KRK ROKIT 6 (generation 3) powered studio reference monitors brings new meaning to the phrase, “BANG for your buck!”
When the KRK ROKIT 6 Generation 3 Powered Studio Monitor‘s arrived I took them out of their boxes and glanced over at my old trusty Adam A7s. We’d been through a lot together but the time had come to hear a different point of view. That’s right, I said “hear a different point of view.”
It had always intrigued me that the KRK monitors seemed to make appearances in more beatmaker’s lab photos. For the slang challenged, Lab = studio. But it seems that those strong black box incased yellow cones are everywhere I look. So when the opportunity came for me to try them first hand I had to check them out.
So for those that are not familiar with what one may look for in a pair of studio reference monitors, I’ll tell you what I’ve personally looked for in the past. I like a true sound. Meaning I like to know that what I am hearing is what is actually there and not so much what the room and / or studio monitors are masking or alluding to. Sounds simple enough, right? Well, not so much.
One of our biggest challenges as amateurs, hobbyists, semi pros and even pros is the dreaded “untreated” room. No sound treatment or lack of adequate sound treatment is way too common and it will likely not change for many of us any time soon. Most times we find ourselves in rooms that were totally not built for making or monitoring music.
So what do you do? Deal with it the best we can. That will mean different things for different folks. For me (as with most of us) I found that I am in a small room. What 10×10 give or take a few inches or even feet?! There is a window or two, a closet and an entry door. Armed with a bit of advice and some bass traps I absorbed as much evil bass space as possible and hunted for the best monitors for my situation. This meant I needed monitors with the air hole or “port” in front as my studio desk sits against a wall due to the size of my room. Having the port in front means that there is less opportunity for bass to immediately bounce off of the wall and tell lies about how much or how little bass I’m working with. That said, the KRK ROKIT 6 Generation 3 Powered Studio Monitors seemed to be a perfect fit.
With the port in the front, the ROKIT 6’s are two-way speaker studio monitors with a tweeter and a 6 inch yellow woofer cone. Obviously the tweeter is for higher frequencies and the woofer handles the mids and lows.
On the back, the ROKIT 6 monitors have 3 knobs. Also, there is the Volume for the obvious, input gain control. KRK recommends that the volume knob be set to Max (+6dB) and adjustments be made from the audio sources (i.e. mixer, interface card etc.). (NOTE: From the ROKIT manual – The usual scenario is to set the knob at the middle setting and adjust the input level from your audio source. Use the volume knob to match the left and right studio monitors.)
There is the HF adjustment knob for control of high frequencies. Finally there is the LF adjustment knob for control of low frequencies. LF and HF are set to default, which is 0dB aka “Flat.” I like a flat response for a truer sound, but personal preferences may vary, so the KRK folks made certain that you can adjust as needed which is mostly pretty standard with studio monitors. At very least, it’s pretty important for me and anyone who makes beats in common untreated spaces.
KRK provides a legend in the owner’s manual (you do read those, right?) that gives you an idea of how to set your monitors for a given placement situation. As KRK states “For example, placement near a wall or corner may boost the low frequencies.”
Rule of thumb for LF Adjustment settings:
- Large Room = set monitors to +2dB
- Normal Room = set monitors to 0dB (flat – but good luck finding out what they mean by normal. Treated perhaps?)
- Against the Wall = set monitors to -1dB
- Corner of a Room = set monitors to -2dB
These are just guidelines. So don’t bug out if you don’t get the desired result. Trust your ears. Personal taste plays a huge part with monitoring.
Also on the back of the ROKIT 6 monitors are a balanced TRS input, an XLR input and an unbalanced RCA input. The TRS and XLR are typical Studio Monitor connectors for mixers and audio interface cards. However, and I could be wrong (not likely :)) but I don’t recall unbalanced RCA inputs being a typical option for studio monitors. In the case of the KRK ROKIT 6s, the unbalanced RCA input is perfect for direct connections to DJ gear, computers, certain audio interfaces and mobile devices. A convenient choice for some of my DJs and Beatmakers out there.
Lastly, there is the AC power input and a fuse holder. No excitement there, but it is worth mentioning that the power switch is in the back and I am accustomed to the power switch in the front. I don’t dig having to reach around the back of the monitors to turn them on and off. Of course there are ways around that, but I’d prefer front mounted power switches.
So, how is the build quality? Simple and relatively solid. What I believe is a black composite wood shell (cabinet, for the audio snobs) and durable hard plastic front makes for a rather light weight and rather solid studio monitor. Not too much to cart with you, as some DJs do, but perfect to sit stationary in the lab. It’s worth noting that the ROKIT 6 monitors are the middle offering of three KRK ROKIT studio monitors. So there is something at KRK for every scenario and user, especially when you consider the availability of their subwoofer made to complement the line and drive you ¬deaf in the process or at very least drive your neighbors to form a lynch mob outside your front door.
How do they sound? Well keep in mind this is all subjective and according to my personal tastes… but let’s just say “they bang!” Compared to what I am used to (which is pretty good in itself) these things carry a really nice bottom end but they remain clear and unmuddied. I can’t imagine the need for a subwoofer with these joints. Although I don’t have a personal reference point, I was told that the ROKIT 6 monitors are in the line because of their perfect blend of ¬ mids, lows and highs. The thought there is that the larger ones (ROKIT 8s) are too bass heavy and the smaller ones (ROKIT 5s) are not bass heavy enough. So take it or leave it (KRK note – the three different sizes are provided to cover as many possible applications as possible. The ROKIT 6 may not be the right solution for some situations which is why we have a 5 and 8 also. However, as has been mentioned earlier, the ROKIT speakers have features which help accommodate for less-than-ideal circumstances which is typically the norm). With the ROKIT 6 monitors allowing my boom bap beats to bang so clearly with healthy low-end and crisp clear highs, I can’t imagine the others in the line falling short of being deemed a good purchase depending on your needs. Having said that, it’s worth noting that ROKIT prices are pretty affordable, ranging from $149 each for the ROKIT 5s, $199 each for the ROKIT 6 s & $249 for the big boy ROKIT 8s
All in all, the KRK ROKIT 6 Studio Monitors surprised me with the lows and sheer power they kicked out. Best of all, what I heard in the lab is what I got when I took the beats to the car system. It translated really well. Perhaps most telling about the power they put out was when I first plugged them in and flipped them on with the MPC booming and clapping things up, the wife suddenly appeared thru the wall of sound with the most disturbed look on her face to say “NO babe, that is too much.” Well, that says a lot because my wife is the coolest and most easy going beatmaker’s wife ever. I literally make noise at any time of the day and night. This is the first time ever she was opposed to music that comes blaring out of my studio. So, I’d say KRK has a winner on their hands. But something (the fact that they are the number one seller worldwide) tells me that I may be the last to know.
The long and short of it is that I am going to hate going back to my A7 monitors alone. I’d love to stand both pairs up together for different reference points on a given mix. The KRKs definitely seem to be well suited for the DJ / Beatmaker esthetic. I’d recommend them without hesitation, especially priced per pair at what other monitors cost per each like the A7. Now, if only they could put the power switch in the front.
For more information on the ROKIT series of studioe reference monitors head of to the ROKIT product page on KRK’s website. http://www.krksys.com/krk-studio-monitor-speakers/rokit/rokit-6.html