Presonus Eris E5

PreSonus Eris E5 Studio Reference Monitors Review

The Low-Down!

The PreSonus Eris E5 belongs to the Eris family of studio monitors, aimed at entry-level engineers, DJs, or home recording musicians looking for an affordable pair of reference monitors that still get the job done. While many options are available in a similar price range from various reputable manufacturers, the Eris E5’s certainly provides all the bedroom or home studio producers could ask for at an incredibly reasonable price.

Presonus Eris E5

Frequency Response:
53Hz – 22kHz

Low-Frequency Amplifier Power:
45W

High-Frequency Amplifier Power:
35w

Technical Specifications

Drivers:5-inch woofer and 1.25-inch tweeter
Weight:10.2 lbs
Crossover Frequency: 3kHz
Input Impredance:10kOhms
Dimensions: 7″ x 7.68″ x 10.24″

Introduction to PreSonus

PreSonus Audio Electronics Inc. – known commonly as PreSonus – is an American-based audio equipment manufacturer of professional audio software and hardware. Their product ranges are widely used amongst professional studio and live engineers, musicians, and bedroom hobby producers worldwide. Since its founding in 1995, PreSonus has released various products, notably: Studio One DAW, Notion and Progression Composition Softwares, and an array of digital mixers, control surfaces, MIDI controllers, studio monitors, audio interfaces, and headphone amplifiers.

Before we take a look at the Eris E5 monitors themselves, let’s take a moment to understand reference monitors, what they are and how they work in a studio set up to help us better  understand the workings of the Eris E5’s.

What are Studio Reference Monitors? What are They Used for?

In short, studio reference monitors are used by recording, mixing, and mastering engineers, musicians, radio producers, and post-production engineers to accurately represent the content they are working with. Audio engineers can’t work on Hi-Fi speakers to record, edit or mix a piece of music or dialogue as such speakers are built to enhance the sounds coming through it. Reference monitors are designed to play the audio as ‘cleanly’ as possible, exactly how it was recorded or mixed. The ‘flatter’ the frequency response, the better.

Studio reference monitors are arguably the most important part of any studio. Since no matter how high-end and professional your other equipment and software may be if your monitors can’t accurately represent your sound; it is all rendered worthless. Studio monitors are available in a large variety of sizes and styles, and many have their own slight characteristics which the user needs to understand and therefore account for when making edit and mix decisions, such as speakers with a slight drop in a specific frequency range.

Thus, ear training and evaluating your monitor’s frequency response is critical to making a mix that translates well to other systems. In a studio or home production environment, studio monitors fit in at the very end of the signal chain. The signal is fed to them through the outputs of your audio interface or soundcard. These connections vary from interface to interface and can be in the form of RCA, XLR, or TRS ports. Therefore, it is imperative to check the output options on your audio interface before you purchase your new studio monitors.

My Review of the PreSonus Eris E5 Studio Reference Monitors

The Eris E5 monitors are highly affordable, considering their versatility, durability, and sound performance capabilities.

Construction and Design

First, we’ll take a look at the packaging- I received great help from the PreSonus team in getting my speakers safely to my front door in an undamaged condition. The monitors came securely packed in a double-box configuration, with protective Styrofoam for additional reinforcement. Inside the box, I found the following:

  •  2 x PreSonus Eris E5 Studio Monitors
  • 2 x Power Cables

The speaker cabinets are constructed from medium-density fiberboard and coated in vinyl for a slick aesthetic, feel, and protection of the enclosure. PreSonus paid some serious attention to detail upon manufacturing these monitors. All knobs, switches, and inputs are made from high-quality materials and feel great to use. The front of the speakers features a small LED indicator to display the speaker’s on/off status, using a blue light that ensures high visibility even when in brightly-lit environments.

Presonus Eris E5

Connectivity and Features

The PreSonus Eris E5 features sound-altering controls to improve the acoustic properties of the speakers when used in unfavorable rooms, such as spaces with reflective surfaces, poor or no acoustic treatment, or unideal room shape/size. You can use the knobs labeled mid and high on the back of the cabinet to adjust the relevant frequency responses and characteristics, respectively. While there is no control for the lower frequency band, I feel the mid and high controls can compensate for this, and the sound stage controls come in handy when battling with bass response in your room. 

The sound stage controls, labeled ‘acoustic space’ on the back of the cabinet, allow you to alter the properties of the speakers depending on the placement of your monitors in your studio. Diagrams are also included to assist you in choosing the correct mode as per your monitor placement. The placement of your reference monitors is crucial for achieving accurate, transparent, and high-quality sound reproduction. I would suggest researching placement options before simply plugging them in and firing up your DAW, and investing in a quality pair of speaker stands will make a considerable improvement in isolation.

As for connectivity options, the PreSonus Eris E5’s offer three inputs:

  • Unbalanced RCA
  •  Balanced TRS (1/4 inch)
  • Balanced XLR

Such input options allow the use of these monitors with practically any audio interface you may be using, as well as use for other applications such as referencing a movie soundtrack or with a vinyl system.

Presonus Eris E5

Sound Quality

The most important aspect of any audio-related device is its ability to reproduce sound accurately. The PreSonus Eris E5 monitors perform to a high standard for their affordable price point. The above-mentioned equalization and sound stage controls provide additional versatility and tonal shaping of the speakers to maximize performance in whatever environment you find yourself in. 

When evaluating the sound quality of these speakers, it is important to remind yourself that these are not suitable for use as a stereo setup or HiFi system where enhanced and exaggerated tonal qualities are to be expected. These are flat-response reference monitors designed to accurately represent the source signal.

The first thing I noticed was a lack of low-end presence. This is expected as the E5’s frequency response only starts at 53Hz and has a small woofer size of 5-inches. I then removed the speakers from their isolators and placed them directly on my desk made from low-density wood. This certainly ‘improved’ the bass response; however, this was mostly due to resonance caused by the surface contact and is something to avoid when using professional reference monitors. While the absence of low-frequency content was a slight disappointment, I managed to adjust this using the onboard equalization controls to find a balanced ‘sweet spot’. A similarly-priced pair of entry-level studio monitors worth checking out would be Yamaha’s HS5 speakers, which offer improved low-frequency representation.

As for the remaining frequency spectrum, I really can’t complain here: a relatively flat response with a crisp midrange and high-frequency courtesy of the 1.25” tweeter. This frequency information and definition makes up for the earlier necessary tweaking. Compared to a pair of HiFi speakers, the improved definition of the Eris E5’s seriously impressed me. My only real complaint is that the signal-to-noise ratio is fairly high: some hum can be heard when the speakers are inactive, and a popping sound is created upon powering up and off.

While the E5’s may not be ideal for a big-budget studio setup, they are more than ideal for a bedroom or small project studio to edit, mix and master your music, podcast, or video content to a high standard.

Conclusion

As an engineer who has had the privilege of working on a large variety of reference monitors and some of the best in the business, I can confidently say that for small project studio or hobbyist applications, the PreSonus Eris E5’s offers great value for money. 

A reliable pair of monitors that provides predictable results every time at an affordable price and is astonishingly loud for the small size of 5 inches! The front-facing bass port provides additional flexibility regarding speaker placement (however, it is vital to research and implement proper monitor placement techniques for best results). The assortment of connectivity options means easy compatibility with virtually any interface or media device.

My only complaints would be the abovementioned signal-to-noise ratio issue and a lack of bass response, resulting in a ‘thinner’ overall sound. However, you can solve this with some equalization efforts using the versatile onboard controls. It is also worth mentioning that the support team at PreSonus is an incredibly helpful bunch, should you have any warranty or tech support-related concerns.

What We Like

  • Great value for money
  • Lack of distortion at high volumes
  • Versatile I/O options

What We Dislike

  • Relatively uneven frequency response, particularly in the lower frequencies
  • Severe noise issues, especially when used at higher listening levels
Matthew Cox - Author
Written by
Matthew Cox
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