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Best 3 Inch Studio Monitors – M-Audio AV32 Review

The best 3 inch studio monitors for your home studio are the M-Audio AV32 monitorsSetting up a home studio can be a lot of fun. One of the most important features of your set-up will be the studio monitors. These need to have superb quality so that your sound is crisp and clear – which is exactly what you’ll get with the best 3 inch studio monitors.

If you’re looking for monitors that will be small enough for your home but will still have pristine sound reproduction, consider the M-Audio AV32 monitors. These are amongst the best compact monitors available and you can even place them beside your computer while you’re recording. They may be small but their sound is massive.

Let me show you why they’re so popular.

M-Audio AV32 Studio Monitors

The AV series is M-Audio’s newest line of speakers and were first available in 2015. This series improved on the previous monitors by removing the front grill – this meant that the speaker cones were capable of a deeper and more accurate sound.

The 3-inch woofers (these produce the lower bass frequencies) are polypropylene-coated, so they emit very tight and controlled bass sounds into your studio. The 1-inch tweeters (these provide the higher treble frequencies) are made from ferrofluid-cooled silk cones, producing clean and crisp high frequencies for all the top-end detail you need.

The AV32 monitors are very compact, so you can keep them on your desk while recording. But despite their size, they’re still more than capable of intense bass and powerful acoustics. The monitors are constructed from special medium density fiber-board (MDF) which means that there is minimal distortion and vibration.

M-Audio AV32 | Compact Active Desktop Reference Monitor Speakers For Premium Playback, Professional...
  • Premium sound reproduction: 3 inch polypropylene coated woofers produce tight, accurate bass and 1...
  • 10 watt per channel amplifier and optimage IV tweeter wave guides for punchy sound reproduction and...
  • Versatile, conveniently located rca inputs for seamless connection to gaming systems, DJ gear,...

Not only do these studio monitors ensure a full bass response and clear sound quality, but the sleek, sturdy design also makes them aesthetically pleasing – they look beautiful. They’re incredibly easy to install and the system even has blue LED indicators helping you to set the monitors exactly how you like.

Active or Passive?

The AV32’s are active monitors, meaning the amplifiers are built into the monitors themselves. Actually, the amps can be found in the left monitor – and these drive both the left and right monitors with a wattage of 10W for each. The monitors also have a headphone jack so you can immerse yourself in your music while still keeping noise levels down around you. This is perfect if you have a family and you want to work into the late hours of the night.

M-Audio’s mission when designing these speakers was to create monitors that produced optimum sound clarity in a small, tight package. With the AV32’s they have achieved this, making them ideal for any musicians and producers who want to ensure their sound is crisp and accurate.

Who Is This Product For?

If you’re simply looking for speakers for your desktop or laptop, then these are perfect for you due to their clear sound quality and lack of electrical interference. But on the other hand, these monitors were not made to be ordinary. Their durable design and high volume means they’re useful for more than just providing your computer with sound.

Anyone who is setting up a home recording studio can benefit from using these monitors. They’re compact enough to fit in any room, even a small apartment with limited space. Along with this, they still sound as powerful as larger models. You can hear your musical creations clearly and accurately with the AV32’s.

Gamers should also consider these monitors as well. The full bass reproduction makes it feel like you’re truly immersed inside the game, and they even have a headphone connection if you wanted to use it.

For the Music Producers

However, these monitors were specifically designed with musicians and music producers in mind. But not only are they ideal for a music recording studio, they’re also useful for other content creators such as podcasters or YouTubers.

On top of all of this, the AV32 monitors are very affordable. In fact, they’re probably the best studio monitors under $100 right now.

Due to the auxiliary input on the front of one of the monitors, you can even connect them to your tablet or mobile phone. As a result, you can have incredible sound no matter the source of the music. They’re also ideal for any DJs out there who are looking for a pair of monitors to take to their performances.

Because of their size, they might not be ideal if you’re planning on creating a really large studio. If that’s the case you might want larger monitors, especially if you’re recording a band. They’re better suited for beginners, or for people who want compact studios for more intimate recordings.

What’s Included?

The M-Audio AV32 box includes:

  • 2 x AV32 monitors
  • Acoustic/traction pads
  • Power cable (standard IEC)
  • Stereo 1/8” cable
  • Speaker wire
  • User’s manual
  • Safety and warranty guide

If you’re planning on setting up a home recording studio, then you’ll have to purchase an audio interface separately. An interface like the Scarlett 2i2 from Focusrite would fit perfectly with these monitors.

If you want to see everything that the box contains, check out the video below.

Best 3 Inch Studio Monitors - Overview of Features

Here are a few of the most notable features of the M-Audio AV32 monitors:

  • 3-Inch Woofers: Ensures powerful, deep bass that is clear and accurate.
  • 1-Inch Tweeters: Creates flawless highs.
  • Amplifier: 10W per channel means they are cable of intense volume.
  • RCA Inputs: Allows for various connections from gaming rigs to DJ mixers.
  • 1/8″ Stereo Auxiliary Input: You can connect your computer or laptop as well as your phone or tablet for endless music playback.
  • Headphone Output: Lets you play music without bothering the neighbours.
  • Acoustically Inert MDF Cabinet: Gives the speakers better bass reproduction so the sound is fuller and deeper.


If you want to know more about the technical details of the AV32, here they are:

  • Type: Two way desktop speaker
  • Frequency Response: 80Hz-20kHz
  • Crossover Frequency: 3.3kHz (the point where the audio moves from woofer to tweeter)
  • Sound Pressure Level: 101.5dB @ 1m
  • Signal to Noise Ratio: >90dB
  • Amplifier Power: 10 watts per channel
  • Indicator: Blue power LED light necessary for the aligning wave guide
  • Physical Cabinet: Vinyl laminated MDF


In order to connect your AV32 monitors, there are few steps you need to follow to ensure they’re functioning properly.

Connect the Left Monitor to the Right Monitor

The left monitor is your active monitor. You’ll see the difference between the two because the back of the left one has all the power connections. The active side is the only one that gets connected to a signal provider such as your laptop or phone. The passive side only needs information from the active side to function.

To connect them together, you’ll find a black and red speaker wire in your box. Connecting the wire is as easy as slipping the red wire into the red port and then the black one into the black port. Lift the small switch while inserting the wires so that they stay in place when you’re done. Once they’re secure on the left monitor, repeat the process on the right one.

Attach the AC Power

The AC cable is what gives your speakers power so this will be connected to your wall plug. To find the AC port, all you need to do is look near the bottom of the monitor. Simply plug the AC cable into this connection and plug the other side into your wall outlet.

Link the Audio Input

The final cable that needs to be connected is the audio input. This is the cable that connects your speakers to your audio interface so you can control what sound the monitors produce (or your phone, computer or tablet via the front aux connection).

The connections are the red and white RCA inputs on the back of the left monitor. Plug the ends of the cable into the corresponding colours and you’ll be ready to attach your monitors to the sound source.

Once your cables are connected, you can begin using your monitors. Turn the volume up!

Alternatives to the AV32 Monitors

If you feel as if these speakers are too small for your purposes, the M-Audio AV42 studio monitors are another option. These are 20W alternatives so they’re larger and capable of a more powerful sound. They could be ideal if you’re setting up a studio that takes up an entire room rather than one that is desk based.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for an entire studio system rather than individual speakers, you can save money in the long run by purchasing the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Studio with Speakers. This has everything you need, including monitors for your recording sessions.

Additionally, if you’d prefer speakers that are Bluetooth based and don’t require so many connections, the Samson MediaOne BT3 Studio Monitors are a viable option. These are easier to set up but are a bit more expensive.

Final Thoughts

The AV32 studio monitors from M-Audio are small and compact, but pack a powerful punch. They’ll give you both solid low frequencies as well as crisp and clear high frequencies, and you’ll get a beautifully clear picture of the amazing music you’re producing in your home studio

It’s time to fill your world with sound, which is exactly what will happen with the best 3 inch studio monitors around. If you’re ready, then go and check them out.