When it comes to investing in the best budget studio monitors, there are many who think that the only way to get a high sound quality is by investing in speakers that cost nothing less than a few thousand dollars.
They’re wrong. As far as budget speakers go, the best studio monitors under $200 give you access to those monitors that are in the sweet spot of price vs. sound quality.
You wouldn’t expect much from the speakers that cost less than $100, which are considered to be basic at best.
However, studio monitors that are around the $200-dollar mark are more than able to provide you with that zing in sound quality that one looks for in studio monitors.
So, without any further ado, here’s a list of our top picks for the best studio monitors under $200 that you need to invest in for your home or professional studio.
Best Studio Monitors – Reviews & Buying guide for 2020
Winner: Mackie Studio Monitor CR4BT
The Mackie Studio Monitor CR4BT boasts premium, high-output drivers, which makes it one of the best studio monitors out there.
The all-wood finish gives these monitor speakers a premium quality appearance right out of the box, providing you with the perfect balance between sound and aesthetic appeal.
You’re not going to find another monitor at this price point that gives you a premium wood cabinet.
Large 4” Woofer
One of the first things you will notice in the Mackie Studio Monitor CR4BT is its large 4” woofers that are able to deliver a professional sound.
The 4” polypropylene coated woofer offers a 40-watt output and a wide frequency range that’s ideal for full-range multimedia applications. If you’re looking for studio-quality sound, then the CR4BTdelivers in spades.
.75” Ferrofluid-cooled Silk-Dome Tweeters
The Mackie Studio Monitor CR4BT also features .75” Ferrofluid-cooled, Silk-Dome tweeters that enable these speakers to achieve those incredible highs with relative ease.
The smooth waveguide design of this speaker means that it is able to deliver an unmatched level of clarity in sound dispersion at all levels.
Unlike the CR4, the CR4BT comes with Bluetooth connectivity. The Mackie Studio Monitor CR4BT offers simple connection options for all audio sources, including Bluetooth and RCA, making this the ideal studio monitor.
The Mackie Studio Monitor CR4BT features acoustic isolation pads, which help to minimize a boomy bass while playing the monitor on high volume.
The pads also offer a more balanced control of the sound for a better listening experience.
Front-Facing Headphone Jack
The front-facing headphone jack auto-defeats the speaker output, along with providing the user with a more tactical control over the volume.
While the sound staging of the Mackie Studio Monitor CR4BT is good, it is not the best option for mixing purposes.
Another drawback that some users might find is that these monitors aren’t as transparent and do not have that razor flat frequency response you would expect from a monitor speaker.
Pros and Cons
- Premium wood cabinet
- Compact design
- Front-facing headphone jack
- Not the ideal choice for mixing tracks
Runner up: KRK RP5 Rokit G4 Studio Monitor
Low-Distortion Kevlar Drivers
The KRK RP5 Rokit G4 Studio Monitor features a 5.25-inch Kevlar Aramid Fiber woofer that’s been designed for low distortion.
These woofers are nicely complemented by the newly designed speaker enclosure that has been scientifically designed for enhanced low-end extension and better sound clarity, while still having a small footprint.
Built-in Brick Wall Limiter
The Brick Wall Limiter has been integrated into the design of the KRK RP5 Rokit G4 Studio Monitor, which automatically engages once the speaker reaches maximum output to maintain the right level of balance and dynamics of a track.
KRK Mobile Application
One of the standout features of the KRK RP5 Rokit G4 Studio Monitor is that it comes with its own mobile application.
This KRK app enables the user to adjust EQ settings on the fly, along with making adjustments to the subwoofer, crossover, and polarity.
The KRK app also helps with other areas that result in improved sound quality, such as level matching and speaker placement.
Improved Kevlar Tweeters
One of the highlights of the KRK RP5 Rokit G4 Studio Monitor is its new and improved Kevlar tweeters.
The 1-inch Kevlar tweeters have not only been included for their durability, but also for their ability to produce a better sound quality.
The KRK RP5 Rokit G4 Studio Monitor features ISO-foam decoupling padding that minimizes vibrations, which results in enhanced sound reproduction regardless of the size of the room.
On-Board Signal Generator
The Rokit G4 also comes with a built-in signal generator. This is a nifty new feature that’s a must-have when it comes to calibrating speaker systems.
For some, the KRK RP5 Rokit G4 Studio Monitor might not seem as flat as compared to other monitors of the same price point.
Pros and Cons
- High-quality Kevlar drivers
- Room correction technology
- Built-in Brick Wall Limiter
- Mobile app
- Graphic EQ settings
- Does not have low-cut/high pass
- EQ switches feel redundant
Alternativ: M-Audio BX5 D3 Monitor Speaker
One of the main highlights of the M-Audio BX5 D3 Monitor Speaker is its studio-grade drivers that have been designed to deliver outstanding sound quality.
The 5-inch Kevlar woofers are lightweight, yet rigid, ensuring you get the best sound quality every time. The woofers in the BX5 D3 monitor have been designed to eliminate cone breakup, which is a real issue with other studio monitors at the same price point.
Treated Silk-Dome Tweeters
The M-Audio BX5 D3 Monitor Speaker sports specially treated silk dome tweeters that are the heart and soul of the BX5.
These tweeters offer the perfect balance between low mass and an absence of any audible resonance, which enables it to deliver an exceptional level of sound reproduction with all the nuances you would expect in a high-quality studio monitor.
Class A/B Bi-Amplified Power
M-Audio has clearly pulled out all the stops with the BX5 D3 Monitor Speaker. At the heart of this studio monitor is not one, but two Class A/B internal amplifiers that help power the woofer and the tweeter individually.
This means each can be customized according to your exact requirements and the specific frequency during recording.
The two internal amplifiers have been specially designed to complement the characteristics of their companion driver.
If you’re thinking about any compatibility issues with your existing studio setup, then the M-Audio BX5 D3 Monitor Speaker has got you covered.
These monitors come with rear-mounted XLR and ¼-inch balanced inputs, along with BX5-D3 connectivity, which allows them to be easily synced with virtually any studio mixer or interface with ease.
Extended Low-Frequency Response
The M-Audio BX5 D3 Monitor Speaker features an extended low-frequency response, which goes all the way down to 52Hz.
This is mainly thanks to the inclusion of the optimized rear ports, which help to minimize the air turbulence along with any acoustic distortions in the speaker.
XLR Balanced and ¼” Balanced/Unbalanced Inputs
The M-Audio BX5 D3 Monitor Speaker also boasts of conveniently placed XLR Balanced and ¼inch Balanced/Unbalanced inputs, which makes connecting the M-Audio BX5 D3 Monitor Speaker with studio equipment a breeze.
The backplate tends to get heated after a few hours of use, which could lead to a thermal shutdown of the speakers if used for more than 4 hours at a stretch.
The monitor speakers seem to have a lack of protection for the cones.
Pros and Cons
- Meticulously designed
- 5” low-frequency drivers deliver exceptional sound
- Low audio distortion
- Features both LF and HF drivers
- Magnetically Shielded
- Does not deliver higher frequencies
Alternative: Pioneer Pro DJ Studio Monitor
Curved Cabinet Design Eliminates Distortion
One of the first things that you will notice with the Pioneer Pro DJ Studio Monitor is the unique shape of its enclosure.
The Pro DJ studio monitor speakers feature a smart design cabinet that comes complete with a curved shape and front edges, which offer maximum rigidity while minimizing the level of resonance in the audio, delivering a cleaner sound quality.
4” Fiberglass Woofer
The Pioneer Pro DJ Studio Monitor comes with a 4” fiberglass woofer that has been designed to deliver deeper sound and solid bass tones.
The premium quality drivers that have been used in the Pro DJ Studio monitor make it the perfect choice for those who are searching for reliable speakers for their home studio or to pair up with their PC or home theater system.
Solid Dome Tweeters Deliver 3D Stereo Sound
Another highlight of the Pioneer Pro DJ Studio Monitor speakers is that it features ¼-inch soft dome tweeters that have been fitted with a specially designed DECO convex diffuser.
The combination of these two components results in the tweeters being able to channel high frequencies in all directions, resulting in a fuller sound reproduction.
With the Pioneer Pro DJ Studio Monitor, you will enjoy listening to incredible audio regardless of where you are in the room.
Class A/B Amplification for Crisp Sound Quality
The Pioneer Pro DJ Studio Monitor boasts of Class A/B amplification, which enables these studio monitors to deliver a crisp sound quality with extremely low distortion, resulting in a clear sound even when the volume is cranked up.
The perfect alignment of the woofer and tweeters in the Pioneer Pro DJ Studio Monitor also helps eliminate any crossover, enabling the speakers to deliver a full-bodied and well-balanced sound.
Diffusion Effectual Convexity Technology
The Pioneer Pro DJ Studio Monitor comes with Diffusion Effectual Convexity Technology.
The smooth convexity between the drivers and tweeter result in an enhanced sound quality that’s simply unmatched by other studio monitors of the same price point.
While there’s plenty of bass to go around with the Pioneer Pro DJ Studio Monitor, where it does lack is in the treble and hitting those higher notes.
Pros and Cons
- 4” Fiberglass woofers
- 0.75” soft dome tweeters
- Front-mounted diffusers
- 21W Class AB amplification
- Sound tends to show signs of static and popping after a while
alternative: Kali Audio LP-6 Studio Monitor
Transparent Sound Reproduction
The Kali Audio LP-6 Studio Monitor provides transparent sound reproduction thanks to its dual-layer, large diameter voice coil, which makes it the perfect choice for home studio use or DJing.
The monitor has an incredible ability to reach ultra lows and highs with minimal distortion.
This enables the speakers to deliver a level of sound that’s similar to what you would expect from many of the high-end studio monitors that are available in the market.
3D Imaging Waveguide for a Better Sound Experience
The Kali Audio LP-6 Studio Monitor features a 3D Imaging Waveguide, which allows the speakers to deliver an excellent 3D soundstage.
By producing a shape of the waveguide with intersections to the LF and HF drivers, the waveguide in the LP-6 is able to deliver a coherent sound and a better soundstage.
Low-Noise Port Tube
The inclusion of the low-noise port tube in the Kali Audio LP-6 Studio Monitor means that these speakers are able to deliver a clean, impactful bass tone that is similar to that of a front-ported speaker, with low noise emanating from the port tube.
System THD for Better Sound Quality
One of the main selling points of the Kali Audio LP-6 Studio Monitor is the System THD or Total Harmonic Distortion, which is less than 3% below 1,700 Hz.
This enables the sound to be more natural with low distortion while providing greater clarity.
One of the major drawbacks of the Kali Audio LP-6 Studio Monitor is that the cabinet looks plastic-ish, which could be a turn off for some folks.
Pros and Cons
- 2-way powered studio monitor design
- Accurate and non-fatiguing speaker
- 1 x TRS and XLR connections
- Limited bass extension
There are some things that you need to keep in mind when shopping for the best affordable studio monitors.
Focus on Sound Quality
Remember, when it comes to choosing studio monitors, good isn’t going to be good enough. The whole idea of getting monitors is so you can reproduce the clearest and most accurate sound possible.
When choosing the best budget studio monitors, the sound is always going to be the most important factor.
Ported vs. Closed Cabinets
While in the market for the best budget studio monitors, you’re going to notice quite a few ported and closed cabinet designs.
Ported cabinets help extend the frequency response lower, enabling better bass. That said, ported cabinet designs lack when it comes to sonic accuracy. This is where you will want to go with the closed cabinet design.
Another major difference that you will find when looking for the best budget studio monitors is going to be in the different driver types.
There are monitors available in the market that comes with aluminum alloy and Kevlar driver options, along with many others. This is because manufacturers are always introducing new and innovative studio monitor designs.
When it comes to choosing which one to go for, it all comes down to performance. Do your homework on a particular studio monitor that you are interested in buying, then compare it with others at the same price point.
Single-Amp, Bi-Amp or Tri-Amp
Few people realize this, but how the input signal is divided to power the drivers will determine the overall performance of the studio monitors.
Most monitors come with two speakers, mainly, the tweeter for capturing those high frequencies, and a woofer for capturing the midrange and low frequencies.
Some studio monitors may also have a dedicated speaker to capture the midrange frequencies.
Normally, bi and tri-amp speaker configurations are considered to be flatter, as in, more accurate, as compared to single-amp speaker configurations.
It is important to first find out what frequencies you are going to be dealing with most before choosing a single-amp, bi-amp, or tri-amp configuration.
Studio Monitors FAQ
The following are some of the most common frequently asked questions regarding studio monitors under $200.
How Do I Choose a Studio Monitor?
Studio monitors come in various sizes and qualities, with the monitors with the higher price tag tending to be better when it comes to performance.
When choosing from the best entry level studio monitors, it is important to ask yourself what you need.
If you’re just starting off with a professional studio, or if you’re putting together your first home studio for personal use, then you can go with the many options that are available in the best entry level studio monitors.
However, if you are looking for better sound quality, then you might want to go with something that’s a bit more high-end to get better performance.
What Does a Studio Monitor Do?
A studio monitor is basically a loudspeaker that’s fitted in a specially designed enclosure and used for professional audio production applications. Studio monitors are mostly used in television studios, radio stations, and recording studios.
Do You Need 2 Studio Monitors?
When it comes to audio production, you are going to require a good stereo sound. This means using two speakers. As a rule of thumb, you should always get two identical studio monitors for the best results.
That said, you might also find the need to invest in more than one pair of studio monitors.
When it comes to sound production, it’s better to have multiple pairs of monitors so that you can compare the sound quality of your mix. This will ensure that your mix sounds great on all types of speakers.
How Big Studio Monitors Do I Need?
The size of the studio monitors you choose is mainly going to depend on the size of the room. This is going to be an important factor when choosing studio monitors.
If you need a monitor for a regular-sized room, then you can easily pair it with the best 5-inch studio monitors.
However, if you are going to be working in a large room, then it is recommended that you go with a larger size, such as a 6 or 8-inch studio monitor that will fill the room.
Monitor speakers are a great choice for a home studio or to get that added oomph while playing your computer or home theater system.
What’s great about monitor speakers is their compact design, which makes it easy to place these speakers virtually anywhere, even in small spaces.
When it comes to getting the best inexpensive studio monitors, then the aforementioned options are some of the best available in the market.