Best Studio Monitors for Electronic Music Production Under $1000 – Our Top 5 Picks

Having a high quality set of monitors in a well treated room can feel like you’ve just upgraded your ears and mixing ability in one instant.

Suddenly you can hear details you’ve never noticed before on songs that you’ve listened to hundreds of times. Like ugly resonances in the high end or muddy peaks in the lows.

I’ve been mixing electronic music for around 5 years now and with almost every mix come these little details that have a tendency to evade you on some systems and stick out like a sore thumb on others, which is why you want to the best set of studio monitors your budget will afford you.

The more detailed and flatter the response the better.

What do I mean by flat?

When we listen to consumer grade speakers often you will find they are intentionally boosted in certain frequencies, most commonly to exaggerate the bass. This is because its pleasant for the listener. However, when you are mixing a record, having boosted frequencies can give you a false perception of your mix and lead to things like frequency masking or over and under compensation in certain frequency bands.

Luckily if your budget sits around $1000 you can easily find a great quality set of monitors that are both flat, and highly detailed.

Before we get into the list let’s cover some basic jargon that will help you understand what qualities to look for in a good set of studio monitors.

Frequency Response

Frequency response is the range of frequencies your speaker will be able to accurately reproduce. Typically you want a set of monitors that will cover the entire low range, from 100Hz down to around 20-30Hz, unless you have a dedicated subwoofer that is covering this range for you, all the way up to the very high end (15kHz+). Basically the broader the range, the better.

Speaker Ports

If you’ve ever wondered what that big hole on the front or back of a set of speakers is, it’s called the port. Monitors typically come either rear or front ported. There is no real advantage or sound quality difference between rear and front ported speakers. Just bare in mind that if you are close to a wall, rear ported speakers may cause more of a buildup so you might need bass traps to deal with this, or you can move them further away from the wall. 

Manufacturers tend to place the port based on the available space in the design. If there’s no room for a port on the front baffle, then they will place the port on the back.

Without going into too much detail the purpose of a speaker port is to basically increase the efficiency of the subwoofer by effectively contributing to the low frequencies. 

You can read more about speaker ports here.

Active vs Passive Speakers

Active speakers have built in power amplifiers and therefore do not require you to buy a separate amp. You simply plug the speakers into a power source and away you go. They take up less room, are easier to configure and are a lot more common these days. All the monitors I recommend on this list are active (sometimes called powered). So you don’t need to worry about passive speakers.

Now that we have some basic understanding of some of the speaker jargon lets move on to the list.


Here are the top 5 best studio monitors for electronic music production under $1000 in 2020:

  1. Adam Audio A5X
  2. Yamaha HS8
  3. Dynaudio BM5 MKIII
  4. Focal Alpha 80
  5. PreSonus R80 AMT

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Adam Audio A5X

Adam Audio is known for producing some of the best near field monitors in the market. The A5X are the 5 inch model in the AX series, and have gained an extremely positive rep for their detailed, flat sound that can be easily adjusted, with the high and low shelf filters, to suit your acoustic space. 

The build feels premium with the Carbon/Rohacell/Glass Fiber Woofer and sleek cabinet design. It has volume and power controls on the front for convenience and is also front ported so you don’t need to worry too much about bass buildup if you are near a wall.

The tweeter is unique in its folded diaphragm design, which allows for longer operation with less fatigue, and reduced distortion. The surface of the diaphragm is 2.5x bigger than regular tweeters which allows for a more advanced dynamic range. 

It also has a neat little “Stereolink” feature that allows both speakers to be controlled by one volume control on the front panel.

Tech Specs

  • Active/Passive: Active
  • Port: Front
  • Woofer: 5.5“ Woofer (Carbon/Rohacell/Glass Fiber)
  • Tweeter: X-ART tweeter, handmade in Berlin
  • Type: Vertical 2-way
  • Frequency Response: 50Hz – 50kHz
  • LF / HF amplifier power: 50 W / 75 W
  • Inputs: Analog XLR and RCA

Quality design and build, highly detailed even at low volumes, easy to configure, and are front ported. Definitely my go to monitors in the under $1000 price range. 


Yamaha HS8

The HS8 is the modern version of the ever popular HS80M. With some improvements, including a broader frequency response, improved bass ports (-6dB quieter) for more clarity in the low end, and removed internal shielding to improve magnet efficiency. 

It boasts an 8″ LF driver which really helps to give a clear picture of your sub at low volumes without the need for a subwoofer. Although, if your budget permits, it may be a good idea to get the matching HS8S subwoofer for an even more detailed low end.

It has controls for room control and high trim which can be used to tune the speaker to your acoustic space. 

Tech Specs

  • Active/Passive: Active
  • Port: Rear
  • Woofer: 8″ cone
  • Tweeter: 1″ dome
  • Type: 2-way bi-amp powered studio monitor
  • Frequency Response: 38Hz – 30kHz
  • LF / HF amplifier power: 75 W / 45 W
  • Inputs: XLR3-31 type (balanced), TRS phone (balanced)

Overall the cost to quality ratio is extremely attractive. Compared to the Adam Audio A5X, I think they are a little less clear in the high end which is probably due to the A5X’s unique tweeter design. Nevertheless, if you are looking to save a bit of money and perhaps get a dedicated sub then I would opt for the Yamaha HS8.


Dynaudio BM5 MKIII

The BM5 MKIII are the latest version of the BM5A MKII. They have a 7″ LF driver and 1.1″ soft dome tweeter. These speakers are rear ported and have a Low Shelf, Mid Bell, and High Shelf controls to help you tune them to your room.

Sound wise – these monitors have a very punchy, tight, and clear low end but when compared to other monitors like the A5X and HS8 these sound a lot less up front and detailed in the high end. This is great and sounds pleasing for casual listening (personal preference), however, not so good for mixing.

Tech Specs

  • Active/Passive: Active
  • Port: Rear
  • Woofer: 7″ cone
  • Tweeter: 1.1″ soft dome
  • Type: 2-way bi-amp powered studio monitor
  • Frequency Response: 42Hz – 24kHz
  • LF / HF amplifier power: 50 W / 50 W
  • Inputs: XLR and RCA

If you mainly work with bass heavy electronic dance music, the low end of these speakers will be a great asset. However, I feel like the high end is lacking a bit and I would rather opt for either the HS8 or A5X.


Focal Alpha 80

I love the industrial, badass look of the Focal Alpha 80 studio monitors. This heavy duty aesthetic matches up with the manufacturers description “particularly ideal for producing music which is rich in bass or which requires high power reserves.” 

I tend to agree with this description. The Focal Alpha 80s do seem to have a decent extended low frequency response, even at low volumes. The rest of the image is clear and detailed and I don’t really have any complaints about it.

Controls wise the Alpha 80s have LF and HF shelf controls for tuning and placement. 

I just wish they had a control to disable the annoying auto standby feature which will sleep the speaker after 30 minutes of inactivity to conserve power.

Tech Specs

  • Active/Passive: Active
  • Port: Front
  • Woofer: 8″ polyglass cone
  • Tweeter: 1″ aluminium inverted dome
  • Type: 2-way bi-amp powered studio monitor
  • Frequency Response: 35Hz – 22kHz
  • LF / HF amplifier power: 100 W / 40 W
  • Inputs: XLR and RCA

A decent all round studio monitor with emphasis on low frequency extension. If you produce bass heavy electronic music then these should be definitely considered. Personal preference, however, are the HS8 or A5X.


PreSonus R80 AMT

The main feature on the PreSonus R80 AMT is in the name. AMT stands for Air Motion Transfer. The AMT tweeter is made from a very thin folded Kapton membrane, a similar design to the Adam Audio A5X tweeter, and has superior transient response even with the most subtle waveforms and highest frequencies, as well as a much wider stereo soundstage than classic dome tweeters. The low end is also clear and punchy with an 8″ woven composite tweeter.

Controls include  acoustic space, HF Driver levels and HP Filter to help you tune the monitors to your room.

Tech Specs

  • Active/Passive: Active
  • Port: Front
  • Woofer: 8″ woven composite
  • Tweeter: 6.8-square-inch  AMT
  • Type: 2-way bi-amp powered studio monitor
  • Frequency Response: 40Hz – 22kHz
  • LF / HF amplifier power: 100 W / 50 W
  • Inputs: XLR, TRS and RCA

A tough choice between the R80 AMT and Adam Audio A5X. Personally I am still leaning toward the A5X which have a bit tighter, more detailed low end despite having a smaller woofer.


Conclusion

With all these amazing monitors on the market, choosing the right one depends largely on the room you are mixing in and personal preference. However, my personal opinion is that the Adam Audio A5Xs provide the most clear, and detailed sound across the entire audio spectrum at both very low and high listening volumes.

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