Review of the best according to the editorial board. On the selection criteria. This material is subjective and does not constitute advertising and does not serve as a purchase guide. Before buying, you need to consult with a specialist.
Anyone who appreciates the real sound of professional acoustics knows that only professional equipment can boast of truly realistic sound with maximum detail, a wide range of sound reproduction, no distortion and other positive qualities. It is to this category that the so-called studio monitors can be attributed – acoustic systems with an ideally smooth frequency response that are used in recording studios. Those willing to spend a significant amount on such a purchase purchase studio monitors just to listen to music. We present you with a special rating review, where our specialists and consultants describe all the most important qualities of each of the 11 presented models.
- Ranking of the best studio monitors
- Focal SM9
- Mackie HR824
- Adam A8X
- Genelec 8030A
- Focal Alpha 80
- YAMAHA HS8
- JBL LSR308
- BEHRINGER Truth B2031A
- Axelvox PM-5A
- KRK ROKIT 5 G3
- Pioneer S-DJ50X
Ranking of the best studio monitors
|Nomination||a place||Name of product||price|
|Ranking of the best studio monitors||1||Focal SM9||RUB 236,200|
|2||Mackie HR824||RUB 71,000|
|3||Adam A8X||RUB 44 618|
|4||Genelec 8030A||RUB 47 820|
|5||Focal Alpha 80||RUB 21,423|
|6||YAMAHA HS8||RUB 17,000|
|7||JBL LSR308||RUB 16,999|
|8||BEHRINGER Truth B2031A||RUB 14,936|
|9||Axelvox PM-5A||RUB 15,265|
|10||KRK ROKIT 5 G3||RUB 8,014|
|11||Pioneer S-DJ50X||RUB 9 160|
Let's start with the brightest and most expensive solution. All other studio monitors will be significantly cheaper than this, and it will become clear why later.
So we are dealing with a studio reference control system, which is technically not one, but a whole pair of monitors housed in a single box. One of them is three-lane, the other is two-lane. The manufacturer positions the device as a reference monitor due to the impeccable accuracy of the stereophonic picture, the ability to easily reproduce the most elusive details of the audio signal and extremely adequate display of the original dynamics. The main and sub monitors in Focus mode at the final stages of mixing can work alternately in two modes.
The individual features of this system that make it exclusive are as follows. The high frequency driver has a wide directivity for optimal positioning in the studio along the working axis. The inverted dome of the driver is made of beryllium. The diameter of the passive bass radiator is 11 inches, it contains a composite bass resonator in the shape of the letter W. Here and in general, a special three-layer material Glass / Foam / Glass is used in the radiators. To correct the system for a specific room, seven parameters can be adjusted. The input sensitivity is also configurable. The total power of the three class AB amplifiers is 600 W.
The studio monitor in operation generates a sound pressure of up to 116 dB SP. Coverage of reproducible frequencies – from 30 to 40 thousand Hz. The power of the emitters: high-frequency – 100 W with a size of 25 mm, medium-frequency – 100 W with a size of 165 mm, low-frequency – 400 W with a size of 203 mm. Supports Bi-amping – separate adjustment of bass and treble. The crossover frequency is also adjusted.
Device dimensions – 490x320x390 mm. Net weight – 35 kg. Made in austere black. The delivery set includes a removable grill.
- flawless performance of the scene;
- natural timbres;
- deep, but unobtrusive bass;
- near-average field as a whole;
- actually two monitors in one.
- high price.
The second number in the ranking is the model, which is several times cheaper than the previous one, but already not so impressive. Nevertheless, this is more than a worthy system, which over the years has repeatedly proved its high quality and wide capabilities.
This unit is a professional 2-way studio monitor focused on stereo or surround mixing. THX PM3 certification confirms its suitability for producing high-definition audio for movies and modern video games. The system is equipped with an 8.75-inch low-distortion woofer and a titanium dome tweeter for realistic sound across the entire perceived frequency spectrum. High performance is provided by built-in amplifiers of 250 W of output power (150 W low, 100 W high).
Diffraction in this model is minimized by die-cast aluminum Zero Edge Baffle shielding. The waveguide is optimized as much as possible for wide coverage. Midrange artifacts are reduced to zero thanks to high-quality internal damping.
The studio monitor is technically compatible with any professional equipment – you can connect via RCA, TRS and XLR connectors located on the rear panel. The low- and high-pass filters are individually adjustable so that the device can be tailored as closely as possible to the specific workplace.
The size of the low-frequency radiator is 222 mm, of the high-frequency one – 25.4 mm. The studio monitor develops a peak sound pressure of 120 dB SPL in the frequency range from 39 to 20 thousand Hz with an impedance of 6 ohms.
A standard 6.3 mm jack is used to connect to an external power amplifier. There are also balanced and line inputs.
Overall dimensions of the system – 427x274x351 mm, net weight – 15.7 kg.
- high quality bass comparable to much more expensive models;
- high-quality detailing;
- flawless microdynamics;
- fast response to impulse.
- not found.
Next in our rating is a vivid example of legendary German quality – the flagship of the AX series of monitors manufactured by ADAM Audi o. It is an active two-way near-field monitor developed in Germany and manufactured there. The total power is 200 watts.
Despite the fact that this model is formally considered a near-field monitor, due to the sufficient power and radiation characteristics, it is also quite suitable for the medium field – many sound editing professionals confirm this. The device deserves special praise from specialists for one of the best combinations of price and quality.
The studio monitor is equipped with an X-ART tweeter with a 56 mm diaphragm; and a 220 mm woofer. The top corners of the body are chamfered like all other models in the AX series. This was done, of course, not for design purposes, but to minimize interference from the reflected signal. On the front panel there is a double bass reflex, which is responsible for maximum output at the edge of the low frequency range.
The most powerful in the entire AX series from Adam studio, this monitor is made by two amplifiers: 50 W for the high-frequency ribbon radiator and 150 W for the midwoofer. It develops a peak sound pressure of 120 dB SPL in the range from 38 to 50 thousand Hz. The crossover frequency is 2.3 kHz. Built-in overload protection. Treble and bass are adjusted separately.
The line and balance inputs are located on the rear panel. There are also two equalizing filters and input sensitivity adjustment.
Overall dimensions of the device – 255x400x320 mm, net weight – 13 kg.
- front location of phase inverters;
- ribbon tweeters with excellent microdynamics;
- perfect sound balance;
- vertical and horizontal arrangement is possible.
- rare claims to the lack of magnetic protection.
The rating of the best studio monitors according to the specialists' version is continued by an interesting model produced by the Finnish company Genelec. It is a relatively compact but powerful enough near-field monitor preferred by many professional studios and also widely used for equipping workstations and surround sound installations.
The device case with dimensions of 189x285x178 mm is made according to the special patented Minimum Diffraction Enclosure technology, has rounded corners, the front panel and sides are slightly curved – this shape allows you to minimize interference from the return signal and, in general, achieve the most flat frequency response and generally high quality sound with minimized angular diffraction cabinet.
This model, like all monitors of the 8000 series, uses a progressive bass reflex design, an improved aluminum housing with a characteristic matte surface, optimized airflow, Genelec Directivity Control Waveguide, and a protective mesh with its own acoustic optimization.
Unlike the previous model, this monitor is equipped with a full-fledged magnetic shielding, electronic circuits are protected against overload. The maximum power of the device is 80 W. Develops a maximum sound pressure of 108 dB SPL in the range from 58 to 20 thousand Hz. Crossover frequency 3 kHz. The size of the high-frequency radiator is 25.4 mm, of the low-frequency one – 127 mm.
Due to its light weight of 5.6 kg, the monitor can be easily mounted on the wall due to the complex mounting on the back wall and additional thread on the bottom. Another mounting option is a floor stand. Each device comes with a dedicated Iso-Pod stand. The stand allows you to perfectly level the system for even sound in both vertical and horizontal directions. With its help, you can easily manually adjust the direction of the sound axes, thereby 'untie' the monitor from the surface where it is installed.
- high detail;
- high-quality bottoms, as for such a compact size;
- frontal control;
- compact size;
- three shades in the finish.
- no pronounced shortcomings were found.
Focal Alpha 80
In our rating, there was a place for another monitor manufactured by the French private company Focal-JMLab. This time we will talk about a much more affordable model of a different class, but it is still a flagship in its lineup.
It is an active two-way near-field monitor with a 40-watt tweeter and a 100-watt subwoofer. It is positioned by the manufacturer as one of the most 'innovative' monitors in the Focal-JMLab range.
Here we see a one-inch inverted tweeter made of aluminum with a dome membrane, capable of reproducing not just high frequencies, but even minimal defects in equalization. The 8-inch cone-type woofer is made of glass fiber reinforced polymer. This membrane composition provides neutrality throughout the midrange and bass, while at the same time transparency of the same midrange. The model features a unique bass reflex design – large dual front ports for improved acoustic integration even in confined spaces.
The studio monitor produces a sound pressure of 109 dB in the range from 35 to 22 thousand Hz. Separate adjustment of high (4.5-22 kHz) and low (0-300 Hz) frequencies. There are XLR, RCA inputs. There is also a toggle switch for input sensitivity + 4 / -10. The AutoStandby mode is supported with the mode turning on after 30 minutes of inactivity and the mode turning off when a signal greater than 3 mV is detected.
Individual features of the model: low directivity, in which the sound is distributed evenly throughout the room; neutrality without distortion; minimal sensitivity to wall effects; the same sound balance at high and low volumes; the ability to connect two sources; optimal acoustic integration.
The device body is made of MDF, 15 mm thick. Device dimensions – 287x397x348 mm, net weight – 12.8 kg. The shade is vinyl black.
- value for money;
- clear attacks;
- high-quality high-frequency detailing;
- generally true quality sound;
- sleep mode.
- minor insignificant quibbles of users.
Now in our rating we will consider a studio monitor made by the famous Japanese company YAMAHA. This is the older model of active near-field devices, updated back in 2013, the HS series. Together with the younger models HS5 and HS7, the monitor replaced the HS50M and HS80M series.
Here we see an interesting decision of the manufacturer – a complete replacement of the dynamic heads with a different type. According to company representatives, such processing was dictated by the desire to provide increased impact at low frequencies and a smoother frequency response. Twitter has also undergone a change – increased from 3/4 to 1 inch.
Traditionally white woofer cones are made of polypropylene. The fabric dome tweeter is fenced off with a metal grill that protects it from damage.
The general acoustic design of this model, as well as of the entire HS series, is a circuit with a bass reflex and a FI port brought out to the rear panel. Available tuning hardware – two filter cut-off switches, sensitivity control. If you need to suppress bass, you can use the special ROOM CONTROL mode. The high frequencies are 'cut off' with the HIGH TRIM switch.
The amplification power of 120 watts is split between the low and high frequencies as 75 and 45 watts, respectively. The studio monitor reproduces sounds in the range from 38 to 30 thousand Hz. The amplification of low and high frequencies is separate. The size of the twitter is 25 mm, the woofer is 203.2 mm. For connection, XLR and TRS connectors (balanced and unbalanced sources) are used.
The body of the device is made of MDF. Dimensions are 250x390x334 mm. Net weight – 10.2 kg.
- clear sounding in the entire range;
- improved range compared to equivalent models;
- clear, intelligible middle;
- expressive modern design.
- not found.
The rating is continued by an interesting model produced by the famous American company JBL, famous for its high-quality acoustics and audio equipment. This is a two-way active near-field monitor with a total power of 112 watts.
In this model, as in the entire series, the manufacturer has implemented its own patented innovation – Image Control Waveguide. The technology is designed to achieve the highest quality sound without spatial distortion, even in rooms with a large area and high ceilings. The company's engineers developed the mouthpiece specifically for equipping the flagship of the M2 series, and now this budget model has also received it.
Among other remarkable qualities of the model, which professionals have already appreciated, one can single out such moments as: an accurate sound picture, in which an imaginary center is clearly visible; the ability to select the input sensitivity by means of a special switch (- 10 dB / +4 dB); Adjusting high and low frequencies to compensate for room acoustics (TRIM switches).
Neodymium speaker diameters: 8 “(203 mm) woofer, 1” (25 mm) tweeter. The device develops sound pressure up to 112 dB SPL in the range from 37 to 24 thousand Hz. The amplification powers for LF and HF are the same – 56 watts each. Separate HF and LF gain control is supported. Interfaces – balanced XLR and TRS 6 mm jack inputs.
Overall dimensions of the monitor – 254x419x308 mm, net weight – 8.6 kg, weight with packaging – 10 kg.
- flat frequency response;
- high detail;
- uniform sound field;
- wide directional pattern;
- a fairly reasonable price for all the advantages.
- in complete silence, a background spike is heard from the tweeter.
BEHRINGER Truth B2031A
The next position in the ranking of the best studio monitors according to the version is the model produced by the German company BEHRINGER, and this version is comparable in price to the previous two.
This is a two-way active monitor of the bass-reflex type, which quite objectively earned high marks from many experts due to the favorable combination of price and quality and a number of successfully implemented brand innovations of the manufacturer. The series has been around for a relatively long time, but over the past two years, BEHRINGER engineers have made a number of improvements to the series.
The updated B2031A series received improved materials and components – a woofer with a Kevlar membrane mounted in a die-cast aluminum chassis; 2 '' high resolution 'Velocity Ribbon'. To obtain additional power reserves, the developers have introduced bi-amplification technology into the system. Having entered the series, each copy undergoes manual correction during assembly to achieve the most even frequency response. The measurement protocol is supplied for each copy individually.
The nominal power of the monitor is 140 W, the maximum is 265 W. The device develops sound pressure up to 116 dB SPL in the range from 50 to 21 thousand Hz. The crossover frequency is 2 kHz. Separate amplification of high and low frequencies is supported.
The size of the high-frequency radiator is 25.4 mm, of the low-frequency one – 222.3 mm. The monitor has an integrated magnetic protection.
Overall dimensions of the studio monitor – 250x400x290 mm, net weight – 15 kg.
- good placement of split filters for manual sound optimization;
- kevlar membrane woofer;
- good detail in subtle shades;
- one of the best combinations of price and quality.
- high threshold of auto shutdown.
Studio monitors of the Axelvox brand of the new PM-5A series open the conditional group of budget models in our rating. Unlike all others, this model is initially supplied in pairs.
This model is positioned by the manufacturer itself as focused on 'compact' project studios. During the development, the efforts of the engineers were aimed at maximizing the clarity and detail in the mid and high ranges. It was quite possible to realize this thanks to the careful selection and adaptation of mid / low frequency drivers with the appropriate frequency response parameters – maximum evenness in the required ranges.
The monitors are equipped with tweeters with fabric domes. They effortlessly handle fine and precise high-frequency reproduction, producing a pleasant, non-choppy sound. Due to the careful study of the circuitry, the overload capacity is sufficient for comfortable audio production. By using fourth-order filters in the crossovers, it was possible to eliminate the probability of a dip in the frequency response at the crossover frequency.
The power of the studio monitor is 75 watts. The crossover frequency is 2.6 kHz. Reproduction of sound in the range from 70 to 20 thousand Hz. Separate boost for bass and treble is supported. Amplifier powers: LF – 50 W, HF – 25 W.
The physical characteristics of the devices are as follows. The size of the mid-low-frequency emitter is 127 mm, the material is cellulose; high-frequency – 25.4 mm. Slotted phase inverters on the rear panel. Interfaces – line and balanced inputs jack 6.3mm.
Overall dimensions – 185x280x225 mm, net weight – 11 kg. The body is made of MDF with a wall thickness of 17 mm.
- sufficient opportunities for a small project studio;
- affordable price.
- faulty bass.
KRK ROKIT 5 G3
Another inexpensive, but quite worthy studio monitor model in our rating is a representative of the third generation of the ROKIT series produced by the well-known company KRK Systems.
It is a compact 50W active two-way near-field monitor with a 5 “woofer and a 1” tweeter. In the updated series, the developers have raised the upper range to 35 kHz by using a 1-inch tweeter. The shape of the slotted bass reflex has also been improved, which gave a more detailed and accurate transmission of low frequencies. Upgraded class A / B amplifiers, resulting in increased max SPL.
The metric dimensions of the HF emitter are 25 mm, the LF – 127 mm. The device produces sound pressure up to 106 dB SPL in the range from 45 to 36 thousand Hz. Bi-amping (separate amplification of bass and treble) is supported. Power distribution of amplification: LF – 30 W, HF – 20 W.
The body material is made of MDF. Overall dimensions – 188x284x246 mm, net weight – 5.9 kg.
- high-quality assembly;
- correct auto shutdown;
- good, clean tops and mids;
- reliable shielding;
- wide range for both this class and size;
- solid design.
- there are complaints about factory defects.
The rating of the best studio monitors from the model of the trade mark, which in itself is so 'talking' and legendary, closes the rating of the best studio monitors that there is no doubt about the quality of the device, even despite the budget class of this particular solution.
It is an active near-field monitor, which is positioned by the manufacturer itself as 'for DJs and producers'. The total power is 80 W, the dimensions of the speakers are 5 “LF and 1” HF, respectively.
The device is equipped with special tweeters with TAD domes and soft dome. They were developed using DECO technology, which the company applied to create its most famous monitor models. The diffusers are spatially directed, allowing precise and easy control of high frequencies.
Also, this monitor is characterized by a fairly powerful base due to the frontal system of reflection of low frequencies and the use of aramid fiber in the membranes. Actually, this model was developed taking into account the fact that high quality and realistic reproduction of low frequencies, regardless of the set volume.
Woofer size – 127 mm, HF – 25 mm. The studio monitor develops a sound pressure of up to 107 dB SPL in the range from 50 to 20 thousand Hz. LF and HF amplification are separate. Amplification power: HF – 26 W, LF – 54 W.
The bass reflex port is located on the front. The main interfaces are line and balanced inputs with standard connectors. There is a standby mode that activates after 25 minutes of no signal.
Overall dimensions of the device – 197x301x262 mm, net weight – 6.5 kg.
- famous brand;
- flawless sound;
- unexpectedly high-quality bass, as for diffusers of this size;
- correct auto shutdown.
- there is no bass adjustment.
Attention! This rating is subjective and does not constitute an advertisement and does not serve as a purchase guide. Before buying, you need to consult with a specialist.