Presonus Eris E4.5 Review

Presonus Eris E4.5 is a smallest member in Presonus Eris studio monitor lineup. Other members are Eris E5 and Eris E8 and as names suggest, both are bigger (5 and 8inch woofers respectively), more powerful and more expensive. Theese two are designed more towards professional use. Eris E4.5 with it's relatively small size and functional features like volume control and power switch on the front, is more angled at consumer that looks for high quality desktop speakers with proper sound quality, but not necessarily wants to create music. Rather than that, he wants detailed and neutral sound typical for studio monitors when he listens to music or consumes internet content, as well as something that does not overwhelm his space and is easy to use. Let's find out how Eris E4.5 does in typical home use.



Eris E4.5, unlike it's bigger brother's, is not fully active system. E5 and E5 both are biamplified, so they have 2 amps and active crossover in each cabinet, but E4.5 is a passive powered system. It means that both speakers are passive and one of them has built in stereo amplifier that feeds both speakers via passive crossovers. Amplifier used in Eris E4.5 is rated at 25W of continuous power per channel and is built in class A/B, so it should have enough power for most of nearfield use and also gives a hope for a low hiss and hum noise. 25 watts of power is split between two drivers, 1inch silk dome tweeter hidden behind a metal grill, and dark blue woofer 4.5inch in diameter made of kevlar.


Cabinets, made of MDF and covered in black vinyl finish, have dimensions of 163mm/180mm/230mm. Speakers are well put together, look nice and feel good to touch. Also controls for volume and power switch at the front of "master" speaker are of good quality. Next to volume knob we have 3.5mm aux in and 3.5mm headphone jack. One complain I have with built quality is use of blue led light that informs that power is on. Led light is small but bright, and will annoy in darker rooms. On back panel of "master" speaker we have inputs and tone controls as well as bass reflex port. To feed the signal to Eris E4.5 we can use RCA unbalanced and TRS balanced inputs at the back or additional 3.5mm jack input at the front. To tailor the sound of Eris E4.5 we can use acoustic space switch that allows to adjust low frequency response according to speaker placement. There is also option to cut off the low bass at 80Hz or 100Hz when we use Eris E4.5 with subwoofer that takes the bass duty. This is useful option if we use subwoofer without high pass filter built in. We also have two dials, one that control midrange level and one that controls high end. Both dials operate in range of -6dB to +6dB, so the range for adjustment is very wide.



Listening

After unpacking the speakers and setting them up on my desk, the first thing that checked was the level of self noise coming from the drivers. My recent experience with M-Audio AV32.1 and even more so with Tannoy 402, showed that this is problem of many aggressively priced speaker systems with professional heritage. Fortunately Eris E4.5 does not exhibit any hissing or humming problems that would interfere with listening experience. They where not dead silent, but to hear slight hissing, I had to put my ear right against the HF driver. That was a good start to, what later turn out to be, very enjoyable experience.



Overall sound signature of Presonus Eris E4.5 is neutral, with high frequency response that is slightly foreword with  splashes, cymbals and sibilance's a bit pronounced. This resulted in fast listening fatigue on longer sessions. High frequency trim to around -2dB proved to be very helpful it this matter, resulting in a bit darker, but still detailed and extended high end, that was easier on the ear.
Midrange was also detailed but lacked, a bit of smooth, open character that more expensive monitors exhibit. Nonetheless Eris E4.5 is neutral sounding speaker, that let's You hear plenty of detail through out the frequency response. Soundstage produced by Eris E4.5 is big, with good imagining and strong center image, but lacks a bit of depth. Eris E4.5 has a lot of clarity and precision expected from product with professional audio roots, yet is engaging and enjoyable. One thing to have in mind is that Eris E4.5 will not flatter poor quality compressed files or badly produced music, You will be aware that it sounds bad, but that is non of the fault of speakers.



Bass response of Eris E4.5 was one of the bigger positive suprises for me. They sound punchy and dynamic in a way that I was not expecting from this modest sized cabinets. For most of types of music sounded full enough for me to not care about what is missing down low. Rock kickdrum or electronic sample it all sounded good. I had them placed along the wall with around 20-25cm of space between the back of the speakers and a wall, acoustic space setting set at 0dB. Bass did felt a bit boosted to give music more body, but that is only a minor problem considering that You can take off some of that with acoustic space controls. Small woofer we have in Eris E4.5 do a hell lot of work to sound this full in bass department, and this probably resulted in midrange that is slightly compromised. Bass in my space reached around 65 Hz so it is even lower then Presonus promised. Mentioned before 25W amps deliver plenty of  level for nearfield use, and even midfield use with on reasonable levels. In mid field however, they start to show lean bass more, physical limitations start to matter more in this kind of setups.



Comparison

I had a chance to compare Eris E4.5 with M-Audio AV32.1 and my private set of  JBL LSR305. Compared to M-Audio AV32.1, Eris E4.5 came out on top in every area that matters for me. Eris is more natural sounding speaker, much better balanced and more detailed. Bass response was also better in Presonus, not that deep and powerful but much better aligned with rest of the spectrum and still enjoyable. Audible hiss produced by M-Audio did not help either. Taking into consideration that both Presonus and M-Audio speakers cost about the same, than it's clear that Presonus is the right choice for most of music lovers. If You just want to annoy Your neighbors than go for M-Audio ;)



Compared to JBL LSR305, Eris E4.5 lacks a bit of refinement and openness especially in midrange and high end, but comes close enough. JBL is warmer sounding speaker with better midrange resolution and superior soundstageing. Also bass response is deeper and more refined in JBL, but again Presonus comes close enough to call it suprising. Of course on higher levels JBL takes off from Presonus quite easily, but these are rarely used levels. After considering the fact that Presonus is cheaper than JBL and more functional, thanks to more compact size and controls on the front, than I have to admit that they give a lot of value for the money. For ultimate sound quality go for JBL.




Conclusion

Presonus made some good choices designing Eris E4.5 speakers. Use of passive design, with good quality stereo amp, instead off fully active design, and giving user a few useful features like tone controls, front placed volume and power, payed off. They may not be the most powerful speakers on the market but they put their power where it matters. Eris E4.5 has very good sound quality and desk friendly size and looks. All that at attractive price point. Recommended

Verdict : 8/10

Pros:
-Nice looks and solid built quality
-Power and volume controls on the front
-Useful tone controls
-Full, detailed sound out of modest sized box
-Good value for money
-Low self noise

Cons:
-Slightly fatiguing high frequency response on neutral setup
-Annoying LED light

Komentarze

  1. Great review. I have Jbl lsr305 but after seeing this video I have the impression that Presonus has clear highs. Am I correct? Thanks.

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  2. Ten komentarz został usunięty przez autora.

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