Best Cheap Studio Monitors for mixing Guitar Amp Simulator

In this article, we gather a number of budget / cheap studio monitors suitable for guitar amp simulators in a small bedroom studio situation. For anyone who is playing with guitar amp simulator, for those who are searching for cheap solution, playing and producing at home and still wanting best result and using best guitar plugins. This is our small review.

First of all, you shouldn’t care whether the monitors sounding great or good for playing games – it is how the mix translates to your ears with a few affecting factors, like your sitting position, monitor position, and how your room sounds. In short, monitors that somehowimproves/colours the sound or nice sounding, can miss the point of mixing or getting a great sound from your guitar amp simulator.

For a brief example, our Product Specialist; Dimi is living in a small apartment where his recording – mixing room is 5m in length x 3.5m wide x 2.5m tall in dimensions where he recorded most of his music and good monitoring when playing through a guitar amp simulators most of the time.

He had and used several studio monitors, including Yamaha HS50, KRK Rokit 5, M-audio AV40 and Behringer 2030A. He also had the chance to own the good-old Yamaha NS10 for a short time which still considered legendary and highly sought-after, but with a high price even though it’s bought second-hand online.

He is mostly prefers 4″, 5″ inches diameter woofers for one reason. In the place where he produce, he can’t use bigger speakers. That’s why he picked up the smallest ones, mostly for low volume listening and playing guitar amp simulator, they still can produce a good range of frequencies. while won’t disturb neighbours or your spouse much 🙂

1. Yamaha HS5 ($399.9 / pair)
Best cheap budget studio monitors for guitar amp simulators - Yamaha HS5They are uncompromising in the mid-range area, Everything sounded clear and right without fatigue, but we’ve missed some lows due to recessed low frequencies which cuts too narrow. Well, we still need to hear some thump from the palm mutes!
But, we still miss how accurate the 1khz-5khz area was.  Could really hear every nuance of guitar tones in a fulfilled mix made with guitar amp simulators and other instruments in the whole mix. They will greatly display every frequency error in your mix, although can sounded boxy sometimes.

Rear ported, so it’s better not placed too near the back wall.

As a note, it’s quite a necessities to add a subwoofer due to the lack in the low-end department. Shouldn’t be a problem at all if you add the destined partner of the HS5 later >> Yamaha HS8S Sub monitor for $449
In our humble opinion, these have the potential to be the the new NS10 legends.

2.KRK Rokit 5 ($300)

cheap budget studio monitors for guitar amp simulator - KRK Rokit5They sounded darn good for a casual listening/home party! Somehow too polished with an exaggerated thump/punch and we couldn’t hear a solo guitar in the mix. They emits plenty of bass regardless of a small size, although the mid-lows are unnaturally hyped which can lead to lost of punch when you test the mixdown on other set of speakers. In addition, the stereo image was  too narrowed. But hey, they are cheap and nice for music listening, fancy looking, or if you need a good set of monitors for a DJ practice. There should be a good reason why this set of speakers are popular among DJs.

3. Behringer Truth 2030A ($300 / pair)

This Behringer 2030A is considered a poor man’s Genelec 1030A believed to be similar in design and sound(?). Too similar even we heard that Behringer have a design lawsuit from Genelec for copying their design! awful.

Detailed, while some says that the high frequencies is a bit fatiguing. The low end is sweet with a good balance across spectrums. Anyways, this is really a cheap and good set of speakers if you don’t mind the story and politics behind it. Dimi has produced his first debut album with the 2030A’s which served him very well for a few years, he still love how the guitar sound was sculpted with them. While the album was mastered by a pro mastering engineer he never got any complaints about the levels of the guitars and their timbre. So this one is trusted, with 6.75″ woofer, they work on a bigger room really nice.

4. JBL LSR308 ($250 / pair)

best budget cheap studio monitor for guitar amp simulator - JBL lsr305

Fun sounding, and plenty of bottom end. It boasts a design inheritance borrowed from their big cousins which many times pricier. The uniquely designed tweeter flare is claimed to give wider soundstage while giving a silky highs. Not a too exaggerated claim though, we feel that this speaker can deliver wide soundstage and silky highs as the manufacturer claims, although the low frequencies can be overpowering sometimes.

We find that the sound is pleasing, and nice, too hi-fi for some, but can also perform well in a mixing session. But the mid-high region didn’t properly translate really well whilst many instruments, especially guitars, are critical on those region.

Rear ported, so it’s better not placed too near the back wall.

5. M-audio AV40 ($280 / pair, used)

The cheapest line of M-Audio near-field will do good for a home studio guitar player living in a small apartment, they delivered enough power at low levels, also compromising representation of the guitar sound that many was looking for: a good mid range with proper high mids.
They have a little more low end from the HS5’s while the mid range is more rounded, not boxy. A bit more “fun” sounding than the HS5.
A personal favourite for Dimi, he said that it gave him a “what you hear, is what you get” guitar sound which is the one he look for as a heavy user of Guitar amp simulator.

Rear ported, so it’s better not placed too near the back wall.

A small update: there’s a new version called AV42 although many users in the forums don’t recommend it. Many believes that there is a significant cut in the materials and it seems this affects the sound!

AV40 Weight: 14 lbs. / 6.34 kg, while AV42 Weight: 7.6 lbs (3.43 kg)

*Originally posted by Dimitar Nalbantov on his website with some changes and additions here and there.

Here’s his final note:

At the bottom line,  I would highly recommend Yamaha HS5  for making your guitar tracks using guitar amp simulators sounding great, but my definite choice is still  M-audio AV40,
I know they are promoted as a home user’s speakers. But they gave me some low end to work with and not looking for SUB speaker.
And at the end, I was happy with my mixed ITB ( in the box ) guitar sound with my guitar amp simulator.

No matter how good someone tells you a set of monitors is, the final decision is yours! Trust your ears and don’t forget to test your mix in your car or other materials 🙂
Just use the best guitar plugins!