The best 3 inch studio monitors punch above their weight.
They’re a monitor that isn’t just honest about your vocals, but unlike their larger 5 & 8 inch relatives, is beginner-friendly in terms of budget (£££) and doesn’t eat into acres of your desk space. All of which is major kudos, especially when you consider their sound – it’s no slouch.
Now, while obviously your Yamaha HS8s and Genelec 8000s are pretty much the pinnacle of flat frequency monitors, that’s not to say they’re always the best option. Produce in a tight space and in many cases a smaller 3 inch monitor would do a better job. Less power = less loudness = less reverb. Then factor in that a good chunk of 3 inch monitors are actually built to perform in small spaces, and you can soon see why 3 inches is quite a popular measurement.
So as you can imagine, the selection of 3 inch monitors for sale is not exactly small. If anything, it’s quite bamboozling. Therefore, to help you fathom which are the best 3 inch monitors for you and your setup, we’ve put 6 of the front-runners through their paces. Read on & we’ll reveal which is the best + why.
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The best 3 inch studio monitors @ a glance…
9 of the best 3 inch monitors in 2023…
Deciding on the best studio monitors is never easy. Especially because when it comes to those which are 3 inches, there’s quite the variety to choose from. Not to mention a few to avoid! Let’s just say that, not all studio monitors are made to the same standard, so you really need to do your research before investing in a pair.
Thankfully though, we’ve done that for you. Whittled out the bad picks & brought you 10 of the best 3 inch studio monitors for sale today…
1: Samson MediaOne M30 3″ studio monitors
2: M-Audio BX3 120W studio monitors
3: Mackie CR3-X monitors
4: PreSonus Eris E3.5 monitors
5: Alesis M1Active 330 monitors
6: Edifier MR4 4 Inch Studio Monitor Speakers
7: Sanyun SW208 3″ Active Bluetooth Monitors
On a tight budget? Try these cheap 3 inch studio monitors…
Not everyone has the £$€ to spend solely on studio monitors, especially if you’re a beginner who’s kitting out their first studio.
So while it is always best to try & get yourself the best quality kit you can for the price, that’s not to say that all cheap studio monitors are bad. Now, hands up – there are cheap studio monitors out there that suck. Thankfully for you though… we didn’t list them. Sio when we came across the woofers below, we were pleasantly surprised.
Yes, they’re cheap. And yes, the build quality isn’t what you’d call Yamaha. BUT considering their £$€ & the clarity of their sound, we’d say that for any beginner who’s looking to save their pennies, these are pretty much the best budget 3 inch studio monitors on sale today…
8: Hercules DJ 32 Studio Monitors
3 inch too small? Upsize to these 4 inch studio monitors…
Sizing up from 3 to 5 inches is quite the jump.
So much so that such a jump may be too big. After all, every production space is different & therefore comes with its own set of acoustic challenges. So while 3 inch monitors work super well in a compact home studio, if you’ve got a slightly larger space that’s not quite a fully-blown recording studio, then a set of 4s may actually be a better bet.
Exactly why if we were looking to upsize from 3 inch studio monitors, we’d opt for a pair of these…
9: Pioneer DJ DM-40BT Studio Monitors
Which 3 inch studio is best for the studio? Our editor’s choice….
Whittling down the best 3 inch studio monitors was quite a task. In fact, it was something we had to sleep on, as two pairs of monitors really stood out to us. For us, it was a toss up between the Presonus Eris 3.5 and the M-Audio BX3. Both of which surprised us in terms of overall performance + their level of build quality.
However we couldn’t get around the fact that one of these speakers has such a HUGE 5 star reputation in comparison to the other. A sign perhaps? Well, we’ve taken it as one, because what we (& a lot of others) say are the best 3 inch studio monitors you can buy are the…
Presonus Eris 3.5 (best 3-inch studio monitor speakers)
A set of monitors that really do deliver when it comes to, well – pretty much everything. With 3 inch studio monitors mostly appealing to beginners, these are hands-down a great place to start. That’s because for the size, they boast a lot of features that you usually only find on more expensive speakers.
The tweeters for instance equate to a full inch, opposed to the 0.75 that you get with most 3 inch monitors. And as for the woofers, their cones are kevlar. A perk that we really like, as it evens the overall sound. And that’s why we like the Eris 3.5s – they’re a good balanced speaker, which makes them an ideal production speaker.
So while the likes of the BX3s by M-Audio did sound quite bassy, if clarity is what you’re after, the Eris really does take the crown. The mids and highs are nice and crisp. Therefore, amongst heavy bass they don’t get lost like you find with some budget 3 inch studio monitors. Perhaps something to do with those larger tweeters.
In terms of frequency what you get is something that’s reasonably flat and thanks to these being proximity monitors, you don’t need to drive them hard to feel your sound. Another advatage of the Presonus Eris that makes it ideal for reducing reverb. Now of course, while the sound you get is good, the Eris 3.5s will be no match for your 8 inch Yamahas or KRK Rokits. But, if you don’t have a huge production space or a soundproofed room, the Eris is more than enough.
Then turn your focus to usability and it’s pretty much the same story. All the controls on the Eris 3.5 are easy to access, and the fact the power switch sits on the front is a major plus. Combine this with how you can use the Eris with old and new gear (thanks to RCA & balanced TRS) and as far as all-rounders go, they’re pretty darn hard to beat.
And yes, unlike a lot of studio monitors, the Eris 3.5s are passive, opposed to active. They also feel slightly light compared to your average monitors. However, when you take into consideration the price, you can really see why everywhere you go the Eris 3.5s are no stranger to 5 star reviews. Why? Because as far as 3 inch monitors go, they’re all the speaker you need.
And yep – this is another 5 star review to add to that tally.
Enjoy this review of the best 3 inch studio monitors & eager for more? Don’t miss out on all our latest Audio Reviews, as well as our Reviews Of Music Production Tech. Recently, we also did write ups on the Most Popular Studio Monitors + the Best Studio Monitor Controllers, which may also be a good read.
Or if you’ve still trying to decide what studio monitors are best for you, keep reading & we’ll answer more of your burning questions…