Top 7 Budget-Friendly Monitors In 2021

Top 7 Budget-Friendly Monitors In 2021 

Written By: Eric “Realistic” Michael

One of the key pieces of equipment any producer or engineer can purchase for their studio is a solid pair of studio monitors. Your studio monitors play a huge role in how you shape your sound & your mix. When you’re mixing, most of your decisions are based on what you hear & that’s why having a pair of solid monitors is so important. It’s best practice to choose a set of “flat” or “transparent” monitors or at least as close to flat & transparent as possible. This means that the frequency balance on the monitors is pretty even; there’s not a drastic boost in the low end or the high end. For example, if your monitors have an extra boost in the low end (like the KRK Rokits), that can be misleading while you’re mixing. When playing your track in your studio the low end will sound like it knocks & has a powerful bass; however later on, when you play it in a car or another system you may find that the low end is missing or not hitting as hard. That’s why it’s important to have a flat frequency balance in your monitors. At least when it comes to mixing.

With so many monitors on the market, it’s a challenge to know which ones are the best to go with. Especially when it comes to more affordable pairs. That’s why we put together this list of the best budget-friendly monitors. We aimed to keep each pair below $800, so high-end monitors that we prefer like the Genelec 8361A or the Barefoot MicroMain27 won’t be found on this list. We recommend going with active monitors to save the most money without having to spend extra money on amps, so all of our monitors on this list are active. If you can, try to aim for 8” woofers for the best response & output. Most of the monitors on this list are 8” with a few exceptions.

Yamaha HS8

Price: $369.99 each or $739.98 for the pair

At A Glance
● 8" cone woofer, 1" dome tweeter
● 38Hz to 30kHz frequency response
● 75-watt LF, 45-watt HF
● Room control and high-trim response

The Yamaha HS8 is one of the more popular studio monitors amongst home studio owners. This monitor is much more accurate & flat than the famous Yamaha NS10’s. This set of speakers has high-performance drivers, and a well-thought-out mounting system to help avoid room vibrations. They added an advanced “Magnetic Circuit” design which allows for excellent response in most rooms.

Adam Audio T7V

Price: $249.99 each or $499.98 for the pair

 Adam Audio T7V

At A Glance
● 7" polypropylene woofer and U-ART tweeter
● 39Hz–25kHz frequency response
● 70W (50W amp. 20W tweeter amp)
● HF & LF controls

Adam Audio has a great reputation for high-quality monitors. A lot of their more expensive models are in quite a few commercial studios. Their “T series” is a more affordable studio monitor that allows producers & engineers to have a budget-friendly Adam monitor in their studio. That’s why these are the only 7” monitors to make our list. These monitors have an extended frequency range and a pretty solid dynamic range. The transient response on these is also a nice surprise. The quality of these monitors is right on par with speakers that would cost 2-3 times as much as these

Avantone Active Mixcubes

Price: $249 each or $470 for the pair

Avantone Active Mixcubes

At A Glance
● 5.25" shielded active full-range monitor
● 90Hz-17kHz frequency Response
● 60W
● High-rigidity MDF cabinet sides for low resonance
● Great reference monitor

Okay, so these monitors may not be the best choice for your “mains” but if you’re looking for a very solid pair of secondary or reference monitors, look no further than these! The quality output of these won’t be super impressive & they do sound pretty boxy, “mid-rangey”, & don’t have much low end knock to them, but that is the point of these monitors. Because of that though, these are the perfect set of speakers for referencing your mixes on. Especially if you want to have a general idea of what your mix will sound like on laptops, smartphone speakers, or most consumer-level speakers. If you don’t have a pair of monitors yet, hold off on these & take a look at some of the other monitors on this list instead. These are the ones to go with when you’re in the market for an alternative pair of monitors in your studio to reference on.

Pro tip: collapse to mono while mixing on these & just about everything wrong with your mix will be exposed on these

Tannoy Gold 8

Price: $384 each or $768 for the pair

Tannoy Gold 8

At A Glance
● 8" Woofer
● 54 Hz - 20 kHz frequency response
● 300W
● Bass EQ adjustments on the back

Tannoy’s in general are found in lots of commercial music studios & film scoring studios. Their reputation of high quality monitors speaks for itself. These monitors have an accurate & fairly neutral response; this makes for easier mixing choices. There is a “front-firing” bass port design that will allow you to place these near a wall if need be, which ensures for a solid low-frequency performance. There is also dedicated input trim, bass, and treble controls that let you control the monitor for your room acoustics & make adjustments based on the room you are in.

Kali Audio IN 8

Price: $399 each or $798 for the pair

Kali Audio IN 8

At A Glance
● 8" woofer
● 37Hz-25kHz frequency response
● 140W (60W LF. 40W MF. 40W HF)
● LF & HF fine-tuning controls

These are an exceptional pair of monitors & we don’t think you would be disappointed if these were in your home studio. The frequency response on these are very flat & neither the low end or the high end are boosted on these; which is a good thing when it comes to mixing! These monitors have a low noise output & also have an excellent stereo image to them. You’ll also be impressed with the low-end response on these monitors. 

Focal Alpha 65

Price: $399 each or $798 for the pair

Focal Alpha 65

At A Glance
● 6.5” woofer
● 40Hz-22kHz frequency response
● 105W (LF 70W. HF 35W)
● Low & high customizable controls

Usually, we wouldn’t recommend going with a 6.5” monitor; however, when it comes to Focal the exception can be easily made. Focal has a strong reputation for high-quality monitors & the Alpha 65 are very satisfactory at their price point. Although if you do have the extra $300 in your budget to afford the Alpha 80 8” monitors, you will not be disappointed & you’ll be glad you spent the extra $300. These monitors have a very neutral sound giving you the flat response you need to mix. This pair is also known for a very accurate mid-range definition & a well-rounded low end. A pair of these will no doubt put you in a position to accurately hear your mix & give you full clarity.

PreSonus Eris E8 XT

Price: $259 each or $518 for the pair.

PreSonus Eris E8 XT

At A Glance
● 8” woofer
● 35Hz -22kHz frequency response
● 140W
● MF, LF, & low cut controls

The Eris E8 may very well be our favorite pair of budget-friendly monitors ever made. For the price, these are overwhelmingly surprisingly high-end with a flat, transparent sound. You get MF, HF and low-cut controls to customize the EQ to your room if you need to make adjustments. There’s also a three-position “Acoustic Space” switch. This will allow you to place these near a wall if need be, which ensures a solid low-frequency performance. If you need a really good pair of budget-friendly studio monitors, then this is the pair to go with. The Eris E8 easily competes with monitors that are 2-3 more expensive than these.

Get More Great Tips + Updates - Subscribe

Share this Production Tutorial Playlist


SoundOracle - Owner

SoundOracle (Sound Designer for Timbaland, whose sounds have been heard in over 20 Grammy award-winning songs by artists like Drake, Jay Z, Beyoncé, Justin Timberlake, Chris Brown, and more)

Connect with Oracle:
Instagram: SoundOracle
Twitter: SoundOracle
Youtube: SoundOracle 

SoundOracle Music Producer

Realistic Production - Engineer

Realistic is a Producer/Engineer located in Atlanta, GA specializing in Hip-Hop, R&B & Pop music. Realistic has been involved in the music industry for over 15 years. He has worked on projects for Talib Kweli, Just Blaze, Musiq Soulchild, Pharoahe Monch, NBA 2k, Skyzoo, BJ The Chicago Kid, Madlib, Ayo-N-Keyz, Billboard Hitmakers, Atmosphere, Brother Ali, Rhymesayers, Hamburger Helper, & LoveOfPharaoh.

IG: @RealisticProductions
Twitter: @Realistic_Pro
FB: @RealisticProductionsLLC
Apple Music, Spotify, SoundCloud, etc. -

Realistic Production - Sound Engineer


Everything You Need To Know In Order To Perfectly Master Records With Any DAW And The Plugins You Already Have

It is NOT just another mastering course that uses vague information that wastes your time and money.

It is NOT about just balancing the volume levels - yet this will happen as a result of using these secrets and your beats and songs will sound BETTER than they've ever sounded before.

It is NOT just about showing you what settings to dial in - every project and every song is different. This course will easily explain the knowledge you need to know what to "dial in" in any situation.

What's Included...

Over 9 Hours Of Expert Techniques

 Get years of experience & hundreds of thousands of dollars of education all packed into this professional, affordable course.

Mastering Cheat Sheets In PDF Form

These guides will come in clutch when you need to reference information quickly or are in a pinch when you’re not able to watch a video.

Easy To Understand, Concise Layout

 Not only is the information easy to understand, the chapters are laid out in concise bite size format for quick reference to a specific technique whenever you need it.


Our new online video course dropped last week & since then we have been flooded with orders!

The Art Of Beat Mixing is filled with industry mixing secretes like the simple drum summing technique that can get your kicks and snares to smack 10x BETTER INSTANTLY. SoundOracle used this summing technique on the Nicki Minaj & Mario song "Somebody Else". It works so well that the track didn't even need a baseline or an 808. The drums were that powerful!

The Art Of Beat Mixing is a full length video course with over 5 hours of content provided by a professional certified engineer! With 15 chapters packed into this course, each video gives you detailed visual guides on mixing your beats from start to finish.

What's included?
- Over 5 hours of expert techniques
- Mixing cheat sheets in PDF form
- An easy to understand, concise layout
- Small, digestible chapters with quick access to the info you need
- Everything you need to know to mix your beats professionally


Producers, beat makers, engineers, & artists - the perfect video course for guaranteeing your vocals have amazing professional quality is finally here!

Gone will be the days of your vocal mixes being cursed by muddiness, clipping, & lack of clarity.

The Art Of Vocal Mixing is a full length video course with over 14 hours of content provided by a professional certified engineer! With 20 chapters packed into this course, each video gives you detailed visual guides on mixing your vocals from start to finish.

You’ll learn how to achieve incredible vocal mixes with brilliantly designed short, easy to understand videos breaking down the entire process of mixing vocals professionally. Each stage of the mixing process has its own video making it easy to find the information you want to know, when you want it.

What's included?
- Over 150 high quality tutorial videos
- Over 14 hours of expert techniques
- Useful mixing guides in PDF form
- An easy to understand, concise layout
- A beautifully designed interface
- Small, digestible chapters with quick access to the info you need
- Everything you need to know to mix your vocals professionally
- A bonus sound kit made by SoundOracle himself!