Looking for the best studio monitors under $200? Entry-level studio monitors deliver good to great sound quality. These speakers come with larger drivers, better acoustic controls, and a bevy of attenuation options for users.
The best studio monitors under $200 should provide even response across the frequency range, transparency, and of course, quality construction that’s made to last! Here are our top recommendations for the best studio monitors under $200:
Best Studio Monitors under $200
- Durable, compact design
- Excellent audio
- Great bass performance
- Optimum control over the audio
- Rear ported
- Weak-bodied midrange
The JBL LSR305 is comprised of two studio monitors with a compact form factor in the glossy black finish. The design is quite sleek and versatile so you’ll have no trouble integrating the speakers to your music setup. The speakers feature a textile dome at the top with rolled surround no doubt to minimize distortion. The LSR305 also comes with 5-inch poly cone woofer with butyl rubber surround and the brand’s proprietary Slip Stream low-frequency port.
The LSR305 boasts of an f43 Hz- 24 kHz frequency range and a crossover frequency of 175 Hz. The unit also comes with Image Control Waveguide for a well-defined, dynamic stereo image. The JBL LSR305 controls allow you to customize the speakers according to the room’s acoustic. These speakers could easily fill a large room with clear, clean audio.
As for the audio performance, this budget studio monitor won’t disappoint bass heads at all. Even at low volumes, the tracks are punchy, lively, and dynamic. The sound reproduction is clear, defined, and accurate. It’s great that the LSR305 comes with more controls so you can really fine-tune the audio.
The soundstage is deep, well defined while the upper register is smooth and accurate. We do detect a weak bodied midrange. Also, the JBL LSR305 is rear ported so you have to be careful where you set the speakers up. Once set up right, however, the LSR305 delivers excellent audio!
The LSR305 is one of the best studio monitors under $200. It offers premium sound performance and durable design at a budget-friendly price point.
- Eye-catching design
- Compact form factor
- Clean, balanced audio performance
- No acoustic controls
- Best for small rooms
M-Audio’s AV42 is a set of compact studio monitors that put emphasis on audiovisual usage. It’s an ideal set of speakers for music playback, gaming, movie watching, and of course, producing music. As far as the design goes, the AV42 sports a compact, lightweight design. Each speaker has a nice heft to it although it’s not bulky at all.
The speakers come with a 20W/channel amp, phono inputs and a phono to minijack cable. There is also a mini-to-mini jack cable and a headphone jack. The right speaker is passive and should be connected to the left speaker via a bundled speaker wire. The AV42 is equipped with a 4-inch woofer and 1-inch tweeter.
When it comes to the audio quality, the AV42 delivers clean, well-balanced, and surprisingly accurate audio. The bass is terrific; the tracks are punchy and dynamic. The bass performance is great because it never overwhelms the tracks at all. The top end is clean and crisp while the mids are accurate and natural sounding. The trebles are balanced and tight.
The soundstage is not all that impressive but the clarity of the audio makes up for it. It’s not the best product to get for large rooms but it should fill a small room with great audio easily enough. We wish the set came with acoustic controls just to fine tune the audio but overall, the audio performance is impressive for the price.
Overall, the AV42 offers solid audio performance. It delivers clean and surprisingly accurate audio. These speakers could handle mixing and mastering jobs, which is a plus.
KRK Rokit RP5G3-NA
- Clean, distortion-free audio quality
- Compact, durable design
- Clear, tight lows and crisp highs
- Great bass response
- Placement sensitive
- Inconvenient power button placement
The KRK Rokit RP5G3-NA is the third generation reiteration of the popular Rokit line. The set features a pair of two-way active studio monitor speakers. The speakers sport a durable plastic case with cheery yellow accents. The RP5G3-NA features a standard 1-inch soft dome unit paired with a 5-inch glass-aramid composite low-frequency driver.
At the back of the active unit, you’ll be presented with a mix of controls, including the power switch and the volume knob. The 4-position bass and treble settings are also located on the back of the active speaker.
As for the audio performance, the RP5G3-NA delivers balanced audio response across the range. The trebles are tight and clear while the mids are well defined. The bass and treble controls are perfect for fine-tuning the tracks according to your preference. The bass is great; it’s punchy and abundant, never hollow-sounding. Even at high volume, there is no noticeable distortion in the tracks. The highs are balanced and crisp, with pleasing sound signature. Simply put, the RP5G3-NA is ideal for mixing work.
Our only gripe is the placement sensitiveness of the RP5G3-NA. You really have to find the sweet spot in your set up to optimize the audio. The placement of the power switch is also inconvenient because it’s prone to loosening.
Overall, the RP5G3-NA delivers amazing audio and impressive bass. It is one of the strongest contenders in the budget-friendly studio monitor range for a reason.
PreSonus Eris E4.5
- Excellent audio quality
- Great bass response
- Durable, compact design
- Impressive frequency response
- Resistant to interference
- Midrange isn’t as smooth
- Soundstage is robust but lacked depth
- Not ideal for playing compressed, low quality tracks
Of all the speakers from PreSonus’ Eris line, the E4.5 is the most popular. It has won over audiophiles for its solid performance and amazing quality. The E4.5 features a pair of studio monitors driven by a pair of 25-watt class AB amplifiers. Despite the budget-friendly price point, the E4.5 looks and feels solidly built. The matte black casing and all-black components will complement any music set up. The speakers are fitted with 1-inch silk dome tweeters and covered with a protective grille. The E4.5 also features 4.5-inch transducers made from Kevlar.
As for the audio performance, the E4.5 delivers great audio quality. The output is well balanced, perfect for a home studio. The frequency response is flat with impressive tone. The E4.5’s upfront sound is clear and accurate. The treble is clean, clear, and crisp. The bass is terrific. The soundstage is just as impressive. The E4.5 will easily fill a small to medium-sized room with ease. Another feature that’s worth a shoutout, the E4.5 doesn’t produce annoying hissing while idle.
There were no humming problems that could ruin the listening experience. That being said, the cymbals and splashes are a bit pronounced. The midrange is detailed although it lacked smoothness. The soundstage offers good imagining with a robust center image but it lacked depth.
It’s worth noting that the E4.5 is not the best speakers to use for playing compressed files due to the poor audio quality of the tracks. The E4.5 is not at fault, of course, but if you want to save your ears from that unpleasantness, stick to your high-quality music files.
When it comes to audio quality and thunderous bass, you can rely on E4.5 to deliver impressive sound and rich, bass full of depth.
- Clear, crisp, and natural-sounding audio
- With built-in filters and level control
- Great built quality
- Not ideal for large studios
- Bass response could be better
We are rounding up our list of the best studio monitors under $200 with the Yamaha HS5. Yamaha is hardly the first brand that comes to mind when talking about budget-friendly studio monitors but it’s a good thing that the Japanese electronics giant came out with the HS5.
The HS5 is a sleek studio monitor with a compact wood cabinet, matte black finish and tone-on-tone accents. A black and white variant is also available if you’d like to move away from conventional speakers design. Overall, the HS5’s design is simple so it should appeal to people who love the minimalist aesthetic.
From the front, you can see the 5-inch woofer and the 1-inch tweeter. From the back, you’ll find the standard TRS and XLR outputs, as well as room controls and high trim options. As for the specs, the HS5 comes with a bi-amplified system with 45 watts and 25 watts amps. You can fine-tune your tracks using the High Trim controls as well as the Room control.
The HS5’s sound quality is clear and clean, perfect for mixing jobs. The mids are natural sounding and smooth while the vocals and cymbals are rich and dynamic. The highs aren’t harsh or unpleasant to the ears, they’re perfectly silky.
Stereo mixing is easy with the HS5 although it’s not the best speaker to get. The bass reproduction is natural sounding although it’s not as punchy as other speakers. Still, the HS5 could fill a small room with great audio. On the other hand, if you have a sizable studio, the HS5 is not the right studio monitor for the job.
Overall, the HS5 brings together clear, crisp audio, excellent tweeter performance and terrific value. The design may be simple but it’s no doubt versatile. We also love the built quality of the HS5, it is definitely made to last.
Tips and Buying Guide: Best Studio Monitors Under $200
Active Monitors Vs. Passive Monitors
Active monitors come with a built-in amplifier and utilize an active crossover. On the other hand, passive monitors do not come with amplifiers and utilize passive crossover. With active monitors, there is no need to get a separate amp to do home recordings. Active monitors are easy to use because these are basically plug-and-play products. Just connect the studio monitors to your mixing board and you’re ready to mix!
On the other hand, passive monitors are more versatile so they are most preferred by professionals studios. Since the amps could be upgraded, you have more control over the sound quality the product produces. You can also tweak the settings to fine-tune your tracks.
If you want frills-free studio monitors that will save you more money, choose active monitors for mixing. On the other hand, if your job demands high-quality audio and you prefer better controls over the settings, passive studio monitors are your best bet.
Near Field Vs. Far-Field
Near field studio monitors boast of a compact design and are meant for smaller music set up. These speakers are best for listening to close ranges, about three to five feet from you. On the other hand, far-field studio monitors could be set further away from listeners. These speakers could handle louder volumes so they are ideal for larger music set up.
Which studio monitor to get for your system? This will depend on many factors. If you need a studio monitor for recording acoustic music or playing guitar, a near-field studio monitor suits your needs. The monitor generates a direct sound to the listener while retaining the audio quality. On the other hand, if you have a sizable system and you’d like a studio monitor that could bounce the audio around the room, get the far-field studio monitor.