They may be designed as a pair of studio monitors for professionals to do their audio mixing and mastering but their affordable pricing and compact size also make the PreSonus Eris 3.5 suitable for audiophiles who are planning to set up a desktop sound system. It doesn’t have a built-in DAC like some other active speakers though and we are planning to work out a list of D/A converters that we can choose and match with these entry-level studio monitors.
The prices of these digital-to-analog converters will be a deciding factor, and they will also need to match the PreSonus Eris 3.5 sonically. Your personal DAC requirements will be as important and they will influence your choices. And so before we start listing the best matching DACs, let us work on all these first.
Sound Characteristics of PreSonus Eris 3.5 and Your DAC Requirements
The PreSonus Eris 3.5 already has a built-in power amplifier and we can just directly connect the DAC to the studio monitor which makes it neat and simple. The type of connections the DAC should have will be a requirement and it will also be depended on the devices you have, and how you want to connect them. The more connectivities the DAC possess usually means it would get bigger in size and if desktop space is a luxury, you might want to weigh the importance of either getting a compact DAC with fewer connections or removing less important stuffs on your table.
If you are listening to high-resolution audio files, you might want to get a D/A converter that is capable of playing such file formats, for example, DSD64, DSD128, and more. For listeners who stream music from platforms such as Tidal, integrating a DAC might improve the sound quality as the onboard soundcard of your computers and devices are usually not up to par with a good quality D/A converter. For professionals who need to work on their audio mixing and mastering, you probably need a digital-to-analog converter that is transparent and good at details retrieval to match with your PreSonus Eris 3.5 studio monitors.
For a pair of budget studio monitors and with only a 3.5″ LF driver, we didn’t expect much of it but the PreSonus Eris 3.5 does provide us with a sonic performance that is worth every penny invested. The higher frequencies reproduced by the Eris 3.5 have a high level of clarity and can sound bright but never sound overly harsh or too hard. We can hear plenty of music details from these studio monitors. We need to be cautious when pairing the mini-monitors with DAC so as to not over-excite the PreSonus Eris 3.5s’ treble by too much. Their stereo imaging is precise as well and the soundstage is just right for nearfield listening.
Its bass performance is more solid than expected but it is unable to reach deep into the bass extension and no DAC in the world could help with that. All in all, the sound quality of the PreSonus Eris 3.5 is not as clinical as we have imagined, and partnering these studio monitors with a musical-sounding D/A converter will further make them more ideal for casual music listening. This can be a requirement as well and so you might want to jot it down on a checklist. If you are planning to move the PreSonus Eris 3.5 mini-monitors around your studio, you might want to go for a portable DAC instead.
Will you be sharing the use of the desktop sound system with your loved ones or colleagues? If yes, you might want to ask them for their requirements too. As the more requirements you have, the easier is to pinpoint a desirable DAC which should also match well with the PreSonus Eris 3.5 studio monitors. Your budget will also play a major role in choosing a DAC so you might want to work on that. Once you have run through all possible requirements and are confident of what you require then please take a look now at the best DACs to pair with the PreSonus Eris 3.5 budget studio monitors.
Best DACs to pair with PreSonus Eris 3.5 Studio Monitors
The Audioengine D1 is an ideal choice for listeners who need a compact desktop DAC to pair with the PreSonus Eris 3.5 studio monitors. This is a highly rated DAC and supports up to 24-bit/192kHz resolution You should be able to find a spot on your desktop for the D1 due to its small footprint. It is a musically refined D/A converter that doesn’t add additional brightness to the overall sound reproduction. Audioengine D1 is easy to listen to and will be great for casual music listeners who just want to enjoy their favorite tunes. The music presentation can be rather detailed as well.
Schiit Audio Modi 3+ is an amazing entry-level DAC to go with your PreSonus Eris 3.5. It has an affordable price tag and will fit most budgets. The Modi 3+ uses AKM AK4490 and supports up to 24-bit/192kHz sample rates. It has a pleasing sound quality and adds a bit of weight to the bass reproduction. The bass response is agile and this will work well with the PreSonus Eris 3.5 studio monitors. Schiit Audio Modi 3+ music presentation may be rather relaxed but it doesn’t sound unnatural. It has good music handling too which is impressive for an entry-level D/A converter at this price point.
The iFi Audio ZEN DAC v2 is an award-winning desktop DAC with plenty of features and connectivities. It is a DAC with insights and has a nice level of clarity as well which will fit nicely with the PreSonus Eris 3.5 studio monitors. The revealing nature will be great for professionals who need the music details and subtle nuances to complete their work accurately. For casual listeners, the iFi Audio ZEN DAC v2 is still refined enough to not sound clinical. The dynamics handling of this iFi Audio D/A converter is amazing as well and does give us quite an expressive music presentation.
Massdrop X Grace SDAC is another amazing entry-level DAC with a very modest price tag. It is a very compact D/A converter and uses an AKM AK4452 DAC chip, supporting up to 24-bit/96kHz sample rates. The overall sound reproduction is clean and well-balanced with a tight bass performance which makes it a suitable match with PreSonus Eris 3.5. The Massdrop X Grace SDAC doesn’t make the studio monitors sound harsh as well and at this price point, it is really difficult to nitpick. This is an excellent DAC choice for listeners who have very tight budgets and doesn’t want the sound quality to be compromised.
For listeners who need a portable DAC that is so compact it could be slotted into your pockets, the Audioquest Dragonfly Red is an exceptional choice to go for. This is a tiny USB DAC and has won plenty of accolades over the years. It is modestly priced and supports up to 24-bit/96kHz resolution. It is ideal for users who need to move their PreSonus Eris 3.5 studio monitors around a lot and the portability of the Audioquest Dragonfly Red doesn’t make the job more difficult. You can easily keep the DAC after usage or just simply leave it on your desktop since it has such a small footprint.
Micca OriGen G2 is another exceptional compact USB DAC to match with the PreSonus Eris 3.5 studio monitors. This is a studio-grade D/A converter and supports up to 24-bit/192kHz (PCM) resolution, not to mention, it is also affordably priced. The Micca OriGen G2 DAC will be excellent for professionals as it doesn’t color the sound and provides an accurate presentation of the source. Vocal and music instruments sounded natural, and the USB DAC is revealing too. It may not be suitable for casual music listening but at this price point, it is worth the effort to hear them out.
To Sum It Up
These are some of the best D/A converters to go with your PreSonus Eris 3.5 and it is highly recommended to audition them first before making a decision. You can shortlist a few of them for auditioning based on your DAC requirements or simply based on their price points. We also suggest listening to them at your own studio/room together with your own PreSonus Eris 3.5 studio monitors for a more accurate result.