JBL LSR305 3-Series Studio Monitor Review
JBL has been a prominent brand in pro audio for years, manufacturing some of music’s most prevailing monitoring units of all time. The JBL LSR305 is the smaller of two monitors included in JBL’s 3 Series product line. This is an extremely affordable studio reference monitor with unique features found on much higher-priced items, making it one-of-a-kind in its class.
- Frequency Range: 43 Hz-24 kHz
- Max SPL: 108 dB
- Power Configuration: Bi-amped (LF:41W, HF:41W)
- 5” Bass Driver
- 1” Soft Neodymium Dome Tweeter
- Rear-facing bass port
- 1 Balanced XLR
- 1 Balanced TRS
- Adjustable low and high-end EQ controls (+2 dB, 0, -2 dB)
JBL’s 3-Series feature two models of either 5” or 8” drivers which are near-field, bi-amped, and can be paired with JBL’s LSR310S subwoofer. Reviewed here is the is the 5” LSR305 tested in a relatively small studio environment with quite minimal acoustic treatment. A very common home studio scenario.
The acronym LSR is shorthand for Linear Spatial Reference, referring to a process which JBL claim employs 72 measurements that are taken from 360 degrees around the speaker during its design phase to optimize its off-axis response.
JBL claim that this produces 1,200 times more data as to produce a sound that ‘sounds right’ in any working space as opposed to a single axis measurement like other manufacturers.
One of the most noticeable details on the front of the cabinet is the deep slopes surrounding the tweeter. This design is called ‘image control wave guide’ which use curved bumps within the concave recessing that spread out the wave form to create an extremely wide centre image that seems to follow the listener around the room.
The LSR305 have a bi-amplified power configuration which means that each of the two speakers are mated with assigned Class D amplifiers powering the appropriate frequencies of each driver exclusively.
Here JBL use a 1” damped woven composite Neodymium tweeter and a 5” long-throw driver, each with an assigned power amp supplying 41W. Together these offer a frequency range of 43Hz – 24kHz with a max SPL of 108dB. For a studio monitor with a driver size of only 5”, this is an impressive amount of bass and make a convincing case for the LSR305.
Moving to the rear of the cabinet we’ve got the connections and some noteworthy features. Let’s begin with the circle Slip Stream bass port. This port is tuned in such a way as to reduce the resonating air turbulance from within the cabinet and provide more bass output than the driver alone is capable of producing.
The problem that arises in this situation is that due to being positioned on the rear of the cabinet, bass frequencies are directed at the wall behind them. In a small studio, this can create reflections, phase cancellation or resonant spikes in signal at different points throughout the room. This is called “boundary bass boost.”
To manage this issue, the JBL LSR305 offer two shelving EQ filters that are each adjusted via three-way switches. A LF TRIM switch reduces the low frequencies below 115Hz by amounts of +2, 0 or -2 dB, and a HF TRIM switch does exactly the same for frequencies above 4.4 kHz. This is definitely worth noting if you are working in a poorly treated small studio, and are up against a wall.
Finally, on the rear are the connections. The LSR305 can accommodate a wide range of sources with their balanced XLR and TRS inputs. This is how you’ll connect to your mixer, audio interface, or the LSR310S subwoofer. For respectively accommodating consumer or high-output pro gear, a small recessed switch selects -10 or +4 dB input sensitivity.
As with most studio monitors with a rear-firing bass port, I was expecting much more “tubbiness” in the lower midrange. This area was totally workable although there was a sense of “uncluttering” when moving the LF TRIM switch to -2dB.
My expectations were certainly exceeded in regards to the bottom end, as a 5” driver won’t commonly take you down as low as 43Hz. The LSR305 were sensibly positioned just over a meter from the wall and the response was tight, un-hyped, and allowed for great control while managing sub-heavy kick and bass.
I really would have liked to give these a go with JBL’s subwoofer as to hear the crossover into the subs. The driver itself offers fast transient response and lends itself well for designing sharp sub transients for quick, punchy kicks.
I’ll be honest and say that I’m impartial to the overall look of these monitors. I initially thought they resemble cheap, entry level monitors and that their low price was a testament to that. I think it’s the shiny gleam—looks plastic-y. As for the results they deliver, I couldn’t be more wrong. For budget speakers, the JBL LSR305 certainly have a compelling offering, check all the boxes. I’d say they can secure a slot on just about any home studio monitor shortlist.
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