5 Best Budget Studio Monitors – Great Options Under $150

Best Budget Studio Monitors

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One of the most crucial things in studio production is hearing your sound with the utmost intricacy and accuracy when working on your mixes. You need the right audio gear to help you understand and hear the details of your tracks, and picking up a great studio monitor is the way to go. 

Studio monitors are speakers specially designed for professional audio production. They’re engineered to produce the best detail you can get in your mix. Depending on the brand and model, studio monitors can get quite pricey but there are still many affordable options out there. 

Best Value
Edifier MR4

If you’re looking for one of the best budget studio monitors, the Edifier MR4 is an excellent option with its notable features and listening modes. It performs exceptionally well, whether you’re mixing tracks or just casually listening to music, making it a great option under $150.

If you’re a budding audio professional or a newbie who’s just getting into the hobby but without the means to buy fancy gear, then I made this list of the best budget studio monitors – all of which are under $150.

Why You Need A Studio Monitor

Studio monitors are essential if you’re into mixing and mastering tracks, whether as a hobby or someone who wants to have a career in the audio industry. 

Getting an accurate representation of your recorded audio is one crucial aspect of professional audio work and studio monitors do just that. They give you accuracy with the help of their flat frequency response, which means that there’s no saturation or coloring that you’d normally get from regular speakers.

Best Budget Studio Monitors
Source: Jumpstory

Studio monitors allow flaws to reveal themselves so you can work on ironing them out for a more refined mix. Most studio monitors come with a dedicated amplifier for different frequency ranges so you can get a more precise presentation of the frequencies. Many of them also allow for equalization with their built-in EQ knobs that let you fine-tune your setup.

Now that you know the importance of studio monitors, let’s get to our picks!

Studio MonitorLF Driver SizeHF Driver SizeFrequency RangePrice
M-Audio BX33.5 inches1 inch80 – 22,000 Hz$
Mackie CR3-X3 inches0.75 inch70 – 20,000 Hz$
PreSonus Eris E3.53.5 inches1 inch80 – 20,000 Hz$
Edifier MR44 inches1 inch60 – 20,000 Hz$$
Alesis Elevate 5 MKII5 inches1 inch56 – 20,000 Hz$$

Best Budget Studio Monitors Under $150 Reviewed

M-Audio BX3

4.5/5
Price Range: $
Brand: M-Audio
M-Audio BX3 -Best Studio Monitors Under $150

The Download

M-Audio is known for its top-notch audio production gear, and the BX3 lives up to expectations.

The M-Audio BX3 came from the BX lineup, which are studio monitors designed for home studio use. It comes at an incredible price of just around $100 and provides excellent value with its good performance, which makes it one of the best budget studio monitors under $150.

The BX3 has 3.5-inch speakers, which are small but sufficient for home studio use. It comes in a compact enclosure, allowing it to easily fit most setups, making them well-suited even for small space. If you’re on a tight budget and just starting with music production, then this is an excellent option.

The Specs

  • LF Driver Size:  3.5-inch woofer
  • HF Driver Size:  1-inch tweeter
  • HF Driver Type:  Silk dome
  • Total Power:  120 W (total peak), 2 x 25 W (RMS)
  • Frequency Response:  80 – 22,000 Hz
  • Input Types:  1 x RCA stereo input pair, 2 x 1/4″ TRS inputs, 1 x 1/8″ stereo auxiliary input
  • Output Types:  1 x 1/8″ (headphones)

Stuff I like

  • Convenient layout
  • Compact
  • EQ controls

Stuff I like less

  • Scalability
Overall Rating: 4.5 / 5 Stars

Mackie CR3-X

4/5
Price Range: $
Brand: Mackie
Mackie CR3-X - Best Studio Monitors Under $150

The Download

The Mackie CR3-X is one of the most affordable pairs of studio monitors on the market. Retailing for just around $80 for the non-Bluetooth version, it features 3-inch subwoofers, which may be considered small for industry standards but are just the right size for home use. 

For their size, these subwoofers are capable of providing decent sound quality. However, it’s worth noting that because of the size, there will be a noticeable bass roll-off. If you need more bass presence, then I’d recommend getting the CR4-X, similar to the CR3-X but with a slightly bigger subwoofer. 

Despite the bass roll-off, the Mackie CR3-X produces a phenomenal sound and gives great value. It also comes in a Bluetooth variant that was released in 2020 and costs around $10 more.

The Specs

  • LF Driver Size:  3-in woofer
  • LF Driver Type:  Polypropylene-coated
  • HF Driver Size:  0.75-in Tweeter
  • HF Driver Type:  Ferrofluid-cooled silk dome
  • Total Power:  50W Class AB
  • Frequency Response:  70 – 20,000 Hz
  • Input Types:  1 x Dual RCA Stereo, 2 x 1/4″ TRS, 1 x 1/8″ TS
  • Output Types:  1 x 1/8″ (headphones), bare wire connectors +/- (from powered speaker)

Stuff I like

  • Very affordable
  • Compact
  • Decent sound quality
  • With Bluetooth variant

Stuff I like less

  • Not ideal for studio use
  • Lack of bass and treble
Overall Rating: 4 / 5 Stars

PreSonus Eris E3.5

4.5/5
Price Range: $
Brand: PreSonus
PreSonus Eris E3.5

The Download

The PreSonus Eris series of studio monitors is highly regarded as one of the best budget studio monitors out there. The cheapest and smallest model out of its lineup is the Eris 3.5 which costs around $90.

It offers equalization with its tuning knobs for bass and treble, making it much more flexible than other studio monitors. It produces decent output in both performance and sound quality, making it ideal for multimedia use. It’s also great for entry-level mixing and mastering.

The PreSonus Eris 3.5 is very versatile and would fit a variety of use cases and set-ups, whether for home studio recording or multimedia editing. If you’re starting out and your budget is around $100, this is a good way to go with its decent build quality and excellent sound quality for its price. Plus, the EQ controls give it an edge over its competition.

The Specs

  • LF Driver Size:  3.5-in woofer
  • LF Driver Type:  Woven composite
  • HF Driver Size:  1-in tweeter
  • 1-in tweeter:  Ultra-low mass silk dome
  • Total Power:  50W Class AB (25W per speaker)
  • Frequency Response:  80 – 20,000 Hz
  • Input Types:  1 x Dual RCA Stereo, 2 x 1/4″, 1 x 1/8″ (aux)
  • Output Types:  1 x 1/8″ (headphones), 1 x bare wire strip (to right speaker)

Stuff I like

  • Very affordable
  • Solid build quality
  • EQ controls and tunability

Stuff I like less

  • Bass could be better in terms of fullness
Overall Rating: 4.5 / 5 Stars

Edifier MR4

4.5/5
Price Range: $$
Brand: Edifier
Edifier MR4

The Download

Next on this list of the best budget studio monitors under $150 is the Edifier MR4, available in black or white. It was released in 2021 and packs great value in a compact form. 

Even though it doesn’t have all the shiny bells and whistles that everyone would want, the MR4 is well-built and has the essentials well put together. It’s sleek and stylish and performs well. Some of its notable features are the two EQ knobs on the back, which allow you to tweak the bass and treble, so you can tune the sound to your liking.

It has listening modes – with the “monitor mode” for when you’re doing some audio editing, mixing, or mastering, and the “music mode” which allows the monitor to be tuned for casual listening. 

Even though the MR4 is Edifier’s first go at studio monitors, the brand is known for manufacturing decent quality products that give good value at an affordable price. The MR4 retails for just around $129 and it’s worth getting if you want an entry-level studio monitor.

The Specs

  • LF Driver Size:  4-in woofer
  • HF Driver Size:  Total Power
  • Total Power:  21W + 21W
  • Frequency Response:  60 – 20,000 Hz
  • Input Types:  TRS balanced input, RCA unbalanced input, AUX unbalanced input
  • Output Types:  Headphones

Stuff I like

  • Feature packed
  • Sleek design and well-built
  • Versatile

Stuff I like less

  • Background hiss on idle mode
Overall Rating: 4.5 / 5 Stars

Alesis Elevate 5 MKII

4/5
Price Range: $$
Brand: Alesis
Alesis Elevate 5 MKII

The Download

Coming from a reputable brand, the Alesis Elevate 5 MKII performs significantly well for its price. Even though it lacks EQ knobs for fine-tuning your sound, its other features make it a good option.

It’s the biggest pair of studio monitors on this list, and this increase in size gives it some edge over its competition. It features a bass boost switch, allowing it to produce a more low-end presentation. Its bigger size allows for a better bass response, which other users may prefer. Plus, its connectivity options are pretty solid.

Overall, the Elevate 5 MKII is a fantastic option for its price. When it comes to speakers, the bigger the size, the better the low-end presentation. And for just under $130, these studio monitors at their size are almost a steal.

The Specs

  • LF Driver Size:  1 x 5-in woofer
  • HF Driver Size:  1-in tweeter
  • Silk dome:  Silk dome
  • Total Power:  2 x 40W (per side)
  • Frequency Response:  56 – 20,000 Hz
  • Input Types:  2 x 1/4″, 2 x RCA, 1 x 1/4″ (left speaker in)
  • Output Types:  1 x 1/4″ (powered out), 1 x 1/8″ (headphones)

Stuff I like

  • Great value
  • Decent bass boost feature for music listening
  • Decent low-end presentation

Stuff I like less

  • Great value
Overall Rating: 4 / 5 Stars

Final Thoughts

The top-notch studio monitors come with hefty price tags but if you’re just getting into mixing and mastering, it’s perfectly okay to start small. This list of the best budget studio monitors under $150 should give you an idea of what’s available for you if have a tight budget. You can always upgrade in the future once you’ve saved up a bit.

If you’re an audio engineer or professional, then you probably already know that it’s always a good idea to invest in high-quality audio gear. In most cases, more expensive means better quality and if you’re buying your first studio monitor and you can’t shell out a huge amount just yet, then any of these options should work great.

Any questions, drop them in the comments below!

A man of many interests, Querho is passionate about discovering new things that stimulate the mind. When he is not writing about the things he is passionate about, Querho can be found making music at his home studio.

This post was last updated on 2024-02-19 / Some images from Amazon Product API & some links may be affiliate links which may earn us a commission from purchases.


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