The Sceptre series from PreSonus is a unique offering in the mid-tier price bracket of studio monitors. The eye-catching coaxial design is a relic of the past, but this new reinvigorated approach has much going for it. This review looks closely at the 6.5-inch option in the Sceptre series.
PreSonus Sceptre S6
The PreSonus Sceptre S6 is a remarkable monitor. It offers exceptional sound and innovative technology to help deliver a monitor that will be right at home within a professional setting.
You need a studio monitor that can deliver clarity, precision, and flexibility for serious studio work. These are all features that the PreSonus Sceptre S6 has to offer, but as with any monitor, it also isn’t perfect.
I’ll cut straight to the chase and emphatically announce that the PreSonus Sceptre S6 offers impeccable sound quality. I had reservations due to the combination of price point and coaxial design, but my fears were unfounded. This is a sensational monitor that lives up to its lofty ambitions.
The low-end response from the 6.5-inch woofer is punchy and clear. Not quite as voluminous as its larger sibling, the S8 but more than enough to tackle day-to-day mixing duties.
The drop-off around the 50Hz mark is noticeable but relatively common for a monitor this size. If you need that extra sub-bass extension, you’ll need to add a studio subwoofer to your setup. Once again not an issue unique to the S6 as I’ve yet to come across a monitor this size that can tackle sub-bass efficiently.
The Sceptre S6 is a good candidate for serious studio work.
Moving into the mid-range, there is ample clarity and definition that is sure to bring a smile to your face. It’s lively and supremely accurate. The upper mid-range is a little forward, but this is my trying to find the tiniest of faults within a spectacular sound profile.
The highs are equally fantastic, with that same level of accuracy present throughout the rest of the range. The handover across frequencies is superb and highlights the high level of technical know-how behind the coaxial design, which is notoriously fickle and difficult to get right.
The coaxial design also delivers broad, sweeping dispersion and a generous sound stage. Thanks to the wide sweet spot, you have far more freedom to move about.
The PreSonus Sceptre S6 ticks all the right boxes for what I look for in a monitor’s sound profile. Ultra-accurate throughout the frequency range with a delightful and revealing sound that makes making mixing decisions straightforward.
With excellent sound quality already under its belt, the Sceptre S6 impresses again with its high build quality. The attention to detail is superb, and the end product is a capable and reliable monitor.
The medium-density fiberboard (MDF) cabinet offers a good level of heft while adding to the sonic properties of the monitor. The vinyl laminated coating is also well-executed. Not a blemish in sight, and it delivers a high level of scuff and scratch resistance.
Component quality is superb throughout, with quality drivers and secure connection points. But there is one minor gripe I have with the PreSonus Sceptre S6.
Tough construction and advanced coaxial design.
The master level control knob at the rear is relatively small and a little fiddly. It also doesn’t offer indents, making balancing levels between two monitors a little tricky. I’ll admit I’m nitpicking here, but considering how fantastic the rest of the monitor is, it did stand out.
The PreSonus Sceptre S6 also offers several safety features to ensure longevity. RF shielding helps minimize interference issues. Current-output limiting is also present to protect circuitry, and added over-temperature protection completes the package.
The Sceptre S6 also features a “soft start” amplifier. This progressively brings the amp up to power to avoid unwanted popping when you power up the unit.
A workhorse monitor needs to be able to withstand the rigors of frequent use, and I do not doubt that the PreSonus Sceptre S6 is up to the task. I’ve also heard great feedback for after-sales support from PreSonus, which adds to the sense of security.
The PreSonus Sceptre offers a bi-amp design with an equal 90 watts of power for the low-frequency driver and the high-frequency driver for a combined 180 watts of power via Class D amplifiers.
The coaxial driver configuration comprises a 6.5-inch glass-reinforced woofer and a complementing 1-inch horn-loaded high-frequency driver with Coaxial Speaker Coherence Alignment.
The Sceptre S6 features a wide and accurate frequency response.
The frequency range is 52 Hz-20 kHz (-3 dB) with a response of 42Hz-23kHz (-10 dB). Plenty of spread here, and more importantly, it hugs tightly to the baseline for a near-perfect flat response.
The output level is also generous, with a Max SPL of 109dB. This is more than enough for a studio setting and gives you plenty of headroom.
The front-facing bass port does an excellent job accenting lower frequencies and doesn’t exhibit noticeable port noise.
The PreSonus Sceptre S6 also offers some tuning flexibility to help sculpt the sound to your liking and studio space.
The HF Driver options allow you to adjust high-frequency output via a shelving filter for frequencies above 2Hz. You’ll have access to Linear (no filter), +1dB, -1.5dB, or -4dB. It is an effective way to trim the high frequencies if you find them a little bright for your taste.
The Acoustic Space setting helps with bass boost due to surfaces.
The second set of tuning options deals with Acoustic Space. This opens up some control over output based on the positioning of the monitor. The -6dB setting is ideal if the monitors are against a wall and near corners. The -3dB and -1.5dB are for back wall bass boost issues, while the 0dB setting is the base if you don’t have bass boost issues.
Other monitors provide further flexibility, so the Sceptre S6 is not exactly top of the pack regarding tuning options. But despite this, you can handle some fundamental issues between the two main settings.
The PreSonus Sceptre S6 is a slick and stylish monitor with plenty of eye appeal. The coaxial driver setup instantly sets it apart from other monitors, and the modern vinyl laminated finish adds to the appeal. All black monitors can appear dull, but the combination of unique design and high-grade finishing ensures this monitor will look great in any studio setting.
The PreSonus Sceptre S6 is an attractive studio monitor.
Functionally the most significant design decision is the coaxial setup. It’s a proprietary design that PreSonus has put a lot of effort into. Teaming up with Dave Gunness from Fulcrum Acoustic has added a lot of authenticity behind the design with integrated algorithms to tackle the common issues that coaxial speakers face.
The result is a high-tech and well-thought-out monitor that delivers on its promise of 3D imaging, high precision, and accurate transient reproduction.
The PreSonus Sceptre S6 is a large monitor. The larger woofer demands some space, and despite the coaxial design, there is not a huge reduction in height compared to other monitors that feature a 6.5-inch woofer. It is also noticeably deeper than similar monitors, which could prove an issue for smaller desks.
The Sceptre S6 is deeper than come comparable monitors.
In the weight department, the Sceptre S6 comes in at 18.8 lbs. (8.5 kg). It’s not lightweight but also not overly bulky. Just enough heft to give it a premium feel without making it cumbersome. Double-check the weight loading rating for any potential stands you might use to ensure they can handle the S6.
The PreSonus Sceptre S6 forgoes any bells and whistles in the connection department. These are bare and simple, which I don’t mind. These are professional monitors with a distinct focus on having a long life in a studio environment.
The Sceptre S6 only offers two input options.
At the rear, you’ll have access to a balanced XLR connection and a balanced ¼-inch TRS. Noticeable omissions are RCA, AUX In, Headphone Port, and Bluetooth. If you need any of these features, the PreSonus Sceptre S6 will not be the right choice.
The PreSonus Sceptre S6 is a big step up from the entry-level Eris line that PreSonus offers. There is a distinct improvement in sound quality, structural integrity, and design. Of course, this does mean that the Sceptre S6 is more expensive, and rightfully so.
If you need cheaper monitors, there are alternatives out there, but you’ll have a hard time finding monitors in that category that sound this good. Up against the competition in the mid-tier studio monitor market, the S6 is a standout option. It’s well-priced, and the balance between performance and price is solid. It is an investment but one that is well worth it.
There is no denying how popular and respected the Sceptre series is from PreSonus. High-star reviews are frequent, with plenty of praise for these monitors’ exceptional detail and transparency.
Pros And Cons Of Coaxial Monitors
Coaxial speakers are not a new phenomenon. In fact, they were a prevalent choice for music studios in the 80s. Eventually, they fell out of favor but are starting to make a resurgence.
A coaxial speaker will have the high-frequency driver sit on top of the woofer. This delivers excellent clarity and precision due to the single-point source for audio. The symmetry also helps create a fantastic 3D stereo field and broad sweet spot.
Coaxial speakers offer excellent precision.
Where most of the issues arise is the potential for the woofer to interfere with the tweeter output. Generally, higher intermodulation distortion and diffraction artifacts can also be an issue.
While these issues are a problem, modern coaxial design can address many of them with highly satisfying results. The PreSonus Sceptre S6 is a perfect example of progress in the field, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see more coaxial speakers come to market as more people experience the benefits they offer.
Selecting the right monitor for your needs is challenging. Everyone has different needs, so there is no one-size-fits-all option. Below are some alternatives to the Sceptre S6 which might be more appropriate.
Focal Alpha 80 Evo Review
If you want a larger monitor while still retaining a reasonable price point, the Alpha 80 Evo is worth exploring. It offers fantastic sound quality and good features.
- A very neutral-sounding monitor with a satisfying low-end response.
- Slightly more granular tuning control and an extra unbalanced connection point.
- The auto shut-off from inactivity takes 1-2 seconds to kick back in, which can be annoying.
Focal Alpha 80 Evo
PreSonus Sceptre S8 Review
This monitor will be ideal if you prefer to stick with the Sceptre line but still want an 8-inch woofer. Same superb sound profile with a thumpier low-end.
- Exceptional sound quality that is a fraction more refined than the S6.
- Same generous soundstage and stereo image with a wide sweet spot.
- Not a budget-friendly studio monitor.
PreSonus Sceptre S8
Neumann KH 80 Review
The S6 is a large monitor, which might make it not the best choice for small studio spaces. In that case, the KH 80 is an impressive small monitor worth exploring.
- Neutral response and surprisingly good bass for a 4-inch monitor.
- Excellent build quality and premium components throughout.
- Neumann Connect App is only available on iOS.
Neumann KH 80
Should You Buy?
The PreSonus Sceptre S6 is an enticing studio monitor that will appeal to those that want a wide stereo image and generous sweet spot. The sound profile is clear, and the response is exceptionally neutral, making it a fantastic choice for serious studio work. With high build quality and an attractive design, it would be an excellent addition to any studio. Another hit from PreSonus.
PreSonus Sceptre S6