Like headphones, you can become paralyzed with choice when it comes to buying a pair of studio monitors. There are tons of options under $500 and in this post I’ll make the case for my personal favorite: KRKs.
What to Look For
The key categories to consider in your first pair of studio monitors are, in order of priority:
You might ask yourself why price is at the bottom of that list when these will be your first, and not final, pair of studio monitors. Well, before you go out and buy those $100 pair because they had a few good Amazon ratings and thought you’re getting a good bang for your buck, think again. There’s a big difference between the $100 for a pair “studio monitors” and the “lower end” of the high-quality market. Affordable high-quality speakers will run around $150 per monitor. Don’t skimp on this. It’s completely worth investing well here. Dish out the $300 – $500 and you will be so happy you did.
KRK Rokits for Electronic Music Producers
Why I love KRK Rokit 5s as a first pair of studio monitors:
- Top quality and are extremely durable. You won’t need to rush out to get the newest, most upgraded model every couple years
- Run around $150 per speaker, pack tons of power and sound great. I could never turn them all the way up in my apartment. They’d blast the roof off the place if I tried.
- Used by pros and beginners alike
- Not too heavy, so they’re portable
- Lovely for DJing at home, so you buy speakers for DJing and producing without spending thousands of dollars
- Colored, rather than flat, sound (remember our post about how flat headphones are important for producing?) although you can adjust both the bass-frequency levels and high frequency levels on the back of the speaker.
You can get KRK Rokit 4s, 5s, 6s, 8s, or 10s. The number refers to the size of the woofer. The larger the woofer, the better and deeper the bass (and the larger the monitor). Oh, and of course, the higher the price. Consider how much room you have, how much sound you really need (or can even handle in your studio). For your first pair, I think 4s or 5s are great.
Other Top-Rated Studio Monitor Options
- Yamaha HS8These Yamah’s are among the top-rated studio monitors out there. They run around $700 a pair, but they have a nice, flat sound and incredible quality for producing, mixing, and mastering. If you have the cash and the room, these could be a perfect choice for you. If you don’t want to spend so much, Yamaha also offers a 5” from the same line.
- JBL LSR305 JBL is slightly cheaper than the Rokit 5s, coming in at around $280 a pair. These are probably the lowest price point you can get for the sound quality you need in a pair of studio monitors. The JBLs are also more flat the Rokits and work great in smaller studio spaces.