Have you decided to embark on the home studio adventure? You will have many choices to make in terms of layout and equipment.
Choices that can quickly leave you feeling like you’re completely overwhelmed: Finding the best value for each type of gear, comparing features, reading reviews, and then applying them to your situation can be downright overwhelming.
Indeed, all home studios are not the same, and your needs will not necessarily be identical to those of others!
Precisely, we are here to guide you in the realization of your project! Below are the top 5 best studio monitors under 300 for your home studio.
#5. JBL LSR308 8 ″ Bidirectional Powered Studio Monitor
The best amazing studio monitors used are always user-friendly because you don’t have to be in front of the speakers to make the necessary adjustments to the mix. Also, it has a great point of attraction which is often a series of three speakers that produce neutral sound in a workspace despite the acoustics of the room.
Likewise, it has a higher Hf Detail which makes you feel the ambiance and depth of recordings by bringing out subtle details in a dense mix. Besides, it has three standard reference monitors which give the monitor impressive performance.
#4. M-Audio BX5 D3 Studio Munitor
It has a new computer tweeter waveguide which is optimized for clear and precise imaging. Also, it has an acoustic space control which ensures a fine adjustment of the low-end response to your apartment.
Also, it has a natural silk dome tweeter to provide perfect transient detail. Also, it has a low frequency five Kevlar driver which has a padded rubber and a high-temperature coil surrounding it. Likewise, it is designed with 100W which is Bi-amplified for precise and powerful sound.
#3. JBL 306P MkII 2-way Studio Monitor 6 ″
#2. Pioneer DJ DM-40 PAIR desktop monitors
Adam Audio’s T series is very recent and stands out for its excellent quality/price ratio.
Two models are available: 5 inches and 7 inches. The 5 ″ versions were designed with the smaller studios in mind, but in general, I would tend to recommend the 7 ″ versions which will offer more flexibility.
The boomer, made of polypropylene, is powered by a 50 watt Class D amplifier and is associated with a rear vent. The U-Art ribbon tweeter, on the other hand, is coupled to an HPS guide which makes the dispersion more consistent and therefore extends the size of the listening “sweet spot”.
The ribbon tweeter requires, the sound is quite analytical and very clean, with a coherent and precise response in the bass.
In short, a very good solution for mixing in excellent conditions despite a limited budget.
How to choose monitor speakers?
Before looking at my selection of the best studio speakers, I suggest you go over the main features to remember to be able to make a choice.
This will allow you to avoid unpleasant surprises …
The frequency range
By definition, monitoring speakers should be flat over the entire audible frequency spectrum (20 to 20,000 Hz).
The aim, of course, is to make mixing easier thanks to speakers that do not color the sound and behave in the most neutral way possible.
Logically, one of the technical specifications to look at first is therefore the frequency range, which reflects the frequency range over which the speaker is supposed to be flat.
For example, if the model you are looking at says “47 Hz – 22000 Hz”, then that means it is supposed to be flat over that range.
I say “sane”, because, in reality, this is never the case: there are always small variations. That said, as long as these are of the order of +/- 3dB, we can consider that this remains tolerable.
My advice is above all to make sure that the speakers go down correctly in the bass. Ideally, you need studio speakers that cover the 50Hz – 20,000Hz frequency range as a minimum.
If your speakers do not go down to 50 Hz, you will quickly be limited to mixing everything that is the bass drum, bass, drum machine kick …
If your speakers go lower, for example around 35 Hz, it will undoubtedly be more comfortable to mix. Be careful, however, between a model that goes down to 42 Hz and another that goes down to 38 Hz, the difference will remain quite negligible.
Finally, if low frequencies are extremely important to you (for example in the case of electronic music or some experimental music), one option will be to add a subwoofer to your speakers.
The size of boomers
Most studio speakers are made up of:
- a tweeter, which reproduces high frequencies and high mids;
- a woofer, which reproduces low frequencies and low mids.
The larger the diameter of the boomer, the lower the frequency response of the speaker will be (see the previous paragraph). This size parameter is therefore important to take into account when making a choice.
The type of enclosure
There are three types of monitoring speakers:
- The proximity enclosures ( near-field in English)
- Pregnant middle distance ( mid-field )
- The main tapping ( hands )
In professional recording studios, there is usually a combination of several types.
For example, proximity speakers coupled with main monitors: the first will be used for precision work, while the second will allow you to hear globally what is happening in the mix, necessarily with a greater influence of the sound of the room.
In a home studio, all you need is proximity monitoring speakers.
Unless you have a room the size of a real studio, other types of speakers will not work.
The distortion rate (THD)
The rate of THD (Total Harmonic Distortion) is generally indicated in the technical specifications provided by the brands.
To put it simply, the initial signal sent to the speakers is necessarily distorted, either because of the amplification circuitry or the construction of the speakers themselves.
The THD is usually low enough on the monitor speakers so that it is not a problem – however, I recommend that you keep this measurement in mind, at least to compare the models with each other.
The technology of tweeters
Each manufacturer of monitoring speakers has developed its technology for tweeters, these speakers are dedicated to high-mids and treble.
While it is not interesting to launch into an exhaustive comparison of the materials used, you will however find two main types of tweets: those with dome and those with ribbon.
Dome tweeters, in general, will sound a little more lively, with an enhanced ambiance effect.
Ribbon tweeters, on the other hand, will be much more analytical and precise, but a bit tiring at times.
So, if you are going to use your speakers for both mixings and listening to your music collection, I would rather recommend dome tweeters. If on the contrary, the precision of the sound is important to you, orient yourself towards those with tape.
Front or rear events? Or not at all?
The openings made in the enclosures to allow air to pass through are called vents.
The purpose of these vents is to optimize pressure control inside the enclosure while generating more bass around the resonant frequency (which is a function of the dimensions of the vent).
There is a recurring debate as to whether it is better to have a front vent or a rear vent.
There is no absolute answer. However, if you are planning to stick your speakers to a wall, I can only advise you not to have a rear vent, to avoid unwanted disturbance.
That said, in terms of acoustics, there is not a better position for the vents because the low frequencies are not very directional and evolve at 360 °.
Finally, some monitoring speakers do not have a vent at all. While this is supposed to be preferable in terms of sound, it should be noted that their price is generally higher.
Connections and settings
Of course, all the speakers have at least one input connection, located at the rear and generally of the XLR type.
But except low-end models, you will also find several settings that will be very useful for you to adjust the sound to the response of your room, especially in the bass and treble. This type of adjustment will have to be coupled with a suitable acoustic treatment.
Finally, price is an important criterion of choice.
To have good monitoring speakers, you need a minimum of 300 € for a pair (be careful, by the way, because studio speakers are generally sold individually).
Below this price, you will not have much of interest.
You can of course buy second-hand, but you never quite know how they were used – especially since speakers are fragile items.
If your budget is not high enough, I recommend that you wait a bit or even invest in mixing with a good mixing headset.