Finding the best studio monitor speakers for an under $200 budget will give us a nice mixture of affordability and quality for those seeking a solid clear audio solution to add to their home studios. There’s a pretty big range when it comes to studio monitors here, actually one of the largest we’ve seen with speakers. You can grab some for this particular $200 or less target price-range or go all the way up to the multiple thousands of dollars for professional studios. Today however, we wanted to kick off our “price-range only” studio monitor speaker guides starting at a relatively lower range that can still give us a great solution to record, mix and master in our home studios. Let’s see what we’ve found.
Finding the best studio monitor speakers under $200
There are a few factors we want you to keep in mind before reading our roundups, or in case you begin looking through various websites around the net.
- Make sure what you’re buying is a pair. We spoke to some who have been shopping for studio monitors and accidentally just purchased “one” — some are sold in pairs and others you’ll just have to buy two of the same speaker. All picks down below are pairs except for the last two.
- Do you want a subwoofer? None of these come with a subwoofer, and we’ll leave that debate up to whether or not you need a subwoofer to those in the comments. For us, we love subwoofers for different types of uses. When we’re bumping some tunes in the office and want to leisure listen, or perhaps listen to the final mix of our song with some extra bass, we’ll turn it on. Otherwise, we think mixing and mastering (although we recommend using open-back headphones for mastering professionally).
- Passive or active? A lot of popular studio monitors, and in particular our price-range today, are mostly sold as active monitor speakers. This means that they have amplifiers built-in to the speakers themselves. Passive monitors, preferred by many and especially in the higher-end category, need a separate, external stereo amplifier to be powered up.
The best studio monitors for under $200 dollars
The Rockville ASM5 speakers prove that a high price doesn’t always equate to great quality, considering they are one of the best studio monitor speakers you can purchase for under $200 in the market right now. When it comes to standout features and what a lot of user reviews praise this particular par of monitors for is by far their build as well as audio quality. On top of this, the waveguide design allows for sound to spread evenly over the space you are using, and helps to enhanced the design of the curve front beveled, which brings a precision to the sound and reduces overall distortion. The option for low bass extension is provided with a rear firing port to use with your computer, and a color coded input selector on the volume is something of a roadmap when differentiating between TRS, RCA, or a USB port. With optional headphone jacks for listening in private, the Rockville ASM5 speakers work well in both a professional or home studio and kick off our guide here very strong.
Designed to give you the same quality of listening you would have in a professional studio, with a price that is reasonable for most, the Mackie CR4 studio monitor speakers provide a caliber of sound for a variety of interests. With a powered and passive speaker, the set-up is simplistic by merely using the color coded cords to connect the two for balanced sound. A range of inputs lets you use almost any source for your audio (such as your computer or even your smartphone) to instantly listen to your sound. Plus, the woofer, tweeter, and waveguide work together to deliver a clear and precise sound that is evenly distributed across your studio so that no matter where you are you are still listening to the same quality of sound. Add in the rear bass extension and professional grade equipment for high quality audio and the Mackie CR4 is one of the best studio monitor speakers that can be purchased under two hundred dollars. The entire CR Series of monitors are very solid.
If you’re looking for speakers that fit easily on your desk that are compact and won’t take up too much space, the M-Audio AV42 are a good value option for the price that provides you all the room you need to work creatively. Volume control and a headphone jack are provided on the front of the speakers, and an auxiliary input lets you use your smartphones to play your audio as well. With both a main and a passive speaker, it’s easy to amplify your sound by simply connecting the two speakers with a color-coded cord. Also, with identical sized tweeters on each speaker, your treble sound is able to amplified at a more precise level. Add to this the bass port located on the back of the main speaker and you have a balance of sound that delivers an accurate and defined audio. A durable and lightweight option in terms of studio speakers, the M-Audio AV42 provide a stable option for a price tag of under two hundred dollars. We trust M-Audio when it comes to monitors.
PreSonus Eris E4.5
If accuracy is of the utmost importance when consider which studio monitor speakers to purchase (and let’s be honest, that is typically the case) then the PreSonus Eris E4.5 meet this requirement as being some of the best monitor speakers until $200. These two-way active monitors use AV internal amps and kevlar transducers to provide a strong bass, while the tweeters compliment this with precision regarding the higher range of your sound. Acoustic toning that is found on the back of the speakers give you the option to creatively play with your sound and deliver that professional audio that is normally difficult to achieve on anything but the most high-end of monitors. Easy to connect to your computer system (we always recommend an audio interface) so that you can accurately hear the sound that you are producing, whether out loud or through your headphones, the PreSonus Eris E4.5 is a high quality studio monitor speaker found at a budget-friendly price at $200 or less.
Here’s another one of our favorite M-Audio pair of studio monitors under $200 to check out. As with most things in the technological world today, not all devices are created with equality for all. The M-Audio BX5 speakers are meant for the masses, ranging from use by beginners to semi-professionals. With a five-inch Kevlar woofer and a one inch silk tweeter, these lightweight and portable monitors enhance your sound with accuracy, definition, and clarity. Rear TRS and XLR inputs give you versatility in how you plug-in and listen to your music, while the overall design provides an exactness in tone and audio quality across the space where you are listening. Built as a durable model that is meant to last you for the long haul, the M-Audio BX5 studio monitor speakers are very solid — the user reviews don’t lie, either.
Alesis Elevate 5 MkII
A sleek design that fits comfortably next to your desktop, the highly reviewed Elevate 5 MKII are one of the best studio monitors for under two hundred dollars or less. With a decent output power of 80 watts, the volume can be turned up to be accessible throughout your entire audio with compromising the quality of the sound being produced if you’re in a home studio. A five-inch bass driver and one inch tweeter work in conjunction with the overall wooden design, which gives you an enhanced natural bass sound within your audio, to create a balanced sound among all frequencies. Inputs for RCA and TRS devices on the main speaker provide the ability to use your headphones with a variety of devices, and for those seeking to really “rock out” the bass boost button will help you achieve just that style, perhaps allowing you to bypass buying a subwoofer for now until have some more cash ready. The speakers are easily connected to one another through a jack input, taking the guesswork out of having to guess what goes where to find your sound in both of your speakers. Plus, with each speaker having a magnetic shield to reduce distortion and find clarity in sound, it’s easy to see why these Elevate 5 MKII studio monitors are so highly regarded.
Hercules DJ Hercules XPS
Bluetooth technology, a built-in FM radio, and a design that makes it resistant to water, dust, and snow? Combine that with a silk tweeter and kevlar woofer and the Hercules XPS shows that it has significant features that make it one of the best studio monitors you can find for a price of $200 or less. Ideal for your own personal studio with their compact and lightweight design, the XPS speakers come with headphone and auxiliary inputs, as well as a control of volume. However, what makes it unique are the dials that allow you to adjust the bass and treble directly on the monitors, thereby letting you decide how best to balance your sound and making immediate adjustments. On the rear of the speakers are RCA and TRS inputs, as well as a line input that allows you to connect to a variety of entertainment options, such as MP3 players or even gaming equipment. Versatile in its uses yet standard in its design, the Hercules XPS provide quality sound wherever you take them. We’d recommend these if you want studio monitors for some regular listening as opposed to music production in a studio since many don’t need that BT or radio option.
Adding another option from Rockville to the list, the APM5B five-inch, two-way monitor speakers deliver a powerful sound due to its unique design of having separate amps to differentiate (and enhance) both the high and low sounds of your recordings. Wooden enclosures on the speakers maximize and carry sound with a clarity that is difficult to achieve using products from plastic. The neodymium magnet located within the tweeters help to protect both your equipment and sound from overheating and, in conjunction with the woofer, provides a clear sound with a strong tone while also eliminating distortion that can happen when projecting sound to a larger range of space. As a unique design, protective wadding is included around the inside of the speakers to protect the equipment and give you the best clarity available within your sound. With three different finishes to choose from (black, white, and wood) and a modern design, the Rockville APM5B speakers are one of the best studio monitor speakers under $200.
Now the next two picks are just one studio monitor for under $200. We really didn’t want to include a non-pair of monitors at this price-range, but considering there are 10 in this list, we wanted to include just a few our favorite “sold separately” monitors under 200 bucks. This thing is a best. Here we have a bi-amplified studio monitor speaker that is both budget friendly and well reviewed, the JBL LSR308 monitor speakers provide both a reliable design that delivers a powerful sound. Built with rear ports of balanced TRS and XLR inputs, as well as trim control for your low and high frequency audio, you can produce your unique sound immediately with just the twist of a dial. The transducer and tweeter deliver a rich high frequency range that works in synchronicity with a deep bass to give you a balanced tone, while the highly regarded image control waveguide makes sure your sound reaches the entirety of your space without compromising on its accuracy. The material used for these speakers are typically only found in high-end devices; however, with a stable sound at a reasonable price, it is evident why the JBL LSR308 speaker is considered one of the best speaker options if you’re OK with spending $200 on just one speaker, or perhaps stretch that budget so you can buy two of these for a very powerful and clear solution for your studio.
As someone who grew up in a musical family, I can barely think of any piece of equipment relating to music without automatically thinking of Yamaha products. The HS5 version of studio monitor speakers are no exception in that regard. Taking a note from the legendary NS-10 series, the HS 5 uses many of the same principles, such as high-powered woofers that enhance your bass while offering little to no distortion in the quality of sound. The enclosed design of the speakers offers low resonance, allowing your audio to maintain its rich tone and deep reverberations. High trim and room control options on the back of the speakers manage your frequency response, while XLR and TRS connectors give you an assortment of options to connect to your sound. Overall, this bi-amplified Yamaha HS5 studio monitor speaker works off of the popular Yamaha design at an affordable price, offering an alternative that is regarded as one of the best studio speakers for two hundred dollars or less. Again, this is just sold as one, otherwise if you want a pair they’re sold at times together but not in this price-range of $200 or less.