Making music in your home was a dream that most people never thought could come true. Professional and semi-professional studio equipment has dropped in price in the last decade, allowing anyone to be the musician they dreamed of.
The prices coming down doesn’t mean the quality has dropped. The reason behind the affordability comes from the number of companies able to produce high quality machinery. With so much to choose from, you can pick the perfect home studio monitor for you!
But therein lies the catch; what studio monitors can produce quality sounds, and which ones just look good in a wannabe’s room? We can help you sieve out the sour vibes.
What Is A Home Studio Monitor?
If you’re thinking of a computer monitor, then you’ve gone down the wrong rabbit hole. A studio monitor closely resembles speakers, but their internal mechanics work in a completely different way.
Regular speakers will sound good in any space, whereas Studio Monitors help the creators criticize their work. If the audio is even slightly bad, you will hear it in a Studio Monitor.
The idea is to create a flat yet precise sound from your mix; nothing has been emphasized. This is so you can easily pick out the imperfections in the music.
Studio monitors are meant to be listened to from a maximum of one foot away, so unlike an amplifier, you wouldn’t expect a whole floor to hear the complexity of your music.
The Most Popular 5 Inch Home Studio Monitor
The most popular Home Studio Monitor right now is the PreSonus Eris E5. PreSonus has a large number of fantastic home studio monitors in their collection, and to be fair, their most popular studio monitor ever is the Eris E3.5. It is by far the biggest crowd pleaser. But when it comes to 5 inch monitors, PreSonus is still in the lead!
Quick List – 5 Most Popular 5 Inch Home Studio Monitors
In order of popularity, here is our quick list of the most popular 5 Inch Home Studio Monitors:
- PreSonus Eris E5
- JBL Professional Studio Monitor (305PMKII)
- Mackie CR-X Series (CR5-X)
- Yamaha HS5
- KRK RP5 Rokit
Knowing that a home studio monitor is popular means you can be certain that it will do well in general, and home studio monitors are not a product that most people buy; just professionals and super enthusiasts.
From this basic knowledge, you should be confident purchasing any of these 5 studio monitors.
If you want to know a little more about each monitor, check out our reviews below. Depending on your needs, you will want a different brand. Check out our buyers guide to learn more.
Detailed Review – 5 Most Popular 5 Inch Home Studio Monitors
It’s time to look at the 5 most popular ones on the market and see if they are as good as their popularity suggests!
PreSonus is a high end audio manufacturer that creates almost everything in this world of technology. The Eris series comes from their budget collection, but the low price tag has not hampered their ability to produce great sound. They have managed to continue their stabilizing accuracy with the crisp sound they are known for.
It features a 5 inch woven composite for low frequencies and a 1 inch ultra low silk down for high frequencies, allowing you to reach both high and low ranges without moving far from the flat level we want.
As you would expect from a PreSonus, the E5’s active monitors create fantastic sounds for mostly low frequencies, but they do have Class AB adjustment controls which means you can amplify acoustic controls too.
It is recommended for computers like most studio monitors are, but in this case, PreSonus means that they do not have Bluetooth options for you. Instead, you will have to connect it with wires. This wouldn’t be a bad thing unless you planned on moving the speakers to a certain area of the room. The cables create a perfect connection without any resistance.
The mid range and high frequency controls were designed for acoustic treatment and bass sounds specifically. This means that users who create high frequencies as their main objective may not find a friend in the Eris E5. Its low sounds are great, but the high ones don’t hit the notes we would expect.
- Budget Price
- Great For Bass Music
- Great For Acoustic Music
- Wired for Seamless Connection
- Silk Drivers
- Great For Low Frequency
- Not Great For High Frequency Users
- No Bluetooth
- An outstanding way to upgrade your monitoring so that your mixes translate.
- Now comes included with Studio One Prime and Studio Magic plug-in suite, over $1000 USD worth of music production software.
- 5.25-inch woven composite woofer delivers solid low-end sound with minimal bass distortion.
- 1-inch ultra-low-mass silk-dome tweeter eliminates harshness and provides balanced high-frequency sound.
- 80 watt, Class AB bi-amplification provides plenty of volume and headroom for nearfield monitoring.
Overall, we are happy with the most popular 5 inch home studio monitor on the market!
JBL has created its next generation of studio monitors. Like PreSonus, JBL is a professional grade audio manufacturer that has created a budget series in MKII. However, they have still managed to include the JBL Image Control Waveguide in their technology.
This is a high class software system that helps creators control their frequency waves to the most minute detail. Adding this software to the monitor gives it an edge over all the others on our list!
To give you some more details, the Image Control Waveguide provides detailed imaging and a boardroom-friendly sweet spot to create a greater depth and ambiance in your recordings. If you create delicate sounds like acoustics, woodwind, or string, then the JBL 305P MKII is an excellent pick for you.
JBL has also added their patented slip steam for their low frequency port. This helps to produce a deep bass response at whatever playback level you choose. The double flared shapes of the port were designed with precision to create low frequency and reduce the turbulence produced by the natural vibrations.
Essentially, the background noise created by the cabinet can be reduced with the slip stream. This attention to low frequencies means that musicians who want to create harmonies with low frequencies and delicate sounds can do so without hesitation when using the JBL 305P MKII.
- World Class Manufacturer
- Image Control Waveguide Technology
- Great For Acoustics
- Great For Woodwind
- Great For String
- Great For Low Frequency
- Reducing Turbulence
- Stretches High and Low Frequencies
- 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
- New boundary EQ: restores neutral low frequency response when speakers are placed on the work surface and adjacent to walls
- Sleek, modern design provides a dramatic flair to any studio
- Broad sweet spot: neutral frequency response across a wide area allows you to fine-tune your mix even while listening off-axis
Again a popular home studio monitor has proven to be worth the bucks! We would recommend this monitor to any creator working in orchestra-like music.
Mackie isn’t a legendary name in professional studio monitors, like the previous two brands we have shown you, but no one starts at the top. Mackie is still a great brand, and their CR series was made for creative people who need a studio-quality sound with cosmetics that compliments their desk.
With an aim of beauty over sound, you can understand why their price tag is only a third of JBL 305P MKII.
One of Mackie’s prominent features is its sleek look. The brushed metal faceplate has a textured cabinet and a green outline which is a classic look for the CR range. In our opinion, the visual aspect is just like any other home studio monitor, and so this “highly praised” feature is a little pointless.
Enough with how it looks! How does it sound?!
As soon as you turn the monitors on, they give out a low hiss. The hiss is the same level as a desk fan. This is disturbing, but once the music is pulsing through, the hiss does go away.
The CR5-X was designed for small recordings (like podcasts), content creators, gamers, and casual music playing. This is a big demographic for studio monitors, but we wanted to check out all four of them before casting a judgment.
For a home studio, it created an okay sound. High frequency audios will achieve a crisper result than low frequency audios. The sound is really good for its low price. Creating a crisp sound for podcasts and videos is very important, and you will receive clean audio bite with these monitors in play.
When it comes to the gaming aspect, the speakers produce the sounds of crunching leaves and low weather sounds, but not enough to replace your current TV speakers. When it comes to using the monitors as speakers, they do a great job! This is probably why the other aspects are not so perfect.
After checking out JBL and PreSonus, Mackie was a bit of a letdown. But if you have a terribly tight budget, then this studio monitor will get the job done.
- Very Cheap
- Sleek Design
- Bluetooth Ready
- Can Connect To Headphones
- Great For Podcast Creators
- More Of A Speaker Than Studio Monitor
- Better Quality Speakers Are Available In the Budget Section
- Professional studio-quality sound
- Front-facing headphone jack auto-defeats speaker output
- Flexible inputs - 1/4”, 1/8”, and RCA
- 80 watts of clean, articulate stereo sound
- Hookup cables included
Anyone in the music industry will recognize the name “Yamaha,” and if you have bought any of their audio devices, then you will recognize the stunning design.
Not to trample on Mackie’s attempt to look sleek, but Yamaha’s iconic white woofers have been strong since the 1970s and continue to be a stand out presence today. Arguably, the black cabinet with a white woofer is more striking than the all white cabinet, but that is up for interpretation.
We aren’t going to spend another review looking at how pretty the speakers are, so let’s listen to their sound!
The HS services have newly developed transduces, which can create an astonishingly smooth response in both the high and low frequency ranges. These transducers use magnetic fields to regulate the flow of the response to create a natural sonic transition. All of that is fancy talk for a wonderfully soothing sound that is perfect for gentle audio.
The series’ cabinets have a low resonance enclosure design which means that they can effectively eliminate turbulence. This feature helps the latter to create a smooth sound. It is made out of dense and resilient MDF (medium-density fiberboard), which is a type of wood. It is the perfect material for acoustic responses.
The amplifiers in the HS series are perfectly matched to the transducers. They use a bi-amp design for both the woofers and the tweeters to create a consistently high resolution sound with an exceptionally flat response.
- Beautiful Design
- Smooth Response
- High Performance Amp
- Bi-Amp Design
- MDF Cabinets
- Great For Acoustic
- Great For High And Low Frequencies
- Package Dimensions: 21 L x 16 H x 16 W (inches)
- Package Weight: 1 pounds
- Country of Origin : Indonesia
- 2-Way bass-reflex bi-amplified nearfield studio monitor with 5" cone woofer and 1" dome tweeter
- 54Hz-30kHz frequency response
We searched for a negative in the Yamaha and couldn’t find one. The only thing we found was a recurring complaint of a slightly damaged package on delivery, but that one in a million occurrence is not enough to put on our Pros and Cons list.
KRK’s Rokit series uses matching drivers to ensure that the same sonic integrity can be used across all frequencies. Their aim is to help you avoid listening fatigue which can happen to any musician or audio manipulator as they try to perfect their sound.
The Rokit comes with software to help you create 25 graphic EQ settings which means you can minimize and correct problems in your acoustic environment. The fact that their app works in sync with the home studio monitors is amazing.
It has DPS-driven Active Room Tuning, which means it can sense the acoustics in your room and tune the audio for a crisper sound. It will give you a visualization of the decibels so you can monitor how the music is moving. This app is available on iOS and Android, so it doesn’t matter what phone you have.
The sound itself is solid and accurate with a 5 inch woofer 1 inch tweeter, both of which were made by Kevlar.
The frequency response is very narrow, which is just what you need in a studio monitor. The ratings are 43Hz – 40 KHz, perfect for finding and keeping the flat response you desire.
- Helps Avoid Listening Fatigue
- App Software To Create Accurate Sounds
- Narrow Frequency For Flat Response
- Professional grade 5“ (bi-amp) studio monitor designed and engineered in the USA
- 5” matching woofer and 1” tweeter made with Kevlar
- Built-in efficient Class D power amp
- Proprietary speaker drivers built in-house from the ground up
- Onboard LCD visual ds-driven EQ
Buyers Guide – What To Look For In A 5 Inch Home Studio Monitor
You want to make sure you are buying a top notch piece of kit before you spend your money. After all, you will be using this machinery to help produce your music, and an inaccurate sound could ruin the end product if you aren’t careful.
There are 5 factors to consider; they are the amplifiers, the connectivity, the drivers, the cabinet, and the frequency range.
Monitor speakers have built in amplifiers that are active instead of passive. This means that they have individual amps inside the speakers powering them.
For comparison, regular speakers will need you to plug an amplifier in; they will not have one attached.
The best type of amplifier for your Studio Monitor is a bi-amp. These amps are embedded into each driver, which increases the performance of the drivers, and it allows you to operate each driver individually, thereby giving you more control.
Each speaker will have its own circuitry so it can operate individually. This will allow you to pick out the audio interference and the motion effect of your music. This is a feature that every studio monitor will have, so if any manufacturer is bragging about this addition, you can ignore it as a simple expectation.
The connectivity features that not all monitors will have include Bluetooth wireless connection, acoustic tuning, shelf filters, and cross over knobs. All of these features just so happen to be part of the PreSonus Eris Series, but other brands have them too.
When it comes to Bluetooth, you may notice a delay in connectivity or even some interference. Many professionals prefer to use the classic ¼ inch connections instead to avoid incorrect readings.
Drivers are the cone shaped parts of the speaker which convert audio signals (electrical energy) into sound (sound waves). They are the most essential component in any speaker, including studio monitors.
There will be two or three drivers in a studio monitor, and they will vary in size to produce different frequencies. The largest driver is called a woofer, and it reproduces low or mid range frequencies. The small ones are called tweeters, and they can reproduce high frequencies.
Drivers tend to be made out of silk, carbon, glass, and metal. Metals tend to last the longest but can create more disturbances in the sound. Silk doesn’t last super long, but the delicate material is perfect for listening to crips audio. Glass is similar to silk but tends to be stronger.
The best drivers tend to be made out of carbon. Carbon has the flexibility of silk combined with the strength of metal.
The cabinet is the protective box that surrounds the speakers. When the drivers vibrate, the box will vibrate with it. This can cause interference and therefore give you incorrect feedback, meaning the material quality of the box is super important.
The cabinet will not be able to stop vibrating all together, however, it is possible to reduce the problem.
The best material is normally wood, however, very few studio monitors tend to use the natural material because it is hard to maintain.
The second best are glass fiber and carbon fiber. They are robust, durable, and don’t disturb sound as much as plastic.
Frequency range and response can be a critical issue in your purchase. Studio monitors only cover frequencies audio to the human ear, these are from 20 Hz to 20 kHz.
Buying a speaker that can reach higher or lower than these frequencies will be unnecessary. Those types of speakers would be classified as a normal speaker instead of studio monitors.
In general, you want to make sure that the speakers can reproduce high ranged frequencies. However, aiming for just high frequencies can impact the low woofers’ sound, creating an uneven response.
By the same token, if your music contains a lot of heavy bass, then you may want a speaker with a larger woofer to reach those low frequencies.
Some monitors have a narrow range in order to achieve the flattest response they can. Depending on what you need for the monitor, you may want to search for one which narrows the range in this way. “Flat” in this context means that the monitor remains consistently, giving each frequency the same level of quality.
Frequently Asked Questions
Have more questions? Check out our FAQs to see if we have already answered them!
What Is The Best Size Of A Studio Monitor?
This question depends on your room size. The first question you should ask yourself is what can fit in your space. A 5 inch monitor is usually the best choice, but if you have a large room, you can stretch for a monitor that can reach deeper sounds.
The bigger the monitor, the larger the woofer will be. The bigger the woofer, the lower the frequencies can go.
If you don’t plan on using deep basses in your audio, then a large woofer might not be necessary.
Are Studio Monitors Worth Getting?
If you plan on being serious with your recording, whether that’s music or podcasts or whatever, then yes. Studio monitors are worth it. These monitors can produce a flat sound so that you can pick up on impurities easily.
Here is a scenario to help you understand their worth. You’ve created a song using just speakers and headphones, and it sounds great. The bass is heavy, the guitars are crisp. Perfect. You then hand your recording to a friend and ask them to listen to your song. They don’t have your speakers.
When they listen to the music, they can hear a strange hum in the background, maybe they hear you tapping your feet, or even just a slight buzz from the electricals. It doesn’t sound as great as it could have been.
If you had a studio monitor, all these additional noises you didn’t plan on adding would be brought up to the same frequency, making it flat.
You would be able to pick these sounds out and remove them. When you pass your song to your friend for the second time, after using the monitors, those additional sounds are gone.
Why Are Some Studio Monitors So Expensive?
Some studio monitors can cost around $100,000. Our ones above don’t go past $500. The reason is because of how much effort these higher priced monitors put into catching unexpected sounds.
Full time professionals would expect to pay $100,000 so that their number one records are perfect, but if you are just starting out in the music or podcast industry, then you won’t be expected to air out all the impurities.
Can I Use Just One Studio Monitor?
Using one studio monitor can work if you are casually editing your music, but it is strongly recommended that you use two.
This is because every few mixes are in mono. When you are listening to a song, you may notice that the audio reaches one ear faster than the other. Using two studio monitors means that both your ears are helping to pick out impurities as you pan across the audio field.
Are Studio Monitors Mono?
All single monitors are mono. They usually come in pairs so that you can create a natural duo hearing environment. Mono means one, and like headphones, if you only have one in use, then you are missing out on half the experience.
So we have discussed which home studio monitor is the most popular and confirmed it was PreSonus Eris E5. The PerSonal is a wonderful monitor which does a fantastic job especially considering its price range.
However, it isn’t necessarily the best. In our eyes, the best home studio monitor out of these most popular choices was the Yamaha HS5. We could not find a fault in the Yamaha.
The reason it might be classed as the 4th most popular could be due to its $50 more expensive price tag, but for us, that hike isn’t too bad. We would recommend both monitors, but our favorite is the Yamaha.