Best Studio Monitors under $1000 [2023 Reviewed]

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All text and image links lead to Amazon unless stated otherwise. All product scores are based on ProRec’s in-house scoring model

ThumbnailStudio Monitors under $1000ProRec ScorePrice
Kali IN-8 V2

Kali IN-8 V2

  •  
8.6
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Yamaha HS8

Yamaha HS8

8.4
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ADAM Audio T7V

ADAM Audio T7V

8
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Introduction

When working with any part of music production, studio monitors are an important must. Although $1000 is a great budget, this does not mean that every monitor in this price range is good.

When selecting a pair of studio monitors, unfortunately, there are just too many variables to consider because your space will ultimately determine how they sound. Our advice is to acoustically treat the space as much as possible so that you can hear the monitors rather than the room.

If you can, visit a music store and check out a few different sets of monitors for yourself. You may even sometimes connect your phone and play some of your own music. Play a few songs from various genres that you are familiar with on a variety of monitors within your price range before making your choice. Each monitor sounds different, and tastes vary widely.

$1000 is not a small budget, and at this price range, especially with such great brands out there, it becomes subjective. However, keep in mind that you don’t want the “greatest” sound, but rather a balanced and detailed sound. It’s not a good sign if certain elements of the music (nearly) disappear on a monitor. Likewise, if certain elements feel boosted, that’s a bad sign. You are looking for a studio monitor, not a HiFi system. Furthermore, knowing your monitors’ specific frequency response is far more crucial than how “nice” they sound. We’d even argue that “sounding good” and “being more neutral” are a conflict of interest.

As a simple rule of thumb, if you’re spending $1000 on a studio monitor, you should spend the same amount on room treatment. Even much cheaper monitors will perform admirably in a well-treated environment; the same cannot be true for more expensive monitors in a badly treated room. Again, you want to hear your monitors, not your room.

Best Studio Monitors Under $1000

All text and image links lead to Amazon unless stated otherwise. All product scores are based on ProRec’s in-house scoring model

Yamaha HS8
8.4/10Our Score
8.4Average Score
Yamaha HS8
Price to Performance
8
Frequency Response
8.5
Wattage
8.5
Sound Quality
9
Additional Features
8

The Yamaha HS8 is the biggest model in the HS series, featuring an 8″ cone woofer and a 1″ dome tweeter with a bright white finish. The HS8 is an active bi-amped studio monitor, which boasts a total wattage of 120W (75W LF driver Power AMP, 45W HF driver power AMP). The enclosure’s material is made of MDF, which is known as the best building material for studio monitors in terms of balancing strength, density, and affordability. This allows the sound to be outputted with minimal resonance and incredible clarity. The monitor also offers a frequency range of 38Hz-30kHz and a crossover frequency of 2000Hz.

The HS8’s backside offers a bass reflex port, a volume knob, one XLR input, one ¼-inch TRS input, and frequency control settings which include a room control switch (0dB, -2dB, -4dB), and a high trim switch (+2db, 0dB, -2dB). Furthermore, the monitor includes extra-large magnets that provide a strong, homogenous, and precisely regulated flux field, resulting in a smooth response throughout a broad frequency range.

With regard to sound quality, we were satisfied with the HS8’s performance. We tested a bunch of different music genres, and the results were awesome! It sounds fantastic in the sweet spot, but it also sounds great when we move around the room. We adjusted everything to a flat response, and everything from metal to soul music sounded incredible. We also found it to be super flat and articulate, as it accurately represented our recordings.

We also found the monitor to have superb drivers as they produced incredible audio performance without any unwanted resonance. This was done by arranging the screws scientifically and crafting the mounting ring specifically, allowing the monitor to fulfill its acoustic potential with great neutrality. Additionally, we played some of our old mixes on the HS8 and we could hear a lot of detail (good and bad).

Compared to the Yamaha HS80m, the Yamaha HS8 is in an entirely different league. For one, the Yamaha HS8 now features High Trim and Room Control switches on its back, allowing you to modify the sound to your room’s settings. However, the HS80m offered MID EQ and LOW-CUT settings, which we found (from prior experience) to be not as useful.

Furthermore, the HS8 now includes better magnetic efficiency. This was done by removing the internal shielding that was previously present on the HS80m. The frequency range on the Yamaha HS8 has also been greatly improved. As previously stated, the HS8 now offers a frequency range of 38Hz-30kHz, as opposed to 42Hz-20kHz on the HS80m. This is a huge improvement, allowing the HS8 to correctly and accurately represent higher and lower frequencies much better than its predecessor.

We also found the volume level on the HS8 to be boosted to provide a stronger sound, while also preserving the same high-quality sound as that of the HS80m.

Throughout our tests, the Yamaha HS8 provided incredible results, but it is not without flaws. For one, we found the HS8 to lack the punch we expected it to have. The monitor still provided a decent low-end, but for an 8-inch woofer, the HS8 did not offer the bass we’re used to seeing from monitors in this price range.

Furthermore, the HS8 is an 8-inch monitor, meaning you can’t just simply use it in an untreated room. This is because 8-inch monitors will cause low-end muddles if your room is not properly treated. It is still usable; however, we recommend that you do not turn the volume all the way up. Either way, we highly recommend that you also treat your studio as it is one of the best investments you’ll make as an audio engineer. You can still adjust the monitor’s sound using the frequency control settings, but treating your space is much more practical, and will help you go a long way.

All in all, the Yamaha HS8 is a great studio monitor overall, and for under $1000 the monitor provides exceptional value. The HS8 provided incredible sound quality as it demonstrated a flat frequency response over a wide range, which is why we recommend the HS8 as a solid choice.

Yamaha HS8 Benefits

The monitor provided a wide frequency response

The unit features useful frequency control settings to adjust the sound to your room’s settings

The HS8 demonstrated incredible sound quality, with a loud output

The monitor includes high-quality drivers

Yamaha HS8 Drawbacks

The HS8 slightly lacks in terms of low-end

The monitor has a big woofer size, meaning you can’t use its full power in a small room.

All text and image links lead to Amazon unless stated otherwise. All product scores are based on ProRec’s in-house scoring model

Kali IN-8 V2
8.6/10Our Score
  •  
8.6Average Score
Kali IN-8 V2
Price to Performance
8
Frequency Response
8.5
Wattage
9
Sound Quality
9
Additional Features
8.5

The IN-8 V2 by Kali Audio is a tri-amped active studio monitor that includes an eight-inch woofer, a four-inch midrange, and a coaxial one-inch tweeter. The IN-8 features a neat Tweeter and Midrange design, which prevents off-axis misdirection, resulting in a precise, “three-dimensional” stereo image. The IN-8 is one of Kali’s second Wave studio monitors, which features minimal self-noise while raising max SPL to 117dB @ 1m.

Furthermore, the IN-8 V2’s Class-D amps supply a total wattage of 140W, delivering 40W to the MF Driver, 40W to the HF Driver, and 60W to the LF Driver. The monitor also covers the frequency spectrum well as it features a range of 45Hz-21kHz (+/- 3dB), 37Hz-25kHz (-10dB). As for the inputs, the IN-8 V2’s rear includes one ¼-inch TRS, one XLR, and one RCA, allowing you to integrate the monitor with a variety of audio devices.

The IN-8 V2’s backside also features eight dip switches, which can be used to control the output frequencies (HF trim, LF trim, boundary EQ) and to toggle the RCA input. Additionally, it also provides you with user-friendly and simple-to-understand information to deal with as it offers a quick dip switches guide. The monitor also offers headroom of 20dB.

Sonically, the IN-8 V2’s performance was fantastic as it provided an incredibly flat frequency response. We found the trim-amp design to be great as it offered outstanding clarity and transparency. At under $1000 a pair, the monitor also demonstrated an accurate stereo image. The amazing separation between the mix’s instruments allowed us to hear even the smallest elements in our favorite songs, which is exactly what you need to hear your mistakes.

We also found the tiniest EQ, preamp, or plug-in adjustment to have an instant and obvious effect. Furthermore, it adapts well to different listening environments, especially in the mid-range. The three-way configuration allows you to hear the crucial 200Hz to 2600Hz midrange with superb stereo imaging that is on par with other studio monitors costing at least double as much.

We also used the monitor for several hours of testing, and since it is so precise, we were able to listen at much lower volumes without experiencing any ear fatigue. Most importantly, we found the low-end to be the stand out of our tests. This is because the monitor features a low-noise port tube that produces strong bass.

Compared to its predecessor, the Kali IN-8 V2 improves upon the Kali IN-8 with a better cabinet, a new amplifier Class, and improved transducers. From our prior experience with the IN-8, we found the IN-8 V2 significantly more pleasant to listen to as a nearfield monitor as it offers 12dB less self-noise than the IN-8. Additionally, the IN-8 V2’s more potent DSP results in smoother high-frequency modulating than the IN-8. Additionally, we put the IN-8 V2 through some testing, and it was clear from our results that the drivers on the V2 offer a generally better transient response.

We also found the IN-8 V2 to offer a distortion of 0.88% as opposed to 1.1% on the IN-8. Aside from that, the IN-8 V2 features the positive characteristics of the IN-8 like the eight dip switches and the front-firing bass port.

As for the drawbacks, we found that the midrange was somewhat more noticeable than the low-end and the high-end, which was annoying at first. After some time, we figured out the frequency range where the levels fluctuate and we were able to mix without any trouble. This might take some time to get used to it, but you can simply adapt your mixes based on your mids. Another drawback is that we found the sweet spot somewhat smaller than 2-way mid-field monitors, but it was still acceptable.

With that being said, the Kali IN-8 V2 is a great near-field studio monitor as it proved to be pretty versatile. The monitor offered a fantastic soundstage with a flat frequency response and incredible mids. At a price of under $1000, the monitor is a great bang for the buck, making it a great well-rounded monitor overall.

Kali IN-8 V2 Benefits

The monitor provided an incredible stereo image

The Kali IN-8 V2 offers dip switches, which allow you to adjust the sound easily

The unit features incredible mid-range

The monitor offers incredible sound quality, with a flat frequency response

Kali IN-8 V2 Drawbacks

The monitor’s mid-range feels more apparent than the high-end and the low-end

The monitor has a small sweet spot compared to two-way monitors

All text and image links lead to Amazon unless stated otherwise. All product scores are based on ProRec’s in-house scoring model

8Average Score
Adam Audio T7V
Price to Performance
8.5
Frequency Response
8
Wattage
7
Sound Quality
8.5
Additional Features
8

The Adam Audio T7V features a 1.9-inch U-ART tweeter diaphragm which provides an incredibly high-frequency response up to 25kHz with a five-inch woofer that provides an excellent bass extension down to 39Hz (frequency response 39Hz-25kHz). The T7V also boasts 110dB sound pressure level @ 1m with 2600Hz crossover frequency.

Furthermore, the seven-inch woofer and the 1.9-inch tweeter are driven by Class-D amps which supply 50W to the LF and 20W to the HF (70W total, bi-amplified)

. As for the design, the monitor is 13.7-inches tall, 11.5-inches deep, and 8.3-inches wide, with a rear-ported enclosure. In terms of inputs, the T7V includes two analog inputs, one XLR, and one RCA. The monitor’s rear also features a volume control knob, as well as HF and LF settings for tailoring the monitor’s response to your surroundings.

Throughout our tests, we found the T7V’s drivers to be of high quality as they produced an incredible sound character. For one, the U-ART tweeter is intended to eliminate distortion, allowing it to produce pristine highs. Accordingly, the monitor produces an expanded soundstage with incredible clarity and minimal ear fatigue. The seven-inch woofer, on the other hand, is intended to give outstanding bass reproduction with a broad dynamic range, making it an excellent choice for a near-field monitor.

As for the frequency response, we found the monitor to produce a flat response. The Adam T7V also produced a loud output, which was surprising given its price. We didn’t even need to crank up the volume all the way to hear the details in our music. Furthermore, when necessary, the HP and LP controls on the rear provide exactly the proper amount of oomph. Another noteworthy aspect is that the monitor emits little to no tweeter hiss, which is a common issue with other budget monitors in the T7V’s price range.

Compared to the other models from the T series (Adam T5V), the Adam Audio T7V provides more value, despite it being a bit pricier. The Adam T7V offers a larger woofer, which allows for a better low-end, which extends down to 39Hz compared to the 45Hz on the T5V. Furthermore, the T7V features 4dB more in terms of max peak SPL (110dB on the T7V, 106dB on the T5V), with a tighter crossover frequency of 2600Hz (3000Hz for the T5V).

As for the sound quality, the T7V provides a better bass, which is due to the larger woofer. However, with our past experience with the T5V, the T5V provides an incredible low-end for a five-inch monitor, but not as good as that of the T7V. Additionally, both monitors performed comparably in terms of high frequencies. Both monitors also feature Class-D amps, which deliver 70W total. However, in terms of design, the Adam T7V is heavier than the T5V, so keep that in mind.

Despite its various features, the Adam T7V is not without flaws. For instance, during our tests we found the T7V to lack a front-facing LED power indicator. As basic as it is, having an LED power indicator on the front is crucial. This wasn’t much of a drawback, but a quality-of-life feature we wished the monitor had.

Furthermore, the Adam T7V is a rear-ported monitor, meaning its placement will be limited by your surroundings. Rear-ported monitors tend to perform badly when placed near a wall or corner. However, when placed correctly (away from walls and corners), the Adam T7V provides incredible sound quality, with excellent bass reproduction for the price. Therefore, make sure to place your monitor properly for ideal performance.

With that being said, the Adam Audio T7V is one of the best-performing monitors for under $500. The monitor demonstrated incredible sound quality, with powerful bass and pristine highs. The T7V also features excellent EQ settings with flat frequency response, making it one of the best studio monitors at this price point.

Adam T7V Benefits

The unit provides great sound quality as it offered clean highs and punchy lows

The monitor feels comfortable to use as we were able to test it for multiple sessions without experiencing any ear fatigue

The monitor feature excellent EQ settings

The monitor is also great for nearfield

The T7V provides minimal self-noise

Adam T7V Drawbacks

The T7V is a rear-ported monitor, meaning it will not perform as good when placed near walls

The unit is heavy

Verdict

studio monitors under $1000 quantitative analysis scoring model comparison

According to our scoring model, you can see that the highest variance is in the Wattage category. You’ll also find that the scores across every other category are pretty tight with a small variance of 0.5. By analyzing the graph further, you can also find that the Adam T7V provides the highest price to performance, which was expected as it is the cheapest out of this lineup. However, in terms of wattage, the Adam T7V was vastly outperformed. Although all monitors performed admirably, the Yamaha HS8 and Kali IN-8 V2 go head to head in every category, making them the main competitors of this lineup.

Throughout our tests, the Kali IN-8 V2 remains stable as it outscored its competitors in the additional features and wattage categories. In terms of every other category, the IN-8 ties with the HS8 as they both provided a similar character. However, Kali’s lowest score was in the price to performance category, yet with a respectable score of 8. This was no surprise since it is the priciest out of its competitors.

However, as mentioned before, the Yamaha HS8 provided similar results to that of the IN-8 V2, making it a great alternative. For instance, both monitors provided comparable sound quality, similar price to performance, and similar frequency responses. We will also point out that both monitors cost the same, so if you can’t get your hands on the IN-8 V2, the HS8 is a great substitute.

Therefore, the best sub $1000 monitor is the Kali IN-8 V2, with an overall average score of 8.6. Throughout our tests, the monitor delivers the best value for the money as it provided consistent results. The IN-8 V2 demonstrated excellent sound quality, with great wattage and wide frequency response, making it an incredibly well-rounded monitor. The monitor has been reintroduced with various improvements compared to its predecessor as it now provides better build quality, improved amps, and enhanced transducers. The IN-8 V2 also now offers more accuracy with a distortion percentage of only 0.88%. We highly recommend the IN-8 V2 as you cannot go wrong with it.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the most important aspect of choosing Studio Monitors under $1000?

There are too many variables to consider when choosing a studio monitor in this price range. However, without a doubt, neutrality and balance are what you should be mainly looking for. As a music producer, you want a flat frequency response so that your music translates to other platforms as neutrally and as intended

How much should I spend on a sub $1000 Monitoring solution?

To get the best value out of your money, you should be spending as close to $1000 as possible. Studio monitors are built to last, so we highly recommend that you invest in your setup for long-term use.

Are sub $1000 Studio Monitors good enough for professional use?

Yes, sub $1000 studio monitors are great for professional use.

Should I go for cheaper Studio Monitors?

Depends. If you’re just starting out, a $1000 monitor might be a bit overkill since your hearing will not be developed/sensitive enough to benefit from a $1000 listening environment until you reach a professional level. Other than that, more expensive monitors provide better quality so don’t compromise on that.