Whether you’re moving to a larger space or current monitors give you ear fatigue, you’ve probably been checking out the options. We’ve selected some of the best studio monitors under $500 to save you time and hopefully some money too.
The previous post in this series focussed on finding studio monitors with good translation properties for situations where limited space was an issue. We’ll continue on the same trajectory, however, this time we have a little more budget to play with.
This means we can widen our scope of choice. So, we’ll check out some monitors for slightly larger spaces than we’ve mentioned before.
Why choose one studio monitor over another?
Remember that translation should be always your main directive when deciding on your purchase. That being said, good translation doesn’t necessarily mean the monitor is exciting to work on. This is why most gear choices among professionals come down to taste.
Traditionally studios accommodated engineers by having at least one set of industry-standard NS-10(or equivalent) monitors above the console. However, most of us do not have acoustically treated environments or the need to rent our studios out. Therefore, industry guidelines do not apply.
Kali Audio LP-6 2nd Wave
Kali Audio may be a relative newcomer, but these budget monitors have made waves since they arrived on the scene a few years ago. The LP-6 2nd Wave is the latest version of the entry-level Kali 6.5-inch two-way nearfield monitor.
It’s a great choice for your first set of monitors for your home audio setup, providing multiple room correction configurations. The ability to deal with unbalanced inputs is also a useful addition, making it hard to beat at this price.
Focal Alpha 50 EVO
The Alpha 50 EVO is equipped with a 5-inch carbon fiber driver and Focal’s inverted aluminium tweeters that reduce ear fatigue. You get plenty of power and punch with the Alpha series, but it still has the neutrality and clarity of a professional Focal monitor.
On the rear panel, the Alpha 50 EVO has adjustable LP and HP shelving filters to optimize it for your room and an unbalanced RCA input which can be used in tandem with the main input.
Tannoy Gold 7
Tannoy is another loudspeaker manufacturer with an immense legacy in recorded music and the Gold 7 continues this in classic dual concentric style. These 300-watt bi-amplified monitors might look old-school, but they have plenty of modern features.
This includes an unbalanced mini-jack input and a port for linking additional monitors. They are front-ported, around the input level and high-frequency level controls. Meanwhile, the rear panel has switches for bass adjustments and auto standby mode.
The powerful T8V has an 8-inch driver and a 1.9-inch U-ART ribbon tweeter, so it offers a wide frequency range. It’s also a rear-ported design, however, so avoid placing these too close to a wall if possible.
On the rear panel, you’ll find corrective EQ controls for trimming or boosting the high or low frequencies, and the T8V has balanced XLR as well as unbalanced RCA inputs.
Genelec 8010 AP
From one of the most recognizable names in monitoring, the Genelec 8010 AP brings pro-level monitoring to a compact and portable format. They might only be slightly over $500 a pair, but we felt they were too important to omit from this list.
The frequency response might not be low enough for some, but they make up for it with clarity and project an excellent stereo image, especially with vocal content. In addition, there is an optional carrying bag for easy transportation.
More about studio monitors:
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- Kali Audio LP-6 2nd Wave: Kali Audio
- Focal Alpha 50 EVO: Focal
- Tannoy Gold 7: Tannoy
- Adam T8V: Adam Audio
- Genelec 8010A: Genelec