Unlike regular loudspeakers for everyday use, studio monitors have a flat frequency response. By outputting all frequencies equally and not boosting highs or lows, you get to hear the true sound of your recording. This is essential in order to properly mix, regardless of the genre.
These devices can be extremely expensive. Sometimes you get a better performance with the increased price tag, but quite often you will find yourself paying extra for the brand name alone. This is why it’s important to know what to look for in a monitor, as well as what you intend to use it for.
We’ve compiled a list of three studio monitors under $200 that come with all the features you will need. We will point out which options are essential and what they can help you with. We will also give you our recommendation as to which one will perform the best overall.
ROKIT 5 G3
First on our list is the Rokit 5 from KRK, a 2-way configuration active studio monitor. It features a soft dome tweeter for high frequencies and a glass composite woofer for low frequencies. The clarity you get from this is quite high-end considering its price tag.
The ability to deliver frequencies ranging anywhere between 45Hz and 35 kHz will help you tackle a wide range of musical genres. It’s great for vocals and bass response in particular.
The actual design was made to offer flexibility in placement. These are more than just stylish black speakers on a budget. The engineering behind the surface will provide good distortion displacement for even more accuracy and clarity on your tracks.
The power output is around 50W. This can slip into 20W and 30W for high and low frequencies. It’s what you should expect from class A-B amplifiers. The only thing missing here is the extra support for mid frequencies, although they are rendered clear as it is.
Overall, this is a good compact design that can be a good fit for almost any small studio. With a weight of just 13lbs, you get a lot of freedom when it comes to arranging your work desk. The price is good to get you started in the business or at least tackle some small personal projects.
Edifier comes with a more clutter-free approach. If some of you enjoy the idea of wireless, then you’ll appreciate this Bluetooth model. It’s easy to connect to any device in your house or studio.
There is a built-in tone control that’s easy to access due to its frontal placement. You can adjust the bass and treble, and select the input source. You can also reset or switch your Bluetooth connection from the same panel.
The wood finish gives these speakers a stylish look. Not having to use cables and having the luxury of a remote control will make them very easy to place. You can also connect two auxiliary devices to them at the same time, although that’s more of a personal use feature rather than a studio-related one.
You’ve noticed we used “speakers” instead of “studio monitors.” There’s reasoning behind this phrasing. Although these are indeed monitors, they do look more like home speakers, and are thus fancier rather than powerful.
We like having versatility as much as everybody else, but when it comes to studio monitors, we feel that the main focus should be on the performance in mixing situations. The Bluetooth feature is a real luxury, and the sound is delivered equally across the three frequency ranges. All that being said, it does lack some power in both input and output.
JBL is a renowned brand, and for a good reason. They always do their best to compete on the highest level regardless of the price range. This model in particular is worth keeping an eye out for.
For true studio-level quality of mixing, you need to be able to discern sounds. Sure, you need a good ear for that, but you also need a studio monitor that can offer the best balance between the highs, the lows, and the mids. The drivers used don’t favor one frequency over the others like some other monitors do.
The range is from 37Hz to 24 kHz. It’s not as impressive on paper when compared to the Rokit 5 for instance, but you should always look for quality over quantity. Don’t underestimate the impressive depth JBL can give to your tracks.
Although not Bluetooth compatible, this model gives you certain freedom in how you will place it. It also works well in any type of room, big or small, as it cancels out some of the echo you would expect to hear. This means that you don’t need the most professionally designed studio room to get started on mixing some tracks with accuracy.
These JBL speakers didn’t fail to impress. They know how to make a winning product regardless of the price range. Their 2-way powered studio monitor is without a doubt the most balanced of the three mentioned.
All these monitors delivered the quality you would expect. For under $200, they offer the best quality of sound you can hope for. Far superior to that of any regular speaker, the monitors can double as both professional and at-home sound system.
The Rokit 5 is well-rounded for the most part. It does seem to favor high and low frequencies in terms of output power. This is unnecessary when the goal is to offer a flat sound.
The Edifier puts up a very good looking product with wood finish and convenient Bluetooth control. It has most of the features you would want in a studio monitor, but falls short as far as professional use is concerned. It’s still a good and versatile design; we just feel it’s meant for home use first and foremost.
The LSR308 is our top choice of studio monitors under $200. They offer the highest sound quality by far. The fact that they also stress-test the devices for 100 hours before putting them on the market just shows an extra level of dedication.