If you are looking for a 5” studio monitor, a very popular choice is the JBL LSR305.
But so is the KRK Rokit 5, and the question becomes, which one?
In this article we are going to look at how these two compare to, hopefully, make your decision easier.
We are going to look at similarities, differences and also we are going to try and figure out who each of these serves best.
Also, if you are just looking for options make sure to check out our selection for best studio monitors for a wider variety.
JBL LSR305 in a nutshell
We’ve done a full review of the LSR305 that you can check out but if you don’t really want to do that we’ll add the gist of it here as well.
The LSR series has a distinctive feature that they borrow from the considerably more expensive monitor, the M2, and that is the Image Control Waveguide. It’s the strange looking shape around the tweeter.
The point of that is to have a wider sweet spot, meaning that you don’t have to be spot on in the middle of the monitors to hear the audio properly.
Moving on, it’s a rear ported cabinet, meaning you need to be mindful to not place this monitor very close to a wall to avoid the bass port shooting right in the wall.
It has a 5” woofer and a 1” soft dome tweeter, and on the back, you’ll find balanced XLR and TRS inputs, as well as low-frequency and high-frequency adjustment options.
In terms of sound, they are well balanced without obvious compromises and quite impressive for the size.
Build quality is good, although they feel not as great as other monitors, probably because they are lighter. But this also means they are more easily carried around in case you want portability.
KRK Rokit 5 G3 in a nutshell
Part of the third generation of the Rokit series, they have the distinctive KRK look with yellow cones. It’s a feature.
The fact that the series has reached the third generation is a testament to how successful these monitors have been. Other than that they don’t have any borrowed tech from a $20K monitor like the LSR.
They have front ported MDF cabinets, meaning you don’t have to worry about the back wall too much, even though I wouldn’t stick them right up against the wall.
They have a 5” Aramid glass woofer and a 1” soft dome tweeter and on the back, you’ll find balanced XLR and TRS, unbalanced RCA as well as low and high-frequency adjustments.
In terms of sound, they are good if you are looking for something with a bit of bass. Like with all the monitors in the series, the bass is more pronounced but you do have the option to turn it down a bit.
They feel quite powerful but they sacrifice a bit around the mid frequencies.
Build quality feels really good but they are heavier than the JBL so if you are looking for portability that is something to keep in mind.
Similarities and differences
Starting with the cabinet, these are very similar in size, the LSR305 being just a hair taller and deeper than the Rokit 5 but also lighter by about 4 lb (1.8 kg).
Both feature 5” woofers and 1” tweeters but the funky design that holds the tweeter of the JBL does make the sweet-spot wider than with the KRK.
The major difference in the cabinet comes in form of the bass port. As we’ve mentioned the JBL is backported while the KRK is front ported.
I wouldn’t worry about that unless you are in a very small room and you have to have the monitors very close to walls. In that case, I would go for a front ported speaker.
Visually, I think it’s safe to say they are both equally ugly. The JBL suffers from a clash of mat finish and a glossy woofer rim. The KRK have the iconic yellow cone that probably doesn’t match anything in your studio.
Personally, I don’t really care about the look that much but if you want to create a certain look and feel in your studio you might care.
In terms of sound, the LSR305 is the more balanced of the bunch without very obvious drawbacks. The Rokit 5 has more powerful bass but can be a bit muddy and it has a bit of a cavity in the mid frequencies.
In terms of inputs, the KRK is more flexible having options for both balanced and unbalanced connectivity in form of XLR, TRS, and RCA while the 305 demands balanced input only.
Adjustments wise they both have low and high-frequency adjustments, like pretty much all studio monitors.
Who are they for
You don’t really get monitors at this size to be your main mixing tools. They lack the low-end capability of bigger speakers and that is quite important to have, especially if you are doing bass heavy music.
They are however a decent choice if you are very tight on budget and you really need something, though if that is the case, I would lean more towards a good pair of headphones instead. Or wait until I have the budget for something in the 6” – 7” range.
I can see them, though, as good enough for light video editing, podcast editing and generally situations where you don’t have to deal with lots of tracks. If that’s you, go for it.
If you are looking for a secondary pair of monitors, they can do a great job at that. If you get the pair with most different characteristics from your main pair, all the better. It will help you better pinpoint potential issues in the mix.
Portability is a great feature of these monitors and if that is what you are looking for I think this is the sweet-spot between size, weight, and sound.
If that is the case, I would opt for the LSR305 as they are lighter, as mentioned earlier but you do have to make sure to feed the right signal into them.
The Rokit 5 give you more options here for unexpected situations but they are a bit heavier.
The LSR305 are the better-balanced ones in terms of sound and have a wider sweet spot while the KRK deal a bit better being very close to walls.
Both are still small monitors so don’t expect the low end to go very low. They KRK feel more powerful there but the bass is a bit muddy so you might want to turn it down a bit.
Overall, don’t expect either of them to be able to replace bigger studio monitors. Take either of them for what they are and they’ll do the job just fine.