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Top 4 Best Studio Monitors Under $200
Yamaha's decision to launch the HS5 has completely changed the way we understand affordable monitor speakers. This compact unit brings a very mean punch to the budget crowd, offering impressive performance that no one really expected to see. On top of that, Yamaha went the full nine yards, doing some magic with the aesthetics as well.
PreSonus Eris E4.5
When PreSonus released their Eris line of monitor speakers, no one expected the entry level E4.5 to take the cake. These speakers offer the type of performance that can measure up with more expensive models, all while rocking a 4.5" driver. In terms of budget monitors, these are about as good as it gets.
M-Audio has found a winning formula for affordable studio monitors and they are sticking to it. Their AV42 is a basic, but a fairly capable speaker that can get you the performance you need on a budget. Although these lack some versatility usually seen in this price range, they are still a good choice all around.
Alesis Elevate 5 MKII
Alesis Elevate 5 MkII are among the most popular entry level studio monitors at the moment. They pack a decent amount of power that is routed through a great set of drivers. With an actual crossover and a dual front firing port, these speakers offer a great deal of performance for the money.
What Kind Of Performance Can You Expect From $200 Monitors?
Most of the music production community will regard the monitors found in the $200 category to be well within the entry level segment. With that said, the difference in features and performance compared to $100 price range is significant, to say the least. The first thing you will notice are larger drivers. For the most part, a 5″ unit is going to be the standard bar some exceptions. However, the pure increase in driver size isn’t what makes this segment of the market so attractive. The real improvement comes in features most of these speakers bring to the table. We are talking acoustic controls, various attenuation options and more. This is where you are already entering the true monitoring territory.
Being able to adapt the output and profile of the speakers to match your room, is pretty important. While all of most of these monitors belong to the near or midfield section, having some options is definitely a good thing. On top of that, pure performance is also improved. In general, you can count on more even response across the frequency range. This gives you the much-needed transparency. Sure, a $500 set of monitors is still going to be much better at just about everything, but a lot of people consider the $200 and maybe $300 range to be the true sweet spot. At least that is the case for those who are looking for the best bang for the buck.
Similarly, a lot of brands like to include more advanced I/O options in this particular category as well. Compatibility with various standards is a thing that becomes more important as you develop your setup past your computer. Are you absolutely going to use some of these inputs and outputs? That is something which depends on yourambition, but it is always great to have at least some kind of a choice available.
Finding the best monitor speaker under $200 isn’t an easy thing to do, but it is much easier than finding a good set that is cheaper. Models listed above are by far some of the best in this category. With that said, this price range still requires you to accept some compromises here or there. Being able to recognize what your priorities are can be fairly helpful in narrowing down the choices. If you are on a budget and that budget extends to $200, you should be in a fairly comfortable position. Deciding to save for a more expensive set is totally understandable, sticking with something from this price range is a good way to go.