Is it time to ditch those earbuds or computer speakers and upgrade?

You might have a decent-sounding set of computer speakers, but that doesn’t mean you have studio monitors. And while a nice pair of headphones certainly has a place in your recording setup, a good pair of monitors is a must for referencing tracks. You can spend a lot in this category, but here are 10 solid sets that’ll set you back less than $500.

D5

These monitors feature Equator’s Zero-Point Reference custom-designed coaxial transducers along with internal DSP to provide a matched output curve for every unit, allowing for accurate no-shift imaging.

EQUATOR AUDIO
$399

MX8

These bi-amped monitors are outfitted with proprietary 8" low-frequency driver cones and use dual-axis WaveGuidanceVH technology for optimal wider-and-higher frequency dispersion.

STERLING AUDIO
$499

LSR308

The LSR308s feature JBL’s Slip Stream low-frequency port design for deep bass response, and the Image Control Waveguide originally developed for the company’s high-end reference monitors.

JBL
$499

HS5

The HS5s feature dedicated power amps perfectly matched to the 5" woofer and 1" tweeter, a port design that reduces noise up to 6 dB, and an enclosure built to kill unwanted resonances.

YAMAHA
$399

BX8 Carbon

Equipped with an 8" woven-Kevlar low-frequency driver and 1.25" natural-silk dome tweeter, these monitors deliver a flat frequency response and increased clarity for accurate mixing.

M-AUDIO
$499

MR8mk3

The 85-watt MR8mk3s feature a waveguide designed for excellent clarity and openness, as well as matched amps and drivers and an all-wood cabinet design.

MACKIE
$399

Rokit 8 G3

These monitors feature a proprietary waveguide that’s optimized for superior imaging, controls for high- and lo-frequency adjustments, and a lightweight, composite woofer for clear midrange and tight bass.

KRK
$499

Truth B1031A

These budget-friendly monitors have built-in limiter circuitry, a wide sweet spot, and boast 150 watts powering the 8" Kevlar woofer and 1" silk-dome tweeter.

BEHRINGER
$399

Eris E8

Housing an 8" Kevlar woofer and an ultra-low-mass, high-frequency 1.25" tweeter, these 140-watt monitors feature a front-firing acoustic port and resonance-suppressing internal bracing.

PRESONUS
$499

Resolv SE8

These monitors feature an 8" carbon-fiber woofer for tight, controlled bass, a 4-position high-frequency lift control, and a time-aligned waveguide for even dispersion across a wide listening area.

SAMSON
$399

Kemper Profiler Stage, Nueral DSP Quad Cortex & Line 6 HX Stomp (clockwise from top)

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