The Best Studio Monitors Under $400 (Ultimate Guide)

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Looking for the best studio monitors under $400? We’ve got you covered! In this ultimate guide, we compare and review the top 6 models on the market, based on factors such as sound quality, features, and value for money. So whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro, we’ll help you find the perfect monitors for your needs.

1. KRK RP5 Rokit 5 G4          

POWERFUL AGGRESSIVE MONITOR

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2. YAMAHA HS5 2-Way        

PRECISE NEUTRAL MONITOR

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3. JBL Professional 306P MkII

ACCURATE BASS

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4. Adam Audio T5V 

TRANSPARENT IMAGING MONITOR

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5. KRK GoAux 4

COMPACT PORTABLE SPEAKER

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6. Fostex 6301DT 

NETWORKED AUDIO MONITOR

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1. KRK RP5 Rokit 5 G4 Professional Bi-Amp 5″

POWERFUL AGGRESSIVE MONITOR

35 Hz to 30 kHzPunchy bass.
Smooth highs for detailed sound.Sturdy construction!
Picture by KRK

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Picture by Alesis

PROS

  • Firstly, the KRK RP5 Rokit 5 G4s are known for their accurate sound reproduction, making them ideal for mixing and mastering. With a flat frequency response, they provide a true representation of your audio without boosting or cutting any frequencies.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

    Secondly, despite their compact size, these monitors deliver a surprisingly punchy bass, thanks to their ported design. This makes them suitable for genres such as hip hop, EDM, and electronica that demand strong bass response.

    Thirdly, the high frequencies on the KRK RP5 Rokit 5 G4s are smooth and detailed, without being harsh or fatiguing. This makes them a good choice for vocals and other instruments that have a lot of high-end content.

    Lastly, the KRK RP5 Rokit 5 G4s are built to last, featuring a sturdy cabinet and protective grill. This durability makes them suitable for professional studios where they may experience a lot of wear and tear.

    Now, let’s delve into more detail regarding these pros. The KRK RP5 Rokit 5 G4s offer a wider frequency response range of 35 Hz to 30 kHz, providing an accurate reproduction of a wider range of frequencies.

    Their ported design enhances the bass frequencies, resulting in a more powerful and punchy bass compared to other monitors in this price range. The use of a silk dome tweeter enables the reproduction of smooth and detailed high frequencies without any harshness.

    Furthermore, the KRK RP5 Rokit 5 G4s are built with a sturdy MDF cabinet, a dense and durable material that resists vibrations. Additionally, the protective grill safeguards the drivers from potential damage.

    Overall, the KRK RP5 Rokit 5 G4s are an excellent option for studio monitors under $400, offering accurate sound reproduction, punchy bass, smooth highs, and durability. Considered as one of the most popular monitors worldwide, they provide great value for money and cater to various music production tasks.

    It’s worth mentioning that the blog post you referred to also recommends the Yamaha HS5s and the JBL 305P MkIIs as two other excellent options in this price range. The Yamaha HS5s are renowned for their neutral sound, while the JBL 305P MkIIs offer a more bass-heavy sound. Ultimately, the best choice for you will depend on your specific needs and preferences.

CONS

  • Firstly, the bass can sometimes be muddy, especially in small rooms. The default bass response is boosted, resulting in a sound that can be overpowering and lacking clarity.                                                                                                                            
  • Secondly, the high frequencies of the Rokit 5 G4s can be harsh or fatiguing for some individuals, particularly during extended listening sessions. It’s recommended to consider other monitors with a more neutral sound signature if you’re sensitive to high frequencies.                                                                                                                                                    
  • However, overall, the KRK RP5 Rokit 5 G4s provide a balanced sound with good clarity and detail, making them a great choice for the price. Nevertheless, it’s important to keep these cons in mind, especially if you’re in a small room or have sensitivity to high frequencies. Don’t forget to audition different pairs before making a decision.

2. YAMAHA HS5 2-Way 70W Bass Reflex

PRECISE NEUTRAL MONITOR

Accurate sound.Flat frequency response.
Good build quality.Affordable option.
Picture by YAMAHA

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

PROS

    • 1. Accurate sound reproduction: The HS5s are known for their accurate sound reproduction, achieved through high-quality drivers, a well-designed cabinet, and attention to detail in the signal path.                                                                                                                                     

      2. Flat frequency response: The HS5s have a flat frequency response, ensuring accurate and balanced mixes regardless of the listening environment.

      3. Good build quality: The HS5s have a sturdy cabinet and durable drivers, making them a good choice for demanding applications, with the ability to handle high volumes without distortion.

      4. Affordable price: The HS5s are very affordable, making them ideal for budget-minded producers and engineers.

      In addition to these four pros, the HS5s have other features that make them a good choice, including a bi-amplified design for improved sound quality, a rear-firing bass reflex port for extended low-frequency response, response controls to adjust the sound to match room acoustics, and a variety of connectivity options.

      The Yamaha HS5 2-Way 70W Bass Reflex Bi-Amplified studio monitors are accurate, affordable, and well-built, making them a popular choice among professionals and home studio users. They fit well into the blog post “The Best Studio Monitors Under $400 (Ultimate Guide)” as they consistently rank highly, are suitable for mixing, mastering, and tracking, work well in small to medium-sized rooms, and provide good value for the price.

      If you are in search of accurate, affordable, and well-built studio monitors under $400, the Yamaha HS5s are a great option to consider.

CONS

  • The limited frequency response of the HS5s, ranging from 43Hz-20kHz, may not be ideal for mixing low-end frequencies like bass and kick drums.                                                                                                                                                                    
  • Additionally, the noticeable bass boost in the HS5s can result in a muddy or boomy sound in certain rooms. Using acoustic treatment can help, but it’s important to be aware of this before purchasing. If you require a flatter frequency response, consider other options like the JBL LSR305, KRK Rokit 5 G4, or PreSonus Eris E5 studio monitors. Auditioning different models is recommended to find the best fit for your needs.

3. JBL Professional 306P MkII – Gen 6

ACCURATE BASS

Accurate sound.Wide frequency response, no distortion.
Powerful bass response.Durable construction and protection.
Picture by JBL

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

PROS

  • The JBL Professional 306P MkII Next-Generation 6″ studio monitors offer a range of enticing features that make them an excellent option for under $400. Let’s delve into the pros and additional details that make these monitors stand out.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

    First and foremost, the 306P MkIIs are renowned for their accurate sound reproduction. This is crucial when it comes to audio mixing and mastering, as it enables you to precisely analyze and tweak your recordings. With a wide frequency response that spans from 43 Hz to 40 kHz, these monitors can faithfully reproduce a diverse array of frequencies, from deep bass rumbles to crisp treble notes. Consequently, they are ideal for music lovers eager to explore various genres, as well as professionals looking to fine-tune their audio content.

    Additionally, the 306P MkIIs possess a wide frequency response, ensuring that every nuance of your audio can be discerned without any distortion. This is essential for studio monitors, as it allows you to accurately evaluate your recordings, identifying any imperfections or areas that need improvement.

    Moreover, these monitors deliver a powerful bass response, which is instrumental for those who enjoy bass-heavy music. The bass emitted by the 306P MkIIs is remarkable for its tightness and control, devoid of any muddiness or sonic degradation.

    Apart from their impressive sound capabilities, the JBL Professional 306P MkIIs exude sturdiness and longevity. The durable construction of these monitors ensures that they can withstand the demanding environment of a recording studio. Additionally, a metal grille safeguards the vital drivers from potential damage, further enhancing their resilience.

    In addition to the aforementioned benefits, these monitors boast a host of other remarkable features. They incorporate a bi-amp design with two Class D amplifiers, providing optimal power distribution. The 5-position switchable crossover allows for further customization and audio tailoring. Furthermore, the 306P MkIIs house a 2-way speaker system, boasting a 6.5-inch woofer and a 1-inch tweeter. This combination delivers a balanced and well-rounded sound experience. The rear-panel port encourages bass extension, enriching the overall audio quality. Finally, the multiple input options available, including XLR, TRS, and RCA, offer versatile connectivity possibilities.

    Though the JBL Professional 305P MkIIs are mentioned as a commendable option under $400, the 306P MkIIs surpass their predecessor in numerous aspects. These improvements include a broader frequency response, heightened bass power, and enhanced durability.

    Additionally, another reliable contender within the mentioned budget range is the KRK Rokit 5 G4. Both the 306P MkIIs and the Rokit 5 G4s feature exceptional attributes, yet they possess different strengths and weaknesses. The JBL monitors excel in their wide frequency response and potent bass capabilities, whereas the Rokit 5 G4s are distinguished by a more neutral sound signature.

    Ultimately, determining the best studio monitors for your needs is subjective and relies on individual preferences. The JBL Professional 306P MkIIs offer accurate sound reproduction and commanding bass, making them an excellent choice. Conversely, if you seek monitors with a neutral sound signature, the KRK Rokit 5 G4s are a viable alternative.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         
    In conclusion, the JBL Professional 306P MkII Next-Generation 6″ studio monitors present an array of impressive features that make them a top-tier option for under $400. With their accurate sound reproduction, wide frequency response, powerful bass, and durable construction, these monitors provide exceptional sound quality and reliability. Whether you are an audiophile or a professional working in the recording industry, the JBL Professional 306P MkIIs offer an outstanding combination of performance and affordability.

CONS

  • 1. The shiny plastic front panel is prone to fingerprints and dust. This is a common complaint among users, and it can be a nuisance if you’re looking for a monitor with a clean and professional look.                                                                                                                         
    2. The speakers have a small amount of amp hiss when in a very quiet room with no sound playing. This is also a common issue with powered speakers, and it’s usually not noticeable when music is playing. However, it can be a problem if you’re working in a very quiet environment.

    Overall, the JBL 306P MkII are a great option for budget-minded producers and engineers.

4. Adam Audio T5V Active Nearfield Monitor

TRANSPARENT IMAGING MONITOR

Accurate sound.Wide frequency response.
Excellent transient response.Durable construction.
Picture by Adam

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

PROS

  • 1. Accurate sound reproduction: The T5Vs are known for their accurate sound reproduction, which is essential for mixing and mastering. They have a wide frequency response (40Hz-25kHz) and low distortion, which means you can hear all the details in your music without any coloration.                                                                                                                                                                         

    2. Wide frequency response: The T5Vs have a wide frequency response, which means they can reproduce a wide range of frequencies. This is important for accurately reproducing all the different elements of your music, from the deep bass to the high-pitched vocals.

    3. Excellent transient response: The transient response of a speaker is how well it reproduces the attack and decay of a sound. The T5Vs have excellent transient response, which means they can accurately reproduce the transients of your music, giving it a more realistic and detailed sound.

    4. Durable construction: The T5Vs are built to last. They have a solid cabinet and a rugged design that can withstand the rigors of everyday use.

    Here are some additional details about each of these pros:

    The T5Vs use a combination of technologies to achieve accurate sound reproduction. These include a proprietary tweeter design with a waveguide, a custom woofer, and a high-performance amplifier.

    The T5Vs have a frequency response of 40Hz-25kHz, which is wider than many other speakers in their price range. This means they can reproduce a wider range of frequencies, which is important for accurately reproducing all the different elements of your music.

    The transient response of the T5Vs is in the order of 3 milliseconds, which is very good for a speaker in this price range. This means they can accurately reproduce the attack and decay of sounds, giving your music a more realistic and detailed sound.

    The T5Vs are made from a solid MDF cabinet with a black finish. They also have a metal grill that protects the drivers from damage.

    Overall, the Adam Audio T5Vs are an excellent choice for studio monitors under $400. They offer accurate sound reproduction, a wide frequency response, excellent transient response, and durable construction. If you are looking for a pair of speakers that will give you the best possible sound for your mixing and mastering needs, the T5Vs are a great option.

    Also…

    – The T5Vs are a good choice if you are looking for a pair of compact and affordable studio monitors that offer accurate sound reproduction.
    – They are a good alternative to the JBL 305P MkII, which are also popular studio monitors in this price range. The T5Vs have a slightly wider frequency response and better transient response, but the JBL 305P MkII is slightly more affordable.
    – If you need a pair of studio monitors with a larger bass response, you may want to consider the Adam Audio T7V. The T7Vs have a lower frequency response than the T5Vs, but they are also larger and more expensive.

    Ultimately, the best studio monitors for you will depend on your individual needs and budget. However, the Adam Audio T5Vs are a great option to consider if you are looking for a pair of affordable and accurate studio monitors.

CONS

  • 1. The power LED is located on the back of the monitor, which can be inconvenient to see.                                                                                    
  • 2. The rear-firing bass port can cause bass build-up in smaller studio spaces.                                                                                        
  • Overall, the Adam Audio T5V Active Nearfield Monitor Pair is a great option under $400, with excellent sound quality and features.

5. KRK GoAux 4 4″ Portable Monitors

COMPACT PORTABLE SPEAKER

Portable and lightweight!Built-in amplifier for easy connection.
Hi-Fi sound qualityDurable, withstands travel.
Picture by KRK

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

PROS

  • 1. Portable and lightweight. The GoAux 4 monitors are small and lightweight, making them easy to transport and set up. They also come with a travel case, so you can take them with you wherever you go.                                                                                                             

    2. Active speakers with built-in amplifier. The GoAux 4 monitors are active speakers, which means they have a built-in amplifier. This makes them easy to connect to your audio source and get started listening.

    3. Hi-Fi sound quality. The GoAux 4 monitors produce clear, detailed sound with a good balance of bass, mids, and highs. They are also capable of producing loud volumes without distorting.

    4. Durable construction. The GoAux 4 monitors are made from durable materials that can withstand the rigors of travel and everyday use. They also have a rear-ported design that helps to reduce unwanted vibrations.

    In addition to these pros, the GoAux 4 monitors also come with a number of other features that make them a good value for the price, including Bluetooth connectivity for wireless streaming, Automatic Room Correction (ARC) to compensate for the acoustic properties of your room, a 3.5mm headphone jack for private listening, and volume, low-frequency, and high-frequency controls.

    Overall, the KRK GoAux 4 4″ Portable Monitors are a great option for musicians, producers, and audio engineers who are looking for a pair of affordable, portable, and high-quality studio monitors.

    Here are some additional thoughts on how the KRK GoAux 4 monitors fit in with the recommendations in the blog post “The Best Studio Monitors Under $400 (Ultimate Guide)”:

    The GoAux 4 monitors are a good option for people who are looking for a portable pair of studio monitors. They are also a good value for the price, considering that they come with a number of features that are typically found in more expensive monitors, such as Bluetooth connectivity and ARC.

    The GoAux 4 monitors may not be the best option for people who need the absolute best sound quality. However, they are a great option for people who are looking for a pair of affordable, portable, and versatile studio monitors that can produce clear, detailed sound.

CONS

  • 1. Limited frequency response. GoAux 4 has a 50Hz to 20kHz frequency response, narrower than some in the same price range, compromising accurate frequency reproduction for mixing tasks.                                                                                                                                         
    2. Not very powerful. With a maximum SPL of 100dB, GoAux 4 falls behind other monitors, unable to fill larger rooms with sound.

    Also…

    * No built-in subwoofer, affecting accurate low-frequency reproduction.
    * Limited features like Bluetooth or headphone jack.

6. Fostex 6301DT 4″ Studio Monitor

NETWORKED AUDIO MONITOR

Powerful sound.RJ45 Dante connectivity for versatility.
Durable metal housing.Affordable monitor with great features.
Picture by Fostex

PROS

  • The Fostex 6301DT 4″ Studio Monitor, RJ45 Dante Enabled, is an excellent option for those looking for a budget-friendly monitor that delivers impressive performance. There are several key advantages that make this monitor stand out from the competition.                                                                                                                                                                                         

    Firstly, the 6301DTs offer powerful sound with clear highs and tight bass. Despite their small size, these monitors can produce a surprisingly robust sound that is well-suited for various genres, including music production and gaming. The Class AB amplifier provides 50 watts of power per channel, contributing to the monitor’s impressive audio capabilities. Additionally, the wide frequency response of 55 Hz to 22 kHz ensures that no detail is lost, making these monitors versatile and suitable for a range of applications.

    Another significant advantage is the RJ45 Dante connectivity. This feature enables easy setup and routing of audio signals. The RJ45 connectors allow for seamless integration into Dante-enabled audio networks, a considerable convenience for studios that require multiple monitor connections or live sound applications where signals need to be distributed across different mixers or sound systems. Streamlined setup and routing ensure efficient workflows and a hassle-free experience.

    Additionally, the 6301DTs possess a durable metal housing that contributes to their longevity. This construction is particularly beneficial for studios where monitors may be exposed to potentially damaging elements or in live sound settings where equipment is often subject to movements and impacts. The sturdy build ensures the monitors can withstand rough handling without compromising sound quality or performance, giving users peace of mind.

    Perhaps the most appealing aspect of the Fostex 6301DT is its affordable pricing. Retailing around $300 per pair, these monitors offer exceptional value for the features they offer. It is rare to find a monitor with such capabilities at this price point, making the 6301DTs an attractive option for studios on a tighter budget.

    In conclusion, the Fostex 6301DT 4″ Studio Monitor, RJ45 Dante Enabled, is a top choice for those seeking a cost-effective monitor without compromising on performance. Its powerful sound reproduction, easy connectivity, durable construction, and budget-friendly price make it an excellent option for a wide range of audio applications. If you are in search of a reliable studio monitor under $400, the 6301DTs deserve serious consideration.

CONS

  • 1. The bass response is not as good as some other monitors in this price range due to the small size of the 4″ driver. For critical listening, consider a monitor with a larger driver.                                                                                                                            
  • 2. The high-frequency response can be a bit harsh at times, again due to the small size of the driver. If sensitive to high frequencies, opt for a monitor with smoother high-frequency response. 

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