Hands-On Review:KRK V Series II Powered Monitors
Step up to the studio standard
By David Henderson
In 1986, frustrated by monitors that couldn't perform to his expectations, engineer Keith Klawitter started making his own, and KRK Systems was born. Keith's commitment to building functional, stylish, and--most of all--superbly responsive studio monitors continues today in the many models that KRK produces, from the affordable Rokit Powered line to the M2-18 in-wall monitors.
V Series II monitors are one of KRK's newest additions to their product line. Equipped with professional design elements and features, these monitors represent an opportunity for small studios to step up to a quality monitoring system without seriously depleting the company bank account.
The V Series II line of monitors includes three full-range models--the V4II, V6II, and V8II. Despite the obvious differences in power output and driver size, all of these models share a core set of features and the same efficient design.
All three feature biamplified power; the V4II has a total output of 45 watts (30W to the low-frequency driver/15W to the tweeter), the V6II has a 90W output rating (60W LF/30W HF), and the V8II boasts 180 watts (120W LF/60W HF). KRK uses audiophile-grade amp components, including a toroidal power transformer to keep hum and noise to a minimum.
The woofers in V Series II monitors are woven Kevlar and are individually designed to match each model's specs. Extremely durable yet lightweight, Kevlar won't lose its shape over time--and subsequently lose its response characteristics--something that can happen to traditional paper cones after years of use. Ferrofluid is used in the tweeters to keep them at an optimal operating temperature no matter what you're pumping through them.
KRK's design philosophy is centered around three crucial elements: spectral balance, distortion management, and resonance management. Years of research and input from engineers and producers have directly contributed to many of the design elements in V Series II monitors that deal with these three areas of sound reproduction.
Achieving a spectral balance, according to KRK's philosophy, is what truly makes a studio monitor great. This is attained when a monitor has a smooth response, both on- and off-axis and from octave to octave. One of the ways the V Series II monitors deliver this balance is through three active filter crossovers that ensure a smooth transition between the frequency range of each component.
Distortion management is handled in a number of ways. While common on many monitors, round ports, if poorly designed, can contribute greatly to audible distortion. V Series II monitors employ a slotted port to minimize the possibility of such distortion. All V Series II cabinets also feature radiused edges that cut down on diffraction--another source of distorted response. A clip indicator keeps you on top of any distortion as it occurs, while a limiter switch gives you peace of mind no matter what you're mixing.
Resonance management is the final element in the KRK philosopy. To tame cabinet resonance, the MDF enclosures are internally braced. The durable woven Kevlar that is used for the woofers eliminates driver resonance there, while the ferrofluid in the tweeters doubles as a damping agent, keeping resonance in that driver in its place.
I had received a pair of V6II monitors from KRK, set them up in my studio space, and was eager to test them out. Whenever I test out monitors, the first thing I like to do is listen to an album that to me is impeccably produced and mixed. For the V Series II monitors I chose Tool's Undertow. Though it definitely has a pronounced compression to it--particularly in the low-end--this album seamlessly blended that with the crunchy, growling midrange of Adam Jones' guitar parts and Maynard James Keenan's across-the-spectrum vocals. The V6IIs performed remarkably well--the album's punchy sound came through like a kick in the face, whether it was the thumping of the bass drum, the articulation of the guitar, or the pings of the ride cymbal in the breakdown of "Sober." I noticed nuances in the music I had never heard before, like Keenan's breaths between deliveries and certain picking techniques that Jones was using. Now I was really excited to do some mixing of my own.
My goal when mixing is to create a finished product that sounds good everywhere--in the car, through earbuds, on a boombox in the kitchen, etc. What typically ends up happening is that I'll get a mix that sounds great in one or two of these locales, but not so much on the other. Then back to the mixing board I go.
After mixing a song down on the V6IIs, I began my routine. First came the car. It sounded great. Then came the boom box. It too sounded crisp and clear. Two out of three--not bad, I thought to myself. I popped the disc into my portable player and donned my headphones, expecting something to be amiss, but to my pleasant surprise the mix maintained its integrity there as well! Just to be sure it wasn't a fluke, I mixed a couple more tracks from the same session and achieved the same results. Five years ago I invested twice what a pair of V6IIs cost in a set of monitors, and now I was realizing that a high pricetag doesn't always equal high performance.
The professional performance and features of the V Series II monitors would be at home in any studio. With three sizes to choose from, as well as V12SII 200W, 12" subwoofer, you're sure to find the right set for your situation, be it a small DAW at home or the mixing room in a classy studio. With the increasing need for 5.1 mixes, these options also make setting up a surround mixing station a breeze without going broke. No matter what type of sound you're working with, I'm convinced that V Series II monitors from KRK will be an investment you'll appreciate for a long time to come.
Features & Specs:
- Woven Kevlar woofers
- 1" ferrofluid-cooled soft-dome tweeter (V4, V6, V8)
- XLR-1/4" TRS combo inputs (V4, V6, V8)
- Magnetic shielding
- Radiused edges
- Slotted ports
- Speaker protection circuit
- Auto on/off
- 45W biamped power
- 4" woven Kevlar woofer
- 62Hz-20kHz frequency response
- 9-7/16"W x 13-5/8"H x 10"D
- 11 lbs.
- 90W biamped power
- 6" woven Kevlar woofer
- 55Hz-20kHz frequency response
- 9-3/8"W x 14"H x 10"D
- 24 lbs.
- 180W biamped power
- 8" woven Kevlar woofer
- 42Hz-20kHz frequency response
- 11"W x 16-11/16"H x 12"D
- 35 lbs.
- 12" woven Kevlar woofer
- 2 XLR inputs, 2 XLR outputs
- 29-50Hz to 150Hz variable frequency response
- 22"W x 15"H x 20"D
- 72 lbs.