Powered Desktop Speakers under $500

I’m looking for suggestions for powered desktop speakers under $500. I plan to put them atop some Soundrise stands and feed them through my Jotunheim. Balanced would be nice but isn’t mandatory.

Is there a specific sound signature you are looking for? Also any specific features you would like to have?

I have a pair of Monkey Banana Gibbon 5 active monitors and I really like them – not sure about availability outside of AU though.

I was going to put them on Soundrise stands too but I found these on Amazon and they’re much cheaper and (IMHO) a more sensible design because the tab is at the back. They’re not as tall as the Soundrise stands though but for me it was more about getting a bit of desk space underneath for a Schiit stack I had at the time.

Lol I haven’t heard someone mention monkey banana in a while, solid stuff but harder to get in the US

Haha I figured that might be the case because I couldn’t find them on Amazon US and eBay US just shows Australian listings. They have an AC select switch on the back of them so I thought they aren’t just for 220-240V countries.

I prefer warm and laid back over bright and hyper-detailed. I want enough bass to not need a subwoofer. I don’t expect my room to rumble, but I want to be able to follow a tuneful bass line. They should also sound decent at lower volume levels.

I don’t need much in the way of features. I just want to be able to feed them audio straight from the pre-outs on my Jotunheim. No need for Bluetooth, remote, DAC, etc.

Home speakers like the Kanto YU6, Edifier S2000 or Swans M200Mkiii seem nice but I’d be paying for features I will never use. Maybe some powered studio monitors would be a better value but I’m not at all familiar with that world.

I would say that would be the case, but it also typically wouldn’t have the signature you want imo

The vanatoo t1e is pretty nice, but again it has those features you don’t need

You could get a passive speaker with an amp like the parasound zamp v3 or another small power amp, but IDK if you would want to go for that

Is the Vanatoo T1E good for near field? I’ve heard good things but it does stretch my budget a little.

Good point about the sound signature of studio monitors. I looked at a few different ones on Amazon and some of them have tone controls. Could that help mellow them out a bit? I sort of like the idea of getting studio monitors.

I really want to avoid a separate amp. I’m trying to keep my desktop setup simple.

Yeah, that could help, but they will be traditionally harsher sounding either way, but there are more relaxed monitors

I think you might really like the adam t7v monitors, because they are accurate, have good bass extension and performance, and aren’t overly harsh and can be used for average listening no problem

I stopped by Guitar Center while doing some other shopping and took a quick look at their studio monitors. The Yamaha HS5 was right on the mark for size, cost and features. I think they also had the Adam Audio monitors. What are your thoughts on the T5V? They would fit my desk space better. I just watched the Zeos review comparing them and he seemed to prefer them over the T7V, especially for a desk.

The HS5 is prettier, though. Especially in white. :slight_smile:

The t5v are equally as good, also very solid. The Yamaha is alright for sound imo, but nothing special to me, I would prefer the JBL 306p mk2 over the Yamaha if you wanted something a bit more neutral but also a bit harsher

Did you get to listen to any of them? Typically they have some on display you can try out

They had them all on display but the cable to plug in your phone was shorting out and the volume knob was jacked. Now that I know which ones to focus on, I can try a little harder.

Thanks for the advice! This helped me narrow things down a lot. It’ll probably be between the T5V, HS5 and 306P.

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HS5 might sound harsh. T5Vs got switches on the back to remove some of the highs. :+1:

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That’s what I was thinking as well

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I saw some reviewers mention that the gain knob on the T5V doesn’t have any detents. Are there studio tricks to make sure you have the speakers at the exact same gain? My OCD compulsions need to know. :nerd_face:

Have a good eye I would say lol, but you could just try to use the existing marks and go from there

You might also want to look at the Vanatoo Transparent Zeroes. Cheaper, smaller and have a great sound.


What matters most is your ears. Play a song in mono until the sound is 100% “centered”.

Pretty much yeah, doing a sweep can be more accurate imo

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For the sine sweep, here’s SineGen:

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