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This article was originally published in issue #40
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I first noticed PreSonus’ Eris monitors two or three years ago when their E5 and E8 models forced their way into the already crowded affordable-studio-monitor market. They seemed to get pretty good reviews, and I figure they’ve probably sold well since. At the time the E5 was the smaller of the two options (E8 being the other) and I was interested to see that the range has expanded smaller (chaos creeping in? - Ed) to the E4.5.
The E4.5 is a compact and lightweight speaker and has a quite-different look to its bigger range-mates. Cabinets are MDF with 4.5” Kevlar main drivers and 1” silk dome tweeters. The left-hand speaker has all the controls and electronics, and connects to the passive right-hand unit with an included cable. On the front panel is a power switch, volume control and aux-in and ‘phones-out sockets, and around the back are balanced jack and unbalanced RCA inputs, power input and selector, and a full set of adjustment controls for acoustic space (-4, -2, 0dB for near corner, near wall or open space positioning), low cutoff (flat, 80Hz, 100Hz) and +/- 6dB mid and high end controls. Oh – and a bass port.
I set-up the E4.5s with the Acoustic Space and Low Cutoff switches flat, and adjusted the Mid and Upper controls to suit my taste. The all-important mid-range is surprisingly clear and well defined, and even with the High Frequency control maxed-out the top end behaved very well. There’s plenty of level for nearfield use, but I did find that at the highest levels I felt that the rear port was working just a little bit too hard. The 80Hz bass cut helped with this, but I actually preferred the sound with a piece of foam stuffed into the port. At normal levels though, the standard settings were just fine.
The range of studio monitors available for not-very-much-money is greater today than it has ever been, which can make reviewing them a bit difficult. Even if we discard all those that are simply decent or OK, we still have a lot of good speakers to consider. The specs on the E4.5s are absolutely fine, but I have to say that PreSonus seems to have managed to get something a bit “more” out of these monitors. Certainly, the low bass output is limited by the speaker size and the small enclosure, but I felt that I could hear into it and understand what was there; the mid range is excellent, and the top end is smooth. Stereo image is wide and solid, and with the Mid and High controls I could join up the frequency bands just as I wanted to hear them. Certainly I’ve heard more detailed speakers at higher prices and in bigger boxes, but at the cost of these monitors I have to say check them out if you need a pair of big sounding small monitors. At the price they are also excellent value for money.