The best monitor speakers in the UK 2023

As sound engineers and studio technicians know, monitor speakers are essential for developing good sound. Despite their looks that resemble those of ordinary speakers, they have specific features that make the choice more difficult. However, the quality of the final result after mixing and mastering depends on this choice. Discover our guide to choosing your monitoring speakers.

Focal Shape Twin 1

Best value for your money

Focal Shape Twin

The best monitor speaker in 2021

Designed and manufactured in the UK, the Focal Shape Twin is one of the best active monitors on the market. It will accompany you throughout your mixing work by providing a faithful and neutral sound.

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The Focal Shape Twin is the flagship model of the Shape range proposed by the Focal brand. It is an active monitoring speaker. Placed in the right position in your studio, it provides a sound that is as faithful to the original as possible and accurate. It offers a frequency range of 40 Hz to 35 kHz.

Ideally, the Focal Shape Twin is placed at a distance of 1 meter. It is thus a speaker of monitoring of proximity that you could perfectly install in a small home studio. Made in the UK, this product presents an irreproachable and superior quality.

Yamaha HS5 Noir 2

Best value for your money

Yamaha HS5 Noir

The best entry-level monitor speaker

Get a close-range speaker at an affordable price while enjoying great sound quality. The Yamaha HS5 Black will fit perfectly in a home studio where you produce your best sounds.

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The Yamaha HS5 Black is one of the best entry-level nearfield speakers you'll find on the market. It's a two-way speaker that delivers highs and mids with impressive precision. The midrange driver has a diameter of 13 cm. At a distance of one meter, it allows you to perceive sounds without any coloration.

Although the Yamaha HS5 Black is classified as an entry-level system, its quality is worthy of the Japanese brand's reputation. Yet it comes at an unbeatable price. On a budget? This monitoring speaker will suit you perfectly.

KEF LS50 Wireless 2 Titanium 3

Best value for your money

KEF LS50 Wireless 2 Titanium

The best high-end monitor speaker

The KEF LS50 Wireless 2 Titanium represents the next generation of high-end monitor speakers. This model incorporates modern features and functionality that will make sound work in your studio easier.

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Unlike the usual monitor speakers, the KEF LS50 Wireless 2 Titanium features a wireless connection via Bluetooth. Of course the usual connectivity on this type of equipment is provided. The pair of speakers also offers direct access to various online music streaming services thanks to its compatibility with Chromecast and Airplay 2.

This is a two-way speaker. The mid-bass speaker provides 280 W of power against 100 W for the tweeter. The sound reproduced is of a clarity and a neutrality conducive to the work of mixing.

Pioneer DJ S-DJ80X Black 4


Pioneer DJ S-DJ80X Black

The best monitor speaker for DJs

Pioneer has specially designed the DJ S-DJ80X Black for professional and amateur DJs. This high quality equipment makes mixing sound in the studio a breeze.

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With the Pioneer DJ S-DJ80X Black, you'll be able to mix all your sounds in the best conditions. This monitoring speaker exploits a technology developed by the Japanese brand to produce an exceptionally precise sound with a speaker (mid-bass) and a tweeter.

To facilitate the search for the ideal sound, this speaker offers a panel of adjustment accessible directly on the back of its body. DJs, whether amateurs or professionals, will find great satisfaction in using it. Of course, it also meets the needs of all home studio mixing jobs.

Buying guide • November 2023

Best monitor speaker

Any specific needs?

The best monitor speaker in 2021

The best entry-level monitor speaker

The best high-end monitor speaker

The best monitor speaker for DJs

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Comparison table of the best monitor speakers

Focal Shape Twin 5
Yamaha HS5 Noir 6
KEF LS50 Wireless 2 Titanium 7
Pioneer DJ S-DJ80X Black 8
Focal Shape Twin
Yamaha HS5 Noir
KEF LS50 Wireless 2 Titanium
Pioneer DJ S-DJ80X Black
Designed and manufactured in the UK, the Focal Shape Twin is one of the best active monitors on the market. It will accompany you throughout your mixing work by providing a faithful and neutral sound.
Get a close-range speaker at an affordable price while enjoying great sound quality. The Yamaha HS5 Black will fit perfectly in a home studio where you produce your best sounds.
The KEF LS50 Wireless 2 Titanium represents the next generation of high-end monitor speakers. This model incorporates modern features and functionality that will make sound work in your studio easier.
Pioneer has specially designed the DJ S-DJ80X Black for professional and amateur DJs. This high quality equipment makes mixing sound in the studio a breeze.
Number of channels
Active, bi amplification class AB
Active bi-amplified
Active class AB amplification
Speaker size
Medium/woofer : 16,5 cmTweeter
: 25 mm
Medium/woofer : 12,7 cmTweeter
: 2,54 cm
Medium-woofer : 13 cmTweeter
: 2,5 cm
Midrange/woofer : 20,32 cmTweeter
: 2,54 cm
Power rating
2 x 80 W
70 W
Medium-woofer : 280 WTweeter
: 100 W
90 W
1 x RCA unbalanced 10 kOhms1
x XLR balanced 10 kOhms

1 x balanced XLR 3-311
x unbalanced 6,35 mm jack

inputTOSLINKE optical
inputDigital coaxial
inputAnalog 3.5 mm auxiliary
inputUSB Type A
RJ45 Ethernet port (network)
RJ45 Ethernet port (link between speakers)
RCA Subwoofer output

inputJack (TRS)
inputXLR input

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Buying guide - monitor speaker

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How to choose your monitor speaker

Not all monitors on the market are created equal. Some may simply disappoint you. To avoid making the wrong choice, it is wise to base your choice on the following criteria. From these selection criteria, you can identify the qualities and performance of a model

#1 - The frequency range

In order for a monitor speaker not to color the sound, it must reproduce the sound in a completely neutral way. For this to happen, the frequency spectrum of the reproduced sound must remain flat over the entire audible frequency range. The frequency range is therefore an important selection criterion if you want to buy a monitoring speaker that does its job well. Manufacturers generally propose a frequency range over which their speakers should remain completely flat. Ideally, this frequency range is from 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz. The numbers may, however, vary from one model to another.

#2 - The distortion rate

Sound is bound to suffer distortion when it is sent as a signal to the monitor. This distortion is due to the design of the speaker or the amplification system. Nevertheless, the distortion rate, called THD (Total Harmonic Distortion), should be as low as possible. In principle, a good monitor speaker has a very low THD. Nevertheless, a comparison of the rates presented by the various models can help you find a better performing model.

#3 - Tweeters

The tweeters are an integral part of the monitoring speakers. They reconstitute the high sounds and the high mids. Although each manufacturer develops its own technology, you'll find two main types of tweeters on the market. On the one hand, you'll find ribbon models that offer the most detailed sound possible to the point of reducing ambience. On the other hand, dome tweeters are a little less accurate, but provide better ambience.

#4 - The size of the boomers

Boomers provide low-midrange and bass frequency reconstruction. To offer a faithful and clear sound, they must have a consequent size. Generally speaking, the larger the woofer, the better. A minimum diameter of 5 inches

is required. It is suitable for mini studios. If you are working in a medium-sized studio, a 6.5 to 7 inch boomer is ideal. You can go beyond 7 inches for more precision.

#5 - Connections

The XLR type connector is the one found on most monitor speakers. This one is sufficient for mixing and mastering tasks. However, if specific settings are offered on the device, you should find the connector and acoustic treatment to match.

Installing your monitor speaker properly

To be effective, monitor speakers must be installed in strategic locations. So, to choose the location of each speaker, respect the following rules.

  • Avoid leaning against the wall : move the speakers a certain distance away from the wall to avoid amplifying the low bass at the expense of the high bass. This placement will help maintain the audio balance of your speakers.
  • Install them symmetrically : if you are using two monitors, they should form an equilateral triangle with you. This symmetry optimizes the neutral and accurate perception of the sound.
  • Getthe height right : Ideally, your monitors should be placed at the same height as your ears. Use stands and foam insulation. If you place your speakers directly on a table, the vibrations produced by the sound will be greater.

The different types of monitor speakers

There are three main types of monitor speakers. Each type refers to the distance the speaker will be placed from the user. This distance plays an important role in the perception of sound and the necessary adjustments.

Near-field monitoring speaker

A near-field monitor is placed at a distance of less than 1 meter

. This is the requirement for clear, crisp, uncolored sound. At this distance, the effects of the room's configuration on the sound are imperceptible. In fact, this is the most affordable type of speaker in terms of price. On the other hand, a near-field speaker is not very ideal if your studio is set up in a large room.

In short, the near-field monitor speaker is best suited to the needs of people who work in a small space. It can also be used if you want to have a speaker near you that supports the ambience of other speakers around.

Mid-field monitor speaker


mid-field speaker sits between the near-field models and the main speakers. It is usually placed 2 meters away from the audience

. This type of monitor speaker is perfect for working with sound in a medium-sized room, like a home studio. You'll be using a suitable speaker while limiting your expenses. Besides, the mid-field speaker has the advantage of being more affordable than the main speaker while covering a larger area than the near-field speaker.

Hand-held monitoring speaker (main)


about 10 feet from the audience

, the main monitor speaker is usually used to listen to one version of a track, without working on it simultaneously. They are therefore called "client monitors" since the sound engineer does not usually work on them. This type of speaker is expensive and is often placed in professional studios. Their installation requires serious skills to take full advantage of their quality.

Main speakers are a must if you work in a large studio. They allow you to listen to the sound with the best fidelity despite the sound effects in the room.

Monitor speaker or headphones?

Monitor speaker

The monitoring speaker is used by all professional studios. It is the ideal equipment to make a good mix, provided you choose a good model. It reproduces a clear and neutral sound in the best conditions. Note however that the use of a monitoring speaker must be accompanied by an acoustic treatment of the room. The purchase of the equipment also requires more or less important investments and space to fit it out


Many professionals strongly advise against mixing with headphones. This equipment can indeed provide a distorted perception of the sound, although it is often recommended for bass processing. However, it has its advantages. Headphones are affordable, take up no space and do not require acoustic treatment. It is therefore very practical, especially if you have a small budget for your mixing equipment.


The use of monitoring speakers is to be preferred if you have the space and the budget. This does not exclude headphones from your mixing and mastering work. Generally speaking, using both tools can help you develop a better sound.


Use a powerful amplifier

The use of an amplifier is necessary if you have passive speakers. Choose a model with a higher power rating than the speakers so that the amplifier can accommodate without the risk of saturating or damaging the equipment.

Choose the right angle of orientation


get even sound from two speakers, be sure to choose their orientation. The speakers are placed on two sides so that they form an equilateral triangle with your position. So orient the two speakers towards you, at an identical angle to the walls.

Choosing the right speaker for the size of the studio


s important to choose your speaker based on the size of the room. Buy main speakers larger than 7 inches in a very small studio. This may affect bass perception. Refer to the different types of monitor speakers listed above to see what type of equipment is right for your studio.

Active speakers to facilitate the use of an amplifier


you don't want to use an external amplifier, consider active


These already have an amplifier built into their systems. You would then have no doubt about the power and impedance of the amplifier.

Work on the acoustics of the room


acoustic treatment of your studio is essential. It is a condition for the room not to have an influence on the sound rendered by your monitoring speakers.


What is the best monitor speaker?

The best monitor speaker depends on your needs and your budget. Read our buying guide for the best products available.

How to choose the best frequency range?

Choosing a monitor speaker that offers a wide frequency range is ideal. However, in practice, the speaker must be able to provide the flattest possible spectrum throughout this frequency range.

Can I use monitor speakers for recreational purposes?

The monitoring speaker is initially designed to work on sound. It therefore produces a neutral sound, with no artifice and no color. This can quickly become unpleasant if you use the speaker just to listen to your favorite songs.

Can I use only one monitor speaker?

Ideally, the monitor speaker is used in pairs. However, you can also use a single monitor speaker if you do not have enough space in your home studio.

What is the ideal distortion rate?

The lower the distortion, the better. So when making your choice, make sure you choose a monitor speaker with a very low distortion rate.


Note: Below are some of the sources we have consulted in writing this article. Links to other sites are not continuously updated. It is therefore possible that a link may not be found. Please use a search engine to find the desired information.
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March 2022 : Translation of this buying guide from our partner

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Our selection
Focal Shape Twin 9
Focal Shape Twin
Yamaha HS5 Noir 10
Yamaha HS5 Noir
KEF LS50 Wireless 2 Titanium 11
KEF LS50 Wireless 2 Titanium
Pioneer DJ S-DJ80X Black 12
Pioneer DJ S-DJ80X Black


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