There is nothing more crucial for proper music production than a set of good quality studio monitors. With stuff like this, it all comes down to how much you’re willing to pay for the quality you need.
Good equipment cots a lot of money, and sometimes we have to make compromises. For a home studio, or decent professional studio, you are looking at spending at least $1000 on a good pair of studio monitors.
We’ve selected some of the very best studio monitors under 1000 dollars, which offer a refined experience necessary for you to hear every detail of your project. Without further ado, let’s dig in.
The Music Skanner Selection
– KRK Rokit RP10-3 –
Rokit’s KRK series have been one of the most used mid-range studio monitors for years now. Among the numerous models from this series, KRK Rokit 10-3 stands out as the sweet spot for both quality and price. The famous yellow cones are now recognized almost immediately.
RP10-3 are somewhat different from the rest of the family, mainly due to their 3-way design which gives the user a lot more versatility in a relatively mobile package. With these speaker you really cover most of the frequency range without sacrificing quality.
The 3-way design we’ve mentioned relates to three individual speakers in each monitor. You have your 1-inch Neodymium soft dome tweeter, 10-inch Aramid glass composite woofer but you also get an additional 4-inch Aramid glass composite midrange speaker which adds more dimensions to the sound.
Now comes the interesting part. The tweeter and midrange are enclosed in a baffle which you can rotate through 90 degrees. That’s a feature you don’t see very often, and one that has serious practical implications.
The frequency range goes from 31Hz to 20kHz, and the max power output is set at 140W. There’s a waveguide for the tweeter which adds definition to the sound, and allows you to optimize the phase response to a point. As expected, there are HF and LF controls on the back panel for adjusting the speakers for the room your using.
KRK Rokit RP10-3 studio monitors come with thermal and clip protection as standard. Inputs and outputs available come in form of an XLR, 1/4-inch, as well as unbalanced RCA.
The soft dome tweeter removes the harshness from the top end that KRK’s monitors are usually accused of. The woofer offers plenty of depth, and the available midrange driver helps considerably. Best way to experience these speakers is in the nearfield, some 1-4 meters away.
That’s where you’ll get the best definition and accuracy. For the money, KRK Rokit RP10-3 offers the experience of much more expensive monitors.
Some of the more dedicated audiophiles may remember the old NS10 monitors which Yamaha introduced in late ’70s. They were, and still are some of the best studio monitors when it comes to midrange clarity and accuracy. Yamaha HS8 is a spiritual successor of the NS10, and has proven to be worthy enough of that burden.
Yamaha took all the good things from the NS10, and improved all the outdated elements. The result is a studio monitor which allows you to read your music like an open book, noticing every detail and finesse.
Yamaha HS8 is a standard two-way monitor that features an 1-inch dome tweeter, and an 8-inch woofer. Combined they can push out 120 watts of power through a dedicated bi-amp system. On the rear panel you will find room controls along with an XLR and 1/4-inch inputs.
Near the top of the back panel, there’s a rear firing port which is meant to deal with a potential air vortex.
On the similar note, the tweeter at the front has a very decent shallow waveguide around it for additional distortion and diffraction reduction. This monitor works within a 38Hz-30kHz frequency range
Yamaha HS8 offers a rather flat tone with great imaging and clarity. When adjusted for room acoustics and set at the proper distance from the walls, Yamaha HS8 really shines.
If listen to your finished masters, you will hear everything to the most minute detail. The sound is just that accurate and clear.
In the past we were treated with some pretty decent and affordable M-Audio monitors such as the AV-40. However, M-Audio is also capable of producing good higher end gear while still retaining that competitive pricing they are known for.
M-Audio M3-8 are 3-ways speakers that well priced, and offer a whole lot of the money.
M3-8 monitor comes packed in a nice enclosure which features a wooden face. Aesthetically, it’s a very attractive monitor. Inside you’ll find a triple A/B class amp setup which can churn out incredible 220 watts of power. If that’s not enough headroom for your needs, you might have a problem.
The transducers come in form of 8-inch woven Kevlar woofer, 5-inch woven Kevlar mid-frequency driver and a 1-inch silk dome tweeter with integrated waveguide. The back panel is where your LF HF controls are, along with XLR, 1/4-inch and 1/8 inch outs. A low cut filter is also available.
M-Audio M3-8 deliver a decent clarity in the upper portion of the frequency range, but this thing simply shines in lower range. The amount of bass you can get with this monitor is just absurd. Overall the sound is more than satisfactory for a 3-way design.
For the price, you can barely find a 3-way monitor anyway, let alone one that brings this kind of performance to the table. If you are looking for a good bang for the buck set, this is it.
These three models are among the best studio monitors under 1000 dollars, hands down. You have two options with a 3-way design, and the more conservative Yamaha which brings that good old performance of NS10 in a more modern package.
Choosing between the Yamaha and KRK was difficult, but that mid range driver made all the difference. Which one of these is the best for you depends mostly on what you want to achieve, and what kind of space you’re working in.