I’ve long been a fan and frequent user of KRK Systems’ various powered studio monitor lines. From the overachieving VXT Series—a mid-priced, remarkably well-built and great-sounding range rivaling the performance of some respected European monitors at twice the price—to the entry-level Rokit line, KRK builds the most prevalent powered studio monitors in the world.
On the heels of the AES Convention in Los Angeles where KRK announced its new V Series (slated to replace the VXT line), I felt inspired to check out the smallest, most affordable KRK 3-piece monitoring system available today: a Rokit 4 G3 Nearfield Studio Monitor stereo pair with the 8S Studio Subwoofer, priced at $139.50 each and $349, respectively.
Compared to most other powered speakers classified as studio monitors, the magnetically shielded, front-ported two-way Rokit 4 is tiny, measuring 8.31” x 6.09” x 8.82” and weighing less than 9 lbs. each. Though total power is 30 W, when the Rokit 4 is paired with the 109 W, 26 lb., 13.3 x 11.57 x 14.25-inch 8S subwoofer, the system’s sound is full, remarkably smooth on the top end and punchy, detailed and deep on the bottom. For this review, I swapped out my normal 8-inch woofer, full-range active stereo pair with this three-piece Rokit rig and didn’t miss a beat; seemingly well powered, the 8S’s 35 Hz-133 Hz frequency response lends a buoyant performance to the setup, making it a great choice for listening to bass-heavy content, from modern educational gaming to in-house multimedia production.
As with all KRK products I’ve used, this system’s MDF-comprised cabinetry is well-designed and assembled. The Rokit 4 and S8 both offer comprehensive pro-and consumer-grade I/O—incorporating RCA, quarter-inch TRS and XLR connectivity—and logical, switchable EQ-based parameters, allowing the system to be used in a wide variety of ways and environments. Aesthetically, the Rokit 4 fits a comparably wide range of decors; it is available in traditional black, MacBook-ish silver and white.
Further, neat minor features abound between the Rokit 4 and S8, revealing KRK Systems’ understanding of the needs of its customers; for example, where other brands might leave a subwoofer’s driver exposed to potential damage, the S8 comes with a kick-proof grille, which is nice considering most S Series subwoofers will be near feet, under small desks and other non-traditional studio environments, despite their usage.
In all, the Rokit 4/S8 system is a solid desktop monitoring system suited for anything from music, A/V and multimedia production to reliable studio and institutional nearfield listening in schools, houses-of-worship, theaters and more—all together less than $650 street.