Searching for the best studio monitors you can afford can be exhausting!
This post may have affiliate links, meaning we earn a small commission on purchases through the links (at no extra cost to you). This does not change our opinion but does help support the site. Thank you!
I’m sure you’ll agree that we all want our music to sound PERFECT, no matter how anyone is listening to it. Headphones, car stereo or laptop speakers…
We want it sound as amazing as it can!
This is why buying the best studio monitors you can afford is SUPER important when producing music.
In this post I cover:
- The 5 recommendations – compared
- What to look for when buying studio monitors
- 5 mini reviews of the recommended monitors
Below you’ll find an exhaustive list of important features to consider when purchasing a high quality studio monitor and our top 5 picks for Best Studio Monitors under $200.
Best Studio Monitors Under $200: 5 Options Compared
What to look for in studio monitors?
Regardless of the type of music you’re putting out, if the sound is low quality or distorted, you’re simply not going to get a result you don’t want.
Good speakers enable you to hear the small intricacies of the music you’re creating and editing.
Though many people begin making music using their regular home speakers, these speakers are designed for the ears of the everyday consumer. Their sound is tweaked to make the music sound more pleasant.
When you’re creating and mixing music, you want to start with a flat frequency.
For producers and sound engineers though, it’s important that they’re able to hear every single sound – the good and the bad.
This will allow you to hear your music accurately so that you can mold it into a masterpiece.
While professional quality monitors can cost you thousands, there are several great options for those on a tighter budget.
We’re here to help you by taking your thousands of options and reducing them down to only 5!
As you know, sounds are emitted across a range of frequencies. In music, we refer to these collectively as either high, medium, or low frequencies.
The frequency range of your speaker determines which sound your speaker is able to emit which essentially determines how accurate the sound will be across different types and frequencies.
50Hz-20kHz is a pretty average range and when shopping for speakers, you should keep your choice around here or higher.
Another measure of accuracy, is the decibel range. The decibel range measures how consistently the monitor delivers sound at a given range and is, of course, measured in decibels. ± 3 dB is average.
Broken down, this means that at some frequencies may be louder or softer by as much as 3 decibels.
Active vs. Passive: Which one should you choose?
Passive monitors were common 20 years ago, but these days Active monitors are the standard.
Active monitors house their own amplifiers, unlike passive monitors which require an external amp. Active and Passive monitors are also known as powered and unpowered monitors.
Size: Does it matter?
Don’t assume that bigger speakers are automatically higher quality.
This is not the case!
Instead, pay attention to other important aspects of the speaker, several of which are included on this list.
Finding the perfect harmony of price and quality will continue to stump consumers for centuries to come. It can be difficult, but there are low cost, high quality options out there! 5 of your best options are contained in the table further on in the article.
Here again, more watts does not necessarily signify higher quality. A sound doesn’t become more clear by simply getting louder. For a simple home setup, 10-60 watts is good.
Single-amp, Bi-amp, Tri-amp
Also referred to as one-way, two-way, and three-way speakers, this term refers to the number of internal amps the speaker has.
In multi-amp speakers, high frequencies are emitted through one amp and low frequencies through another.
Because high and low frequencies are emitted separately on multi-amp speakers, they are considered to have a more accurate sound.
The Best Studio Monitors Under $200: The Contenders!
1. Tascam VL-S5
These TASCAM VL-S5 speakers are an amazing value for the price tag. At just $79.00, these 2 way speakers feature a woofer and a tweeter to emit sound across a wider range of frequencies.
These monitors also feature a 5″ curved Kevlar cone surrounded in rubber. Even producers who can afford more expensive monitors, will win by adding these monitors to their setup.
- Great frequency range for the price
- 2 amplifiers for a more accurate and pure sound
- Kevlar cone: kevlar is a thick material which might distort sound
2. Edifier R1280DBEdifier R1280DB Bluetooth Bookshelf Speakers
Compact, lightweight, and the with the added option to choose between a wired or bluetooth wireless connection, the Edifier R1280DB monitors have earned their place on our list.
Amazon reviewers rave about the crisp sound delivered through a bluetooth connection, the deep and full base, and their beautiful appearance.
With the wood grained appearance, your fellow sound engineers are sure to be jealous!
- option to choose between wired and wireless connection
- toggles for additional control
- wood housing looks good, but not as durable as other materials
3. JBL LSR308 8″ 2-Way Powered Studio Monitor
For those of our readers whose budget is firmly on the lower end, JBL LSR308’s price tag of $149.99 per speaker might seem a bit steep.
These speakers are worth every penny.
With two internal amplifiers and a sensitivity range of -10 dB/+4 dB (meaning that the speaker is accurate to a degree of minus 10 to plus 4) you can expect to every single note, at every single frequency!
This speaker epitomizes studio quality sound at a home-studio price.
- -10 dB/+4 dB sensitivity
- 2 trim switches to reach both higher and lower frequencies
4. IK Multimedia iLoud Micro Monitors ultra-compact 3″ Studio Monitors
These bite size speakers pack more of a punch than you might think and with a frequency range of 55 Hz to 20 kHz, they’ll make an impact in any studio environment.
Unlike the other speakers on our list, the IK Multimedia iLoud Micro Monitors also feature high & low frequency controls, enabling you to optimize the sound whether you decide to place these on a desktop or a shelf.
Small enough to sit on your desk with a sound big enough to shake them off. Well, maybe not. But these amazing speakers do include the option to a 1-year warranty (through our link) should anything happen to them.
- Amazing sound quality
- Bluetooth wireless option
- The speakers are high quality, but with zero included accessories, you’ll get what you pay for and nothing else
- Frequency response of only 55 Hz – 20 kHz is on par with lower priced options on the list
5. PreSonus Eris E5 2-Way Active Studio Monitor – Single
The PreSonus Eris E5 monitor is a 2-way powerhouse. This monitor features a frequency response of 53 Hz – 22 kHz, which helps to deliver a more accurate sound, and 2 silk-dome tweeters, which help to deliver a higher quality of sound.
The price tag for this speaker will fit beginning producers and sound engineers well, but at this quality, you’ll have the technology in your corner to produce a truly beautiful piece of art worthy of any professional studio.
- Powerful and high quality
- Single, not in a pair
- No included accessories
Which monitors are right for you?
There are so many options out there in terms of a good quality studio monitor. With a maximum budget of $200, finding the perfect monitor for your studio becomes a bit more difficult, but not impossible!
Even if you choose to purchase a monitor not included on our list, the information in this article is more than enough to help guide you towards a well informed purchase decision.
In truth, there is no wrong decision for a monitor. And, lucky for you, all of the research has been done for you!
We hope you’ve enjoyed this article and found it useful.
Please check our blog for more helpful articles, tips, and product suggestions.