PreSonus Eris E5 Review: Pro Sound, Entry-level Price
If you’re producing audio, it’s often said that your results will only be as good as the weakest link in your production chain. For many people, the weakest link is their studio monitors. Finding a pair of quality monitors can be a real challenge in any situation, but it’s even harder to find them on a budget. The fact that so many home studios aren’t exactly ideal acoustic spaces only adds to the difficulty. This review of the PreSonus Eris E5 studio monitors will offer a potential solution.
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Last Updated: 10/7/2021
PreSonus Eris E5 Review: Overview
Pairing a 5.25-inch Kevlar woofer with a one-inch silk dome tweeter, the Eris E5 delivers a solid frequency range – 53 hertz to 22 kilohertz – and an impressively loud maximum SPL of 102 decibels. The performance may fall a bit short of high-end studio gear, but the E5 is a great monitor for the price.
Highs and mids are detailed and crisp, while the lower end of the spectrum may be lacking a bit. This can can be expected for a monitor with five-inch woofers. But with clean sound quality and a flat response, the Eris E5’s naturally honest audio reproduction is especially well-suited to home and budget studio work.
What Makes a Good Studio Monitor?
Before we really dig into the details of this PreSonus Eris E5 review, it’s helpful to explore what actually makes a good studio monitor. The truth is that there’s no objective standard for the “best” near-field monitors, so part of the process always comes down to personal preference. Still, there are a few important things you should consider.
First, you’ll need to choose between passive and active monitors. Active monitors are powered by built-in amplifiers, so they’re more convenient and require less gear. The amps in high-quality active monitors are specifically matched with the speakers, which translates to better performance. Passive monitors aren’t powered and need to be paired with standalone amplifiers. This makes them more affordable and versatile, but managing the extra gear can be a hassle. For most people, active monitors are likely a better choice.
Another key factor is the range of frequencies the monitors can reproduce. This is shown as a range that usually extends from hertz (Hz) on the low end to kilohertz (kHz) on the high end. In general, you should look for a range of at least 50 Hz to 20 kHz. It’s also important to check the frequency response, which tells you how much the monitor deviates from “flat” across its frequency range. For instance, a typical monitor might have the following specifications: “50 Hz – 20 kHz ± 5 dB.” This means it can reproduce frequencies ranging from 50 hertz to 20 kilohertz, with any given frequency being louder or quieter than the baseline by up to five decibels. A rating of three decibels or lower is preferred for most applications.
- Balanced XLR
- Balanced quarter inch TRS
- Unbalanced RCA
- Frequency Response: 53 Hz – 22 kHz
- Crossover Frequency: 3 kHz
- LF Amplifier Power: 45W
- HF Amplifier Power: 35W
- Peak SPL (@ 1 meter): 102 dB
- LF Driver: 5.25”
- HF Driver: 1” silk dome
- Input Impedance: 10 kΩ
- User Controls
- Volume Range: A-type taper
- MF Control: -6, 0, +6 dB
- HF Control: -6, 0, +6 dB
- Low Cut: Flat, 80 Hz, 100 Hz
- Acoustic Space: Flat, -2 dB, -4 dB
- RF interference
- Output-current limiting
- Turn-on/off transient
- Subsonic filter
- External mains fuse
- 100-120V ~50/60 Hz or 220-240V ~50/60 Hz
- Vinyl-laminated, medium-density fiberboard
- Width: 7” (178 mm)
- Depth: 7.68” (195 mm)
- Height: 10.24” (260 mm)
- Weight: 10.2 lbs (4.63 kg)
PreSonus Eris E5 Review: What’s In The Box
Each monitor came well packaged in it’s own box. They had molded foam that surrounded the top and bottom faces for stability inside the box and during shipping. Each monitor was also wrapped in a thin layer of plastic.
- PreSonus Eris E5
- IEC Power cable
- four foam feet
- PreSonus sticker
- User’s manual – see the PreSonus website for PDF version of the full manual
The sticker pads are made of a high-density foam and can be placed on the bottom of the four corners of the monitor to help with acoustic isolation and decoupling.
These monitors have a switch on the back labeled “ACOUSTIC SPACE” which can be toggled to one of three positions depending on how your room is set up. The switch attenuates frequencies below 800 Hz by the amounts shown to account for bass buildup when your monitors are placed close to walls. You can see each of the three settings and what situations they’re used for on the back side of the monitors (shown above under Specs).
Filters & EQ
The PreSonus Eris E5s also have a low cutoff switch that can be toggled between flat, 80 Hz, or 100 Hz. These can be used in conjunction with a sub like the PreSonus Temblor T8 to achieve a full range of sound.
They have two tuning knobs labeled “HIGH” and “MID” which range from +6 dB to -6 dB. “HIGH” boosts or cuts frequencies above 10 kHz and “MID” boosts or cuts frequencies around 1 kHz.
The monitors also have a blue power indicator light displaying the logo at the bottom right of the cabinet. Tweeters are protected by a painted metal grille.
Frequency Response Testing for Our PreSonus Eris E5 Review
I used a very handy Android app called Spectroid to get an in-depth look at how the Eris E5 reproduces white noise. This gives us an idea of what the frequency response curve will look like, and how the monitor will color your sound.
For this test, I set all switches, knobs and filters to default and held my phone about 6 inches away from the monitor. I then played white noise using a synthesis plugin in my DAW. I recorded roughly 2 minutes worth of white noise in the analyzer using both linear and logarithmic scaling. Below are the results.
With the linear scaling shown above, each grid interval is 1000 Hz. We can see there is a moderate dip beginning around 7 kHz all the way up to around 10 kHz. From there, there is a gradual slope all the way up to around 22 kHz, where the curve begins to taper off as we would expect since this monitor’s maximum frequency is 22 kHz.
Using the logarithmic scale, we can get a better look at the low-end response. We can see at around 150 Hz, bass response is significantly reduced, confirming the general consensus that these monitors are lacking somewhat in the bass department. We can see a light and gradual slope between roughly 1000 Hz and 7000 Hz, after at which we see the dip mentioned earlier.
Pros & Cons
- Reliable sound for predictable results
- Professional quality at an affordable price
- Surprisingly loud for a five-inch monitor
- Front-facing bass ports provide more positioning flexibility
- Offers a variety of connection options
- May not be ideal for especially bass-heavy applications
- Five-inch monitor may be a bit too small for some people
- Some users have reported mild hissing and AC hum
- Picks up mild RF interference when idle, and a pop on startup – interference goes away once the monitors are out of idle mode
PreSonus Eris E5 Review – How It Stacks Up
With technology steadily advancing, there are now more options than ever for anyone in need of affordable studio monitors. Many of these monitors fall short of the E5 in key areas, but there are a few that are worth your consideration. Before you spring for the Eris E5, make sure you’ve taken a look at these competitors as well.
KRK Rokit 5 G4
One of the most common complaints about the PreSonus Eris E5 is its lack of low-end thump. Well, if it’s a whole bunch of bass you’re after, it’s hard to do better in a five-inch monitor than the KRK Rokit 5 G4. The Rokit 5 has become a go-to choice for many people who work with hip-hop and other music styles that benefit from an enhanced low-end response.
It’s also a popular option if you’re simply looking for a pair of high-quality speakers for casual listening. However, the Rokit 5’s enhanced response also results in less faithful audio reproduction. This can make it more difficult to achieve accurate and predictable results during the mixing and mastering stages of production.
JBL 305P MKII
On the other end of the spectrum from KRK’s offering is the JBL 305P MKII. Much like the Eris E5, the 305P offers a clean and faithful sound that makes it perfect for unbiased mixing and mastering. The overall sound quality is at least as good as the Eris E5. However, it’s important to note that the 305s are rear-ported and should be placed away from walls. This can make placement more challenging, especially in studios with limited space.
PreSonus Eris E5 Review: The Bottom Line
If you’re reading this PreSonus Eris E5 review, there’s probably just one question you really want answered: are these monitors right for you? Unfortunately, the best answer is that it depends on your needs. If you have a small or mid-sized studio and you’re looking for affordable monitors that can reproduce sound very cleanly and accurately, the E5 is among your best options. However, the Eris E5 may not have the low-end muscle for larger studios and more bass-heavy applications.
That’s it, thanks for reading. I hope this review helps you find the right pair of studio monitors for your specific application, needs, and situation!