Monoprice DT-3BT review: Budget speakers that deserve a spot in your desk

Monoprice DT-3BT review: Budget speakers that deserve a spot in your desk

MSRP $100.00

“The Monoprice DT-3BT speakers are a better-than-expected set of Bluetooth desktop speakers that sound great for the worth.”


  • Great value for the cash
  • Compact, clean design
  • Sturdy
  • Connects to a wide range of sources
  • Bluetooth 5 connectivity


  • Boomy bass
  • Sound needs some EQing
  • Not very loud

Having an honest set of desktop speakers is important to bringing sound to your own home office, whether you’re listening to Spotify whilst you work or slacking off with a couple of episodes of Andor between spreadsheets. And while flashy specs and massive numbers (and costs) are the stuff of dreams when speaker shopping, sometimes basic, budget, and better-than-expected is all you wish. In your consideration, then, I offer you the $100 Monoprice DT-3BT Multimedia Desktop Powered Speakers with Bluetooth, a compact, well-built, and decent-sounding pair of desktop speakers that can barely make a dent in your wallet.

These diminutive 50-watt speakers fit nicely on the corners of a piece desk or tucked in behind a gaming monitor, and may be easily connected to every kind of devices with various analog inputs and wirelessly through Bluetooth. Are they amazing? No. But they sound pretty rattling good for 100 bucks, and with a little bit tweaking, the Monoprice DT-3BT speakers surprised me.

What’s within the box?

The cables that are int he box of the Monoprice DT-3BT speakers.Derek Malcolm / Digital Trends

With basic in mind, the whole lot needed to get the Monoprice DT-3BT up and running is within the box, including the 2 speakers, an RCA-to-3.5mm cable, a 3.5mm-to-3.5mm cable, a speaker wire for linking the left and right speakers together, and the ability cable. There’s also a little bit sheet of froth sticky pads to placed on the speaker bottoms for grip. The one thing not included is a cable for connecting to the 1/4-inch balanced left and right inputs for sources reminiscent of a mixing board — home studio folks can have to produce those themselves.

Design and features

The Monoprice DT-3BT Powered Desktop Bluetooth SpeakersDerek Malcolm / Digital Trends

Size and drivers

While the Monoprice DT-3BT speakers aren’t as tiny as those baseball-sized satellite computer speakers that a lot of us have had, the additional size makes up for it with a lot better sound, with 50 watts (combined) of power delivered by a more-than-adequate-for-the-job Class AB amplifier. At 5.5-inches wide x 8.0-inches tall x 5.9-inches deep, the DT-3BTs will easily fit on a desk or mounted on a shelf, perfect for his or her ideal near-field listening distance of roughly three to 5 feet away.

The three.5-pound construction feels solid, just like the speakers could withstand a tumble from the sting of my desk.

The MDF cabinets each house a 3-inch polypropylene woofer that sits underneath a 3/4-inch silk dome tweeter on the front. The speakers are also ported on the back — this implies there’s a hole to assist equalize the pressure from the woofer, which may provide higher bass sound (more on this below). The three.5-pound (each) construction feels solid, just like the speakers could withstand a tumble from the sting of my desk or media console (I didn’t test that, don’t worry). The black matte finish is basic, but as they are saying, black goes with the whole lot and the speakers don’t distract the attention from whatever Twitter rant or Zoom call you’re focused on. A white or wood finish option could be nice, though.


The back of the Monoprice DT-3BT Powered Desktop Bluetooth SpeakersDerek Malcolm / Digital Trends

Like most desktop speakers of this ilk, all the connections are on one principal “primary speaker” — on this case, it’s the left. On the back, the layout of the inputs is pretty straightforward and allows for hooking the DT-BT3s as much as a wide selection of peripherals:

The trusty RCA input is sweet for the whole lot from older, traditional electronics like DVD and CD players, turntables (with a phono preamp), and more, and will also be used with the RCA-to-3.5mm cable to expand that range. In the event you were on a budget, these speakers could be decent for a dorm-room TV setup. But I digress. A balanced 1/4-inch input won’t mean much to most individuals, but for budding home studio engineers, this implies these speakers may be connected to a mixing console with balanced left and right outputs. Also on the back of the first speaker is the black and red spring-clamp speaker wire output for connecting to the fitting speaker, the ability cable connection, and a rocker power switch, which is nicely positioned at the underside for easy-reach accessibility when powering on and off (there’s no fumbling across the back to seek out it).

In the event you were on a decent budget, these speakers could be decent for a dorm-room TV setup.

But wait, there’s more! On the front of the left speaker, there’s also a 3.5mm AUX input for easily connecting a phone or other sound source, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and a nice-sized volume dial which I just discovered also doubles as an influence switch when turned all the way in which counterclockwise (it’s the little things, innit?). A few LEDs let when the speakers are powered on (a glowy white) and what the Bluetooth connection status is (a glowy blue). The one thing missing from the general design is a set of speaker covers, which might add a little bit class to the proceedings, but I just like the exposed cone look, too.

The front connections of the Monoprice DT-3BT Powered Desktop Bluetooth SpeakersDerek Malcolm / Digital Trends

The Monoprice DT-3BT speakers I tested are of the Bluetooth 5 variety (there’s a non-Bluetooth version for $15 less) and have a spread of as much as 32 feet (10 meters), perfect for once you head to the kitchen for a coffee or a snack along with your phone in your pocket. You’ll be able to just about connect any Bluetooth-enabled source to the DT-3BTs, including phones, tablets, computers, turntables, mp3 players, and more.


I don’t know what type of knickknacks, paraphernalia, or gear you’ve cluttering up your desk, shelves, and counters, but in case you’re going to suit a set of speakers amongst them, space is at a premium. With that in mind, it was easy to seek out real estate for the small DT-3BT in several setup scenarios: on my work desk, nestled behind my 34-inch curved monitor connected to my computer; on a media console connected to my turntable; and even spaced out in my dining room connected to nothing but Bluetooth.

In every scenario, setup couldn’t be easier. With the included cables, you may physically connect just about anything mentioned above and get quick sound out of the speakers. I connected my MacBook’s headphone using the three.5mm-to-RCA cable provided, for instance. I could even have used the three.5mm-t0-3.5mm headphone cable to do that, connecting it to the front AUX port — I like options. It was just as easy to attach my turntable to the RCA input, but for that, I needed my very own RCA cable.

Bluetooth setup is pretty standard and just as easy: press the Bluetooth pairing button on the back and look ahead to the blue light on the front to flash, find the DT-3BTs in your device, and pair. I tested this with my MacBook and an iPhone. Also, whether you’re connected by wire or Bluetooth, you get volume control from each the source device and the speakers themselves. Again, options.

Sound quality and performance 

The Monoprice DT-3BT Powered Desktop Bluetooth Speakers with a desk setup.Derek Malcolm / Digital Trends

Full disclosure: I’m not someone who’s used to having a pair of speakers on my desk facing me at just two-and-a-half feet from my face. In the event you’ve read any of my turntable reviews, I are inclined to covet my vintage receiver and speaker setup, through which I take heed to records during my work day. That said, for the past couple of weeks I’ve eschewed the sweet sound of vinyl for the digital sources coming at me through the Monoprice DT-3BT, and I actually have to say that for a pair of $100 desktop speakers, I actually have been surprised by what I’ve heard (I can hear our Simon Cohen rejoicing).

As Monoprice states, the DT-3BTs are designed for near-field listening, and while sitting at my desk with the speakers barely below head level, they deliver an incredibly good soundstage. I fired up a Flaming Lips playlist on Apple Music, and marveled as Wayne Coyne’s Do You Realize vocals floated up and around what appeared like an enormous room, just because the recording intended. The acoustic guitar strumming was on point within the left speaker with the drums hanging out within the back and the tubular chimes dinging good, too.

The DT-3BTs delivered a broad soundstage with tight, smooth bass and mids that only got messy when at higher volumes.

Benefiting from the digital-music feast that my vinyl collection lacks, I ripped through several tracks on The Weeknd’s Dawn FM, and again the DT-3BTs delivered a broad soundstage with tight, smooth bass and mids that only got messy when driving the speakers to higher volumes (which to be fair, is just too loud for being that close), and crisp highs on “s” consonant sounds and cymbals and hi-hats. To be clear, these usually are not loud, pumping speakers, nor are they meant to be.

Now, here’s the caveat: I used to be only in a position to achieve this vibrant and well-rounded sound with some EQing. I’m not saying this can be a bad thing, as everyone should tweak their sound to their liking, however it took some coaxing. When starting my test, I used Apple Music and Spotify’s equalization features set to the “Flat” preset to find out a baseline and, as you may imagine, it was, well, really flat. While you may easily improve things with presets like “Rock” or “Increase Bass” and even “Electronic,” I discovered the low-end boomy on these. With these being ported speakers, you may position them closer or farther from the wall to regulate the low end, but with limited space on my desk this didn’t help much either. My most suitable choice was to create an EQ preset of my very own that scaled back on the 125hz low/mid-frequency and that appeared to do the trick.

Nonetheless, this didn’t apply to any sound from my computer, like that coming from Netflix movies or YouTube videos I watched. With no native EQing on the MacBook, it was back to that flat, thinner native sound of the DT-3BTs (boo). There was hope, though. After installing a little bit free app called eqMac, I used to be in a position to adjust basic bass, mid, and treble tones and improve things significantly. The shows and YouTube vids I watched all sounded pretty good, the dialogue was easy to grasp, and the sound effects were OK, too. I had to recollect to show the eqMac app off when listening to streaming music, though.

Being the vinyl guy that I’m, I had to attach the DT-3BTs to my turntable. And while I had the identical issue with not with the ability to adjust EQ, again, for a $100 set of powered desktop speakers, the sound was higher than expected. That said, these speakers usually are not intended for this, and I might find a greater speaker solution to your vinyl.

The Monoprice DT-3BT speakers connected to a turntable. Derek Malcolm / Digital Trends

I’m probably not a gamer, so the one thing I didn’t do was test the DT-3BTs through a game console. Sorry.

Lastly, I feel it’s vital to say Bluetooth, which is what you’re paying the additional $15 for. During my review, I switched forwards and backwards between wired connections and Bluetooth to match and contrast. And while I noticed a slight dip in brilliance and clarity when in Bluetooth — in comparison with streaming Apple Lossless files from my computer or iPhone connected on to the speakers’ RCA input — the difference was barely noticeable. Having the convenience of Bluetooth connectivity to the DT-3BTs was great.

The underside line

At $100 (Amazon has them at $125, for some reason), it’s hard to go improper with the Monoprice DT-3BT-powered desktop Bluetooth speakers. They’re no-nonsense, easy to establish and connect a wide range of sources to — wired and Bluetooth — and for most individuals, the sound they produce out of the box isn’t bad for listening to music or watching streaming content in your computer. And in case you’re willing to spend a little bit effort and time tweaking the EQ settings, then the DT-3BTs should do you right for a few years.

There are several alternatives to the Monoprice DT-3BTs that may perform similarly well and are priced in the identical ballpark, including the reputable PreSonus Eris E3.5, and the Edifier R980T powered bookshelf speakers, but on this range, you’re prone to get the identical performance from any of them.

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