A studio monitor can come with a high price tag, we all know that. However, if you are in the music production business, you also know that good quality studio monitors are essential. Even if you aren’t doing this commercially, it can be very frustrating if you are not able to make your track sound perfect due to lack of equipment.
Regardless of the reason why you are looking to purchase a studio monitor, if you are a DJ, a music producer or just doing this as a hobby, you know that you should invest in a good studio monitor. On the other hand, this shouldn’t mean that you need to sell your kidney for this. You can find some decent priced, best studio monitors under $500 for instance.
At this price range, you can achieve high-quality without major investment. So, if this is where you are right now, here is a list with the best studio monitors under $500 that I could come up with:
1. Yamaha HS8
We all know that Yamaha as a brand is one of the best in the market. It has been around for far too long and simply know the needs of any music producer or musician. Just like all Yamaha audio units, studio monitors, especially the ones from the HS series are renowned and they earn their place on the top lists.
Regardless of the price, the Yamaha HS series are studio monitors that worth every penny. Obviously they are made with special attention to details and features that are important for audiophiles. To top it all, they have a very cool design.
However, the best studio monitor from this Yamaha series is for sure the HS8. It has been on the best selling under $500 lists for quite a while, and deserves the first place on mine. It has a minimalistic yet very cool design. Still, although they went small with the style, they surely went big with the quality. It is a unit that is made to last.
It has a large 8-inch woofer and together with the 1-inch dome tweeter they produce impeccable highs. Although the back of the unit is standard, with a TRS Phone and an XLR jack input, it is still above average. Also, from the rear of the unit you can easily control the trim and the room options.
Last but not least, the performance. It has very powerful, well detailed lows. If we compare performance vs price, we are surely talking about an outstanding unit. Especially if we consider the fact that we are talking for a quality monitor and one of the best studio monitors under $500.
2. KRK Rokit RP10-3
A unit that comes at an incredible price, the KRK Rokit RP10-3. With good features and outstanding performance at a reasonable price. It has a striking design in black and yellow colors. This unit is perfect for young, ambitious musicians who want to add a touch of freshness in their studio. More importantly, this unit can surely compete with other studio monitors priced above the $500 mark.
It features an active three-way design. This makes sure that you are getting the best midfield monitoring performance. Also, I loved the fact that it is very lightweight, which in return makes the unit highly portable. You can carry it around and create music with your friends at any time. This monitor is created for a listening distance between 1 and 4 meters. In addition to this, it has a large 148W amp.
If you want a unit that can rock your world, this is the one. It has a fine front firing port and a dedicated mid frequency driver. If you are creating music for some time, you know how frustrating it can be when lows overwhelm the mids. The KRK Rokit RP10-3 will never let this happen. This is definitely one of the best studio monitors under $500.
3. JBL Pro LSR308
As a brand, JBL doesn’t need introduction. It has been on the market for a lifetime now, and has proven its quality. All audio gear from JBL is impeccable with great sound quality. There is no different with the JBL Pro LSR308.
The LSR308 comes after the legendary LSR305. Best of all? Its price tag is below 500! It is worth every penny and I say that from my own experience. It has massive 8 inch woofers with some nice waveguides. The LSR308s have a frequency response that goes from 37Hz to 24kHz. Their peak SPL of 112dB is achieved with the 56 watt Class D amplifiers that power each driver.
Feature-wise, this unit packs a lot. It will rock your world with the Image Control Waveguide. I also loved the patented Slip Stream rear-port design. This one produces a very accurate bass response at almost all playback levels. If this is not enough for you, let me tell you that the bass is as powerful as it can be. It has very clear and natural mids with great treble.
4. Edifier S2000 Pro
With a classy, stylish wooden design, the Edifier S2000 Pro might just be what you need. We are talking about another pro-level studio monitor that is outstanding. It is a Bluetooth v. 4.0 speaker, with aptX decoder and very nice connectivity options. With both optical and coaxial inputs, you can connect this unit to pretty much anything. And if you like doing things the old-fashioned way, you have a remote for that.
Even though Edifier is a brand that isn’t as recognized as most of the well known brands, they offer innovative unit designs with great performance, which brings it to our list of the best studio monitors under $500. Edifier units are slowly finding their way up on the audio gear market. My friend had one and I believe at this price it is basically a steal.
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For an under $500 studio monitor, the unit is well-design and brings out the best aesthetics possible. The build quality is top notch. The unit has all sides and top covered with a thick wood veneer. This improves the sound quality and gives a touch of stylishness in any room. It has warm mids and perfectly reproduces high frequencies. Even the bass response amazed me, which is hard to come by at this price.
5. Mackie XR824
Even if I was a strong believer that you cannot possibly find a cheap Mackie studio monitor, I have to be honest, I was really amazed to find the Mackie XR824 at a below $500 price range. It is simply outstanding.
Although it is the last on my list, it is still one of the best units I’ve ever had. I used it in my home studio, but I can assure you, it can be used in professional environment as well. This unit is definitely one of our favorites and one of the best studio monitors under $500.
Mackie’s design is very simple and offers nothing extraordinary. However, when you first turn it on, you’ll notice that they paid full attention to the performance and the overall sound quality. Even the baffle is with a logarithmic waveguide. Also, on the rear of the unit there is an elliptical port that refines the overall audio. What is really noteworthy about this monitor is the great performance. From the first time you hear the sound it produces, you know that you can rely on it.
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It features a great bass response. More importantly, the primary material in these massive woofers is Kevlar. This is a very high quality unit for sure. It is also resistant to damage and can withstand some punishing.
Feature-wise, we have an ELP Bass Reflex System in the back. Together with the great waveguide, the unit is well-balanced. Although I personally used at home, you can add it in any professional studio.
If you want to do some recording at home or in a professional studio, finding the best studio monitors will greatly improve the sound quality of your project. Choosing the right studio monitors for your budget is important. We wrote this article with the best studio monitors under $500 to help you navigate the process, and we hope we were able to help with your decision making.