The Best Studio Monitors for Guitar Monitoring & Recording

The Best Studio Monitors for Guitar Monitoring & Recording

As you probably already know, it’s virtually impossible to achieve professional results without proper equipment when it comes to audio engineering. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should buy every piece of audio equipment there is.

Moreover, the less gear you have, the more skills you acquire, but the one thing that you most definitely need to achieve any results, is proper monitoring. Since the market is noticeably saturated with great monitors, choosing the right pair doesn’t seem to be an easy task. And choosing the best studio monitors for guitar could, of course, provide an additional challenge.

Top 7 Best Studio Monitors for Guitar Monitoring & Recording

  1. PreSonus Eris E8
  2. JBL Professional 305P MkII
  3. Yamaha HS5
  4. Behringer B2031A Studio Monitor
  5. KRK ROKIT 5 G4
  6. Genelec 8040B 6.5
  7. Focal Shape 65

Studio Monitors for Guitar Monitoring & Recording Buying Guide

The old ways

Before we begin, we have a piece of good news for guitar players who prefer analog rigs to digital emulations. If you’re using an old-school way of recording guitars, that automatically means that you cannot utilize anything except the headphones. Recording a guitar amp with a microphone means that the mic will pick up any signal coming from the speakers, and since you want as cleanest signal as possible, using headphones is your only option. This is, of course, applicable only to the home studios, professional studios usually have separate tone rooms in which you can and should place the amp.

Monitors for guitar

If you’re a happy digital amp emulation user, you shouldn’t really worry about headphones. The only thing that might concern you is if your monitors have a proper volume. The thing is, our ears are sensitive to different frequencies at different volumes. At lower volume, we tend to notice more mid-range frequencies, and at higher volumes, bass and treble are emphasized. So, you need to be able to properly crank up your monitors in order to make sure that you’ve dialed a perfect tone.

Important features

When it comes to choosing the best studio monitors for guitar, it most definitely would be nice to have monitors that produce pleasant mid-range frequencies. That being said, as audio engineers, we need to be as objective as possible, so choosing monitors with a flat or at least as flat as possible frequency response curve would be a much wiser decision. After all, being versatile always gives you a broader range of options, and you never know what opportunities you might stumble upon your journey into the music industry. When it comes to other features, they are only as important as your personal preferences go.

Best Studio Monitors for Guitar Monitoring & Recording Reviews

PreSonus Eris E8

PreSonus Eris E8

Pros
  • Tone-shaping controls on the back
  • 105 dB of maximum continuous output
Cons
  • None that we know of
See price @ Amazon / @ Sweetwater
Best features and specs

PreSonus Eris E8 is a very powerful pair of professional studio monitors with a very budget-friendly price. Its internal amplification can produce a very impressive 105 dB of output and acoustic tuning controls are located on the back of the speakers that let you customize the sound reproduction and adjust it to your room specifically. It also has both balanced and unbalanced inputs, which solve any connectivity issues that might occur.

User impressions

Users are quite impressed with PreSonus Eris E8 as this is a powerful set of studio monitors with plenty of volume available, decent bass reproduction, and tone-shaping controls. The high end is sweet, crisp, clear, and the sweet spot is wide, so whenever you’re moving around, you’re still within its position. Users like the front position of the port, which is very convenient.

What we think

There’re certain audio engineers who tend to avoid active speakers since they believe they might sound a bit artificial and unconvincing. But it’s safe to say that PreSonus Eris E8 easily exceeds those concerns considering that they reproduce everything with great precision and accuracy. It might take you some time to adjunct it to the sound of your room, but once you do, the result most definitely will amaze you.

Bottomline

PreSonus Eris E8 is a perfect choice for someone who is looking for a pair of active studio speakers that sounds very professional and, at the same time, have a very budget-friendly price tag. No matter how hard we’ve tried to find one, it seems that there’re no downsides to being an owner of these monitors.

JBL Professional 305P MkII

Pros
  • Nice bass output
  • Good tuning options
  • Uses patented Image Control Waveguide technology
Cons
  • Not very balanced
  • Produces a slight hiss
See price @ Amazon / @ Sweetwater
Best features and specs

JBL Professional 305P MkII is a pair of five-inch active studio monitors with an extremely wide sweet spot and a built-in EQ that can eliminate environmental low-frequency anomalies. And they look absolutely stunning with their matte black body and glossy tweeters. The built-in amplifier delivers 82 Watts of power which is more than plenty for any intents or purposes.

User impressions

Users like JBL Professional 305P MkII for its sound quality, especially that these monitors have a wider soundstage with a broader sweet spot. Also, these monitors have a low-frequency response giving a bigger hit in the low end. Users also note that these monitors sound great from medium to high volume but produce an audible hiss when playing music on low volume.

What we think

One thing that is slightly discouraging about JBL Professional 305P MkII is that apparently, they don’t utilize any built-in interference protection. This means that if your gear is somewhat faulty or doesn’t eliminate interference at earlier stages, your speakers will produce hiss or hum. Also, the lower limit of 49 Hz is pretty impressive but you wouldn’t be able to mix sub-frequencies without an additional woofer.

Bottomline

JBL Professional 305P MkII is a perfect choice for someone who is searching for a stunningly looking pair of active studio monitors with a lot of additional features. These monitors are extremely budget-friendly and a very wide sweet spot makes mixing with a partner much easier and efficient.

Yamaha HS5

Yamaha HS5

Pros
  • Excellent build quality
  • Good choice for mixing and mastering
Cons
  • Low end isn’t great
See price @ Amazon / @ Sweetwater
Best features and specs

Yamaha HS5 shares its DNA with the legendary NS-10s, which really says it all. It shares the same iconic design with its white woofer cones. The sound is also very similar with the same accuracy but a more ballistic response. Where they really differ is in their price tag with Yamaha HS5 being much more friendly to your wallet.

User impressions

Users say that Yamaha HS5 studio monitors have crisp and clear mids and highs with a neutral and flat response which makes them a good choice for those users who tend to do mixing and mastering a lot. Users add that these monitors have an outstanding build quality and they feel solid and resilient. Also, these monitors have very useful “Room Control” features for adjusting the low end and high trim for the upper end so that you can set the sound response based on the size of your studio environment.

What we think

In the current music industry, audio engineers tend to either love NS-10s or hate them fiercely. Each and every one of them has their own reasoning, but the real point here is that nobody stays indifferent and that says a lot. Usually, opinions differ around the low-frequency response of NS-10s, where some engineers think that is nowhere near enough, and others believe that it’s just perfect. Considering that Yamaha HS5 is extremely similar to NS-10s, you’re going to have to choose a side in this argument.

Bottomline

Yamaha HS5 is a perfect choice for someone who is looking for a budget-friendly version of a legendary NS-10s, which isn’t even remotely inferior to the original. This, in turn, means that Yamaha HS5 suffers from the same controversial low-end and if it turns out that it’s not to your taste, be prepared to purchase an additional subwoofer.

Behringer B2031A Studio Monitor

Behringer B2031A Studio Monitor

Pros
  • Very complex tuning
  • 265 Watts of output
Cons
  • Slight coloration in the low-mids
See price @ Amazon / @ Sweetwater
Best features and specs

Behringer B2031A Studio Monitor is a pair of extremely budget-friendly active studio speakers with a staggering output of 265 Watts and impressively meticulous acoustic tuning controls which let you tailor the frequency response of the speakers surgically. And to say that these monitors are “budget-friendly” is an underestimation, surprisingly enough.

User impressions

Users like Behringer B2031A Studio Monitor for the sound quality, which is really good, and that they give clarity, accurate mids and highs, and a surprisingly tight, focused bass. Users note that low-mids sound is resonant and colored.

What we think

You’d think that for this kind of price, there should be some kind of trade-off. But in all reality, it seems that there isn’t one. The build quality is excellent and the sound is more than decent, especially considering that you can shape it literally any way you want. It could be a bit of a stretch, but the only thing that we could think of to be slightly discouraging is that there’s a barely detectable resonance in low-mids frequencies.

Bottomline

Behringer B2031A Studio Monitor is a perfect choice for someone who is looking for entry-level active studio monitors that are not in any way inferior to their more expensive competition. After all, with the rapid development of modern technologies, we all have learned by now that things shouldn’t have to be expensive in order to be of high quality. And if something is expensive, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s of high quality.

KRK ROKIT 5 G4

KRK ROKIT 5 G4

Pros
  • Outstanding tuning options
  • Great sound across all frequencies
Cons
  • Narrow sweet spot
See price @ Amazon / @ Sweetwater
Best features and specs

KRK ROKIT 5 G4 is a pair of rather futuristic active studio speakers, but it should be said that futurism concerns more its functionality rather than design. What makes these monitors stand out is that all of the controls are accessible only through a mobile app which gives you a whole another world of versatility. The app even has a real-time spectrum analyzer which gives you a perfect opportunity to adjust the sound of your speakers with unprecedented surgical precision.

User impressions

Users agree that KRK ROKIT 5 G4 monitors have a great sound quality and pretty much balanced frequencies. Monitors are nicely built with the addition of Kevlar, which is liked by the majority of users. Users note that the sweet spot is not that wide and unlikely to fill the room with sound.

What we think

When it comes to design, it seems that most studio monitors that you can encounter take themselves too seriously. It’s, of course, a matter of personal taste, but we believe that most speakers look too strict and conservative. This is rather understandable since no one wants to look at something flashy all day. But it seems that KRK ROKIT 5 G4 has a sense of humor and a little bit of mischief in terms of its design, which is rather refreshing.

Bottomline

KRK ROKIT 5 G4 is a perfect choice for someone who is looking for a pair of active studio monitors with an interesting look and the functionality of the future. At first, you would believe that the mobile app is a bit of an overkill, but eventually, you’d start thinking why isn’t it done by everyone.

Genelec 8040B 6.5

Genelec 8040B 6.5

Pros
  • 150 dB of dynamic range
  • Intelligence Signal Sensing
Cons
  • Rather expensive
See price @ Amazon / @ Sweetwater
Best features and specs

Genelec 8040B 6.5 is a pair of very compact but yet powerful studio speakers with an impressive 115 dB of dynamic range and a rather refreshing approach to design. This is a very reliable and robust workhorse with built-in power management that constantly monitors the input signals and can put speakers in a sleep mode if needed.

User impressions

Users agree that Genelec 8040B 6.5 are great monitors for revealing imperfections in the sound. Users add that mid-range is beautifully warm, and hi-end provides an almost 3-dimensional stereo space.

What we think

What is impressive about Genelec 8040B 6.5 is the clarity of the sound that it provides. It shouldn’t be a surprise considering the price tag, but still, even for professional-grade monitors, they sound very clean and transparent. Even a low-cut at 49 Hz doesn’t seem to be a downside, and at any point it doesn’t feel that you’re missing something.

Bottomline

Genelec 8040B 6.5 is a perfect choice for someone who is looking for a very durable and robust pair of professional speakers with a very honest and convincing sound. The extremely compact size gives you an opportunity to use it in small home studios and even in mobile rigs. And considering its impressive power output they could easily serve the needs of even larger professional studios.

Focal Shape 65

Focal Shape 65

Pros
  • Extremely linear response
  • 3 band EQ
  • 105 Watts of power
Cons
  • Rather expensive
See price @ Amazon / @ Sweetwater
Best features and specs

Focal Shape 65 is a pair of professional studio speakers of the highest quality possible. Its unique fiber-glass speaker cones and M-shaped tweeter gives you an almost perfect and linear frequency response starting from 40Hz up to 35 kHz. Add on top of that a very beautiful walnut veneer finish and it’s guaranteed that you won’t need other speakers ever again.

User impressions

Users like Focal Shape 65 for being robust monitors with a really good build quality and elegant look. These monitors give the best detail both in higher and lower range frequencies and sound natural.

What we think

The thing about Focal is that if audio engineers start to use their speakers, they very rarely switch to anything else. The reliability of their speakers alone is enough of a reason to at least try them. But we believe that Focal speakers are one of the best ways of staying objective and surgically precise while mixing. Apart from objectivity, Focal makes a great emphasis on design to make sure that you’d look cool while being the best audio engineer you can possibly be.

Bottomline

Focal Shape 65 is a perfect choice for someone who is looking for extremely reliable and compact studio monitors from one of the most well-regarded audio manufacturers in the world. At first glance, a price tag might discourage you, especially if you are on a tight budget, but with Focal, you can always be certain that you won’t need a new pair of monitors any time soon.

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