Purchasing the appropriate sound equipment for your professional recording studio can be a hard, and time consuming job. You need to search between multiple different pieces of equipment, and decide which ones are most suitable for your studio’s needs.
As a sound engineer, it is more than certain that you already know the types of studio monitors that are going to deliver the best sound possible to your studio environment. For instance, active monitors are easier to use than passive monitors, because of their capability of being more portable and the fact that you need to use less cables and wires to use them.
No matter if you know which sound equipment you should purchase or not, it is essential that you get an idea of the prices ranges of the gear you are going to purchase. Sound engineers, especially the ones that are just starting to build their first professional recording studio, usually are on a budget and need invest their money appropriately so that they can acquire all the necessary equipment.
When it comes to studio monitors, which is one of the most important tools for a sound engineer that want to deliver the best sound results possible to his customers, there multiple monitor models, offered at different price points.
The price point of $400 or less, is one of the best options for beginner professional studio owners. You can acquire great quality products that deliver excellent sound within logical prices, and you can save the rest of your money to purchase other necessary equipment for your studio.
There are other options as well, although purchasing cheaper studio monitors for your professional recording studio would be an unnecessary loss of quality. As for more expensive monitor models, you can start with an excellent product at the price point of $400, and upgrade your equipment as your customer base and you income increases and becomes steadier.
How to purchase studio monitors under $400
The price point of the studio monitors you are about to purchase is of major importance, especially if you are a beginner sound engineer that want to equip his professional recording studio. Acquiring a nice pair of monitors for $400 or less is one of the best and most affordable options.
At the particular price point, you can search and find multiple high quality studio monitors that are capable of delivering amazing sound. Later, after you have established your brand name you can upgrade your equipment and acquire s more expensive pair of studio monitors, with better specs to improve your overall sound quality.
Studio monitors of the particular price point have great specifications, especially the ones that we recommend in our list below. Their connectivity and portability levels are fascinating, as they can be used in almost any internal or external location.
You can start using them immediately, although you are going to need an audio interface to plug them in. For additional loudness, you may need to acquire an amplifier, although this is not necessary for small spaces, an active nearfield studio monitors have all the power you will need to function properly.
To get the best quality monitors possible, you should search among trusted manufacturers. You should read carefully the specifications and reviews of the monitors, and test them yourself to get a taste of their sound. In addition to this, you should learn about the frequency range of the monitors you want to purchase, so that they can meet your requirements.
Studio monitors usually come as bundled versions too. This means, that you can purchase your monitors with extra items, such as cables, stands, isolation pads, audio interfaces and more, in very affordable prices. This way, you can equip your studio without exceeding your initial budget’s limits.
Best studio monitors under $400
1 – Presonus Eris E5
The Presonus Eris E5 is a great studio quality pair of monitors, perfect for every music producer or sound engineer who wants to equip his professional recording studio. They are awesome near field studio monitors, which means that they work best in small spaces, although their nice loudness allows them to be used in larger studio as well.
They have great accuracy levels, both in the high and the low frequencies. Their frequency response is 53Hz to 22kHz, which makes their sound significantly neutral without any additional boosting in particular frequency bands. This facts, makes them perfect for mixing and mastering processes, as they provide nice clean and accurate sound result for the audio engineer.
The natural and crispy sound of the Presonus Eris E5, along with the significantly punchy bass and low ends, make their overall sound quality exceptionally high and worth the money invested into them. The presence in the mid frequencies is subtly enhanced, without changing the generally neutral sound result.
The particular studio monitors have amazing protection standards, a fact that will help them last over time and still produce great sound quality after years of use. They bass and their mid frequencies are very clear and bright, and the treble is not harsh enough to cause distortion or noise issues.
The Presonus Eris E5 are significantly cheaper and work equally well compared to the rest of the similar products. This way, they are conveniently available for beginner audio engineers and music producers that are on a budget and want to equip their recording studios without spending a fortune.
Overall, their sound quality is outstanding and they provide great depth and clarity throughout the entire frequency spectrum. The sound remains neutral and powerful, although you can notice a slight presence in the mid frequencies, which adds some color. All in all, a great option of studio monitors for professional recording studios for under $400.
2 – IK Multimedia iLoud
The IK Multimedia iLoud Micro are very compact and lightweight studio monitors. No matter their size, they can provide excellent high quality sound and have great levels of loudness. They come with a power supply, a cable which you can use to connect the monitors to each other and an input cable.
The monitors have significantly low levels of distortion and very low self noise, which can be reduced even more if you apply isolation pads under the monitors to eliminate the vibrations and keep them steady.
Their stereo imaging and bass extension is awesome, especially for their compact size. They have great dynamic compression, which works very well even in high playback levels. Their sound can be improved if you provide the appropriate spacing between the monitors, which is about 4 feet.
Furthermore, the IK Multimedia iLoud Micro monitors are directional. This means, that they need the right placement towards the ears of the user, so that he can achieve the perfect stereo imaging and volume balance.
The particular studio monitors have a front support that turns the monitors up to about 15 degrees. This makes them capable of playing significantly well at very high volume levels, without any noise or popping issues. Their distortion levels are extremely low, and their low ends are warm and smooth, which makes the listening experience great.
When you use the IK Multimedia iLoud Micro at very high volume levels, you may notice some minor resonance and vibration. You can reduce these issues by adding isolation pads under the units, along with soundproofing well your recording studio to avoid sound reflections. His way you can achieve much cleaner and noise-free sound.
To sum up, these are fascinating studio monitors, with a number of capabilities that will enhance your recording studio sound quality. Their structure is very sturdy and solid and they have a nice, eye-appealing design. In addition to these, their sound quality makes them a great option for every sound engineer.
3 – Mackie MR MK3
If you are looking for a pair of studio monitors that provide amazing, crispy and clear sound, then the Mackie MR MK3 monitors are the ideal option for you. They have outstanding levels of accuracy, and you will be able to notice every single sound in your mix, as they deliver great detail for both main and for secondary sounds equally.
That being said, you may need to start improving you audio sources, as these monitors are capable of making high quality and low quality sounds stand out. This means, that every single noise, air or saturation will be easily noticeable in your mix, and you will have to treat it appropriately in order to improve the overall result.
The two Mackie MR MK3 monitors have individual power switches. They are not the most powerful studio monitors within the certain price range, however their sound is more than amazing and bright. Their low ends could use a bit of loudness, as their bass sounds too neutral, which is not an issue when it comes to mixing and mastering.
Their structure looks very solid, and they are significantly heavy and stable. They give the impression of well-built studio monitors, which makes them capable of tolerating minors misuses without any issues. Their design looks very professional although simplistic, which is a nice addition.
The overall sound quality of the Mackie MR MK3 is amazing, and will satisfy even the most demanding sound engineer or music producer. Their neutral sound is perfect for audio mixing and mastering sessions, and the products usually arrive in time with all the components included in the package. One of the best studio monitors solutions with nice performance and awesome high frequency response for professional recording studios, in a very reasonable price range.
4 – Yamaha HS5
The Yamaha HS5 are among the most popular studio monitor solutions available in the market. Their nice clear sound and the great levels of punchiness and warmness to their low ends are responsible for their increasing popularity, along with their ability of maintaining the neutrality of their sound for proper music producing and mixing sessions.
The particular studio monitors are very powerful and they manage to deliver fascinating results considering bass punchiness and general warmness for their low ends. They provide great depth when it comes to sub frequencies, and they have high and low filters, which you can use to adjust and customize their sound.
The Yamaha HS5 work great both for recording and for listening purposes, especially when used in fairly small, well-soundproofed studio environments. Their overall sound is flat, without becoming weak or powerless. They manage not to add any particular color or character to any of the frequencies, so their sound is ideal for studio purposes.
The accuracy levels of these studio monitors are fascinating. You can distinguish every single detail, and you can detect the smallest background sounds easily, without much effort. They have very nice stereo imaging and soundstage, especially when placed appropriately and distanced correctly from the sound engineer or the producer.
Overall, their sound is very natural, without any unnecessary enhancements to the low or high ends that may confuse the user during the mixing process. They have built-in amps, which provide great power, and there is no hiss or noise issues noticed when you increase the gain levels. Their affordable price along with their awesome quality, qualify them as a great pair of studio monitors under $400.
5 – Rockville APM8B
The Rockville APM8B monitors, can be easily compared to the rest of the big brands and great manufacturers due to their amazing structure and sound quality. They provide extremely clean sound to the user, a helpful advantage for every music producer and audio engineer that wants high accuracy levels to mix his projects properly.
The units have a volume knob place to the back part, and there is not USB or any other connectivity cable included in the package. The studio monitors have great levels of loudness, which means that they works great when used in places with lots of people.
The Rockville APM8B deliver awesome sound quality. They have very smooth low ends and the bass sounds great and very deep. The detail of the high frequencies is outstanding, and you can distinguish all the instruments and vocals in the mix accurately, without any effort.
The monitors have very broad frequency range, starting at 30hz, which makes the overall sound very ear-pleasing and warm. You can notice a very slight presence in the mid frequencies, which adds some character to the sound, without losing the neutrality that is necessary for the mixing process.
Generally, the Rockville APM8B is a more than excellent pair of studio monitors, perfect for all professional recording studio environments. They work great as near field monitors, and you can enhance their already amazing sound quality if you apply isolation pads and panel foams in case you use them in a home studio. They provide fascinating sound quality results for the money, and they are definitely one of the best options for sound engineers and music producers for less then $400.