PreSonus is one of the premier brands in the audio scene, and its comprehensive lineup of physical and digital products is second to none. In this review, we look at their entry-level AIR series of loudspeakers and, in particular, the 10-inch AIR10 model to see what it offers.
Finding a high-quality yet still affordable speaker is a challenging task. But the PreSonus AIR10 makes a concerted effort to achieve just that.
The PreSonus AIR10 are solid set of 10 inch powered speakers at this price point. While it might be super affordable, it still crams in a bunch of fantastic features.
The PreSonus AIR10 offers high-quality sound despite its low price point. Many cheaper loudspeakers fall short in this area, but the AIR10 is a refined choice with a satisfying and rich sound profile.
The highs are exceptionally clear thanks to the dedicated Class A/B amplifier for the top end. It’s an intelligent choice and allows the AIR10 to match up to its name with an airy sound that is dazzling and precise without sharpness.
The mid-range is exceptional. Muddy and messy mids drag down vocals and suppress musical components. The AIR10 doesn’t suffer from these issues and delivers superb clarity across the mids.
The lows also offer a clean and precise delivery, but as is to be expected from a 10-inch woofer, they lack warmth and richness in sub-bass regions. Kicks are clear and well-defined, and the AIR10 will be a capable performer for most music genres. But for bass-heavy genres like EDM, you’ll need to look at a larger speaker or preferably add a subwoofer to round out the low end.
The frequency range of 55Hz-20khz (-10 dB) is well represented. Loudspeakers often feature an exaggerated low and high end, but the AIR10 is rather neutral. This leads to authentic representation and makes it an appealing choice for performers that desire precision.
It’s remarkable how good this little powerhouse loudspeaker sounds. For a 10-inch top, it punches well above its size and is a clear standout in its price range. Yes, it does lack a little oomph, but it is nearly impossible to find a 10-inch loudspeaker that can deliver rumbling bass. For what it is, the AIR10 is an outstanding speaker.
Build quality is very hit-and-miss in this price bracket. Lower prices result in lower-quality materials, but the PreSonus AIR10 bucks this trend. It’s a solid and dependable speaker that can endure the rigors of frequent gigging.
Durable construction and a long warranty.
The rugged plastic enclosure is among the best at this price point, and it is also not as prone to scuffing like some entry-level loudspeakers. The steel grille that protects the drivers is also rugged and difficult to dent.
Component quality is fantastic throughout. You can see the attention to detail from the knob at the rear to the LCD screen and the connection points. Everything presents well and imbues confidence. Adding to the feeling of security is the exceptionally long 6-year warranty. A clear sign of how much PreSonus believes in its products.
The PreSonus AIR10 is no slouch in the specs department either. The 10-inch woofer features a 2-inch voice coil. Powering this woofer is a Class D amplifier with 900 watts of peak power and an impressive 500 watts of continuous power.
The 1-inch compression driver is perfectly balanced with its Class A/B amplifier that supplies 300 watts of peak power and 200 watts of continuous power. This bi-amp design maximizes the unit’s efficiency and has allowed PreSonus to distinctly tune this loudspeaker to deliver on its promise of ‘airy’ sound.
The Max SPL might be too low for some events.
The max SPL level of 121 dB is enough to handle smaller gigs but is not loud enough for anything larger. Even a pair of these will not be enough to deliver a true thumping party atmosphere. But not every gig demands extreme volume levels, and in the right circumstances, the AIR10 will have more than enough headroom for your needs.
Coverage is also even across the range of 90 degrees horizontally and 60 degrees vertically, with no excessive dips or lulls within its dispersion range.
PreSonus doesn’t skimp on the extras with the AIR10. You’ll have a solid selection of tuning options available to adapt to different gig types.
The bright and clear screen at the back is your gateway to an easy-to-navigate menu with various options. The Master Volume knob, which also serves as your navigation knob, is quick and snappy. It’s simple and easy to use, making this loudspeaker very beginner friendly.
Within the menus are two primary tuning options for quick tweaking. The Mode menu offers five presets.
The onboard LCD screen is bright and clear.
DJ Mode is the default and is excellent for general music playback. The Enhance Mode adds extra warmth and depth. It’s not a huge difference but certainly more colored than the default. Monitor Mode is ideal for using the loudspeaker as a monitor and keeps the low end in check to prevent excessive resonance from floor placement. Speech Mode is perfect for talking applications like corporate events. Finally, a FOH Mode is available for front-of-house applications.
The second set of options is the Locate range. You’ll have access to three options, Stand, Suspend, and Bracket. These adjust the output for various installation locations and are a quick way to fine-tune the loudspeaker.
You’ll also have direct control over the Treble and Bass if you want further customization. With a range of +10 dB to -10 dB, you can tweak the output to suit your needs. I would have liked to see Mids also represented here to complete the 3-band EQ, but to be honest, the combination of presets and fine-tuning never left me wanting that extra layer of control.
It’s a relatively comprehensive line-up of options making the PreSonus AIR10 a versatile and capable 10-inch loudspeaker.
Presentation matters whether we like to admit it or not. You want your gear to reflect your professionalism and your loudspeakers often are a focal point of your setup. This is why clean and modern design is crucial.
The PreSonus AIR10 fits the bill perfectly thanks to its unique and attractive design. The clean black appearance ensures the unit will blend seamlessly and compliments other audio gear, which often also tends to be black. The slick grille design with some curvature also sets the PreSonus AIR10 apart from the competition.
Modern design and engineering.
Looking past aesthetic design, the PreSonus AIR10 also features a useful design mentality beyond appearance.
The added side supports ensure the unit has some decoupling from the ground when in the monitor position. The integrated handle at the top of the loudspeaker also makes it easy to carry. You can also switch the front LED light off or set it only to illuminate when the limiter is activated.
Rounding out the flexible design inclusion is a 35mm pole mount that allows for 7.5 degrees of tilt. Perfect for when you are on an elevated stage and want to project sound down towards the crowd and not above their heads. Adding to the options are M10 rigging points that allow the PreSonus AIR10 to be part of a suspended setup.
With intelligent and professional design and well-thought-out inclusions, the PreSonus AIR10 ticks all the right boxes.
One of the appealing aspects of a 10-inch loudspeaker is its compact footprint compared to larger speakers. The PreSonus AIR10 is not overly large and cumbersome, and you can comfortably fit a pair of these along with a subwoofer in a car and still have room for other gear.
The AIR10 is a lightweight loudspeaker.
Weight is another critical feature. At just 28.7 lbs. (13 kg), the PreSonus AIR10 won’t break your back, something I’ve become increasingly conscious of as I get older and the bones start to ache more and more. With the added handle, these are a breeze to move about.
The PreSonus AIR10 features a refined set of connection options that should suffice for most situations.
At the back, you’ll have access to Line/Mic inputs. Both feature a combo jack that supports ¼-inch TRS and XLR connections, and a dedicated volume knob is also available for each input.
The AUX In is a handy inclusion.
Beyond these standard inclusions, the AIR10 also features a ⅛-inch AUX Input. An excellent addition that opens up plugging in a smartphone for background music or as a way to keep the party going with a preset playlist. An XLR Mix Out is also present for daisy chaining speakers.
The only notable exclusions are a lack of an RCA input option and no Bluetooth. For some, this might be a dealbreaker, but the inputs available should be more than adequate for most.
Audio gear can be extremely expensive, and far too often, the budget options underperform, leading you to eventually upgrade whether you like it or not.
Regarding the PreSonus AIR10, the quality behind this unit ensures longevity even as you expand or change your setup. If you end up wanting bigger tops, they are still a superb choice as supplemental fill speakers, and with the excellent build quality, they can be a part of your setup for years to come.
The fantastic sound quality also adds to the appeal. It is a value-packed offering at a super reasonable price. If you need an affordable and reliable loudspeaker, the AIR series is among the best available.
The PreSonus AIR10 has been around for a while now, and in that time, it has gathered a lot of high-scoring reviews. Many people are impressed by the affordability and performance of this small loudspeaker. Critics are also favorable to the unit cementing PreSonus’s reputation as one of the leaders in the industry.
Where To Place Your Loudspeaker
A basic understanding of room dynamics and how your loudspeaker will interact in an environment is crucial to achieving the best sonic results. Below are some things you need to be aware of based on where you place your loudspeaker.
No Surrounding Surfaces – If the loudspeaker has no walls around it, you’ll be able to hear the speaker in its neutral state. Tuning will likely be minimal, with minor adjustments based on personal preference.
One Nearby Surface – If you have no choice but to palace your speaker up against a wall, anticipate a boost in the bass response of about 6 dB. Depending on the gig type, this can be beneficial, but if you prefer a flatter response, you’ll need to dial back the low end.
Bass boost from surfaces can be both a blessing and a curse.
Two Nearby Surfaces – When you need to place the speaker in a corner, you’ll have to deal with two reflective surfaces that will amplify bass output by about 12 dB. This boost might help with bass-heavy genres but be careful not to over-emphasize the bass, as this can result in a boomy and unpleasant low end.
Three Nearby Surfaces – The last situation deals with two walls plus a floor or ceiling. With a boost of about 18 dB, your low end can quickly get out of hand. Dial it back accordingly until it sounds right for the type of gig you are performing.
If you consider the above and buy a loudspeaker with solid tuning options like the AIR10, you’ll be able to handle all potential scenarios and adjust accordingly.
While I like the PreSonus AIR10, several other alternatives exist. Below is a quick glimpse into some different choices worth considering.
PreSonus AIR12 Review
The natural upgrade from the 10-inch model is the AIR12. The larger woofer does deliver a little extra thump in the low end while maintaining excellent clarity.
- The same exceptional sound quality that makes the AIR series an appealing choice.
- The price increase from the 10-inch model is small. A solid investment.
- Max SPL only jumps up by a couple of dB, so It might not be loud enough for some.
EV ELX200-12P Review
Electro-Voice also offers an exceptional selection of loudspeaker products. The ELX200 series is a step up from beginner and features satisfying sound.
- The low-end delivery is more robust and offers excellent punch and warmth.
- With a max SPL of 130 dB, it is noticeably louder than the AIR10.
- The cabinet is not as robust as the AIR10 and is more prone to scuffing.
EV ETX 10P Review
If you want to bypass beginner options, the ETX 10P from Electro-Choice is one of the best prosumer options available. Stunning quality throughout.
- Generous tonal range with superb vibrancy and depth.
- Detailed tuning options along with professional industrial-style design.
- The high price point makes it a less budget-friendly option.
Should You Buy?
I’ve had the chance to review the full PreSonus AIR range, and each one exhibits exceptional performance and features. Sometimes the smallest offering from a line-up is a little underwhelming, but that is not the case with the AIR10.
With modern design sensibilities and a clear and precise sound profile, it is hard not to recommend the AIR10. Whether you are a solo performer, DJ, band, or a front of house engineer, there is little to fault. A great value loudspeaker that is a leader in its price bracket.