KRK’s new V-Series of monitors is simply designed for audio production accuracy. Jon Andrews finds that a simple ethos can pay dividends…
Kit V-Series 4
Manufacturer KRK – Price S4, £399 each; S6 £529; S8, £699
Contact Focusrite on +44 1494 462246
Web – www.krksys.com
There are so many studio monitors on the market these days that each company seemingly feels the need to give new models a distinct USP to make them stand out. ‘We’re the loudest!’; ‘we’re the cheapest!’; ‘we’re the most expensive!’; ‘we’re the whitest’; ‘we’re the blackest…’ and so on and so forth.
The refreshing thing about KRK’s new V-Series 4 is that the company simply claims them to be ‘specifically designed for audio production applications where accurate reproduction is critical.’ It’s what we all want – or should want – in a monitor: no gimmicks and no silly claims… apart from maybe them being the most yellow monitors around.
KRK has a great reputation in monitoring, of course, but it’s not always been for being the most accurate. Instead the company’s speakers, the Rokit in particular, have won fans around the world thanks to their ‘vibey’ sound which is deep and punchy and arguably suited to rock and hip hop.
Of course the argument is that a flat response is better than vibe – you want to hear everything naturally – but a good vibe allows for more enthusiastic mixing sessions whereas accuracy can wear over long periods.
I’d always opt for accuracy, it has to be said, so one ideal solution is to use vibey monitors for your main mixing session and accurate ones for the fine, end detail. Whatever your thoughts, the V-Series 4 is addressing the accuracy option, so let’s see how they stack up.
The Best Things Come in Threes
As is now the norm, there are three monitors in the V-Series 4 with identical 1” kevlar tweeters but differing woofer sizes, starting at 4” for the V4 S4. These are £399 per speaker and the V6 S4 (and its 6.5” woofer) comes in at £529 per unit.
Finally the V8 S4 (with, you guessed it, an 8” woofer) is £699 a speaker. For this test I’m looking at the top and bottom of the range, although if things pan out like my test of the Lyd series from Dynaudio, I’ll end up doing the mid range 6.5 in the future as the middle speakers in a range often suits both my budget and studio.
As well as sharing the tweeter, the speakers also each feature the same inputs and a quite mind boggling – at first anyway – array of controls. You can adjust everything from dB levels to how the KRK logo glows on the front of each speaker (nice).
There’s also a useful Standby Mode that can kick in after 30 minutes of no signal.
Around the back, you get the jack in (no XLR) plus all those 49 set-up options including dB level, System modes and low and high EQ
The areas with which you should spend time with are the Low and High Control settings which let you choose one of seven options each to match the EQ to your room. Whether this is just a matter of simply making your trusted mixes or your most well listened to tunes sound flat or as they should, do spend time here as this will obviously affect your results.
Starting with the smallest V4 S4 and it’s a very compact monitor with a rugged build, useful rubber mat base and all of those options. You would expect this to deliver least in the bass regions and you would be right. However what is a surprise is just how much it punches through elsewhere. The detail at its shimmering highs is strong and the mid range as flat as you like.
Perhaps if you are used to the KRK vibe you might be disappointed but I can see these little fellas being used in small studios and desktop or project set-ups. With some careful adjustments of all of those EQ options you can even get them to punch a little better but I would caution using them in larger studios –as you would expect given their price and size.
So to the larger V8 S4 and, boy are they larger. The picture probably doesn‘t do justice as to how big these are compared to the S4s but I did feel a little like Gulliver (he of the ‘Travels’ fame) swapping one to the other. The V8s are, like the engine size of the same name, built for power. You’ll need a larger set-up to get the best from them – and in my case bigger speaker stands. – but if you have a medium to large sized set-up they won’t disappoint.
Again if you want that KRK vibe you may have to go for the company’s Rokits as these are not that type of yellow beast, despite appearances to the contrary. Even with the size, you simply do not get that trouser-flapping bass that you might expect given the name and the colour, but in my book this is a good thing.
The unquestionable results that you do get are accuracy and a stereo picture that you might otherwise have to spend a lot more to achieve. There’s a separation here across both upper and lower ranges that explodes your mix into the parts that you want to hear, enabling the precision engineering you lust after when mixing – honing in by frequency or timbre to make adjustments in EQ and level is therefore that much easier.
The bass end in particular is pleasingly unflabby and fast. I was particularly drawn into a mix I am working on with conflicting bass parts and was able to discern the overlapping frequencies and quickly go in and slice them apart like some audio surgeon – oh how I make my life sound that much more interesting…
The ambience of the speakers is another plus point, again stemming from the beautiful separation and allowing effects to shine through.
Perhaps the only slight negative – and it is very slight – is the mid range response. Given the nature of the design you would almost expect this so you might need to go steady with both high and low gain to ease the mids through when mixing.
As we state in the main text the £1000+ speaker market is probably the most crowded. We looked at the MunroSonic Egg100 system over a year ago and the Pioneer RM series – especially the RM-07 – is also very impressive. More recently I looked at the Gear Of 2016 winners, the Dynaudio Lyd series, of which the 6 and 8s are superb buys.
If this comes across that the V-Series 4 lacks the vibe – and therefore the attraction – of previous KRKs then, fear not, it more than makes up for that in terms of accuracy. However, I can’t help thinking that all your bass will be covered by pairing these up (the S4s in particular) with KRK’s own subwoofers that Alex Holmes reviewed a few months back
But the S8s on their own do have you covered on that score and are a great set of monitors to stir up the £1000+ end of the monitor market. It’s a crowded one but these stand out for the best of reasons – accuracy – as all great monitors should
V-Series 4 – Key Features
● 2-way active studio monitors
● Enclosure type: MDF/Aluminium
● Tweeter: 1-inch kevlar dome ferrite
● Connections: XLR and RCA analogue
● EQ settings:
49 user selectable
● Woofer: 4” cast aluminum frame, Kevlar cone, ferrite magnet
● Max SPL: 110 dBSPL
● Freq range: 50Hz – 24kHz
● Output power LF 55W, HF 30 W
● Dimensions: 256x166x218mm
● Weight(kg): 5.8
● Woofer: 6.5”
● Max SPL: 115dB
● Freq range: 45Hz – 22kHz
● Output power LF: 125w, HF 30W
● Dimensions: 353 x231 x 288mm
● Weight (kg): 9.4
● Woofer: 8”
● Max SPL: 118dB
● Freq range: 29Hz – 24kHz
● Output power LF: 200w, HF 30W
● Dimensions: 435 x284 x 347mm
● Weight (kg): 14.4