JBL LSR305 vs KRK Rokit 5 RP5 G3 comparison || Part 2. JBL LSR305 Review




Welcome to second part of my double review. In the first part I reviewed, very favorably, desktop speakers from KRK. The 5 inch KRK RP5 G3 displayed very good qualities when it comes to opening a window to Your music. They are dynamic, natural sounding and they throw a big, detailed soundstage. They are also built like tank and look cool. I would be very happy with them, If I would buy only them. But I did not. As I mentioned, I purchased two pairs, to compare them side by side, and keep the ones that sound better to me. Second pair was JBL LSR305, 5 inch monitor also designed in USA, that made huge waves in internet, receiving mostly very good reviews. Today I will take a look at them, compare them to KRK RP5 G3. Let’s begin…



JBL LSR305 is, as is KRK, bi amplified active studio monitor designed to work in nearfield. Judging by the specs, LSR305 has more power than KRK, but this time it's class D power instead of class AB in KRK. 1 inch softdome and 5 inch plastic midwoofer in JBL305 are driven by 41W amplifiers, where’s KRK amps with less power (20W for HF and 30W for LF). Class D amps in KRK monitors have less self noise compared to JBL class D amps, but noise in JBL is very low anyway, so it is not big issue even in nearfield setups.  


Now let’s talk about what we can see and feel under our fingers, before we go to most important aspect of any monitor, sound that is. JBL LSR305 looks very utilitarian, with all black plastic molded front and black vinyl wrapped MDF cabinet. Compared to KRK, JBL is a bit bigger, but surprisingly also substantially lighter, thanks to class D amplifiers. Soft dome tweeter in LSR305 is recessed in big waveguide, that helps evenly propagate the frequencies produced by tweeter. Below we have simple white LED power light. 5 inch plastic woofer is surrounded by rather cheap looking “piano black” polished plastic ring. At the bottom we can see JBL Professional logo and that’s it. Overall I like KRK’s looks much more, with its smaller size, higher perceived built quality, and easier on the eye design. 


On the back both monitors have the same set of balanced inputs (XLR, TRS,) but JBL lack unbalanced RCA input that KRK have. Controls on back of KRK also feel more robust, with rotary dials for attenuating high and low frequencies, instead of dip switches in JBL. Round bass reflex port in JBL is located on the back of cabinet, where’s port in KRK is located on front.  



As You can see so far, I’m not impressed with build quality and looks of LSR305. KRK win in those categories hands down. JBL is bigger, dull looking, and controls on back is where JBL saved some money. But this money, as You will see later, was spent on making this monitor sound like it’s much bigger and more expensive.  


Listening



Before I started my listening test in my desktop system, I gave both KRK’s and JBL’s few days to warm up in my living room, next to my big Prodipes Pro Ribbon 8’s. I did some casual listening  and my first observations showed, that both speakers handled this space quite well, but it was JBL that stood out. LSR305 was quite a revelation I my almost 20sq meter room. They filled space easily with big precise soundstage.  As it turned out both KRK’s and JBL’s where more foreword sounding than my Prodipes. Prodipes are very relaxed, laid back speaker with big bottom end, that’s a bit soft in comparison. Prodipes also could go to volume levels unavailable to both KRK and JBL, they also could punch much stronger.  


When I compared  JBL’s to KRK’s in this big space, KRK we’re a bit lost and confused. Bass was weaker with less reach, and soundstage was more messy. They also gave up earlier in volume department. JBL LSR305 was a real surprise for me, as I did not expect them to behave that well. I imagine that two of these and nice subwoofer would be awesome combo in medium sized spaces. That something I will try to check out in future.
After one week I moved both speakers to my bedroom and placed them on my new desk, leaving Prodipes to handle casual listening  in my living room. It was time to decide which of these two monitors will become my first desktop set up speaker.



Both monitors feel much better in nearfield. Both throw big and detailed soundstage. Speakers disappear while listening to music, leaving me with big coherent soundstage in front of me, detached from speakers. But again LSR305 took over the show, with more 3D soundstage, that RP5 could not replicate. Soundstage of RP5 was a bit flat in comparison and the instruments we’re just a touch less sharp. KRK’s also sounded slightly muddier with a bit of grain when it came to play some cymbals and high-hats. Also both of them was kind of ruthless for harsh or bright music. If music was poorly produced or heavily compressed, than it sounded exactly like that.


Biggest difference between JBL and KRK is in the way they reproduce low frequcies. Bass is better in LSR305, more precise, deeper and better controlled. Overall 305’s bass reached 5 to 10Hz lower, was more believable, more real, where in RP5 G3’s bass was impressive for its size, but sounded a bit less natural. There could be few reasons for that. One could be physical size, LSR305 is taller and have more internal volume. Second reason, definitely, will be the midwoofer cone size.  Both monitors are said to have 5 inch cone, but JBL LSR305’s midwoofer cone have almost 1cm more in diameter, measured with rubber suspension.



Dynamic swings in music were better represented on 305’s and they also had more punch. Kick drums got more punch and presence in JBL. KRK’s kick drum sound lacked texture and that resulted in less difference between different kick drums. JBL’s bass extension also was better that that from KRK but still, for bass heavy music You should choose bigger speakers (JBL LSR308? ) or add a separate subwoofer.


As I said before, soundstage is a highlight when it came to LSR305’ sound. It is bigger than monitors size would suggest. Images on soundstage are precise and effortless. They create a big detailed window to music.

 I have to say, that all sound differences between JBL and KRK where obvious only in direct comparison, side by side. When I listened to KRK RP5 G3 on their own they did great job, with enough bass, good definition in midrange and smooth, but precise, highs. Only when I switched to JBL LSR305 side by side with level matched I could find those differences. Both KRK and JBL could be placed near rear wall without any big problems in bass department. I used both with around 20cm of space between rear wall and back of monitors.




Summary


JBL LSR305 is not beautiful monitor. It’s also not as well build as KRK RP5 G3 and lack few features that KRK has. But where it excells is, with beautiful, involving sound that is three dimensional and full of details. JBL’s also are more versitable when room size is in question, they can handle bigger rooms (up to 20sq meters) thanks to bigger, fuller bass and more available volume. They also have good price, that is even slightly lower than KRK's. For me sound quality was most important, so KRK was packed again and sent back where I bought them. But if You need something smaller and better looking, You can safely go for KRK, and You will enjoy great sound as well. Just remember to not compare them to JBL LSR305 side by side ;)

Verdict: 9/10


 Pros:
+Holographic, detailed soundstage
+smooth detailed heights
+deep and fast bass response
+clear, detailed midrange
+good size for desktop use
+ample power, works good in midfield
+useful controls for adjusting of highs and lows
+excellent performance to price ratio
Cons:
-utilitarian uninspiring looks
-mediocre build quality
-might be too bright sounding for some
-poorly produced music sound exactly like that









Komentarze

  1. How is the last point a con?? That's the biggest plus for any studio monitor! Other than that, great review :)

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  2. Some may be unpleasantly suprised how bad some of their favorite music is produced, when they buy these (eg. 90% of metal music). That's why I made this remark ;) Cheers!

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  3. JBL 305 make it like no others exist or ever did. It may not still be on internet, but there was a shootout that mic'd dozen of monitors using a calibrated mic. And they provided the recordings, AND the source file! So all you had to do was use a good pair of cans (like AT 40x) to hear the difference between source music clips file and speaker. The JBL just stole the whole show. You could barely tell source from speaker. They are as flat and uncolored as you will find. It's no wonder they get praise when examined in other ways. Because if you record like that you can the accuracy etc literately the way you can compare graphs. A and b back and forth. I put all the files in a DAW and level matched and compared. The only other good one was Presonus Spectre (I think it was 5 or 6, idk). Anyway I think those are great too. Not more like source than JBL, but just more impressive somehow in person. Maybe the coax helps idk. But then they are like 3x $ and twice as big/heavy.

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    1. For the money they are unbeatable IMHO ;)

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  4. Hi, what isolation pad are you using? They seem to fit perfectly the JBLs. Thank you.

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  5. Ten komentarz został usunięty przez autora.

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