In the world of studio production, sound clarity and authenticity are paramount. As producers continuously seek tools to elevate their sound quality, studio monitors have emerged as indispensable allies. However, not all monitors are created equal, especially when diving deep into the bass realms.
KRK, a reputable name in the sound industry, offers a promising solution with its range of studio monitors and subs. In this review, we delve into the intricacies of the KRK Studio Monitors, exploring the features, setup, and performance to determine if they truly stand out in the crowded market.
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KRK GoAux Series Studio Monitors
KRK introduces the GoAux 3 and GoAux 4 as its latest mobile-friendly speakers. Each set consists of two monitors neatly placed in a cushioned travel case, complete with storage for additional components.
Both the GoAux 3 and GoAux 4 models boast a 1-inch fabric dome tweeter. While the GoAux 3 pairs with a 3-inch glass aramid woofer, the GoAux 4 matches with a 4-inch version.
The signature KRK yellow design dominates both models. Each speaker comes with a modifiable stand, Bluetooth functionality, inbuilt EQ for high and low frequencies, a headphone jack, and a conveniently placed standby switch and level control.
Amplification and Connectivity
These compact monitors, like many in their category, utilize Class D amplification. Notably, the left speaker in each set embodies all input connections, power controls, amplifier, volume settings, and headphone jack. Its counterpart connects through a durable and unexpectedly lengthy 4.5-metre proprietary 4-core wire.
Input Options and Adaptability
In terms of physical inputs, both models support RCA and 1/8” minijack. However, the GoAux 4 steps up with 1/4” TRS jacks and a USB (B type) port. This means that with a standard A-type to B-type USB cord, the GoAux 4 can link directly to a PC, employing the KRK Realtek driver for output. An additional feature of the GoAux 4 is its ARC – automatic room correction, which we delve into later.
Stand and EQ Settings
Each GoAux monitor includes specially crafted tabletop stands, attachable beneath the speakers. These stands allow for simple adjustments to achieve the ideal tilt. When discussing EQ settings, both models offer three modes: boost, cut, and flat. Soft switches make navigation easy, and LED lights indicate the selected mode, proving useful in dim lighting.
Performance and Verdict of the KRK GoAux Series
The GoAux models stand up well against other reputable compact monitors in terms of sound quality. Their high frequencies remain pleasing, even at boosted EQ settings. The mid and upper-mid ranges project clearly. Though the back-ported design augments the bass, giving it a solid kick, the lower mid-range tones don’t match up to those from larger monitors. This isn’t necessarily a downside, but rather a small adjustment when transitioning from traditional near-field monitors.
For users of the GoAux 4, utilizing the automatic room correction feature is simple. By attaching the provided lavalier-style microphone and pressing the ARC button, users can initiate a low-frequency test. Upon completion, ARC adjusts the sound profile accordingly, and users can toggle this correction as needed. While the difference in our testing environment was subtle, it was a valuable enhancement.
In summary, KRK has impressively designed the GoAux series, offering both compactness and portability without compromising on sound quality.
V-Series Studio Monitors
KRK has launched its fourth iteration of the esteemed V Series, introducing the V Series 4 nearfield studio monitors. Designed to merge affordability with superior sound quality, this line is fit for varied applications. The V8, V6, and V4 Series 4 comprise this collection, sporting 8”, 6.5”, and 4” woven Kevlar woofers respectively.
All three variants are paired with a 1” Kevlar dome tweeter. Their striking appearance features KRK’s iconic yellow, set against a sleek, black aluminum panel.
Design and Build
A hallmark of quality, the monitors have their drivers encased in a fusion of cast aluminum and MDF. Behind each unit, two Class D amplifiers service each driver, while a bass-reflex port occupies the front-bottom, emphasizing efficient bass output.
Customization and Control
The V Series 4 stands out with its tailored sound controls. Offering seven Low and seven High Control voicings, it boasts a remarkable 49 EQ adjustments. These variations assist users in refining the speaker’s sound output, compensating for room acoustics and personal tastes. Unique settings are available to counterbalance any interference from nearby walls or even desks.
A cluster of intricate features adorn the rear panel. There’s a rotary switch for minute input-level adjustments, DIP switches to regulate ground lift, input sensitivity, power standby, and logo backlighting. A Micro USB port is intriguingly placed, hinting at potential firmware updates. KRK has even thrown in a tool to manipulate the rotary switches – a nice touch.
Versatility and Mobility
One of the V Series 4’s commendable traits is its adaptability. If you’re on the move or change your studio setup, these monitors adjust effortlessly. The lightweight V4 S4, weighing just under 13 lbs, makes for an ideal travel companion. The provision of protective grilles ensures the monitors’ safety during transit. Plus, the array of EQ settings means you can acclimatize the sound to diverse environments.
Classic KRK Studio Monitors
The Classic Series by KRK are undeniably reminiscent of the well-known Rokit range. They clearly exude the signature KRK style with their iconic yellow cones. To me, they seem like a modified version of the Rokit 5 G4, possibly the next iteration.
Unboxing them, everything was as anticipated. Features like the front bass reflex port, the HF/LF adjustment dials, and varied input options were all present. They’re encased in vinyl-wrapped MDF and have a foam layer at the bottom, ideal for desks or shelves.
Performance in Action
Optimized for smaller spaces, their bi-amplified nature ensures separate amps for each speaker. They heat up, owing to their class AB design, but that promises good performance. The bass quality is commendable for its size, and the treble is slightly sharp. Proper angling and minimal tweaking yielded a sound profile that I found pleasing.
Features and Specifications
On the rear, the Classics offer options to adjust the sound according to one’s preference. They have a power output of 50-55W RMS per speaker, sufficient for their intended use. However, they’re best suited for close listening and not for larger gatherings. Using appropriate speaker stands can further enhance their performance.
The Classic 5s are straightforward and efficient. They lack fancy add-ons but excel in their primary function. If you’re seeking efficient monitors for DJing or production without frequent changes, they’re apt. Their sound quality is great for DJing and offers ample flexibility through rear controls.
KRK Rokit G4 Studio Monitor
The Rokit RP5 G4 monitors, under review here, are an exceptional choice. These monitors encapsulate high-end features from KRK’s professional range, making them a notable mention even among the top compact studio monitors.
Diving into the Rokit RP5 G4 Features
The Rokit RP5 G4, sometimes referred to as the Rocket 5 G4, is the smallest member of the Rokit G4 lineup. Its siblings, the Rokit 7 G4, 8 G4, and 10 G4, boast larger drivers, with their size (in inches) indicating the difference. The Rokit 5 G4 features a 5-inch Kevlar woofer paired with a 1-inch tweeter. The use of Kevlar, a rigid material, ensures prompt response to music’s transients.
One standout feature is the inclusion of an on-board DSP with 25 EQ settings. This allows users to fine-tune the speakers to their room’s acoustics. Additionally, these are active speakers, eliminating the need for external amplifiers. The in-built class D amps provide 35 watts to the bass and 20 watts to the high-frequency drivers, suitable for modest studio setups. For larger environments, the bigger Rokit G4 variants offer power outputs ranging from 145 to 300 watts.
Around the speaker’s back, users can access the DSP processing, find balanced TRS/XLR combo jack inputs, and adjust the volume. While some might prefer front-facing volume controls, especially for casual listening, the output level can also be modulated via a Digital Audio Workstation.
Build Quality and Acoustic Precision
KRK hasn’t compromised on build quality. The base padding of each speaker minimizes vibrations, reducing the need for additional acoustic isolation. The robust driver cabinets further help in reducing vibrations. Moreover, a front-facing port enhances bass frequency delivery, ensuring clarity and depth.
Performance Evaluation and User Experience
Setting up the speakers is straightforward. The intriguing on-board EQ DSP, accessible via the volume knob, is a novel feature for many. Through this, users can adjust EQ, screen settings, and even control the front logo illumination.
In the EQ section, users can experiment with high and low-frequency options. While one can traditionally set the EQ by playing familiar tracks, KRK offers a supplementary method: the KRK Audio Tools app. This app aids in calibrating the EQ according to room specifications.
Sound-wise, the Rokit RP5 G4 impresses with its consistent sound delivery. The high frequencies are surprisingly detailed for its price point. The unified sound output is a notable highlight, which typically requires a mid-range driver. The only limitation is power. For larger spaces, one might need to invest in a bigger Rokit variant. However, the broad soundstage and expansive sweet spot make the Rokit RP5 G4 an excellent value proposition.
The KRK Rokit RP5 G4 monitors offer impeccable sound quality, innovative features, and reliable performance, all without breaking the bank. They represent an excellent investment for those seeking precision and clarity in their studio setups.
Studio monitors aim to deliver clear, comprehensive sound, but tackling lower frequencies can be challenging. This difficulty often arises from room constraints or the limitations of the monitors themselves. Many producers resort to frequency analyzers or headphones to perceive the bass better. One promising solution is the integration of a sub bass unit.
When it comes to selecting the right sub, it generally revolves around the features it provides, its size, and its price point. The S10.4 is centered around a 10-inch driver, positioning it between KRK’s S8.4 and S12.4 in terms of size. Notably, KRK also has a premium 12-inch sub, the 12sHO, for those seeking a high-end experience.
The signature element of the KRK Subwoofer is its front-positioned glass aramid composite driver. KRK’s iconic yellow design is also evident here. A front-facing slotted port aids in delivering low frequencies. While it’s designed to be positioned on its longer side, its width of almost 48cm remains manageable for most studios.
Features and Performance Insights
Designed to sync seamlessly with monitors, the KRK S Series back panel boasts both unbalanced (RCA) and balanced (XLR and TRS) connectors for stereo inputs and outputs. A distinct absence is the LFE input, typically used with an external monitor control system.
Its rear controls include Volume, Input Sensitivity, Polarity options, Ground lift, auto Standby, and a crucial Crossover with four settings. This flexibility lets users adapt the sub to their monitor’s frequency responses. Additionally, a footswitch input lets you bypass the sub and filter, sending the full-frequency signal to your monitors. Though it requires a separate purchase, it’s an invaluable feature, enabling toggling between setups with or without the sub active.
KRK also provides an informative manual guiding the sub’s placement. The general rule of thumb is to place the sub near your monitors and not in room corners. For precise setup, it suggests using pink noise and a decibel meter. The S10.4 might need a few position adjustments, but our tests showed optimal results with an inverted polarity setting.
Performance and Verdict
The S10.4’s Class D amplifier is impressive. With a robust 160 Watts and a peak SPL of about 117dB, it handles frequencies as low as 30Hz remarkably well.
In conclusion, the S Series Subwoofer from KRK is a well-crafted sub, reflecting both quality and ease of setup. If one adheres to KRK’s guidance, they’ll experience a dependable low-frequency extension in their sound system. On the downside, its size might demand ample space. However, given its exceptional features and performance, it’s a commendable choice for studios.
Author: Mike P
Hi! My name is Mike! I’ve been an apartment producer/musician for 10+ years. I’ve played in punk bands, released EDM tunes on Beatport and iTunes, and have a semi-successful stock music portfolio. Read more…