Best Studio Monitors under $200 [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 $200ProRec ScorePrice
Rockville Apm6b

Rockville Apm6b

8.3
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Behringer Studio 50USB

Behringer Studio 50USB

7.7
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Pioneer DJ DM-40

Pioneer DJ DM-40

7.1
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Introduction

If you ask any seasoned audio engineer, they’ll tell you studio monitors are at the top of the ‘no compromise list’!. While a sub $200 budget isn’t the best, you can definitely get a pair that will get the job done. However, there is a huge disparity in quality across studio monitors in this price range, so you’ll need to be a bit careful with your selection.

Considering your budget, you shouldn’t be chasing any fancy features. What you want is a pair with a neutral response. Remember that as audio engineers, we want a flat frequency response so our mixes translate well across different rooms and systems.

It’s also a good idea to look at some YouTube videos with comparisons, it’ll help clarify what your aim is with a monitor. Get the one that “speaks” to you. Then spend some money on room treatment, that will help you be more accurate with your mixes.

Depending on your needs, though, we recommend getting 5 to 8-inch monitors for the added bass presence. It is likely that if you produce bass-demanding music (like EDM, and hip-hop), you will eventually use sub bass and bass frequencies quite a bit. Some monitors in this price bracket (under 200$) go down to 50hz-40hz, which is DEFINITELY something you want for your monitors. You don’t want to continuously export your music and/or test it on equipment capable of playing sub-bass as it will become irritating.

In this range, you can also get some decent monitors with a broad dispersion, which can be forgiving of placement. This allows you to obtain a decent image almost everywhere. They also make great budget options if you cannot afford to treat your room enough.

The difference in quality between a low-grade and a mid-grade monitor is substantially greater than the difference between a mid-grade and a high-grade monitor, yet the price difference is the opposite. This makes selecting the right monitor in the under $200 range fairly difficult because you’ll see many models with varying performances at similar prices.

Find something that will get you through for now, and once you are better at production you can upgrade. You will know the type of sound you are going for, so choosing monitors at that point will be pretty straightforward.

Best Studio Monitors Under $200 Reviews

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

Rockville Apm6b
8.3/10Our Score
8.3Average Score
Rockville APM6b
Price to Performance
9
Frequency Response
8
Wattage
8
Sound Quality
8.5
Additional Features
8

The Rockville APM6b is an active two-way studio monitor that includes a 6.5-inch polypropylene cone woofer and a 1.5-inch neodymium silk dome tweeter with a quad amp architecture. The rear of the monitor features Bass and Treble EQ adjustments (-4dB / +4dB), allowing you to tailor the monitor’s sound to the acoustics of your environment. As for the inputs, the APM6b includes an ¼-inch combo jack and an RCA input. The monitor’s outputs include a high-speed USB jack and a 3.5mm headphone output.

In terms of design, the APM6b features a carefully crafted high-quality MDF enclosure which allows for maximum sound quality performance in your studio. Furthermore, Class-D amplifiers power the drivers for an RMS wattage of 175W per pair (67.5 RMS per monitor) (350W peak). The APM6b also features an SNR of 90dB, a frequency response of 50Hz-20kHz with a THD of 0.1%, and a max peak SPL of 102dB. The monitor measures a depth of 10-inches, a width of 8.5-inches, and a height of 12.6-inches

As for the sound quality, the APM6B demonstrated a powerful bass with a nice low tone, which we found impressive for a 6.5-inch woofer. The highs and mids sounded incredible as we were able to crank up the volume without hearing any distortion. We also found the monitor’s frequency adjustment options on the rear to be quite useful. After setting up the monitor, we used these frequency options to adjust the bass and treble to our room’s treatment and the results were incredible.

The AMP6B also provided excellent frequency spectrum coverage, due to the built-in computer-optimized electrical crossover network that filters out undesirable frequencies. Consequently, the monitor operated at high volume levels without producing any unwanted resonances. The monitor also provided fantastic quality throughout our tests, with crisp, clear sound. Furthermore, it provided a relatively loud output while remaining somewhat neutral, which was impressive given its size and price.

Compared to the Rockville DPM5B, the APM6B provides more value. Regarding the specs, the APM6B boasts an RMS power output of 67.5W per monitor, which is marginally less than that of the DPM5 (75W). However, we found the difference to be negligible. In fact, the APM6B provided a slightly better sound quality, despite them both offering the same features.

Furthermore, the APM6B provides a slightly wider frequency response of 50Hz to 20kHz compared to the 55Hz to 20kHz on the DPM5B.  This allows the APM6B to represent the low-end a bit better than the DPM5B as it extends 5Hz lower. The APM6B also features a 6.5-inch, whereas the DPM6B features a 5.25-inch woofer. As for the design, the DPM5B and the APM6B share similar aspects. For one, both monitors include a one-inch neodymium silk dome tweeter. Both monitors also offer the same THD of 0.1%.

However, the APM6B provides a higher signal to noise ratio of 90dB compared to the 80dB on the DPM5B, which means that the APM6B provides an overall better signal quality. Furthermore, the APM6B features a higher max peak SPL of 102dB compared to the 100dB on the DPM5B

Throughout our tests, we encountered some of the APM6B’s downsides. For one, the tweeter emits a loud hiss. While it is common for monitors to have self-noise, the APM8’s hiss is relatively loud. However, self-noise does not have any effect on the music produced. Therefore, if you can tolerate the hiss, the APM6B remain a solid option

Furthermore, the monitors had a very distinct sound when we isolated them. For instance, the active channel, which gets power, sounds sharper and more energetic than the passive channel because it has a clearer high frequency and more punch in the low frequencies. However, when used together, the output sound across both channels is equal.

All in all, the Rockville APM6B is a very viable sub $200 studio monitor. With incredible sound quality (based on the price), the APM6B proved to be a decent overall monitor with good coverage of the entire frequency spectrum.

Rockville APM6B Benefits

The monitor is a great well-rounded monitor as it covered the frequency spectrum well

The unit can go relatively loud without any distortion due to the computer optimized network

The APM6B features solid treble and bass settings, allowing you to adjust them to your preference

The monitor demonstrated a somewhat of a neutral response, making it an excellent choice for producing objectively

Rockville APM6B Drawbacks

The APM6B’s tweeter emits a hiss

The left and the right channel sound different when isolated.

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

Behringer Studio 50USB
7.7/10Our Score
7.7Average Score
Behringer Studio 50USB
Price to Performance
8
Frequency Response
7
Wattage
7
Sound Quality
8.5
Additional Features
8

Behringer’s Studio 50USB is a bi-amped monitor with Class D max peak output of 150W, a ¾ -inch silk dome tweeter and a five-inch Kevlar cone woofer, each powered by its own amplifier. The monitor offers a frequency response of 55Hz-20kHz and an SPL of 100dB (@1m max peak SPL) with a crossover frequency of 2.5kHz. The Studio 50USB’s inputs include two XLR balanced inputs, two ¼ -inch balanced TRS inputs, and a USB Type B input for digital connection with other audio sources.

In terms of design, the Studio 50USB features a glossy composite plastic enclosure and measures a height of 254mm, a depth of 178mm, and a width of 204mm with a weight of 14.3lbs. It is also magnetically protected, allowing you to safely place them near display monitors, without any interference. The Studio 50USB ‘s rear also includes a High-Frequency switch to adjust the monitor’s high frequencies and a volume control knob with a tweeter sensitivity to accommodate to your room’s acoustic conditions.

Throughout our tests, the Studio 50USB demonstrated fantastic performance for the price. The sound gets loud and the clarity is amazing. We found the mid-range to be decent, and the highs ring out true without being piercing or too sharp. The Studio 50USB also provided a pretty wide sweet spot with a great dispersion characteristic, which was impressive given its price. Furthermore, we found it to be incredible for casual listening as it can go really loud, which was a bonus.

We were also truly impressed by the clarity and the flat response of these monitors. We found them to be great for mixing and recording at low to moderate volumes as they portrayed music faithfully at this volume level. We tested them with several sources and the results were awesome! It translated all of the nuances and punches of our old mixes faithfully, with minimal coloring. We also used them for lengthy periods of time at high volume levels without experiencing ear fatigue.

Compared to the Behringer B2030A, the Studio 50USB provided similar sound characteristics. However, in terms of specs, the Studio 50USB provided a higher power output of 150W peak compared to the 125W peak on the B2030A. The B2030A also offers a frequency response of 50Hz-21kHz, which is 1kHz greater in terms of high-end and 5Hz lower in terms of low-end compared to the Studio 50USB (55Hz-20kHz). However, we found the difference to be barely audible.

As for the drivers, the B2030A features a ferrofluid-cooled dome tweeter and a polypropylene diaphragm woofer, unlike the silk dome tweeter and a Kevlar cone woofer on the Studio 50USB. The Studio 50USB also includes a USB 2.0 input for data transfer between other digital audio sources, which is not present on the B2030A.

In terms of drawbacks, we found the Studio 50USB to have a good sound, but with a persisting buzzing noise. The buzz is there even when no signal is passing through the monitor, which can be irritating. This is a small compromise in which the amps are not perfectly built, however, this will not affect the music that you’re producing.

Furthermore, we found the monitor’s low-end to be slightly lacking. Despite it being a big monitor, the bass is barely there, which was surprising. However, if the music you’re producing does not require a lot of low-end, they still provide incredible value for the money. Moreover, we found the monitor’s neutrality to decrease as we increased the volume level. They provide a good flat and precise reading at lower volumes, but at larger volumes they begin to clip, the lows fade out, and the mid-range gets quite muddy.

All in all, the Behringer Studio 50USB is a great bang for the buck as it demonstrates great sound quality. The monitor also provided a wide sweet spot with an incredibly loud and clear sound. It also provided a pretty flat response at lower levels, making it a great studio monitor for under $200.

Behringer Studio 50USB Benefits

The monitor offered a wide sweet spot with a loud sound

The Studio 50USB demonstrated a pretty flat response at low to moderate volume levels

The unit provided great highs with a decent mid-range

The monitor is comfortable to listen to as we didn’t experience any fatigue.

Behringer Studio 50USB Drawbacks

The monitor emits a buzzing sound

The Studio 50USB slightly falls behind in the low-end

The monitor loses neutrality as the volume level increases.

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

Pioneer DJ DM-40
7.1/10Our Score
7.1Average Score
Pioneer DJ DM-40
Price to Performance
8.5
Frequency Response
6
Wattage
6
Sound Quality
8
Additional Features
7

The DM-40 is an active two-way studio monitor that is equipped with a four-inch fiberglass woofer and a ¾-inch soft dome tweeter. The packaging includes the monitors, a power cord, a two meters speaker cable (to connect both channels), eight bottom cushions, and an audio-converted cable.

The monitor also features a front-loaded bass reflex port which allows for a better bass extension and more placement versatility. The design also includes round front edges which provide optimum stiffness and minimal resonance, resulting in a clear output.

The monitor features an amp output of 21W per monitor (Class AB) and a frequency response of 70Hz-30kHz. As for the terminals, the DM-40 includes an RCA input, a mini-jack input, and a mini-jack output. The monitor’s design is also carefully crafted where the drivers are exactly matched to produce a balanced response across the frequency spectrum and minimize crossover.

In terms of sound quality, the DM-40 performed admirably as it offered a clear sound with decent imaging. We found the monitors to be loud without any distortion, which is surprising given their small size. We also liked the mid and high frequencies and the gentle punch on the bottom end. Furthermore, we found the monitor to have an impressive amount of power to cover a medium-sized room. The monitor also worked perfectly for DJing, which was a plus.

We also found the monitor’s drivers to be well-built. The monitor channeled high frequencies in every direction, thanks to the DECO convex diffusers that surround the tweeter. This also allowed the monitor to have a pretty broad soundstage with a 3D stereo sound. On the other hand, the front-ported woofer with the duct grooves reduced any air friction. This allowed the DM-40 to provide a punchy bass, despite its position. The monitor also seemed to have a reasonably balanced response, which was amazing given its price. This makes it a great choice for mixing and producing if you’re on a tight budget.

Compared to its predecessor, the Pioneer S-DJ50X, the DM-40 demonstrated comparable results, despite the size difference. From our experience with the S-DJ50X, the monitor provided a slightly punchier bass than the DM-40, whereas the DM-40 provided clearer highs. As for the specs, the DM-40 offers a total power output of 80W (Class AB) per monitor, which is much higher than the DM-40.

However, the DM-40 offers a frequency response of 70Hz-30kHz, which is 10kHz wider in terms of high-end and 20Hz shorter in terms of low-end compared to the S-DJ50X which offers a frequency response of 50Hz-20kHz. The S-DJ50X also features a high-frequency control knob, allowing you to adjust the high frequencies, which is not available on the DM-40. The DM-40 inherits the best qualities from the S-DJX series, however, we would’ve liked to see the High-Frequency control on the DM-40.

Throughout our tests, we encountered some of the DM-40’s downsides. For one, the monitors switch off automatically and do not wake up for a signal. This is because the monitor includes an auto-standby feature that cannot be disabled. We spent a lot of time attempting to wake them up after they had gone to sleep, which was irritating. Even switching the power switch on/off from the back did not work sometimes. We then discovered that we had to disconnect the RCA cable for the sound to come back, which did not make sense.

Furthermore, the monitor does not feature any frequency controls or tuning options, despite them being available on its predecessors. Tuning options are available on almost every monitor, even the cheaper ones, so the DM-40’s lack of them was surprising. We would’ve appreciated it if the monitor had this feature as it would add a lot more versatility.

Therefore, the Pioneer DJ DM-40 is a great monitor for mixing and producing your project if you’re on a tight budget. The monitor demonstrated decent imaging, with great highs, mids., and lows. It is also great for DJing, making it a great studio monitor for under $200.

Pioneer DJ DM-40 Benefits

The monitor provided a wide stereo image

The DM-40 provided a loud sound without any distortion, despite its compact size

The unit is great for DJing

The monitor provided a well-balanced response across the frequency spectrum

Pioneer DJ DM-40 Drawbacks

The monitor has a standby feature, which cannot be disabled

The monitor does not have any frequency control or tuning options.

Verdict

studio monitors under 200 quantitative analysis scoring model comparison

According to our scoring model, you can see that the highest variance is in the Frequency Response and the Wattage categories, with the Rockville APM8 scoring the highest in both of these categories. You can also find that the Pioneer DJ DM-40 falls behind, in almost every category as it was unable to meet the standards set by the APM8 and the Studio 50USB. Therefore, it is no secret that the main competition here is between the Rockville and the Behringer, as they go head to head in almost every category.

Throughout our tests, the Rockville APM6B performed incredibly as it scored the highest in almost every category. The monitor outperformed both of its competitors in the price to performance category with an incredible score of 9. Furthermore, it stood out the most in the Frequency Response and Wattage earning an 8.5 and a 9 respectively. However, the APM8’s lowest scoring category was a respectable 8 in Additional Features, where it also outscored the Pioneer and tied with Behringer.

We will point out, however, that the Behringer Studio 50USB remains a solid option. Although it did not perform as well as the Rockville APM6B, it did show similar results in some aspects. For instance, the Studio 50USB had features similar to those of the APM6B, as they both scored an 8 in the additional features category. Both monitors also provided similar sound quality, scoring an 8.5 in this category. We also found the Studio 50USB’s build quality to be slightly better, which was a plus.

Therefore, the best sub $200 studio monitor is the Rockville APM6B with an overall average score of 8.3. Not only did the monitor provide incredible value for the money, but also featured a wide frequency response with a high wattage. The APM6B had a balanced feel to it and delivered a clear, powerful sound without any distortion, which was impressive given its price. The monitor is also powerful as we found it to go high volumes without any unwanted resonances, thanks to the computer-optimized electrical crossover network that removes undesirable frequencies. The AMP6B also now features an overall better sound quality, compared to the DPM5B, making it an incredible successor. We highly recommend the Rockville APM6B as it is one of the most ideal sub $200 studio monitors available.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is $200 a viable budget for Studio Monitors?

Yes. Affordable studio monitors these days can get the job done. You don’t need a thousand dollars set up to start producing music. The trick is to switch between different devices and continually reference other people’s recordings or your songs you know well in order to develop your ears and understand your monitors.

What is the most important aspect of choosing Studio Monitors under $200?

As with any other monitor, neutrality is the most important aspect of choosing a monitor under $200. Keep in mind that as a producer, you need a flat frequency response so that your mixes will sound the same on different audio systems.

What size Monitors should I aim for when spending only $200?

In this price range (sub $200), it is likely that 8-inch monitors are slightly out of your budget. Therefore, you should aim for purchasing 5 to 6-inch monitors to benefit from the stronger bass. If you make bass-heavy music, you’ll need sub bass and bass frequencies quite a bit.

Will I need to upgrade in the future if I get Studio Monitors under $200?

You don’t have to upgrade your monitor, but you can if you feel like you’ve reached a plateau in your music production progress. Music production is all about experimenting and trying stuff out, so it is important that you choose the monitor that you’re going to upgrade to, fits your preference.