At the risk of making a rather obvious point, the best DJ speakers will form an essential part of any DJ set-up. Once you’ve sorted something to play and mix your tracks with – be that a laptop and controller, or a mixer with CDJs or turntables – the next step is making sure you can actually hear your mixes.
Let’s be clear what we’re talking about here – this round-up is focusing on monitor speakers for a home or small DJ booth set-up. Clubs and bars will, naturally, require proper sound systems in order to have enough power to get a dancefloor moving, and that’s a whole separate realm of the audio market.
The speakers here are generally what are known as ‘nearfield’ monitors – speakers designed to sit on a desk or stand within a few feet of the listener. They’re ideal for letting you hear the full effect of your mixer output as you practice, record or stream your next mix either at home or in a small studio. That said, when push comes to shove, some of these would likely do the job if you want to rock a small house party.
We’ve included a range of sizes and styles here, which should suit different needs and tastes. Check out our buying after the product section for a little help establishing what your set-up requires.
Best DJ speakers: MusicRadar's choice
KRK’s Rokit series of monitors have become such a ubiquitous choice for bedroom producers that they’ve become meme-worthy over the years. They’re an undeniably solid choice for their price though, and the more recent G4s are significantly improved on previous iterations.
The main reason to recommend the KRK Rokit RP7 G4s in this context is their flexible onboard controls, which allow users to adapt the speaker response to suit studio size and needs. Ideal for those looking for monitors that can handle both DJ and production duties.
The Pioneer DJ VM-70 falls into a similar bracket, although they’re even more targeted at DJ use. Of all the monitors here, Pioneer’s are probably the easiest for capturing a ‘vibey’ club sound that will complement your mixes. They make it simple to switch back to a ‘flat’ response for production too though.
Best DJ speakers: Product guide
For over a decade now, KRK’s distinctive yellow-trimmed Rokit range has been a go-to choice for many bedroom producers and aspiring DJs. Over the years the Rokits have improved significantly in terms of sound quality while remaining pleasingly affordable.
These fourth generation speakers boast a sound that’s reliable enough for production duties but with plenty of power and bass to suit DJs too. They also pack some impressive features for their price point, including a graphic EQ and built-in DSP-powered room analyser to help you overcome any sound issues with your listening space. For producers and DJs working with dance music genres in small-to-medium spaces, these are hard to fault.
Read our full KRK Rokit G4 review
Pioneer DJ is a dominant force throughout the DJ market, producing industry-leading CDJs, DJ controllers and DJ mixers. When it comes to speakers, the company might not have the same pedigree as some other brands on this list, but Pioneer certainly understands the needs of modern DJs, and the VM range comes up trumps on that front.
The pitch here is that these monitors can offer both neutral sound for music production duties and ‘club-like’ audio close to what you’d expect in a DJ booth. This is done through built-in DSP, with high and low EQ controls that can boost or cut frequencies to create a punchier or more bass heavy sound.
The result is a set of monitors that makes it convenient and easy to flip between a ‘flat’ production set-up for when you’re working on tracks, and more ‘vibey’ sound when you're in the mix or listening to your favourite tracks.
Adam Audio is a well established and highly regarded name in the studio monitor realm. Their high-end speakers are common in the studios of pro or established producers, many of whom swear by the brand’s products.
These are one of the most affordable pairs of speakers Adam offers, making them ideal for DJs who want studio quality but don’t need the power and clarity of a top end monitor. Despite the price and compact size though, there’s a lot to recommend about these. Imaging and separation is excellent, and the rear panel EQs make it easy to shape the sound to suit your room. The HPS waveguide creates a broad horizontal sweet spot too, which is likely to suit DJs.
The option of both balanced (XLR) and unbalanced (phono) inputs – with a selector switch – is handy too.
If you’re looking for a speaker purely for DJ purposes and want lots of bass power, there are arguably better options at this price point. But for a monitor you can trust for production but will also suit DJs, these are a great choice.
Unlike the compact budget options in this round-up, M-Audio’s BX series offer the look and power of a proper pro studio monitor. Especially considering the price, these offer impressive highs and decent bass response – even if the sub frequency range doesn’t go as low as other speakers in this round-up – making them particularly well suited for dance music.
Both balanced and unbalanced inputs are provided (a pair of TRS jacks and RCAs respectively). In practice, the BXs are very easy to set up and with only one power connection and stereo inputs, cabling is tidy. You can also specify left/right on the active monitor, so you can position the active speaker to whichever side suits.
Read our full M-Audio BX3 and BX4 reviews
Pitched as "the smallest active studio reference monitoring system in the world", IK’s compact speaker set-up is specifically designed to be wedged into tight spaces or packed away for use on the move. While these aren’t going to cut it as a speaker rig for a sizeable studio, they’re a significant cut above consumer-level speaker systems and offer a good level of power and sound quality for their price.
All of which makes these a great choice for more mobile-minded DJs. Since they’re highly portable and offer conveniences such as a single cable connection and Bluetooth capabilities, these make a great pairing with a laptop and compact controller for a DJ set-up you could conceivably fit into a (large) backpack.
Read our full IK Multimedia iLoud MTM review
LA-based brand Output is a newcomer to the monitor sphere but these speakers have pedigree nonetheless; they’re designed and created in cooperation with beloved speaker brand Barefoot Sound.
With a price point significantly over the $/£/€1,000 mark, these are a fair investment, but you get great quality for your money. The 6.5”/1.25” coaxial aluminium alloy drivers offer a superbly flat response which is usually reserved for a much higher-end speaker.
Call us shallow, but our main reason for the Frontier’s inclusion here is their look. Output is a stylish brand and these are some of the best looking speakers around, particularly thanks to that solid walnut base – which also helps to isolate the speaker. Just imagine how good these would look paired with a set of 1210s and a rotary mixer? Lovely stuff.
Read our full Output Frontier review
JBL’s compact monitors are small and stylish, making them well suited to squeezing into tight spaces. They pack a surprising amount of punch though, with a good amount of mid-range presence that will help you pick out those kicks, snares and claps.
Connectivity is convenient for a small monitor. Audio inputs, volume control and amp are all in one unit, and a cable then connects to the second speaker. RCA and 1/4” jack inputs can both be used together to connect two sources and a 1/8” input on the front overrides rear connectors.
The main factor to consider for monitors as compact as these is listening height. As they're somewhat short, you’ll likely need to place them on a shelf or stand to get the full effect while you mix. Still, for convenient and well-priced speakers, these are worth a look.
Read our full JBL One Series 104 review
Best DJ Speakers: Buying advice
What makes a good set of DJ speakers?
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To an extent, that comes down to what you want to get out of your set-up. Unlike studio monitors, where precision and clarity is always key, the qualities you look for in a set of speakers for a DJ set-up might differ depending on why you’re actually DJing.
Think about it in terms of the difference between home listening speakers and studio – aka reference – monitors. A good home stereo speaker is essentially there to make your music sound good, while studio monitors are meant to be honest; the latter will reveal any flaws in the audio being played, while the former might help to gloss over them.
The best DJ speakers could potentially fall somewhere between these two poles. Trustworthy speakers are definitely handy, particularly if your aim is to have a set-up to practise on or record mixes for public consumption. However, if you’re mixing for the sake of your own enjoyment, a set of speakers likely to flatter your records could be desirable.
The speakers in this round-up tend to lean towards studio quality monitors. We have, however, included a number of speakers that offer adjustable EQ settings that allow you to not only tweak the sound to suit your room, but also potentially create more of a ‘club like’ sound with a touch of artificial bass-boost.
On the size front, it’s likely speakers at the smaller end of the monitor market will do the job. Some of the sets here are compact and portable, which would be ideal for pairing with a laptop and controller set-up that you could potentially pack up and use in multiple locations. Even if you’re going to be using your speakers in one place, it’s best to place them as near to your listening position as possible, so speakers with a 5” or 7” drive will certainly do the job.
Find out more about how we test music gear and services at MusicRadar.
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