As a household name in the studio monitor niche, PreSonus has made a name for itself as one of the best in the niche. It is safe to say an audio engineer that claims not to know the PreSonus brand is either a novice or a pretender.
The Presonus Eris E5 is one of the most sought-after budget studio monitors, and many were surprised when the PreSonus Eris E5 XT was launched. The question on the lips of so many was whether PreSonus Eris E5 XT could match the lofty standards of the E5.
Comparing a product with its direct successor often feels like a mismatch – a David vs. Goliath kind of situation. However, experience has shown that a successor is not always better than the predecessor. In this review, we compare various aspects of the Presonus Eris E5 to the PreSonus Eris E5 XT to find out if the E5 XT is really worth your money or simply a ploy by the manufacturers to add a couple of extra zeros to the price in the name of an upgraded version. Please sit back and get your notes ready as we dissect the two studio monitors.
PreSonus Eris E5 at a glance
The Presonus Eris E5 is a portable studio monitor designed for the project studio. PreSonus describes the Eris E5 as the perfect studio monitor for the not-so-perfect environment. Although PreSonus categorizes it as an entry-level studio monitor, nothing about it sounds or looks entry-level.
PreSonus Eris E5 XT at a glance
The PreSonus Eris E5 XT is an upgrade to the highly popular PreSonus Eris E5. The Eris E5 XT is physically similar to its predecessor but possesses some enhancements. It offers smooth highs, deep lows, and impressive imaging courtesy of the first-rate drivers that work in tandem with an innovative EBM waveguide.
Feature for feature Analysis
We will analyze their respective features under various headings to get a clearer picture of the two studio monitors.
Appearance and Design
If you thought PreSonus would experiment with another design with the Eris E5 XT, I’ve got news for you – you were wrong. PreSonus retained the sleek design of the Eris E5. Therefore, the two studio monitors sport a minimalistic design. Their cabinets are made of laminated medium-density fiberboard complemented by an aesthetically pleasing matte finish.
They also have a low-mass silk-dome high-frequency tweeter located at the top. The tweeter measures one inch in diameter. Beneath it is a sturdy low-frequency driver that measures 5.5 inches in diameter. The low-frequency driver has a custom woven Kevlar with a blue finish. The Kevlar used is intended to break up reflected energy. In simple terms, it cuts out down on delayed reflections for better sound output.
The PreSonus Eris E5 and the Eris E5 XT have a bass reflex port that sits horizontally right beneath the low-frequency driver. The port is designed for superior bass frequency reproduction. One point to note here is that the bass port on the Eris E5 XT is bigger than the one on the original Eris E5. The larger port allows the E5 XT to deliver a bass response 10 Hz lower than the E5.
Another hard-to-miss part of the two studio monitors is the PreSonus brand logo that lights up once the unit is switched on. The logo maintains a consistent glow that never goes off until the unit is switched off. The Eris E5 XT has a slightly bigger form factor than the Eris E5. The E5 XT measures 8 x 9 x 11 inches, while the E5 measures 7 x 7.68 x 10.24 inches.
Overall, the PreSonus Eris E5 and the PreSonus Eris E5 XT are evenly matched in terms of their appearance and design. Although the E5 XT is slightly bigger than the E5, it still doesn’t make it any less minimalistic than the E5. However, the bigger bass port gives the E5 XT the edge. Therefore, the E5 XT wins this round.
Input and control
The two studio monitors have their input channels at the back in keeping with the trend of their similarity. The similarity does not end there as they also have similar input options. You’ll find an unbalanced RCA, a balanced ¼-inch TRS, and one balanced XLR input on both studio monitors.
For the control, you also get the acoustic tuning controls that made the Eris E5 a roaring success on the Eris E5 XT as well. There are controls to adjust the mids and highs. You’ll also find the low cut-off filter quite helpful if you’re adding a subwoofer to your set-up. Another important control option in the Eris E5 and Eris E5 XT is the three-position acoustic space switch (flat, -2 dB, and -4dB). The switch helps users to counter the bass boost proximity that tends to distort the sound when the monitors are placed near a wall or in a corner.
On the input and control front, there are no differences between the two. Thus, it is a draw.
The PreSonus Eris E5 and the PreSonus Eris E5 XT have a couple of safety features to protect the internal parts and ensure long-lasting excellent sonic output. The first of these is the subsonic protection for preventing damage from high subsonic frequencies. The soft startup safety feature also prevents loud pops and cracks that are commonplace in many low-budget studio monitors. Protection against RF interference, extreme output current, and over-temperature is also available. Since the two studio monitors have all the above features, this round ends in a draw.
The performance section is where the Eris E5 XT breaks off to assert its dominance over the Eris E5. Think of it his way, the Eris E5 XT retains all the output features of the Eris E5 and goes one better. Before we go deeper into the performance metrics that make the Eris E5 XT better, let us compare a few similar metrics.
The Eris E5 has a frequency response of 53 Hz – 22 kHz, while Eris E5 XT has 48 Hz – 20 kHz. These figures show that the former does well on the high-frequency side, while the latter dominates the low-frequency side. The two have the same peak SPL of 102 decibels at 1 meter.
With that sorted, let’s check the E5 XT’s unique features and how they impact output. The E5 XT has the EBM waveguide feature. If you’re wondering, EBM is short for Elliptical Boundary Modeled. The EBM waveguide gives you deeper lows and a more controlled sweet spot.
Think about the Eris E5’s sound dispersal, then add a hundred-degree horizontal wave dispersion to it – that is what you get with the Eris E5 XT. The enhanced wave dispersal means if the monitors are being used in a studio with the speaker spaced a bit further apart, you have a broader sweet spot to listen from. Therefore, they are quite ideal for collaborative mixing and collaborative listening. In addition to this, the EBM waveguide also gives a narrow vertical dispersion of around sixty degrees to reduce reflection in the studio.
The two monitors are bi-amplified, meaning there are two distinct amplifiers inside each unit – the first powers the high-frequency driver, and the other powers the low-frequency driver. This feature ensures that the frequencies are separated before hitting the amplifier, removing intermodulation distortion. The result is a clearer and more open sound output.
The Eris E5 XT wins this category as the dominance is quite clear.
If you need a pair of versatile, portable, and budget-friendly studio monitors, you cannot go wrong with the PreSonus Eris E5 and PreSonus Eris E5 XT. PreSonus has set the bar very high once again, and the verdict is quite straightforward.
Although the PreSonus Eris E5 matches the PreSonus Eris E5 XT in safety features and input and control, the Eris E5 XT outperforms the Eris E5 in all other aspects. It has a wider acoustic port and more innovative features that offer users a better sonic experience.
We sincerely hope this in-depth analysis has painted a clearer picture of the two monitors and will help you decide which of the two best suits your needs.