The 7 Best BUDGET monitor speakers for DJs & music producers

Picture of monitor speakers

Overview

Whether in your bedroom or a modest studio, a decent set of monitor speakers is going to make up an integral part of your setup as a DJ or music producer.

To make life as easy as possible, we’ve put together a simple (yet comprehensive) overview of our 7 best budget monitor speakers for DJs and music producers, along with everything you need to make a buying decision.

Based on our methodology below, these are some of the best budget studio monitors you’ll find anywhere on the market!

Our methodology for this list:

  • Best budget range $200 – 500 (USD): This list is basically our hand-picked budget selection without going too cheap. We’ll start with the lowest and work our way up from there.
  • 5-inch bass cones: All these DJ monitors have 5-inch bass cones (woofers), which is a perfect size for a small-to-medium-size bedroom or modest studio. We’ll let you know what other sizes they offer as we go.
  • ‘Active’ monitors: All the monitors on this list are active monitors; meaning that no external amp or additional wiring is required. Whilst it might depend on your setup, they’re all ready to go out of the box.
  • Priced as a pair: All the prices we quote in this post are for a pair. Just be aware, some online retailers only sell certain models individually, which would work out more expensive.

Note: By default, all the monitor speakers on this list are ‘Nearfield‘ monitors, ie, they’re designed to be positioned close to and directly facing the user.

What are monitor speakers?

Because of their design function, monitor speakers (or studio speakers) are generally smaller than regular speakers. They’re meant to be positioned in close proximity to and directly facing the user rather than outwards at a dancefloor.

Their purpose is to produce a true representation of the output sound with no exaggerated bass, treble or other frequencies – known by audio engineers as a ‘flat frequency response’.

Or to put it another way: they’re designed so the user can MONITOR the output sound of a recording accurately.

KRK Rokit 5 G4 - front view
Pictured above: KRK ROKIT 5 G4 Professional DJ monitor speakers.

What are monitor speakers used for?

In addition to music production and DJ setups in your bedroom (yes, they’re perfect for beat-matching and live mixing!), monitors are also used by all sorts of recording artists, musicians, video editors, podcasters and the like.

It’s important to mention, however, that monitors are NOT designed to power a house party or to be pointing out at a dancefloor. Whilst you can do it in a small-ish room if you have nothing else, it’s definitely not advisable if you’re cranking up the volume for long periods!

Related: If you’re curious about monitor speakers in DJ booths, take a look at this post.

bedroom DJ setup using audio monitors
Pictured: A random bedroom DJ setup using audio monitors. Photo via Reddit.

What else you need to know

Speaker sizes

Monitor speakers typically come with either 3, 4, 5, 6, or 8-inch woofers. It’s pretty simple really: the larger the speaker the more power and bass it can put out!

Whilst this is all well & good, bigger ISN’T necessarily better, and it all depends on how big your space is and how the room is laid out. This brings us to room setup.

Room setup tips

Remember, all the monitors on this list are nearfield studio monitors – so they’re meant to be positioned close (ish) to your head.

If you can, we’d recommend using a couple of metal studio monitor stands. If you use stands, you can easily customize the height and positioning of the monitors, whilst at the same time freeing up valuable space on your desk/table.

Secondly, you’ll ideally want to make everything symmetrical, positioning the monitors an equal distance away from you and as close to eye level as possible. Similar to this picture below, try to make an equilateral triangle between you and the monitors.

How to setup your monitor speakers - example

As an alternative to metal stands, many professionals just use isolation pads to sit the monitors on, which is also a perfectly good option. These will help reduce any vibrations that get passed down to the desk.

isolation pads

Additional tips: Further improving the acoustic treatment in the room is going to make things sound much better (this is also known as ‘’dampening’’ the room).

If possible, try to place any soft materials such as cushions or bean bags in the corners of the room. This will help reduce background noise and absorb the sound. You could also consider using acoustic panels if your room permits it.

How much should I spend?

Assuming that your room is big enough, of course, you should see monitor speakers as an investment and spend whatever you can sensibly afford. Generally speaking, you’ll get what you pay for.

Whilst they can run well into the thousands as part of a high-end setup, you can pick up a decent pair of budget monitor speakers for as low as $200 USD … which is exactly where we start on this list.

So then, here’s our take on the 7 best budget monitor speakers for DJs and music producers in 2022!


1. Pioneer DJ DM-50D

Our No.1 budget monitor speaker: The  DM-50D fron Pioneer DJ

Overview/highlights

Starting with one of our favourite budget studio monitors, we’ve got the DM-50Ds from Pioneer DJ. These are the latest edition in the series that took over from the DM-40s in late 2021.

As well as delivering a nice balanced sound and looking great (models come in black or white), they also have a decent build quality for this price point.

Connections-wise, in addition to a convenient on/off volume knob and headphone jack on the front, you’ve got RCA, mini-jack, and TRS input terminals for quick connection to DJ equipment or a home studio setup.

Also, the switch on the back can be changed to ‘DJ mode’ for a slightly more punchy bass response as opposed to the default ‘production mode’.

In summary, these are great value for money and the perfect starting point for any DJ and/or music producer with 200 dollars to spend. They’re also front ported monitors, so you could technically put them up against a wall if you needed to.

Overall Rating:
★★★★★
★★★★★

Key features/specs

  • 2-way bass reflex active monitor speakers
  • Front ported monitors
  • 5-inch fiberglass cones (low frequency)
  • 0.75-inch soft dome tweeter (high frequency)
  • On/off switch on the front (controls volume)
  • 1 x 4-inch headphone jack on the front
  • Total power: 50 Watt Class D Amp
  • Frequency response/range: 50Hz – 60kHz
  • Not self-contained (only sold as a pair)

Product slide show:

Pioneer DJ DM-50D - front angle pair

front angle

Pioneer DJ DM-50D - rear view pair

rear view

Pioneer DJ DM-50D - front view black & white

black & white designs

Pioneer DJ DM-50D - full setup

Full setup

Pioneer DJ DM-50D - front view pair

front view

Price for the pair:

$200 USD | €180 Euro | £150 GBP | $280 AUD.

Best suited to:

Bedroom DJs and budding music producers who want something professional on the tightest of budgets.

More resources:

Check out the intro video or visit the manufacturer’s product page.

Best places to buy:

As of May 2022, they also have a Bluetooth model – the DM-50D-BTs. This new ‘DM’ range also come with 4-inch woofers (the DM-40Ds), which again have a Bluetooth option (the DM-40D-BTs).

Note: Commissions may be earned from the above links. See our affiliate declaration.


2. Mackie CR5-XBT

Mackie CR5-XBT - perfect entry-level budget studio monitors

Overview/highlights

Next up, at a very similar price as the DM-50D’s, we have the Mackie CR5-XBTs. Coming in at around 230 dollars (US), these entry-level monitors are another simple out-of-the-box solution for any bedroom DJ or music producer on a tight budget.

First off, they look and feel great – with brushed metal finishes on the front panels and all-wood cabinets. The Mackie’s also have plenty of power, whilst providing a nice, balanced bass response for their size.

Connections wise, you’ve got AUX & RCA inputs and also Bluetooth connectivity. They’re also ‘rear ported’, which means you won’t be able to put them against a wall if that was a concern.

In addition to the 5-inch models, the Mackie CR-XBT series also offers 3 or 4-inch woofer options in case you want to scale down. Alternatively, if you want to scale up, they have an 8-inch version plus an 8-inch sub that you could also add on!

With over 20 years of experience in the monitor speaker game, you won’t go far wrong with these little gems. Just don’t forget that the Bluetooth functionality is only designed for casual listening due to the delay.

Overall Rating:
★★★★★
★★★★★

Key features/specs

  • Active 2-way studio monitors
  • Rear ported
  • 5-inch polypropylene woofer (low frequency)
  • 0.75-inch soft dome tweeter (high frequency)
  • On/off switch on the front (controls volume)
  • 1 x 4-inch headphone jack and Bluetooth button on the front
  • Total power: 80 Watt Class D Amplifier
  • Frequency response/range: 50Hz – 20kHz
  • Not self-contained (only sold as a pair)

Product slide show:

Mackie CR5-XBT angled

Front angle

Mackie CR5-XBT front view

Front view

Mackie CR5-XBT rear view

Rear view

Price for the pair:

$230 USD | €200 Euro | £170 GBP | $300 AUD.

Best suited to:

Bedroom DJs, budding music producers, and just any music lover looking for a multi-purpose set of budget monitors.

More resources:

Watch Mackie’s intro video or visit the manufacturer’s product page here.

Best places to buy:

Note: Commissions may be earned from the above links. See our affiliate declaration.


3. M-Audio BX5 D3

M-Audio BX5 D3 - another fantastic option for budget studio monitors

Overview/highlights

As we move into a slightly higher price bracket, we’ve got the BX5 D3s from M-Audio. Since their release in 2017 (these are the latest model), they’ve garnered a fantastic reputation among audiophiles and audio professionals.

The BX5 D3’s have a nice solid build quality about them, with a vinyl-laminated MDF cabinet for higher acoustic efficiency. They’re also a nice weight and have a smart rubber finish on the front panel.

At the back, you’ve got the volume and room adjustment controls, together with professional balanced XLR and 1/4″ TRS inputs – all what you’d expect at this price point. A unique feature of the BX5 D3’s is the ‘positioning LED’ on the front, which shines more brightly when the speaker is at an ideal angle.

To summarize, these monitors would sit somewhere in the middle, between providing a completely flat frequency response (getting a true sound out), yet still offering a warm bass output and a pleasurable listening experience – so they’re a safe bet for both DJs and music producers alike.

They also come with 8-inch woofers for a bigger room, with the option to add a sub as well. Just don’t forget, these are rear-ported monitors, so no stuffing them against the wall.

Overall Rating:
★★★★★
★★★★★

Key features/specs

  • 2-way active studio monitors
  • Rear ported
  • 5-inch Kevlar woofer (low frequency)
  • 1-inch silk dome tweeter (high frequency)
  • Volume and EQ controls at the back
  • Total power: 100 Watt Class AB Amp
  • Frequency response/range: 52Hz – 35kHz
  • Self-contained monitors (also sold individually)

Product slide show:

M-Audio BX5 D3 - woofer close up

Woofer close-up

M-Audio BX5 D3 - side close up

Side close-up

M-Audio BX5 D3 - rear view

Rear view

M-Audio BX5 D3 - front view

Front view

M-Audio BX5 D3 - singular

Singular

Price for the pair:

$300 USD | €270 Euro | £230 GBP | $430 AUD.

Best suited to:

Any bedroom DJ and/or music producer with a $300 budget (US).

More resources:

Watch M-Audio’s intro video or visit the manufacturer’s product page here.

Best places to buy:

Note: some online retailers only sell the BX5 D3s individually.

Note: Commissions may be earned from the above links. See our affiliate declaration.


4. JBL 305P MKII

JBL 305P MKII - professional monitor speakers

Overview/highlights

At a similar price to the BX5 D3’s, we’ve got the 305P MKIIs from JBL! These are their latest model, released in 2018.

The Image Control Waveguide design (the area at the top around the tweeters) is probably the biggest selling point with these monitors. With help from this technology, they boast a uniquely wide, room-friendly sweet spot – one that you simply wouldn’t get in this price bracket – offering a deep, yet clear bass response.

Round the back, in addition to the volume knob, the boundary EQ settings compensate for low-frequency variants, plus the 3-position HF Trim switch can adjust the high-frequency output depending on the room or your personal preferences.

As a series, these JBLs have really established an impeccable reputation among audiophiles since they came out. If you want to scale up, they also have 6 & 8-inch models in the series, with 5-inch being the smallest model.

As you’d expect, there are no concerns regarding connectivity specs, with balanced XLR and 1/4″ TRS inputs on the back. The only potential downside with these is purely visual, in that, the ‘glossy’ finish on the front might not appeal to everyone.

Overall Rating:
★★★★★
★★★★★

Key features/specs

  • 2-way active studio monitors
  • Rear ported design
  • 5-inch woofers (low frequency)
  • 1-inch tweeters (high frequency)
  • Volume and EQ controls at the back
  • Total power: 82 Watt Class D Amp
  • Frequency response/range: 49Hz – 20kHz
  • Self-contained monitors (also sold individually)

Product slide show:

JBL 305P MKII - front & back

Front & back

JBL 305P MKII - front view

Front view

JBL 305P MKII - back closeup

Back closeup

Price for the pair:

$330 USD | €300 Euro | £250 GBP | $450 AUD.

Best suited to:

Any bedroom DJ and/or music producer with a 350 dollar budget (US).

More resources:

Watch JBL’s intro video or visit the manufacturer’s product page here.

Best places to buy:

Note: the 305P MKIIs are sometimes only sold individually.

Note: Commissions may be earned from the above links. See our affiliate declaration.


5. KRK Rokit 5 G4

KRK Rokit 5 G4 budget monitor speakers

Overview/highlights

Next up, from their latest ‘Generation 4’ Series, we’ve got the KRK Rokit 5s.

Famous for only using high-quality build materials – whilst making attention to detail and sound quality a top priority – KRK is definitely one of the market leaders in the ‘’affordable’’ pro studio monitor market.

On the front of each monitor, you’ll notice a low-resonance enclosure. This is responsible for the accurate bass response the KRKs put out. The G4 series also utilize the same Waveguide technology as the JBL 305P MKII’s to ensure a wide, deep, dynamic sweet spot.

Everything on these monitors is controlled around the back via a single rotary dial, which is all visually represented on a high-quality LCD screen. In addition to the volume, here you can control the DSP-driven graphic EQ, with 25 different settings to customize the sound based on the environment.

The Rokit 5 G4’s also come with a built-in brick-wall-limiter – designed to safeguard your system against damage whilst maintaining a balanced sound… and not forgetting the free mobile app, which can be used to set up and control the monitors.

Whilst it’s not necessarily a replacement for studio monitor pads, the KRKs also come with cushion pads on the bottom of each monitor to help minimize vibrations on your desk/table. If you want to scale up, the G4 series also offer models with 7, 8 and even 10-inch woofers.

In summary, these things are a widely popular choice amongst all sorts of audio professionals, and we’ve got no hesitation in recommending them to both DJs and music producers. Get them in black or white!

Overall Rating:
★★★★★
★★★★★

Key features/specs

  • 2-way active studio monitors
  • 5-inch Kevlar drivers (low frequency)
  • Matching Kevlar 1-inch tweeter (high frequency)
  • Front ported monitors
  • DSP-driven Onboard EQ with Visual LCD
  • KRK app for IOS and Android
  • Total power: 110 Watts Class D amplifier
  • Frequency response/range: 43Hz – 40kHz
  • Self-contained monitors (also sold individually)

Product slide show:

KRK Rokit 5 G4 - front view #1

Front view #1

KRK Rokit 5 G4 - front view #2

Front view #2

KRK Rokit 5 G4 - rear view

Rear view

KRK Rokit 5 G4 - pair view

Pair view

KRK Rokit 5 G4 - with protective grill

With protective grill

Price for the pair:

$360 USD | €330 Euro | £270 GBP | $500 AUD.

Best suited to:

Any bedroom DJ and/or music producer looking for a trusted set of entry-level monitors under $400 USD.

More resources:

Watch the intro video for the series or visit the manufacturer’s product page here.

Best places to buy:

Note: the KRK Rokit 5s are sometimes only sold individually.

Note: Commissions may be earned from the above links. See our affiliate declaration.


6. Yamaha HS5

Yamaha HS5 - professional monitor speakers

Overview/highlights

For our last two selections then, we move into the highest price bracket on this list. Known for their accuracy and iconic white-coned woofers, these are the HS5s from Yamaha!

Unlike some other studio monitors – ones that generate additional bass or treble frequencies — these were designed to produce the most honest, precise reference possible — ie, a true ‘flat frequency response’. That is to say: the output is super clear & crisp.

The HS5s have low resistance enclosure cabinets to eliminate any low-end imperfections, whilst dramatically increasing the accuracy of sound reproduction. These enclosures are constructed from a dense and resilient MDF that has a damped acoustic response – perfectly suited for professional studio monitors. 

With everything you’d expect at this price point: you’ve got customizable room controls for both bass response and high-frequencies together with XLR and 1/4-inch TRS inputs around the back.

In summary… to get the best out of these reference monitors, we’d probably recommend having some kind of acoustic treatment in the room, whilst only using them for their primary design function as opposed to say casual listening.

They come in a stylish black or white and also 7 or 8-inch models (woofers), plus you can add an 8-inch sub if you want. Whilst the HS Series has been on the market since 2013, definitely don’t let that put you off.

Overall Rating:
★★★★★
★★★★★

Key features/specs

  • Active 2-way bass-reflex studio monitors
  • Rear ported monitors
  • 5-inch cone woofer (low frequency)
  • 1-inch dome tweeter (high frequency)
  • Total power: 70 Watts
  • Frequency response/range: 54Hz – 30kHz
  • Self-contained monitors (also sold individually)

Product slide show:

Yamaha HS5 - front angle #1

Front angle #1

Yamaha HS5 - front angle #2

Front angle #2

Yamaha HS5 - rear view

Rear view

Yamaha HS5 - pair view

Front view

Price for the pair:

$400 USD | €370 Euro | £300 GBP | $550 AUD.

Best suited to:

Budding music producers looking for the closest thing to a flat frequency response in budget monitors.

More resources:

Check out this video review on YouTube. Also visit the manufacturer’s product page here or watch Yamaha’s intro video.

Best places to buy:

Note: the HS5s are sometimes only sold individually.

Note: Commissions may be earned from the above links. See our affiliate declaration.


7. ADAM Audio TV5

ADAM Audio TV5 - professional studio monitors for DJs & music producers

Overview/highlights

Last, but certainly not least, we’ve got the TV5s from ADAM Audio.

Thanks to the large rear-firing bass reflex port, the monitors offer a nice bass output on the low-end, whilst the proprietary ribbon tweeters produce a really clear response on the high end. You might say they’re a perfect compromise between providing a flat frequency response and a full rounded sound!

Round the back, together with XLR and RCA inputs, the T5V’s have two 3-way EQ switches that allow you to cut or boost frequencies, enabling you to fine-tune its performance depending on its position within a room.

To summarize, for this kind of quality, the T5V’s are really fantastic value for money – which is why they’re officially our top pick as far as the best budget studio monitors go!

As one of the most trusted audio monitor brands, Adam’s speakers have previously been endorsed by famous DJ/producers such as Carl Cox and others. They also come in larger sizes or with a 10-inch subwoofer!

Overall Rating:
★★★★★
★★★★★

Key features/specs

  • Active 2-way studio monitors
  • Rear ported monitors
  • 5-inch polypropylene woofer (low frequency)
  • U-ART 1.9-inch ribbon tweeter (high frequency)
  • Total power: 70 Watts
  • Frequency response/range: 45Hz – 25KHz
  • Self-contained monitors (also sold individually)

Product slide show:

ADAM Audio TV5 - singular

Singular

ADAM Audio TV5 - rear view

Rear view

ADAM Audio TV5 - pair view

Front view

Price for the pair:

$450 USD | €410 Euro | £340 GBP | $610 AUD.

Best suited to:

Any DJ and/or music producer looking for the best budget audio monitors on the market for under $500.

More resources:

To help you decide, watch this video review on YouTube. Also visit the manufacturer’s product page here or watch Adam’s intro video.

Best places to buy:

Note: the TV5s are usually sold individually.

Note: Commissions may be earned from the above links. See our affiliate declaration.


Summary: best budget monitor speakers for DJs & music producers

Just to recap, these were our 7 favourite budget monitor speakers for DJs and music producers:

  1. Pioneer DJ DM-50D
  2. Mackie CR5-XBT
  3. M-Audio BX5 D3
  4. JBL 305P MKII
  5. KRK Rokit 5 G4
  6. Yamaha HS5
  7. ADAM Audio TV5

Different types of studio monitors

Whilst you didn’t need to worry about it in this post, here are some basic definitions you’d want to understand when purchasing studio monitors:

‘Passive’ monitors and ‘Active’ monitors:

Active monitors (sometimes described as powered monitors) have a built-in amp, whereas passive monitors require a separate Amp for them to work. Whilst neither option is necessarily better from a sound perspective, active monitors would be more convenient for a home studio as you won’t need an amp. On saying that, most monitor speakers these days will usually be active monitors – ie, they’re ready to plug in and play.

‘Near-Field’ and ‘Far-Field’ monitors:

As their names suggest, near-field monitors should be positioned in closer proximity to the user (usually about 3-5 feet away) and would be more appropriate for smaller-sized rooms and home studios. Far-field monitors on the other hand can handle much louder volumes and are more appropriate for larger spaces or professional studios.


FAQs

What are monitor speakers?

Picture of a monitor speaker

In a nutshell, monitor speakers are generally smaller, more accurate speakers that are designed to point directly at the user rather than outwards at a dancefloor (as would be the case with a more powerful speaker such as a subwoofer, for example). Monitor Speakers are ideal for singers, musicians, music producers and DJ setups in your bedroom or studio.

What’s the purpose of monitor speakers?

Picture of a monitor speaker setup in a studio

The purpose of monitor speakers (or studio speakers) is to produce a flat frequency response. In other words, they’re designed to produce a true representation of the output sound with no exaggerated bass, treble, and other frequencies.

What are monitor speakers used for?

picture of a musician using monitor speakers

Monitor speakers are typically used by singers, musicians, music producers and DJ setups in the bedroom or studio. They’re designed to be positioned in close proximity to and often directly at the user, rather than outwards at a dancefloor as with a more powerful speaker such as a subwoofer.

Why do DJs need monitors?

picture of monitor speakers in a DJ booths

In DJ booths, monitors speakers are used so the DJ can hear an accurate ”real-time” representation of the sound output rather than the second-hand delayed sound coming from the main speakers. Whilst you can just cue up your mixes in your headphones (in any scenario), it’s definitely preferable to have monitors in the DJ booth.

Can studio monitors be used as DJ speakers?

picture of a DJ at a mobile gig

Studio monitors are NOT designed to power a house party or to be pointing out at a dance floor. Whilst you can do it in a small-ish room if you have nothing else, it’s definitely not advisable if you’re cranking up the volume for long periods.

More buyer’s guides

Affiliate Disclosure: To help fund the website, some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means if you choose to make a purchase we’ll make a small commission from it. This NEVER costs you any extra as a result.

Credit: Many thanks to Audio Hotline and JrTech on Youtube for the awesome product review videos we linked to!

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