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PreSonus Eris E3.5 review
PreSonus Eris E3.5 review
PreSonus Eris E3.5 review

PreSonus Eris E3.5: a portable pocket studio

PreSonus Eris E3.5 review
8

PreSonus Eris E3.5 are positioned as media speakers or home studio monitors. This is the junior model of studio speakers from PreSonus . The key features of monitors are their small size, weight and price. Eris E3.5 are compact studio monitors that can be connected to a laptop, xbox, phone, or even put in a backpack and set up a studio anywhere. There are two versions – one has a Bluetooth receiver (Presonus Eris E3.5 BT), the other does not. Both models are identical in basic characteristics. I got a model without bluetooth, so I will write about it.

Packaging and equipment

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The speakers are delivered in an “old style” box with photographs, advertising slogans and detailed specifications, everything is as it was in the 90s, this is not colorless “organic” cardboard as is customary now. In the box I found an RCA cable – 3.5mm, 3.5mm – 3.5mm about a meter and a half long and an speaker cable – a regular standard cable one and a half meters long. It can be seen that these are the simplest budget wires, but I’m sure this is enough. To connect to the DAC , I used my proven cable, purchased separately. Also in the box is a very sparse user manual and absolutely no technical data. It is worth noting that almost all PreSonus equipment, including the Eris E3.5, has a code that can be registered in the https://my.presonus.com/home system and you can get some software as part of the Studio Magic package absolutely free. I was not able to check this; the booklet only indicates this. If for some reason this information is invalid or out of date, please forgive me.

Design and ergonomics

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The speaker body is made of fiberboard (medium density) covered with matte vinyl – as the manufacturer says, it is Vinyl Laminated MDF. The speakers are matte black, they look quite good in my opinion and unlike, for example, KRK, Mackie, Yamaha, etc. They do not use any colored elements on the body, and the drivers do not stand out, which I personally consider a big plus in terms of aesthetics. The quality of the case and speakers is generally good, everything is smooth and everything is in its place. The pleasant matte finish does not leave any marks or stains. I wouldn’t say the monitors look cheap.

 

The tweeter, also known as the HF driver, is made of a silk dome with a diameter of 2.6 cm and is covered with a solid grille. Below is a midrange (or low-frequency) driver made of dark gray-blue Kevlar with a diameter of 9 cm. On the front panel, under the high-frequency and mid-range drivers, there is a volume control with a diameter of just over a centimeter, next to a nice bonus – an Aux input and a headphone amplifier. Both are 3.5mm. There is a switch at the same level below. In my opinion, the ergonomics are extremely simple and convenient; everything you need is on the front panel. The volume control is very smooth and easy to grip, although I prefer to adjust the volume any other way. There is a blue light above the volume control, it is not intrusive. Apart from it, there are no luminous or irritating elements. At the back of the speakers there is a bass reflex, HF and MF frequency controls, main inputs and an output to the left speaker.

 

The speakers are very small and very light, especially considering that they are active monitors. But don’t judge their capabilities by their size. I believe that their size is the main plus and will most likely be the main purchasing factor for many. I would advise PreSonus to expand the range of stands for their monitors, because finding good tilting stands has been a challenge.

Sound

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The speakers immediately impress with their volume and liveliness relative to their size. When I first turned it on, I was pleasantly impressed. Very fast and dynamic, quite detailed and at the same time relatively linear – what a combination! There is also quite adequate sound right out of the box without tedious calibrations and equalizer settings – this is often not the case with monitors costing three times as much. I didn’t feel any strong need for adjustments; they gave me plus or minus the “correct” sound in my understanding right away when I turned it on.

 

The PreSonus Eris E3.5 has a rear-mounted bass reflex port, so as usual, the closer their backs are to the wall, the more we hear the low range. The company took the time to write a detailed guide regarding the position and placement options of the speakers, which greatly influences the correct recreation of the 3D scene. The manual can be found on the official website, I recommend that owners read it.

 

I would like to say that in Eris E3.5, also in Eris E4.5, unlike their older brothers, there is no Acoustic Space regulator, which helps to adjust the monitors depending on the position of the walls. From my observation, the Eris E3.5 gives the best results at a distance of no more than 30 cm and no less than 20 cm from the back wall (if there is one) in a vertical position, the tweeter is strictly at ear level and the front side should be directed towards the listener, i.e. . as if to look exactly at it, the distance from the tweeter to the ears is from 40cm to 70cm. It is also important that there are no corners nearby, especially bad if the side walls are at different distances and one of them is closer than half a meter to the speaker. In my case, they demonstrated maximum performance when the volume control was positioned at/up to 10 – 11 o’clock, which is approximately below 20% of the volume at the maximum input signal. This is more than enough for a one meter distance from the listener, especially good if there is a plane behind that acts as a reflector. This is just my observation and does not completely align with PreSonus recommendations. It’s up to you to decide exactly how to arrange your monitors. In my case, the speakers were tested connected to a budget DAC – SMSL Sanskrit 10th MK II via a short RCA cable.

 

Of the small disadvantages, I should note the following. Background, barely noticeable noise in the presence and absence of a signal, hissing. I wouldn’t say it’s strong, but it is there. I was once told that completely balanced TRS solve the problem. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a chance to check this, so I can’t confirm it. Also a slight impulse, clicking sound when turning on and off. I don’t know, it’s probably due to the ease of implementation of the power supply and/or amplifier. And another obvious nuance due to their size (I don’t think this is a minus) is the lack of low frequencies, sometimes this is noticeable, sometimes it is not a problem at all. PreSonus Eris E3.5 has a roll-off from 120 Hz to 70 Hz and then down almost a cutoff, i.e. They work more or less up to the specified 80 Hz; the signal below 120 Hz can be raised by software. In this way, linearity up to 80 Hz can be achieved. If there is really not enough bass, then Presonus recommends a subwoofer, for example, Eris Sub8 . Or, as an option, move to an older model like Eris E7 XT .

 

I would also like to say something about the headphone amplifier. As I mentioned above, a nice bonus is the headphone jack on the front panel. Yes, the quality of the amplifier is inferior to a stationary one, but I was convinced how damn convenient it is. After hours of listening I can’t say I have any major complaints about the headphone amp, I think it’s more of a “temporary use” than a permanent tool when you need to spontaneously switch to headphones for a while. The best part is that the tone control also affects this output, so you can adjust the treble and bass on the headphones too. I don’t know the internal decoupling of these monitors, there is simply no information about it, but it seems that Aux and RCA are the same thing, I did not hear any difference between them. I didn’t have a balanced DAC on hand, so I chose a standard unbalanced RCA, through which the speakers play very well and it’s hard for me to imagine that they need anything else. But for those who for some reason are bothered by background noise, I recommend trying a balanced input.

 

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As for the emitters themselves. The tweeter is extremely clean and smooth, with a large reserve of power, and quite detailed. The HF emitter has a moderately wide dispersion, but shows best results at a short distance at the focusing point. The crossover has crossover at 2.8 kHz. The midrange speaker (to be fair, this model does not have a woofer driver due to the 80Hz limit) is made of a composite that includes Kevlar, making the sound very dynamic and playful. The low range is quite detailed, fast and collected, very clean within “reasonable” volume limits.

 

Eris E3.5 demonstrate good abilities in recreating 3D space. When positioned correctly, the feeling of three-dimensionality is at a good level. Nothing extraordinary, but sometimes there was an almost complete feeling of presence. From personal observation, if you draw lines from the tweeters of each monitor, then ideally the intersection point should be located approximately at the back of the listener’s head in order to “see” the scene, of course, if it is in the recording itself. For those who value 3D, PreSonus recommends the Sceptre series with coaxial drivers, but this is a completely different price point. Eris E3.5 has quite “flexible” drivers in terms of what sound can be obtained using equalizers and various plug-ins. I decided to play with the equalizer trying to adjust the sound to my taste and found that the speakers have impressive flexibility, which indicates a high-quality and efficient solution for both the amplifier and the speakers themselves. At the bottom of the range, where the decline begins, you can compensate with an equalizer and level it out almost up to 70 Hz, which is very good. With the help of special software and simple measurements, you can achieve an almost even signal, if necessary. For example, it was not possible to achieve similar results on M-Audio monitors of similar form factor from the late 2000s. All of this is impressive considering the Eris E3.5’s size, weight and price. The speakers don’t have any obvious problems at low volumes, but as volume increases they lose resolution and depth. As I mentioned, these monitors are designed for near-field operation, their extreme effective point for the listener is no more than 70 cm.

 

As for the tone control controls, it seemed to me that the best result for my hearing was at the High/Low value of 0/0 dB. As a starting point. Then, if necessary, you can apply a software equalizer on top, calibrate the speakers, etc.

Comparisons

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I can only compare them with Mackie CR3 which are in the same price category. In addition to price, both models have, plus or minus, similar characteristics. In my opinion, the biggest difference between the two is that the CR3 does not have a tone block; it is impossible to adjust the bass and treble on them, which is definitely a minus for the Mackie. In terms of sound, it seemed to me that the Eris E3.5 sound higher, cleaner and airier, by the way, they have a slightly larger tweeter, and the CR3 sound more massive, with an emphasis on the middle and bottom. Also, the level of detail and microdynamics is slightly lower in the CR3. My choice without a doubt falls towards the Eris E3.5, besides, the CR3 have a ridiculous design in my subjective opinion, but there is no arguing about tastes. Of course, having a parametric equalizer and an inexpensive microphone, you can to some extent level out both models in terms of frequency response.

Conclusion

In my opinion, for this money and in this size it is difficult to find better monitors. I would like to remind you that this is not home hi-fi, they are simply not designed for that. Eris E3.5 are near-field monitors; they perform to their full potential if the instructions are followed. If the situation is correct and all recommendations are followed, they earn back every penny paid, and even more. I have already written above about how to get the most out of them. The Eris E3.5 is an excellent choice for a super budget studio where high precision is not required. Among the minor disadvantages, there will definitely be those who will miss the low frequencies; in this situation, you can add a subwoofer and easily solve the problem. Everything else, strictly considering the price, is only pluses, so I have no doubts recommending the Eris E3.5 as compact monitors for the home or office with limited space or budget.

PreSonus Eris E3.5 review
PreSonus Eris E3.5
8
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