There are a ton of studio monitor varieties out there; each of them has its own unique characteristics and purpose. The most common type almost all consumers are familiar with has one simple rule: to produce the best sound quality.
However, if you are attempting to record your own music or to create mixes for various multimedia projects, having a good-sounding speaker may not be the kind of thing you should be looking for.
Speakers that were made for personal use and entertainment were built to enhance sound quality. They are supposed to make listening enjoyable for everyone, no matter if it means compromising the original sound quality.
A professional studio monitor, on the other hand, should produce only the most accurate and original sound of a music file.
So the big question is, how do you spot a good studio monitor? As a newbie, it can be very overwhelming to buy your first studio monitor – especially if you don’t know the audiophile language yet.
If technical terms and specs leave you confused, don’t worry – we’ve got you covered. We’ve made roundups for the best studio monitors under any budget; below is a list of our favorite studio monitors under $300. Check it out and see if you find what you’ve been looking for.
10 Best Studio Monitors Under $300 (2020 Reviews)
- MkII series features next-generation JBL transducers, new Boundary EQ, and a sleek new design
- Updated HF and LF transducers: new design improvements result in optimized damping for superior transient response and impressive deep bass with lower harmonic distortion
Sitting at the top of our list is the JBL Professional 308P Studio Monitor. Right off the bat, you can already tell that this model is a good one. Inheriting the best qualities of the earlier JBL LSR3 series and adding in some upgrades, makes the 308P one of the best in the JBL catalog.
If you are looking for the best option within a $300 budget, the 308P should be on your shopping list.
This model has a notable image control waveguide – a legacy from the LSR3 series, offering users incredible detail and imaging. The broad sweet spot on the 308P also guarantees impressive optimal sound even when it’s off-axis.
As an upgrade, this JBL model now has an updated set of high-frequency (HF) and low-frequency (LF) transducers which provide optimized damping for superior transient response and greater linearity, producing an impressive deep bass with lower harmonic distortion.
The new boundary equalization (EQ) is also a nice addition to the 308P. Thanks to the EQ, users can now get an even good quality sound even when the speakers are on the work surface and adjacent walls.
Personally, I really like how compact the design on the 308P is. For something as robust and well-built as this model, one would expect a bigger and bulkier build. But thankfully, the 308P sports a sleek look which blends in with your workspace and without taking up too much space as well.
- Has some of the best features of earlier JBL studio monitors plus upgrades
- Super affordable considering the level of its quality and build
- Produces a crystal clear sound even at higher volumes
- Comes in a sleek and compact design
- Does not take up a lot of space
- For those who are looking to buy a pair
- The 308P comes as a single studio monitor
- A slight hissing sound can be heard when no music is playing
- Not as accurate as higher-end models but can pick up more sound than most studio monitors within the $300 price range
- Studio reference monitors for critical audio production listening in small spaces
- Super-near-field design puts the sweet spot right at your ears on a typical desk
If you have a small home studio or work area, then you must consider the IK Multimedia iLoud Studio Monitors. Smaller spaces tend to have acoustic issues as reverberating fields and standing waves exaggerate bass response.
When this happens, accuracy becomes a problem, making mixing more difficult to achieve. The good news is, the IK Multimedia iLoud is designed to have smaller speakers which can help reduce those waves from getting in the way of sound quality and mixing.
What I love about these studio monitors is the fact that it is super thoughtful and considerate about the user’s workspace. No matter how you position your studio monitors or no matter what your workstation placement looks like, the IK Multimedia iLoud aims to provide an even and consistent quality of sound.
Personally, I also love that these speakers are Bluetooth-enabled. I have a ton of songs I would love to work with on my phone and tablet. Call me lazy but I would still prefer a wireless connection to play my song than plugging in with a chord.
- Built and designed for smaller spaces
- A great option for home studios as well
- Comes with a Bluetooth function for wireless streaming of songs from other Bluetooth enabled devices
- Thoughtful about space
- Minimizes reflections from walls that exaggerate the bass response
- Build quality needs improvement
- An incredibly versatile powered nearfield studio monitor great for any style of music
- Soft-dome tweeter with optimized waveguide provides smooth pristine and articulate highs up to 35kHz
The KRK RP53G-59107 has everything a good pair of studio monitor has. They produce a loud crystal clear sound, they come with all the connections any user might need, and they also fit perfectly well into any workspace because of their super sleek and compact design.
The additional high frequency, low frequency, and volume trim pots at the rear make this pair from KRK an almost perfect option for a studio monitor.
What’s great about this pair is that for its price, they are pretty clean and accurate. A lot of other speakers have exaggerated highs and lows but with this one, you can get something very close to an authentic sound – and not a lot of studio monitors under $300 can achieve what the KRK RP53G-59107 can.
Although it’s not the most accurate of the bunch, the price tag and the overall build of this model makes it a catch.
- Comes with all the basics and more
- High frequency
- Low frequency
- Volume trim pots at the rear
- Offers loud and super clear sound
- Close to authentic
- Super affordable considering the value and quality it provides
- Build quality needs more improvement
- Unwanted noise can oftentimes be heard
- Isolators may be required to solve the issue
- Studio-quality design, sound and performance ideal for multimedia creation and entertainment; Ultra-wide frequency range perfect for full-range multimedia (60Hz – 20kHz)
- Stream music from any smartphone, tablet or other Bluetooth enabled device ; 50 watts of clean, articulate stereo sound ; 5″ polypropylene-coated woofer
The Mackie CR5BT Multimedia Monitors are all about convenience which I absolutely love. After all, technology is supposed to make our lives a little bit easier – why settle for a machine that makes things super complicated for you?
I like how this model comes with a front panel aux for smartphones or tablets, a headphone out, and a volume knob that could double as an on/off switch. You can also decide which side of your set up has volume control with the left and right speaker placement switch.
Talk about usability! And again, I also like how these monitors are Bluetooth enabled because as we all know, I love streaming music wirelessly.
The other thing you might notice about these pair of studio monitors is how loud and clear they are. The CR5BT is built with meticulous design and premium components that guarantee high-quality results.
Coming in with high-output drivers, a true studio-monitor waveguide system and an all-wood cabinet, there’s nothing more you could ask for.
- Made with premium components that guarantee consistent high-quality sound
- Features a smart and convenient interface on the front panel
- Comes with tons of accessories such as cables and isolation pads
- Not as accurate as other options on the list
- Not recommended for professional mixing
- 5.25-inch (E5) / 8-inch (E8) Kevlar low-frequency transducer
- 1-inch (25 mm), ultra-low-mass, silk-dome, high-frequency transducer
Looking for budget-friendly nearfield monitors that get the job done? You might want to check out the Presonus Eris 5. Many people complain about the bass response on cheaper nearfield monitors, but these ones from Presonus will not disappoint you. They catch bass sounds rather clearly for a studio monitor under $300 price range.
They also have impressive mids without being too harsh on the treble. Overall, the Presonus Eris 5 provides astounding quality for a very affordable price. Plus, they can sit nicely on a desk; they’re not too big and bulky so there’s a lot of room left to work on a table.
- A well-built nearfield monitor with impressive bass
- Comparable sound quality to higher-end studio monitors
- Sports a compact design
- Saves spaces for your workstation
- Has durability issues
- This Bundle contains 2 items: Pair of KRK RP5G3W-NA Rokit 5 Generation 3 Powered Studio Monitors - WHITE
- Bi-amped, class A/B amplifier offering large headroom and low distortion
Here’s another sound monitor option from KRK that might interest you. If you loved the other KRK model we’ve mentioned earlier, you might also like the RP5G3W-NA. This bi-amped, class A/B amplifier offers the same loud and crystal clear sound as other KRK studio monitors.
This one also has a proprietary waveguide that has been optimized for superior imaging, and it also comes with a soft-dome tweeter for quality and extended response up to 35 kHz. I also like that the RP5GRW-NA allows users to adjust high-frequency levels to tailor the system according to one’s personal taste.
- Produces loud and crystal clear sound without distortion
- Has a pretty tight bass for a studio monitor in this price range
- Sports a beautiful
- Eye-catching design
- Great for those who want a pop of color for their workstation
- Lacks deep bass
- Sold as a single monitor
- Balanced Input: This combo XLR input accepts a Balanced male XLR plug as well as a 3-conductor Balanced TRS 1/4-Inch or a 2 conductor Unbalanced TS 1/4-Inch male plug
The Avantone Pro might just look like a simple cube from the outside, but you’ll be surprised to hear the power and punch this studio monitor packs. Although the Avantone Pro is a 60W active mini full-range reference monitor. It comes with a 5/25″ driver and is sold as a single monitor.
The Avantone Pro has a balanced input – it has a combo XLR input that accepts a balanced male XLR plug as well as a 1/4 inch 3-conductor balanced TRS or a 2 conductor unbalanced TS 1/4-inch male plug. It also features a variable control that adjusts the sensitivity of the signal that appears at the input.
Also, I really like how simple and retro the Avantone Pro looks. It’s basically a simple cube with a nice-looking coat of cream colored paint. If you love the vintage minimal look this is the best design on a studio monitor in my opinion.
- Comes in a simple vintage design
- Compact and sleek
- A full-range monitor single reference monitor that delivers quality results
- A great option for those who are just beginning to learn how to mix
- Also great for home studios
- Not as accurate as other options on this list
- But for that price tag it does a very good job still
- KRK RP5-G3 Rokit Powered 5" Inch Studio Reference Monitor. Optimized voicing for greater clarity across all musical styles. Improved front-firing bass port provides greater bass accuracy. New striking design. Improved Front Baffle design reduces risk of diffraction distortion. System optimized Limiter. Lightweight, glass-aramid composite woofer delivers. clear midrange and tight bass. features “push in protected” Dust Cap
- Front Baffle design reduces risk of diffraction distortion. High Frequency adjustment tailors the system to personal taste. Low-resonance enclosure for minimized distortion and colorization. Front firing port for reduced boundary coupling. Factory installed foam pad - isolation between the speaker and surface
KRK has plenty of great options on its catalog and the RP5-G3 is one you should look out for. If you want a complete package for your set-up, this is the model you’d want.
First, it comes with all the features that assure consistent sound quality. It has optimized voicing for better clarity no matter the musical style. Its Front Baffle design minimizes risks of diffraction and distortion as well.
Concerned about bass and low ends? Don’t worry! The improved front-firing bass port provides greater bass accuracy. Its ultra-lightweight composite woofer also delivers clear midrange and tight bass. In short, this is the ultimate studio monitor for bass quality.
Almost all of the models at KRK produces the same premium quality. But the reason why I would recommend this for someone who is just building their home studio is the fact that it comes with adjustable stands and studio foam pads.
It may not sound much, but placement does make a difference when it comes to the perception of sound. And if KRK is trying to make your audio experience better by adding in stands and foam pads, why not?
- Produces great bass
- Can catch deeper bass sounds
- Comes with premium components designed to produce high-quality sound
- Comes with accessories for a complete home studio set-up
- Has durability issues
- Build quality needs improvement
- Accessories also require better craftsmanship
- Studio ready flat frequency response allows mix engineers to truly hear what is being recorded and gives an uncolored representation of your final product. What you hear is what you get.
- Bi-amped power delivers 40 watts to woofer and 30 watts to the tweeter which reduces power loss inherent with passive crossovers and reduces inter-modulated distortion.
Building your first home studio? Every studio needs a set of great quality monitors with a flat frequency that enables users to hear sound exactly what the recording sounds like. It’s all about authenticity rather over sound enhancements. And if this is something you are looking for then this option for Monoprice is what you need.
These speakers were built with the professional in mind but that does not mean that novice mixers or audiophiles can’t enjoy them too. This pair of bi-amped studio monitors have a straightforward design.
They are separately powered with two dedicated amplifiers. Both sides also use both balanced XLR and balanced/unbalanced TRS/TS audio input paths.
There’s a long list of reasons to love this pair. But to keep it short, we think that if you’re looking for the most accurate results from a studio monitor under $300, this one from Monoprice is the thing for you.
- A great option for home studios
- Not a space hogger
- And minimizes bass exaggeration
- Provides the most authentic sounds from recording compared to other studio monitors under $300
- Has quality consistency issue
- Some monitors have vibrating/rattling issues when playing sound in higher volumes
- Bi-amped, class A/B amplifier offering large headroom and low distortion
- Proprietary waveguide optimized for superior imaging
KRK loves providing its customers with a complete package. If you’re looking for other options from the same maker, the Rokit 5 G3 should be another addition to your list.
The Rokit 5 is bi-amped with class A/B amplifier for large headroom and low distortion. And like other studio monitors at KRK, it also has a proprietary waveguide for superior imaging and a soft-dome tweeter for clarity and extended response up to 35 kHz.
With the factory install foam pads, there’s also isolation from the speaker and the surface as well.
Plus, I also like that this model has multiple input connectors: XLR, 1/4″, and RCA. And speaking of XLR cables, this model also has XLR cables and Austin Bazaar polishing cloths included in a bundle.
- Produces superior sound quality thanks to its premium components and design
- Has factory-installed foam pads for isolation
- Comes with accessories
- XLR cable and Austin Bazaar polishing cloths included
- Quality of accessories included can be improved
- Slight hissing noise can be heard on some monitors
How To Buy The Best Studio Monitor Under $300
They say that the higher the price range, the better the quality. Sadly, we don’t necessarily believe in such way of thinking. A $200 studio monitor can be just as good as a $300 studio monitor – so what’s the difference, you ask?
Well, there are a lot of factors that influence the price of a studio monitor. But again, it still does not mean that going the expensive route is a guarantee for quality.
First of all, the choice of materials used is perhaps the number one deciding factor for a product’s price. The more expensive the materials are and the more detailed the craftsmanship is, the higher the value. Those who are concerned about the durability of a studio monitor should be ready to pay a higher price.
Another factor that adds to a studio monitor’s price tag is the additional features. Competition is tough so brands always try to come up with something new and flashy. But the question is, do you really need them to achieve what you are trying to do?
That said, it is important to figure out what you want to get out of your studio monitor first before anything else. Having a list of your desired features can tremendously cut down the size of your list. Before purchasing a studio monitor, you should also be familiar with a few audio terminologies and functions.
Understand how certain features affect the sound. Knowing more about studio monitors isn’t just for bragging points, but you get to study and prioritize your own personal needs from a studio monitor.
It’s true that you can still get quality results from a cheaper studio monitor, but a $300 budget opens more doors to advanced specs and new additional features. This roundup collates some of the best studio monitors under $300. While we have a soft spot for all ten of them, we could only choose one as the winner.
For this round, we’ve selected the JBL Professional 308P Studio Monitor as the best studio monitor under $300. Not only was it created by a world-renowned brand, but it also has an impressive list of features.
It’s super easy to use and understand. Plus, it comes with all the right features that ensure crisp and clear sound quality and accuracy as well – perfect for your regular audiophile or for anyone who deals with multimedia production on a daily basis.