JBL LSR 3 Series Active Studio Monitors – A Review and Comparison


This entry was posted by Steven Leccese On 02/16/2014



Krk and Yamaha | Sonic SenseExperience the JBL Waveguide | Sonic Sense

JBL recently released a new addition to the LSR family of their powered studio monitors. We’ve always found the LSR series (2300 and 4300) to be a great value, even when they were priced somewhat higher than 2-way 5” and 2-way 8” monitors in their relative price range. Now, with the release of the 305’s and 308’s, JBL is making a serious statement by delivering 5’s and 8’s at exactly the same street price, or better, than their most common competitors. To top it off, the LSR305 and LSR308’s feature the Image Control Waveguide, based on the developments made for JBL’s $20,000/pair M2 reference studio monitors. We compared the JBL LSR 3 series to comparable KRK Rokit and Yamaha HS Series Monitors.

Upon receipt of our first 305’s and 308’s, we immediately began our usual evaluation process, quiet listening, loud listening, Smaart measurements, on-axis listening, off-axis listening, more measurements, listening with rock music, listening with hip-hop, listening with classical, listening with jazz, more measurements, and did we mention listening? Damn, it’s all we wanted to do – listen to JBL 3-series monitors because they sound so good!!!

Close up shot of the JBL LSR 3 Series Waveguide | Sonic Sense

Close up shot of the JBL LSR 3 Series Waveguide

Marc Nutter, our owner was on the verge of writing a post recommending buyers save up for 8-inch monitors since many 2-way 5’s under $1,500.00 don’t have the flat frequency response and deep low-end that 8 inch 2-ways do. Funny enough, the LSR305’s have him thinking twice.

The big brother of the series, the LSR 308 8-inch active studio monitors measure and sound nearly the same but extend the low frequency response without the excessive bump around 125 that many 5-inch 2-ways have. These two studio monitors are so similar in their frequency response and voicing that some of us were split on deciding which one was better.  Both models are incredibly accurate, and if you have limited space, a pair of LSR305’s will serve you very well. Of course, if you want that extra punch, the 308’s will give it to you and may leave you totally satisfied even without a subwoofer.

JBL LSR 3 Series Monitors | Sonic Sense

 In Use

JBL set out to create a studio monitor that produced a wide sweet spot, and this newly designed waveguide delivers. You’ll be able to turn off-axis and make creative choices, set eq’s, adjust compressors, add another musical line from your controller or keyboard, with confidence that you are hearing nearly the same thing off-axis that you are when sitting straight up in the ideal position.

Fritz experiencing the wide stereo image! | Sonic Sense

Fritz experiencing the wide stereo image!

Further, when you have multiple people in your studio during a session it can be hard for everyone to hear accurately throughout the room. During our listening test, I was sitting at the back, and even the 5-inch monitors were able to fill the 16 foot deep 12-foot wide room. Levels were plenty loud, the mix was clear and balanced, and the image was well defined. When I moved up to the engineer’s chair, the sound did indeed improve but the differences were less dramatic than with other monitors we’ve heard. For a producer at the back of your studio, the band checking out your mix, or just a friend lending a helpful ear, the JBL 3-series provide an excellent representation of what you, the engineer, are hearing at the mix position.

At $149.99 each ($299.98 a pair) for the LSR305’s and $249.99 each ($499.98 a pair) for the LSR308’s, the new JBL studio monitors not only stand up prove to a be worthy competitor in their price class, they are an excellent choice in any studio.

JBL LSR 305 | Sonic SenseTake a look at the following video series, including a very special demonstration of the JBL Image Control Waveguide and listen with a critical ear!  Let us know what you think about these active studio monitors. We think they are a great addition to JBL’s already impressive arsenal of studio monitors and we hope you enjoy our comparison.

You’ll be able to stream from the libraries below, or you can download the full resolution, 44.1 kHz / 24-Bit audio files from the SoundCloud Widget and import them into your favorite DAW.

Feel free to contact us with any questions you may have about anything audio.

And remember, just add signal and mix well.

Here’s the Video Comparing 8 inch JBL Monitors to Yamaha HS8 and KRK RP8G3 Monitors for your Enjoyment:

Here’s the Video Demonstrating JBL’s New Waveguide:

Here’s the Video Comparing the 5 inch JBL Monitors to Yamaha HS5 and KRK RP5G3 Monitors:

  • stven

    i would love to win these studio monitors they look nice would love to hook them up to my studio and give em a go

  • isidoro

    i need this, help me out.

  • Den

    I compare mabe 30 studio monitors (in studio, live mixing situation!) and what can I say…
    WOW !!!!
    I take it JBL LSR305.
    Final results from start to end is incredible! Now I can hear everything in my mix projects.
    This speakers is fantastic for mixing and final mastering!
    I am really happy with final results. This is most importan thing in studio.
    I repeat: final results! That’s small speakers push my mind to think different.
    Now I work all day with LSR305 without any problem with full confidence (what I hear on any moment in tracking,editing,mixing and mastering).
    Now I work with pleasure. Before this, I work on much much more expensive studio speakers, but these little ones are a REAL GEM.It saves my time and money, especially my nerves (with other monitors!) when translating the mix in the final product.

  • Jewls

    i hope this i wont get disqualified but to be up front honest I need these because I have wet dreams about the sound quality im gonna get from these monitors every now and then and they will be my first pair because i really hate mixing on my dead beats all the time ( at this point im begging you) so yeah this will be a game changer for me (might even change my life)….