PreSonus is a big name in studios around the world because of one thing: the brand consistently delivers severely good monitoring speakers! As if we needed further proof, the higher-end Sceptre S8 coaxial speaker shows off a unique design that promises incredible accuracy and a true 3D soundstage. There’s little wonder it slipped straight onto our chart of the best monitor speakers under $1,000. Let’s see what all the fuss is about!
With the Sceptre S8, PreSonus have put the focus on features and sound – they don’t go above and beyond to create incredible aesthetics. Still, this is a simple but stylish speaker that will fit into any studio setup. It features a relatively standard vinyl-laminated MDF build, standing at 15.75” tall, 11.4” wide and 13.3” deep. As with others in the Sceptre Series, the speaker is all black in design, bar the illuminated PreSonus logo that sits in the lower right corner. No problems in the design department.
When it comes to connections and controls, there are no surprises. The front is clean – it’s around back where you find what you need to connect the S8 to the outside world. In terms of inputs things are quite simple, with just balanced TRS and XLR connections, although controls are more plentiful (see below).
As mentioned, the S8 features a coaxial design – PreSonus’s proprietary ‘CoActual’ design to be precise – with an advanced onboard DSP processor and custom coaxial drivers. There’s an 8” glass-reinforced paper woofer with a horn-mounted 1″ diaphragm compression driver right in the middle. Thanks to this design, the S8’s frequency response is symmetrical both horizontally and vertically, which ensures everything come from the same spot and hits your ears at the same time. The peak SPL at one meter is an impressive 116dB.
Looking at controls, the S8 features a four-position Acoustic Space switch, allowing you to adjust the speaker depending on where it is positioned in the studio (whether in the middle of the room, or closer to walls). With this comes a high-frequency driver level control and a highpass filter, should you wish to attach a separate subwoofer.
What all this innovative design boils down to is an all-round delightful sound that critical listeners will find hard to pass. The S8 pretty much turns any room into a concert hall thanks to that three-dimensional soundstage. The sound is flat and honest, but with some life, featuring deep, punchy bass, full mids and smooth treble. It’s detailed and accurate, highlighting even the subtlest nuances in recordings – making it a perfect monitoring speaker for professional level mixing and listening.
It’s not a cheap monitor, but the Sceptre S8 is well worth its price tag. Aside from a little background hiss, the pure sound on offer is incredibly hard to fault. For studio engineers, producers and critical listeners who place an emphasis on the truest of sounds, the Sceptre S8 is definitely one for your shortlist.