PreSonus produces three different mid/nearfield monitor ranges incorporating various interesting features like co-axial drivers (Sceptre) and ribbon tweeters (R-Series), but its most traditional design, Eris, is actually its most successful, and sports a slotted front port, woven woofer and silk dome tweeter. First appearing in 2013, the whole range has now received an overhaul and, although visually similar, it has both obvious and subtle differences. We have the 8-inch model (PreSonus E8XT) for review and the most striking difference is its new EBM tweeter waveguide. This dominates the top third of the front baffle and contributes to the box being a couple of centimeters taller.
The new elliptical boundary-modeled design is the work of WorxAudio’s Hugh Sarvis who also contributed much to the R-Series monitors and CDL reinforcement speakers. Its broad shape delivers a wide horizontal dispersion (100 degrees) and narrower vertical dispersion (60 degrees).
The horizontal width is very obvious when you first sit in front of them, and although the vertical dispersion is clearly narrower, I didn’t really struggle to find a sweet spot. This is particularly good news when it comes to slightly larger monitors, as you’re more likely to be a bit further away or in a bigger space, or a combination of both. It’s also handy for group listening or tracking situations.
The smaller E5XTs also benefit from this same style waveguide. As before, the new cabinet is slightly larger and although its made from the same vinyl-laminated medium-density fiberboard as before, it’s a new design, meaning better, more focused low-frequency extension.
Beyond this, many of the features will be familiar to existing E8 owners and include both unbalanced (RCA) and balanced (TRS and XLR) inputs, class AB amplification and a bunch of controls on the back. Here, in addition to input gain, you’ll find mid-peak and high-shelf EQs, low-cut filter (off, 80 Hz and 100 Hz) and a room correction option (0 dB, -2 dB and -4 dB). This last feature curtails frequencies below 800 Hz and helps when the monitors are in corners or up close to walls. The control is quite impactful and I found the -2 dB setting was more than adequate when they were right up against a wall. Give the monitors a bit of free space and I found the setting totally unnecessary.
In fact, the overall tonal balance of the PreSonus E8XT is pretty good and I didn’t initially feel the need to hit the EQ. However, having A-B’d with some other monitors, it became obvious the mids were a bit restrained, and a small boost from the mid-EQ (1 kHz) sorted that.
Overall, the E8XTs deliver the sort of scale one expects from slightly larger monitors and, coupled with the broad sweet spot and extended bass, they’re great for both tracking and mixing. The amps deliver plenty of punch if you need it, but the low-frequency delivery feels suitably controlled, and with no EQ option to boost low frequencies, you can’t get too out of shape. The build quality is also excellent, and with a list price matching their predecessor ($479.99), these monitors offer incredible value.
PreSonus • www.presonus.com