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Affordable monitor speakers are plentiful these days. However, JBL’s decision to enter the market has definitely garnered some attention. Their LSR305 is by far one of the most capable monitors you can get under $300 at the moment.
If you could divide the current market for monitor speakers into two categories, you would have those made to look good and those made to sound good. It’s a very rare case that you get both. JBL definitely went for the latter with their LSR305. After all, this company has such a good reputation that they don’t need flashy designs in order to sell their products.
LSR305 comes in all black with very minimalist aesthetics. The cab is made of MDF or similar, while the baffle is constructed out of a pretty tough composite material. Aside from cutting down on costs, there is one more important reason for this decision.
If you take a look just above the main driver, you will see a very specific waveguide around the tweeter. This is a special design that belongs to JBL’s Image Control series, and it is a huge part of what makes this monitor so awesome. They went for function over form in pretty much every aspect of LSR305’s design.
The core of the JBL’s LSR305 comes in form of a rather capable Class D amplifier that runs the 5″ driver as well as the 1″ tweeter above it. Each speaker is capable of delivering some 41 Watts of power or 108dB max peak SPL. For what is essentially still an affordable setup, that is pretty respectable. These are ported speakers, which adds a layer of depth to the bass when you need to move some air.
Once you turn the unit around, you will see a balanced XLR input along with the 1/4“ balanced TRS. This is also where JBL has decided to put the Volume control along with LF trim and HF trim. In terms of acoustic adjustments, these are pretty far up there. Even though JBL usually runs metallic tweeter domes, their decision to go with a standard soft dome unit on this speaker hasn’t made much of a negative impact on its performance.
The reason why so many studios run JBL’s LSR series is pretty simple. These monitors turned out to have a flat response likes of which is usually reserved for a much higher class of speakers. When you put that type of performance in the context of its price, this monitor is a no brainer.
What was most surprising is the definition you get in trebles and high mids. There is just so much transparency to work with, fully justifying the title of a monitor speaker. Since they are ported, you do have to be careful with their positioning. In other words, you don’t want these backed up into a wall if possible. Here’s another kicker. JBL’s Image Control waveguides were initially developed for their flagship monitors.
However, they have decided to simply copy and paste this awesome tech to their more affordable models. This way, you have access to impressive dispersion control, both horizontal and vertical, that this waveguide brings to the table.
At the end of the day, JBL’s LSR series are by far some of the best semi-affordable monitor speakers you can get at the moment. The LSR305 packs so much punch and definition making it rather impressive.