In our picks for best studio monitors, we presented the JBL LSR305 as another option besides those picked.
This time we take a closer look at the monitors, the good, the bad, and what makes them special in a way.
The 305 is part of the 3 series which also includes it’s bigger brother the LSR308 and a sub, the LSR310S.
Both the 305 and the 308 use a borrow a technology developed for the M2 mastering monitors which make them interesting, to say the least.
It’s not really the same thing as in the M2 but rather a cheaper version of it that would work in the price range that the 3 series.
It also provides a great marketing spiel borrowing things from a $20K pair of monitors, doesn’t it?
JBL LSR305 Features
The Image Control Waveguide, as they call it is the concept borrowed from a larger set of monitors, the M2 mastering monitors. This is the funky horn like, but not a horn, thing going on around the tweeter.
This design helps give you a wider sweet spot than other monitors and better detail in the sound. And it works.
You don’t really have to be sitting perfectly in the sweet spot to hear your instruments right and to be able to point out their position in the stereo field.
The back bass port could be an issue if you are tight on space and you need your monitors up against a wall. It’s not an issue if you could leave a few inches between the speakers and the wall but it’s something to be aware of.
In terms of sound, the LSR305 has probably the cleanest and most balanced sound in the 5″ range. You don’t really feel that there is a very obvious lack or boost in certain ranges.
That said, like with any speakers, the environment heavily influences the sound. Also, don’t expect the level of detail that you’d find in massively more expensive speakers.
It’s true to some extent that what you get is proportional to what you pay so keep that in mind.
Ideally, you also consider acoustic treatment for the room once you have the means.
Here is a demo recording of how the 305 sound compared to the Yamaha HS5 and the KRK PR5G3. What I would like to point out is that all these monitors have EQ options to help you fine-tune the sound so don’t take this particular recording as an absolute answer.
All these speakers can be adjusted to sound better than they do in the recording. The problem in doing that is that you can’t make objective comparisons anymore because you run into the issue of deciding how to eq. to get a level playing field. Tricky.
The LSR305 is equipped with a 5” woofer and a 1” soft dome twitter each powered by a 41W Class D amplifier. This translates into a frequency range from 43Hz to 24kHz and plenty of volume with good accuracy at a higher volume.
The low end is good but a bit limited. It’s to be expected from a monitor of this size. I would say it’s good enough for a small room but if you really want to go deeper you might want to pair them with a subwoofer.
Just be careful there as a subwoofer in a small room with not much in terms of acoustic treatment could add more problems than it solves.
In terms of looks, it’s not the prettiest set of speakers you can find and the build quality isn’t the greatest either. It’s quite apparent that much of the cost with these go into the sound itself.
Yes, a lot of people say they look good but not in my opinion. Not compared to other monitors that compete with the 305. Hopefully, you just don’t care about looks because the sound is what matters and on that front they definitely deliver.
On the back, you find the usual suspects, in terms of inputs you have a choice between XLR and ¼ TRS, high frequency and low-frequency adjustments, volume control and an input sensitivity switch.
That input sensitivity switch means that you can comfortably feed consumer-grade devices into your monitors as well as professional DACs and other devices.
When you get these monitors, if it’s your first pair, make sure you read the manual and then spend the time to properly adjust them as best you can to fit your room and setup.
Who should buy the JBL LSR305?
If you are just getting started in the music or video industry and you don’t have much in terms of budget these are very good options for monitoring.
They are also great as a second pair of monitors in a larger studio with bigger ‘main’ monitors.
They can also do a good job as bookshelf speakers and a lot of people grab them for this purpose but keep in mind that these are near-field monitors so they are not ideal for listening from a very long distance.
The wide sweet spot also helps in this regard but will not solve a long way from the couch to the tv. It’s going to work but it’s not an ideal use case for them.
So they are good in a variety of situation but one thing I would add in any of them is to keep them at a bit of distance from the rear facing the wall.
Due to the back bass port, having them up against a wall could make the low end sound muddier than it really is. So make sure you add at least a few inches of distance there.
If you are new to using studio monitors and you’re looking at your budget don’t forget to factor in other things you might need such as speaker stands, sound card, cables and so on.
Also, if you are new to making music at home make sure to check out our guide on setting up your home studio.