A lot of people will tell you that you do not need studio monitors for DJing and instead what you want is really loud bass driven speakers. Some are of the opinion that studio monitors are harsh on the ears because of flatness and may even be the cause for ear fatigue.
While there may be some truth to the statements above, they only apply if you are not in a studio environment, or when you are not interested in analyzing your music at a more granular level. While speakers do emulate the actual environment you DJ in, which could be a party or a club or anything of that nature, they do not convey an accurate representation of your tracks. They are designed to sound good. They add a lot of color so you do not get to really hear what your track sounds like.
With studio monitors you get a neutral listening environment. You hear your tracks as they are in the nearfield, not as they should be. It is not a corrected form of your audio, but a true representation of how good or how bad your music actually sounds.
If you are serious about your DJing career and want to put out your mixes and showcase them online where competent individuals will get to hear them, then it is absolutely vital for you to get a good pair of studio monitors. While speakers allow you to blast Hip Hop/EDM/Rock music to a huge crowd, but if you want to go a step further and play with the big boys then you should be looking into a more superior monitoring solution.
When choosing studio monitors for DJing, along with a flatter output, you want your monitors to also have some extended bass and a strong combination of decibels/power as well as something that gives you a rather well rounded sound over frequency ranges. These are mainly characteristics of a speaker. Since your use case (being a Disc Jockey) is different than that of a pure producer, you want something that will give you common ground, the best of both worlds.
In addition to these metrics, you also want something that has a stronger low to mid presence as well. While you may sacrifice a bit of accuracy (neutral listening) by not going for something flatter, you also want to cater to your genre! For beatmatching and timing scratches, a boost in the low mid area is always a preferrable characteristic. The extra punch you get out of it will make things easy for you to hear when your tracks go in or out of sync.
A good pair of studio monitors will really impact how your mix sounds. Not only will they improve your over all sound, you will also benefit from developing an intricate musical ear for details. You will improve as a musician by hearing what you are actually doing and what your music will sound like when played through different mediums.
An important thing to point out is that even though monitors will give you a better output, you should know what to do with that output to stand out from the rest of the crowd. You need to understand your music and know what you want it to sound like, this will help you improve at blending eq while doing your mixes. You want to get a natural feel for what parts of a track require more bass or when you may need a cut or a boost on the eq.
Finally, room acoustics play a huge part in what you’re hearing. It is always recommended to have the right sound absorption on your walls and materials around the room. In some cases it is even more important than your actual monitors. Remember that every sound system and venue will have a different sound, but knowing your music and mixing it well will give you the right output that will sound good in every situation.
Best Studio Monitors for DJing Reviews
Adam Audio T8V
Adam has crushed it with their T-series, particularly the Adam T8V, which is widely regarded as the best performing out of the T-series. They’d been on our wish list for quite some time now so we eventually decided to buy one. Inside the box reveals a user manual, a power cable, and a huge 10kgs studio monitor, which is one of the heaviest, largest monitors that we’ve ever unboxed. For reference, you can almost fit 4 monitors in them! The Adam T8V is an active nearfield monitor that features an incredible linear frequency response of 33Hz-25Khz, integrated Class D amplifiers that deliver a total power of 90W (70W LF, 20W HF), and a peak sound pressure of 1m ≥ 118dB per pair.
On the backside of the monitor, you’ll find a bass reflex port, and HF along with LF controls for tailoring the speaker’s response depending on the environment you’re in. There’s also a volume knob, a balanced XLR input, an unbalanced RCA input, and an input switch to choose between the two. Another great feature we appreciated is that they produce almost no tweeter hiss, which is a typical issue with other budget monitors in the T8V’s price range.
The Adam T8V also offers a U-ART ribbon tweeter and an 8-inch polypropylene low-frequency driver, both of which are its most distinct features. The U-ART accelerated ribbon tweeter is designed to reduce distortion and increase the frequency range up to 25kHz. As a result, this expands the sound field with fantastic clarity and reduces ear fatigue. On the other hand, the 8-inch polypropylene low-frequency driver is designed to provide excellent low-frequency production with a wide dynamic range. The woofer’s main function is to enhance the frequency response down to 39Hz, which makes it ideal for nearfield monitoring in compact control rooms without the need for a subwoofer.
In terms of quality, the Adam T8V has a very clear and balanced sound, which is awesome especially given its low price. The bass response is extremely low, resulting in sub-woofer-like bass in your mixes, thanks to the polypropylene driver. The highs are sharp and the mids are clear, making the Adam T8V a well-rounded monitor across the frequency spectrum.
Moreover, the warm front has a lot of bass and tone. We tried putting an EQ in the crossover to bring it up a notch, but it made them way too bright for our listening, so we continued our tests without the EQ. However, they have brought certain mixes to a whole new level. They feel unapologetic and brutal, meaning they’ll point out any flaws in your mix, which is exactly what you need when preparing your tracks. Also, their sound intensity was terrific! We cranked up the volume to the maximum level, and we were blown away by how loud they can be!
Compared to its predecessors from the T-series, the new T8V provides better performance for its price point. It now has enough capacity to produce an astounding SPL of 118dB per pair as well as a frequency response that extends down to 33Hz compared to 39Hz for T7V and 45Hz for T5V. The brand new 8-inch woofer also provides greater response even at higher sound levels. Furthermore, the size difference is rather significant, the T8V weighs about 22 lbs so if you’re upgrading from the T7V (~16 lbs) or T5V (~13 lbs), you might want to consider getting a new desk. Also, compared to the T7V, the T8V has an incredible bass response and is a higher wattage unit (70w compared to 50w for both of the previous ones).
Despite the numerous features the Adam T8V has to offer, it is still not perfect. For one, its size and weight can be irritating sometimes. While it is still manageable to use the Adam T8V in small rooms, we recommend that you use it in bigger spaces for the best results. Their huge size also comes with a very loud sound so make sure your room is large enough (for safety reasons). Another slight drawback we faced while testing the T8V is that it does not feature an LED power indicator on the front. As simple as it is, having a power indicator LED on the front is essential as we would rather not have to guess if the monitor is on or off.
All in all, the Adam T8V is a fantastic monitor, but be aware that they are massive, powerful, and full. The Adam T8V is also an amazing well-rounded monitor with a wide dynamic range and an immaculate sound quality for its price range. We were genuinely impressed by the performance of the U-ART accelerated ribbon tweeter and the 8-inch polypropylene low-frequency driver as they provided pristine highs and deep lows
Adam T8V Benefits
U-ART ribbon tweeter and an 8-inch polypropylene low-frequency driver, for a wide frequency response.
Incredible sound intensity, making it a great option for DJing
There is no tweeter hiss, which is usual with other budget monitors in the T8V’s price category.
They have a cold and an unapologetic tone, which means they will bring out any flaws in your mix.
Adam T8V Drawbacks
No LED power indicator on the front of the monitor.
They require a lot of space due to their size and weight.
They produce a very loud sound, so make sure you have a large, well-treated space for the best results (And for safety reasons).
KRK RP8G3-NA Rokit 8
KRK Studio Monitors are the audio engineer’s workhorse. They are well-known for delivering a lot of features at their given price point. The Rokit 8 G3, are no different as they use the same approach to produce exceptional results regardless of the music genre. The Rokit 8 G3 is a versatile active nearfield studio monitor that offers a frequency response of 35Hz- 35kHz, a total power output of 100W, and a Max SPL peak of 109dB. It also has a unique cabinet design with a proprietary waveguide to provide a detailed stereo image. It was also built to minimize resonance issues resulting in a clean sound. A Class A/B power amplifier powers the Rokit 8 G3’s drivers, with 25W going to the tweeters and the remaining 75W going to the woofers.
The KRK Rokit 8 G3 also features an active 2-way electronics that provide high-headroom/low-noise amplification, and a system optimized limiter that prevents unexpected peaks from damaging speakers, extending their durability. On the rear of the monitor, you’ll find XLR, TRS or RCA inputs, a volume knob, and high-frequency along with a low-frequency controls for tailoring the sound to your surroundings.
Regarding the sound quality, the sound on the Rokit 8 G3 is incredible. They have excellent bass response as well as clarity. You can clearly hear instruments in the mix but the details are not as clear as the Adam T8V, or even other Adam monitors in general. They are accurate enough and loud with a very wide range. We mixed several sounds in the studio using the Rokit 8 G3 and it did translate very well on whatever else we played it on. We also really liked the HF/LF Level adjustment features since they made it very easy to locate the perfect location that worked with the modes in our studio for the best sound quality possible. It was very timesaving as it basically eliminates the guesswork of figuring out the best position for your monitors.
The ROKIT 8 G3 picks up where the G2 (its predecessors) left off in terms of functionality and vastly improves on it. Most notably, an updated amplifier and tweeter, as well as the addition of low frequency tuning. The G3 RP8 is visually quite similar to the previous model, but has undergone a makeover that makes the front panel a bit curvier, eliminates the unattractive screws, and introduces a different form for the bass reflex port. The wave guide on the RoKit 8 G3 goes a step further, providing the user with an even more comprehensive approach to imagery while listening. The G3 continues on the road of sound evenness across all frequencies, but with a better sweet spot. The tweeter now has a prolonged response up to 35kHz, and a better woofer, which improves the precision of middle frequencies. The lower frequency is also extended by the front-firing port.
As for the drawbacks, the ROKIT 8 G3 has a few that we’d like to touch on. For one, if no signal is going through them, they time out after a certain period. Even if you’re using them, it appears that the signal must be above a specific level so that they don’t time out. We were listening to some music at a low volume and it abruptly went off after a while. This drove us crazy as we spent a lot of time trying to figure out what happened exactly. It can be annoying sometimes, therefore we wish we could disable this function or at least modify the level that it activates at.
Moreover, they have a murky sound. They lack the three-dimensional impression that you would typically look for in a monitor. In other words, they are great for listening to music, but not as good for mixing. But this is only if you are looking at things very literally, these monitors are still a very good choice of mixing and mastering.
Overall, the Rokit 8 G3 is an excellent monitor with exceptional sound quality for the price. They have excellent EQ correction settings as well as a wide frequency range with an accurate portrayal of the audio image. They are definitely a great option for DJing music but make sure your room is well-suited.
KRK RP8G3-NA Rokit 8 Benefits
They offer a good bass response and clarity which means you may can clearly hear every instrument in the mix.
They are accurate and loud with a very wide range.
The KRK Rokit G3 has a unique cabinet design with a proprietary waveguide to provide a detailed stereo image.
Great HF/LF adjustment features to help with room compensation.
KRK RP8G3-NA Rokit 8 Drawbacks
They turn off if no signal is going though them, or if the signal is not at a specific volume (Without the ability to turn this feature off)
They are not as good for mixing music.
PreSonus Eris E7 XT
It’s no surprise that the Eris-series studio monitors have had a great reputation since their creation. Their monitors are well-known for the robust amplification with loads of headroom, and acoustic tuning options that ensure you always get the optimum sound. The Eris E7 XT was crafted using criteria that allow for a smaller, more dense design while still delivering a powerful bass. It offers an astounding frequency response of 42Hz- 22kHz, a total amplifier power of 130W (Class A/B amps ,70W LF, 60W HF), and a peak SPL of 104dB (at 1 meter).
It features a 1.25-inch silk-dome HF driver which boasts smooth highs, a 6.5-inch woven composite LF transducer which provides deep lows, a balanced XLR input, a balanced ¼ inch TRS input, and unbalanced RCA line-level inputs. It also offers a wide sweet spot and a comprehensive stereo imaging thanks to the EBM waveguide.
On the rear of the monitor you’ll find an A-type taper volume knob. Additionally, it includes acoustic tuning controls for room compensation, and a solid protection against RF interference, extreme output current, and excessive heat. We really liked the acoustic tuning controls as it adds more versatility to the monitor, especially given its price.
Briefly, the Mid control is a peak EQ that allows you to boost or drop the volume of a two-octave-wide frequency band centered at 1kHz, which may make minor adjustments to the frequency response. The High control is a high-end EQ that increases or lowers all frequencies over 10 kHz, which is similar to the treble adjustment on a vehicle audio in that it may instantly modify the sound. The Low-Cut rolls off the level of all frequencies below the selected frequency (80 or 100 Hz) with a slope of -12 dB per octave. Additionally, the Acoustic space switch aids in the creation of a more even frequency response and helps in the reduction of a tight mix position.
Straight out of the box, the monitor sounds immaculate with precise mids and pristine highs. After adjusting it to our liking, we tested a handful of music from different genres, and this is where the Eris E7 XT really shines. They have a broad sound stage and a front port which gives them an advantage over other monitors in a semi-treated environment for low-end accuracy. And as time passes the sound grows warmer and clearer. What’s fascinating is that our hearing got used to the Eris E7 XT quickly throughout the tests. They are also precise while still offering a really immersive listening experience.
Compared to its predecessor, the new Eris E7 XT (along with every other monitor in the XT series), has been improved in several ways. They now have a greater transient response, which aids in the detailing of your mixes. They also offer a larger stereo image, which provides a greater sweet spot. Let’s say you’re reaching for a certain gear or component while mixing, but don’t want to switch off the mix you’re working on. As you leave this sweet spot, the mix will usually sound different. However, this is not the case for the Eris E7 XT. Your mix will not change sonically as you go in and out of that sweet spot, making it much easier to mix in your studio. Moreover, they increase bass concentration, which means you’ll receive a more realistic image of what’s going on with the low-end in your mixes.
One of the drawbacks we faced while using the Eris E7 XT is that there are no detents on the rear-panel trim adjustments for the midrange and tweeter. In some spaces, the response may be a little too bright. It is not much of a downside, but we would’ve preferred if the controls used had detents. Another downside we found somewhat annoying is that they have a low frequency “hum” caused by electrical interference regardless of the volume (even when nothing is connected). We don’t know the exact reason for it but it’s most certainly a production defect. The humming noise gets covered up by the music, but it still can be irritating.
The Eris E7 XT is a great monitor with a fantastic sound quality and amazing frequency response. It has a loud noise with pristine highs and deeps lows. It is very versatile as it offers acoustic tuning options that ensure you always get the optimum sound, making it a decent option for DJing.
PreSonus Eris E7 XT Benefits
Amazing acoustic settings for room compensation, which provides versatility
Incredible sound quality with an amazing frequency response
A great sweet spot which makes it easier for mixing while multitasking
They provide amazing details when listening to music with a great transient response
PreSonus Eris E7 XT Drawbacks
Humming sound in the low-frequency even when nothing is connected
The control knobs do not have detents.
According to the scoring model, the highest variance is in the Price to Performance, Frequency Response, and the Sound Quality categories. While the Eris E7 XT fell short in 3 categories, it managed to outperform the Adam T8V and the Rokit 8 in the Wattage and the Additional features categories by a small margin. This makes the Eris E7 XT somewhat inconsistent (compared to the other two) as it only provides value in specific areas, which is not ideal when you’re looking for a reliable monitoring solution.
It’s no secret that the main competition here is between the T8V and the Rokit 8 as their performance throughout our tests was pretty close. They go head to head in almost every category, however, the T8V has a significant edge in the Sound Quality category where it scores a 9.5, outperforming the competition by a large margin (The closest score in this category was a 7 for the Rokit 8). The T8V also scored the highest in the price to performance category with a score of 9. However, its had a low wattage score of 7 which isn’t too bad. It is worth mentioning that the U-ART tweeter and woofer, which are the major reasons for the high-quality sound, work exceptionally well at the T8V’s wattage (80W).
While not the best, we consider the Rokit 8 to be a decent choice. It does not provide the same performance as the T8V, but it does shine in certain aspects. It provides great wattage and a lot of useful features, while still scoring a decent 8.5 in the price to performance category. It also scored the highest in the frequency response category. This makes the Rokit 8 an alternative option if you’re on a budget.
With everything considered, the overall best studio monitor for DJing is the Adam T8V. It is the best out of all three with a total average score of 8.2. The actual sound quality is what really makes this unit stand out. Throughout our tests, it proved to be a well-rounded monitor as it provides incredibly useful features such as the HF and LF control switches. The bass response is particularly impressive since it is strong enough to eliminate the need for a subwoofer.
Despite being the priciest out of the three competitors, the T8V manages to outscore its contenders in the price to performance category, which truly shows its viability. The U-ART-designed tweeters and the woofer are really remarkable. They are honest and precise, making the Adam T8V a great studio monitor to DJ on! We highly recommend the T8V as the best solution for all of your DJ monitoring needs.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I get Speakers or Studio Monitors for Djing?
This question is a double edged sword! Speakers are awesome for live performances but if you want to hear the intricacies and minor details in your music then you want to go for Studio Monitors. Speakers are meant to sound good and they add a lot of color to your sound, which is excellent for playing out live but not so much in the studio. Your use case will determine whether you should go with speakers or studio monitors.
What is the most important aspect of choosing Studio Monitors for DJing?
You want a pair of studio monitors that will enable you to hear your mixes properly. You want to hear an accurate representation of your tracks so you can adjust the EQ and mix your tracks properly. A good pair of studio monitors will give you a flatter output so you can work on improving your tracks sonically.
What is the difference between Studio Monitors for DJing vs. other types of music?
Party/Electronic/Techno music is mostly bass driven. You want monitors that are accurate but also give you an output that caters to your genre. In a nutshell, you should get monitors that have a nice balance between the two and fit your use case, something that gives you the best of both worlds.
Should I use my Studio Monitors at gigs when I DJ?
That’s really not a good idea! Monitors are sensitive and are not meant for being played at parties. Could you do that? Yes, should you? Probably not. You want to use speakers at parties and monitors in the studio..
What is the best way to set up my Studio Monitors for DJing?
Each monitor is different, but the common ground among all of them is that you’ll have to install drivers and plug your monitors into your audio interface. For further details read the manufacturer instructions. This is a rather simple step and you should be good to go in no time!