Are you shopping for a smallish near-field monitor with amazing output and which costs under $200? You don’t have to sift through hundreds of listings. Your choice will most likely be down to a PreSonus Eris E5 vs Yamaha HS5.
Both of these are “near-field” monitors. It is, therefore, important to make the distinction that you are not buying a home-audio loudspeaker and be “disappointed” down the line by the lack of bass response or seemingly “hollow” sound coming out of these monitors.
By a near-field monitor, we mean that you are buying a speaker capable of reproducing a relatively flat response; one that is guaranteed to provide you with an accurate and faithful reproduction of the original sound minus any enhancements. The near-field monitor is designed to be used “near” a speaker at volume levels that range from low to medium so these are not reference monitors that will deliver room-filling sound at a distance of 10 or 20 feet away.
In this article, we explore the characteristics of these two of the best-rated near-field reference monitors that are fairly affordable, under $200, and within the reach of many prospective sound engineers looking for a low-budget option.
PreSonus Eris E5
Amplifier: 80 Watts
All studio monitors in the PreSonus Eris series have been designed for use as professional near-field monitors which are suited for making highly accurate mixes. They find uses in both audio and film production. That is the case with the Eris E5, too.
As you would expect, it has a flat response but you will get some low-end punch, perhaps more than you would expect from a near-field monitor of this size. For its smallish size, it belts a good amount of low-end (bass).
Its rear porting is very close to a wall and has a good amount of bass reinforcement and they provide a satisfactory amount of output.
There are many good near-field speakers in this class and at this price point but what definitely distinguishes the Eris E5 from the rest is its accurate sound production. The PreSonus Eris E5 features both low and high-end tuning knobs located on the back of the primary unit, towards its left side. In other near-field monitors in this class and for the same price point, you will simply get an output level or volume adjustment but you won’t be provisioned with a way to actually tune your speakers to march the environment, or room acoustics. This is a huge plus for the PreSonus Eris E5.
The PreSonus Eris E5 is a reference monitor rather than a loudspeaker but it still belts out an optimal physical sound output. For a small near-field monitor like this one, it is relatively loud. Many near-field monitors are usually built for the up-close volume levels, something in the low to medium range.
For this size and the money, you get great clarity, accurate sound, and a ton of features including a 5.25-inch woven composite woofer for solid low to medium audio output minus the bass distortion.
It has a 1-inch silk-dome tweeter for the most balanced high-frequency sound without the harshness. This small near-field studio monitor belts out 80 watts with its Class AB bi-amplification so you will get a good volume plus headroom for your nearfield monitoring applications.
For a monitor of its size and price, you will be surprised to discover that it is equipped with impressive acoustic tuning controls for optimal performance in your mixing environment. It has a range of balanced and unbalanced line inputs, XLR and RCA, to give you all the required connections.
Amplifier: 70 Watts
The Yamaha HS5 is also a solid and low-priced nearfield monitor so how does it stack up against the PreSonus Eris E5?
For one, you won’t get a flat sound like in the Eris E5. The Yamaha HS5 belts out an accurate and classic sound and has nice modernization with lots of features that you would typically expect in the bigger, premium reference monitors. You get all these for under $200.
Overall, the Yamaha HS5 is nice to listen to. The sound reproduction is of such accuracy that they often serve as a good reference when doing some mixing. The Yamaha HS5 is prized for its honest and precise reference which makes it a great sonic platform to work with in your mixing. This 5” model brings a good deal of accuracy in different recording environments.
The Eris E5 has the new Yamaha transducers with an impressively smooth response over a wide bandwidth spectrum.
The amp unit in the HS5 seamlessly matches to its transducers. It has the bi-amp design with separate amps for the woofer and the tweeter, a design that is seen in the whole Yamaha HS series. The amp provides a consistently high-resolution audio reproduction and the response is consistently flat across the spectrum of sound.
There are good control and connectivity options complete with settings that let you adjust the sound to the unique room acoustics. The Yamaha HS5 will handle a variety of balanced and unbalanced line sources including XLR and TRS phone jacks, mixers as well as keyboards.
The design of the HS5 cabinets is made of a dense and resilient MDF material with excellent acoustic properties and will do an excellent job in removing the unwanted resonance.
The Yamaha HS5 is not only suited for people looking for a pocket-friendly option but it is also a good reference monitor for a savvy musician looking for a superb reference monitor. It is packed inside a compact design with a 5-inch cone woofer. In spite of cheap price, it looks quite okay. It is available in both black and white with a Yamaha logo on the front part, below the woofer, that will illuminate whenever you power it on.
The PreSonus Eris E5 is also a great and cheap reference monitor. It has many of the features that would find in the Eris line including various line sources, bi-amp designs, and acoustic tuning functionality. It has a 5.25” woofer for great audio with minimal bass distortion. The design comes in a simple black cabinet made out of a vinyl-laminated and medium-density board with the PreSonus logo located below the woofer.
The PreSonus Eris E5 is a good reference monitor with a consistently flat sound. It provides a very accurate and revealing reproduction with a smooth and detailed sound. The Eris E5 might be a small speaker but it has a pristine bass response. However, you won’t get the same depth that you’d get in the larger reference monitor. Overall, you get a tight and solid sound out of this. It has a bigger woofer and a bigger amplification, 80 watts, than the Yamaha HS5.
The Yamaha HS5 is also in the same price range, albeit slightly more expensive, as the PreSonus Eris E5 but it has an excellent reproduction from its 5-inch woofer. It gives a very natural and clear sound in the mid highs. You get an output of 70 watts from its bi-amp system with 45W LF and 25W HF. It beautifully modernizes the classic sound and offers an excellent reference for mixing with some accurate source. However, this will only work for small rooms. If you need a more energetic sound, you might require some sub help.
Both the Eris E5 and the Yamaha HS5 gives you a multiple line sources to choose from including both balanced and unbalanced line sources. You can connect the HS5 to mixers, XLR as well as TRS phone jacks while the Eris E5 gives you the option of XLR and RCA inputs.
Pros and Cons
The PreSonus Eris E5 is a great reference monitor with a neutral sound and super accurate soundstage in spite of its cheap price. For a reference monitor of its size, you will be surprised to find out that it has acoustic tuning features that allow you to adjust for the environmental settings such as the size and the shape of the room. On the flipside, this is a cheap reference monitor and it looks cheap, particularly its cabinet monitors. The design also features too many LEDs that literally scream and draw attention to themselves.
Translation is everything when it comes to reference monitors and the Yamaha HS5 studio monitor gives a super-accurate and crisp translation. The HS5 also has room control as well as high TRIM response controls. Like the Eris E5, it features a variety of line sources, both balanced and unbalanced.
Both near-field monitors offer excellent and accurate audio translation.
As you would expect from any Yamaha product, the HS5 has been solidly engineered for top performance and probably offers the best-in-class performance compared to other monitors in its class. The sound reproduction is precise, accurate and honest. Plus, it is priced really well. You won’t go wrong with the Yamaha HS5 if you are looking for a great studio monitor for a small-sized studio for under $200.
However, that shouldn’t stop you from considering the PreSonus Eris E5 which is even cheaper and matches the Yamaha in performance. The Eris E5, though in a smaller package, is accurate with a consistent flat response and even acoustic tuning functionality. Overall, it is impressive for its size even though the box looks cheap. But it delivers on the performance front with more power amplification than the Yamaha HS5.
Both of these are affordable studio monitors with great quality, accuracy and seamless translation. If you are low on budget, we think they still give you satisfactory performance. On top of these, you get excellent acoustic tuning from both. If you are after greater fidelity, you may want to splurge on a higher end reference monitor. However, the Yamaha HS5 and the PreSonus Eris E5 are both smaller speakers suited for smaller rooms. If you are looking to squeeze some extras out of these, you may need to get some subs placed at different points of the room. However, they will work well for a well-treated and small studio. For the price, they represent excellent value.