Hands-On Review:KRK Rokit Powered Monitors
Entry-level price, pro performance
By Stan Aronson
In the not-too-distant past, producing a decent-quality demo required a few hundred bucks, some quick takes in the studio, and a short mixing session. The final product wasn't always the most stellar-sounding recording, but hey, it's a demo, and that's what was expected. In a matter of a few years, this has all changed dramatically. With a little more cash than that four-song demo cost back in 1997, musicians can invest in a project studio that will produce high-quality multitrack recordings, complete with mixing and mastering software.
One thing that often gets overlooked when someone invests in a home studio, however, is the monitoring system. Those who are less experienced with the recording process often see monitors as a luxury item, and not realizing their importance, settle for using headphones or other speakers that are inappropriate for mixing. KRK has introduced the Rokit Powered Series of monitors at an entry-level price point, and Musician's Friend asked me to see how they stack up.
Attention to detail
Rokit Powered monitors come in four sizes: the RP-5, RP-6, and RP-8 full-range models, and the RP-10S subwoofer. All of them boast the same design elements with the RP-5, RP-6, and RP-8 monitors all employing a 1" silk-dome tweeter in addition to a visually striking yellow aramid composite woofer. Not only do they look good, these woofers are constructed to provide tight low-end response.
All Rokit Powered monitors feature XLR, 1/4", and RCA inputs. With three sets of inputs, these monitors are ready for just about any signal you can throw at them. The cabinets look sharp and are designed to maximize the efficiency and sound of the speakers. Slotted bottom ports avoid the sonic pitfalls of the traditional round ports found on less-expensive monitors, while radiused corners provide clearer separation and better fidelity in your mixes. All of these features are indicative of KRK's commitment to making these speakers practical and professional, as well as affordable.
All of the Rokit Powered monitors (except the RP-10S) are biamplified, meaning that separate amps power the woofer and tweeter in each cabinet. Typically found only in more expensive monitors, biamplification ensures a clean, balanced output from each component. Additionally, an electronic crossover ensures that the correct frequencies go to the correct speaker. This results in crisper highs and mids, and a solid, punchy bottom end instead of a muddy one. As you mix, these features enable you to pick out subtle overtones (that you'll probably miss with headphones or computer speakers) and make adjustments accordingly. The result is a better final mix, regardless of the musical content.
Test in progress
Musician's Friend sent me a pair of RP-8's and the RP-10S subwoofer so I could get a hands-on feel for the Rokit Powered monitors. After taking in the air of professionalism my project studio gained from their presence, I was ready to hear what they were capable of.
I positioned the RP-8s so there was a nice sweet spot in front of my work area, then loaded up a recording of an acoustic trio that I did recently but haven't had a chance to mix properly. I was immediately impressed by how clean and flat the response of the RP-8s was. The song I was mixing featured an acoustic guitar, an acoustic bass, and some light percussion. The guitar sounded pristine with the lower registers reproducing naturally through the 8" woofers, and the overtones coming from the tweeters. The bass response of the woofer became even more pronounced once the bass line kicked in. The yellow cone resonated with the warm, natural sound of the acoustic bass as shimmering chimes rang out from the tweeters.
After getting a feel for what the RP-8S could do on their own, I incorporated the RP-10S subwoofer for some bass-heavy mixing. I'd been working on a soundtrack for a video game that my friend's company is developing, knowing that it not only had a thumpin' backbeat but some unique sound effects as well. The additional low-end response of the RP-10s helped me to dial in the perfect blend of frequencies to avoid distortion and the boomy sound that occurs when too much bass ends up in the middle range of the mix.
All in all, I was quite pleased with the way the Rokit Powered monitors look and perform. With their friendly price tag and different size options, they would make for an ideal 5.1 setup for doing surround mixes too. Professional design elements enhance the way these monitors look, as well as their sonic response. Stop doing your music a disservice by mixing improperly and make an investment in your studio that will truly make a difference.
Features & Specs:
- Glass aramid composite woofers
- 1" neodymium tweeter (RP-5, RP-6, RP-8)
- XLR, RCA, 1/4" TRS inputs
- Magnetic shielding
- Radiused corners
- 75W biamped power
- 5" woofer
- 53Hz-20kHz frequency response
- 7-1/4"W x 10-7/8"H x 8-7/8"D
- 16 lbs.
- 100W biamped power
- 6" woofer
- 49Hz-20kHz frequency response
- 8-7/8"W x 12-1/16"H x 10-1/2"D
- 23 lbs.
- 140W biamped power
- 8" woofer
- 45Hz-20kHz frequency response
- 10-7/16"W x 15"H x 12"D
- 30 lbs.
- 225W peak power
- 10" woofer
- 36Hz-150Hz frequency response
- Removable grille
- 14"W x 15"H x 15-11/16"D
- 42 lbs.