September 2021

Studio Monitors: Aggregated Ranking Report

This report contains an aggregate consensus of Studio Monitor rankings posted by key online experts, as of September 2021.

At a glance - September 2021 Ranking

Scroll horizontally to browse this ranking table
Rank Change Price Studio Monitor
Music Radar
E-Home Recording Studio
Hyperbits
Music Critic
MusicTech
PianoDreamers
Gearank
MusicAlley
Careers In Music
PianoNadu
1
- $370
Yamaha HS8
-
2
6
1
-
-
10
-
3
1
2
- $200
Yamaha HS5
6
-
4
-
6
4
2
1
-
-
3
- $750
Adam Audio A7X
-
7
11
2
-
8
-
-
1
4
4
- $160
KRK Rokit 5 G4
-
-
2
-
7
6
1
-
-
3
5
- $237
KRK Rokit RP7 G4
1
-
7
-
-
-
6
-
2
-
6
- $155
JBL 305P MkII
-
-
1
-
-
5
4
-
-
2
7
- $139
Kali Audio LP-6
-
-
5
-
3
-
5
-
-
8
8
- $800
Mackie HR824 mkII
-
5
-
7
-
9
-
-
-
5
9
- $729
Neumann KH 120 A
-
6
-
6
-
-
-
-
4
9
10
- Check price
Genelec 8010A
4
8
8
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
11
- $1499
Focal Solo6 Be
-
-
14
5
-
-
-
-
7
-
12
- $179
KRK Rokit 5 G3
-
1
-
4
-
-
-
-
-
-
13
- $899
Focal Shape 65
2
-
12
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
14
- Check price
HEDD Audio Type 20
3
-
13
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
15
- $200
Adam Audio T5V
12
-
-
-
-
-
3
-
-
-
16
- $150
Mackie CR4
-
-
-
-
-
3
-
-
-
7
17
- $459
JBL 308P MkII
-
-
-
-
-
-
7
2
-
-
18
- $350
IK Multimedia iLoud MTM
5
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
5
-
19
- $300
IK Multimedia iLoud Micro
11
-
-
-
4
-
-
-
-
-
20
- $800
Dynaudio BM5 mkIII
-
-
10
-
-
-
11
-
-
-
21
- Check price
Genelec 8030C
-
-
-
-
-
10
-
-
-
10

We ranked Yamaha HS8 #1 in September 2021 because:

  • 6 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Studio Monitors” rankings.
  • Out of those, 2 experts ranked Yamaha HS8 as #1.
Critic endorsements:
E-Home Recording Studio

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Hyperbits

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

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Music Critic

Pros
Has an 8” cone woofer and a 1” dome tweeter to provide you with the best quality sound.
Has a frequency response of 38Hz to 30kHz, so you get the ideal flat frequency response.
Equipped with a built-in amp and a bi-amp so you get the best sound resolution every time.

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Gearank

The Best Studio Monitor under $500

Pros
Accurate and reliable are two prominent descriptions that people use to describe the Yamaha HS8. Compared to their previous affordable monitors, many found the improvement to be dramatic. While those who have more expensive monitors are perplexed as to how close the HS8 is, in terms of quality. Other commendations point to its value for money and longevity.

Cons
There are a few users who complain of interference from other devices. Some also find that it lacks low end, especially for bass-heavy musical styles. It may also be too large for smaller studios and may affect accuracy due to reflections and resonance. For smaller and untreated rooms, the HS5 may be a better pick.

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Careers In Music

Pros
Classic but updated sound
Accurate and transparent
Look fabulous
Well priced

Cons
Not ideal for small rooms

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PianoNadu

Best Studio Monitor for Home Recording

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We ranked Yamaha HS5 #2 in September 2021 because:

  • 6 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Studio Monitors” rankings.
  • Out of those, 1 expert ranked Yamaha HS5 as #1.
Critic endorsements:
Music Radar

Familiar white cone delivers the harsh truth on your recordings

Pros
A budding mix engineer's dream
Iconic design
Amazing value

Cons
Controls located at rear

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Hyperbits

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

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MusicTech

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PianoDreamers

Best Studio Monitor Under $500 (for intermediate studios)

Pros
Really affordable price point for the quality you receive
Ideal flat frequency response
Legendary heritage; an aspiring mixing engineer’s perfect companion

Cons
Not quite stellar low-frequency response on the HS5 model
Volume and trim controls on the rear

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Gearank

Pros
The Yamaha HS5 continues to get favorable reviews, mostly from home studio owners impressed with the improvements it brought into their production process. Sound quality gets praise, along with reliability and value for money. The neutral response, which is a hallmark in classic Yamaha monitors, is liked by many users who have grown used to the sound of the original NS-10.

Cons
Lack of volume and low-frequency punch came up a few times, while some advise that you save up for the bigger HS7 or HS8, or get the matching Yamaha studio subwoofer.

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MusicAlley

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Methodology: combine opinions of key experts

Identify Experts

We identify key publishers and experts that consistently review and recommend Studio Monitors.

Capture Rankings

For each publisher we find a currently recommended "top 10" list of Studio Monitors, it must be updated in the last 9 months.

Aggregate Rankings

We put all those lists together and aggregate them. The more frequently a product is recommended, the higher it is in our ranking

Experts chosen for September 2021 ranking

We ranked Adam Audio A7X #3 in September 2021 because:

  • 6 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Studio Monitors” rankings.
  • Out of those, 1 expert ranked Adam Audio A7X as #1.
Critic endorsements:
E-Home Recording Studio

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Hyperbits

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

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Music Critic

Pros
X-ART tweeter for improved extended frequency response.
The X-ART technology (Extended Accelerating Ribbon Technology) makes it easy to reproduce distortion-free sound.
It is also equipped with several controls both at the front and the rear.

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PianoDreamers

Best Studio Monitor Under $1000 (for the serious home studios)

Pros
Great transient response
High-end sounds crisp and clean
Front bass ports and front panel controls

Cons
A little more expensive than other monitors on this list
May take a while to get used to if you have listened to other monitors

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Careers In Music

Pros
Versatile
Sonically clean and precise

Cons
Expensive
Probably too powerful for smaller rooms

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PianoNadu

Best Studio Monitor for Home Recording

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We ranked KRK Rokit 5 G4 #4 in September 2021 because:

  • 5 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Studio Monitors” rankings.
  • Out of those, 1 expert ranked KRK Rokit 5 G4 as #1.
Critic endorsements:
Hyperbits

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MusicTech

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PianoDreamers

Best Studio Monitor Under $500 (for intermediate studios)

Pros
Great flat frequency response
Great value for money
Comes in two different designs (black and white)

Cons
Rear mounted volume and trim controls

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Gearank

At publication time this was the Highest Rated Studio Monitor Under $200.

Pros
While earlier ROKIT generations were criticized for having a bloated low-frequency range, the ROKIT 5 G4 has refined their sound signature and tightens it up with a front-firing port. Many users love the flat but extended response despite being on the smaller scale of studio monitors. EDM producers were happy to still have the low-frequency extension with a more balanced midrange, leading to better mix translation.

Cons
Digital controls turned off some users for being "gimmicky".

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PianoNadu

Best Studio Monitor for Home Recording

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We ranked KRK Rokit RP7 G4 #5 in September 2021 because:

  • 4 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Studio Monitors” rankings.
  • Out of those, 1 expert ranked KRK Rokit RP7 G4 as #1.
Critic endorsements:
Music Radar

Affordable nearfield monitors that are perfect for electronic music

Pros
Graphic EQ at this price-point is fantastic
Bass sounds are quite phenomenal

Cons
There are monitors better suited to non-electronic music production

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Hyperbits

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Gearank

The Best Studio Monitor Under $300

Pros
The one thing that users keep mentioning is how much of an upgrade this generation is over the last. While the previous generation ROKIT 7 was criticized for its bloated low-frequency range, the G4 felt more refined to some users. The bass is more controlled and consistent (in a well-treated room) and others mentioned that you might not even need a sub if your room is treated well enough.

Cons
The LCD menu behind the speaker is cumbersome to use and many users would rather have knobs and switches.

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Careers In Music

Pros
DSP driven room tuning
Thumpingly good bass
Iso-foam pad for great isolation
Great value

Cons
Not as distinctive looking as they were

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We ranked JBL 305P MkII #6 in September 2021 because:

  • 4 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Studio Monitors” rankings.
  • Out of those, 1 expert ranked JBL 305P MkII as #1.
Critic endorsements:
Hyperbits

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

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PianoDreamers

Best Studio Monitor Under $500 (for intermediate studios)

Pros
Nice low-end response
Hi-tech image control
Durable

Cons
Potentially difficult to balance

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Gearank

Pros
The JBL 305P MKII's strong point is its sound quality, which many consider as incredible when considering its price point. Many users specifically mention its highs and midrange to be very life-like, and they report that it helped them hear nuances that they were not able to with their old monitors. The speaker's build quality also gets a lot of thumbs up.

Cons
Some users complain that the low-end is lacking, but given its small 5" woofer, this is to be expected. There are also a few who note that it distorts when pushed hard, but this is more of a physical limitation than a problem.

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PianoNadu

Best Studio Monitor for Home Recording

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We ranked Kali Audio LP-6 #7 in September 2021 because:

  • 4 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Studio Monitors” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Hyperbits

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MusicTech

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Gearank

Pros
Many users and expert reviews give critical acclaim to the LP-6, saying that it's one of the best value studio monitors in the market today. The tweakability from the dip switches behind each speaker is something usually seen on more expensive studio monitors.

Cons
Some users reported some hiss on their units. Comments on these reviews speculate that the hiss may be from the power source/lack of power conditioning in the room.

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PianoNadu

Best Studio Monitor for Home Recording

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We ranked Mackie HR824 mkII #8 in September 2021 because:

  • 4 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Studio Monitors” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
E-Home Recording Studio

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Music Critic

Pros
Class A/B amplifiers so that you can hear the highs and the lows simultaneously.
The 8.75" woofer that you get with this studio monitor enables you to get a sound that is high-precision and low-distortion at the same time.

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PianoDreamers

Best Studio Monitor Under $1000 (for the serious home studios)

Pros
Highly accurate
Passive radiator for accurate low-end frequencies
Wide-dispersal of high-end frequencies

Cons
A little more expensive
Some people experience longevity issues 4-5 years down the line

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PianoNadu

Best Studio Monitor for Home Recording

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We ranked Neumann KH 120 A #9 in September 2021 because:

  • 4 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Studio Monitors” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
E-Home Recording Studio

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Music Critic

Pros
Has a 1” and is also bi-amplified.
Flat frequency response of 52Hz to 21kHz.
Can be easily used in two applications, near-field and rear, which gives it loads of versatility.

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Careers In Music

Pros
Designed by mathematical modeling
Comprehensive acoustic controls
Reasonably priced

Cons
Odd looking

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PianoNadu

Best Studio Monitor for Home Recording

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We ranked Genelec 8010A #10 in September 2021 because:

  • 3 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Studio Monitors” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Music Radar

Best compact mid-range 2-way design monitors

Pros
Accurate frequency response
A large sound for a tiny monitor
Rugged aluminium enclosure

Cons
Pricey, but a solid investment

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E-Home Recording Studio

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Hyperbits

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We ranked Focal Solo6 Be #11 in September 2021 because:

  • 3 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Studio Monitors” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Hyperbits

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

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Music Critic

Pros
W composite sandwich cone gives you unparalleled frequency response.
Has an inverted-dome tweeter to provide you with the utmost of precision and high efficiency.
It also comes equipped with a potentiometer so that you can easily adjust the tweeter and woofer levels according to your liking.

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Careers In Music

Pros
Sounds fantastic
Stylish

Cons
Expensive
Relatively small

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We ranked KRK Rokit 5 G3 #12 in September 2021 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Studio Monitors” rankings.
  • Out of those, 1 expert ranked KRK Rokit 5 G3 as #1.
Critic endorsements:
E-Home Recording Studio

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Music Critic

Pros
It comes in a complete bundle with two of these amazing speakers.
Low distortion and large headroom thanks to the bi-amped, class A/B amplifier.
Also comes with a high-frequency adjustment so that you can mold it according to your personal taste and requirements.

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We ranked Focal Shape 65 #13 in September 2021 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Studio Monitors” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Music Radar

Best mid-priced nearfields

Pros
Passive radiators give you flexibility
Rear EQ controls
Easily tweaked to your room

Cons
Automatic bypass function

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Hyperbits

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We ranked HEDD Audio Type 20 #14 in September 2021 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Studio Monitors” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Music Radar

Best high-end all-rounder studio monitors

Pros
Sharp stereo image
Enormous bottom-end
Great all-rounder

Cons
Expensive but competitive

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Hyperbits

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We ranked Adam Audio T5V #15 in September 2021 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Studio Monitors” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Music Radar

Affordable nearfield monitors that are great for small rooms

Pros
Clear precise top end with EQ adjustment if required
Sensible choice of inputs for either balanced or unbalanced connection
Compact footprint for 5” monitor

Cons
Rear mounted power LED a bit pointless

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Gearank

Pros
Excellent stereo imaging and separation are what users are saying in their positive reviews of the T5V. For such a small monitor, the placement of layers is precise and clear. High frequencies are always what ADAM monitors excel at and according to various user and expert reviews, it is one of its strongest points.

Cons
Some users found the small size to be lacking in low-frequency response. This is a common tradeoff. ADAM Audio recommends having a subwoofer to go with the T5V.

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We ranked Mackie CR4 #16 in September 2021 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Studio Monitors” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
PianoDreamers

Best Studio Monitor Under $200 (for beginner studios)

Pros
Great looking design and excellent build
Front power and volume controls
Aux input
Excellent price point

Cons
Not exactly the most accurate of monitors
A tad on the smaller side

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PianoNadu

Best Studio Monitor for Home Recording

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We ranked JBL 308P MkII #17 in September 2021 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Studio Monitors” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Gearank

The Best Studio Monitor Under $300

Pros
One consistently reported positive is the wide "sweet spot" the monitor has thanks to it's specially designed waveguide. They are also described to be "crystal clear" with regards to frequency response. They strike a great balance between enjoyable hi-fi listening and critical flat response that translates mixes.

Cons
Some users report noise and hiss from their units. Some wanted a bit more bass response.

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MusicAlley

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We ranked IK Multimedia iLoud MTM #18 in September 2021 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Studio Monitors” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Music Radar

The best all-rounder monitors for home studios

Pros
Affordable and compact
In-built calibration system
Perfect for home studios

Cons
Possibly lost in a large control room

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Careers In Music

Pros
Great for small rooms
Versatile
Self-tuning
Good value

Cons
Not enough power for larger rooms
Could be lacking in bass

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We ranked IK Multimedia iLoud Micro #19 in September 2021 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Studio Monitors” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Music Radar

Best studio monitors with a portable 2-way design

Pros
On-board 56-bit DSP
Bluetooth
Portable

Cons
No battery-powering option

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MusicTech

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We ranked Dynaudio BM5 mkIII #20 in September 2021 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Studio Monitors” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Hyperbits

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Gearank

The Best Studio Monitor under $500

Pros
Several users note that the monitors deliver very transparent sound. Some users mentioned they didn't need to get adjusted to the monitors to start working on music. Other reviews mention them striking a balance between great-sounding reproduction and critical accuracy. They sounded great for some users that didn't have optimal room treatment. The sound signature was also said to be non-fatiguing.

Cons
The low-frequency extension is present but can be hit-or-miss depending on your room and how well standing waves are treated. Some users report needing a sub for better low-frequency reproduction.

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We ranked Genelec 8030C #21 in September 2021 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Studio Monitors” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
PianoDreamers

Best Studio Monitor Under $1000 (for the serious home studios)

Pros
Clean sounding and incredibly accurate
Durable and reliable
Solid

Cons
Only XLR inputs

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PianoNadu

Best Studio Monitor for Home Recording

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