We get it – making music is expensive. If you’re not willing to spend your life savings away on gear (like most of us), finding a way to better your studio in any meaningful way can be pretty challenging.
You may find yourself constantly dreaming of scenarios in which a random stranger stops you on the street just to give you a $10,000 microphone with no strings attached. Sadly, this rarely happens, and so most of us have to spend countless hours online looking through Craigslist and other sites just to find a piece of equipment we can actually afford.
If you’re looking for a pair of monitors, one possible solution you may have come across is, of course, the PreSonus Eris E3.5. For $100, it definitely holds an argument for your consideration, but we’re not the biggest fans of it.
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Final verdict on the Eris E3.5
To keep it short, the PreSonus Eris E3.5 is far from being the ideal studio monitor, so much so that to call it a proper studio monitor seems wrong. What the E3.5 truly is, is a nice computer speaker. Feel free to use it to hear your favorite movies, video games, and youtube videos.
However, if you’re looking for a pair of monitors to mix and master with, use them as a last resort.
What we like
- Good for multimedia.
What we don’t like
- Extremely colored frequency response.
- Little to no low end.
- Unsettling lack of mid-range.
Power and frequency response
The response from these monitors is anything but flat. While these speakers do have a frequency response of 80 Hz – 20 kHz, there is a lot of information in-between that will negatively affect your listening experience.
For starters, right after a peak at 80 Hz, we noticed a huge dip (nearly -6 dB!) in the mid-range curving up to yet another massive peak at 2 kHz. In practical terms, any vocal or guitar tracks coming out of these will either sound inaccurate or be lost entirely.
If you’re mixing or mastering through your monitors, this response is probably the worst possible scenario to have to deal with.
Ideally, a studio monitor’s response should be as flat or neutral as possible. With the Eris E3.5, we imagine you’ll be having to spend a lot of time over and under-correcting multiple aspects of your mix based on what you’re hearing, only then to have your mix sound terrible on other sound systems.
Furthermore, the level of harmonic distortion present on the Eris E3.5 basically renders it useless at louder volumes. Not that these speakers are meant to be played very loud in the first place, but still.
All in all, the Eris E3.5 is not the “studio monitor” that PreSonus claims it to be. Rather, it would be best utilized as a standard bookshelf speaker to provide audio for movies, games, or small bedroom demo recording.
When listening to things that are already mixed properly, these speakers do a fairly good job. While not accurate, their performance is pleasing enough.
I/O and controls
So, only one monitor of the pair is powered, which connects to the second speaker with a line-out using speaker cables. On the front of the powered speaker, you’ll find the On/Off switch, a volume control, as well as auxiliary and headphone jacks.
On the rear panel, the Eris E3.5 has two unbalanced RCA inputs, and two balanced TRS inputs for both left and right. Right above are two acoustic tuning knobs for both low and high-shelf cutting and boosting from -6 to +6 dB.
There’s not much else to say here other than you should plan on getting comfortable with those acoustic tuning knobs to attenuate the speakers for a flatter response.
Again, the Eris E3.5 shows little fault with the cosmetics of its design, but in terms of its performance… oy vey.
The PreSonus Eris E3.5 is a well-built monitor, no doubt. For its small footprint, the monitor feels fairly durable. We think it’s safe to say that they’re more than capable of withstanding a few bumps during travel.
Beyond that, the design of the monitor is simple and rather unassuming. The cabinet is boxy, with slight contours around the edges, and we felt that the muted blue silk of the woofer added a nice touch.
Compared to other studio monitors
We know after such a glowing review, you’re probably dying at the chance to buy a pair of your very own PreSonus Eris E3.5, but before you make the leap, please for the love of God look at these other monitors.
Eris E3.5 vs Mackie CR3-X
The Mackie CR3-X is the closest comparison to the Eris E3.5 we could find. Both are only $100 for a pair, and for the most part, their performances are roughly the same. The Mackie monitors are more neutral by a small margin.
Unfortunately, both are ported speakers, which considering their small size and inability to produce frequencies below 80 Hz, doesn’t amount to much other than some annoying resonances in the bass.
If you’re really strapped for cash and need a pair of monitors, the Mackie seems to be the better choice for its neutrality.
Eris E3.5 vs JBL 305P Mk2
For whatever reason, the JBL 305P Mk2 is often viewed side by side with the Eris E3.5 and we really can’t figure out the exact reason why.
If you have the means, just buy the JBLs. To avoid getting too far into the weeds of technical jargon, we’ll just keep it simple and say that they are superior by far.
You can also check out our pick of the best budget studio monitors, which includes products from the $100 – $300 price range.
Who are the PreSonus Eris E3.5 speakers best suited for?
The Eris E3.5 monitors are best suited to anyone looking for decent-sounding, affordable computer speakers or beginner producers looking for a monitoring solution on a super-tight budget.Buy PreSonus Eris E3.5 at: SweetwaterAmazon