In addition to being a private violin teacher, Alecia started writing music-related articles 3 years ago and has been enjoying this experience greatly. Loves quilting and scrapbooking in her free time.
Marcus has a vast experience in digital audio and sound design. Thanks to his knowledge, he actively helps musicians with technical problems, improving their audio quality and even promoting their tracks so that thousands of listeners could enjoy some really good music.
Last updated: September 07, 2021
Prime Sound is reader-supported. We may earn a commission through products purchased using links on this page. Learn more about our process here
Thanks to technology, you don’t have to wait to show the world your musical talents in recordings anymore, you can release it to the world on the internet. To record yourself, you need the best equipment, and a studio monitor is one of them. They don’t have to be expensive; in fact, you can make music on a budget as affordable musical equipment like studio monitors do exist. You would be surprised at the quality you would get from the best studio monitor under 200 dollars as they are known to be the first true speakers of their kind.
As much as they are incredibly affordable, you have to be vigilant when choosing a studio monitor for yourself. They are so many in the market, and you can’t miss duds amongst them. We came up with this guide to help you choose the best studio monitor under 200 bucks for all your needs. We considered 30 products and ended up with a refined list of 10 best-rated products. The KRK RP5 Rokit G4 emerged our best overall pick as it packed a lot of power and several superior features that could not be matched.
Our product list contains the best affordable studio monitors in the market as we used the best sources and spent an adequate amount of time in researching. Some of the features used to determine the quality and performance level of the studio monitors include maximum rated SPL, size, type, power, frequency response, and dimensions. You will find all the essential information you need to know before buying a studio monitor in the comparison table, in-depth product reviews, and a detailed buying guide in the article.
This is one of the best all-around budget studio monitors you can get to mix any genre in any environment. You will appreciate its durable build, exceptional performance, and multiple superior features. If you don’t have a budget for a pair, a single one will do just fine as long you mix in mono.
The speaker comes in a solid body built with high-quality materials, which also contributes to its accurate and high-quality sound as vibrations and low-frequencies are minimized.
Like most high-end studio monitors, this KRK features matching Kevlar drivers, a scientifically designed enclosure, and an onboard EQ with a visual screen. The Kevlar drivers will ensure that the sonic quality is constant regardless of the frequency levels you play at. They will also prevent your ears from getting fatigued, thus, allowing you to work for extended periods.
With the Kevlar drivers, you will get extremely clear audio with high precision. You will also love the fact that this studio monitor does not add any coloration whatsoever.
What’s more, the studio monitor features a built-in graphic EQ with an LCD screen. The EQ allows you to tune the monitor to match the acoustics of the environment in which you are playing. This comes in very hand, especially when you don’t have a treated room.
Additionally, the monitor sounds amazing, with a frequency response range of 43Hz to 40 kHz.
In conclusion, though a bit pricey, this studio monitor is worth every penny because it is powerful and handles all frequencies well to produce a great accurate sound.
If you are on the market for a low-budget premium quality studio monitor that doesn’t sacrifice sound quality, this is your best bet. It is an ideal pick for small home studios or beginners because they are compact and feature excellent acoustic tuning controls. Seasoned professionals can also benefit highly from them because they pack a punch when it comes to high sound quality.
The studio monitor has a rugged design with a small body that will fit in any workplace without being too flimsy.
It features a 4.5-inch woofer and a 1-inch tweeter that are both active and offer excellent studio sound quality. The woofer is made with a woven composite, and the tweeter is the silk dome kind, and they both give the best sound, especially with high-end frequencies.
Despite its small size, the woofer offers you the flexibility of tailoring the sound to match your room’s acoustic thanks to its acoustic tuning controls on its back. These extra controls allow you to work well in poorly treated rooms.
Additionally, the studio monitor has a feature that allows you to flatten the frequency response completely to enable accurate mixing and referencing.
With a frequency range of 80Hz to 20 kHz, you will need a subwoofer for deep bass and great sound in the low-end frequencies. If you don’t need a deep bass, then you can do well without the subwoofer.
Furthermore, the studio monitor includes a headphone output, which you can use for a detailed and close-up listening when you don’t want to plug into your audio interface.
Overall, this is one of the best active studio monitors under 200 dollars with professional capabilities and a durable build. It is a huge steal worth considering before rushing to get the extremely high-end studio monitors.
What makes it special?
Acoustic tuning controls for poorly treated rooms
Great compact design
Active amplification-don’t need an external power source
This is one of the best 5-inch studio monitors under 200 dollars in the market. It is a powerful choice for both beginners and seasoned producers. It handles loud playback volumes pretty well and is perfect for any set up. However, for a perfect and clean bass, you might need a subwoofer backup.
The studio monitor has a compact and rugged build that can fit perfectly in any setup. They feature magnetically shielded transducers, which makes them a superb choice if you have a small setup that is bound to experience electromagnetic field feedback, hissing, or buzzing with other gear that are magnetically sensitive.
This monitor features a 5-inch woofer and a 0.75-inch tweeter with a frequency response range of 100Hz to 18kHz. With such a frequency range, you will definitely need a subwoofer for a deep and clear bass.
With this studio monitor, you will be able to achieve all the extremely demanding audio applications in the studio, when performing outside or using them as loudspeakers. This is on account of its professional drivers and crossover network.
With its steep crossover slopes, you will get the exceptional sonic performances with high consistency and balance of the high and low frequencies. What’s more, the monitor features a sonic guard overload protection that prevents damage caused by the continuous playing of high and low frequencies.
All considered this is one of the best studio monitors under 200 dollars with an outstanding sound quality that is well-balanced, transparent, and consistent. It is a worthy buy.
What do we love it for?
Magnetically shielded transducers
Crossover technology for balanced and clear sounds
If you are looking for a studio monitor to add to your magnificent home-studio entertainment showcase, then look no further. It perfectly balances its price point with superior features that offer an exceptional audio experience and performance. This makes it one of the best Bluetooth studio monitors under 200 dollars.
Though dabbed a bookshelf speaker, this studio monitor is one of the smallest and most portable monitors you can get in the market, and you can easily carry it out to your outdoor performances.
Setting it up is pretty straightforward, and you can use it straight out of the box.
On top of its Bluetooth wireless connectivity, the monitor features multiple connectivity options, which increase its versatility. It allows the RCA connection, coaxial cable, and optical connections.
The monitor also comes bundled with a wireless remote control. You will be able to skip the tracks or add more volume with a simple push of a button.it can also be used to switch to another input.
Despite its compact body, this Edifier packs a powerful sound quality. With a 4-inch woofer and a 13mm tweeter, it delivers a deep, full, and rich bass that is smooth and transparent in different settings.
All in all, this is an ideal studio monitor for anyone with a home studio as it outdoes its rivals with its versatility, portability, great sound quality, and affordability. It is one of the best home studio monitors under 200 dollars.
This is another fantastic punchy active powered studio monitor. Perhaps the best-powered studio monitor under 200 dollars on this list. They are a perfect choice for detecting the airiness of vocals in the high-end frequencies. Beginners and intermediate producers who have built their ear better.
The monitor comes in a laid back design and compact design that can fit in any workplace. Unlike many other monitors, it has its ports on the front, which cause an exaggerated sense of bass frequencies because all of the low-end frequencies come out on the front instead of being dispersed to the back. On the flip side, it provides a pretty good bass kick.
The most impressive thing about this monitor is its wide frequency range. It features a 0.75 soft dome tweeter that accurately produces frequencies up to 30Hz. The 4-inch fiber glass woofer balances it out with 70Hz, which is pretty impressive but still leaves with some room for a subwoofer if you need a very deep bass.
The tweeter is designed in the soft dome-style to offer with a diffuser to ensure there is an equal distribution of the audio without any distortion or coloration, especially in the high-end frequencies. Regardless of your environment and position, you will be getting the best representation of your audio.
With a class AB and time alignment features, you will not experience any external diffraction or reduced resonance as they maintain a balance with no crossover.
In conclusion, this is one of the best budget studio monitors that guarantee you clear and crisp sounds. With its convenient pricing, it is worth considering.
Why are we impressed?
Wide frequency range
Crisp and clear sounds
Low power consumption
What negatives must you be aware of?
Not as loud as others within its range
Front ports that cause exaggerated bass frequencies
This is one of the cleanest looking studio monitors in the market. They look quite refined for their price. They also offer a great balance that sort of brings everything to the table in terms of performance and features.
The monitor will adorn your studio with its elegant niche design. It features a high-quality MDF covered in vinyl and a strong copper-colored woofer.
Aside from its attractiveness, the Klipsch R-15M is quite effective when it comes to performance. It features a 5.25-inch woofer and a 1-inch aluminum linear travel suspension tweeter that give the best-balanced sounds. What’s more, its tweeter sits in a tractrix horn, which makes the monitor even more worthwhile.
It offers a fairly flat output with transparent and extremely clean and clear trebles. However, its low-end response is a bit biased because its 5.25-inch moves a lot of air but doesn’t hit the low end well.
The only downside to this monitor is that you would need an amplifier to power them because it is a passive speaker.
What’s more, the speaker has a pretty decent power output of 85 watts. Its peak power output is limited to 340 watts.
At the end of the day, this is one fantastic choice for anyone looking for a studio monitor with a sleek design and exceptional performance. It is one of the best bookshelf passive studio monitors under 200 dollars in the market.
If you are on the search for a studio monitor that is optimized for low end, this should be your prime pick. It is not the cheapest in the under 200 dollars bracket, but it is worth the buy. It is the kind of monitor that will last you a good one before getting a replacement or upgrading.
The monitor is sturdily built, and despite its compact body, it does not struggle to put in a lot of power.
The active amplified monitor features a 5-inch woofer and a frequency response rate of 49Hz to 20kHz. The frequency response range still leaves you some room for a subwoofer.
With this monitor, you will be able to adjust your low and high frequencies to get the most out of it, especially in poorly treated rooms, thanks to its EQ controls on its back. Furthermore, the port on the back of the monitor is specially made with slip stream technology that ensures low-end frequencies don’t overload its woofer.
The slip stream technology also provides an accurate bass representation when you are mixing at low levels. This makes this JBL model one of the best studio monitors under 200 dollars for mixing.
Moreover, this monitor provides rich low end sounds, and crisp, clear high end sounds without adding any coloration. It also has a broad sweet spot, which guarantees you an accurate representation of your music regardless of your position in the room. Its image Waveguide makes it an ideal choice for large studios.
In conclusion, this is a stellar choice for any producer who makes bass-heavy music and needs a monitor optimized for low ends. It is also best suited for large studios.
What makes it special?
Durable and compact build
Image control waveguide
Slip stream technology-prevents frequency overloading
If you are looking for something, you can use it whenever you hit the road. This is your ultimate choice. It can also work well in the studio for beginner producers. It sounds great, especially for its price, but you will need a subwoofer for a better bass response.
The monitor comes in an ultra-lightweight body. It is sort of a hybrid of computer speakers and high-end studio monitors. With its compact body, it can fit perfectly in a computer set up though it is more powerful than a computer speaker.
Being super-lightweight, this studio monitor is an ideal choice for traveling with, but you might experience some buzzing or rumbling from their small size woofer when you are playing loud bass-heavy music.
The monitor features a 4-inch woofer and a silk dome 1-inch tweeter, which give a rich bass and smooth top end. Its frequency response range is 75Hz to 20kHz, which isn’t the best, but it gets the job done. You can get a subwoofer if you intend to make a lot of bass-heavy music.
Also featured is a headphone output that allows you to do some close listening and pay extra attention to details when you are mixing without plugging into your audio interface.
Another plus for this monitor is that it includes uncovered cones for smoother, clearer, and transparent audio detail.
The only uncool thing about this highly affordable monitor is that it is passive. You will have to plug it into a power source. Otherwise, all the excellent features trapped in its petite body at such a fair price are worth considering.
What are its best features?
Very lightweight and compact
Great sound quality
Crisp, clear audio detail
What could be improved?
It is a passive monitor
Prone to damage because it is extremely lightweight
If you are looking for a powered studio monitor with an elegant design, a great sound, and excellent value for its price, this is your best bet.
The monitor comes in an elegant design that feels more professional than its price tag. Its rubberized chassis and blue LED give it a statement look.
The monitor is pretty straightforward to set up with a single XLR-1/4” combo input, a power switch and a volume knob.
With a 5-inch speaker and a 1-inch silk dome tweeter, you will get both punch and clarity in the bass area. The computer-optimized tweeter waveguide included also makes it give a good spread of sound without any perceptible distortion. You will be able to get the accurate representation of your mix in any position in the room.
The monitor’s 2 firing ports on the front also contribute to the hefty thump in its bass response. You will also be equally impressed by the monitor’s overall volume.
With a frequency response range of 45Hz-22kHz, you are bound to get a tight, rich, and un-muddled bass as well as well-served mids and slight mid-boost. All the highs will also be crisp without being shrill or brittle.
As for connectivity, there isn’t any whistleblowing as the MK3 only offers a single XLR-1/4” combo input on its back. If you are a mobile-friendly producer or beat maker, you will not appreciate this very much but, you can make do with what has been offered.
On the bright side, this is one of the best active studio monitors you can get in the market. It has an attractive design and excellent sound at a price that wouldn’t hurt your wallet.
This is the ultimate thump for your bucks! It is pretty cheap, below 100 dollars, but that doesn’t mean they operate cheaply. It packs a punch when it comes to sound quality and convenience.
The monitor has a professional build quality found on expensive models with a cabinet made from birch wood.
Looks aside, this monitor is also one of the best studio monitors under 200 dollars with volume control. It features a volume control knob on its front, which you can use to quickly adjust the volume without the use of an audio interface. This comes in handy, especially when you are traveling with the monitor.
Like many other monitors, this Mackie includes a headphone jack and AUX input for quick headphone referencing and computer connectivity. They are also a great alternative to going through the user interface.
With a 3-inch woofer and a 0.75-inch silk dome tweeter that will give you clean and clear sounds with zero distortion. In fact, there are special ports on the monitor that handle bass frequencies and prevent any distortion or low end rumbles.
Since the woofer is only 3-inch, its frequency response range is 80Hz to 20kHz. You will need a subwoofer for better bass response.
Another praiseworthy feature is the speaker placement switch. It allows you to switch the side on which the volume control knob is on the monitor. This leaves you with more freedom when setting up your work station or music desk.
Do note that this monitor is passive; thus, you will need to plug it into a power source, but this should not be such a big deal because it’s already too cheap.
Overall, this is not a bad option at all, especially if you are on a tight budget, and you don’t want to compromise on quality.
Your studio monitor should provide you with the most precise and uncolored or true representation of your music. The best studio monitor will ensure your mix is translated well to headphones, TVs, radios, car audio systems, and other listening systems. For you to buy the best studio monitor, there is a lot more to consider than just the sound quality and representation. This section contains all the information you need to consider including what studio monitors are, what to expect from them, and features to look out for before buying.
What are studio monitors?
They are loudspeakers, usually in speaker enclosures that are specially designed for professional audio production applications like music recording studios, home studios, radio studios, TV studios, and filmmaking.
What to expect from studio monitors under $200?
Are you fearing you might not find a good studio monitor without hurting your wallet? Well, fret not because, with just 200 bucks in your pocket, you can get the best studio monitor that suits your needs. Here are some of the things you will love on a studio monitor below 200 dollars.
3 to 5-inch woofers
Most studio monitors have a woofer ranging from 3 inches to 5 inches, and they offer a great bass response.
Some of them have multiple inputs, while others come with single inputs, including AUX input, RCA jack, headphone jacks, and XLR-1/4” combo input, among others.
Lightweight and compact build
Most of the monitors are small and highly portable, meant to fit well in any workspace.
Passive or active amplification
Some monitors are active or powered while others are passive, thus need to be plugged into a power source.
The monitors are built to offer the best crisp, clear, and well-balanced sounds.
Most studio monitors under 200 dollars have a power wattage ranging between 20 watts and 200 watts. The one with a higher wattage performs better in terms of volume levels and audio clarity and definition. They also have a better dynamic range.
Features to consider when buying studio monitors
These are some of the features you have to look out for to make the best buy.
Near field monitors vs. far field monitors
This depends on the size and nature of your studio. If you are a small recordist with a small studio or home studio, then you better go for the near field monitors for a minimized environmental impact on the mixing.
On the other hand, if you have a big studio with a heavy acoustic treatment, then you can go for far field monitors, which mainly do background scoring and sound effects.
Active vs. passive monitors
As much as passive monitors are cheaper, active monitors are more beneficial. Passive monitors will require you to perfectly match their speakers with an amplifier and crossover while active monitors come with all that built-in them.
Active monitors even perform better because the internal amplifier is specifically matched to their speaker for optimal performance. If you can part with what they cost, go for active speakers.
Most studio monitors are small and lightweight. The size of the studio monitor should be appropriate for the size of the room or workspace you are using. If you are mixing in a small place, you’ll get better results if you use a small studio monitor.
The wider the frequency range, the better. A wide frequency range will save you from the need to get a subwoofer for great bass response. The KRK RP5 Rokit G4 reviewed above is a good example of a monitor with a wide frequency range of 43Hz -40KHz.
If you don’t care about frequency range, then you can go for a small range then get a subwoofer backup whenever you need to. Monitors with a small frequency range are even much cheaper.
Power is a crucial aspect as it affects the overall sound in terms of volume, dynamic range, and amount of headroom. It is better to go for monitors with a higher wattage as you will be able to hear the audio details clearly and make precise adjustments to the gates, compressors, and limiters. The JBL Professional Control 1 Pro reviewed above is a great example of a monitor with high power.
Tweeters and Woofers
Studio monitors come with different tweeter and woofer dimensions. A tweeter handles all the higher frequencies while a woofer handles all the lower frequencies. The bigger the woofer and tweeter, the better the sound frequency response.
A monitor with a 5-inch woofer will produce a clearer and deeper bass sound compared to a 3-inch one.
As for tweeters, go for the silk dome-type for a more stable bass handling.
Studio monitors come with a varying number of connections. It is better to go for a monitor with a higher number of connections as it would be more versatile. A few of the connections include AUX input, RCA jack, headphone jacks, and XLR-1/4” combo input, among others. Some monitors like the Mackie CR3 reviewed above have nearly all of them, while others like the Alesis M1 Active MK3 have only one.
Single-amp, bi-amp, or tri-amp
This is determined by how the input signal is divided up to power the drivers. Be sure to go for monitors with either Bi-am or Tri-amp configurations.
Bi-amp and Tri-amp configurations have a more accurate frequency response and a better definition. Unlike single-amp configurations, they power each speaker individually, ensuring that every driver is able to reproduce its dedicated frequency range more accurately.
Several studio monitors have built-in EQs that help you tune them to your workspace or room. Others even have digital processing that makes them perform optimally according to your acoustic space.
There is a wide range of speaker construction materials out there, including Kevlar, paper, and aluminum alloys, among many others. Speaker driver materials largely affect the sound of a speaker. Kevlar drivers, for instance, ensure the sonic quality stays the same in all the frequencies you play.
Many small and large studio monitors feature a ported cabinet that helps them extend to lower frequency rates for more bass. This might seem very beneficial on the surface, but their sonic precision is not as good as that of closed cabinets, especially if you place the monitor too close to the wall.
If you have to put your studio monitor close to the wall, then consider going for one with a closed cabinet or front ports for accurate monitoring.
How to place studio monitors
To get the most accurate frequency response and clearest stereo image, place a stereo pair of studio monitors in an equilateral triangle. You should do this with your head when you are seated in your mix position.
Placing the monitors when setting up a multichannel surround sound system is much more complicated, but you can always get help from a professional.
Most importantly, ensure you place your speakers on stands for improved sounds rather than placing them on the table or console directly.
Expensive is not always high quality, but most of the expensive models are top-rated performers. If you are on a tight budget, you can find a studio monitor that will work pretty well to satisfy all of your musical needs.
There are studio monitors that can do well in untreated rooms. But, if the room is treated, you will get much better results. If you are serious about your choice of speakers, then you better treat your controlling room with some basic absorbent acoustic treatment to hear more of your speakers and less of the room’s reflections when you are recording.
Be sure to go for a studio monitor with a high wattage. A higher wattage system will give you more volume, more headroom, and a better dynamic range. If your monitor’s volume level demands an average wattage of 20 watts, then its program peaks would require about 200 watts. It is, therefore, safer to go for a higher wattage, at least more than 70 watts if you want a higher volume and more defined sounds with a great dynamic range.
The studio monitors market is too big, and it can be too daunting to navigate it for you to get the best that suits your needs. You don’t need to break the bank to own a studio monitor. There are multiple models and brands under 200 dollars that have superior features and offer great sounds. All the detailed information on this guide will help you choose the best studio monitor for your needs without hurting your wallet.
Of all the products we reviewed, the KRK RP5 Rokit G4 stood out the most and was our best overall pick. Its high-end features, great convenience, versatility, and excellent value for its price set it apart. It can be used by both beginner and pro producers.
The Presonus E4.5 and JBL Professional Control 1 Prone followed in ratings and ranking. They both offered premium quality with cutting edge technology, elegant and durable designs, and exceptional performance. They are both optimized to sound great and are ideal choices that would last long without needing replacement or upgrading.