The 20 Best Studio Monitors For Music Producers in 2020

The 20 Best Studio Monitors For Music Producers in 2020


“If you had a sign above every studio door saying, ‘This Studio is a Musical Instrument,’ it would make such a different approach to recording.” – Brian Eno


As a music producer, It is essential to set yourself up with the best studio monitors. Simply put, monitors help you make better music and make the experience of producing more enjoyable. Here is everything that monitors do:

  • Monitors give you the necessary transparency to hear the sound coming out of your DAW.
  • Monitors relieve the need to always use headphones, which is healthy for your ears.
  • Monitors bring a critical vibe in your studio — purchasing your first set of monitors will immediately suggest that you are one step closer to achieving your production goals.

We’ve compiled a list of the 20 best studio monitors for music producers, explicitly updated for 2020. There is something on this list for everyone, regardless of your budget, your studio setup, and your specific production needs — if you’re thinking of purchasing a new set of monitors, there is something here for you.

How to Choose The Best Studio Monitors

How should you pick a pair of monitors off our list? There are a variety of factors that are going to affect your decision about which monitors to buy. In order of importance, here are the questions you should be asking yourself:

  1. What is my budget? Studio monitors are not a cheap investment. We’ve organized our list below to suit various budgets. Bear in mind that there are diminishing returns with more expensive monitors.
  2. What is my room size? You’ll see terms like “near-field” and “mid-field” below. In general, smaller mix rooms require smaller monitors. If you put large monitors in a small space, they will sound boomy, and you will not get an accurate sound. With bigger rooms, you may place the monitors further away from you (hence, “mid-field” monitors). This allows you to get away with bigger drivers on your monitors.
  3. Is my room treated? The best monitors will only sound amazing in a well-treated space, and there is no sense in spending money on a top-of-the-line pair if your room doesn’t have the proper acoustic treatment. In general, a $500 set of monitors in a room with $1000 of acoustic treatment will sound lightyears better than a $1500 set of monitors in a room with $0 of acoustic treatment. And remember, the acoustic foam does nothing! It would be best to have heavy bass traps with a lot of mass to alter your room’s low-end response.
  4. What kind of audio am I engineering? Most monitors are meant to be versatile, so rarely would we have genre-specific recommendations. But, we’ll point out a few sets of monitors below that work well in specific settings. Brands like Focal have an excellent high-end response that is great for vocals, while some monitors with smaller drivers miss out on the crucial low frequencies of electronic music.

A pair of studio monitors, be it entry-level all the way to professional-grade, will bring incredible value to a studio. Watch the video below to discover four ways to get the most out of your monitors.

Best Entry Level Monitors (less than $400/pair)

Best Delay Plugins - Echoboy

JBL LSR305P MKII

Price per pair: $258

Frequency Range: 43Hz-24kHz

Speaker Configuration: 2-way

Driver Size: 5”, 1”

Why it made the list: Oh yes, we’re starting with the trusty old JBLs. These are our favorite monitors for first-time buyers. The value for the price point is unparalleled, and once you have a pair of the LSR305s you won’t need to upgrade until you’re ready to spend $1K+ on your next pair of monitors. They offer a faithfully balanced EQ spectrum and are built to have a large “sweet spot” — this means that even if your room setup isn’t perfect, you’re likely to get a better sound out of these monitors than others which rely on a more strict room configuration.


Best Delay Plugins - H-Delay

KRK Rokit 5

Price per pair: $358

Frequency Range: 43Hz-40kHz

Speaker Configuration: 2-way

Driver Size: 5”, 1”

Why it made the list: You’ve undoubtedly seen photos of the Rokits in the studios of some of your favorite producers. Their iconic yellow and black aesthetic is a staple for many electronic music producers, and the kevlar tweeter ensures long-term reliability. An accompanying KRK app allows you to calibrate the monitors to your room (it’s no substitute for Sonarworks, but it certainly helps). The Rokit’s are known for their balanced low-end response and are built to be listened to for long hours with minimal ear fatigue. The KRKs are an excellent choice for new producers wishing to work for hours on end.


Best Delay Plugins - Galaxy

PreSonus Eris E5

Price per pair: $250

Frequency Range: 53Hz-22kHz

Speaker Configuration: 2-way

Driver Size: 5”, 1.25”

Why it made the list: The Presonus Eris E5s are another great pick for your first pair of studio monitors. When it comes to smooth frequency responses and a faithful high end, the silk dome tweeter of the E5s offers clarity without the high-end harshness found in similarly-priced monitors. The low-end here requires careful consideration, as the E5s miss out on the sub frequencies below 53Hz, so you would need to pair these with a set of monitoring headphones or a subwoofer. They offer an 80Hz/100Hz low-cut, though, which is excellent for producing at night when you don’t want to disturb your neighbors (and incorporate a sub).


Slate Repeater Delay

Yamaha HS5

Price per pair: $400

Frequency Range: 54Hz-30kHz

Speaker Configuration: 2-way

Driver Size: 5”, 1”

Why it made the list: The Yamaha HS series (HS5, HS7, HS8) are all great monitors and are the go-to choice of tons of producers. HS5s come in just under our $400 cap for a pair, and you will not be disappointed if you choose to pick these up as your first studio monitors. Transparency is the name of the game here, and a mix that sounds great on the HS5s will sound great in nearly all listening scenarios. Plus, the ROOM CONTROL and HIGH TRIM response controls allow you to adjust the monitors to sound great in your mix room.


Valhalla Delay

Kali Audio LP-6

Price per pair: $298

Frequency Range: 45Hz-21kHz

Speaker Configuration: 2-way

Driver Size: 6.5”, 1”

Why it made the list: Rounding out our entry-level monitors are the Kali Audio LP-6s. The reason the LP-6s are on the list is simple; they are exceptionally transparent for the price point. Not only are they simple to start, but Kali’s “Boundary EQ” allows you to tweak the monitors to less-than-perfect room setups. Whether you are close to a wall, or your monitors are on stands or a desk, there is a setting for you. The neutral frequency response and customizable options make the LP-6s a great pick at this price point.

Best Advanced Monitors ($400-$1000/pair)

Native Instruments Replika

Yamaha HS8

Price per pair: $740

Frequency Range: 38Hz-30kHz

Speaker Configuration: 2-way

Driver Size: 8”, 1”

Why it made the list: The HS8s achieve everything we love about the HS5s, but with an improved low-end response. With 8” woofers, the HS8’s allow for frequency responses down to 38Hz, which pretty much captures all the low-end frequencies you’ll want to add into a track (not sure how to balance your low end? Check out this article or the Hyperbits Masterclass). The faithful low-end response and the clarity that the HS series is known for make the HS8s an excellent choice for any home studio. Serik, the founder of Hyperbits, uses these monitors in his home studio.


Soundtoys Primal Tap

KRK Rokit RP7 G4

Price per pair: $420

Frequency Range: 42Hz-40kHz

Speaker Configuration: 2-way

Driver Size: 7”, 1”

Why it made the list: KRK’s RP7s are to the Rokit 5s what the HS8’s are to the HS5s. The RP7s capture everything we love about the Rokit 5s long-term reliability, flexibility across a range of mix rooms, and limited ear fatigue — with more low-end representation. The 7” woofer allows you to capture nearly all critical sub frequencies, and with the RP7s coming in just above the $400 mark, these are an excellent pick for producers that want larger woofers while still adhering to a stricter budget. Plus, the attached iso-foam pads help drive down the overall cost of the monitors.


Best Monitors - Genelec 8010

Genelec 8010A

Price per pair: $700

Frequency Range: 67Hz-25kHz

Speaker Configuration: 2-way

Driver Size: 3”, 0.75”

Why it made the list: When it comes to the best names in pro audio, Genelec is near the top of everyone’s list. Go to some of the best studios in the world, and you’ll find Genelec monitors. The 8010As are a fantastic monitoring choice and are ideal for small mix rooms. The smaller drivers limit the boomy, low-end buildup characteristic of putting too many speakers in a small space. Bear in mind that the low-end response is limited, so electronic producers will want to couple the 8010As with a pair of monitoring headphones. Their small physical footprint is a great bonus.


Soundtoys Crystallizer

Mackie MR824

Price per pair: $540

Frequency Range: 35Hz-20kHz

Speaker Configuration: 2-way

Driver Size: 8”, 1”

Why it made the list: Mackie is another huge name when it comes to studio monitors, and the MR824s are a great middle-ground for price point and performance. The polypropylene woofer and the silk-dome tweeter offer a very balanced response that allows these monitors to perform well across a wide range of music genres. If you’re mixing electronic music today, producing a podcast tomorrow, and recording a rapper the day after that, these are a great pick. Plus, the wooden cabinet looks sleek and will add some serious vibe to any studio. Pro Tools users get Mackie’s 23-plugin Musician Collection library for free.


Best Monitors - Dynaudio

Dynaudio BM5 mkIII

Price per pair: $1,000

Frequency Range: 42Hz-24kHz

Speaker Configuration: 2-way

Driver Size: 7”, 1”

Why it made the list: Dynaudio has been making speaker drivers for nearly 40 years and produces some of the best studio monitors on the market. The BM5’s are their flagship near-field monitor. They’re designed to offer the full low-end and power of larger monitors with a smaller footprint. Couple Dynaudio’s reputation for making industry-standard speakers with high pass filter options for subwoofer adaptation and a hand-crafted build, and you have an incredible set of monitors coming in right under $1000.

Best Professional Monitors ($1,000-$5,000/pair)

Best Monitors - Adam

Adam A7X

Price per pair: $1,500

Frequency Range: 42Hz-50kHz

Speaker Configuration: 2-way

Driver Size: 7”, 2”

Why it made the list: Americans have some strange fascination with German engineering. Maybe it’s the years worth of BMW ads I’ve consumed during every golf tournament I watch? Anyways, ADAM Audio makes the BMWs of studio monitors. Handmade in Berlin, they are high performance, sleek machines that any professional audio engineer would be happy using. They are an excellent choice for small to medium-sized mix rooms, and the X-ART folded-ribbon tweeters are capable of producing frequencies far above most other monitors in this price range.


Best Monitors - Focal-Shape

Focal Shape 65

Price per pair: $2,000

Frequency Range: 40Hz-35kHz

Speaker Configuration: 2-way

Driver Size: 6.5”, 1”

Why it made the list: Two Hyperbits instructors, Zach and Pete, use Focal Shape monitors. The Shape 65s have a passive radiator on the side of the monitor, which helps alleviate much of the low-frequency buildup that happens in small mix rooms (i.e., you can put these pretty close to a wall without much of an issue). Focal Shape monitors are known for clarity and “flatness” through the mids and highs, and between that and the controlled low-end response, these are one of the best options for a home studio.


Best Monitors - HEDD

HEDD Audio Type 20

Price per pair: $3,998

Frequency Range: 32Hz-50kHz

Speaker Configuration: 3-way

Driver Size: 7”, 4”, and tweeter

Why it made the list: You might not be familiar with HEDD Audio, as they’ve only been around since 2015, but were founded by the former head of R&D at ADAM Audio, Klaus Heinz. These are the first three-way monitors on the list, and to be honest, I wouldn’t recommend getting these unless you are in a well-treated room. Because of the three-way design, the “sweet spot” on these monitors is somewhat small, and so while sitting in the sweet spot sounds impressive, sitting outside of it does not. The accompanying plugin Linearizer helps calibrate the monitors both in terms of frequency response and time response (which helps with phase issues) to tune the monitors to your mix room.


Best Monitors - Focal-Solo6

Focal Solo6 Be

Price per pair: $2,998

Frequency Range: 40Hz-40kHz

Speaker Configuration: 2-way

Driver Size: 6.5”, 1”

Why it made the list: We seriously love these monitors and they are the absolute best available at this price point. The Solo6 Bes are known for their neutral response and impressive low-end for near-field monitors (no sub needed here) — plus, the beryllium inverted dome tweeter offers unparalleled transparency across high frequencies. We recommend these monitors for all genres of music, but the transparency through the high end will be especially handy when working with vocals.


Best Monitors - Neumann

Neumann KH 310

Price per pair: $4,400

Frequency Range: 34Hz-21kHz

Speaker Configuration: 3-way

Driver Size: 8.25”, 3”, 1”

Why it made the list: The Neumann KH 310s round out our favorite professional-range monitors, and boy, are they something! The three-way design offers exceptional clarity through the mid-range (great for vocals, synths, and guitars). The 8.25” woofers provide a lush low-end that is perfect for mixing electronic music. Unlike the 3-way design of the HEDD Type 20s, the KH 310s offer a wider sweet spot, which will translate well to mix rooms that don’t have a perfect layout and are great for producers who work with someone else in the room. You’re buying these monitors for the low-end response, though. Plus, Neumann’s iPad app lets you calibrate the monitors to your room and make them an excellent lifelong monitor choice.

Best Top-of-the-Line Monitors ($1,000-$5,000/pair)

Ok, there is a MAJOR caveat to the rest of these monitors. These are some of the best monitors in the world, but it does not make sense to purchase any of the below if you aren’t working in a professionally treated room. If you are working with this budget, I highly recommend investing that money into room treatment before picking up a set of professional monitors.

Again, these are only for professionally treated rooms. And if you’re in that sort of space, they sound incredible…

Best Monitors - Focal Trio

Focal Trio6 Be

Price per pair: $5,998

Frequency Range: 35Hz-40kHz

Speaker Configuration: 3-way

Driver Size: 8”, 5”, 1”

Why it made the list: Remember how much we loved the Focal Solo6 Be? These are the three-way version of the Solo6s, offering an even better neutrality level with a more robust low-end. Some engineers swear by having multiple sets of monitors in their studio to switch between, and the Trio6s do this within a single set of monitors. You can remotely switch between the three-way to a two-way setup (which uses only the 5” and 1” drivers and offers a frequency response between 90Hz-20kHz). Just like the Solo6s, the beryllium tweeter offers state-of-the-art high-end transparency that is great for mixing vocals (and just about everything else).


Best Monitors - ATC

ATC SCM50ASL

Price per pair: $15,500

Frequency Range: 38Hz-20kHz

Speaker Configuration: 3-way

Driver Size: 9.2”, 3”, 1”

Why it made the list: ATC makes arguably the best studio monitors in the world. The SCM50ASLs are midfield monitors, meaning that they are intended to be used in large studio rooms and positioned a considerable distance from the listener. These monitors are handmade, only available on special order, and are built with professional mastering studios in mind. If you have a huge budget to create a well-designed mix room, get a pair of SCM50ASLs, and you’ll have the sound of the best studios in the world.


Best Monitors - Genelec-The-Ones

Genelec The Ones 8341A

Price per pair: $5,900

Frequency Range: 45Hz-20kHz

Speaker Configuration: 3-way

Driver Size: 6.6”, 3.5”, 0.75”

Why it made the list: Everyone talks about meeting “the one.” You know that person is a perfect match for you and that you’re supposed to spend the rest of your life with them. For Genelec to name a set of monitors “The Ones,” they had to provide a truly incredible product. And wow, did they deliver! The Ones translate between nearfield and midfield settings and offer a tight and neutral frequency response. Genelec’s Smart Active Monitor technology allows for optimizing the monitor to the quirks of your mix room, plus they are designed to offer a massive sweet spot. Overall, these are the best pick for state-of-the-art sound quality while still maintaining a small footprint. They just might be The Ones for you (see what I did there?).


Best Monitors - Barefoot

Barefoot MicroMain27

Price per pair:  $21,990

Frequency Range: 30Hz-45kHz

Speaker Configuration: 3.5-way

Driver Size: 10”, 5.5”, 1”

Why it made the list: The MicroMain27s are the go-to choice for tons of the best electronic music producers in the world (like Skrillex, Flume, Joris Voorn, and Tchami). The low-end response coming from the dedicated 10” subwoofer is among the best on our entire list, and the clarity through the mids and highs is just as strong as any other monitors you see here. Plus, Barefoot’s MEME technology functions similarly to the Focal Trio6s in that you can switch between reference modes on the monitors to simulate different types of speakers and listening environments. Because of that, the MicroMain27s allow the listener to understand how their mix will translate across various settings.


Best Monitors - PMC

PMC twotwo.6

Price per pair: $5250

Frequency Range: 40Hz-25kHz

Speaker Configuration: 2-way

Driver Size: 6.5”, 1”

Why it made the list: The final monitor on our list — the PMC twotwo.6. These monitors are built for small to medium-sized rooms (no 10” subwoofers here). Keep this in mind if you’re shopping around this price point. PMC employs a proprietary “bass-loading technology” that allows for full low-end representation despite the more compact design of the monitors. Plus, these monitors were designed to remove problematic mid-range frequencies that can persist on other two-way monitors. When it comes to the top of the line, small footprint monitors, the twotwo.6’s are an excellent choice.

Acoustic Treatment

Remember, acoustic treatment in your room matters just as much for sound quality as does your selection of monitors. Your monitors are only ever going to sound as good as your room. If you are looking to improve your studio’s sound quality, sometimes an acoustic treatment investment will do more than better monitors. But in the end, your monitors will determine how you listen to the music you’re creating and will become a critical component to the sound you have in your productions.