors have an 8-inch woofer and a 1-inch dome tweeter. A 75-watt amp juices up the 8-inch woofer and the tweeter is powered by a 45-watt amp. The speakers’ body is made of medium-density board (MDF). Yamaha doesn’t just give its monitors a one-of-a kind appearance but there’s also a key function. The company uses a 3-way minteredoitn method that locks in corners and is built to lower resonance inside the cabinet.

The monitor’s tweeters use a shallow wave guide that’ built to reduce high-frequency distortion. The monitor also has a rear bass port to manage the bass frequencies. It’s a good idea to put them a few feet away from walls in order to reduce bass distortion. Still, based on the configuration in your room it might be impossible. In that case the HS8 has a 3-position switch for room control that has 3 different setting options. The monitor is flexible enough to connect to different balanced/unbalance sources due to the XLR/TRS phone jacks.

Yamaha’s HS8 monitors are frequently used in recording studios. You won’t be surprised after you start using them. The HS* is built for studio mixing and produces a clear sound. The sound production produces little warmth. However, that’s definitely a plus in studio monitors. The HS* has a ton of detail/clarity across all sound spectrums. The high frequencies are clear/crisp and aren’t tiring.

Features

  • 8-inch cone woofer
  • XLR/TRS phone jack inputs
  • 45W HF bi-amp system
  • Room Control/High Trim response controls
  • 1-inch dome tweeter

Pros

  • Quality monitors
  • Clean/smooth sound
  • Good for small rooms
  • Excellent subwoofer
  • Versatility
  • Industry standard quality

Cons

  • High inherence noise floor
  • No cables except power cord

High End Studio Monitors

8. KRK Rokit 10-3 G3KRK Rokit 10-3 G3 Review

Description

The monitors are big monitors and the Rokit 10-3 G3s have great sound. They’re available at a good price and they allow you to adjust the units to function near field/mid field. This is one of the best options if you’re looking for large monitors.

The Rokit 10-3 G3s are named as such due to the big 10-inch woofers. There are also 3 amps in each and every speaker. This helps to drive the 3 different speakers independently. That includes bass/mid/treble. You should consider buying 2 of them since they’re totally independent of the other ones. This will provide you one of the best Dj monitoring options in today’s market. They produce amazing sound and have a reasonable price.

One of the main factors you’ll quickly notice about the monitors is that they’re gigantic. They’re 20kg in MDF and are bigger than many of the studio speakers on the market. It should be noted that they might look out of place in a small room. However, if you want to use them in a big studio they can be used for that function. In fact, the main function of the speakers is as a monitor speaker in the mid-field category.

That said, the speakers are ironically KRK based on the yellow cones that are the company’s trademark. The units are front-ported, while it should be noted that KRK recommends that owners put the units far from walls/corners. The best option is to set up the speakers on stands or using foam pads. However, note that the speakers have stick-on bases.

Features

  • 3-way design
  • Mid-Field: optimal distance for operation is 1m-4m
  • Front-firing port: Reduces boundary coupling/turbulence
  • Curved Baffle: almost eliminates distortion
  • Axis Control: Allows for positioning vertically/horizontally with no orientation loss

Pros

  • Good design

Great for parties

Excellent value for price

Crisp/clear/loud audio

Cons

  • Small hiss

9. Adam Audio A7XAdam Audio A7X Review

Description

This is an excellent upgrade from other monitors if you want a new one that’s more high-end. The Adam Audio A7X is an excellent option if you’re in the specific price range. In fact, the unit provides excellent value for the price. In fact, this monitor has received high marks online within its price range.

The A7X uses Accelerating ribbon Technology (ART) for its tweeters. This means the tweeter is actually a folded ribbon rather than small cone like usual. This what apparently provides the monitor with its clarity. The end result is that the high frequencies provide a sound that’s light, smooth, and natural.

The A7X has a 7-inch mid/bass driver that’s heavy and a frequency response ranging from 42 Hz to 50 Hz. This helps to provide all the juice you’d usually need even for parties. There are 2 bass ports under the driver that are like those found on other monitors on the market.

In terms of the monitor’s sound it’s quite amazing. This is especially true if you’re using lower-end monitors now. In fact, the different is quite amazing. It might seem like an odd situation at first like you’re hearing things clearly for the first time. You can hear just about everything in the mix you’re making very clearly. That includes smooth highs and rounded low end. This is a plus.

Many reviews of the A7X have included observations that the monitor helped to make their mix more 3D. This is an excellent description. That’s because everything stands out better and is clearer in the mix. This provides better depth/clarity when you listen to the mix. You could say the mix sounds clearer. It has a frequency response is flat throughout the music. This is one of the plusses of the unit and makes it worth considering when picking a monitor.

Features

  • Base response is powerful/precise
  • Standby mode
  • 50-watt A/B amplifier & bass/mid-woofer
  • Reproduction of sonic detail
  • 2-way drivers

Pros

  • Quality tweeter
  • Excellent lows/mids
  • Load/clear sound
  • Customer service
  • Good value for price point
  • Quality sound
  • Excellent bass

Cons

  • Higher price

10. Genelec M040Genelec M040 Review

Description

Here’s a quality monitor from Genelec. The M040 is ultra-accurate in the lab. Besides that they sound amazing and they’re one of the best monitors you can pick in the high end price range. Out of the box the monitor has detail, death, smoothness, and impact. They also perform very well in the lab. They provide an excellent sound if you want to listen to music the entire day and they also provide very accurate speakers. For the price, getting these high quality monitors would definitely be the best studio monitors of 2017 if you have the budget.

Genelec has been producing high-quality professional monitors for multiple decades. This monitor shows the reason why the company is considered an industry leader. The company basically created the concept of a small-powered monitor. They were even found on the desk of Steve Jobs’ home office.

The monitors’ cabinets have vents that are located under the woofer in between the tiny feet. This allows the vents to also function as handles if you’re lifting them up from below. It also means you don’t have to look at the vents during the day.

The Genelec monitor sounds better than other units on the market so they’re definitely worth considering. The metal-dome tweeters are located behind metal grills. Meanwhile, the plastic-cone woofers don’t have protection. Make sure to be careful when unpacking them so you don’t damage the woofer. That’s certainly a situation you’ll want to avoid. The 6.5-inch woofers are larger than other Genelec units like the M030.

Meanwhile, the cabinets are dead when tapped. They’re constructed from black plastic that the company refers to as “natural composite.” This is a blend of plastic/wood fiber but has the look/feel of wood. Keep in mind that this material can’t be recycled but is quite sturdy.

The cases are a little wider in the back than in the front. The reason is they must be extracted from molds after hardening. The monitors have a simple front appearance since there’s just the speaker or logo. The monitors are active with 2 internal amplifiers and low-level crossover.

Features

  • Green monitors: Made from 100% recyclable fiber composite
  • High performance design
  • 5-inch bass driver and 1-inch tweeter
  • Efficient monitor
  • 2-way drivers

Pros

  • Very clear sound
  • Eco-friendly

Final Words

That was our top 10 best studio monitors 2017 list!

Choosing the right studio monitors does come down to taste. Many might have different frequency dips and perceived loudness, so it is up to you whether you want monitors with the illusion of more bass, mid range or high end frequencies.

Written by
Matias is a musician, blogger and time traveler who was born in 1994 and loves all things music and art.

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