JBL 305P Review
The budget-priced studio monitor market has another formidable contender for the top spot, now that JBL has announced a successor to their Mark I range of monitors.
The new 3 Series Mark II range has 3 active nearfields for your picking.
Today, we will talk about the smallest and the most affordable one, the JBL 305P.
As evident from the name, this one comes with a 5-inch transducer and the most direct comparisons will be with the Mackie CR4, the Eris E5 or the Rokit R5, all of which are extremely popular monitors that command a formidable fan following.
But despite the tough competition, the JBL305P stands its own with some very good features.
In fact, many professionals often compare the sound quality of the 305P with the old Yamaha HS50M, which is no mean feat.
JBL Professional 305P MKII 2-Way Powered Studio Monitor Review
The JBL 305P is the second iteration of the 3-Series line of studio monitors, that were launched way back in 2014.
Five years in the making, the update looks like a more dressed-up version, with some striking aesthetic changes.
But the bulk of the changes have been conducted under the hood.
The 305P features the new, upgraded transducer from JBL that retains the amazing, wide stereo image that was the highlight of the previous version, the LSR305.
And despite all the upgrades, it comes at the same affordable price point.
We just love it when a manufacturer ships out their speakers in discreet-looking cardboard boxes.
That tells you that they’ve been putting their money where its worth, that is on the sound quality.
Out of the box, the JBL305P looks striking. We love the new shimmery plastic cushions surrounding the tweeter and the woofer.
Someone once commented that these look straight out of the Bat cave. We couldn’t agree more.
That’s not merely a cosmetic upgrade though. That’s the Image Control Waveguide technology that surrounds the tweeter and widens the sweet spot for the listener irrespective of where they are in the room. More on this later.
The cabinets are made of tough MDF and in-transit slippages or collisions won’t hurt this baby one bit. The speakers stand 11.7 inches tall and 7.3 inches wide and weigh above 10 lbs. each.
So portability clearly isn’t a priority for JBL. That’s not a biggie though.
This is a rear ported speaker and comes with a rear control panel that is just adequate for music producers and engineers.
For connectivity, there’s the balanced XLR and 1/4-inch TRS inputs, a recessed input sensitivity switch, a volume knob with detents (wow), an HF Trim filter which can also boost up to +2dB, and in place of the LF trim filter, we have the Boundary EQ that helps reduce the booming bass if you decide to place this close to a wall or in an enclosed cabinet.
Sadly, it doesn’t ship with any connectivity cables. You’ll have to buy those separately.
The JBL 305P is powered by two 56W class D amplifiers (one each for the woofer and tweeter) that deliver 112 watts of sonic amplification. For a speaker this size, the JBL 305P is very powerful.
The upgraded transducers are phenomenal to say the least.
Both, the 5” woofer and the 1” tweeter do a wonderful job at low and high frequencies.
The star of the show though, is the patented Image control wave guide technology, the shiny plastic pillow that surrounds the tweeter. Believe it or not, this tech was first developed for the M2 Master Studio Monitor. A beast of a unit that cost a whopping $26000 at that time.
And as simple as it looks, this widens the soundstage considerably and ensures that even if you move your head or move around in the studio, it doesn’t affect the response.
It stays flat consistently.
The JBL 305P is one of the most tonally correct studio monitors that we’ve seen in this price range.
There’s no need to fiddle with any of the personalization settings. Place it in a nearfield setup and it shines right out of the box.
Everything sounds neutral. None of the details are missing.
It’s not boomy on the low end. The bass is tight and limited but much better than what most of the competition is able to churn out. (Not the overly ‘bassy’ Rokits though)
The high and mids are equally good.
Overall, a professional should be thoroughly satisfied with the flat sound quality and should be able to create good mixes with a lot of depth, that translate well on to other devices.
Who’s the JBL 305P for?
The JBL 305P Mark II is perfect for both content creators using small home studios as well as commercial facilities that use more than one monitor for multichannel setups.
It offers amazing value for the price you pay for it.
Why, the stereo image alone should be enough reason for you to seriously consider this.
That’s a rarity at this price point.
Our verdict: JBL hits a homerun with the 305P and we can’t wait to test out its beefier siblings. Highly recommended!