PreSonus Eris E5 vs Mackie CR5 which is better?

In this PreSonus Eris E5 vs Mackie CR5 review, we take a look at these two mid-priced multitaskers. Both of these are mid-range studio monitors that can handle various musical genres and will serve you well in the most challenging mixing environments. They Eris E5, like other studio monitors in the series, offers you extensive acoustic tuning controls. The audio and translation in both speakers are crystal clear. These are, in fact, some of the best active studio monitors that you can buy for approximately $300 or less.

There is a reason why avid audiophiles looking for budget-friendly studio monitors have the PreSonus Eris E5 and Mackie CR5 on their radar. Both of them have a large array of functionalities and specifications that you might overwhelming if you are starting out with these. However, there are certain differences between these studio monitors that you will need to factor in when deciding on which one to buy.

PreSonus Eris E5

The PreSonus Eris E5 are budget-friendly studio monitors with relatively flat response. They are “near-field” monitors so don’t expect the level of bass response that would typically get in the home-audio loudspeakers. The sound reproduction is highly accurate, though. The Eris E5 have been designed for very accurate mixes and will work well with a variety of playback systems including headphones and computer speakers.

For the price, you get a superb and faithful reproduction of the original audio which does not include any enhancements. You will get a good audio output out of the PreSonus Eris E5 at low to medium volume levels. If you are looking for room-filling sound in larger rooms, you might want to go for a larger studio monitor. However, this should work for small studios.

Thanks to its relatively flat response, you can use the PreSonus Eris E5 for creating critical mixes when you are doing audio or even video production. It has a low-end punch, the kind you would find in larger monitors.

The PreSonus Eris E5 might be cheap but it has a lot of features and functions to get you the most out of the studio monitor. Its professional adjustments allow you to tailor it to the studio or use-case. You will also appreciate the automatic protection features in the studio monitor such as output limiting, transient, over-temperature and RF interference which are good for its longevity and optimal functionality.

The rear porting has very close proximity to the wall and with very good bass reinforcement.

Mackie CR5

The PreSonus Eris E5 is a super-cheap and small-ish near-field monitor which costs approximately $100. On the other hand, the Mackie CR5 goes for slightly over $300 and is also packed with good power, audio quality and an array of premium features which professional mixers would want in a studio monitor.

The Mackie CR5 features a studio-quality design. It has a top-end performance that is suited for both entertainment and multimedia creation. The frequency range in the Mackie CR5 is much wider and will work perfectly for a large spectrum of multimedia.

This is a versatile and nicely built studio monitor that you can use to stream music from a variety of sources including Bluetooth-enabled devices, tablets or smartphones. Its 5” woofer belts out a clean 50-watt stereo sound. The components in this studio monitor are professional-grade and have been designed to deliver the kind optimized sonic performance that you would expect in the higher end studio monitors.

You also get a wide choice of inputs in the Mackie CR5 including Bluetooth along with ¼” and 1/8” RCA. The Mackie CR5 has also been designed with super-convenient front panel features, complete with the headphone out as well as aux in. The cabinet is an all-wood design which adds to the natural sonic character and performance of the CR5.

Not to forget that the Mackie CR5 ships with tons of accessories such as mortar pads. When you acquire this studio monitor, you can get started with your audio reproduction right out of the box.

For just over $300, you get the kind of high-quality components that you would get in the more expensive studio monitors. The build quality is also highly professional. Overall, it looks quite premium and high quality. The CR5 is also ultra-compact. You can deploy it to an array of use-cases including video editing and music making. If you need a powerful and reasonably-priced studio monitor for multi-tasking, you won’t go wrong with the Mackie CR5. The missing ingredient is the acoustic tuning controls.

Design Comparison

From a casual look, both studio monitors have good build quality with the PreSonus Eris E5 having a stylish minimalist design and the Mackie CR5 having a somewhat cheaper look thanks to the green trimmings on its front part.

The CR5 are made in an all-wood enclosure. The smooth and shiny black finish is superb but we think the green trimmings populating its tweeters and woofer somewhat cheapen the look. It all down to personal taste, however, so this might not be an issue for some buyers. The woofers have a good frequency range. The CR5 are also Bluetooth-enabled and there is little cable management. The frequency range in the Mackie CR5 is much wider, 50Hz to 20Khz, and will serve you with a vast array of multimedia. You get 40 watts of clean and articulate audio out of these studio monitors from their polypropylene-coated woofer. The build quality is top-notch, consisting of professional-grade components for superior sonic performance. You also get a good choice of inputs including Bluetooth and RCA inputs.

A conveniently designed front panel even has an aux in and headphone out. The cabinet is made of all wood giving the speaker a natural sonic performance, the kind that you wouldn’t get in the studio monitors made from low-grade plastic.

The PreSonus Eris E5 has a 5.25-inch woofer belting out a solid low-end sound with very little bass distortion. Its 1-inch silk dome tweeter gives a very balanced high-frequency sound and truncates much of the harshness.

The Eris E5 gives 80 watts from its Class AB amplifier, more than the 50 watts of the Mackie CR5 but users have complained of a persistent hum. However, the power gives you enough volume as well as headroom for the nearfield monitoring uses. You get all the required connections including balanced XLR as well as the unbalanced RCA inputs.

The PreSonus Eris E5 has the advantage of acoustic tuning controls with which you can tailor the sounds to suit the mixing environment. Finally, it includes a number of protections such as over-temperature, subsonic protection and output current limiting.

Performance Comparison

The PreSonus is an 80-watt bi-amp speaker while the Mackie CR5 is a 50-watt speaker. Both speakers have roughly the same frequency range as well as the same maximum sound with the Eris E5 peaking at 100dB and the Mackie CR5 peaking at 105dB.

The Eris E5 will give you a more crystal-clear and crisp sound but you may have to adjust using the tuners at the back of the studio monitor. However, the CR5 is ready to go and ships pre-equalized with superb audio quality which does not require tuning although this can be limiting in some production environments.

The Mackie CR5 delivers excellent audio quality and includes a host of convenient functionalities. The Cr5 woofers give an excellent bass reproduction and it is good that you will probably won’t even need a subwoofer to get out the extra bass. The CR5 tweeters have excellent response across the whole frequency spectrum for great clarity. Performance-wise, the Mackie CR5 will suffice for professional users and can be put to multiple uses ranging from music production to regular multimedia usage by regular buyers.

Like the CR5, the Eris E5 is an excellent studio monitor that will work well for professional studio-quality production thanks to its crisp audio. Although these are usually used only as consumer line products, you will get a performance as good as that of premium studio-quality speakers. It has great handling for high frequencies, belting out crisp and crystal-clear audio. It gives more than just bass. The tweeters output high quality audio over a comprehensive range and will cover a larger area. You can get a clear and accurate sound at the same volume level throughout the room you are in with the Eris E5.

As seen, each of the speakers might have some weaknesses in design but they don’t disappoint when it comes to audio performance.

Pros and Cons

The PreSonus Eris E5 is a cheap studio monitor with a compact design that will fit into any space. It has good compatibility with a number of add-ons along with inputs. The audio reproduction is accurate and crystal-clear without any enhancements. It has an acoustic tuning feature that allows you to use it even in larger spaces although this is a small studio monitor that has been designed for smaller spaces. This is a great studio monitor for music producers, room theater systems, gamers as well as audio engineers.  Because the PreSonus Eris E5 is an active speaker, you don’t require any amplifiers to use it.

However, the PreSonus Eris E5 is a $100 monitor so you aren’t necessarily getting the feel and build quality of a premium level studio monitor. The cabinet looks cheap and the cables it ships with are somewhat substandard. This is also a two-way studio monitor so you won’t be getting as much clarity in the dialogues from the two channels as you would with larger studio monitors. It has no Bluetooth option so you can’t use it wirelessly from some streaming devices like smartphones. Although it has some surprising good low-end punch for its size, the bass isn’t good as what you would get in the higher end studio monitors.

The Mackie CR5, priced at slightly more than $300, provides more in terms of the build quality. You get a premium-looking studio quality design, a larger frequency range to suit a variety of multimedia, great audio reproduction and performance. Unlike the PreSonus Eris E5, the Mackie CR5 is also Bluetooth enabled and can be used to seamlessly stream music from tablets, smartphones as well as any other Bluetooth enabled devices. You get 50 watts out of the Mackie CR5 but the sound quality is top-notch, articulate and accurate.

Although the build quality is better than that of the PreSonus, the gimmicky green circles give it a somewhat cheap look. It also doesn’t feature an audio tuner at the back of the studio monitor.

The Verdict

Both of these are good and reliable low-budget studio monitors with great audio quality. The PreSonus Eris E5 is a great professional-grade speaker suited for the consummate audiophiles and producers. In spite of its cheap price, it has an array of great features that would you expect in the Eris line of speakers but if you are looking for an articulate, powerful and super accurate speakers, these are not the ones for you. They are also relatively small and may not work for you if you are looking for more bass or more power for larger studios.

However, the Eris E5 speakers have a stylish and minimalist design and will look good anywhere in your home. If you are looking for a cheap speaker with good build quality, durability, simple design and reliable performance for simple audio work, they will suffice.

For its price, the Mackie CR5 somewhat exceeds the expectations and can be used as a professional grade studio monitor. It has excellent sound quality but doesn’t have the acoustic adjustments you find in Eris E5. It ships pre-equalized and ready to go. These are ready studio monitors that you can use straight out of the box without much fiddling. The build quality isn’t as stylish as the PreSonus speaker but you will derive a decent audio output out of these. These are perfect speakers for multimedia activity. In terms audio quality and accuracy, they give as much as the more expensive studio monitors.


These two speakers are largely similar performance-wise. If you are after some bells and whistles, there are points of differentiation that you may want consider. The PreSonus Eris E5 is quite consumer-friendly with acoustic tuning controls but the Mackie CR5 also comes pre-set and pre-equalized. The Eris E5 costs about $100 while the CR5 costs roughly $330. The Mackie won’t disappoint if you are looking for a studio monitor for multimedia uses such as gaming, movies, or podcasts. The PreSonus Eris E5 has a superb audio quality and flat response and will lend itself perfectly to music production and multimedia uses.

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