KRK Systems is a brand and Gibson subsidiary, that you might know from the guitars they develop. KRK itself specializes in developing studio monitors, subwoofers and headphones.
To a lot of beginning musicians and producers, KRK’s are the entry point to professional monitoring. Who doesn’t know that famous yellow woofer in the middle of the monitor? It’s an iconic and legendary studio monitor. Besides that, they are the world’s most sold studio monitors in comparison with other brands. I myself started with a set of KRK’s 2nd generation around 8 years ago, and they still function to this day! That really shows the level of build quality after such extensive and straining usage.
Various KRK generations
KRK isn’t slowing down anytime soon. Every so often they launch a new generation studio monitors to keep meeting the needs of musicians and work in new techniques. Our opinion is that the previous generation offered relatively little upgrades. Between the 1st and 2nd generation there was a big difference, between the 2nd and 3rd not so much, but for the 4th generation, they completely reworked the monitor.
KRK has completely redesigned the monitor for its 4th generation, applying the knowledge they gained from previous versions.
First of all, KRK states that they completely redesigned the monitor from scratch. The famous yellow woofer has been made a little less bright yellow, which makes it a little less bold and accessible in our opinion. But it did keep the iconic woofer that everyone is familiar with.
When it comes to the technical aspects, they’ve developed an app for iOS and Android devices. This covers some very important topics like:
To gain real-time insight into the frequency spectrum
To calibrate your monitor level
A very useful function to gain insight into which EQ-settings you can apply to your speaker, more about that later
To perfectly position your monitor
Measure positioning even more and gain insight into placement
To check whether your monitors are correctly plugged in
Besides that, a signal generator that generates sine waves, white noise and pink noise, to receive commands and correctly use the tool
Display on the monitors
Much like how other studio monitors allow you to adjust certain settings on the back of the monitor, KRK has added a display that can be interacted with via a control knob by rotating and clicking. The app provides recommended EQ-settings and you can enter these settings into the studio monitor itself. There are 25 settings available.
This seems very useful to us, since every room is different, and your studio monitors should be adjusted accordingly.
Build quality and hardware
The build quality has improved significantly. Every model (5inch, 7 inches, 8inch, and 10inch) comes with a Kevlar speaker driver. The speakers are very sturdy and resilient.
The built-in custom Class D amp has been improved to work evenly and more efficient, even at different temperatures. The 5, 7 and 8-inch models work with a bi-amp and the 10 inches with a tri-amp.
In the past, there has been a lot of criticism concerning KRK studio monitors, the argument being that it featured too much layer. We find this no longer to be the case with this version, to KRK this was never a problem, but they fine-tuned the speaker’s sound spectrum to make it even more neutral.
They also offer a lot of tools and techniques for tweaking the sound in your room to perfection, which makes the 4th generation perfect for mixing and mastering music!
We haven’t been huge fans of KRK since the release of other studio monitors, like those of Kali Audio and Adam, who both released interesting models in the ‘cheaper’ category. There is a lot of competition that tries to reach the musician. We think that the changes KRK has implemented in their new generation allow them to compete again against the other brands.
The 4th generation has a number of unique functions which make them very interesting. By applying new techniques and optimizing the sound even further, the KRK’s are a good pick for beginners, but also for the more experienced musicians and producers!