Music production requires a lot more than just pure skill. Just like any other profession out there, having the right tools for the job is essential. However, things get complicated when you try to get those tools on a budget. Thankfully, there are still some options on the table. Today we are going to show you top 3 best monitor speakers under $100. These may not be the best monitors out there but they will get the job done and allow you to pursue your passion of creating music. With that in mind, let’s get right into the matter.
Top 5 Best Monitor Speakers Under $100
M-Audio AV32 represent the essence of affordable studio monitoring. Where other brands focused on exterior design, M-Audio has put all of their effort towards getting you the best performance. These speakers pack only 10 Watts of power per channel. However, the output and response available are impressively linear for this segment of the market.
Samson MediaOne BT3
Samson MediaOne BT3 are among the more versatile and functional affordable monitor speakers. These will get you an acceptable level of performance while also serving you as general purpose speakers. Build quality is good, typical of Samson, and the tone is there. Samson MediaOne BT3 is a great choice for beginners.
Alesis M1 Active 320 USB
While they might not be the most transparent monitors out there, Alesis M1 Active 320 USB definitely offer a great combination of features and performance. Some of them are actually pretty useful in a home studio environment.
Mackie's CR3 has been the staple tool of many budget users looking to get into music production game. Inexpensive by nature and reasonably good, CR3 offer the type of performance that will make mixing easier. These are powered speakers, meaning that you don't need any extra gear to run them. Overall, a great entry level set.
Alesis Elevate 3
Alesis Elevate 3 belong to the affordable range of monitor speakers. They are cheaper than most of their immediate competition, yet they produce a very similar performance. On top of that, you get 60 Watts of peak power and a rather balanced response across the range. Overall, these are good value for the money.
What Can You Expect From $100 Monitor Speakers?
The main difference between monitor speakers and regular speakers is in the way they render tone. Your standard computer speakers will be bass heavy, with a tone profile aimed at giving you most flavor out of your music. That is not the case with monitors. Their main purpose is to be as flat as possible, thus showing you the raw sound of your mix. Achieving that kind of transparency with $100 monitor speakers is hard. A set that is somewhere in the $500 range will do a far better job.
The problem with affordable monitors starts with the size of the transducers. In most cases out there, there will be a driver and a tweeter in each cabinet. Some brands like to label these drivers as woofers, but that is wishful thinking at best. You are looking at 3″ inch units which have their limits. Best case scenario, it is going to be a decent full-range driver that reaches low enough and has a linear frequency response across the range. Worst case scenario, you are going to deal with a dead low end and a reasonable middle department.
A more expensive set of monitors, in $1000 price range or similar, will give you perfect clarity and response from the lowest to the highest portions of the frequency range. As you have probably figured out by now, you get what you pay for. This is undoubtedly a budget option, but it delivers that most important factor about any low-cost item – it’s actually useful and not just something to play around with, and it delivers a top bang for the buck. Anyhow, let’s get on with the article!
Understanding these limitations is extremely important unless you want to end up disappointed. Then next logical question is whether or not you can use a configuration such as the one we have just described. The answer to this question will depend on your ability to recognize imperfections in your mix, as well as your overall skill. Those who are experienced in mastering and mixing music will probably need a more sensitive set of monitors.
On the other hand, beginners who are not sure whether or not they will be doing music production a few years down the line will be covered by an affordable set. Some will say that getting a cheap set of monitors is a mistake. We respectfully disagree. Any kind of monitor speaker is better than a general purpose set if you are thinking about doing music production.
Monitor speakers listed in this guide are by far some of the best you can get for $100 or less. We’ve searched for performance above anything else, trying to find decent speakers that could be viable in a home studio setting. Once more, it’s important to understand the limitations of monitors in this price range. You won’t get perfect clarity nor transparency, but the performance these speakers have to offer is more than enough to get started. It is always recommended to get the best gear your money can buy, even if a $100 set is all you can afford.