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PreSonus Eris E4.5 Studio Monitors Review

PreSonus Eris E4.5 Front

Image credits: www.presonus.com

TL;DR

Acoustics are fantastic. Great frequency response and dynamic range, though the low end can be lacking sometimes.

Wonderfully versatile with headphone out and aux in, both being 3.5mm jacks. Switches at the back allow for tuning to room acoustic characteristics (see image below). Also has a built in amplifier meaning no extra hardware is required. Just plug into your device via 3.5mm jack.

They are on the expensive side, but in terms of aesthetics, sound, features, and size (portability), they are exactly what I’m looking for.

Some reviews state a noticeable mains hum, though from my experience it isn’t too bad. I go into more detail on this later.

It does appear that their price has increased since my purchase during February 2019 when they were £139.

PreSonus Eris E4.5 Front

Image credits: www.presonus.com

Technical Specifications

Frequency Response: 70Hz - 20kHz
Crossover Frequency: 2.8kHz
LP Amplifier Power: 25W/speaker
HF Amplifier Power: [not biamped]
Peak SPL: 100dB
LF Driver: 4.5” (11.43cm)
HF Driver: 1” silk dome
Input Impedance: 10kΩ

(Specifications as listed on presonus.com)

Introduction

I made an unusual New Year’s resolution for 2019.

Get new speakers

Why? Because every time I turned on my Mercury SW1800W the subwoofer would give off a deafening 2 second long buzz. Maybe it was the old age of the speakers, but either way I just could not put up with it every day.

Mercury SW1800W

Mercury SW1800W 2.1 Speakers

Image credits: www.czc.cz

After looking around on the internet and watching video reviews I decided to get the PreSonus Eris E4.5 Studio Monitors. I have been using these speakers as my daily drivers for over a year now.

Acoustics

Disclaimer: I am an audio enthusiast and not a professional. Take my words with an appropriate level of scepticism.

PreSonus rate the Eris E4.5 between 70Hz and 20kHz, though during my basic testing the Eris can push as low as 60Hz, but falls off very quickly at frequencies below that. Regardless, the low frequencies just do not hit as hard at lower volumes and you will have to turn it up in order to hear decent range below around 80Hz.

Taking into account the driver size, at 4.5” (11.43cm), it does a surprisingly good job at keeping the low frequencies audible.

Media Consumption

Music

Throughout my year with the speakers, they’ve delivered a very enjoyable experience, handling every track that I’ve thrown at it. Each instrument/layer of the track is almost always distinguishable, though there have been moments where I’ve put on the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x and noticed a part of the song that I missed when listening on the Eris.

It’s only during very challenging songs, such as Harbinger by Mick Gordon, where the Eris struggles in keeping the output consistent. The mix of low and high frequencies simultaneously can cause the volume to slightly fluctuate, but this is an exceedingly rare occurrence.

For those who enjoy a harder hitting bass and choose to tweak the equalizer may experience stronger volume fluctuations during the bass heavy parts.

Movies

I watched Blade Runner 2049 in the cinema and at home. The movie sounds phenomenal on the Eris, with the distorted synth highs tearing through the rumbling lows in the sea wall chase scene.

A subwoofer would be that cherry on top in those scenes and PreSonus recommend pairing the Eris E4.5 with their Temblor T8 subwoofer for those who want “…extra-deep low end…”, but at ~£299 in online stores (mostly not available) it’s out of my budget range.

The speakers are also not fatiguing for me. Unlike some headphones, which can get irritating to listen to after long periods of time, I can spend all day listening to the Eris.

Gaming

Left/right stereo separation works just fine, but don’t expect to be able to pinpoint the location of a sound on these. That isn’t really a criticism of these particular speakers, but speakers in general. Headphones just work a lot better in this regard, from my experience.

Audio Monitoring

As mentioned, these are entry level studio monitors. During audio editing sessions I will double check my work afterwards using headphones, just to make sure that everything sounds fine, which can be a minor inconvenience. I don’t fully trust the Eris. That being said, in my experience the speakers alone have been enough, and I rarely need to adjust things.

This is most likely because I don’t do professional grade work, thus I’m not looking for absolute perfection; close enough will do.

Features

I really like that the speakers don’t require XLR or anything fancy in order to get them working. A simple stereo audio RCA connector to 3.5mm jack from my PC to the speakers works.

I can also connect my phone with a 3.5mm to 3.5mm headphone jack straight to the front of the speaker and it works as expected (it will play audio from the rear and front inputs simultaneously). Not all speakers in this product category feature front audio inputs/outputs.

I can also connect my headphones to the speakers through the front which passes the audio only to the headphones.

These are all features that I didn’t really consider when purchasing, but have come to appreciate greatly.

Aesthetics

This is a very subjective category, but in my opinion the the matte black appearance of the speakers works perfectly. There are no glossy surfaces (unlike M-Audio AV42, JBL LSR305), nor are there any bright colours (unlike KRK Rokit, Yamaha, Mackie CR4-X).

Mains Hum

I have seen reviews online and videos of some people having issues with the amount of mains hum coming from the Eris E4.5. In my experience it is almost inaudible, especially when there is audio playing.

The hum is noticeable at close distances (less than half a metre) and/or when you try and listen for it. Most of the time my mind tunes it out.

I used a spectrum analyser app on my phone and these were my results:

Mains hum

I held my phones microphone roughly 3cm away from the tweeter (the small speaker at the top), with the Eris turned on in the left screenshot and turned off in the right.

As you can see in the 10kHz range there is a spike in high frequencies when the speaker is turned on. To my ears it pretty much sounds like white noise.

As for the main driver, it seems to create a spike at around 149Hz (triple the ~50Hz mains frequency), though this one is even less audible than the tweeter.

My verdict is that this is a non-issue for me, and perhaps it could be even less noisy if I used a balanced connector rather than the unbalanced RCA jack.

Real World Experience

Apart from using it at home extensively, I have also taken it to a Christmas dinner and a charity event. In both cases the speakers were plenty loud with no distortion (the volume wasn’t even at half if I remember correctly).

I did carry them in a large bag and their weight was manageable. I wouldn’t walk an hour with them, but 10 minutes down the road is alright. The fact that they are a totally contained system meant that I only required to transport 3 cables; power cable, 3.5mm to 3.5mm jack, and the wire to connect the two speakers.