This tiny powered monitor is ideal for small studio environments like DAWs and remote trucks, as well as surround-sound setups. A two-way active loudspeaker, the V4 is a new, smaller version of the KRK V Series that includes the KRK V8 and KRK V6.
Features: 4-inch Kevlar woofer; 1-inch fabric dome tweeter; 30W LF amp; 15W HF amp; magnetic shielding
Contact: KRK Systems at 714-373-4600, Web Site.
+ Smooth and uncolored
+ Tight, full bass
+ Sharp imaging
+ Solid construction
+ Low distortion and listening fatigue
– Lacks deep bass (normal for small speakers)
– Slightly tubby near surfaces (but this is easy to get used to)
The V4 ($400 each) looks classy and exemplifies first-rate workmanship. The dense, solid MDF cabinet includes a 1-inch thick front baffle with a port for the woofer. Cabinet dimensions are very small: only 9.25 inches x 6 inches x 7.75 inches (HWD). Internally braced to reduce resonance, the cabinet is finished in dark gray Zolatone, and is smoothly rounded on all edges to reduce diffraction and port flutter.
As for drivers, the V4 uses a custom 4-inch woofer made of woven Kevlar, which is lightweight and rigid. The woofer crosses over at 1.7 kHz to a 1-inch fabric dome tweeter. The tweeter is recessed in a waveguide. Both drivers are magnetically shielded for use near computer monitors. A 12 dB/octave subsonic filter prevents extreme lows below 32 Hz from reaching the drivers.
On the back is a power switch, an AC connector, a fuse block/voltage selector, and a Neutrik combo connector that accepts an XLR, 1/4-inch TRS and 1/4-inch TS phone connector. Also on the back is a gain control (+6 dB to -30 dB), which can be screwdriver-adjusted to match levels in a surround setup. There are no tone controls. A yellow LED on the front lights when the power is on.
KRK specs the frequency response as 65 Hz to 20 kHz ± 2 dB. Claimed maximum SPL at 1 meter is 101 dB music, 104 dB peak. The woofer’s power amp provides 30 watts average while the tweeter amp puts out 15 watts. Amplifier S/N is claimed to be greater than 90 dB, and the amp uses no compression. Each V4 weighs under 11 pounds.
When used with the KRK S8 subwoofer, the V4 provides a low-cost surround monitoring system.
The V4 owner’s manual is clear and to the point. It covers connections, installation, placement for stereo and surround, features, specs, and troubleshooting.
I placed the V4s on stands behind my console, a foot from the rear of the speaker to an absorbent wall behind them. Here are my impressions of the V4 reproducing some musical instruments:
Drums: Powerful dynamics and natural sound.
Kick drum: Tight. Surprisingly deep for such a small speaker.
Cymbals and percussion: Delicate and smooth with extended highs. Not peaky or exaggerated.
Piano: Mostly uncolored. Slightly warm, not metallic or harsh.
Electric guitar: Slightly puffy in the lower mids. Good “bite” or edge.
Electric bass: Fairly deep and tight. Slightly tubby in the upper bass but well defined. Full. Well balanced with the rest of the audio range. Deep notes are weak but are handled gracefully. A sub could help with the deep bass.
Acoustic bass: Full but not overwhelming. Tight and well controlled.
Acoustic guitar: Gentle. Detailed but not “etched” in the highs.
Sax: Pleasantly warm and mellow.
Strings, brass and woodwinds: Natural timbres.
Flute: Natural, with a realistic amount of breathiness.
Voice: “Human” sounding. Not too much sibilance. Slightly chesty with some singers.
My own mixes: Originally done using NHT Pro A-20s, my mixes sound slightly tubbier and softer in the highs on the KRK V4s. The difference is subtle.
I did some mixes on the KRK V4s. The mixes translated well to other speakers. I quickly got used to the sound of the KRK V4s and enjoyed working with them.
Overall, the V4 monitors sound musical, pleasant and listenable. They have very low distortion and low listening fatigue. Imaging is sharp and the sense of depth is impressive. Instruments stay separated in loud, complex mixes.
The KRK V4 is a serious contender where space is at a premium. In spite of its small size, it puts out a loud, clean sound with impressively full bass. A subtle emphasis in the upper bass is the speaker’s only coloration, and this occurs only when the speaker is near large surfaces. Although the deep bass notes lack weight – normal for small speakers – they can be enhanced with a sub such as the KRK S8.
Since the V4 is self-contained, easy to set up, and compact, a group of V4s and a sub could make a great surround system.