(click thumbnail)With only a quick glance, anyone familiar with the KRK brand will immediately recognize the signature yellow cone and charcoal grey housing of its entry-level Rokit monitor line. Add power, a sleeker enclosure, extra connections and a cool glowing logo on the front and you have only a hint of what is now the Rokit Generation 2, or G2, Series.
The second generation of the Rokit bi-amped powered series is available as three different models. The papa bear of the line is the 20W HF/70W LF 8”-inch woofer model, which weighs 25.8 lbs. Its frequency response is 44 Hz to 20 kHz, +/- 1.5 dB, with a built-in active crossover set at 2.4 kHz. The next in line is the 19.3 lb 6-inch” woofer model with a power rating of 18W HF/50W LF. Its frequency response is 48 Hz to 20 kHz, +/- 1.5 dB; crossover point is 2.6 kHz. G2’s baby bear, and what I reviewed here, is equipped with a 5”-inch LF driver, weighs a modest 13.4 lbs, and provides a power rating of 15W HF/30W LF with a crossover point of 2.0 kHz. The frequency range on the 5-inch” model is 52 Hz to 20 kHz +/- 2 dB. Each model of the Rokit G2 series has the same recessed one-inch soft -dome tweeter.
Most importantly, the Rokit G2 Series’ upgraded design includes a redesigned cabinet. According to KRK, by curving the baffle and corners of the cabinet, the diffusion associated with boxy cornered cabinets is drastically minimized, which results in a wider sweet spot. I realized this when I found myself doing the typical ‘duck neck’ movement — sitting still, but moving my head all around trying to lock in on the pinpointed sweet spot. With the speakers approximately 3’ apart, the sweet spot covered a wide area and changed proportionately as I moved the speakers closer to each other.
The back of the cabinet offers three types of audio connections: XLR, TRS and even an unbalanced RCA jack. This covers the gamut of typical setups and eliminates the need to carry around a RCA to TRS adaptor associated with many lower cost sound cards. A notched volume control is included, providing input ranging from +6 to -30 dB. The notches are great, as they remove guesswork when trying to get the levels exact on both monitors. Also available is an adjustable-gain HF Level adjustment, a shelf starting at 2 kHz. This available shelf gain can be adjusted in -2 dB, -1 dB 0 and +3 dB increments — helpful when making adjustments to compensate for the placement and listening environment constraints. I played with the shelf settings whenever I listened in an unfamiliar room, but I always ended up leaving it on 0, simply because I was still familiarizing my ears with the monitors; during the early stages, less change means less chance for misinterpretation … or so I like to think. Finally, each Rokit G2 receives power via a standard fuse -protected IEC power connector.
Studio, project/home studio, location/mobile recording, audio for broadcast and audio post production.
Two-way; Rokit G2 models with glass aramid 5”, 6” and 8” composite cone woofers; 1” neodymium soft dome tweeter; bi-amplified with active crossover; input gain control; radiused cabinet edges and curved front baffles; molded front-facing bass port.
$149, $199, $249 each (5”, 6”, 8” models, respectively)
KRK Systems | 818-534-1500 | www.krksys.comI toted the Rokit G2 5-inch pair around with me to different listening environments to really get an accurate representation of what these offered. This included a very large, acoustically correct control room (meaning it wasn’t converted office space or a den) and, yes, a converted office space (where proper acoustics are on a long to-do list). In the larger facility I had the KRKs on their sides about 45 inches apart. This was a unique setup; I used the KRKs as near field monitors while the two-mix was also being fed to a set of larger monitors for an acoustic showcase in the other room. I was limited on how hard I could push the mix due to the possibility of feedback in the other room, so I quickly took a liking to the +6 dB of gain available on the KRKs. Although the power capability of the 8-inch model would have been a better fit for this large of a room, the 5-inch hung in there and, after listening back to the live mixes, had proven itself as a reliable monitoring source.
Probably the best fit in my trial run with the Rokit was in smaller rooms with the speakers located on each side of a dual monitor DAW, about 40 inches apart, sitting vertically on the 1/4 inch foam pad adhered to the bottom of the cabinet. Video shielding is part of the G2 design, so there was never a concern of any interference from the monitors. The setup was within 4 inches of the back wall and, in one instance, within a foot of corners on both sides. Granted — this is not the ideal setup but sometimes we just have to work within the confines we are dealt.
I compared the KRKs with my current speakers of choice for smaller DAW-type work, the M-Audio Studiophile BX5a and a passive pair of KRK ST6s powered by a SAE TWO amplifier. I have an acquired taste for the ST6, but the Rokit 5 far outshined them in smoothness, imaging and accuracy across the spectrum. The BX5a is a comparable speaker to the Rokit 5, both in price and size; the immediate noticeable difference between the two was in low end, as the BX5a are rear ported. Because of this, I have a built-in notch filter programmed somewhere in my mind to cut out the apparent low-mid build up. The KRK’s front port design remedies this as all low frequency information comes right at me from a slot at the bottom of the speaker. Here, I heard what the low end was doing and was pleasantly surprised at the punchiness that came from the small package. My usual sub was disconnected during this instance and remained off — the translation of the audio was very accurate from top to bottom. I played these for hours on end and was not fatigued when monitoring from the KRKs. When it was time to crank up the mix, the G2’s sound was consistent with the sound when at lower levels.
The other difference in the BX5a and the G2 was in the sonic characteristics between the speakers. The KRK G2 was relatively flat across the spectrum and high-end hype, sometimes associated with former KRK models, was not there. The G2 was very pleasant to listen to, highlighting the shortcomings of the BX5As upper mid-range boost.
The Rokit 5 G2 would be a solid fit for an application where acoustic environment is an issue, surround mixes are taking place, or the on-the-go engineer needs a monitor able to quickly adapt to acoustic spaces and connectivity. Whether against a wall or in open space, I found these to provide a consistent and accurate reference point without wearing out their welcome on my ears. The new cabinet design adds sleekness to the look but, more importantly, lends to an accurate monitor that takes little time to adjust the ears. I can only imagine the same is true for the rest of the Rokit family. Throw in the $300 street price for a 5” inch pair ($400 for the 6 inch pair, and $500 for the 8 inch pair) and the Rokit G2 Series becomes a serious player in the ‘lower cost quality reference monitor’ market.