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Real-World Review: KRK Audio Tools App

By Rob Tavaglione. Producer/engineer Rob Tavaglione tries out KRK’s new smartphone app for setting up any studio monitors, including the company’s new G4 ROKITs.

It’s only natural that a monitor manufacturer would develop an app that helps users set up and use its monitors. The KRK Audio Tools app does that and more.

A Spectrum Analyzer uses FFT to generate a frequency analysis versus amplitude plot. An optional Peak Hold function indicates the highest values of a curve; you can tap a given frequency and see its value as well as current amplitude level. You can continue tapping or drag the cursor to easily find other frequency values and then swipe it off screen to remove it.

Real-World Review: KRK ROKIT8 G4 Monitors

A Level meter ranges from -72 dB to 0 dB, with green values indicating RMS level and yellow representing peak. A numerical peak level indicator at the bottom of the meter is reset with a tap, as is red over indicator.

The Monitor Align function wins the “elegance through simplicity” award. On screen, there’s nothing more than two speaker icons facing a human head. With each of your monitors facing straight ahead, you are directed to place your phone on each (in turn) and rotate the monitor inward until you achieve the ideal value of exactly 30 degrees. As long as your monitors are in an equidistant triangle with your head, with tweeters at ear level (and 5 feet apart), you’ve now got perfect placement.

The EQ Recommendation function works only with G4 ROKIT monitors. It’s quite straightforward. A pink noise generator and a meter indicate when you’ve got sufficient level; then you hit play to start a 20-second analysis. You’re supposed to move your phone in an X-pattern right around the sweet spot for the best averaging, and then the app gives you a recommended EQ setting for both high and low frequencies. This function works well enough that it will be an indispensable tool for those first learning to balance their rooms.

Delay allows you to generate a brief test tone, first measured right in front of the woofer as “time zero” reference, and then measured at the listening position for each monitor individually.

Polarity (you’ve guessed it) indicates positive or negative polarity as you test each speaker individually (of course). What’s interesting is that you need to hold your phone close to the woofer, not the tweeter; in certain speaker models, the tweeters have reverse polarity.

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Finally, the RTA and the Level Meter provide a sound generator in order to do their thing. A sine wave is available anywhere from 20 to 20 kHz; a continuous sine wave sweep is offered with selectable frequency start/stop points (over anywhere from 0.5 to 20 seconds in duration) with both pink and white noise selectable. Output level for each test signal and routing to left, right or both channels are also selectable.

All in all, the Audio Tools app has some features that are useful to have at all times. Considering that it’s free, this app is a must-have.

KRK Systems • www.krksys.com

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