The updated R series from PreSonus impressed me when I checked out the smaller R65 V2. As a result, I was eager to try out the larger R80 V2 to see how it compared to other 8-inch monitors on the market and determine if it was among the best choices for larger studios.
PreSonus R80 V2
The PreSonus R80 V2 is an impressive monitor with all the hallmarks you expect from a studio-focused studio monitor. Below are the highlights with a more thorough breakdown further below.
The R80 V2 is PreSonus’ dip into the world of studio monitors with AMT tweeters, and this revised edition fixes many of the original issues I had with the R series. But while the improvements are substantial, a few problems remain.
The smaller R65 V2 impressed me with its excellent clarity and well-rounded sound profile, and the larger R80 V2 features all the qualities present in the smaller model.
As expected, the bass tonality and output are heftier thanks to the larger 8-inch woofer. Critically the bass retains high precision and punch with neutral delivery. Occasionally a neutral bass response can seem a little lifeless and dull, but that is not the case with the R80 V2.
The mid-range is more refined and accurate than the R65 V2 offered. Excellent tonality, especially for instrumental compositions. Vocals still presented as a little emphasized, but it was less apparent than its smaller sibling.
Much like the rest of the R series, the AMT tweeter delivers exceptional clarity in the top end. But this clarity comes at the expense of enjoyment. These are analytical and bright, which can be fatiguing over long sessions. You’ll need to dial back the top end to avoid issues if you are sensitive to higher frequencies.
The sound profile is neutral enough to make it a worthy candidate for serious studio work. The advanced tweeter design also delivers exceptional spatial delivery with an engaging and accurate stereo field.
The broad sweet spot is also highly forgiving if you diverge from an optimal sitting position. This makes these monitors an ideal choice for a duo working together in a studio, as both people will be able to experience the same output.
The PreSonus R80 V2 is a significant improvement over the original series, and it also offers noticeably better sound quality than its smaller sibling. If you want a serious set of monitors for your larger studio space, the R80 V2 is an excellent option.
The PreSonus R80 V2 is among the market’s most reliable monitors. The tough MDF cabinet is a standout feature, and unlike some monitors, the vinyl wrapping is perfectly executed. Unless you expose these monitors to extreme temperatures, you won’t experience any chipping or warping.
Component quality is also superb with high-quality and precision-designed woofer and AMT tweeter. The connection points at the rear are all secure and reliable. Completing the package is a good set of control knobs.
The R80 V2 is a durable and reliable studio monitor.
The R80 V2 also features a host of built-in protections. There is RF interference protection to help eliminate interference from other electrical devices, and it also features output-current limiting and over-temperature protection.
Setting up a studio can be costly, so investing in high-quality gear that will last is always preferable. The PreSonus R80 V2 is an ideal choice and a considerable step up from entry-level monitors.
The PreSonus R80 V2 features an 8-inch woven composite woofer and a 6.8-inch squared AMT (Air Motion Transformer) tweeter with a 0.01mm Kapton membrane for ultra-tight transient reproduction.
Powering these drivers is a Class A/B amp which is a step away from the previous Class D amps. While Class D amps offer high efficiency, they don’t quite match up to the fidelity that an A/B design provides, so it is a wise choice to switch to this setup for an AMT-focused monitor. The low-frequency amplifier features 75 watts of power, while the high-frequency driver features 65 watts for a total output of 140 watts.
The Class A/B bi-amped design is a smart choice for the driver configuration.
These near-field monitors offer up to 107 dB max SPL at 1 meter. Performance is impressive at low and high volume levels with near non-existent distortion. I’ve come across several monitors that offer lackluster performance at lower volume levels, so I was happy to see that the R80 V2 didn’t suffer from this issue.
Due to the AMT high-frequency driver, the PreSonus R80 V2 delivers a generous soundstage with wide horizontal dispersion. The vertical dispersion is more directed, which helps minimize surface reflections.
The frequency response is 40Hz – 22kHz. Plenty of depth in the low end to accurately deliver satisfying bass response and equally enough reach in the top end to provide spectacular highs. Response curves are also nice and tight, making it a solid choice for analytical listening and detailed studio work.
The PreSonus R series features a refined and capable selection of tuning options. Considering this is a large monitor, you’ll need to play with the settings to fine-tune the output for your studio. Especially if you are in a smaller studio space.
At the rear of the unit, you’ll have access to three primary knobs. One for Master Gain and a further two knobs that control mid and high frequencies. These knobs allow for a -6 dB to +6 dB adjustment.
A good variety of options to help sculpt the sound.
Playing with these to suit your taste will be critical for optimal performance. For example, I dialed back the highs as I found the top end too bright and forward for my liking.
Further flexibility is available with the Acoustic Space switch. This allows you to trim response based on where you palace the monitor. The 0dB option is ideal for middle-of-the-room placement, while the -2dB compensates for wall placement. Finally, the -4dB accommodates corner placement.
Between these options, you should be able to tweak the output to suit your needs. But it is worth mentioning that other monitors do offer more options. Several modern monitors now feature DSP with an extensive range of options and easy access via an LCD screen.
While the PreSonus R80 V2 doesn’t have all the bells and whistles in this area, it is still adaptable enough to handle most situations and a big leap forward compared to the original R series.
I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t like the look of the previous R series lineup of monitors. The stark blue color scheme was too jarring, and they never seemed to blend well into a studio environment. This updated design is a significant improvement.
The slick black cabinet features a matte finish which I also appreciate as it does not attract dust and fingerprints. The angled edges give the cabinet character, but the AMT tweeter is the most eye-catching element.
The refreshed design is eye-catching and professional.
The PreSonus R80 V2 also features a front-facing bass port which is great if you want to place it up against a wall. The restrained use of the PreSonus logo also adds to the professional appeal, and the small LED power light is not too bright to the point of distraction.
The R80 V2 sounds fantastic and now also looks the part. If you like your studio monitors to offer a professional appearance while having some character, the R80 V2 fits the bill perfectly.
The PreSonus R80 V2 is an 8-inch studio monitor, so it will have a big footprint by default. You’ll need to have enough space and double-check the dimensions to ensure they will sit comfortably on your current or future stands. Studio monitors tend to be much deeper than they appear in product images, so keep this in mind.
The R80 V2 is a large studio monitor that demands ample space.
The MDF cabinet does add some heft to the unit, with a total weight of 19.8 lbs (8.98 kg). It’s not the most lightweight of monitors, but it does offer a high feeling of security and heft, which adds to the professional feel.
This is one of the few areas that has not seen any changes. At the rear, you’ll have access to two balanced connection options with both XLR and TRS available. Supporting this is an unbalanced RCA connection point.
An RCA connection point is relatively uncommon among studio monitors, so it is a nice bonus to see it available here. It adds to the flexible nature of the Presonus R80 V2.
Three connection options provide you with good flexibility.
While those three connections are ample, some may want the more consumer-focused bells and whistles that other monitors offer.
The most notable would be Bluetooth. While I don’t expect a studio-focused monitor to offer it, many home producers like its extra flexibility. You can purchase a MicroStation BT to add Bluetooth flexibility, but it is an added expense.
On the surface, the PreSonus R80 V2 is expensive compared to other 8-inch monitors, and it occupies an interesting spot. Less refined and costly than expensive pro-grade equipment but also noticeably more expensive than entry-level monitors.
There is a substantial increase in quality compared to entry-level gear, so the value offering is difficult to gauge. As a step up from entry-level gear, it offers a lot of value, but for seasoned professionals, there are more appealing, albeit more expensive, options to explore. Plus, some enticing mid-tier options compete on price with the R80 V2.
If you can pick these up below retail, I consider them exceptional value. But at full price, I’d likely give these a pass.
The PreSonus R80 V2 is already receiving positive reviews from both customers and industry experts. The excellent tonal depth and solid build quality are among the most common compliments. Looks like PreSonus has another hit on its hands.
Is Bigger Better?
Studio monitors come in various sizes. From compact 3-inch models all the way to bulky 8-inch options. But are bigger monitors better? In many ways, the answer is a resounding yes, but some subtleties are worth highlighting.
Larger monitors like the PreSonus R80 V2 feature a big woofer that can deliver better bass response than smaller options. They are also a good choice if you don’t want to invest in a subwoofer but still desire a meaty low-end.
Large monitors are bulky but deliver an excellent bass response.
But with the increased size, there are some drawbacks. These larger monitors can be difficult to position in a small studio, and you’ll also potentially encounter more acoustic issues and have to explore acoustic treatment for a small space.
A larger monitor is a natural choice if you work with a lot of bass-heavy music. Or, at a minimum, a pair of smaller monitors with a complementary subwoofer, but that can be a costly endeavor. If you have a larger studio or a well-treated small studio, an 8-inch monitor is an excellent and cost-effective choice.
Buying monitors for your studio can be n agonizing decision since there are so many options. Below we take a quick peek at some alternatives to the R80 V2 that might be a better choice for your studio.
PreSonus Eris E7 XT Review
If you want a more affordable studio monitor, the Eris series from PreSonus is worth considering. It’s also a smaller option that will suit more compact studios better.
- Excellent detail and accuracy across its 42Hz – 22kHz frequency response.
- A lower price point while still maintaining good build quality.
- The bass response is less satisfying than the larger R80 V2.
PreSonus Eris E7 XT
Mackie MR824 Review
Another popular mid-tier monitor is the MR824 from Mackie. Unlike some of Mackie’s more consumer-focused monitors, this monitor delivers fantastic accuracy.
- A loud output that is punchy and full of character while maintaining neutrality.
- Sleek and modern design that is both professional and eye-catching.
- Much like the R80 V2, the highs are slightly too bright.
PreSonus Eris Pro 6 Review
If you have more to spend and want an exceptional monitor for your studio, the Eris Pro 6 is worth adding to your shortlist. A sensational monitor with impeccable sound.
- The coaxial driver configuration delivers supreme accuracy and definition.
- Loud and clear output without a hint of distortion.
- Noticeably more expensive than the R80 V2.
PreSonus Eris Pro 6
Should You Buy?
They say the sequel is never as good as the original, but in the case of the R80 V2, that couldn’t be further from the truth. This fantastic update pushes the R series to the next level.
It features excellent sound quality that is crystal clear and ultra-accurate. The robust construction and improved aesthetics also score it a few extra points. While perhaps not the best value, it is among the best mid-tier monitors you can buy today.
PreSonus R80 V2