The PreSonus Eris range has proven to be one of the most popular and affordable studio monitor lines over the last decade. But as the range is now nearly a decade old, it was time to refresh the series. In this review, we check out the new 5-inch Eris Studio 5 to see what it has to offer.
PreSonus Eris Studio 5
The new Studio range brings some updates to what was already a winning formula. While the majority of the underlying ethos behind them remains similar to the popular Eris E XT range there are a few tweaks to help bring this monitor into the modern era. Below, you’ll find a detailed breakdown of these impressive monitors.
On the surface, the new Studio 5 from PreSonus offers a very similar experience to the previous generation, albeit with a slightly updated design. But there are more changes present than you might imagine at first glance. Let’s get into the details.
We’ll kick it off with the most crucial aspect. The original Eris E5 XT has a solid reputation for relatively neutral delivery in an affordable package. The updated Eris Studio 5 maintains an excellent level of detail with respectable neutrality but with a few tweaks to what was already a popular sound signature.
The lows have seen a boost in finesse in output. The original E5 XT offered a decent bass response but presented a little more colored. With Studio 5, the substantial amount of punch and precision initially took me by surprise. It’s rich, full, and maintains enough accuracy to make informed decisions in the studio.
The highs have also seen some tweaks. Thankfully, these don’t stray into overly bright territory, but they are noticeably crisper than their predecessors. Some might consider them top-heavy, but I didn’t find them too sharp for my sensitive ears.
This combination of increased emphasis on both the highs and lows does come with a catch. The result is recessed mids that don’t match the rest of the output. That’s not to say the mids sound bad. They are more than serviceable. They just don’t have the same level of presence as the rest of the range.
Taking a holistic view into account, these monitors sound satisfying. For basic studio work, you’ll be able to make appropriate decisions. This time around I found myself having to adjust the tuning settings less than with previous models. A capable and reasonably priced monitor that can get the job done with ease.
The PreSonus Eris Studio 5 is off to a great start with a satisfying sound profile that is more refined than the previous model. But beyond sound, it also follows up the impressive performance with a high level of build quality for a monitor at this price point. Entry-level monitors can suffer from poor craftsmanship, but that is not the case here.
The Eris Studio 5 is a well-constructed studio monitor.
The medium-density fiberboard is robust and solid and adds just the right amount of heft to the monitor. It’s not bulky and heavy but equally not hollow feeling. The vinyl wrapping is well executed, and I can’t see it peeling or warping unless placed under extreme temperatures.
Connection points at the rear are secure and high-quality. The knobs and switches are equally fantastic. No complaints in this area. It’s a clean and well-executed studio monitor that manages to hide its low price superbly, and you’d be correct to think these should be more expensive than they are.
Diving into the technical details, the PreSonus Eris Studio 5 offers a 48Hz-20kHz frequency response. Manufacturers can sometimes overstate numbers here, but it’s clear that the Eris Studio 5 hits deep in the low end and has enough sizzle in the top end.
Much like the previous E5 XT, the PreSonus Eris Studio 5 features a 5.25-inch woven composite woofer and a 1-inch silk dome tweeter.
Consistency and neutrality along the curve are a little more restrained and smoother than the previous model, but there are some notable bumps and dips. The bump in the lows and highs is evident in the sound profile, but it seems to be it is far more balanced than before.
The PreSonus Eris Studio 5 delivers good performance for a cheap studio monitor.
Under the hood is an 80W Class AB amplification system. The split between the two is 45W for the low-frequency driver and 35W for the high-frequency driver. It’s an efficient and effective system that manages to strike a great balance between high-fidelity and amplification.
Max SPL is 102dB at 1m, but this number can often be misleading. While it can reach that level, the performance takes a noticeable hit. Everything runs smoothly until the 85dB mark, but some distortion is present as you creep into the 90s.
In most day-to-day scenarios in the studio, you won’t want to run these that loud anyway, but it is worth highlighting if you tend to crank your monitors up occasionally.
Irrespective of how good a monitor sounds out of the box, you’ll always want a set of tuning controls up your sleeve to adapt to your studio space. Plus, depending on your intentions, you can customize the output to suit your preference when options are available.
The PreSonus Eris Studio 5 gives you a comfortable and easy-to-use suite of choices. At the back of the unit, you’ll have access to a primary gain knob with a clear indent in the unity position. Excellent for calibrating your monitors.
You’ll also have two additional knobs. One for mid-frequency and one for high-frequency adjustments. Both offer flexibility to adjust the output from -6dB to +6dB. Much needed versatility to sculpt the sound to your preference.
The Eris Studio 5 offers good versatility to adjust the output.
I’ve already mentioned the underwhelming mids in an earlier section. This is where you can refine and adjust output to balance out the profile. While I always prefer things to be smooth out of the box, the PreSonus Eris Studio 5 gives you the tools to fix issues. For my taste, a slight bump in the mids and fine shaving of the highs worked best for my studio space.
Complimenting this flexibility is a Low Cutoff for subwoofer connections. The PreSonus Eris Studio 5 already offers good bass, but if you require rumble, PreSonus does offer affordable subwoofers that pair perfectly with the Eris Studio 5.
Finally, an Acoustic Space switch gives you access to 0db, -2db, and -4dB to further control the output. Ideal for smaller studios and wall placement where reflections and bass build-up can be problematic.
There is one other tidbit I want to share. PreSonus does an outstanding job of placing the power in your hands. Included in the manual are detailed instructions on calibrating your monitor and a wealth of information on placement best practices. It’s a small touch, but for beginners, it’s an essential resource and something I appreciate PreSonus including in the manual.
The PreSonus Eris Studio 5 doesn’t stray too far from the previous edition. The overall appearance retains that simple yet sleek look. The matte finish is fantastic and blends comfortably into any studio space.
The blue-tinged woofer gives the unit some character. Gone are the beveled edges, and in its place is a distinct line that separates the woofer and bass port. It’s not flashy but equally not gaudy.
Looking past looks, one major change separates the Eris Studio 5 from the previous model. The updated waveguide has seen some further refinement. The high-frequency driver sits within the EBM waveguide and does a superb job of providing a consistent response.
Professional appearance with a splash of color.
The result is a sweet spot that is broad and generous at 100 degrees horizontally and 60 degrees vertically. Near-field monitors can be fussy when it comes to correct placement. But this waveguide gives you ample flexibility to position and locate the sweet spot.
The front bass port remains unchanged, a testament to how much it improved performance over the original E5. It’s large and helps deliver robust bass response without port noise. It sits slightly higher than the previous E5 XT and, in my opinion, gives the monitor a much better aesthetic balance, especially when combined with the dividing line.
The PreSonus Eris Studio 5 offers an excellent intermediary point between smaller 3-inch monitors that often feature underwhelming bass and larger 8-inch monitors that can be difficult to find space for.
The Eris Studio 5 is a moderately sized studio monitor.
It’s close enough in dimension to the original, making it an easy swap-out if you want to upgrade to this new version. At 11.46 lbs. (5.2kg), it is only slightly heavier than the previous E5 XT.
The PreSonus Eris Studio 5 offers a refined set of connection options, making it a versatile studio monitor.
You’ll have access to three input options. Two balanced options for TRS or XLR ensure you can comfortably run balanced signals through your choice of cable. Supporting these connections is an unbalanced RCA input option. Not all monitors offer this option, so I appreciate the flexibility, especially for a cheap monitor.
The PreSonus Eris Studio 5 offers a solid selection of input options.
There are many built-in protections as well, including RF interference shielding, which is essential when using unbalanced connections.
These three options are all you’ll ever need for a studio setting. But from a more consumer-friendly standpoint, it is missing a few extra features. There is no headphone port or Bluetooth connectivity. If you need these features, you’ll need to explore other options.
This is one area where the PreSonus Eris Studio 5 scores high marks. This exceptionally cheap monitor serves as an ideal starting point for the budget-conscious buyer setting up their first studio. Even as a secondary set of monitors for A/B testing, it is a viable and cheap option that performs well.
The PreSonus Eris Studio 5 is a great choice for budget-conscious buyers.
Balancing price with performance and combining it with a clean aesthetic is something to be celebrated. PreSonus already has a superb reputation for budget-focused products, and the Eris E5 XT continues this tradition.
Bass Reflex Systems
The PreSonus Eris Studio 5 utilizes a bass reflex system to deliver a rich, meaty, low-end response. But you may be wondering how this system works.
Front-facing ports are great for smaller studios.
Bass reflex systems will all feature a port for air to escape from the cabinet. This port could be at the front or the rear of the monitor. As the woofer moves, air will be sucked in or pushed out of this port. This relieves pressure on the woofer and allows it to move more freely, resulting in better low-end performance.
The port’s shape, design, and positioning will vary from monitor to monitor. They must be carefully engineered for optimal performance and work in harmony with the rest of the monitor’s design. This is why sticking to trusted brands like PreSonus is essential. Years of industry knowledge ensure they know how to tune and design an effective bass reflex system.
The entry-level studio monitor marketplace presents a staggering amount of choices. Competition leads to innovation, and as a result, several appealing options exist. Below are three alternatives to the PreSonus Eris Studio 5 worth exploring.
Kali Audio LP-6 V2 Review
Relative newcomer Kali Audio has rapidly become one of the go-to choices for new producers. Superb sound quality and flexible features make it a candidate you need to take seriously.
- A balanced and neutral sound profile makes it ideal for serious studio work.
- An extensive array of tuning options to tweak the output to suit your studio space.
- The dip switches for tuning are a little fiddly.
Kali Audio LP-6 V2
ADAM Audio T5V Review
If you have a bigger budget available to you the T5V from ADAM Audio is an excellent step up from the Eris Studio 5. Fantastic sound and build quality make it an ideal beginner monitor.
- A balanced frequency response for accurate mixing and mastering in the studio.
- Clean and precise bass that is not boomy or muddy.
- The rear-facing bass port makes placement near walls an issue.
Adam Audio T5V
Alesis Elevate 5 MKII Review
If you want to stretch your budget, the Alesis Elevate 5 MKII is a super cheap option. While not as refined as the PreSonus Eris Studio 5, they still perform much better than other budget choices.
- For monitors this cheap, they deliver an impressively neutral response.
- No tuning options exist, but they provide a bass boost switch for extra oomph.
- At higher volume levels, there is a substantial drop in performance.
Alesis Elevate 5 MKII
Should You Buy?
Once again, PreSonus has proven why they are among the most popular brands in the monitor space. From their high-end professional series to the entry-level Eris range, they deliver consistent and dependable products.
The PreSonus Eris Studio 5 is a modest yet thoughtful update on a popular monitor. The sound profile is inviting yet neutral enough for common studio tasks. High flexibility to adjust output makes these a good choice for casual listening too. When you also factor in the low price point, there is little to fault. A fantastic entry-level monitor.
PreSonus Eris Studio 5