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Each piece of classic studio gear has something that makes it instantly recognizable, i.e., the U47's shape, the 1176's ratio buttons, and the Neve 1073's red knob. In the land of speakers, there might be no better example than the yellow cones of KRK monitors.
For the better part of the past four decades, it’s been nearly impossible to walk into a studio without seeing a pair of yellow and black KRK monitors. They are intrinsically attached to the recording and mixing world as they offer a barrier-free price point for anyone interested in producing audio.
Even with this deep-seated brand recognition, there’s a lot that people don’t know about KRK and the company’s V Series monitors. We’re here to inform you by covering some KRK facts and history, discussing who uses these monitors and breaking down all three product lineups in detail.
The story of KRK is the story of Keith R. Klawitter (see what he did with the name there). Unsatisfied by the clarity and accuracy of monitors on the market, the mix engineer for film began building his own monitors in the mid-1980s. So impressed were his fellow engineers and producers that Keith eventually went into business producing monitors and formed KRK Systems.
Some folks working in pro audio may believe that KRK monitors are only used by electronic musicians and producers. However, the brand’s list of avowed disciples is vast and varied. We’re talking Ed Cherney (Billy Joel / John Mayer), Ben Grosse (Blink-182 / Good Charlotte), Dave Issac (Bruno Mars / Prince), Jacquire King (Kings of Leon / Norah Jones), Mike Stent (Ed Sheeran / Coldplay), and so many more.
Check out the interviews below with 1ST (aka FKi 1st) and Jacquire King to hear how KRK monitors have been essential to their work:
KRK is undoubtedly most known for its Rokit monitors, some of the most widely used speakers in recording and mixing. The brand actually has three monitor series to fit different niches of the studio world and offer potential users options in several price ranges. Let’s break them down so you know the differences:
The KRK Classic line follows a simple mission statement: Get users the accuracy and performance of the famous Rokit series at a lower price. These active two-way studio monitors feature bi-amped Class A/B amplifiers, built-in limiters and low-resonance enclosures. The Classic series is meant to have flat frequency for critical listening scenarios and offers onboard lo and high-frequency controls. If you’re looking for something that’s more plug-and-play, this is what you'll want.
The Rokit series is now on its fourth generation and the latest version of these monitors has a lot to love. In addition to Class D power amps, Kevlar drivers and built-in limiters, Rokit monitors now feature DSP-driven onboard EQ. The EQ offers 25 different settings for perfecting the relationship between your listening environment and monitors. Music makers can view these settings via an LCD screen on the back of the speakers and use the KRK Audio Tools app to finetune further.
Created explicitly for nearfield applications, the V Series made its debut in the early 2000s. KRK is now on its fourth generation of this monitor series and has included several newly upgraded features. We want to discuss the V Series in greater detail, so let’s go below…
It’s no secret that KRK’s ascension to studio dominance is due to the form and price factor of its monitors. While some are quick to judge based on the latter, the brand has proven that its products stand the test of time, especially the V Series.
For the latest generation of the V Series, KRK listened to feedback from hundreds of engineers and producers to perfect their previous designs. The resulting monitors offer new features and upgraded components that make them the best-sounding KRKs yet.
To begin, the three monitors of the V Series G4 feature a ported cast-aluminum/MDF enclosure, Class D amplifiers, and Kevlar drivers with a woven woofer and dome tweeter. Each model features 49 different DSP-driven EQ presets via separate Low Control and High Control knobs. Lastly, all three active monitors offer a balanced 10k ohm Neutrik combo jack and standard EC power.
Let’s take a look at how the three monitors stack up comparatively:
As the smallest option in the lineup, the V Series 4 best fits bedroom recording set-ups, project studios and other start-up recording spaces.
System Type: Active
Frequency Response (+/- 3dB): 58Hz - 19kHz
Frequency Range (-10dB) 50Hz - 24kHz
Crossover Frequency: 2.1kHz
LF Power: 55 watts
HF Power: 30 watts
Total Power: 85 watts
Peak SPL: 110 dB
Size: 10.08” (H) x 6.54” (W) x 8.58 (D)
Weight: 12.78 lbs.
The KRK V Series 6 is the “just right” option if you want something with low-end power but work in tight quarters and don’t want to be blown away. The monitors will also play well in bigger spaces, as they can kick out 155 watts of total power. Overall, this model is a slightly larger build than the Series 4 and features a 6.5” woofer.
System Type: Active
Frequency Response (+/- 3dB): 49Hz - 19kHz
Frequency Range (-10dB) 40Hz - 24kHz
Crossover Frequency: 1.6kHz
LF Power: 125 watts
HF Power: 30 watts
Total Power: 155 watts
Peak SPL: 115 dB
Size: 13.89” (H) x 9.09” (W) x 11.34 (D)
Weight: 20.72 lbs.
With more size comes more bass extension and the V Series 8 has this in spades. The monitor’s LF Power steps up to 200 watts, and its low-end frequency response upgrades to 35hz to 19kHz.
The V Series 8 is still an option for smaller recording and mix situations but will truly soar in an acoustically treated room. This monitor is the perfect KRK option for larger, professional studios needing near-field monitors.
System Type: Active
Frequency Response (+/- 3dB): 35Hz - 19kHz
Frequency Range (-10dB) 29Hz - 24kHz
Crossover Frequency: 1.8kHz
LF Power: 200 watts
HF Power: 30 watts
Total Power: 230 watts
Peak SPL: 118 dB
Size: 17.13” (H) x 11.18” (W) x 13.66” (D)
Weight: 31.75 lbs.
When most people think of Dolby Atmos rigs, their first thoughts are kitted-out rooms like Studio C at Blackbird. The truth is that it’s possible to build an Atmos mixing studio on a modest budget, and the KRK V Series can help with that.
Javier Valverde is the most recent example of a prominent engineer turning to KRK for help in creating an Atmos solution. The GRAMMY award-winner, who has worked with T-Pain, Brandy and more, has transformed his studio with 11 V Series monitors and one KRK subwoofer.
Javier's set-up is laid out like this; Three V8s at the front, left and center and two at the rear, an additional two V6s at the rear, four V4s in front and back on the ceiling and a S12 subwoofer below his desk.
“Everybody who comes into the studio is blown away,” Valverde continues. “Not only by the immersive audio but also by the way the monitors sound; they’re great. The mid-range is so clear, and you get good spacing and depth. That is what really stands out to me and to the artists coming into the studio. Plus, with the S12 sub in there, I get extra power on top of the V8s.”
Whether you’re just starting to build your project studio or looking for a new monitor solution for a professional facility, Vintage King can help you find the best fit for your budget and size. Our Audio Consultants can walk you through the KRK V Series, Classic, and Rockit lineups, explain the differences and give you options on what will deliver the best results.