Best 5-inch studio monitors; Review & Buyer’s Guide

If you ever plan to have your music studio one day, studio monitors are one of the things that you'll require initially. Whether it's music production sound engineering, studio monitors have been part and parcel of music studios worldwide.

So, what makes the monitors different from the regular speakers? Well, the main difference is that these monitors are exclusively designed for music production to generate the exact sound without flattering any frequencies.

I have been in the music industry for many years, and I know very well how hard it can be to find a suitable monitor system, especially for smaller studios. With different features at different price points, it can be challenging for aspiring producers to choose the best  5-inch studio monitors.

My Top Pick

Runner Up

Best Budget

Yamaha HS5 W 5-Inch Powered Studio Monitor Speake

KRK Classic 5 Professional Bi-Amp 5" Studio Monitor

Samson MediaOne M50 Studio Monitor


1. Yamaha HS5 W 5-Inch Powered Studio Monitor
- My Top Pick for 5” Studio Monitor

Specifications

  • Frequency response: 54Hz - 30kHz
  • Speaker configuration: 2-way
  • Driver size: 5" cone woofer, 1" dome tweeter
  • Inputs: XLR and TRS phone jack inputs
  • Powered: Yes
  • Digital connectivity: No
 Yamaha HS5 W 5-Inch Studio Monitor

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In music productions, everyone's priority is an honest and neutral sound generation. After all, only these qualities will allow you to play with the sound in the right way. So if the true sound is your priority, then you should check out Yamaha HS5 W.

The distinctive white construction will strike you first, and let me tell you; these monitors are just equally beautiful as they sound. Yamaha HS5 is more than just a pair of monitors; it's a showpiece for your studio, too, that will uplift its beauty.

Next, let's move on to performance. The clarity and sound quality feel more premium if you compare it with bigger and more expensive monitors. Sometimes, with lots of monitors, the audio gets affected as you turn up the volume. However, that's not the case for HS5, as it'll bring a whole new experience and convenience to take your production game to the next level.

The frequency range is wide enough, too, with 54 Hz - 30 kHz. So whether it's your demand of highs or lows, HS5 is built to deliver. The bi-amp design is another convenient feature of these monitors. Bi-amp means both the subwoofer and tweeter has a separate amp, resulting in a powerful and flat sound.

If you don't have enough room in your studio, the audio tuning options will help you get the desired sound response. In addition, there is a room control and high trim option to adjust the sound according to your room and surroundings. 

Reasons To Buy

Overall, the Yamaha HS5 is a well-built and affordable 5 inch studio monitor that can be a great addition to smaller studios. At a price point like this low, it's near impossible to find a pair of near-flawless studio monitors like these.

Pros

  • Honest sound generation
  • Effective mounting option for less resonance and vibration
  • Separate amp for tweeter and subwoofer
  • Tuning options available
  • It comes with a durable MDF enclosure

Cons

  • Not good for bigger studios
  • Lower frequency audio generation isn't great

2. KRK Classic 5 Professional Bi-Amp 5" Powered Studio Monitor
– My Runner-up for 5” Studio Monitors

Specifications

  • Frequency response:46 Hz - 34.5 kHz
  • Speaker configuration: 2-way
  • Driver size: 5" glass aramid composite woofer, 1" dome tweeter
  • Inputs: XLR, TRS and RCA jack inputs
  • Powered: Yes
  • Digital connectivity: No
KRK Classic 5 Studio Monitor

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When it comes to smaller studio monitors, they are mostly used as supplementary systems of bigger and high-end systems. But if you are searching for powered studio monitors that can compete with more expensive units, KRK 5 classic can be an excellent choice for you.

Right out of the box, the monitors seem pretty solid and heavy in hand and considerably bigger than most of the 5-inch monitors out there. At the top front, you got the 1" tweeter and below that sits the 5: subwoofer. Below the monitor, there is a foam pad that works for acoustic isolation. Though the padding is thin, it's definitely better than nothing.

One thing that I appreciate is the front base port. As a 5" monitor, you are most likely to install it somewhere close to the wall. If the bass port was behind, it would have reflected the whole thing towards you, and you wouldn't have a good idea about the sound.

At the back, you get a standard adjustment panel with the inputs. There are three adjustments knobs, and they control the higher frequencies, lower frequencies and volume respectfully. The inputs are decent, too, with XLR, TRS and RCA options. However, the RCA option is unbalanced, which might be a deal-breaker for some, generating noise.

As for the sound quality goes, it was pretty impressive for a 5-inch studio monitor. You get pretty balanced highs and lows with a flat sound experience. Additionally, the adjustment options are always there, so you can always customize the sound afterwards.

Reasons To Buy

In conclusion, KRK Classic 5 is a pretty well-balanced 5-inch studio monitors that work great as a single monitor system or with bigger setups. There are some minor drawbacks, but that doesn't take away anything from what KRK tried to deliver with this studio monitor.

Pros

  • Decent input and adjustment options
  • Foam pads underneath for acoustic isolation
  • Front bass port
  • Crisp highs and lows
  • Low resonance disclosure for minimum distortion

Cons

  • The LF adjustment knob colours frequency big time
  • Unbalanced RCA input 

3. Mackie CRX Series 5-Inch Multimedia Monitors

Specifications

  • Frequency response:50Hz-20kHz
  • Speaker configuration: 2-way
  • Driver size: 5"polypropylene-coated woofer, 3/4″ silk-dome tweeter
  • Inputs:1/8″, 1/4″, RCA and 3.5 audio input
  • Powered: Yes
  • Digital connectivity: Yes, Bluetooth

The Mackie CR5-X 5-Inch multimedia monitor is an excellent option for music lovers who are looking for an option that can suffice both their production and regular listening needs.

Of course, every studio monitor is built to stay true to the sound, but this Mackie CRX-5 seem to take it one step further with their newly designed subwoofer and tweeter. As a result, this monitor will produce exactly what you put in without any boost or colour.

Once you get to listen to these monitors, you'll love the audio fidelity and the accuracy. Though the bass seems to lack a bit, considering the size of the monitor, you should give it a pass. Other than that, the higher frequencies and their clarity are top-notch, with no visible distortion at any volume level.  

Unlike the first two options, Mackie has a single amp plate built inside one speaker, and the other one works as a passive one. It allows Mackie to save the budget which they used to develop additional features of the monitors.

I actually like the power option, volume knob and headphone jack sitting at the front of the monitor. This placement ensures a more convenient using experience overall. Inside the package, you get dampening pads, and to my surprise, pretty thick ones to isolate any residual sound.

Reasons To Buy

If I have to pick, one thing that separates Mackie CR5-X is the versatility. At a budget of around a hundred dollars, you can cover studio, content creation, gaming and music listening with a single pair of speakers. This one quality alone makes it an extremely appealing option among other competitors. 

Pros

  • Accurate sound production
  • It comes with high-quality isolation pads
  • Volume knob and a headphone jack at the front
  • Wireless connectivity via Bluetooth
  • Excellent versatility

Cons

  • Single amp plate
  • No USB support

4. M-Audio BX5 D3-2-Way 5" Active Studio Monitors

Specifications

  • Frequency response:52 Hz - 35 kHz
  • Speaker configuration: 2-way
  • Driver size: 5"kevlar curved woofer, 1″ silk-dome tweeter
  • Inputs: XLR and TRS input
  • Powered: Yes
  • Digital connectivity: No

If you are searching for a little better than budget-oriented 5-inch studio monitors, M-Audio's BX5 D3 can be the ideal choice for you with some high-end features and material. M-Audio's BX5 lineup has always been super popular among creators and music producers despite a higher price tag.

Over time, this model has gone through some redesigning and updates. The model I've got here is the latest offering from the series, their D3 variant.

At first, let's talk about the performance. BX5 D3 comes with two drivers, one 5" Kevlar subwoofer and a 1" silk-dome tweeter. Both these drivers combined, you get a flat and balanced sound experience altogether. In addition, the bi-amplification is again back onto the list, delivering 40 and 60 watts to high and low-frequency units, respectively.

One great thing about BX5 D3 is that it has tons of protective circuits like temperature protection and output current limitation. But despite these circuits, the volume level doesn't get affected at all.

Placement plays an important role in the performance of studio monitors. To ensure that, BX5 D3 comes with a front led that shines brightly when you place the monitors right.

All the inputs and the bass port can be found on the back of the monitors. The inputs were pretty basic, which was a little unexpected for the price. You'll only get a balanced XLR and a TRS input. No 3.5 mm, thunderbolt or USB port is available.

Reasons To Buy

Finally, the price can be an issue for some if you consider it something other than studio monitors. But if that's not the case, the power, magnetic shield and protection make it a viable option for your studio setup.

Pros

  • Balanced mid and high range with a wide sweet spot
  • It comes with a magnetic shield
  • Lots of protective circuits
  • Placement indicator light
  • Acoustic isolation pad included

Cons

  • The higher price tag can be a drawback
  • Not great at reproducing bass

5. Samson MediaOne M50 Studio Monitor
- My Top Pick for Budget 5” Studio Monitors

Specifications

  • Frequency response:50Hz - 20kHz
  • Speaker configuration: 2-way
  • Driver size:5.25" polypropylene woofers, 3/4" silk dome tweeters
  • Inputs: Stereo RCA, 3.5mm and 1/8" inputs
  • Powered: Yes
  • Digital connectivity: No
 Samson MediaOne M50 Studio Monito

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I am ending the list with a less familiar entry, Samson's MediaOne M50 studio monitor. This is not only the most affordable option on the list but one of the cheapest on the market too. So, with a price tag this ow, I was a bit curious to see how these studio monitors perform. To my surprise, they performed pretty well.

The first thing you'll notice about these monitors is how simplistic the design language is. Though the cheaper price tag is to blame, it still looks pretty elegant in black colour. Next, you'll notice that the volume and power button alongside the headphone jack is present at the front. Though it's somewhat unconventional, it makes the user experience far more convenient.

Like other 5-inch studio monitors, this one too comes with two drivers. After you plug the monitors in, you'll instantly be surprised by how crisp and detailed the sounds are. I didn't notice any major colouring, and the sound was pretty flat and accurate.

There is a bass boost option, which does exactly what the name says, but you should probably keep it turned off for audio production. Again, I wouldn't say the sound was out of the world or something, but it was a fairly pleasant experience listening to such lower-priced monitors.

At the back, Samson again tried to keep it simple. It looks pretty clean, but in terms of functionality and features, MediaOne M50 tend to fall short. Though I keep reminding myself about the price, I wish there were more tuning and input options at the back.

Reasons To Buy

The number of cheap 5-inch studio monitors is increasing each day. But monitors that have the killer combination of value, quality and convenience is quite tough to find on the market. That elusive combination is what Samson MediaOne M50 has delivered here. If it's good value you are after, nothing can beat these monitors.

Pros

  • Super affordable price tag
  • Crisp and detailed sound quality
  • Power and volume button at the front
  • Good design with a compact form factor

Cons

  • Lacks a few input options

Buying Guide for 5-inch studio monitors

There are so many bigger studio monitors available in the market. But when it comes to compact studio setup, nothing can beat the performance to convenience ratio of 5" studio monitors. This ratio makes the 5" studio monitor segment a pretty competitive one with lots of great options.

Now the negative aspect here is that with lots of options comes an equal amount of confusion. So, to make you take the right decision, I have brought this buying guide to point out factors to look for. Considering these factors will help you get the best 5" studio monitor according to your need.

Sound Quality

Sound quality is the most important thing for any audio device, and studio monitors are no different. However, the definition of good sound quality changes a bit when it comes to 5-inch studio monitors.

For other speakers or sound systems, sound quality often refers to what sounds better to our ear, not the actual sound. But for studio monitors, good sound quality is a flat one with an accurate representation of the sound.

The more precise and true the sound generation, the better your sound production will get through a particular studio monitor. So, instead of focusing on high or low frequencies separately, try to find studio monitors that sound flat. It'll be a lot easier to fund out the mistakes in your production through that flat sound.

Frequency Response

Frequency response is another important factor related to the flat sound generation I talked about earlier. For most 5" studio monitors, the frequency responses range between 50 Hz to 35 kHz. This means that a particular studio monitor won't be able to generate sound out of that range. Typically, it's better to shoot for higher response, but that shouldn't cost you the flat response needed for sound production.

Flat response means the response will remain consistent rather than going through high and low frequencies constantly. Rather than the range, focus on this consistency.  Another thing that commonly happens is that some manufacturers often misrepresent their frequency response info to mislead customers. Buying from trusted brands and checking reviews can save you from that problem too.

Tuning Control

This particular aspect is more significant for small studio monitors like 5". As I previously said, 5" monitors are mostly used for compact studio or room setups. So often, we have a very small space or a studio that's shaped unusually. Because of that, we have placement issues, and ultimately the sound experience gets hit because of that.

The only way to minimize the effect of these placement issues is to have tuning control options. Whatever changes in sound the placement issue causes that can be easily handled by controlling different frequencies.

Input Options

Input option is not a deal-breaker for everyone, but if you are nitpicking, this is a factor worth considering. Why input options are important is pretty simple to understand. More input options mean you get more convenience and compatibility to connect your monitors with your computer or other primary music systems.

Most of the time, the XLR, TRS or RCA ports are there, but most studio monitors seem to miss the USB ports and 3.5 mm jack. These options might not be as important as other sound inputs, but they definitely bring more versatility to the table. 

Active vs Passive Monitors

That's a debate where everyone will have their separate opinion. However, when it's compact studio monitors like 5" ones, I think it's pretty clear which one is better. The difference between active and passive monitors is that passive monitors run on a separate amplification unit to power the speakers. On the other hand, active monitors have an amplifier built inside.

Now, both active and passive speakers have their pros and cons, but as we use 5" monitors in compact spaces, active ones are a more reasonable option for the sake of space and convenience.  Additionally, you won't have to worry about buying matching amplifiers separately either.

Drivers

Drivers are the core component of any speaker system. It generates the sound by covering the specific frequency range. So, for a better sound generation, you need to ensure that the studio monitors you are buying have the right driver to suffice your need.

In 5" studio monitors, the bigger driver is called the woofer that generates sound from low to mid frequencies. On the other hand, the smaller one is called tweeter, which mostly deals with high-frequency sounds. So now, depending on what genre of music you produce, you have to choose the drivers to get the best output from the monitors. 

Price

Price is a usual consideration for anything, but that doesn't mean you should go low. Studio monitors are arguably one of the most important parts of your studio setup, so you shouldn't look into cheap products. Instead, what you need to do is plan your buy first.

Get your budget straight, fix what features you are prioritizing and then go search for the speaker. Of course, price is a factor that'll affect your buying decision, but make sure that doesn't mess with performance either. There are some pretty good options that come cheap if you look closely. Just try to find out which one provides the best performance to price ratio, and you should be good.

Conclusion

That's a wrap for today. I hope my article of best 5 inch studio monitors was helpful enough to give you a better understanding of the options out in the market. As you can see, all the studio monitors I suggest on the list are pretty great with amazing user feedback.

Still, if you are confused about making a final decision, the buying guide will be there as your last resort. Just filter studio monitors by considering the factors I mentioned, and hopefully, you'll find the studio monitor of your dream.


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