Before we get into the JBL LSR 305 vs. 308 comparison, grab a snack, sit back and relax because..
You’ve come to the right place!!
What I will bring you today
For the purposes of this article, I’m going to simply compare and contrast the LSR 305 with the 308, and then give a recommendation towards the end. 🙂
A Poker Analogy
Similarities & Differences
Now without further ado, let’s get rolling!!
I’ve had the pleasure of owning the JBL LSR 305’s since December of 2014. The majority of their lifespan thus far has been active, meaning they’re almost always on. With the exception of me being away from my apartment, I use them nearly every single day.
They’ve been perhaps the most reliable component to my studio, although everything I purchase holds up well because I’ve always put a lot of time into my research.
This is why I can stand behind every one of my recommendations. No piece of gear is perfect, but you have to be willing to look at the big picture, as there is some risk involved.
For example, there are always going to be negative reviews, but as long as the positives overwhelm the the others, the risk is sound. It’s almost like playing Texas Hold ‘Em.
A Poker Analogy?
I used to play the small stakes cash tables, and quickly found out that most people have no idea what they’re doing or why they’re betting. If you have an understanding of concepts like hand ranges, player tendencies, showdown value, and pot odds, you can profit fairly easily against the average player.
The point is that there’s still risk involved. You could play a hand perfectly and still lose the pot. Buying a piece of studio equipment is similar. You could buy the Studio Monitor with the best reviews and most positive consensus, but that doesn’t mean it won’t break down in some way. Your odds are great, but there’s still that chance that something could go wrong. What are studio monitors?
That said, the 305 is one of (if not the best) entry level studio monitors because it’s so reliable and sounds so good. The 308 is similar, but there are some marked differences.
Let’s find out what they are!
Similarities & Differences
Both have the image control wave guide, which basically allows the sound to disperse from the cone tweeters in a manner that’s going to enhance the overall sound coming out both vertically and horizontally. What this ultimately does is it provides better mid-range clarity and focus, as well as improving things like phasing and balance of the sound. It’s interesting to note that this feature is actually derived from JBL’s M2, which is a high end $20,000 monitor.
Both are rear ported. It’s important to note that because of this, you should keep the monitors away from the wall if at all possible. This will ensure that the sound isn’t bouncing around too much.
Both have Low frequency and High frequency trim switches, allowing you to adjust the bass and treble based on your own room/space, and personal taste.
The LSR 308 has an 8″ woofer while the LSR 305 has a 5″ woofer. Simple enough. We’ll get into what this means in a jiffy.
The LSR 305’s can put out 82 watts of power vs. 112 for the 308. This is one of the main differences.
The 308’s have a deeper bass extension with some added “oomph.” and a bit more clarity around 80-100 Hz. That said, the 305’s provide a pretty startling amount for a 5″ woofer. To this day I haven’t turned the dial past 7, as they can really bring the house down with properly mastered tracks, and even sub-standard ones. It’s a pretty spectacular sound with a lot of impact. Note that without the added bass depth, it becomes easier to mix down a track, as the 305’s instrument separation and overall imaging is allowed to breathe better. This is up for debate however.
Frequency Response. 37Hz–24kHz for the 308 vs. 43Hz – 24kHz for the 305. As you can see the bass digs a little deeper on the 308.
SPL. The 308’s comes in at 112 dB vs. 108 for the 305. What is SPL?
Size. The 308’s will leave a much larger footprint on your desk, though both are fairly large. My 305’s are rather hefty!
Room. The 305’s were meant for smaller bedroom type studios like mine, while the 308’s thrive in a larger space. I honestly wouldn’t get the 308’s unless I was planning on employing some Acoustic Sound Treatment, and using a larger sized room. However, I have read some people having success with the 308’s in a smaller space with treatment. There’s no real definitive “answer.”
Room Size. Generally speaking, the smaller your room is, the smaller your monitor should be. The LSR 308 will leave a bigger foot print, so if you have a small to medium sized room, the 305 is the solution.
Sound Treatment. In a smaller room, you can get away with not using any bass traps or acoustic panels, but it’s better to have them. In larger sized rooms you will most definitely need to employ some Acoustic Sound Treatment.
Placement. Being that these are nearfield monitors, you’ll want them pretty close to you, but not so close that they’re suffocating. If you have a desk, try to situate them far enough away from the wall (especially if they are rear ported), but close enough to you where you can actually hear what’s going on. This will ensure the sound doesn’t bounce off the wall too much. You get the idea. Just experiment a little as well. Also remember that they will sound best at around ear level, and should form an equilateral triangle towards your dome piece.
If you’re going to be mixing in a large room, have plenty of space, and plan on employing some treatment, the 308’s are the ticket. You don’t need a sub either.
If you’re going to be in a small to medium sized room, and are strapped for space, the 305’s are your solution. I don’t have any panels on the wall at the moment, and they sound fantastic regardless. Don’t be fooled by the 5″ woofers. These babies really slam hard with excellent accuracy and control. If you’re going to be mixing with them, treatment is highly recommended but not mandatory.
Stu is determined to help you make sound decisions, and strives to deliver the best and most in depth content on the internet! In his spare time, he likes to fish, paint, play guitar, pray, rap, make beats, take photos, record videos, graphic design, and more. His sense of humour, coupled with a knack for excellence and strict attention to detail are what allow him to stand out in an crowded industry.