Presonus overhauls its hugely popular Eris studio monitor range
Presonus has overhauled some of the world's best-selling studio monitors. The new Eris speakers deliver reference-grade audio at surprisingly affordable prices, with more low end, wider sweet spots for mixing, and the nifty inclusion of Bluetooth.
The range is split three ways, into Essential, Studio and Pro offerings designed to cater for the bedroom producer, the home studio owner and professional recording studios, respectively – and thus, prices vary pretty widely, from US$50 to $500 per speaker.
But they're all active monitor speakers with balanced inputs suitable for connection to audio interfaces, and the capability to tune their sound to suit your room. And even the Pro speakers definitely sit right at the most affordable end of the reference monitor spectrum – let's face it, you can pretty much spend as much money as you like once you start looking into fancy boutique studio gear.
The Essential range is compact, clever, flexible, cheap as chips and designed to sit right there on your desk or shelf. There are three sizes, pairing a 1-inch silk dome tweeter with either 3.5-, 4.5- or 5.25-inch woven composite woofers. They're sold in pairs, with one side housing the active amplification and the other running daisy-chained off a regular speaker wire.
They set themselves apart from the rest of the range with the addition of a couple of extra connectivity options: an aux jack and a headphone jack with its own volume knob, right there on the front panel of the left speaker.
Most of the Essential series also gets Bluetooth connectivity, so it's got plenty of input options and can easily double as a terrific little set of home theater speakers or a bedroom stereo. We suspect Presonus has probably let a little color through into the sound with these ones, so they're likely to be the best of the series to just enjoy music through, as opposed to putting things right under the microscope.
Prices start at $99 for a pair of 3.5-inchers with no Bluetooth, and range from $149-249 a pair once Bluetooth is added in. Extra low-end is available for $199 in an 8-inch subwoofer, which runs down as low as 30 Hz, with its own Bluetooth connection and a defeatable high pass filter that pulls everything under 80 Hz out of the signal sent through to the main speakers.
Stepping up to the home studio level, the Eris Studio series appears to take things a little more seriously, with a sharper focus on mixing and a flatter, less flattering, more honest, "no sugarcoating" audio profile. There's no Bluetooth from here up, these are speakers for work, not for play.
The Eris Studio speakers are sold individually, each side having its own amplification with gain, low-frequency cutoff, mid and high EQ, and acoustic space controls. Presonus says the sound has "richer low-end and more controlled high-frequency response" than the outgoing Eris speakers.
New vinyl-laminated fiberboard boxes feature redesigned waveguides around the 1-inch silk dome tweeters for a wider 120 degrees of horizontal dispersion and thus a broader sweet spot from which your mix will sound accurate. There are again three sizes here, with 4.5-, 5.25- and 8-inch woofers – the 8-inchers will get you down as low as 35 Hz without a sub. Studio series prices range from $149 to $249 per single speaker.
And the flagship Eris Pro range takes things up a notch, mounting silk dome tweeters coaxially in front of woven glass fiber composite woofers for a single-point audio source with superior phase alignment. This, says Presonus, widens out the stereo soundstage for crisper imaging and the most lifelike sound reproduction in the range.
The Pro range comes in 6.5- or 8-inch sizes, the coaxial speaker mounting resulting in a wider speaker box than the Essential and Studio use. The Pro series is wall- and ceiling-mountable, and thus particularly suitable for multi-channel spatial audio mixing, or just a nice clean room setup. The 6.5s will run you $399 per speaker, and the 8s are $499 each.
Bringing up the low end in the Pro range is a 10-inch front-firing subwoofer with an extended low end response down to the limit of human hearing at 20 Hz. Included with this 113-decibel, 170-watt RMS rumble box is a temporary bypass footswitch for quickly checking how mixes sound without subs. It costs $449.
A quick glance at Amazon's best selling list of Studio Audio monitors gives some indication of how well the original Eris 3.5-inch monitors have sold, with nearly 22,000 ratings – more than 10 times as many as the second-placed 3-inch Mackie CR-X speakers or the third-placed, 5-inch JBL Professional 305P MkIIs I've got set up in my own little home studio.
They've been huge for Presonus, and there's every chance this second-generation set of Eris speakers will be just as popular.