The best nearfield speakers and monitor will vary in terms of driver size, engineering and use cases. Some comes with extensive Acoustic Space controls even at affordable price like the PreSonus Eris E5. Studio monitors are used for nearfield listening. They are also used for mixing purpose because of their flat response, natural and uncolored sound.
M Audio BX5 D3 and Alesis Elevate MKII are some of the best affordable nearfield monitors. The nearfield speakers vary in terms of tuning options, ports or driver size. For instance, headphone ports are a handy thing to have but, you can also connect headphones via the audio interface if the speaker doesn’t have one.
Good soundstage with decent bass is enough if you are using the speakers as desktop speakers. For mixing or recording, make sure the speakers have flat response and delivers audio in natural way. It is best to place the speakers on stands or isolation pad to eliminate resonance. If you don’t have space for bookshelf speakers, these nearfield studio monitors will be a life savior.
Top 5 nearfield speakers and monitors:
Some of the best nearfield speakers and monitors are enlisted and reviewed.
Best for mixing: M-Audio BX5 D3
- Crossover frequency: 2.5kHz
- Input impedance: 10kΩ balanced, 20kΩ unbalanced
- Dimension: 6.9” x 7.8” x 10”
These 2-way near-field studio reference monitors use Class A/B bi-amp and ensure crisp-clear audio. this amp will power tweeter and woofer independently. They are made from vinyl finish and MDF. Kevlar woofers shine in terms of performance, they are magnetically shielded and focuses on avoiding cone breakup. You can adjust bass response as well based on room size and preference with the knob at the rear panel.
Connections include 1 XLR and 1 TRS balanced inputs. Along with ports, the rear face also has flared port so that there is no turbulence and bass is boosted. There are several protective measures taken for RF interference, current tripping, over temperature, etc. so that the speaker and drivers remain safe. It is one of the best nearfield monitors for mixing and music production and mixing because it is specifically designed for these purposes.
If you are doing music mixing, then the flat signal will help you. Or, if you are using this pair for music production, you will be satisfied by the result. By adjusting the Acoustic space control settings, you can change the sound of the three-way toggle switch as per your environment. Computer optimized custom waveguide ensures the treble region in accurate. The speakers can deliver good soundstage and room filling sound.
It also has broader sweet spot. Build quality of drivers is thoughtful and the enclosure is sturdy. In terms of placement, since there is a rear port, keep around 18” gap from the wall. Place it by tilting it so that tweeter is at ear level and create a triangle with you. The LED light that sits between the tweeter and woofer will shine brightly if the speaker position is correct.
Since the speakers are independent powered speakers, you will need to purchase an audio interface. You can use Focusrite or M-Audio M-Track 2X2M. M-Audio user manual suggests to place the speaker so that the midpoint of tweeter and woofer is at ear level.
In case of any exception, place the speakers sideways with the tweeters inside. You can check the diagram below for setup. Based on its performance and quality, it is one of the best compact studio monitors under $300.
Best overall: Adam Audio A7X powered studio speaker
- Input impedance: 30 kOhms
- Crossover frequency: 2.5 kHz
- THD (at 90 dB / 1m > 100 Hz): < 0.5%
- Dimension: 13.5 x 8 x 11″
The A/B amplifier powers tweeter and woofer and as a result you will receive powerful sound with precision and clarity. the sound has certain depth, and all the details are visible. Well designed and intellectual engineering made them the best speakers for nearfield listening. It is also famous among music producers due to its accuracy.
X-ART tweeter design follows Air Motion Transformer concept, deploys ‘superior geometries and material’ to achieve ‘audio fidelity’. HexaCone woofers have the characteristics of being highly stiff at the same time they are lightweight. These drivers will not suffer from break-up resonances resulting in optimum bass performance.
These speakers have balanced sound profile. They can be heard for long hours without any ear fatigue. Although these are small and compact in size, the woofers can deliver decent and satisfying bass. The enclosure has black satin finish with accelerated ribbon technology. On the two corners of the speakers are slightly bended to avoid reflection.
Looking on the front panel you will see gain control, and, on the back, there are options for tweeter control, high and low shelf filters.
Transparency, exceptional details, and clarity is what you will hear from these nearfield speakers. The imaging is precise and sound field is powerful. Ultra-high frequency of these speakers makes them perform so accurately. These are one of the best nearfield speakers that shows consistency in performance. It is best for recording studios or tight spaces.
Using this for nearfield listening won’t require a subwoofer and as you listen to the speakers for longer period of time at any volume, you will realize it doesn’t distort. Listening to some songs through Adam A7X, you will hear a spacious and airy treble and natural low ends. Speaker position should follow the basic rules. Quality, durability and performances make Adam A7X the best nearfield studio monitors.
Best gaming nearfield speakers: Alesis Elevate 5 MKII | Powered desktop studio speakers
- Dimension: 7.25” x 8.7” x 10.6”
- Weight: 5.7 kg
Alesis Elevate MKII has a warm sounding profile. These are some of the best powered nearfields monitors that deliver excellent sound in the natural frequency range. But, in case you need a deeper bass, simply use the Bass Boost switch on the rear side. The enclosure has custom wooden finish. Build quality is decent, it is scratch and fingerprint proof. On the front panel there is a volume knob and two flared openings.
These speakers ensure full and rich sound with sonic clarity. Elliptical tweeter waveguide delivers clear highs. They will perform as best nearfield desktop speakers when connected to your PC. To connect Laptop, use the 1/8” RCA cable, then connect it between the audio output of the laptop and RCA in of the speaker. Two RCA jacks and two ¼” TRS jacks are available.
You can connection headphones through 1/8 headphone connection. If you have plans of playing games on PC, Alesis MKII are some of the best nearfield speakers for gaming. Along with gaming, you can use it for mixing, home studios or video editing. In case you want to connect any device like audio interface or mixer, follow the image as shown below.
For low ends, the bass ports and Switch along with woofers deliver natural and deep bass. While the bass won’t be adequate for large spaces, since you will be sitting up close, it won’t be a problem for you. In case you feel the urge to use a remote, simply purchase an affordable USB audio interface like the M-Track Solo . Connect the speakers to use and use its dedicated controls.
In case the speakers don’t detect any signal, it will switch off automatically after 30 mins. For private listening, you can connect headphones any time. Although the speakers are shielded, make sure to use balanced audio cables to get the cleanest signal and eliminate any interference. These are best active nearfield monitors for small studios.
Unless you drive the speakers at max volume, the performance is undistorted and pleasing. Although the cost is low, these are not cheap or poor sounding speakers. The flat response of the speaker is something to look into. A small caveat might be the lack of tuning or control options. However, you shouldn’t expect all these at such an affordable price point.
Best affordable studio monitors: PreSonus Studio Monitor Eris E5
- Crossover frequency: 3kHz
- Dimension: 7”x7.68”x10.24”
- Weight: 4.63kg
This 2-way active studio monitors are ideal to sit on desktop tables. Class AB bi-amplification powers the speaker. It is capable of delivering supreme sound quality. The woven composite woofer has a ‘constant dispersion pattern’ that results in rich and cleaner low ends. It has precise imaging and broader sweet spot. The tweeter is designed so that listening hours can be extended for longer period without fatigue.
This studio monitor is designed to customize sound and you can do so with control knobs. PreSonus Eris E5 has Acoustic Tuning Controls. Choose the high and mid control to compensate room layout problems. Use the Low Cutoff filter if you want Eris Sub8 subwoofer to use with the system. You can use the sub if you have space for it and think the low ends need to be prominent.
Many cheap studio monitors don’t have these tuning controls. So PreSonus Eris gives you the option to get the best sound possible. Connections include balanced XLR and ¼-inch TRS inputs, and unbalanced RCA. These speakers are ideal for studios or home setups. Performance remains consistent with focus on details.
There are several protective measures used to ensure no sudden change affect the speaker or its circuits. RF interference and current limiting are some of them. If you are listening within close proximity, then you will hear loud audio. The loudness is adequate for small to medium sized spaces. Due to the flat response, the speakers are best for mixing and mastering music.
Enclosure is well built with MDF solid construction. Dial and control knobs are ‘firm’. Although shielding is used, you might still experience some ‘hiss’, in that case try to avoid overlapping of cables and make sure to keep phones away. Since the port is on the front panel, in case of space issues, you can place the speakers closer to walls. Place them on isolation pad or stands for better sound.
Since these are not home audio speakers but nearfield monitors, the bass might seem to be lacking at times. We think for closer seating arrangements, it is adequate. Overall, the soundstage, neutral audio profile, looks and durability makes it the best cheap nearfield monitor.
Professional studio monitor: Focal Professional Solo6 Be Studio Monitor
- Dimension: 13 x 97/16 x 117/16″
- Weight: 11kg
Focal Solo6 BE enclosure has 7.5” MDF panels and real red veneer on sides. Aesthetics is attractive and will blend in any environment. The tweeter is designed to ensure excellent dynamics and is protected by grilles. Although Beryllium used in the tweeter is harmless make sure to have knowledge about the protective measures. Like, keep abrasive materials away from it.
The rear panel has HF and LF control, input sensitivity switch, and audio input connector. With the XLR input connection, you can connect any sort of professional equipment. For placement, make sure to place the speakers within 1-3 meter away from the user. Although they are designed to place vertically, you can also position them horizontally if that is necessary in your setup. The image below shows how.
The user manual suggests running them at mid-level volume for around 20 hours so that the equipment can become stable. These audiophile nearfield speakers deliver expanded soundstage and has a balanced profile. Instead of using DSP, the knobs on the back panel will help to improve the sound dramatically. Low ends have a good punch and you can use the control knobs to adjust it.
These high-end nearfield monitors can get very loud and are ideal for most living rooms. Unlike other studio monitors, you will not hear any sort of external noise like hiss or chuffing. The performance remains excellent at all volume without displaying noticeable distortion. They are magnetically shielded to placing near video monitors is not a problem.
Wide dispersion and flat response from the speakers are praiseworthy. It will work smoothly in any sort of studio. Clarity and precision make it one of the best near field monitors for professional use. Recording applications or mixing will be very smooth and accurate with these. Musicians, audio engineers who understand quality and have the right budget can invest in this Focal Solo6 BE speakers.
Another best high-end near field speaker is Dynaudio Core 7 7″ Studio Monitor . It uses two Class D amplifiers and modern DSP techniques to deliver the ‘true’ and natural sound. it has massive soundstage and broad sweet spot. Tuning and tweaking by experts will lead to the best sound possible.
How I rated the best nearfield speakers and monitors:
Your setup scenario and preference will help you choose the best nearfield speakers and monitors. Let’s have a look at the buying guide.
For small rooms, 3.5” to 5” studio monitors are good. If the room size is 40 sq ft or larger, then go for 8” nearfield speakers. However, along with matching the speaker driver and room size, make sure to the speaker will fit in your shelf or desktop table. A large speaker in a small room will sound overpowering while a small speaker in large room will sound tinny. So, make sure not to mismatch.
Although the purpose of studio monitors is to produce sound for users sitting close to it, the performance will vary. It depends on driver material, size and engineering. If you simply want an upgrade to traditional computer speakers, then look for a speaker within midrange price. However, if you want a speaker for professional use, then make sure to research more and find the best one.
For studio monitors or nearfield speakers, angled speaker stands are often used. This is done so that the tweeters are angled and are at the same level as your ear level. If you have the space, then you can try and place them on speaker stands so that surface vibration doesn’t hamper the sound. Although try to create an equilateral triangle with you as you place them on desktop table.
Studio monitors are available from $99 to $2000 or more. So, if you want affordable studio monitors, you can choose the Alesis Elevate MKII from our list. On the other hand, Focal Solo 6 BE or Dynaudio Core 7 are some of the expensive studio monitors.
Having a closer sitting arrangement from the speaker has several advantages. Sound is directed towards the user instead of reflecting from walls. Studio monitors are best for desktop tables, small office rooms, studios, small apartments, etc. Along with general music lover, audio experts or editors rely on these monitors because of the flat response nature of them.
For all studio monitors, there is a general placement guideline. Make an equilateral triangle with the user and make sure tweeter is at hear level. If you using specifically for music and movies, then you can include a sub. You will find varieties of speakers that use different drivers and deploy different engineering techniques.
Some of them have few or no tuning options which are best for newbies. Bass boost switch available in speakers like Alesis Elevate MKII is very useful to boost the bass anytime without a sub. As long as the monitor you have chosen delivers precise and clear audio with broad soundstage, you will enjoy listening through them. However, for mixing purpose you need tuning options and well designed speakers.
What are some of the best nearfield passive speakers?
Studio monitors vs speakers, what are the differences?
Studio monitors generally come compact or small in size. Home audio speakers are available in different sizes to fit different rooms. Studio monitors are usually active and most have multiple built-in amps. Speakers for home audio can be active or passive. And lastly, comparing studio monitors vs speakers, monitors are usually used for nearfield listening. Speakers, like large sized bookshelf speakers can be used in medium to large spaces as well.