Best Studio Monitors Under $200 in 2021

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Every sound engineer worth their salt needs a reliable pair of studio monitors to elevate their craft. However, professional-grade studio equipment can easily cost thousands of dollars. If you’re just starting from a home studio and don’t have such a generous budget, your options become much more limited.

Luckily, there are still plenty of solid options if you know where to look.

In this article, we’ll focus on the best studio monitors under $200 that will work flawlessly for a beginner, student, or hobbyist mixer.

Comparison Chart

Alesis Elevate 5 MKII | Powered Desktop Studio Speakers for Home Studios/Video-Editing/Gaming and Mobile Devices
41VDmb 4E3L. SL500
Mackie CR3-X – 3″ Creative Reference Multimedia Studio Monitors (Blue)
31SAimH10QL. SL500
Kali Audio LP-6 Studio Monitor – 6.5″ inch
4151e16+kCL. SL500
Rockville APM5B 5.25″ 2-Way 250W Active/Powered USB Studio Monitor Speakers Pair
41L2H+EUdzL. SL500
KRK Classic 5 Professional Bi-Amp 5″ Powered Studio Monitor

Studio Monitors Under $200: Reviews

Alesis Elevate 5 MKII

Alesis is a brand well-known for its high-quality, affordable studio equipment, and that’s certainly the case with its Elevate 5 MKII studio speakers. In addition, this excellent pair of speakers can work standalone as the only mixing speakers you’ll need.

Review

The Elevate 5 MKII uses a generous 5-inch woofer paired with a 1-inch tweeter on active and passive speakers. The woofer works well in low frequencies, achieving a frequency range down to 56 Hz. This effectively means that you might get away without using a subwoofer to reach the deepest of bass frequencies, especially in smaller home studios.

As with any studio monitor, you want the frequency response to be as flat and universal as possible, and the Elevate 5 pair work well to provide as wide a range as possible. They also have a built-in bass boost if you want to tinker a little.

The speakers themselves are reasonably powerful, with 40W per side for a solid 80W, which is pretty much in the high-end for this kind of budget. If you’re looking for the best studio monitors under $200, you’ll have to sacrifice a bit of power or fidelity somewhere since the budget is the greatest obstacle.

The Elevate 5 MKII monitors are great for regular music playing, gaming, and movies if you’re only a hobbyist mixer. Their relatively large size for the price means that they can fit in larger rooms without sacrificing sound quality. However, they might not provide the best large-screen viewing experience due to a lack of power.

At present, they’ll work perfectly with computers and gaming consoles to provide that oomph for the audio.

The speakers also have a built-in sleep mode where they shut off after no sound signal comes through for a few minutes. Unfortunately, it takes a bit for them to wake up, so don’t crank the audio too much at first, or you might get an unwanted burst of sound, and you might need to repeat the start of your mix to hear it.

Pros

  • Good frequency range
  • Decent power output
  • Works well for studio mixing and gaming

Cons

  • Might not be enough for larger rooms
  • Sleep mode might get annoying

Mackie CR3-X

41VDmb 4E3L. SL500

Mackie CR3 studio monitors are a steal when you have less than $200 to spend on beginner studio equipment. These paired monitors are a great way to start as a hobbyist mixer or a music production student; they can serve double duty as regular computer speakers, especially considering their generous price.

Review

The first thing to understand about studio monitors and other equipment is that spending more money will usually get you better performance. With Mackie CR3-X, the biggest sacrifices are sheer power output and frequency coverage.

While the frequency response is pretty clear and standardized across its range, the small 3-inch woofer can’t reach below 80Hz. So if you plan to use mixes with rich bass sounds, you’ll definitely need a subwoofer to get higher-fidelity sound. However, since these speakers are so budget-friendly, you can assemble a solid setup even if you’re strapped for cash.

The Mackie CR3-X speakers are made from good-quality materials that provide excellent longevity and durability especially considering the low price tag. They are also light and easy to maneuver, making them a solid choice when you’re traveling a lot and need a decent mobile mixing setup for editing on a tighter schedule.

These studio speakers are also great for regular music playing, movies, and gaming. Unfortunately, their small size and relatively low power make them unsuitable for large living room setups. But they work perfectly alongside a PC or a laptop to provide better sound quality than most regular speakers can manage.

If you’re looking for the best studio monitors under 200, then it’s likely that you don’t need full-time professional-grade equipment in the first place. Mackie CR3-X speakers are an excellent choice. They are lightweight, durable, and work great if you’re just starting your mixing career from a home setup.

Pros

  • Excellent price point
  • High-durability materials
  • Versatile, great for hobbyists

Cons

  • Can’t reach low frequencies well
  • Small and lack power

Kali Audio LP-6

31SAimH10QL. SL500

Unfortunately, if you need a pair of studio monitors for under $200, the Kali Audio LP-6 isn’t for you. A single studio monitor will eat up most of your budget. However, if you have some money to spare, getting a pair of these is a worthwhile investment for an aspiring sound engineer or DJ.

Review

The Kali Audio LP-6 uses a 6.5-inch woofer to deliver excellent bass, reaching very low frequencies with ease and without much distortion.

Performance-wise, the biggest problem is some minor resonances around the 650-1000Hz frequency range, which requires the user to fine-tune their system a bit more to get flawless performance worthy of professional-gear equipment on a budget.

Nevertheless, the woofer is rated at 80W and the tweeter at 40W, allowing the monitor to deliver plenty of power when needed, reaching 112 dB for brief highs.

As a typical one-piece active studio monitor, you can use a pair of these to achieve a decent setup. Each LP-6 is weighty, coming in at a bit over 15 pounds, making them useful only when you don’t need to travel.

They can be mounted on desks, shelves, or other hi-fi speaker stands. The LP-6 has an eight-point DIP switch that modifies the frequency response based on room placement to exemplify user-friendliness. A handy diagram on the back of the monitor allows you to quickly set up your preferred room studio system without consulting online guides.

Kali Audio offers a larger LP-8 with a more substantial bass response and power at a slightly higher price (still under $200 apiece). However, regardless of which option you choose for a medium-room setup, you’ll break the budget. As such, Kali Audio studio monitors require a bit more of an investment, but we’re sure it will pay off in quality.

Pros

  • Excellent sound quality
  • Great versatility
  • Easy to set up

Cons

  • Breaks the $200 budget for a pair
  • Slightly distorts middle frequencies

Rockville APM5B

4151e16+kCL. SL500

The Rockville APM5B studio monitors might look a far cry from professional-grade equipment when it comes to size, but these small speakers pack a punch and are made from high-quality materials. As one of the best studio monitors under $200, you can’t get more power than this setup.

Review

The main talking points of the Rockville APM5B are the build quality and power. The speakers are crafted from supreme MDF wood, giving them a classical appearance and durability.

The mechanical parts are carefully designed for maximum durability and longevity, ensuring these small speakers will last for years. Inside the enclosure are D-type amplifiers connected to a 5.25-inch woofer and a three-quarter-inch tweeter for better sound quality.

The slightly larger-than-average woofer ensures bass sounds are punchy yet clear, and the design provides an excellent frequency range (50-20,000Hz). The total power output is 125W, much more than you’d expect from a system this compact and inexpensive.

The manufacturer’s build quality and attention to detail are evident in its sound performance, as the Rockville APM5B pair behaves well above its price range. The model also comes in classic wood and white styles apart from the standard black if you need to mix and match colors with other studio equipment and room decorations.

Unfortunately, the volume controls and jacks are all on the backside, which is a mixed blessing.

If you’re looking for a great entry-level studio monitor pair, the APM5B is an excellent way to go. The USB entry port is the best way to utilize these from a standard computer setup since it provides a more seamless sound and doesn’t come with the buzzing most RCA connections have from grounding loops.

These also serve great as regular computer speakers, so you can just use them for gaming or watching movies.

Pros

  • Excellent frequency range
  • Superb sound quality
  • Good price point

Cons

  • RCA connector buzzes a bit
  • All controls are on the back

KRK Classic 5

41L2H+EUdzL. SL500

KRK is a well-known high-quality studio equipment brand, but its performance comes at a cost. These studio monitors can break your budget – and then some. However, the quality you get is usually well worth the higher price tag.

Review

The KRK Classic 5 uses a standard-sized five-inch woofer to deliver clean bass and an excellent tweeter for up to 35kHz response. In addition, the bass can be boosted by 2dB straight on the speaker for that extra punch when needed. Regarding sound quality, KRK has a high bar it intends to keep, and the Classic 5 is no exception.

The speaker is built to be dependable, long-lasting, and provide a decent user experience. However, the speaker’s focus on higher frequencies means that it overemphasizes the upper range. Users should apply an EQ to get a more standardized performance of a dependable studio monitor setup.

There’s also the problem of the price tag. While a single speaker fits snugly into a $200 budget, a pair will require around $300 total or at least a 50% increase. If you can finagle that amount of money, a pair of Classic 5 speakers is a decent starting setup once you tune them properly.

Pros

  • Excellent sound quality
  • Good frequency range response and extensive range
  • Clear bass with a built-in boost if needed

Cons

  • Breaks budget
  • Needs EQ for higher frequencies

Final Verdict

The studio monitors outlined in our list are worthy contenders for the best studio monitors for under $200. If you want dependable, good-quality speakers, they are all fine choices, and your budget or lack thereof can do the talking.

However, the Rockville APM5B studio monitors have the best specs for the price tag, and the downsides are minor at best. In addition, they deliver sound comparable to a much pricier monitor setup, making them a perfect choice when starting out.

If your budget has some leeway, then the Kali Audio LP-6 is an excellent choice. Of course, a pair might cost a bit more (especially if you want to upgrade to LP-8 immediately), but the sound quality speaks for itself.

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