The Music Kitchen https://www.themusickitchen.com Home Studio Music Production and Music Business Resources for Musicians, Composers, and Songwriters Mon, 19 Aug 2019 22:07:00 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.2.2 Best Home/Project Studio Monitors (Under $500 A Pair) – 2019 Reviews https://www.themusickitchen.com/studio-gear/best-studio-monitors-under-500/ https://www.themusickitchen.com/studio-gear/best-studio-monitors-under-500/#comments Mon, 19 Aug 2019 13:41:57 +0000 https://www.themusickitchen.com/?p=100 Discover the best studio monitors under $500 a pair for your home studio, project studio, or small recording studio. Updated for 2019.

The post Best Home/Project Studio Monitors (Under $500 A Pair) – 2019 Reviews appeared first on The Music Kitchen.

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This article on the best home/project studio monitors under $500 a pair is the second in a series on the best studio monitors available today. 

In a previous article, I focused on the best budget studio monitors under $300 a pair.  Please check it out if you’re looking for monitors in that price range.

This article is going to review the best monitors between $300 and $500 a pair.  The extra $200 make a big difference in a monitor’s size, construction and sound reproduction quality.

At the $300 to $500 price point, you can get some excellent professional level studio monitors that will be excellent for home studio recording, small project studio music production, video editing, or any other uses. 

Also, note that all the monitors I’m including are powered near-field monitors which will provide the best value and features for the money.

Update Notes: 

This article was updated on August 19, 2019. 

I added Pros and Cons to each review, added the ProSonus Eris E8, the JBL LSR308 was changed to the newer JBL 308P, and the M-Audio BX8 Carbon was changed to the newer M-Audio BX8 D3.

Best Home Studio Monitors Under $500 A Pair

Prices accurate as of:

Studio Monitor Buying Tips

Studio Monitors 101: A How-To Guide

First off, if you are new to buying monitors, please check out my best budget monitors under $300 a pair article.  You’ll learn the differences between monitors and speakers, types of studio monitors, monitor design, what to look for, and much more.

The Role Of Studio Monitors In Your Studio

The primary role of studio monitors is to give you an accurate, uncolored picture of the music you are creating. 

At a price point from $300 to $500, manufacturers can incorporate high-quality components and engineering to create great sounding monitors.  Monitors below $300 usually feature lesser-quality components and design; after all, manufacturers need to make a profit.

Generally, more expensive monitors give you the following features and benefits:

  • a larger woofer size (8” and up) for tighter and deeper bass response
  • better tweeter design and construction for tight focused highs
  • better cabinet construction/port design for improved sound reproduction, imaging, clarity and bass response
  • more power for increased volume without distortion
  • flatter frequency response overall

So, get the best monitors you can afford!

My advice is that spending just a little more is well worth the additional money.  A pair of monitors around $500 a pair vastly outperforms those priced at $300 a pair.   And you’ll end up with monitors that won’t need to be replaced or upgraded for many years.

Pro Tip

The key to killer mixes is an accurate monitoring system that’s placed in an acoustically treated room.  You’ll get the best results with your monitors by including proper studio acoustic treatment like acoustic panels, bass traps, diffusers, etc.

Best Home/Project Studio Monitors (Under $500 A Pair)

Important Note: Many prices you see in online stores are for only one monitor, which is misleading! This article only includes a pair of monitors that are under $500.

Yahama HS5

Best Studio Monitors Under $500 - Yamaha HS5

The Yahama HS5 is a successor of the famous NS-10M monitors that countless rock and pop records were produced and mixed on in the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s. NS-10s were the industry standard, and just about every studio back then had a pair.   I still own a pair (now in the closet!) that I used for years with excellent results.

The NS-10M was not the best sounding monitor, but producers and engineers found that their NS10 mixes beat out mixes on most other near-field monitors, regardless of the cost.

The proof is still in the pudding – listen to a lot of classic rock tracks from the 70s that were mixed on NS10s – they still sound fantastic!

Yamaha has brought that heritage into the modern-day HS5 studio monitor, adding refinements that make it an outstanding monitor in its price class.

Award-Winning Monitors

The Yahama HS5 was the winner of the Electronic Musician 2014 Editor’s Choice Award.  It’s a popular monitor with hundreds of very positive reviews on Amazon and other stores.

The HS5s are well-built, with advanced construction using technology derived from Yamaha’s 100 years of piano design experience.

Yamaha HS Series Powered Studio Monitors

How Does It Sound?

The vast majority of users love the bright, detailed highs and mids without the muddiness found in lower-priced monitors.  Despite having a small 5” woofer, they offer very clean and tight bass reproduction at average listening volumes.

Importantly, many studio owners find that their mixes are more consistent after upgrading to HS5s from lower-priced monitors.  Quite a few buyers upgrade from the Rokit 5 or other monitors in the under $300 range and find an enormous difference in sound quality for just a couple hundred dollars more.  With monitors, you do get what you pay for!

Each monitor has use-controllable Room Control parameters to correct for excessive bass buildup that may occur when monitors are placed near walls or corners of a room.  There is also a High Trim control to allow for a customized high-frequency response.

Subwoofer Available

One criticism is that the HS8s are a little lacking in low-frequency reproduction.  The woofers are rated to 54Hz, which is a little higher than the other monitors reviewed here.  For most music applications, this should not be a significant issue.

But for dance, hip hop or electronica producers who love an extended low end, the HS8s may prove to be unsatisfactory.  However, adding the Yamaha HS8C subwoofer (around $450) would quickly fix this problem.

The HS5s are available in both black and white.

Note: The HS5s do not come with cables, so you will need to pick them up separately.

Yamaha HS5 Yamaha HS5 Specs:

  • Woofer: 5” cone
  • Tweeter: 1” Soft-Dome
  • Design: 2-way non-ported
  • Frequency response: 54Hz – 30kHz
  • 70 watts: 45watt LF amp + 25W HF
  • XLR, ¼” TRS inputs
  • Weight: 12 lbs.

PROS

  • Award-winning user favorite
  • Excellent sounding monitors for the price
  • Bright detailed highs/ mids + tight bass
S

CONS

  • Light bass response from 5” woofer may require a subwoofer for bass-heavy styles

Yamaha HS5 Studio Monitors (Pair)

Prices accurate as of:

 

PreSonus Eris E8

PreSonus Eris E8 2-Way Active Studio Monitors (Single)

The PreSonus Eris E8 is a very popular studio monitor for all types of music production and mixing.  I reviewed its less-expensive little brothers the Eris E3.5 and E5 here, and the E8 is a bigger and better version of those excellent monitors. 

Eris E8 Construction

The Eris E8 uses a 1.25-inch silk dome tweeter and an 8 inch composite Kevlar woofer in conjunction with a front port. This design creates a smooth and well-defined sound throughout the entire frequency range.

Unlike its smaller siblings, there are no controls on the front of the monitors – they are all in the back.

The Eris E8 offers lots of options on getting the best results in your studio.

You’ll find Low Cutoff, Acoustic Space, and Mid and Low Acoustic Tuning controls.

Acoustic Space is an unusual option as it can be set to optimize for the three most common monitor placements: close to the back wall, away from the back wall, and angled away from the wall.

The Acoustic Tuning controls are used to compensate for reflective surfaces in your studio environment.  And Low Cutoff can be used when using them with a subwoofer.

There are RCA jacks for unbalanced audio inputs and ¼” TRS and XLR connectors for balanced inputs.

John Basterianelli, EVP of Product Management at PreSonus, talks about choosing PreSonus monitors in the following video:

John Bastianelli on the PreSonus Studio Monitor Line

How Does It Sound?

The overwhelming consensus is that these are outstanding monitors that sound comparable to much more expensive monitors.

They deliver smooth highs, clear mids, and deep bass, with the result being detailed and transparent audio.  And with 140 watts of power, you can crank them up loud without distortion.

Highly recommended as excellent overall monitors under $500!

PreSonus Eris E8 Specs:

  • Size: 9.84” W x 11.77” D x 15.12” H
  • Woofer: 8” Kevlar
  • Tweeter: 1.25” silk-dome
  • Design: 2-way front ported
  • Frequency response: 35Hz – 22kHz
  • Power: 140W total (75W LF, 65W HF)
  • 1/8”, 1/4” and RCA inputs
  • Weight: 22.2 lbs. (each)

PROS

  • Great quality monitors for all types of music
  • Smooth highs, clear mids, and deep bass
  • Lots of control over how the monitors interact in your studio
S

CONS

  • None

PreSonus Eris E8 (Single)

Prices accurate as of:

 

KRK Rokit 8 Generation 3

Best Studio Monitors Under $500 - Rokit 8 G3

The KRK Rokit 8 is the bigger brother of the previously reviewed Rokit 5, which is a user favorite.  

The main differences are an 8” woofer vs. a 5” woofer, and 100 watts of power vs. 50 watts. As a result, the Rokit 8 weighs almost double the Rokit 5!

With the Rokit 8, the frequency response is extended on the low side to 35Hz from 45Hz, giving it better bass response, and with 100 watts you can playback tracks at higher sound levels without distortion.

KRK ROKIT Generation 3 Features and Benefits

The Rokit 8 delivers professional-level results at a very affordable price.  Buyers frequently comment on the crisp sound and tight bass.  Lots of 4- and 5-star reviews on multiple online stores point to satisfied users around the world.

The inclusion of an RCA input jack on the Rokit 8 is convenient for non-professional home studio setups. Many home studio owners end up connecting their monitors to non-pro level mixing boards or other gear which may only have RCA outputs.

However, some users have pointed to noise problems when connecting through the unbalanced RCA jacks.

It’s important to know that RCA connectors are unbalanced and thus are not designed to reduce noise and hum.  The noise issue goes away when connecting through the XLR or balanced ¼” jacks.

Note that these are not small monitors – they are 12.4” deep x 10.8” wide x 15.6” high.  You will likely need to place them on speaker stands.  And each monitor weighs almost 25 lbs., so make sure your studio setup can comfortably fit them.

KRK Rokit 8 Generation 3 Specs:

  • Woofer: 8” aramid glass composite cone
  • Tweeter: 1” soft-dome
  • Design: 2-way ported
  • Frequency response: 35 Hz – 35 kHz
  • 100 watt total bi-amped Class A/B amplifier
  • XLR, ¼”, and RCA input jacks
  • Weight: 24.6 lbs.

PROS

  • User favorite monitors
  • Excellent crisp sound and tight bass with 8” woofer
  • Unbalanced RCA jacks included for connecting non-pro gear
S

CONS

  • These larger size, heavy monitors may not fit on a desktop; you’ll likely need stands

KRK Rokit 8 Generation 3 Studio Monitors (Pair)

Prices accurate as of:

JBL 308P MkII Studio Monitors

JBL Professional 308P MkII Next-Generation 8

JBL has been making high-end speakers and monitors for many decades and has continually honed and utilized their leading technology into crafting quality monitors at lower price points.

The JBL 308P is the flagship model in their 3 series monitor line first introduced in 2014.  This monitor replaces the acclaimed LSR308 series monitors (the new models removed the LSR and added a P for Plus.

These monitors employ Image Control Waveguide technology developed for their flagship M2 Master Reference Monitor which cost $20,000 a pair!

They also include JBL’s patented Slip Stream Port on the rear maximizes bass response beyond what similar size monitors can do.

These technologies have led to the 308P’s best attributes: deep mix depth and detail, a wide sweet spot, excellent imaging and a wide stereo landscape.

JBL 3 Series MkII Active Studio Monitors

Now, these are pretty large monitors that will most likely require speaker stands.  Because of this, the 308P is known for its deep bass response which is unusual for monitors under $500.

One of the 308P’s key strengths is that they are loud!  They can output up to 108 dB for those of you who like to test the limits of your hearing!

One review site put the previous LSR308 model to the test against a pair of Dynaudio BM6As.  The LSR308 held its own with maybe a bit of mid and low end “fuzziness” compared to the BM6As.  But the kicker is that the BM6As are about $1,800 a pair, so that’s a great testament to these monitor’s sound quality!

JBL 308P Specs:

  • Woofer: 8” long-throw
  • Tweeter: 1” soft-dome woven composite Neodymium
  • Design: 2-way rear ported
  • Frequency response: 37 Hz – 24 kHz
  • 112 watt total bi-amped Class D amplifier
  • XLR and ¼” input jacks
  • Weight: 18.9 lbs.

PROS

  • Great monitors for all music styles
  • Wide sweet spot and precise imaging
  • Excellent bass response from 8” woofer
  • Can be cranked up very loud (max 108 dB)
S

CONS

  • These larger sized, heavy monitors may not fit on a desktop; you’ll likely need stands

JBL LSR308P MkII  Studio Monitors

Prices accurate as of:

M-Audio BX8 D3

M-Audio BX8 D3 | Professional 2-Way 8

M-Audio is a U.S. based company well-known for its monitors, USB audio interfaces, keyboard controllers, microphones, and more.

The BX8 D3 is the flagship reference monitor in their BX series line, the other model being the BX5 D3.  It’s also the successor to the industry favorite BX D2 monitor.

It’s a perfect choice for both beginning and professional composers, producers, and mixers.

The BX8 D3 is known for its accuracy, with deep bass, detailed mids, and transparent highs.

A custom waveguide (which helps sound dispersion) focuses the highs for tight, detailed precision.  The rear port was custom-designed to get the best-defined bass response.

M-Audio || BXD3 Series – the Return of a Studio Icon

These monitors are also very well constructed and quite heavy: each monitor weighs 23 lbs., so monitor stands will be needed if desktop space is at a premium.

The BX8 D3 is rear ported, so you will need to leave some room behind each monitor to let the sound breathe and avoid issues with bass response.

The BX8 D3 is the first monitor I’ve seen with special monitor placement LEDs to help situate you in the best mixing sweet spot.  According to M-Audio:

“Pinhole-mounted LED placement cues help locate and light up the sweet spot to ensure a speaker placement that reliably translates stereo information and frequencies. When the LEDs turn bright, you know you’re dead center and ready to start mixing your sessions or laying down tracks.”

The BX8 comes with their Acoustic Space Control calibration tools that help provide optimal acoustic conditions for tracking, mixing, and monitoring.

If you’re thinking of using the BX8 D3 in a small room, its huge bottom end may be overpowering, especially if you have no acoustic treatment, and if so, the smaller BX5 model might be a better choice.

Overall, the BX8 D3 is an impressive monitor that has found a home in many studios around the world!

M-Audio BX8 D3 Specs:

  • Dimensions: 9.5” x 11.9” x 15.1”
  • Woofer: 8” Kevlar low-frequency driver
  • Tweeter: 1.25” natural silk-dome
  • Design: 2-way rear ported
  • Frequency response: 37Hz – 22kHz
  • 150 watts total (80 watts LF, 70 watts HF) bi-amped Class AB amplifiers
  • XLR and ¼” input jacks
  • Weight: 23.1 lbs (Each)

PROS

  • Excellent overall monitor
  • Deep bass, detailed mids, and transparent highs.
  • Includes controls to optimize monitor placement
S

CONS

  • Strong bass response may be overpowering in small rooms

M-Audio BX8 D3 Studio Monitors

Prices accurate as of:

Other Noteworthy Monitors

Here’s a runner-up that didn’t quite make my list.  But check it out, as you may find a great deal!

Prices accurate as of:

Conclusion

Choosing the right studio monitors is not easy and should be done only after careful consideration.  Your budget, the size of the room you are working in, and the sound quality of the monitors are all critical.

What you’ll find is that there are no “perfect” monitors – they will all sound different in different studios. 

Your recording hardware or software, your computer soundcard, your AD/DA converter, and especially your room – these all end up coloring the sound in different ways. 

So trying to find the perfect monitors that everyone agrees on isn’t realistic.

Instead, look for quality monitors in your price range that have provided great results for many studio owners over the years.

And finally, don’t forget your room acoustics!  High-quality monitors only reach their full potential in a properly treated room.

 

 

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Best Budget Studio Monitors (Under $300 A Pair) – 2019 Reviews https://www.themusickitchen.com/studio-gear/best-studio-monitors-under-300/ https://www.themusickitchen.com/studio-gear/best-studio-monitors-under-300/#respond Sat, 17 Aug 2019 13:13:49 +0000 https://www.themusickitchen.com/?p=28036 Discover the best studio monitors under $300 a pair for your home studio or recording studio. Updated for 2019.

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Welcome to this first in a series of articles on buying the best studio monitors for a home studio or project studio. This article is going to cover the best budget studio monitors under $300 a pair.

I’ve divided the reviews into under $100, $100 to $200, and $200 to $300 a pair, since price is a prime consideration when choosing under $300 monitors.

All my picks below are well-designed monitors that sound surprisingly good for the money! 

Also, note that all monitors are powered near-field monitors with built-in amplifiers.  These are the best choices for monitors for a home or project studio.

Update Notes: 

This article was updated on August 19, 2019, and there were lots of changes!

I removed the KRK Rokit 5 G3 (Generation 3) and added the KRK RP5 G3. The Mackie CR3 had a lot of unsatisfied users and was replaced with the CR4. And finally, the JBL LSR305 studio monitors are no longer available and have been replaced with the JBL Professional 305P MkII studio monitors.

Best Budget Studio Monitors Under $300 A Pair

Prices accurate as of:

Studio Monitor Buying Guide

If you are new to buying monitors, please check out my Studio Monitors 101: A How-To Guide To Buying The Best Studio Monitors For Your Home Studio article.  You’ll learn the differences between monitors and speakers, types of studio monitors, monitor design, and much more.

Best Studio Monitors Under $300: What To Look For

To start, inexpensive studio monitors under $300 a pair are your basic “entry-level” home studio monitors for home studio or small project studio music production.  If this is the very top of your budget, then the good news is that you can get some excellent monitors at this price.

The bad news is that you may outgrow them pretty quickly!

With studio monitors, like most things in life, you get what you pay for…

Studio Monitor Price vs. Performance

The central role of studio monitors is to give you an accurate, uncolored and transparent picture of the music you are creating.  That is hard to accomplish at the under $300 price point.

Manufacturers have to spend quite a lot on R&D, materials, engineering and components to create quality monitors, and they have to scrimp a bit on quality with their lower-end models to make a profit.

Generally, more expensive monitors give you the following features and benefits:

  • a larger woofer size for tighter and deeper bass response
  • better tweeter design and construction for tight focused highs
  • better cabinet construction/port design for improved sound reproduction, imaging, clarity and bass response
  • more power for increased volume without distortion
  • flatter frequency response overall

While the monitors I review below are the best budget studio monitors available at the under $300 price point, they all do have limitations.

The bass response won’t be as good as with higher-priced models.  Their design will use lesser-quality (but still good quality) components and materials.  And the sound won’t be as detailed and refined as more expensive models.

So, get the best monitors you can afford, even if you have to stretch a bit!

My advice is that spending just a little more is well worth the additional money.  A pair of monitors around $500 a pair vastly outperforms lower-priced ones. You’ll get monitors that won’t need to be replaced or upgraded for many years.

Pro Tip

The key to killer mixes is an accurate monitoring system that’s placed in an acoustically treated room.  You’ll get the best results with your monitors by including proper studio acoustic treatment like acoustic panels, bass traps, diffusers, etc.

Important Note: Many prices you see in online stores are for only one monitor, which is misleading! This article only includes a pair of monitors that are under $300.

Best Studio Monitors Under $100 A Pair

PreSonus Eris E3.5

Presonus Eris-E3.5 Studio Monitors (Pair) with Full-Sized Headphones, Knox Gear Isolation Pads and Breakout Cable

It’s hard to find a good sounding powered studio monitor under $100 for a pair.  I previously reviewed two monitors here, but I removed the Mackie CR3 (replaced with the over $100 CR4) as many buyers ended up not very happy with them.

However, the PreSonus Eris E3.5 2-way active powered studio monitors stand far out from the crowd and are by far the best cheap studio monitors under $100.

PreSonus, based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, is a very well-known manufacturer of monitors, software, preamps and more.  The E3.5 uses the same technology as its top-rated big brother Eris E5 studio monitors to deliver high-quality sound, just with smaller size drivers.

The E3.5 monitors are very popular for use in home studios, for video production, or gaming.  Their small size lets you place them on either side of your computer or computer monitor.

These monitors have very good low-end punch for its size, and overall the sound is accurate and flat. If you’re coming from using stereo speakers, you’ll have to adjust your ears to the flatter sound – remember, studio monitors are designed to reproduce your audio without any frequency hype.

They can also crank up pretty loud if desired without distorting, which most inexpensive monitors can’t do.

PreSonus Eris E3.5 Construction

The E3.5 uses a 1-inch silk dome tweeter and a 3.5 inch composite Kevlar woofer. Their design creates a smooth and well-defined sound throughout the frequency range.

The main controls – the Power switch and Volume – are found on the front panel for easy access.  There’s also a convenient Aux In and Headphones output on the front.

Rear panel controls include High and Low Acoustic Tuning pots for use when optimizing your monitors’ placement in your studio.

There are RCA jacks for unbalanced audio inputs and ¼” TRS connectors for balanced inputs.

PreSonus Eris E3.5 Monitors

Hands down, the E3.5 is the best inexpensive near-field studio monitor under $100 available today. 

PreSonus Eris E3.5 Specs:

  • Size: 5.6” W x 6.4” D x 8.3” H
  • Woofer: 3.5” Kevlar composite
  • Tweeter: 1” silk-dome
  • Design: 2-way rear ported
  • Frequency response: 80Hz – 20kHz
  • 2 x 25 watts AB class
  • 1/8”, 1/4” and RCA inputs
  • Weight: 6.4 lbs.

PreSonus Eris E3.5 Studio Monitors (Pair)

Prices accurate as of:

Special bundle with headphones, monitor isolation pads, and a breakout cable:

Prices accurate as of:

Best Studio Monitors Under $200 ($100 to $200 A Pair)

Mackie CR Series CR4

Mackie CR4 4-Inch Creative Reference Multimedia Monitors with Foam Isolation Pads and 2X 10ft TRS Cables

The Mackie CR Series CR4 is an Amazon’s Choice for powered studio monitors at this price, with over 1,000 positive reviews.  It’s an ideal choice for producers or composers on a small budget or where space is at a premium.

Plus, it comes with the necessary cables you’ll need to connect these monitors to your studio setup.

The CR4 offers excellent performance for the price.  It’s a 2-way monitor designed to deliver clear, smooth and accurate audio, and has found a home in many home studios, video edit suites, and gaming setups.

CR4 Construction

It has an all-wood cabinet that provides better sound quality than plastic cabinets usually found in monitors at this price.  A custom-tuned rear port helps deliver lots of low end.

The front panel includes convenient front-panel headphone and Aux jacks for easy accessibility.

The inclusion of RCA, 1.4”, and 1/8” input jacks give lots of options for non-professional home studio connections, including connecting a smartphone or other mobile device.  But note that the CR4s do not include an XLR jack for connections from mixing boards or other pro-level gear. 

Mackie CR Series CR4 – Unpacking Demo

A set of two monitors comes with some nice goodies: 2 acoustic pads for sonic isolation, a 1/8”-to-stereo RCA connector for PC/Mac connections, and a 1/8” to 1/8” cable for connecting smartphones.  This easily adds $50 of value to this package.

Highly recommended as a best small studio monitor priced well under $200.

Mackie CR Series CR4 Specs:

  • Dimensions: 12.5” x 16.3” x 9.5”
  • Woofer: 4” woofer
  • Tweeter: 0.75” ferrofluid-cooled silk-dome
  • Design: 2-way ported
  • Frequency response: 70Hz – 20kHz
  • 50 watts
  • ¼” and RCA inputs
  • Weight: 12 lbs. (pair)

Mackie CR Series CR4 Studio Monitors (Pair)

Prices accurate as of:

Best Studio Monitors Under $300 ($200 to $300 A Pair)

KRK ROKIT 5 G3

KRK RP5G3 ROKIT 5 G3 5

Note: As of August 2019, this monitor is being discontinued and will be replaced with the ROKIT 5 G4. However, it’s still available but probably not for much longer.  The ROKIT 5 G4 is over $300 a pair which no longer makes it budget-priced.

The KRK ROKIT 5 G3 powered studio monitors have a reputation for being one of the best home studio reference monitors in the under $300 price class.  They are certainly one of the most popular; they get very high recommendations from reviews on Amazon and other sites.

The G3 is the third generation of the ROKIT 5 monitor, and KRK has made numerous improvements over the years without raising the price.                                                               

For inexpensive monitors at this price point, the Rokit 5 G3 does offer excellent detailed imaging, clear midrange, and tight bass.  And as mentioned, they are favorites among hundreds of user’s reviews.

The Rokit 5 G3 does add a little coloration to the sound in the mid-range, so they don’t have a flat response, but most users find this a benefit when mixing.

Rokit 5 G3 Connections

Buyers of the Rokit 5 are frequently home studio recording hobbyists or beginning product studio owners.  Rokit (and other manufacturers of lower-end monitors) helps address the needs of this market by including RCA input jacks, which are very handy for non-professional home studio setups.

Many home studio owners end up connecting their monitors to non-pro level equipment which may only have RCA outputs.  Pro-level connections are usually through XLR jacks.

The Rokit 5 includes high and low frequency adjust controls for optimizing the monitor’s performance to your listening room.  Adjusting the controls give you a very quick and easy way to help your mixes sound better, even when you don’t have any acoustic treatment in your listening room.

Their small size and weight can be a significant benefit for studios in bedrooms or closets (you’d be surprised how many people set up studios in closets!)

On the downside, the small 5” woofer cannot generate a powerful low-end, especially at high volumes.  If you are producing hip hop, rap, or bass-heavy types of electronic tracks and like to listen at high volumes, these may not be the best monitors for you.

However, KRK does offer a sub-woofer which would provide the low end you’re looking for.  But for the best bang for your buck, you would be better off spending more for monitors that give you a better bass response right off the bat.

Pro Tip: Some inexpensive monitor isolation pads will make these monitors sound even better!

Tip:  There are other great monitors in the KRK Audio lineup.  They also offer Rokit 6, Rokit 7, and Rokit 10 models.  Check them out!

KRK ROKIT 5 G3  Reference Monitors:

KRK ROKIT 5 G3  Specs:

  • Dimensions: 11.2″ x 7.4″ x 9.7″
  • Woofer: 5” aramid glass composite cone
  • Tweeter: 1” soft-dome
  • Design: 2-way ported
  • Max Peak SPL: 102 dB
  • Frequency response: 45Hz – 35kHz
  • 50 watt total bi-amped Class A/B amplifier
  • XLR, ¼”, and RCA input jacks
  • Weight: 17 lbs.

KRK ROKIT 5 G3  Reference Studio Monitors

Price is for 1 monitor

Prices accurate as of:

PreSonus Eris E5

PreSonus Eris E5 2-Way Active Studio Monitor (Single)

Many studio monitors in the under $300 category that I’ve looked at have significant shortcomings – poor sound quality, inferior construction materials, or too much sound coloration.

However, the PreSonus Eris E5 is not one of these poor-quality monitors.   It gives you tons of value at this price point, with excellent precise sound reproduction, solid imaging, and a relatively flat frequency response.  And it has received numerous praise in reviews for its accuracy and stereo separation.

The Eris E5 is the big brother of the previously reviewed Eris E3.5.  With 70 watts of power, it’s one of the more powerful inexpensive reference studio monitors for both home studios and small project studios available.

The E5 is a 2-way powered studio monitor that delivers crisp, clear sound throughout the frequency range.  Its design gives it a wider sweet spot that helps users create better mixes.

PreSonus Eris E5 Studio Monitors

PreSonus Eris E5 Controls

The Power switch and Volume controls are located on the front panel for easy access.  There’s also a convenient Aux In and Headphones output.

For connecting devices, there are three options: unbalanced RCA jacks, balanced ¼” TRS connectors, and a balanced XLR jack.  It’s also one of the few monitors in this price range with a pro XLR connector.

The rear features several controls to get the best performance in your studio.

High and Low Acoustic Tuning pots help compensate for room acoustics issues in your studio.

The Acoustic Space switch helps reduce the bass boost that occurs when a monitor is placed close to a wall or in a corner.

Overall, the PreSonus Eris E5 offers excellent performance at a very affordable price!

PreSonus Eris E5 Specs:

  • Dimensions: 7” x 7.68” x 10.24”
  • Woofer: 5.25” Kevlar low-frequency transducer
  • Tweeter: 1” ultra-low-mass,silk-dome
  • Design: 2-way front-ported
  • Maximum SPL: 102 dB
  • Frequency response: 53Hz – 22kHz
  • 70 watt Class AB bi-amplification
  • XLR, ¼” TRS and RCA inputs
  • Weight: 10.2 lbs.

PreSonus Eris E5

Prices accurate as of:

JBL Professional 305P MkII

JBL 305P MkII 5

JBL has been in the business of making loudspeakers and monitors for many decades and brings that experience to making great sounding monitors at a very affordable price.

Their LSR305P MkII powered reference monitors features JBL’s next-generation transducers, a powerful new EQ control, and modern design.

These monitors are highly prized for their well refined and balanced sound, excellent imaging, a wide sweet spot, and clear focused mids and highs.

It’s also the most powerful – with 82 watts – of all the monitors featured here.

The LSR305P MkII incorporates various technologies from JBL’s high-end pro monitors. The following is from JBL’s website:

“The Image Control Waveguide technology… precisely controls the sound emanating from the speaker in the vertical and horizontal planes ensuring the presentation at the listening position is neutral and accurate.

JBL’s Patented Slip Stream™ low-frequency port design works in concert with the woofer to produce deep bass response at all playback levels. The double-flared shape of the port is precisely engineered for greater low-frequency extension.”

JBL 305P MkII Controls

Each monitor has two controls to customize its performance in your studio to compensate for room acoustics.

HF Trim lets you adjust the highs from -2 dB to +2 dB.

A new feature is their Boundary EQ, which helps balance low-frequency response when the monitors are placed near walls.

JBL 3 Series MkII Studio Monitors

The LSR305P MkII is highly recommended for under $300 a pair monitors!

JBL Professional 305P MkII Specs:

  • Dimensions: 11.7” x 7.3” x 9.1”
  • Woofer: 5” low-frequency transducer
  • Tweeter: 1” soft-dome high-frequency transducer
  • Design: 2-way rear ported
  • Max SPL: 108 dB
  • Frequency response: 43 Hz – 24 kHz
  • 82-watt total power Class D amps
  • Balanced XLR and 1/4” TRS inputs
  • Weight: 10.2 lbs.

JBL Professional 305P MkII

Prices accurate as of:

Other Noteworthy Monitors

Here is a runner-up that didn’t quite make my list.  But check it out, as you may find a great deal!

Prices accurate as of:

Conclusion

I hope you got a lot out of my reviews of the best studio monitors under $300.

Choosing the right studio monitors involves three things: your budget, the size of the room you are working in, and of course, the sound quality of the monitors.

What you’ll find is that there are no “perfect” monitors – they will all sound different in each person’s studio. 

Your recording hardware or software, your computer soundcard, your AD/DA converter, and especially your room – these all end up coloring the sound in different ways. 

So trying to find the perfect monitors that are the holy grail of sound isn’t realistic.

Instead, look for quality monitors in your price range that have provided great results for many studio owners.

Then, try to stretch your budget a bit to get the best you can possibly afford!

And finally, don’t forget your room acoustics!  High-quality monitors only reach their full potential in a properly treated room.

The post Best Budget Studio Monitors (Under $300 A Pair) – 2019 Reviews appeared first on The Music Kitchen.

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Best Ukuleles For Beginners (Under $100) – 2019 Reviews https://www.themusickitchen.com/instruments/best-ukulele-beginner/ https://www.themusickitchen.com/instruments/best-ukulele-beginner/#respond Fri, 16 Aug 2019 15:17:44 +0000 https://www.themusickitchen.com/?p=30588 Looking for a ukulele? Check out our mini-guide to choosing a quality ukulele and our reviews of the best ukuleles for beginners under $100.

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When you want to learn how to play an instrument that’s fun and not too complicated, the ukulele is right at the top of the list. And our reviews of the best ukuleles for beginners (under $100) can help you get started with a great instrument.

This small four-stringed, guitar-like instrument is compact enough for both kids and adults to play, isn’t hard to get started playing, and is actually very enjoyable to learn to play.

The ukulele is often associated with Hawaii, but it actually has origins in Portugal where its relatives today are called the braguinha or cavaquinho.

Though many people think of the ukulele as a “toy instrument” that’s not for serious musicians, that’s far from the truth.

In fact, in recent years there’s been a resurgence in interest in ukuleles; Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwoʻole’s beautiful rendition of “Over The Rainbow” went platinum and made the ukulele hip!

Artists such as Taylor Swift and Ingrid Michaelson have used ukuleles in their songs.

You can find ukulele clubs and groups all over the country, and there are many ukulele virtuosos – just check out Taimane Gardner on YouTube.

With all this interest, there are dozens of ukuleles available today for both pros and amateurs alike.

Top-quality ukuleles can be a bit on the expensive side, so we created this guide so that you can find the best ukuleles for beginners that cost under $100.

We’re going to focus on two different sizes of ukulele – soprano and concert ukuleles – that are perfect to start with.

Each of the ukuleles that we’ll review is ideal for anyone that wants to learn the instrument, and they won’t make a huge dent in your wallet.

Here are the ukuleles that we’ll be covering:

Best Ukuleles For Beginners (Under $100)

Prices accurate as of:

Review Criteria

All ukuleles included in my reviews were selected based on their widespread use and reputation in the professional music community and from personal use and knowledge.

I’ve also added my insights gained from my 25+ years of experience running a very successful music production company, plus working with dozens of composers and thousands of tracks for my Audio Addiction Music Library, a production music library with global distribution.

Best Ukuleles For Beginners: What to Look for in a Ukulele

Before we get started on our reviews, let’s take a look at some features that you should think about before purchasing a ukulele.

Ukulele Price vs. Quality

As ukuleles are small instruments, you can get quality instruments for not a lot of money. In fact, some of the best tonewoods – woods used in the construction of the ukulele – can actually be some of the least expensive options.

However, you should stay clear of toy ukuleles that are in the $15 to $20 price range.  These are inferior instruments constructed with poor quality materials and are not actually designed to be played with any seriousness.

However, you can find good quality instruments in the $25 to $50 dollar range.

But once you move up to around the $50 to $100 range, you’ll have no problem finding some very good quality ukuleles.

The Best Tonewoods

Tonewoods are one of the most important considerations when you’re looking into purchasing a new ukulele.

The woods used in the construction of a ukulele are a major factor in how the instrument sounds and what kind of tone it will have.

Many ukulele builders will use a softwood like spruce or cedar for the top, and hardwood for the sides.  This produces a good balance of volume and tone.

With this in mind, let’s take a look at some of the commonly used tonewood types:

  • Mahogany – If you’re looking for an instrument that projects well, mahogany is an excellent Ukuleles made from mahogany tend to be loud and produces a warm tone that’s perfect for both playing at home and on stage without amplification.
  • Koa – Koa is a very traditional tonewood for ukuleles, especially for those made in Hawaii. It produces a unique sound, and it also has a distinctive wood grain.
  • Rosewood – As a rule of thumb, you’ll find rosewood in the construction of fretboards on guitars, basses, and ukuleles, but it also makes an excellent wood for ukulele construction as well. The sound it produces is vibrant.
  • Spruce – If you prefer a brighter sound, then spruce may just be your choice. It’s a beautiful light-colored wood and sounds great in intimate settings.
  • Redwood – Redwood is probably one of the most expensive tonewoods for ukuleles.  It’s hard to find a redwood ukulele in the sub-$100 price range, so its warm and resonant sound may be something that you’d opt for later as an upgrade.
  • Cedar – Larger ukuleles like the baritone ukulele are frequently made of cedar. Cedar produces a natural tone with lots of bass.

Laminated Ukuleles

Many entry-level ukuleles will be made of laminated wood –a thin veneer of hardwood over a cheaper wood.  Laminated ukuleles can still be excellent-sounding instruments, so at the under $100 price level it’s okay to consider laminated ukuleles as well as solid-wood ones.

Ukulele Sizes & Number of Frets

Ukuleles come in a variety of sizes and number of frets.  There is no best type of ukulele; they come in different sizes for different sounds.

In general, the larger the ukulele, the more frets it will have. Here are the different sizes of ukuleles:

  • Soprano – Soprano ukuleles are the most common ukuleles.  These ukes are usually about 21 inches in length and have anywhere between 12 and 15 frets. Soprano ukuleles are one of the best ukuleles to learn on for small children because of their size.
  • Concert – Concert ukuleles are a bit larger than the soprano instruments and come with at least 15 frets. They are also usually around 21 inches in length. They are an excellent choice for intermediate players and beginners with larger hands. Concert ukuleles overall have more volume and project better than sopranos.
  • Tenor – Tenor ukuleles are a bit larger than concerts and can be around 26 inches or so. They also have a lot more frets; in fact, tenors can range from 15 to 25 frets, which makes tenors a great instrument for those who are also guitar players.

    Tenors are recommended for adults who are already proficient in the instrument.  Tenor ukes also come in a wider variety of woods than the other types and have more frets for more advanced playing techniques.

  • Baritone – Baritone ukuleles are much larger than the other models. A baritone ukulele can be as much as 30 inches in length and usually has around 18 frets. This is a great ukulele for just about anyone except probably small children.

Ukulele Action

An instrument’s action refers to the height of the strings off of the neck.

Unfortunately, many inexpensive ukuleles come with very high action, which makes playing it difficult for beginners.

Plus, high action can make the notes go out of tune when played, even if the instrument is in tune.

Action can be adjusted at a music store, but this is something would be an additional expense.

Best Ukuleles Under $100 for Beginners Reviews

All of the following are great for learning ukulele for beginners.

Kala KA-15S-S Soprano Ukulele - Best Ukuleles For Beginners Under $100

Kala is a well-known maker of quality affordable ukuleles.

The Kala KA-15S-S is part of Kala’s flagship collection.  In terms of sales it’s probably the best ukulele under $100. It’s certainly one of the most popular soprano ukuleles with over 1,000 5-star reviews. 

The neck is mahogany, the fretboard is rosewood, and its top is made of bright and beautiful spruce.  These woods combine to provide an excellent sound, and it comes with a satin finish.

Note that in mid-2017 Kala will no longer be making ukuleles with rosewood due to export restrictions.

If you’re looking for one of the best ukuleles for beginners, this is a great option.

It’s an excellent sounding instrument, despite its low price tag.

The action is low right out of the box which makes it very easy to play.  And the neck, frets, nut/ saddle, and tuners are all high quality and show no significant defects that you find in many inexpensive ukuleles.

It also comes with top-quality Aquila Super Nylgut strings, a nice bonus.

Overall, the Kala KA-15S-S is a great value for beginning players.

PROS

  • The ukulele is well made and produces a well-rounded sound
  • It comes with Aquila strings and a gig bag
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CONS

  • Over time, the pearloid dots on the fretboard can wear away

Prices accurate as of:

Lanikai LU-21 Soprano Ukulele - Best Ukuleles For Beginners Under $100

Lanikai is a well-respected maker of ukuleles and is now part of the Hohner Music USA (known for their harmonicas).

The Lanikai LU-21 is another user favorite with a price tag well under $100.  It is made of nato or Eastern mahogany.  This is a rare tonewood that helps this ukulele create a warm, mellow sound that is quite resonant.

Nato wood is also beautiful; it’s a darker wood with grain that forms some very unique patterns.

The fretboard is made of rosewood, and it has 12 frets.

The construction quality is solid, with no readily apparent defects that detract from its sound or playability.

Note that keeping the ukulele in tune seems to be an issue for many users. However, many beginners don’t realize that new nylon strings will go out of tune quickly on all ukuleles, even the highest quality ones, but once the strings get stretched the instrument stays in tune.

Overall, the LU-12 is easy to play, looks and sounds great, and is an excellent instrument for beginners.

PROS

  • A special package deal includes a clip-on tuner, gig bag, instructional DVD and polishing cloth – a lot of value for the money
S

CONS

  • Action may be high on some instruments

Prices accurate as of:

Kala MK-S Makala Soprano Ukulele - Best Ukuleles For Beginners Under $100

Kala’s Makala series of ukuleles is their starter series.  Though they are inexpensive instruments, they are well-made and known for their excellent tone and playability.

The Kala MK-S Makala Soprano Ukulele is a well-crafted ukulele designed for beginners.  It’s a 12-fret instrument that’s easy to play and has an excellent sound.

It has a body made of an inexpensive tonewood called agathis. This wood produces a beautiful clear sound while still keeping the price of this ukulele well under $100.

In addition to agathis body, the Kala MK-S Makala has a rosewood fingerboard and bridge and a mahogany neck.  The ukulele overall has a rich nutty look that’s very attractive and comes with a satin finish.

The construction is solid without any noticeable defects.  The action is set up quite low and is very playable right out of the box.

Highly recommended for beginners!

PROS

  • Excellent clear sound and solid craftsmanship
S

CONS

  • Some users complain of a buzzing sound on some frets, but this is not a widespread complaint.

Prices accurate as of:

Luna Guitars Tattoo Concert Mahogany Ukulele - Best Ukuleles For Beginners Under $100

Luna Guitars is a revered maker of all sorts of stringed instruments – acoustic and electric guitars, basses, banjos, bouzoukis, ukuleles, and more.  It certainly makes the list of the best inexpensive ukuleles.

The Luna Guitars Tattoo Concert Mahogany Ukulele is one of a kind with its striking “tattoo” on the top of the instrument that’s drawn in a Hawaiian /Polynesian tattoo style.

This design is based on a Hawaiian turtle (honu) which is a symbol of longevity and endurance. This tattoo has a swirling pattern which makes it a very eye-catching instrument. The design is laser-etched, so it’ll never wear away.

You can also find some additional design elements around the rosette, which is a nice touch.

Outside of its visual appeal, you might notice that this instrument has more frets than the previous 3 ukuleles.  This is because it is a concert ukulele with 18 frets.

The top and neck of this ukulele are made of mahogany, but the fretboard is made of rosewood.

It produces a full-bodied yet warm tone and is easy to play.

PROS

  • The design is unusual with a Hawaiian /Polynesian
  • It comes with Aquila strings and a basic gig bag
  • It’s a very durable instrument due to its mahogany construction.
S

CONS

  • The gig bag is not substantial enough to prevent damage if it gets hit.
  • The wood is thin so care must be taken not to damage it.

Prices accurate as of:

Cordoba Protégé U100CM Concert Ukulele - Best Ukuleles For Beginners Under $100

Cordoba is a ukulele manufacturer that utilizes traditional guitar construction techniques in crafting ukuleles. The results are excellent sounding and well-made instruments that should last for decades.

Cordoba designed the Protégé U100CM Concert Ukulele to be a beginner-level instrument but with a rich tone and excellent playability.

The Protégé U100CM is made of mahogany with a rosewood bridge and fingerboard, and the rosette in the center features a mother-of-pearl design that’s very attractive.

This is also a ukulele that’s easy to play and comes with a satin finish.

Also included is a standard concert-sized gig bag.

PROS

  • This instrument has a very high-quality construction.
  • The mahogany construction provides a huge sound that is also warm –
  • It’s a very lightweight instrument; it only weighs a little more than four pounds.
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CONS

  • It can ship with glue marks, which can take away from the aesthetics of the instrument.
  • The action (the distance of the strings to the fretboard) may be high which makes playing it a bit more challenging. This can be adjusted though.

Prices accurate as of:

Final Thoughts

We hope that this guide has helped you in picking a ukulele that fits your needs.  Our reviews of the 5 best ukuleles for beginners priced under $100 should help you narrow down the choices.

Despite a relatively low price tag, these instruments are all good quality entry-level ukuleles that can provide years of enjoyment.

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Ukulele Tips For Beginners: How To Improve Your Strumming https://www.themusickitchen.com/instruments/ukulele-playing-tips/ https://www.themusickitchen.com/instruments/ukulele-playing-tips/#respond Fri, 16 Aug 2019 14:52:42 +0000 https://www.themusickitchen.com/?p=30935 Looking to become a better ukulele player? Check out our tips on how to develop good rhythm and timing!

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Learning to play the ukulele is loads of fun and being able to play the songs you love makes it more fulfilling. This Ukulele Tips For Beginners: How To Improve your Strumming article is going to help you develop good rhythm and timing when strumming your ukulele. 

Strumming in time with the music doesn’t always come naturally to beginning ukulele players, but with a little practice you’ll be playing effortlessly!

Since the ukulele is played mostly by strumming, developing a good sense of rhythm is a must especially when you’re changing from one chord to another.

Some people are born with the gift of rhythm (many become percussionists and rhythm guitarists), while others take a little more time learning to move with the beat. If you’re more of the latter, it’s alright. We’re here to help!

For rhythm-challenged players, we’ve put together a handy list of fun and effective ukulele strumming tips to help you improve your timing skills. 1, 2, 3, 4 – let’s go!

Ukulele Tips For Beginners: 4 Strumming Tips

Playing Tip #1: Use your foot

You’ve probably tried tapping your foot to the beat of a song. This is good practice – just keep going and try tapping to songs with different tempos or speeds. Get yourself acquainted with different tempos and rhythms and you’ll be able to use this knowledge when you play your ukulele.

Here’s how to apply this skill when strumming. Match the movement of your tapping foot with that of your strumming hand. When your foot is down, equate this to a downstroke. Once your foot lifts up or off the floor, do an upstroke.

Playing Tip #2: Use a metronome

A metronome is a tool that keeps regular beats to help musicians keep time to the tempo of a piece. Mechanical metronomes produce an audible clicking sound. There are also digital metronomes in the form of software and even apps for iOS and Android devices. Metronomes are easily accessible to musicians and they are highly recommended for beginners to use.

You can develop a sense of time by listening to the clicks of the metronome. In time you will get the hang of the different tempos and this will help you develop an internal rhythm. And when you’ve gotten used to hearing the clicks, you’ll find it easier to practice playing with the clicks to guide you. Over time you’ll find you don’t need the metronome anymore as you’ve already developed a keen sense of rhythm.

Playing Tip #3: Start slow

If you find some tempos challenging to play in time using the metronome, cut down on the speed and start slow. It’s perfectly alright to go back to a more comfortable speed until you’ve gotten the hang of strumming to this slower pace. Then, gradually increase the tempo a few beats per minute. Practice and repeat!

Playing Tip #4: Loosen up and dance!

Okay, you don’t really have to dance, but you have to move. Put your favorite soprano ukulele down first and loosen up physically. If your body can feel the beat, you can play to the beat! Open your music streaming app and play songs at random. At every song, create a movement that matches the rhythm. Think of how orchestra conductors move and do something similar. Don’t be shy and let the beat enter your being. If you want to dance, do!

Wrap Up

In summary, your progress as a ukulele player will depend on a number of things, but at the top of the list is developing a good sense of rhythm and timing.

We hope the four ukulele tips above help you develop your sense of timing so you can become a better ukulele player. What other techniques have you tried to improve your rhythm? Share them with us!

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Best Bass Chorus Pedals Reviews– Our Picks For 2019 https://www.themusickitchen.com/accessories/best-bass-chorus-pedals/ https://www.themusickitchen.com/accessories/best-bass-chorus-pedals/#respond Mon, 12 Aug 2019 18:49:46 +0000 https://www.themusickitchen.com/?p=31541 The post Best Bass Chorus Pedals Reviews– Our Picks For 2019 appeared first on The Music Kitchen.

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As a bass player, you’re looking to stand out from the crowd.  The best bass chorus pedals available today can help you create a unique sound that will distinguish you from other players.

Bass chorus pedals first gained in popularity in the 1970s when progressive rock and fusion groups started using them.  The chorused bass sound moved mainstream in the late 70s and early 80s when artists like Michael Jackson and Earth Wind and Fire featured chorused bass lines in their hit songs.

Back then, bassists had no choice but to use a guitar chorus pedal as those designed specifically for bass didn’t exist.

Today though, most modern bass chorus pedals are optimized to reduce or eliminate the chorus effect on the bass’s lower frequency range, making the sound clearer and less muddied. 

Also, bassists who use a guitar chorus pedal usually find they lose some low end.

While there aren’t tons of choices available, the best bass chorus pedals offer great tone and are affordable to just about every bass player.

Let’s check them out!

NOTE: If you’re new to chorus pedals, be sure to check out my short Bass Chorus Pedal Buyers Guide at the end of the reviews.

Best Bass Chorus Pedals

Prices accurate as of:

Best Bass Chorus Pedal Reviews

Boss CEB-3 Bass Chorus Pedal Review

Boss PSA-120S Power Adapter

Just about every bassist or guitarist has owned a Boss chorus pedal at one time or another.

The Boss CEB-3 is one of the most popular bass chorus pedals, and it draws its lineage from the famed Boss CE-1 and CE-2 vintage guitar chorus pedals.

The CEB-3 is a digital chorus and is known for its transparent, smooth sound.  You can create chorus effects from a subtle shimmer to a heavily modulated sound.  And you get a high-quality, heavy-duty pedal that Boss is known for.

The pedal has Level, Low Filter, Rate, and Depth controls that let you shape the sound precisely.  You can get a very light chorused sound up to a very heavy effected sound, and the Level control enables you to blend the wet/dry mix.

LED lights for each control show you how they are affecting the sound, very handy for onstage use in the dark.

The CEB-3 has a split frequency design that applies the chorus effect more to higher frequencies, with the Low Filter control determining the low cutoff frequency. This feature is great for soloing as higher bass notes receive more of the chorus effect, while low notes have less.

The result is a warmer, tighter, and more transparent overall sound.

See what you think with thise demo:

Boss CEB-3 Bass Chorus Demo

Another nice feature is that there are two outputs for stereo use.

The Boss CEB-3 uses one 9V battery (or optional B0ss PSA series AC adaptor) and comes with a 5-year warranty.  It’s a highly recommended bass chorus pedal.

PROS

  • Classic chorus sounds that are very customizable
  • Digital circuitry for clean, high-quality sound
  • Stereo outputs
  • Boss quality and durability
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CONS

  • Not a true bypass pedal

Prices accurate as of:

Electro-Harmonix Bass Clone Chorus Pedal Review

Electro-Harmonix Clone Bass Chorus Pedal

The Electro-Harmonix Bass Clone Chorus Pedal is considered one of the best bass chorus pedals ever produced, and it quickly became a user favorite since its introduction in 2016.  It’s an analog pedal that provides killer tone with ultra-flexible controls to create the perfect chorus sound.

The Bass Clone’s circuitry is nearly identical to the Electro-Harmonix’s super popular Small Clone chorus for guitar.  That pedal was introduced in 1980 and became an industry-standard chorus pedal featured on many hit records.

The Bass Clone retains the same warm transparent sound as the Small Clone but optimizes the sound for bass.

Whereas the Small Clone only had two controls, the Bass Clone has four: Depth, Rate, Bass, and Treble.

The Treble, Bass, and Crossover all work together in an interesting way.

Switching the X-Over on removes the chorus effect from low frequencies.  The Treble control affects the bass’s wet+dry chorus mix, but the Bass control only affects the dry part of the signal.

The result is a tighter, less muddied low end but with some sweet chorus on the top.

Let’s check out how it sounds:

Electro-Harmonix Bass Clone Chorus Pedal

The Bass Clone is a true bypass pedal that will help reduce noise in a pedal board.  Its heavy-duty aluminum chassis can withstand many years of use.

The Bass Clone uses one 9V battery (included) or an optional 9.6V DC-200mA power supply.

PROS

  • Completely analog chorus pedal
  • Very flexible tone shaping
  • True bypass
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CONS

  • No stereo outputs

Prices accurate as of:

MXR M83 Bass Chorus/Flanger Deluxe Pedal Review 

MXR M83 Bass Chorus Deluxe Pedal w/ 9V Power Supply and Patch CablesMXR has been a household name in effects pedals for guitar and bass for over 40 years.  I’ve owned many of them over the years.

More recently, Dunlop bought the MXR brand (plus the Cry Baby brand of wah pedals), so you’ll sometimes see the pedal also listed as the Dunlop M83.

The MXR M83 Bass Chorus Deluxe Pedal is a 100% analog chorus/flanger specifically designed for bass. It’s capable of creating everything from a warm liquid shimmer to highly modulated flanger-type effects.

Like other higher-end pedals, the M83 provides a crossover that rolls off the effect below 100Hz to create a clearer less muddled sound.

The M83 has Bass, Treble, Intensity, Rate, and Width controls for maximum flexibility in shaping your tone.

The pedal features a TRS stereo hardwire bypass mode that lets you send the effect signal to two amps, with the modulated signal moving from left to right.  It’s a very cool sound!

Check out the M83 in action:

MXR M83 Bass Chorus Deluxe Pedal Demo

Here’s a shootout of the Boss CEB-3 vs. the MXR Bass Chorus Deluxe:

Boss CEB-3 vs. MXR Bass Chorus Deluxe

The MXR M83 is a user favorite that should be at the top of your list for consideration.

PROS

  • 100% analog chorus pedal
  • Excellent tone and flexibility
  • Bundle comes with an AC power supply and cables
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CONS

  • More expensive than most bass chorus pedals

Prices accurate as of:

Eden I90 World Tour Bass Chorus Pedal Review

Eden I90 World Tour Bass Chorus PedalEden is best known for their premium-quality bass amps used by artists such as Good Charlotte, Stereophonics, Phish and Manhattan Transfer.  Not as well known is their high-quality I90 bass chorus pedal, but that is changing quickly.

The I90 is a very flexible analog chorus designed specifically for bass.  It’s a vintage-style bucket-brigade device using analog chips that recreate the highly sought-after sound of tape-based effects.   Many of the now-classic pedals like the Boss CE-1 and CE-2 chorus pedals were bucket-brigade designs.

So, if you’re looking for an analog chorus with that warm analog sound, but want modern controls, the I90 is for you.

The I90 is housed in an industrial black, white, and grey case that is very sturdy.  One nice feature is that the pedal’s on/off stomp button is set at an angle to prevent your foot from accidentally changing settings while hitting the button.

The I90 has controls for Speed, Depth, Low Cut, and Mix Level.

Similar to bass chorus pedals with a Crossover, the I90’s variable Low Cut control removes the chorus effect from the lower frequencies.  This makes the low notes sound clearer and less muddy.

Overall, the sound of the I90 is very warm and can create everything from a delicate chorus ambiance to a freaked out warble.

Eden I90 Bass Chorus Pedal Demo:

Soundcloud Demo:

One thing to note is that the Eden I90 does not run on batteries; it used an included 15V power supply.  If you plan to use the I90 in a pedal board, make sure your current power supply can output 15V, or you’ll have to power this pedal separately.

PROS

  • Analog bucket-brigade circuitry gives a warm vintage sound
  • Capable of a wide range of sounds
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CONS

  • 15V power supply may not be compatible with some pedal board power supplies

Prices accurate as of:

Aguilar Chorusaurus Bass Chorus Pedal Review

Aguilar Chorusaurus Bass Chorus PedalAguilar is a boutique maker of bass amps, cabinets, pedals, pickups, and preamps.  They only make gear for bass players.

Their commitment to making the best products for bassists has led to many happy customers, including artists such as John Patitucci (Chick Corea), Adam Clayton (U2), Will Lee, Tony Grey (John McLaughlin) and many others.

The Aguilar Chorusaurus Bass Chorus Pedal is a bucket-brigade type analog pedal that delivers the warm tone that Aguilar products are known for.  Bucket-brigade technology is an old-school analog design that uses the best of analog circuitry to create incredible warm, smooth, and organic sounding effect pedals.

The Chorusaurus has four controls – Blend, Width, Rate, and Intensity – to shape your tone as you want.  With all the controls set low, it has a very warm sound, but crank them up and you can get some crazy sounds.

An additional Blend pot determines the dry and wet signal balance.

You can check out the pedal in this video featuring renowned bassist Felix Pastorius:

Aguilar Chorusaurus Pedal Demo with Felix Pastorius

The Chorusaurus also features a special “Gig Saver” bypass that pass the signal through the pedal even if the battery dies!

One final feature is that the output can be split using a Y cable to send a stereo signal.

The Chorusaurus isn’t cheap, but if you want a premium analog-style chorus, it’s definitely a pedal you should consider.

It uses a standard 9V battery or an optional AC power supply, and it comes with a 3-year warranty.

PROS

  • Great sounding analog chorus pedal with bucket-brigade technology
  • Heavy-duty steel construction
  • Mono or stereo output (with a Y cable)
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CONS

  • More expensive than most other pedals

Prices accurate as of:

Mooer Audio Ensemble Queen Bass Chorus Pedal (MCH2-U) Review

Mooer Audio Ensemble Queen Bass Chorus Pedal (MCH2-U)

The Mooer Audio Ensemble Queen Bass Chorus Pedal is an inexpensive bass chorus pedal with an excellent sound that compares nicely with higher-priced pedals.

It’s nano-size pedal so it’s perfect for small pedal boards.

The Queen Bass is laid out with one large Rate control in the middle, and smaller Level, Tone, and Depth controls at the top.  As you can hear in the demo below, it provides a smooth chorus sound across all frequencies.

Mooer Ensemble Queen Bass Chorus Demo

The Queen Bass does not have a crossover function to limit the chorus effect on lower frequencies, so it may get a little muddy on the low strings when adding lots of the effect.  However, increasing the Tone control can help with reducing any low-end mud.

A very nice pedal for the money!

PROS

  • Great sound at a very affordable price
  • Very flexible tone controls
  • True bypass
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CONS

  • No crossover control for low frequencies

Prices accurate as of:

Bass Chorus Pedal Buyers Guide

Bass chorus pedals are pretty simple to use.  There are no right or wrong settings; you just adjust the setting until you find a sound you like.  There are, however, a few key things to know about bass chorus pedals before you buy one.

Bass Chorus Pedal Controls

Most pedals will have some combination of the following controls:

Level

Level is the amount of chorus you want added to your sound.  Less level equals less chorus sound. 

Depth

Depth controls the depth of the circuit’s modulation waveform, or the intensity of the chorus effect.  Setting the Depth to about 50% will give you a classic chorus sound.

Rate

The Rate control adjusts the speed of the modulated chorus effect, from slow to fast.  Low settings create a slower subtle effect, while higher settings create a vibrato-type sound. A good example of this is Soundgarden’s Black Hole Sun.  A 50% setting will create a nice ambient chorus effect that works well for most bass parts.

Tone 

Tone adjusts the treble and/or bass response. 

Digital Pedals vs. Analog Pedals: Which Is Better?

When it comes to audio quality, the digital vs. analog debate will probably never be resolved.

There really isn’t any one best type of chorus pedal – both analog and digital have their places.

In general, digital pedals usually provide more controls over the sound and create very clean tones.  Analog pedals usually have less controls but have a warmer sound.

Modern technology has blurred these lines quite a bit, so go by your ears more than whether the pedal is analog or digital.  In music, if it sounds good, it is good!

True Bypass

True bypass refers to a pedal that can bypass its circuitry when it’s off.   This is important to understand as effects pedal chained together can affect the quality of your sound.

The more pedals you have, the more circuitry your bass’s signal passes through.  This can lead to the possibility of a capacitance load building up, which can dull your overall tone. 

A pedal that has a true bypass mode bypasses its circuitry, thus avoiding capacitance issues.  With only one or two pedals, capacitance is not much of an issue, but with lots of pedals, it’s good to be aware that your sound may be affected. 

Effects Pedal Power Supplies

If you plan to use your pedals in a pedal board, then the issue of powering all your pedals becomes important.

Most pedal board users prefer to power all their pedals with one power supply.  It’s cleaner, neater, and avoids issues like when a battery decides to die in the middle of a key performance or recording session.

Most effects pedals use 9V batteries and all pedal power supplies will output 9V.

However, some pedals can require 12V, 15V, 18V, or 24V to work.

So, always check to see what voltage a pedal requires so you can make sure it works with your current power supply, or will work with a power supply you buy in the future.

There are lots of power supplies to choose from; check out my reviews of the best pedal power supplies here.  

The post Best Bass Chorus Pedals Reviews– Our Picks For 2019 appeared first on The Music Kitchen.

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