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The 8 best studio monitors under $500 a pair for 2023

Although $500 might seem like a lot of money to some, this is truly the lower midrange for what professionals would consider a budget expense.

To help ease the buying process, we’ve reviewed a wide range of monitors to come up with a curated list of the best studio monitors under $500 for 2023.

There are actually many well-designed and high-performing products in this price range, and for the most part, you can’t go wrong with choosing one over the other.

reviewing the best studio monitors under $500
Image: Higher Hz

About the author

Brandon is a producer and audio engineer with a decade’s worth of experience with a wide range of gear and recording techniques. He has worked with a huge variety of monitoring systems, including Genelec, Neumann, Adam Audio, Focal, JBL, and Yamaha, among others.

These are the best studio monitors under $500 to buy:

  1. Adam Audio T7V
  2. Kali Audio LP-8 V2
  3. Yamaha HS5
  4. JBL 308P Mk2
  5. KRK Rokit 7 G4
  6. Samson Resolv SE8
  7. Mackie MR624
  8. Avantone Active MixCubes

Adam Audio T7V

The best monitors under $500

Adam Audio T7V powered studio monitor Image: Adam Audio Check availability here: Sweetwater Amazon

This might be the best studio monitor in its price range, period. The tonal balance is spectacular to our ears, and doesn’t distort or muddy at higher volumes. The bass response on these monitors in particular is quite impressive.

A superbly fine-tuned low end makes listening to music through these a wonderful experience, and mixing even easier.

They could maybe be better with a more neutral frequency response, but for $500 a pair, it’s hard to complain at all. Adam Audio ceases to amaze us with the quality of their products.

Check out our full Adam Audio T7V review

Kali Audio LP-8 V2

Extremely accurate

Kali Audio LP-8 V2 powered studio monitor Image: Kali Audio Check availability here: Sweetwater Amazon

This speaker has one notable issue to speak about, that issue being just the slightest amount of background noise that emanates when the speakers are turned on. Besides that, they’re damn near perfect.

They’re extremely accurate, which to some may read as sounding too clinical, but not to us. Accuracy in sound reproduction is balanced at the end of the day, and nothing sounds better than balanced audio.

For their price point, it’s hard to imagine why anybody would settle for less than what these monitors have to offer. It’s an excellent value, and we can’t recommend them any less.

Check out our full Kali Audio LP-8 V2 review

Yamaha HS5

The necessary evil

Yamaha HS5 powered studio monitor Image: Yamaha Check availability here: Sweetwater Amazon

The Yamaha HS5 is a very special monitor, although somewhat divisive. We wouldn’t personally use them as primary monitors, but this is fairly subjective, and they can truly work wonders for some.

They’re not necessarily the most accurate monitors in the world, but most people who would recommend them don’t use them for that reason. The presence in the midrange and upper frequencies is incredibly heavy-handed. While they’re not as abrasive as the infamous NS-10, the HS5 can occupy a very similar space in the mixing process.

They will highlight the problems in your mix and border on making your music sound cartoonish (hyperbolic but we stand by it). Believe it or not, this is an amazing quality to find in a set of monitors, but we wouldn’t recommend them for everybody.

Check out our full Yamaha HS5 review

JBL 308P Mk2

Consistent performance

JBL 308P Mk2 powered studio monitor Image: JBL Check availability here: Sweetwater Amazon

The JBL 308P is a highly recommended option, especially for those with larger studio spaces, due to its detailed and transparent sound. Although there is some noticeable hiss from the tweeter, it disappears at a short distance and doesn’t in any way ruin it’s overall performance.

The JBL monitor family showcases a consistency of sound which makes them all well worth the investment. Overall, the JBL 308P is a stellar entry into the world of accurate sound production and we can’t recommend it enough.

Check out our full JBL 308P Mk2 review

KRK Rokit 7 G4

The best for bass

KRK Rokit 7 G4 powered studio monitor Image: KRK Check availability here: Sweetwater Amazon

While the KRK Rokits are one of the most popular choices for beginning producers, they’re fairly flawed. They have an incredibly bass-heavy sound, that in turn inflicts a whole lot of coloration on their reproduction.

Overall, these monitors are over-hyped and their performance is fairly shotty, at least in our opinion. But, people still buy them and they continue to hold their own as a mainstay in the current world of audio production.

In a way, their continued use has set a certain standard for modern hip-hop and EDM production. If you yourself are enveloped in this world, the KRKs will offer you the same point of reference as many of your favorite producers have.

Check out our full KRK Rokit 7 G4 review

Samson Resolv SE8

Versatile and accurate

Samson Resolv SE8 studio reference monitor Image: Samson Check availability here: Sweetwater Amazon

The Samson Resolv SE8 offer solid stereo imaging and an accurate tonal balance, making them a versatile and reliable choice for a myriad of applications.

They have a frequency response of 40 Hz – 27 kHz and a high-frequency lift control, making it quite easy to optimize these monitors for a variety of mixing environments.

The bass is tight, and the high end is natural and airy, resulting in detailed performance without sounding overly clinical.

Though there are other options in this price range with slightly wider frequency responses, the Resolv SE8 is still a fantastic choice for anybody on the hunt for a quality pair of studio monitors under $500.

Check out our full Samson Resolv SE8 review

Mackie MR624

Solid budget choice

Mackie MR624 powered studio monitor Image: Mackie Check availability here: Sweetwater Amazon

The Mackie MR624 are a really solid choice for folks on a budget. They have a nominally flat frequency response with a good amount of clarity and don’t require much finagling to get a decent feel in the low end.

The low end may lack a bit of thump, but the highs are consistently clear and fairly natural-sounding. With this in mind, you may want to consider investing in a subwoofer to supplement them with.

There’s very little harmonic distortion to note, even at higher frequencies. Overall, the resolution and quality of sound is pretty neutral and transparent. Plus, at just about $460 for a pair, who are we to complain?

Avantone Active MixCubes

The best grot boxes

Avantone Pro Active MixCubes reference monitors (pair) Image: Avantone Check availability here: Sweetwater Amazon

Grot boxes are small, low-quality studio monitors which are often used to verify the strength of a mix, and are one of the best possible tools to have in your arsenal as a serious mix engineer.

The Avantone Pro Active MixCubes, in particular, are maybe the best option available on the current market for this need. With a clean drop off around 150 Hz, and low distortion performance, the MixCubes are amazing references when trying to make critical judgments in your mix.

These should not be your only monitors on hand, but as an added addition to your setup, they’re worth their weight in gold.


There you have it, our updated list of the best studio monitors under $500 to buy in 2023.

The most important thing to consider when buying any piece of audio equipment, is not what some reviewers have written about it online – it’s what you, the buyer, feels.

Here at Higher Hz, we love the Adam Audio T7V, and that’s why we placed them at the top of our list. However, this is only our opinion, and it shouldn’t have so much bearing over your own personal decisions.

Go to a local dealer in your area and ask if you can test out the monitors they have available.

You may find that the JBLs sound better to your ears than the Adams, which tend to be more forward in the high end. That’s okay, and it’s an important part of becoming an engineer. Trust your ears, and make your decisions based on what you hear, not just what we say.