Best Powered Speakers for DJ – 2021 Picks

If you’re a DJ or you’re looking at getting into DJing for the first time then you’ll no doubt be wondering what the best speakers for you are. In this feature, we’re going to be answering one of the most common DJ tech-related questions – which are the best powered speakers for DJ?

We’ll cover the ins and outs of what makes a good monitor for DJing, what is available at different price points, which ones we think you should be considering, as well as some of the most frequently asked questions about speakers and DJing.

No matter what your experience level or what your skills behind the decks are like, there is a set of speakers that will be perfect for you and your budget. Let’s dive in now and start by taking a close look at five of our favorite models.

Five of the Best Powered Speakers for DJs

Best Overall: KRK Classic 5 Powered Speakers

  • Dimensions: 21 x 15.5 x 12 inches
  • Color: Yellow/ Black
  • Included 2x Monitor speakers, Power cords
  • Check the latest price here

Runner Up: Pioneer DJ Studio Monitor

  • Dimensions: 21 x 15.5 x 12 inches
  • Color: Black
  • Included: 2x Monitor speakers, Power cords
  • Check the latest price here.

Budget-Option Choice: Mackie CR-X Series

  • Dimension: 5.5 x 8.1 x 7.1 inches
  • Color: Black/ Green
  • Included: 2x Monitor speakers, Power cords
  • Check the latest price here.

Check out our full Mackie CR4 Review.

Premium Choice: ADAM Audio T7V

  • Dimensions: 11 x 13 x 8 inches
  • Color: Black/ Gold
  • Included: 1x Studio Monitor Speaker, Power cord
  • Check the latest price here.

Great Value: M-Audio BX5 D3

  • Dimensions: 7.76 x 6.93 x 10 inches
  • Color: Black/ Silver
  • Included: 1x Monitor Speaker, Power cord
  • Check the latest price here.

What Exactly are Powered DJ Speakers?

Speakers, or monitors, are an integral part of any DJ setup. Naturally, you need to be able to hear your mixes in order to make sure they sound good and to derive any enjoyment from DJing at all.

When starting out many people will hook their new decks up to any old speakers they have at home. They might be an old HiFi system, portable speaker, or computer setup.

Whilst this provides a great way for DJs to start their journey on a budget, you will soon find that you have outgrown your old speakers and will really see the benefit of investing in some proper monitors.

With the addition of studio monitors, you will be better equipped to hear the intricacies of each track as well as the more subtle manipulations you can make via your DJ mixer. Placing your new monitors on stands is often a good idea as it elevates them to ear height and allows you to position them, giving a much truer sound.

Why do DJ Monitors Need to be Powered?

In the vast majority of studio settings, using powered speakers is much easier than installing passive ones that require an amp. With powered, or ‘active’, speakers you can simply plug them into the socket in your wall and you’re good to go. You only need an amp if you’re playing through a much bigger sound system.

What Makes a Good DJ Monitor?

There are several key areas that are crucial to determining whether a DJ speaker is worth investing in. These are as follows;

Sound Quality

The most important factor is the quality of sound. You need to ensure that you can hear everything in the tracks you are selecting and this is often not possible from cheap, budget speakers. Having a bigger budget available helps you get the best out of your equipment but there are some excellent options that are available at lower prices too.

Connectivity

When selecting your monitors you need to make sure that you will be able to plug your equipment in. There are many options available when connecting your mixer to your speakers but the most common is via XLR or RCA cables. Make sure you’ve got the connections you need.

Getting the Right Size

Monitor speakers are available in all manner of shapes and sizes. Some of the smallest on the market use 3-inch drivers and some of the largest use 10-inch ones. Size isn’t everything and the right choice for you will be almost totally down to the room in which you practice.

If you opt for smaller speakers but feel the low end is lacking, you can always add a subwoofer to your setup (as long as the neighbors don’t mind).

Budget

Top of the range sound equipment is expensive, there’s no getting away from that, unfortunately. Luckily when it comes to studio monitors there are some fantastic options available to those on a budget. So remember, you don’t have to splash the cash and get the absolute premium models to build a solid setup.

Placement and Isolation

Where you intend to position your speakers will also play a huge part in which ones you opt for. If you intend to get speaker stands then you’ll need a model that fits on them correctly. If you’re planning on wall mounts then you’ll need speakers that have brackets available.

You will find many brands that offer the same models but in different shapes to cater to your studio’s needs.

Isolation is another key part of getting the best from your monitors. Be sure to purchase isolation pads and put them between your monitors and the stand they are on. This will help to reduce vibrations and guard against distortion.

Another thing to note here is that when you are choosing your speaker positions it’s best to form an equilateral triangle with each monitor and your head acting as the triangle’s points. This will give you the most accurate frequency response and therefore the best sound.

5 of the Best Studio Monitors on the Market

KRK Classic 5 – A Hugely Popular Choice That will Suit the Majority of DJs

KRK Classic 5

KRK has become synonymous with DJing and music production. Their trademark yellow speaker cones have featured in many music videos and live streams, but what makes them so popular?

Their striking looks coupled with good sound quality, reliability, and affordability have seen the popularity of KRK’s rocket over the last few years. These speakers are just as much at home in your bedroom set up as they would be in a professional studio and are a good choice regardless of budget or ability.

They do, however, have a few downsides. Audio purists would argue that they are not ‘flat’ enough for true production and that they are low-end heavy. Whilst this may be the case you can make adjustments to your mixing if these really bother you.

We found that the slightly boosted low end provided a great experience when mixing, but if you were strictly producing you may want to look elsewhere.

Best Overall
KRK Classic 5 Professional Powered Speakers
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Specifications

  • Dimensions: 21 x 15.5 x 12 inches
  • Weight: 22lbs
  • Powered nearfield studio monitor
  • Ideal for any style of music
  • Soft-dome tweeter, optimized waveguide for smooth, pristine & articulate highs up to 35kHz
  • Lightweight, glass-aramid composite woofer provides clear midrange and precise bass
  • Low-end extension with an optional setting of +2dB bass boost
  • High & low-frequency controls let you contour sounds to your environment
  • Active 2-way electronics mean high-headroom & low-noise amplification
  • XLR, ¼”, RCA connections for universal connectivity

Pros

  • Value for money
  • Good quality
  • Ideal for mixing
  • Well respected brand
  • Good reputation

Cons

  • Bottom-end heavy
  • Not the ‘flattest’ of monitors
  • Not as good for music production

Pioneer DJ Studio Monitor – Another Good Choice for DJs That Won’t Break the Bank

Pioneer DJ Studio Monitor

Another brand that will be familiar to those of you who have DJ’d before is Pioneer. Pioneer is one of the big boys when it comes to DJ equipment with their series of CDJs and mixers being the industry standard for over 20 years now.

Monitor speakers, however, are not something they are well known for. That being said we have here a solid speaker set that will appeal to fans of Pioneer and fans of value for money alike.

This compact offering is aimed at the bedroom DJ and is small enough to slot into most setups without sacrificing too much clarity when it comes to sound. They have a great low end for their size and have a good overall output for both mixing and general listening.

Specifications

  • Weight: 12.4 lbs
  • Dimensions: 15.6 x 10.6 x 13.6 inches
  • Connections: RCA, Mini-jack
  • Drivers: 4”
  • Tweeter: 0.75”
  • Frequency Range: 70-30hz
  • 2-way bass-reflex, active monitor speakers
  • Class A/B amp: 2 x 21 W / 4 Ω amp out

Pros

  • Pricing
  • Compact
  • Good low end for the size
  • Nice and loud
  • Good clarity

Cons

  • Not as good if you need to produce as well as mix
  • Too small to fill a larger room
  • No tuning options

Mackie CR-X Series – The Best Budget Option on Our List

Mackie CR-X Series

Mackie has quickly become one of our favorite audio companies here at All Sound Lab. Their equipment is consistently good value for money from their larger amps right through to their smallest monitor speakers. Today we’re looking at just that, Mackie’s smallest monitor offering, the CR-X 3”.

At under $100 for a pair, you cannot argue that these speakers don’t offer good value for money. Much like the Pioneers we discussed earlier, the CR-X’s are aimed at bedroom DJs just getting into the art.

Their drivers are 3 inch which comes in at the smallest on our list. This means that they do struggle to fill larger spaces efficiently, but if all you need them for is bedroom use then they’ll do an excellent job.

What they do, they do well. But there are some drawbacks to consider if you’re going to buy a pair of the best value monitor speakers on our list. They don’t produce the most bass, as you can imagine, and they don’t have quite the same standard of build quality to them as the other models.

Specifications

  • Studio quality sound
  • ¼”, ⅛” & RCA inputs
  • 50 watts stereo
  • 3” polypropylene woofers
  • ¾” silk dome tweeter
  • Bespoke waveguard
  • Custom rear ports
  • All wood cabinet for natural sonic character

Pros

  • Amazing value
  • Compact so will fit on desks and other smaller spaces
  • Available in other sizes if needed
  • Sub integration

Cons

  • The CR-X 3” model doesn’t have the richest low end due to its size
  • Overall build quality is reflective of the price

ADAM Audio T7V – A Top of the Range Choice for DJs and Producers Who Need Accurate Sound

ADAM Audio T7V

This is one of the priciest options on our list as Adam Audio has positioned itself as a serious option for even the most dedicated audiophile. The T7V range of studio monitor speakers has proven to be one of their more popular and most versatile products.

Available in different shapes and sizes, the T7V offers a professional standard of sound at a good price point. As we have discussed, there are plenty of cheaper options for bedroom setups or producers who don’t need the absolute best, and there are a whole host of options when looking to the top end of the market.

But if you sit somewhere in the middle then there are not too many quality choices. With the T7V, Adam Audio has helped fill that gap.

Overall these speakers offer a great solution whether you’re a DJ or producer. When testing a range of products to make our final list it became quite apparent that in order to see (or hear) any noticeable differences in performance you would have to have a considerably bigger budget.

Premium Choice
ADAM Audio T7V Powered Studio Monitor
$249.99
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04/14/2021 09:39 pm GMT

Specifications

  • 7” Polypropylene woofer
  • 1.9” tweeter
  • 50-watt woofers w/20-watt tweeters
  •  2 dB, 0 dB, +2 dB high shelf & low shelf
  • XLR & RCA inputs
  • Frequency response 39 Hz – 25 kHz
  • Weight: 15.7 lbs (7.1 kg)
  • Dimensions: 13.7″ x 8.3″ x 11.5” ( 347 mm x 210 mm x 293 mm)
  • Warranty: 2 years + optional 3 years extra
  • Comes with: Monitors, power cords, user manuals

Pros

  • Full ranged and well balanced overall sound
  • Premium quality
  • Suitable for both DJs and producers
  • Excellent stereo imaging
  • Good value for those looking to the middle of the market

Cons

  • There aren’t any clip of power lights visible from the front

M-Audio BX5 D3 – Another Great Option for Those on a Tighter Budget

M-Audio BX5 D3

M-Audio has slowly but surely established itself as a great audio brand for those who may be just getting into DJing or music production for the first time. Their BX range comes in several sizes, from the standard 5” model that has made our list to the 8” model for those who need a little more volume to fill their studio space.

The BX5’s strike the right balance between build quality, sound quality, and versatility. They also look sleek whilst not burning too big a hole in your pocket. The silk tweeters and Kevlar woofers borrow their designs from older models that achieved similar popularity. If you’re considering one of the cheaper models on our list, these have got to be right up there.

Connectivity won’t be an issue here either as the rear of the BX5 units come with both XLR and ¼” jack inputs.

Great Value
M-Audio BX5 D3 Powered Speakers
$149.00
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04/14/2021 09:39 pm GMT

Specifications

  • Two-way near faced studio monitors
  • Low frequency driver: 5” Kevlar cone with high temperature voice coil & damped rubber surround
  • High frequency driver: 1” magnetically shielded natural silk dome
  • Frequency response: 52 Hz – 35 kHz
  • Crossover frequency: 2.5kHz
  • Low frequency/High frequency amp power: 60w/40w
  • Max. peak SPL: 110 dB / full bandwidth pink noise measured

Pros

  • Compact
  • Excellent value for money
  • Available in larger sizes if needed
  • Look good
  • Sturdy design and build
  • Upgraded tweeter gives a broader sweet spot
  • High freq and low freq drivers have amp output

Cons

  • Lack of high-frequency EQ
  • The low end is a little lacking due to the size

Frequently Asked Questions About the Best Powered Speakers for DJs

In this section, we’ll take a closer look at some of the most common queries people have when looking for their perfect pair of monitor speakers.

Question: Why do DJs use Monitor Speakers?

Answer: DJs and producers alike literally use these speakers to ‘monitor’ the sounds that they are mixing or creating. Monitor speakers tend to be of better quality than your average home speaker and will have different specs and settings depending on who they are aimed at.

For example, dedicated producers will need much ‘flatter’ speakers to get a good idea of what their tracks sound like whereas DJs may need speakers that are more akin to larger club sound systems.

Question: Is it Bad to Leave Monitors on?

Answer: Leaving any electrical item on for longer than you need isn’t good. This is because electricity has a tendency to generate heat and heat is the enemy of all things electrical. This goes for all of your gadgets but is particularly important when using high-quality and precise items like studio monitor speakers.

Question: Do I Need a Subwoofer?

Answer: You don’t NEED a subwoofer, but you’ll likely get a much truer sound if you do have one. These days many people are listening to their music via systems that have integrated subs. Whether this is through their PC sound systems, HiFi’s, or in their cars having a sub will help you make your music and your mixes sound as good as they can be.

Be careful though as adding a sub to any setup significantly increases bass so you may need to look at soundproofing options.

Conclusion: Which are the Best Powered Speakers for DJs

The best-powered speakers for an individual DJ really come down to just that, the individual. What may be best for one is not necessarily the best for another. Usually, this comes down to two things; studio size and budget.

In terms of studio size, it can be very tempting to opt for a bigger, louder, and more powerful set of speakers. But if you’re practicing in a smaller environment you simply don’t need them and they will be detrimental to your overall sound. Similarly, if you have a larger studio space then you will need a larger set of speakers. It’s important to not underestimate the importance of this.

When it comes to budget you really have to ask yourself what the top end of your budget is before you can make a decision on which speaker to get. As with all audio equipment, you get what you pay for and although there are some really excellent options like the Mackie and M-Audio models we mentioned, you’ll get much more speaker should you pay a little more.

For the budget-conscious buyer, our recommendation would be to go for the Mackie CR-X 3”. For the price, you simply cannot beat it. For those looking at spending a little more, you can’t go wrong with the KRKs, there’s a reason they are so popular. And for those who can stretch even further the Adam Audio T7V is an excellent choice.

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