Getting new monitors for your studio can be a real challenge. With so many choices and manufacturers out there, deciding on a pair of speakers can be a lengthy process full of questions. To take out a bit of the guesswork, we’ve put together a list of the 10 best rated active monitors under €500 at our partner Thomann.
This list is strictly based on user ratings. We didn’t look at sales figures, technical specifications or any other criteria. That’s why you’ll find all sorts of different speakers on this list, in different sizes and for different applications. But they’re all studio monitors, they’re all powered and they’ve all managed to rack up some high recommendations from fellow studio owners. Here’s our list of the 10 best rated active studio monitors under €500.
1. Neumann KH 80 DSP
Neumann’s KH 80 DSP has become a very popular choice since its introduction in 2017. The bi-amplified monitor uses a 4” woofer and 1” HF driver and features a self-calibrating measurement and correction DSP. At the back, you’ll find a number of settings for adapting the speaker to your mixing environment, including output level and input gain settings and options for several different desk sizes. There’s also an auto standby mode, which can be controlled over the integrated network connection. A free iPad app helps you to set up and calibrate the speakers.
The Neumann KH 80 DSP is available at Thomann.de* for €475 apiece.
2. Yamaha HS 7 MP
Yamaha’s hugely popular HS 7 studio monitors with the iconic white speaker cones are so affordable that you can buy two of them for under €500, and they even offer a matched pair option for added precision. The HS 7 has a 6.5” woofer and 1” HF driver. It’s a bi-amped system with a rear-ported enclosure. At the back, you’ll also find a couple of switches for the room control and high trim EQs.
The Yamaha HS 7 Matched Pair is available at Thomann.de* for €449.
3. Yamaha HS 5 MP
That the little brother of the HS 7 follows right behind it goes to show how popular these affordable speakers by Yamaha really are. The HS 5, which is also available in a matched pair configuration, is a bit more compact and offers a 5” woofer and 1” HF driver. Everything else is just like on the HS 7.
Get the Yamaha HS 5 Matched Pair at Thomann.de* for €359.
4. Dynaudio LYD 7
Onto something different. The Dynaudio LYD 7 has been around for a few years now, but the Danish company’s first entry into the budget monitor market is still a very popular option. With a 7” woofer and 1” tweeter, Dynaudio calls the bi-amped Class-D system a “personal reference monitor”. The LYD 7 offers two different tunings for free-standing or close-to-the-wall placement, as well as a number of room compensation settings.
The Dynaudio LYD 7 is available at Thomann.de* for €499 apiece.
5. Genelec 8010A
Genelec’s smallest monitor makes the fifth position on our list. The 8010A is so tiny that it looks like a multimedia speaker, but the manufacturer claims that it’s “every bit a Genelec pro monitor”. With its 3” woofer and 3/4” tweeter, driven by two Class D amp modules with 25 watts each, the 8010A is no bass giant, but it makes for a great second set of speakers at your mixing desk. It’s also an excellent choice for editing suites, mobile applications and, yes, multimedia.
You can get the Genelec 8010A from Thomann.de* for €289 (black) or €299 (white).
6. Avantone MixCubes Active
Avantone’s modern, powered recreation of the famous Auratones comes in sixth place. With a single 5.25“ speaker and a frequency response of 90 Hz to 17 kHz, it’s not going to win any high-fidelity contest, but that’s the whole point. As they used to say: “If it sounds good on these, it’ll sound good anywhere.” With stylish cream, black and red options available, the MixCubes also make for a colorful eye-catcher in your studio.
You can get the Avantone MixCubes Active from Thomann.de* for €278 (cream) or €299 (black, red). They’re also available in pairs.
7. KRK V6 Series 4
The mid-tier model in KRK’s 4th-generation V Series comes in 7th place. With a 6.5” Kevlar woofer (in yellow, of course) and a 1” tweeter, the bi-amped V6 delivers a frequency response of 49 Hz to 19 kHz. It also features a DSP with no less than 49 different EQ presets for room and desk compensation, as well as standby, ground lift and input sensitivity selectors.
The KRK V6 Series 4 is available at Thomann.de* for €499.
8. RCF Ayra Pro6
Italian manufacturer RCF is mostly known for its PA speakers and installed sound solutions, but the company has also successfully ventured into the world of studio monitors. The Aura Pro6 is an affordable monitor with a 6.5” woofer and 1” tweeter, driven by Class-D amp modules with 80 and 40 watts, respectively. The front-ported monitor features an integrated DSP with RCF’s proprietary FiRPHASE filtering technology.
The RCF Ayra Pro6 is available at Thomann.de* for €179.
9. Focal Alpha 65 Evo
From Italy to France: Focal’s recently updated Alpha 65 Evo features a 6.5” Slatefiber recycled carbon cone woofer and a 1” inverted aluminum dome tweeter. These new materials deliver superior neutrality and dynamics, Focal claims. With 55 watts for the low and mid frequencies and 25 watts for the highs, the Alpha 65 Evo delivers 104 dB SPL.
The Focal Alpha 65 Evo is available at Thomann.de* for €349.
10. ESI uniK 08+
As the only 8-inch monitor on this list, the ESI uniK 08+ delivers a frequency response of 37 Hz to 25 kHz. The bi-amped system is equipped with an 8” kevlar woofer and a low-mass magnetostatic tweeter, which ensures a fast transient response, ESI says. At the back, you’ll find LF and HF room compensation EQs, as well as a Character knob that lets you adjust the sound from smooth to bright.
The ESI uniK 08+ is available at Thomann.de* for €329.
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