Hi friend and welcome!
Do you want to take your studio game to the next level? Ever thought about how much better your compositions would sound with some better gear? Well read on and check out my JBL LSR 305 review. These puppies pack quite a punch!
Before we get started, grab a snack, sit back and relax because…
You’ve come to the right place!
What I will bring you in this review
- What you will need?
- Final Word
Now without further ado, let’s get rolling!
JBL LSR 305
Price: Check Amazon! | Check Sweetwater! | Check B&H! | Check eBay!
- Powered: Yes
- Power Configuration: Bi-amped
- LF Driver Size: 5″
- HF Driver Size: 1″
- HF Driver Type: Soft Dome
- LF Driver Power Amp: 41W
- HF Driver Power Amp: 41W
- Total Power: 82W
- Frequency Range: 43Hz-24kHz
- Crossover Frequency: 1725Hz
- Maximum Peak SPL: 108 dB
- Enclosure Type: Ported
- Input Types: 1x XLR, 1x 1/4″ TRS. What is XLR?
- Height: 11.75″
- Width: 7.28″
- Depth: 9.88″
- Weight: 10.12 lbs.
Like you, I needed a good mixing/reference solution and waited quite a long time before deciding to purchase any kind of monitor!
- Related: What are studio monitors?
I don’t really know why.
Perhaps I was intimidated by all the technical jargon that goes along with higher-end audio equipment.
For the longest time, I used my computer’s internal Soundcard (whichever laptop I was using at the time), and my mixes suffered.
It wasn’t until I purchased the Sony MDR 7506s that my beat quality improved tenfold.
- Check out some of my Beats!
However, it is common knowledge that you shouldn’t rely on headphones alone to mix.
With that in mind, my next task was figuring out which monitors got the best reviews, packed a hefty punch, remained flat enough to mix on, and were also easy on the wallet.
I scoured the internet and read as much as I could.
I read every single Amazon review, then went to as many other sites as possible.
I literally went back and forth for weeks before finally arriving at a decision.
I had never heard of the name JBL before, so I put extra care into making sure there was a universal consensus about how good these are.
To put it bluntly, the hype was real.
It’s almost like buying your first smartphone.
You can never go back to a flip phone or even a slide phone for that matter.
The convenience of a smartphone is priceless in today’s fast-paced society.
I could never go back to laptop speakers, standard computer speakers, or even a pair of Logitechs!
The difference in sound quality is night and day.
They are everything I wanted and needed, and then some.
Are these the best ever? No, of course not.
Are they the best entry-level monitors? I would say so.
Are they the best bang for the buck?
Well, the Presonus Eris e3.5s may have something to say about that, but I’d venture to say the 305s will probably be your first really good pair of speakers/monitors.
The LSR 305 is by all accounts an entry-level studio monitor meant to satisfy the needs of the producer/engineer looking for exceptional, reference-level sound quality at an affordable price.
They are active, meaning they don’t need a separate amp to power.
They do however need AC (alternating current) power.
AC simply means the power frequently reverses direction many times per second.
The standard is 60Hz, with hertz being your typical unit of measure.
Do you want a hertz doughnut?
Basically, just plug these bad boys into the outlet from your JBLs and shut up. Just kidding 😀
These monitors come with two power cables, as each needs its own power source.
Basically, they are MONO speakers and need 2 separate cables running from the back into whatever you are using to receive and transmit the signal.
Some common sources and DACs (Digital to Analog interfaces/mixers) that are used with the JBLs:
An audio interface.
I previously owned a Scarlett 2i2 and had to sell it due to incompatibility issues with Windows 10 after I upgraded laptops. What does an audio interface do?
I loved my time with it and highly recommend the 3rd generation model.
Right now I have the Universal Audio Volt 2 and also love it.
The 2i2 was a beast of a unit and served me well for a long time; connecting to the JBLs magnificently. The 305s use 2 balanced TRS line output jacks and go really well with the combo balanced TRS to XLR cables.
You could also go with the Scarlett solo, which has unbalanced RCA outputs rather than balanced TRS. TRS vs. TS.
Update: The Scarlett Solo 3rd Generation has balanced TRS Outputs and is cheaper than a 2i2 if you only need one input on the front.
- A mixer. An entry-level option would be the Behringer Xenyx 802. Gets pretty nice reviews!
I will outline some different connections in the “What you will need” section below.
- Amazing detail from bass to the high end.
- Impressively flat and neutral, with just a touch of warmth.
- Nice stereo imaging. Positioning these at the right spot makes them almost disappear if you will.
- Bass reaches down to 43Hz.
- They breathe life into old songs, allowing you to hear those subtle nuances that were previously absent. They are very accurate.
- Startling clarity.
- Great at capturing highs; can really be pushed to max volume and remain crystal clear.
- Perfect for mixing, but also work well for general listening as all-purpose speakers.
- Rock-solid build.
- Image control waveguide technology proves to be really beneficial in producing pristine, crystal clear sound, and a wider stereo image. This same technology was used in JBL’s higher-end model monitors (upwards of $20k).
- No protective grills on the woofer.
- The bass is ported on the back, which may present problems if your monitors are up near a wall or corner of the room. If this is the case, you should invest in some acoustic foam (mentioned earlier).
- Tweeter material seems fragile. I did gently touch my finger on it and can confirm this. Just be extra careful I suppose. I haven’t had an issue with them, however.
- Some say they are too bulky and look ugly. While I can see the bulky complaint, they aren’t ugly in my opinion. They are kind of big, however, so be aware if you are really strapped for space.
What you will need?
You will need some sort of receiver, interface, or mixer (as mentioned above), acting as a mediator/middleman of sorts, to transmit signals between the computer and the speakers.
- Related: Bit Depth vs. Sample Rate – Or how your computer processes sound
- Related: Beginners Guide: What is a USB DAC?
As for cables,
you may not necessarily need all of the following cables.
This is just to kind of get you started and show that there are a lot of ways to connect speakers to an interface or mixer!
Some different options (either/or):
Scarlett Solo (3rd Generation):
- Balanced TRS to XLR (my preferred option)
For the Scarlett 2i2:
- 2 balanced TRS to XLR cables (my preferred option)
- 2 balanced TRS to TRS cables
For the Behringer UCA 202:
- dual 1/4 in. TS to dual RCA
For a typical mixer:
- XLR female to dual XLR male
For your iPad:
- 3.5 mm TRS to Dual XLR
For your home audio receiver:
Your receiver basically takes the audio in from your CD player, turntable, etc., and releases it out again, amplifying the sound out of the JBLs. (not unlike the other setups).
If you plan to use these in a home theater setup, you will need to check the manual (or the back) of your receiver to see which audio-out cable you will need. A common one would be:
Dual 1/4″ TS to Dual RCA.
The RCA cables would run from your receiver to each of the monitors.
You would use the RCA outs on your receiver, as they are meant to send a signal to another device (in this case the monitors).
They are near-field monitors, meaning that they sound best when you’re near them!
Sounds obvious, but the farther you are away, the less impact the sound has.
This is especially true for the higher frequencies that lose a bit of energy at a greater distance.
That said, you want them both facing diagonally toward you, creating a 3-point equilateral triangle.
They will also sound much better at ear level.
This means you should invest in some stands (if space allows), build 2 simple shelving units on the wall, or MacGyver something to get them elevated to around ear level.
All of this really depends on your studio space.
You’ll know you have them situated properly when you sit squarely in the middle of both speakers and close your eyes.
The Soundstage will open up and you’ll be able to place instruments and voices better.
The sound should also feel like it’s coming from the center, back a bit, and/or up, with sound also coming from the sides – if the engineer/producer did a good job of spacing things out.
How the music is imaged depends entirely on the song and can vary from track to track.
Being that the bass is ported on the rear, you may want to consider some Acoustic Sound Treatment in the form of a couple of acoustic foam panels and try to place the monitors as far away from the wall as you can.
It’s impossible to get a perfect sound in a bedroom, but taking this extra step will help the sound coming out of the JBLs immensely.
If you plan on having these sitting on your desk, some panels will go a long way in improving the overall sound coming out of them.
That said, I actually do not have any treatment and still love the sound of the monitors.
If you can’t invest in panels at the moment, just make sure to place them far enough away from the wall.
All you have to do is purchase:
- The JBL LSR305
- A Focusrite Scarlett Solo
- TRS to XLR balanced cables (my preferred option)
Just plug the TRS ends into the back of the Solo, and connect the other XLR ends to each of the monitors (right and left).
All that’s left to do now is connect the Solo to your PC’s USB power, and the 305’s to standard AC power.
Now you’re ready for music! It’s that simple 🙂
JBL’s LSR305 is a great monitor that excels in both mixing and reference applications.
They can also be used as all-purpose computer speakers, and do quite fantastic in this regard.
They provide a decently flat, honest representation of your mix, and are the best resting at ear level.
The only glaring complaint is that they’re ugly (to some people like my friend David). I personally happen to love the look of them.
The rest of the cons that I pointed out are rather nit-picky but had to be addressed.
If you want to be blown away by the sound, the LSR 305s are definitely the ticket.
They provide a virtually unmatched reference-quality sound at this price point, and by most accounts blow everything else out of the water.
The reviews on Amazon speak for themselves!
Well, that’s about it for today folks! I hope you’ve enjoyed my JBL LSR 305 review and came away with some valuable insight.
Questions? Comments? Requests? Did I miss the mark on something? Please let me know down below or Contact me!!
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Any experience with the 305? I’d love to hear from you. Until next time…
All the best and God bless,
Be sure to check out my Reviews and Resources page for more helpful and informative articles!
Thanks for the detailed review of jbl lsr 305. I like music that sounds good. 🙂
Thanks a lot!! I appreciate the feedback 🙂
Hey Stu – thanks for the review This monitor sounds awesome! One day…..
Oh and your third paragraph cracked me up! Keep these reviews coming
Thanks Nate!! Haha I’m trying to incorporate some of my humor in these posts.. Glad you enjoyed it!! 😀
yes I used to own a pair of JBL’s they have a great sound
I love em!!
JBL all the way. My buddy has some JBL’s. I don’t think it’s jbl lsr 305’s but they definitely have an excellent sound. Thanks
Yeah they are still kind of under the radar esp. because it seems like KRK dominates this particular market. Love the JBL’s though..
thanks for the comment!
These do look tasty! And JBL are a brand I have a lot of respect for… They are defo up on my list. Thanks for an awesome review 😉
You’re welcome Steve!! Thanks for stopping by bro. 🙂
I am in the market for some monitors, I will keep your suggestion in mind when I am buying one. Great stuff Stu!
Thanks Bassam! You can’t go wrong with these. They are incredible
congrats, this is the best review I have seen regarding these monitors!
Thanks for this review !
I order : 2x JBL LSR 305, subwoofer LSR 310 S and Scarlett 2i2.
I hope to be happy with this setup. In the pas I had Logitech Z906 …
You will be more than happy with the setup brother! Let me know how you like it and if you have any questions.
Hi Stu. Great review article even in 2017! Just a question, how far apart do you put these left and right speakers? Would 1.2m do justice? Thanks a lot.
Thank you so much for the comment. I work incredibly hard on this site and it’s nice to see people recognizing that.
As for the monitors, yeah that sounds about right. You don’t really have to place them too far outside of your own body position actually. Just make sure that they form an equilateral triangle towards your ears, at around ear level. That is very important because otherwise you’re not getting the full impact of the sound and will miss out on some precious detail. I’ve had this happen and it was eye opening when I got the placement right. Hope that helps! Let me know what monitors you go with and if you have any other questions!
You sir deserve a Nobel prize for spending your time teaching and helping so many people for free, wish you a merry christmas and thanks for doing this 🙂 Regards from Norway 🙂
Thanks Christian! Wishing you a Merry Christmas as well!!
Hi Stu! TY for sharing your reviews! I’ve a friend in Italy who asked for my advice re speakers for under 400 euros she could hook directly to her notebook pc. I suggested the JBL LSR 305s as well as the Edifier R1700BTs, the Mackie CR5s [of they make them in 220V European plugs], and the Presonus Eris E4.5…but the JBLs were my 1st recommendation. Now I’m concerned by your comment re needing an interface between a computer and the JBLs. Could you please explain this further? Thank you!
An interface is needed to power the monitors via XLR to balanced TRS. The TRS plugs into the back of the interface, and the XLR ends plug into each monitor. The interface also plugs to your PC/Laptop via USB. I have the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2, which does very well with the 305’s. 🙂
If you need any further explanation let me know!
Hey Stu! Super great review. I’ve been indecisive about buying HS 7 or this beast for about two months, considering I have a really weird shaped room. I have somewhat a triangle rooftop shape kind of room. Plus, my music is mainly dance music. I was planning on buying HS 7 + HS8S subwoofer, but then considering my room, which is around 10m x 3m wide, plus I read this review. I am a newcomer in music production but I am highly passionate, that’s why I’ve been roaming all over the net for producing related stuffs. Any recommendations Stu? Thanks in advance!
How tall are your ceilings specifically?
Little confused, why is it hazardous?
To be honest, I can’t remember where I read that but I did quite a while back in my research. I wouldn’t worry much about it. It was really just me trying to be as detailed as possible and really can be omitted from this article. I’ve had mine since 2014 with absolutely no issues. One of the best (if not the best) audio purchases I’ve made since I started in 2007.
Hope that helps! Let me know.
Hey Stu! Would you recommend the LSR’s over the newer 305’s? I’ve also heard very good things about Kali audio’s Lp6 and wanted to know if you could compare the two. I’ve also heard that both these models tend to have a hissing problem. Is this a big issue? Thanks!
Hey Connor! I’m not quite sure about the newer 305’s but if I had to take a guess they probably sound around the same. Don’t quote me on that though as I haven’t looked into it. 😛 Which model is cheaper? Also haven’t heard the Kali’s. Sounds interesting! I actually had to sell my 305’s last summer because money was very tight but now I wish I hadn’t lol. It’s pretty much the only thing I miss out of all the stuff I sold. I’m kind of in the market for another pair so I will definitely have to check those out.
Hola Stu, para estos JBL 305, que sería mejor, el DAC Fiio k5pro o la Focusrite 2i2??
– No los uso para producción musical, ni tampoco para juegos, son exclusivamente para escuchar música con buena calidad de audio.
– Creo que te faltó explicar cómo conectarlos a un DAC/AMP
Te felicito por tu trabajo y tus conocimientos, leer tus artículos es realmente divertido y se aprende bastante, gracias!! ????
¡Hey hombre! Sé que hablamos en Instagram, pero ¿necesitas más de 1 entrada / salida? El 2i2 tiene 2 entradas combinadas XLR / TRS en la parte frontal, pero es posible que no las necesite. Cuando vuelva a comprar una interfaz, obtendré la tercera generación en solitario porque solo necesito una entrada en la parte frontal para rapear y las salidas en la parte posterior para algunos monitores.
Pero sí, creo que el Solo combinado con el 305 es una solución perfecta para ti.
¡También edité el artículo para reflejar la configuración! Gracias por señalar eso 🙂 ¡Déjame saber tus pensamientos hermano!
Hey Stu!! si, hablamos por Instagram, pero siempre es bueno ver tus comentarios y respuestas en distintos lados ?…
Si, definitivamente lo mejor es JBL 305 + Focusrite solo + cables balanceados, iré por esa configuración sin duda, y estoy seguro que la disfrutaré bastante!! – Aunque no descarto el k5pro para una futura compra, eso sería un regalo principalmente para mis Sennheiser HD58x, además no pienso morir sin antes confirmar que suena tan bien como todos dicen ??
Un saludo, mi hermano, mil gracias por tu atención y tu tiempo, y compartir tus conocimientos!! ????
¡De nada, amigo mío! ¡Mantenme informado de todo y no dudes en comunicarte con nosotros!
Hi Stu, thanks for your reviews and the knowledge you share.
Came here as I’m looking* for a pair of headphones to use with my 305s. The ones I have now, are too far off the 305s to be used together.
Based on your experience, which pair from your Budget review, will give the least nasty surprises, when you take them off and listen to the same mix over the 305s?
Thanks in advance.
*3rd result on DDG when looking for “headphones to pair with lsr 305” and country set to Germany. Moves to the second page without country filter. So German DuckDuckGo likes you better than international :O 😀
Bit of background:
Can’t remember when I got mine, they were quite new at the time. Currently they’re hooked up to a Behringer Xenyx Q502. Needed some extra inputs. They’re also used for listening to music and watching videos. They had previously been hooked up to a M-Audio M Track II (cheapest that I could get with balanced outputs when I bought the 305s). Lots of low cut and compression when watching videos due to thin walls.
Been a hobbyist since the 80s (aside from MIDI modules, mainly software Synthesizers and Samples, i.e. computer based). I had a pair of Senheiser Headphones and Magnat satellites for about 15 years, before getting the 305s –
just getting a new subwoofer when I was somewhere that I could use it(they survived a lot of travel). So I knew them really well. Before that I used whatever I could get + EQ and reference albums that I knew well.
The one’s I have now (super budget Superlux), whilst fine for listening to music or gaming and even fun when making music (as long as I’m using only presets). Few days ago I switched from phones to monitors… for the first time I encountered something sounding horrible… usually it’s was just a bit of EQ and levels and good to go. I could hear what needed to be done. But this one.. the whole grove was lost and it sounded depressing instead of uplifting like before :O …hence the realisation that I really should get some other phones.
Hey man thanks for the comment and it’s my pleasure! Which Sennheisers did you have? I’d probably recommend either the AKG K702, 6XX, or DT880 for reference level sound at an affordable price. Let me know.
just my 2 cents about the 1 meter equilateral triangle setup for casual low volume listening , i found jbl 305 sounded better much closer to your ears but far enough to avoid the tweeter hiss so my best sounding configuration is 10 cm ahead of me, 70 cm to right and 70 cm to the left.
Nice! I will have to keep that in mind because I plan to get another set of these. Right now I have the Eris e3.5. Really good for the money!