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The 8 best studio monitors under $500 a pair for 2024

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, I’ve tested a wide range of speakers to come up with a curated list of the best studio monitors under $500 for 2024.

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.

About the author

I’m a producer and audio engineer with over 10 years of experience with a wide range of gear and recording techniques. Throughout my career, I’ve worked with different monitoring systems, including Genelec, Neumann, Adam Audio, Focal, JBL, and Yamaha, among others.

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

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 4.5

The best choice under $500

  • Woofer: 7 inches, 50 W
  • Tweeter: 1.9 inches, 20 W
  • Frequency response: 39 Hz – 25 kHz (-6 db)
  • Maximum SPL: 110 dB
Adam Audio T7V powered studio monitor
Image: Adam Audio

This might be the best studio monitor in its price range, period. The tonal balance is spectacular to my 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.

Read the full Adam Audio T7V review to find out more.

What I like

  • Good tonal balance.
  • Full-bodied bass.

What I don’t like

  • Not as neutral as they could be.
Buy Adam Audio T7V at: SweetwaterAmazon

Kali Audio LP-8 V2 4.7

Extremely accurate

  • Woofer: 8 inches, 60 W
  • Tweeter: 1 inch, 40 W
  • Frequency response: 45 Hz – 21 kHz (-3 dB)
  • Maximum SPL: 117 dB
Kali Audio LP-8 V2 powered studio monitor
Image: Kali Audio

The Kali LP-8 V2 monitors are extremely accurate, which to some may read as sounding too clinical, but not to me. 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 I can’t recommend them any less.

Read the full Kali Audio LP-8 V2 review to find out more.

What I like

  • Extremely accurate.
  • No more self-noise.

What I don’t like

  • Slight peak in the mid-range.
Buy Kali Audio LP-8 V2 at: SweetwaterAmazon

Yamaha HS5 3.5

The necessary evil

  • Woofer: 5 inches, 45 W
  • Tweeter: 1 inch, 25 W
  • Frequency response: 54 Hz – 30 kHz
  • Maximum SPL: 85 dB
Yamaha HS5 powered studio monitor
Image: Yamaha

The Yamaha HS5 is a very special monitor, although somewhat divisive. I 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 studio 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 I stand by it). Believe it or not, this is an amazing quality to find in a set of monitors, but I wouldn’t recommend them for everybody.

Read the full Yamaha HS5 review to find out more.

What I like

  • Great for mixing.

What I don’t like

  • Not perfect as primary monitors.
Buy Yamaha HS5 at: SweetwaterAmazon

JBL 308P Mk2 3.7

Consistent performance

  • Woofer: 8 inches, 56 W
  • Tweeter: 1 inch, 56 W
  • Frequency response: 45 Hz – 20 kHz (-3 dB)
  • Maximum SPL: 112 dB
JBL 308P Mk2 powered studio monitor
Image: JBL

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 I can’t recommend it enough.

Read the full JBL 308P Mk2 review to find out more.

What I like

  • Detailed and transparent sound.
  • Consistent performance.

What I don’t like

  • Questionable build quality.
Buy JBL 308P Mk2 at: SweetwaterAmazon

KRK Rokit 7 G4 4.3

The best for bass

  • Woofer: 7 inches
  • Tweeter: 1 inch
  • Power output: 145 W
  • Frequency response: 42 Hz – 40 kHz
  • Maximum SPL: 110 dB
KRK Rokit 7 G4 powered studio monitor
Image: KRK

While the KRK Rokits are one of the most popular choices in the under $500 price range, they also have their drawbacks. They have an incredibly bass-heavy sound that, in turn, inflicts a whole lot of coloration on their reproduction.

Due to their bass heaviness, the Rokits are probably best suited for hip-hop and EDM producers. This is not to say that they can’t work with other genres, but they do favor more bass-driven styles of music.

If you yourself are enveloped in this music, the KRKs will offer you the same point of reference as many of your favorite producers have.

Read the full KRK Rokit 7 G4 review to find out more.

What I like

  • Decent performance.
  • Great for hip-hop and EDM.

What I don’t like

  • Incredibly bass-heavy sound.
Buy KRK Rokit 7 G4 at: SweetwaterAmazon

Samson Resolv SE8 4.5

Versatile and accurate

  • Woofer: 8 inches, 75 W
  • Tweeter: 1.25 inches, 25 W
  • Frequency response: 30 Hz – 27 kHz (-3 dB)
Samson Resolv SE8 studio reference monitor
Image: Samson

The Resolv SE8 monitors 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.

Read the full Samson Resolv SE8 review to find out more.

What I like

  • Accurate tonal balance.
  • Tight bass response.

What I don’t like

  • Design is rather plain.
Buy Samson Resolv SE8 at: SweetwaterAmazon

Mackie MR624 4.0

Solid budget choice

  • Woofer: 6.5 inches, 40 W
  • Tweeter: 1 inch, 25 W
  • Frequency response: 38 Hz – 20 kHz
  • Maximum SPL: 111 dB
Mackie MR624 powered studio monitor
Image: Mackie

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 am I to complain?

What I like

  • Neutral, transparent sound.
  • Value for money.

What I don’t like

  • The low end is a bit lacking.
Buy Mackie MR624 at: SweetwaterAmazon

Avantone Active MixCubes 3.5

The best grot boxes

  • Woofer: 5.25 inches
  • Power output: 60 W
  • Frequency response: 90 Hz – 17 kHz
  • Maximum SPL: 104 dB
Avantone Pro Active MixCubes reference monitors (pair)
Image: Avantone Pro

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 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 addition to your setup, they’re worth their weight in gold.

What I like

  • Great reference monitors for mixing.

What I don’t like

  • Not for beginners/as primary monitors.
Buy Avantone Active MixCubes at: SweetwaterAmazon


There you have it, my updated list of the best studio monitors under $500 to buy in 2024. 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, feel.

I love the Adam Audio T7V, and that’s why I placed them at the top of the list. However, this is only my 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 I say.