KRK Rokit 5 G3 Stu­dio Mon­i­tors

ALEX WIL­SON IN­VES­TI­GATES THE LAT­EST IT­ER­A­TION OF TH­ESE COM­MON, LOW-BUD­GET STU­DIO MON­I­TORS TO SEE IF THEY DE­LIVER THE GOODS.

Australian Guitar - - Contents -

If you’ve spent any amount of time in small project stu­dios, you’ve likely come across a pair of KRK Rok­its. Their as­tound­ingly low price has made them main­stays for up­com­ing pro­duc­ers, and the bright yel­low brand­ing means they stick out like a sore thumb (but, like, in a to­tally good way).

Since their ini­tial re­lease 25 years ago, the KRK Rok­its been one of the high­est sell­ing and most con­sis­tently pop­u­lar sets of speak­ers out there. Not only will you find the mon­i­tors in stu­dio en­vi­ron­ments, but they are find­ing their way more and more into the DJ booth as well. This is largely due to their fa­mously pro­nounced low fre­quency re­sponse, which makes them a go-to op­tion for those who want to mix con­tem­po­rary styles that need the sub to be h yped.

The Rokit 5 G3 pair is the lat­est set of speak ers in this prod­uct line and size. And de­spite hav­ing a com­mer­cial win­ner on their hands, KRK seem keen on con­tin­u­ally op­ti­mis­ing and re­fin­ing this de­sign, as they’ve done here.

For five-inch near-field mon­i­tors, they sound quite good. While cer­tainly not pro­vid­ing the world’s most ac­cu­rate lis­ten­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, they’re ca­pa­ble of help­ing you pull a great mix – of course, that is pro­vided you know what you’re lis­ten­ing out for.

BASS FOUN­DA­TIONS

The Rokit 5 G3s pro­vide a rel­a­tively flat re­sponse in the midrange and tre­ble fre­quen­cies. I feel as though there’s some de­gree of top-end at­ten­u­a­tion hap­pen­ing here, but it’s noth­ing too bad. They just sound a lit­tle darker than other speak­ers, while still pro­vid­ing enough clar­ity in the ever-im­por­tant high mids to rep­re­sent a mix the way it de­serves to be.

The char­ac­ter­is­tic Rokit sound comes from the speak­ers’ ex­ag­ger­ated lower fre­quen­cies. This is a bit of a dou­ble-edged sw ord. It cer­tainly makes them ex­cit­ing to lis­ten to – the hef ty lows in the mix in­crease the per­ceived loud­ness of the sound, and also makes mix­ing and pro­duc­ing an en­joy­able ex­pe­ri­ence. Those big lows mean that your mix is go­ing to sound fat and punchy with­out too much trou­ble.

There’s def­i­nitely a wel­come grat­i­fi­ca­tion fac­tor here – even af­ter long hours holed up in the mix­ing booth, th­ese mon­i­tors are still go­ing to pump out your song in a way that makes it sound good and stay fresh. How­ever, this is also where the po­ten­tial prob­lems start. There’s no get­ting around the fact that th­ese hyped sub fre­quen­cies lead to a some­what in­ac­cu­rate rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the sound you’re play­ing through the Rok­its, and your mileage with th­ese speak­ers will de­pend on how you ap­proach this fact.

Cer­tainly, mix­ing to ref­er­ence tracks with great bass re­sponse or check­ing your mix on dif­fer­ent speak­ers will go some way to man­ag­ing and mit­i­gat­ing this as­pect of the Rok­its. At the very least, the user will need to en­sure that their crit­i­cal lis­ten­ing skills are in play to get the most value out of the Rok­its’ low price.

In a re­cent is­sue, we re­viewed a pair of KRK’s V4 mon­i­tors, which came as the com­pany’s at­tempt to make a cheap set of mon­i­tors with a more ac­cu­rate re­sponse. Com­par­ing the Rok­its with the V4s in a brick and mor tar store would be a good way to de­cide which one is more worth your pur­chase.

ROKIT SCI­ENCE

In terms of the specs mak­ing this sound, each pair has a high qual­ity one-inch soft-dome tweeter that can re­pro­duce sound up to 35

kilo­hertz, pass­ing well be­yond the av­er­age hu­man’s up­per hear­ing limit; if you like your mu­sic loud, this will surely be a lu­cra­tive fea­ture. The larger woofer is made of a glass-Aramid com­pos­ite de­signed to pro­vide a clear re­sponse in both the mids and lows.

The over­all size of the speaker is 246-by-188-by-284 mil­lime­tres, and it weighs in at a very light 5.9 kilo­grams. When switched on, the KRK logo on the front lights up in white and yel­low, which we must ad­mit looks pretty damn cool – as does the stylish curved port sit­ting be­tween the woofer and the base.

In fact, a few clever de­sign choices re­gard­ing the ports mean the Rok­its are op­ti­mised for smaller stu­dio spa­ces. The speaker’s front-fac­ing ports re­duce noise from dif­frac­tion, air tur­bu­lence, and bass is­sues caused by close place­ment to walls. A fac­tory-in­stalled foam pad helps min­imise vi­bra­tion, and the en­clo­sure it­self is de­signed to re­duce res­o­nances caused by sim­i­lar vi­bra­tions.

In terms of con­trols, vol­ume can be tailored be­tween -30 deci­bels and +6 deci­bels. Low and high fre­quen­cies can be boost or cut in­de­pen­dently, at set­tings of -2 deci­bels, -1 deci­bel, 0 deci­bels and +2 deci­bels. There’s ca­pac­ity for con­nec­tions via bal­anced XLR, bal­anced ¼” TRS and un­bal­anced RCA. Power comes from a stan­dard IEC ket­tle ca­ble.

All in all, its specs fea­ture noth­ing that rein­vents the wheel, but a lot of w el­come flex­i­bil­ity nonethe­less.

THE BOT­TOM LINE

When all is said and done, the KRK Rokit mon­i­tors are some of the most pop­u­lar in their class for a rea­son: they pro­vide a tremen­dous amount of value for a tremen­dously small amount of money.

The com­bi­na­tion of an in­cred­i­bly low price point with the gen­er­ally good fre­quency re­sponse makes the Rok­its ideal for some­one just start­ing out in the world of near-field stu­dio mon­i­tors, ei­ther as a pro­ducer or lis­tener. In fact, any­one in this po­si­tion would be re­miss not to at least check them out in per­son.

While their par­tic­u­lar fre­quency re­sponse won’t be suited to all tastes, the over­all qual­ity of this prod­uct means it re­mains a se­ri­ous con­tender.

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