When it comes to audio equipment, a lot of your sound can only go as far as the amount of money you invest in them.
Now obviously the performance matters more, though there’s no argument that you’ll get a better mix through a high-end pair of speakers compared to a cheap, consumer pair (all other variables fixed).
Today we’re going to go through some of the best studio monitors that $1000 can get you.
Our #1 Pick
Neumann has been around for decades and has always been one of the top brands in the audio industry, creating products that are built for high-end studio use.
From their variety of popular microphones to their bi-amplified studio monitors, they know what they’re doing. While the Neumann KH 80s are not cheap, they come with just about everything you’ll need to make a high-end mix.
Before we get into the technical stuff, it’s crucial that you take note of how stylish and compact these speakers are, and how bulletproof the construction is. They’ll fit right at home in any modern studio.
Overall, the KH 80s give you an incredibly flat frequency response with a tone that is full of life. The bass is rich, warm, and punchy, while the highs are wildly accurate. More than most speakers in the price range, these give you an honest and pure sound that is great for mixing or mastering.
The soundstage is also unbelievably deep, giving you the ability to dissect any type of processing.
Bottom Line: With a flat frequency response like no other and clarity that is next level, it’s no wonder why these are some of the most sought-after studio monitors on the market. If you have the money, we highly recommend picking up a pair of these, as you can’t get much better.
The Yamaha HS8's are probably some of the most legendary studio monitors out there at this point. You probably recognize the iconic design with the bulletproof MDF, black vinyl cabinet and the white low-frequency driver cone.
Regarding aesthetics, they work perfectly for a modern or vintage look. The low-frequency driver is 8”, meaning you will get plenty of low end to go around. The 1” tweeter sits in very subtly, yet provides very efficient highs.
On the back of the units, you get the room control switches, as well as some HF trim switches, and the connectivity ports.
In terms of sound, the HS8s provide a reasonably flat frequency response while still giving you large, articulated bass that is very easy to work with. Mids on these are pretty natural while the treble is the only thing that stands out as a bit sharper.
The cool thing is, pair these with the room acoustic controls and you can create a proper monitoring solution in just about any room.
Bottom Line: For producers who are still on a bit of a budget, though want a set of reliable and professional monitors to work with, it’s hard to recommend anything but the Yamaha HS8s. They give you insanely good performance and control and can work well in just about any studio.
PreSonus is another one of the big names in the studio monitor world, as they continuously deliver high-end studio monitors and the Sceptre S6 is no exception. The overall aesthetic of the monitors is simple and stylish, as they genuinely put more into the sound and features than the look. They feature a pretty standard vinyl-laminated MDF build with an all-black design and an illuminated PreSonus logo.
The most important thing on the Sceptre S6s is the coaxial design. This means that these monitors come with an advanced onboard DSP processor for the ultimate sound.
The frequency response of the S6s are symmetrical, both horizontally and vertically, allowing the sounds to hit your ears all at the same time, no matter where in the room you are standing.
All of that and you get a pretty impressive 109 dB SPL meter. Any room you are in will be transformed into a gorgeous concert hall thanks to the three-dimensional soundstage of these babies.
The sound is incredibly flat, though still has life and depth in the bass, fullness in the mids, and smooth, clarity in the treble. Even the subtlest of nuances can be worked with using these studio monitors.
Bottom Line: While these aren’t the cheapest monitors out there, they are well worth every penny spent. The sound on the Sceptre S6s is pure and deep, and they offer engineers a sense of honesty in space no matter where they are listening.
You will rarely find a pair of Focal studio monitors on a “best under x list”, as they are pretty much high-end dedicated studio monitors. Luckily, the Alpha 65s are within the budget that we’re discussing today, and boy do they excel our expectations.
As you can see right off the bat, aesthetics were not the primary concern when Focal made these. That being said, they feel like tanks, so you will have no worry using them under any conditions. They come complete with 1” aluminum inverted dome tweeter and 6.5” polyglass low-frequency drivers, each with class AB amps that can produce up to 106 dB max SPL.
We really dig the automatic standby mode that makes it so they don’t draw any power when they’re not in use.
Where they truly shine though is the performance. You get plenty of low-end depth that is both tight and articulate, precise and full mids, and treble that is stupid accurate. This is what high-end sounds like. They will make every imperfection in your track crystal clear, making them perfect for mixing.
Bottom Line: The level of transparency and sound quality that you get from the Focal Alpha 65s is unrivaled. There are a few things that they could improve on, such as the build and minute hints of distortion in the mids, though they give you something pretty incredible for the money that is hard to find anywhere else.
Adam Audio is a pro audio company that is based out of Berlin. Their only products are studio monitors and loudspeakers, which is much of the reason why they can create such consistently high-end products.
The A3Xs are the baby studio monitors in their AX-series, though come with the same cool, industrial aesthetic as the others.
The Accelerating Ribbon Technology is one of the unique features about the AX line, as it is designed to mimic the way human vocal cords work. Because of this, distortion is reduced to a minimum, and dynamic range is widened.
This gives you incredibly detailed highs and smooth, punchy lows, all within a flat frequency response that is great for mixing. On the front you get a 4.5” low-frequency driver and a 2” tweeter, both of which create a high-resolution stereo image with tons of depth.
You also get very spacious bass reflex ports on the front that allow for bass reproduction with very low compression, meaning you can place them close to walls without worry.
Bottom Line: For one of the best-selling nearfield monitors on the market, we can say with confidence that the Adam Audio A3Xs are some of the most powerful and precise monitors out there. Regarding sound reproduction, depth, and stereo localization, they create a sound all to their own.
We Hope You Were Listening
Getting the right pair of studio monitors is no easy task. This is why it is important to take careful consideration of everything from your room to the sound quality to the genre you mix and beyond.
There are no “perfect” monitors out there, meaning it is up to you to decide which ones you like best — the reason we picked the Neumann KH 120 as our favorite is because they have an undeniably great sound, sturdy build, and serious versatility.
We hope that our article was helpful in narrowing done some studio monitors within your budget. Good luck in your mixing adventure!