• June 20, 2024, 1:22 am

PreSonus Eris Pro studio speakers review: Folding mighty sound into compact enclosures SoftAIT

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Update : Thursday, December 7, 2023


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When it comes to studio monitors, precision, clarity, and accuracy are the name of the game. Unlike speakers designed for casual listening, studio monitors don’t “flatter” sound; rather, they provide a clear, honest window into your productions, ensuring your mixes sound exactly as you intended anywhere they’re played. As stereo slowly gives way to spatial audio, however, mix engineers have needed to expand their view from one wide bay window to an entire sparkling solarium, so to speak, and manufacturers are updating their offering to compensate for this.

Since 1995, PreSonus has been known for making affordable, innovative tools for music makers in every stage of their careers, including studio monitors, audio interfaces, and the Studio One digital audio workstation, which was recently updated to include Dolby Atmos capabilities.

This fall, the company, a subsidiary of Fender Musical Instruments, revamped its popular Eris speaker line with a completely reimagined family of powered studio monitors, available in three tiers to cater to everyone from hobbyists to pros. The entry-level Eris Essential line, starting at just $99/pair, offers onboard tuning controls and Bluetooth capability; the midrange Eris Studio line features custom waveguides and ported enclosures for superior high-frequency response and defined low end.

The flagship Eris Pro speakers, available in 6-inch and 8-inch models, are designed to offer a robust yet compact monitoring solution for both Dolby Atmos and traditional stereo and multichannel mixing. Models feature coaxial drivers, ported enclosures, room-compensating acoustic correction, and a range of inputs for both pro and consumer devices. 

I auditioned a pair of the top-of-the-line Eris Pro 8s ($499/each) paired with the Eris Pro Sub 10 10-inch powered sub ($449), the larger of two subwoofers introduced with the new Eris lines.

Eris Pro acoustics

The Eris Pro line showcases PreSonus’ most advanced acoustic innovations. The Pro 8 features a 1.25-inch ultra-low mass silk-dome tweeter and an 8-inch woven-composite woofer; this bi-amped speaker is powered by 140W of Class AB amplification, delivering a max output of 105 dB. Frequency response extends from 20 kHz down to an impressive 35 Hz, with a vented enclosure contributing to Pro 8’s deep, defined bass output.

Pro 8 employs a coaxial design, which places the high-frequency driver in the center of the low-frequency driver. This configuration produces more accurate phase alignment between components and creates a wide sweet spot with precise imaging, enhanced clarity, and even dispersion. [It’s a design also found in consumer speakers such as the KEF LS50 Wireless II, one of our favorite powered speakers specifically because of that spacious yet coherent reproduction. — Editor]

Coaxial speaker designs can also conserve speaker real estate; because the high- and low-frequency drivers are overlaid at a common central point, the speaker’s footprint can be smaller. (This is one of the reasons coaxial speakers are popular in automotive and architectural sound systems.)

While that size advantage might not seem like a big deal, when it comes to mixing Atmos music, Dolby recommends a minimum 5.1.4 speaker layout (referencing mains, sub-channel, and overhead “heights”) for smaller rooms, and ideally, a 7.1.4 configuration—which can eat up a lot of space (and budget) fast. 

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PreSonus revamped its popular Eris speaker line with three tiers of powered studio monitors that can form Atmos-friendly layouts. / PreSonus

Eris Pro’s built-in acoustic controls let you optimize speaker response for your unique space. A rear-panel Acoustic Tuning section provides controls for mids and highs, plus a three-way (flat, 80 Hz, 100 Hz) low-cut switch and an “Acoustic Space” trim (-4dB, -2dB, 0dB). I found that the speakers sat well in my acoustically treated 9- by 10-foot room, but these controls provide a fast, easy way to compensate for bass buildup and other potential room issues. 

The Pro 8’s XLR and ¼-inch TRS balanced and RCA unbalanced rear-panel inputs let you connect just about any line-level source, from studio mixers and interfaces to consumer devices. (Speakers provide RF interference and numerous protection features including output-current limiting, over-temperature, and a subsonic filter; a Power Saver mode engages after 40 minutes of no audio.) 

When you consider all this, it’s easy to see how the Pro 8’s compact coaxial design, acoustic optimization, connectivity, and affordability make it well-suited for Atmos setups as well as traditional stereo and multichannel production. (Pro 8s are wall- and ceiling-mountable for even more versatility.)

The Eris Pro Sub 10

I used the Pro 8s with the Eris Pro Sub 10 powered sub, designed to complement Pro 8s and other full-range monitors with musical, natural low-end response to 20 Hz. This formidable 10-inch subwoofer, powered by 170 watts of Class AB amplification, delivers 113 dB of room-shaking bass, and would be just as at home in a hi-fi setup as it is in a pro rig, though given the Pro 8s’ powerful low-end performance I found myself using the sub mainly to reference bass-heavy mixes. The Pro Sub 10 features a front-firing, glass-composite woofer in a vented enclosure; controls include input gain, polarity invert, a continuously variable lowpass filter for creating a seamless crossover transition, and a switchable 80 Hz highpass filter. An included footswitch provides instant subwoofer, highpass filter, and Sub Out bypass control; I reached for this convenient switch quite a bit during my tests.

Eris in action

I listened to a stereo pair of Eris Pro 8s along with the companion Eris Pro Sub 8 10-inch subwoofer in my home studio. I installed the speakers on a desk atop custom-built 6-inch wood stands. My sound sources included high-resolution commercial tracks streamed through TIDAL Max, and unmastered production files played directly from Apple Logic Pro through an Antelope Audio Discrete 4 Pro converter. (For comparison, other studio monitors used in that space include KRK-powered Rokit R6s and Focal Alpha 80 Evo 8-inch powered monitors.)

Listening to blues and Americana production tracks that centered around intricate acoustic guitar work, The Pro 8s delivered rich, full-range sound, no sub necessary. From finger slides to percussive picking, tracks sounded incredibly defined; crisp, detailed transients were presented in an expansive, lifelike sound stage. 

Although I found the Pro 8s’ deep, defined bass made the sub largely unnecessary outside of checking genre mixes, I gave both the Pro 8s and the Sub 10 a workout when I cranked up some big, bass-heavy commercial tracks. Burna Boy’s “Last Last” reproduced the track’s razor-sharp Lagos Afrobeat drum transients, lush synths, and bone-deep bass with clarity and definition that never became harsh or fatiguing, no matter how loud things got. 

Listening to Bill Evans’ stunning Tales—Live in Copenhagen (1964), the presentation was cohesive and nuanced, revealing a warmly balanced midrange and luminous ambiance. I could almost feel the air move as drummer Larry Bunker performed intricate brushwork and bassist Chuck Israels ran his fingers down his instrument. 

Ultimately, the Eris Pro setup distinguished itself with a voicing that didn’t center itself on the last word in analytical articulation but rather was best suited for contemporary music production and maintaining composure during high-impact immersive sound design (a la Atmos).

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The Eris Pro 8 studio monitors’ playback is spacious even if your workstation isn’t. / Sarah Jones

So, who should buy the PreSonus Eris Pro setup?

PreSonus’ new Eris line reinforces the company’s position of catering to the demands of a broad range of audio professionals seeking a versatile reference system. At a price point of $500 each, the Pro 8s are more competitively priced than many models in their class, making them an affordable choice for both stereo and multi-speaker setups. With their deep midrange and rich, focused bass, for me, these speakers eliminate the need for an additional subwoofer, though the Pro Sub 10 is a fitting complement, especially for referencing bass-heavy music or immersive content creators seeking extra depth. While a bit energetic for a final mastering setup, the Eris Pro line is worth a closer look for home recordists to engineers tight on space and budget but not creative vision.


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