Cheap Studio Monitors – but do they SOUND cheap?

Cheap Studio Monitors – but do they SOUND cheap?


Why do most studio monitors look so blah?
I mean I know they’re supposed to be utilitarian and they’re supposed to
sound flat but are they supposed to look flat? Things are finally changing! The JBL
104s are not just about looks but the sound surprised me and put a
smile on my face as soon as I started listening to them at home. These cost
$150 for a pair. So if you’re looking for studio monitors
that are in that price range you need to be looking at these. But there are a few
things that you should consider before clicking the Buy button. first don’t
forget to subscribe to my channel to keep up with my videos on music
production tips, gear reviews, and tutorials. a couple months ago I saw
these online and I was like there’s no way that these could sound decent. then
surprise surprise the JBL team sent me a pair to try out. I’ve heard great things
about JBL from other producers but I’ve never really tried them myself. I’ve
owned several studio monitors over the years even the Yamaha NS10’s that
you see in all of the pro studios. I really need to get those out of storage. But for the past few weeks I’ve just used the JBL 104’s. They have a 4.5 low
frequency driver and 0.75 high frequency driver. they’re powered by a 60 watt
internal amp outputting 30 watts to each of the speakers. like other powered
monitors you just run your quarter inch balanced or RCA cables from your audio
interface or your computer straight into the back of one of the speakers. then you
run a speaker wire to the other one. in the front you’ve got a volume control
and a headphone jack. when you plug in the headphones the speakers actually
mute automatically which is a pretty nice feature. okay let’s talk about the
design. these look fantastic! honestly they look even better in person
I know design is subjective and maybe you won’t love the design but I
think it’s refreshing to see a company making efforts with monitors. and to me
they got it right. especially considering the look of competitors at this price
point. these are heavier than they look – about 10.5 pounds. but
they’re kind of small. JBL advertises these as portable but if you think you
can throw these in a backpack with your keyboard and computer think again. I kind
of find them a little too heavy and bulky for that. still they’re much easier
to carry around than other speakers at this price range. the JBL 104’s are
acoustically designed to sit on your desk. That’s something to consider for your
set up. but I kind of think that’s where most people are gonna put them anyway.
they’ve got a nice rubber base, hard plastic body with a metal grill.
everything feels tight and well built. okay
well how do they sound? I was surprised at the sound coming out of these as soon
as I plugged them in. it literally put a smile on my face. the details in my mixes
came shooting out at me with really good highs and mids. now I typically mix with
a subwoofer so immediately I was like where’s the bass? I did miss the low end
when using the 104 ‘s alone but when I added my sub to them, Wow things sprang
to life! if you mix music where sub frequencies are super important
I’d recommend pairing these with a sub. JBL makes the LSR310s which is $350. that’s kind of typical for an entry-level sub. now I’m not a sound
engineer so I won’t pretend to rattle off the specs like I understand it all. But that really isn’t the point, is it? if you’re able to mix adequately at home
with these, what else matters? check out the mix I made with the song
in this video, mixed on the 104’s alone. I didn’t use any other speakers or my
other monitors for reference. if you’re interested in buying these I’ll put a
link in the description of the video. if you’ve got a question about them leave
it in the comments below. keep making the music you love. I’ll see
you guys later

50 comments

  1. Hi bro IAM from Tamil Nadu
    Super video bro nice video making and nice speaker..bro
    But price so high..in low people..🙂

  2. 0:18 “Fun is not something one considers when reviewing studio monitors, but this does put a smile on my face”

  3. I have some edifier bookshelf speakers as my monitors currently cuz they fit my budget at the time, but those are very sharp looking! I personally do like the look of the rockits and the Yamahas cuz they look like a raw studio monitor that is gonna look classic almost a bit of nostalgia lol

  4. I’ve heard the music you’ve been playing around with since you got these speakers-and SOUNDS GREAT -LOOKS BETTER in our studio/living lounge!

  5. I just bought some nice portable desktop studio monitors the presonus Eris 3.5 for 100 bucks they look and sound great I'm not really a fan of the look of these JBL's but to each it's own

  6. I like the look as well. Breaks away from the typical ones. Great that the sound quality holds up too.

  7. I'll be heading to the store after work today. Not that I don't trust your opinion but the proof is in the pudding. They do kind of resemble computer speakers though in my opinion. Love the price point, wish they'd come out before I bought KRK's. ✌

  8. This puts smile on your face!
    You always smile Sanjay and i hope you'll keep Smiling and spreading the knowledge! 😊
    Love From India! 🇮🇳

  9. Grate vid Sanjay ! I’d love to see how those compare to the IK Multimedia iLoud Micro Monitors. The later are a little more expensive though

  10. @Sanjay C, Thank you Thank you, I have been looking for a more affordable monitor pair, and from what I’ve seen in your video, these are perfect, I really enjoy watching the videos you post on your channel, it would be awesome to work with you one day!!!

  11. So.. did you end up buying them ? And would you have reviewed them if they weren't as good as you mentioned ? Please don't become like those "influencers youtubers"…. Cheers.

  12. Hi Sanjay. Would you recommend pairing a subwoofer as necessary if you're producing music like trance/techno/house?

  13. Hello sir , thanks for the review, can you please tell me if I buy this, will it be necessary for me to buy a sub woofer ? And does this has no bass at-all ?? And typically i work on – lofi,shoegaze,math rock and some dreamy sounds,
    Let me know your thoughts

  14. Most important part of speakers for recording is understanding the speakers you're listening to and how they relate to other common systems. One popular brand is very bass heavy, people mix on them, but when they take their recording somewhere else they wonder where the bass went. JBL is know for crispy highs so have to remind yourself of that. No matter what speakers you get do a few mixes on them, then take that mix to friends and other places and listen to it and varous speakers so you can learn the sound of what your speakers. This is a big part of why all studios have Yamaha NS 10's they aren't the greatest sounding speaker, but they are a speaker all the working pros know the sound of and know how it will relate to the real world. Knowing your speakers is more important than the speaker themselves.

  15. PreSonus Eris E3.5 2-Way Active Speakers vs JBL 104 studio monitors, which one is best for budget?

  16. Thanks for the great review! Perfect timing, I have been looking for this very type of thing, i.e., inexpensive studio monitors. These look like they will be perfect for my current needs. Thank you so much!

  17. Hello Sanjay C! Great review. I own a expensive sub which can produce very accurate and deep low frequencies but what is the best way to hook the active sub with monitors? If you have any advice and or tips I highly appreciate it, thanks 🙏

  18. Bro you got it all I wish I had all this all I have is the akai mpk mini and my phone I’m really trying to get a computer but I’m broke af and I’m tryna make beats and songs

  19. Interesting! I will add this to my list of recommended studio monitors for students getting into production. I've had a few students get the presonus eris 3.5s and have been super impressed by those at the $99/pair price point. But of course they look like regular studio monitors XD What exactly is the low-end roll-off frequency of these monitors?

  20. Hey Sanjay, I'm getting started in my musical journey and I've got myself the komplete kontrol m32 + mk mikro… I have been using maschine as my DAW but was wondering if I should go for Ableton Standard or Logic Pro X… which would you recommend and which one would integrate best with my controllers?

  21. Do these speakers come with cables to connect to audio interface? Or do you just get the speakers in the box?

  22. What speakers do u recommend in this price range if I can’t get a sub ? I make a lot of trap music and that low end is crucial.

  23. You are a musician! How did you not hear that the sound is plastic and cheap. For example I tried connecting through an sound interface and directly to MacBook, same result – low quality sound. Power wires are poorly inserted into the monitor socket. I did not expect this quality from JBL. My wife and I are not musicians, but when we hooked up and listened this JBL, we both looked at each other, packed back , and sent it back. Your review is more like an advertisement than a true review.

  24. good morning, do i need to have a studio to buy this speaker?i just need a desktop speaker and i like the design can i use it as a desktop speaker?

  25. Hello San!! I bought these a couple months ago and they are great. What can I add to my equipment for the low ends? (I like to make techno). Cheers!

  26. What you would recommend JBL 104 or Yamaha hs5 for listening music while working? I enjoy Yamahas white body. What about sound?

  27. Hey man they are on sale for 70 !?! I LOVE JBL !! Got a small aparment set up in a Smallll bedroom where i make beats … i keep hearing good stuff about em … i wasn't a fan of the mackie cr4s how do you think there would do for me and my set up ? Oh my bad i subbed an hit the bell lol *

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