Suggestions for Home Studio Monitors / Near Field
  • Hello

    I am really an amateur home noise maker (at least my wife calls my music like that ).

    Now number of noise making gear is increasing with help of MI so I would like the hear their noises better.

    I have Creative GigaWorks T20 MK1 speakers which is OK for listen some music but no good for my synths.

    Space around my desk is limited so I tend to look for small size ( especially 4“s ) ,small footprint near field monitors and I like quite bassy sounds

    - I found KRK VX4 is nice but expensive

    - Behringer announced NEKKST series and NEKKST 5 looks interesting

    What other small size footprint , sound good and budget monitors would you suggest ?

  • JBL Control 1 (ok, im biased, as i am used to them for 25 years now…and i have a SubControl 1 as well and it makes for a perfec near field Monitor).

    On my Living Room Setup (yes, i have such a thing) i have Behringer Truth B1030 A active monitors. Personally i like the JBL better but they are besides some faint noise when everything else is silent quite neutral – as a Monitor should be – and Value for Money.

  • I have a set of KRK Roket8’s and I love em. Trying to get small speakers output proper bass is hard. Generally, there are sacrifices when the bass response is increased with small speakers. Your best bet is to get some nice smallish near fields that do not have a lot of bass output but focus more on the mid and high range and get a sub.

  • I haven’t really heard anything but good about the Yamaha HS-80, or alternatively the HS-50, although they(HS-50) all but require the NS-10 subwoofer if you do stuff where bass is important..

    I personally don’t like the look of KRKs Monitors, but they do sound really clear, so that’s a plus ^^

  • Have you considered a good pair of headphones? Discussing monitors and headphones is a bit like discussing religion and politics but I have a pair of Grado SR325s and Grado SR125s and really like them.

  • @piscione I have Sennheiser HD 25-SP II which I am quite happy

  • I was really impressed with these FOSTEX monitors recently.

  • @shiftr I came a cross to them last year in MusikMesse and quite liked it but there was no possibility for a demo there at that moment.

    Do you have them ? or Did you test them out ?

  • For nearfields, I use either an old pair of Tannoys (PBM-6.5) that I replaced the foam surrounds on, or a pair of Prodipe Ribbon 5 bi-amped, self-powered monitors. These are actually not too bad and not having to have a separate amp around is kinda nice.

  • I bought 4 of them for a quadrophonic theatre installation. I mixed one project on them. They sounded really nice and quite honest and natural. I was really surprised how well they compared to my genelecs 8040s. I don’t really know about bass response though, the project didn’t have much bass in it.

  • The HS-80M sounds very nice with the HS-10W but it is not absolutely necessary:-)

  • Happy HS-80 user here.

  • For headphone, I have a pair of Sennheiser HD-650, which to my ears, sounds pretty good. They’re consumer hi-fi headphones, and not specifically designed for studio work, but they’ve had good reviews in music tech magazine and websites. They’re pretty comfortable, and bass response is good. The downsides are they’re open-backed, so they’re pretty loud ‘on the outside’, and wouldn’t be suitable as monitor headphones if you’re recording vocals etc. There’s also a problem with the plastic headband breaking. It’s replaceable, but expensive.

    In terms of speakers, I have a pair of M-Audio CX-5 active nearfield monitors. I’m not able to turn them up very load though because of the thin walls between our house and the adjoining one, so I can’t really comment on how good they are. They sounds OK to me, and they’re fairly compact.


  • if I had to get some monitors now and not spend a fortune I’d go for the new Adam f5

  • I have had the Behringer Truth passive B2031P for about 1 month. I am really liking them…but I came from a pair of M-Audio AV30, which were not ideal for synth playing. They cost be about $250 for the pair. I power them with (don’t laugh) a Yamaha home theater receiver….perfectly good for a hobbyist. No complaints so far. Very nice for the money.

  • @sammy123
    I power my JBLs with a 20year old harman/kardon Amp…. it didnt get better till then.

  • I powered the Tannoys with an HK hi-fi integrated amp for many years, works great. Speakers are essentially motors, and require clean power to operate well. The HKs have large power supplies and work very well for this sort of thing. The Tannoys are now in my son’s room and still powered by a smaller HK amp that is probably from the 1970s.

  • I need to throw my support in for the Yamaha HS-80s… Love em!

  • I have Numark NPM5s. They are very nicely balanced and can be fairly loud. I think they are one of the best speakers for roughly $100 (mine were $80). If you are doing a home studio on a budget, and happen to not be an audiophile, then they are perfect.

  • Hs 80s are huge and will totally take over a desk. not best suited for a small room…

  • If I were buying again, i’d definitely check out the HS50’s/80’s. They are well regarded for inexpensive monitors.
    That said, im running PMC TB2’s and a self built(ish) Hypex amp. But it’s rather overkill for my small room and modest sonic doodlings.. Plus the rig is almost too revealing for casual music listening. The slightest flaw sticks out a mile and constantly smacks you in the face.
    On the flip side, a perfect mix sounds sublime.. Thats what good monitors should do of course. But it comes at a price, and means you can’t comfortably use them for all things all of the time.

  • Despite from actual recommondations:

    any speaker will do, as long as you know how to handle it and know its weaknesses and nonlinearities. Remeber the NS-10M? Awkward speakers but yet to find in many Studios. Shure its easier havin some nice A7 around but if you are like me used for 25 Years to the same Speakers, the best Mointor will be of nearly no benefit.
    So go for whatever suits you personal need and hear a lot of music with it. The Monitor itself isnt as important as you knowing how to mix and hear.
    Or to put it another way: buying a Steinway doesnt make you Glenn Gould.

  • just want to butt my ugly mug in here and say that $300 worth of monitors and $300 of room treatment will go a lot further than $2000 monitors with no room treatment

  • +1 for defenestrations insight.

  • anyone every try a pair of genelec 6010s? I’ve had to get rid of my hs80s due to space issues and impending fatherhood, these diminutive genelecs look quite nice…

  • I am using in my “Dachkemenate” Adam A3X. They are tiny, and when it comes to mids or the high frequency range they really kill more than my Genelec 1030 did. As said before it is hard to get a hard and punchy low end out of a 5.25” speaker. So i monitor my bass with AKG 271 MKII headphones and the combination is in my opinion the best for this price – together around 550€.
    If i’d have more money (likely around 1200€) i would be a proud owner of a pair Neumann KH120A. Hear them and you won’t ask any answers. They are absolutely without any compromise – they beat far more expensive nearfields.
    But again as said before, without room measuring and respectively acoustic treatment, you are burning your money.

  • I had the luck to work with the Geithain series of studio monitors for a number of years. Should I ever feel an urge to spend money on serious monitoring at home, that would be my choice.

  • I agree with defenestration up there… Good monitors are nice to have but if your room is covered with hard, flat, reflecting surfaces, even the best monitors on earth will give you an inaccurate listening experience.
    If you don’t have much money to put into the project, I would suggest focusing on getting monitors that just have a really good representation og mids and highs. Bass is usually the hardest part to get under control in the room anyway, so you might save yourself some work if you get monitors that aren’t too bassy.
    Then you can supplement the monitors with a pair of good headphones. You get a lot of bang (and bass) for the buck with headphones. I chose a pair of Beyerdynamic DT-150. They are of the closed type, which usually (as well as in this case) means that they are quite heavy in bass. This means that they don’t give an entirely honest representation of the sound, but it suits me fine because I tend to end up with too much bass in my mix.
    For something with a more realistic representation of bass, I would recommend the Beyerdynamic DT-880 Pro, or if the budget doesn’t allow that, the DT-990 Pro.
    Before selecting a pair of monitors or speakers, it’s a good idea to do a google search for the model’s frequency response. If you want realistic, you will want a flat frequency response, quite different from Hi-Fi.

  • We use KRK Rokit 6. Nice speakers.

  • These are fairly inexpensive and have gotten a very good rep:

    I have not heard them though…

  • Equator D5’s.

  • I use the Yamaha HS-50s. Great price, versatile, flat sound reproduction. I know how they sound having used them for so long… I love them and wouldn’t change them.

  • Nice thread

    Just wanted to interfere with Frank’s remark :
    @Remeber the NS-10M? Awkward speakers but yet to find in many Studios@
    Actually, those monitors are used mostly as a “crash test”. They are so bad that when your mix is sounding well on them, you’re guaranteed that your mix is going to work anywhere. They are used kinda like a “car test”. You won’t see them often as the main pair of monitors in a professional studio.

  • @MicMicMan
    Thats exactly what i am pointing at: if you know your Tool you know how to achieve your Goal with it. Even with NS-10Ms.

  • Well.. i think it’s very handy to have some monitors wich reveal all detail in your mix… I used to have Alesis m1’s wich always gave me problems with mixes sounding very different on other speakers. I about it but stil was difficult getting it right. Since i have the genelecs i don’t have that problem anymore. If it sounds good on the genelec but crap somewhere else it’s just because the other system is crap. I’m sure if you are very good you can mix on anything but i need a little help from good equipment. And about room treatment. You can achieve a lot in your room without money. You should’t be very precise about how it looks though. I keep the spare guests matres stored in the studio for instance. I also have a lot of open cupboard storage on all the walls wich reflects the sound nice. Only problem i have is the cealing i still want to make a diffuser for it.

  • @fcd The thing is, though, that along the way you don’t get a lot of usable feedback from those. They are not used for mixing – they are used for cross-checking only afterwards. That’s a huge difference :-).

  • @fcd72: Yes, true to some extent. But just as an example: on my old monitors I couldn’t even hear 808 kicks. Completely useless for the music I make :))

  • For Car proof checking i use – tadaaa! – a Car. Although nowadays theres frightening good sound in Cars – probably better than NS-10Ms. . .

    True that, you cant mix on a Phone Piezo. I suggest you have some Monitors of any kind that actually work. The rest is more up to your personal habit/expectation/gearocalypse. The best thing to do is get 1 or 2 Pairs and try in you Place. I had quite some here and sent them all back as i had no better results as with the ones i had for 25 years…. OK, i kept the Behringers because they back then matched my Wifes decorating Color Scheme ;-)

  • When I was engineering at a studio back in the early part of the 2000’s we used a pair of NS-10’s, a pair of Tannoy’s (can’t remember which though) and a set of shitty boom box speakers. The NS-10’s were the mains. Sure they sound like crap, but that’s the point. We mixed some fairly well known acts on those monitors. The recordings always came out sounding super pro.

    EDIT: of course we primarily recorded post-punk, rock, punk and other fine Chicago staples.

  • Ah, I worked for years with a pair of B&W hifi speakers like these
    from 1976 which I bought 2nd-hand for £40 in about 1993, and a really crappy 1980s Hitachi hifi amp. The speakers are still going strong, and are currently connected to a NAD amp in our dining room.


  • I am also thinking to get a pair of proper small monitors, I went to a shop with a test room where I could listen to , and the Yamaha HS50m were really appealing, small and affordable and I found they sounded very good even compared to more expensive ones…
    @oootini if you plan to get the cheapest Genelecs, I would recommend you try to listen to them somewhere: I had a feeling they didn’t sound as good as the HS50m, even though they were more expensive…

  • these, they are red. don’t know how they sound. but they are red. red is nice. you can also get them in black, but I bet the red sounds better. red red red. They’re red.

  • @dasnut so red.. I want some. In red. Great name too. Most importantly, though, they’re red.
    Are they strawberry, or raspberry flavour, I wonder…


  • @smugric I’ve heard them at galleries and thought they were really impressive. 5.1 and 5.0 set ups. space is a real issue and bass isn’t. would like to try them as 2.0 on a small desk for sure though.

  • Reviving this thread for a moment…

    Anyone used Event TR8 before? A pair are for sale locally for $175USD. My “studio” room is about 10x12 feet and I would have to rearrange to fit such speakers on or behind my desk, but the price seems good! Apparently they are comparable to HS80.

  • I use the Mackie MR6mk2’s – the mk3’s are out but a bit more expensive ($199 apiece). I like ‘em a lot – they are active and can get LOUD in a smal space :)

  • Presonus Eris E5 (if you want small monitors)... heard it together with few other monitors in this range and they are best… btw i have Eris E8 – awesome monitors, wondering why they are so cheap – they plays almost as good as KRK VXT8 but for almost only half a price..

  • I had the TR5’s and hated them. The 20/20’s are nice but are passive. The KRK’s are great low budget monitors. I have the Rockit 8’s and absolutely love em.

  • My favorites: Tannoy System 600 with Nakamichi IA-3 Amp.

    I always loved the original JBL Control 1 (no suffix, red label) but in the meantime 8 of 10 passed away (need reconing) as their crimping turned into dust.

  • I use a pair of Yamaha HS50 with a Yamaha HS-10 subwoofer … i’m lucky with that

  • No compromises: Neumann KN120A

    Next X-mas…hrhrhr

  • I just took delivery of some Equator D5s off ebay, if I hadn’t won them I think I’d be looking at Adam F5s. I wanted something very analytical sounding, but for a more ‘fun’ speaker I reckon Mackie MR or KRK Rokits would do the trick.

  • It’s been said before here but I’ll say it again: you need a treated environment in order for any monitors to be worth money you spend on them. For example, I have Adam A7xes but I only really use them to do full listens to mixes and spend more time mixing with my AKGK702s.

    I’m trying to figure out a way to make the treatments look good and not spend $5000- it’s not easy. My girl won’t have egg crate foam all over the apartment!

    No matter what monitors you buy, you’ll still be spending 3 times as long on a mix without a treated room.

  • small size, cheap price, the PreSonus Eris E5 works good

  • @dasnut: I would bet they would sound a lot better if they were banana-shaped. Red Strawberry Banana FTW! Though red is good. Sounds really red. Might increase probablility of broken computer screens, keyboards and mice though. Also might increase chance of red.

  • And anyway. I would get a pair of Adam A5X. Why save on anything less good than that. Monitors are for life. Well… for a long time anyway.

  • I think the Monkey Banana folks are onto something with their product naming. In my recent monitor quest I had the choice of D5, E5, F5, MR5, RP5….blah blah blah. Calling your monitors “Strawberry Banana Bubblegum Spaceship” or whatever definitely makes them stand out from the crowd. Even if it starts to sound like a japanese kid’s TV show.

  • @qp what didn’t you like about the TR5?

    Since I don’t have a treated room (using headphones so far), my plan is just to have something decent besides my AKG k240 headphones and amps to play back on in my studio room and if I need to get a more ‘pro’ mix I’ll take it elsewhere, though I will probably get a rug and make some foam panels for the wall soon. I am looking for something that I can hopefully get used and fairly cheap since I don’t have a space which will justify something like ADAMs.

  • +1 for HS80s, I have the sub as well but that’s more for listening than mixing. Set-up does for a hi-fi connected to spotify/CD player and the missus likes the sound too. Saved up for them and very very pleased, noticed difference in mixes and listening to Autechre is pretty cool. Pricey but they look pretty sturdy so will have for a while. Got some foam for them to sit on & taking my chances with the room :) (I know that’s bad but they sound awesome enough already so I’d rather spend money on a synth or something rather than bass traps until I actually am in danger of my mix quality really mattering).

  • Gotta jump in here with the Behringer 2030A’s. Had them about eight years now and they deliver a really nice punch at the bottom end and are capable of shredding ear drums up top! £250 for the pair…..

  • anyone on a pair of Genelec 8330a? I wonder if the calibration software could help in not-that-great-setup situations…

  • Happy with my Focal Alpha 50s.

  • In the end I got a pair of Adam F5, while I didn’t compare them directly with the more expensive A5X they do sound pretty good to me, with a decent low end (for a 5”) and and good clarity, and the price seems just right.

  • @aroom I changed monitors a couple of months ago and hesitated/compared for a long time; I finally went with Genelecs 8030s. I’m not sure what the 8330 bring. What I can tell you is that I haven’t looked back: it’s a pleasure to listen to, and everything I mix is infinitely more precise than on my previous little Fostex (no wonder). They’re terribly placed in the living room of my little Parisian apartment, yet with a little eq adjustment on the back I managed to tame stationary waves to a reasonable amount.

  • @mqtthiqs ho nice. it’s so nice for me to be able to get an opinion on this specific model. the 8330a are almost the same but they have a DSP that you can calibrate, with a specific mic and a genelec software. so you don’t have the dip switch anymore.

    just a few questions then :

    - do you use them with a sub? if not, how are they responding ? – do you use them only for mixing or also to play/record synths/modular/instruments ? – and what’s the size of your room ? meaning how close the monitor are from your listening point ?

    thanks mate for the precisions, really appreciated

  • @aroom happy to help!

    > – do you use them with a sub?

    No; I have neighbors :)

    > if not, how are they responding ?

    They’ve been bothered by the bass even without one :)
    The bass response is pretty nice for the size; listening to them side by side with other monitors of the same price range (Neumann, Adam, that French brand I can’t recall the name right now), they had the most bass response and the more pristine mid/highs. People say that they are a bit flattering, which I don’t have enough of an ear to judge.

    > – do you use them only for mixing or also to play/record synths/modular/instruments ?

    Mixing, play instruments, listen to music casually.

    > – and what’s the size of your room ?

    like 15 m2.

    > meaning how close the monitor are from your listening point ?

    You’re going to laugh: right now they are smacked right against the wall in a 30cm-deep indent. That’s maybe 70cm-1m away from my head. This is probably the worse one can do (and I still get decent sound) I can’t do otherwise until I move to the suburbs :-)

  • Do somebody have IK iLoud Mikro ? or try in any occasion ?

    What do you think about them ?

  • I’m not sure I’d take a 3” speaker, except for really small spaces. Usually a 5” would give you a better bottom end. Plus I’m not sure about IK, the couple of things I had from them, were all pretty cheap and badly made. But that of course is not something I can say about everyting, I only had the iRig MIDI and their cheapo iPhone audio interface (which is little more than a 3.5mm to 6.3mm jack adapter).

  • not sure how to read the graphic but I’d say the cut off everything below 50hz… or do I read it wrong?

  • > I’d say the cut off everything below 50hz

    Yes, their DSP might do that, but this is not a big deal as there’s no way such a small speaker can accurately reproduce such low frequencies.

  • @rumpelfilter I bought a pair of KRK VXT4 which led me to open this thread at the time :) but now I need to scaled down due to space limitations so I am looking for something simple and small that I can hear the bleeps and bloops :) that I making. Not necessarily for monitoring purpose like a music studio.

    I am open to all ideas

  • Some people suggested the 3” Monkey Bananas, apparently they’re not bad for small speakers.

    @pichenettes: yes, I don’t think a 3” woofer can really do that either.

  • @rumpelfilter I could not find any 3” on their website. Which specific model are you referring to ?

  • Maybe it was 4”... can’t remember exactly, but I think it was these shapes like a coffin

  • I’m currently using a pair of KRK ROKIT 5 G3 active monitors which I’m really enjoying. I did place them on slanted isolation platforms and I also used the built-in EQ to tweak the response for the admittedly not entirely optimal acoustics of the room they’re in.

    These are certainly not the most “analytical” option out there, but they do seem to manage being well-balanced for mixing while still sounding pleasant and fun for jamming and casual desktop listening.

  • Had to sell my HS80M and matching HS10W sub for cash couple of years ago. Just finally back into the game with some Focal Alpha 65s and they are very nice, haven’t mixed & listened back yet but they seem pretty flat and do have good bass, will need a sub eventually but do sound good on their own

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