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This article was originally published in issue #46
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The V series is priced at a point where some seriously good nearfield monitors start to appear, and I think they stand well in that class.
Powerful, punchy sound
Lots of adjustment that’s not as frightening as it seems
I sort-of wish you could get them with black cones
Not everyone who wants a set will be able to justify the cost
You can't fail to have noticed KRK's distinctive yellow cones in retailer adverts, on TV, in the home studio of that friend of yours who has lots of money... We subjected Andi Picker to the temptation of a brand new model.
Whoever designed the original KRK yellow speaker cones delivered a bit of a double edged sword to the brand; on the one hand they are instantly recognisable as KRKs when you see them in a studio or on TV, on the other hand they make the various ranges look very similar to a lot of people. The V series, now on its fourth generation release, sits comfortably above both the budget Rokit and more midrange VXT series, and below the rather more exclusive Expose E8B. I have a pair of the V6S4 models for review, so let’s take a look.
First impression; they are a bit bigger and a bit heavier than a lot of 6” class monitors – not outrageously so, but enough to notice. They are a two way design with a 6.5” woven Kevlar woofer and a 1” woven Kevlar tweeter, 1.6 kHz crossover, with a front facing bass port and a pair of class D amplifiers pushing 125 Watts to the woofer and 30 Watts to the tweeter. Unfortunately the specs I found online don’t tell me if those are average or peak Watts, but what really matters is that the speakers will produce a maximum 115 dBSPL (I assume at 1 meter) which is absolutely loads for a nearfield monitor. Frequency response is quoted as 49 to 19kHz (+/- 3dB), and frequency range as 40 Hz to 24 kHz (+/- 10dB).
The enclosures are made of MDF and aluminium, which feels like MDF cabinets with shaped aluminium baffles, and have an EVA pad (for grip and isolation) and a set of mounting threads on the base. Around the back is where it gets a bit more different; I have honestly never seen so many switching options on a speaker. To get the basics out of the way, there’s a power socket and switch, and a “Friction Lock” Neutrik combi input (which seems to mean simply that it doesn’t actually lock) socket. And then there’s
Given that the mini switches will be set and forget, and that the level attenuator will most likely be used simply to balance levels against a monitor controller and/or other monitors and then left alone – that leaves 7x7=49 different EQ options affecting four different frequencies. How on earth are we supposed to know how to set them?
The low-frequency EQs have been selected to do specific jobs; low cut rolls-off low end to help combat bass build-up close to walls, and low mid cut is designed to reduce build-up from a desk or console in front of the speakers. In general though, the answer is to not over-think it; initially set the low and high frequency controls to position 4 – flat - and start listening to music that you know well. Try different low frequency options until you get one that sounds right and seems to minimise any wall/desk issues you notice, then set the upper range control for what you like the sound of. Take a few days if you need it; occasionally compare your setting against the flat options, and you’ll eventually gravitate towards a combination that suits you.
In practice, the settings make a useful difference, but none of them seem to mess things up too badly, so set-up is really a lot less stressful than I expected. Interestingly, the options are controlled by DSP (Digital Signal Processing) and may be updatable in the future using the micro USB-B socket on the rear panel.
Sound? Yes, there’s lots of it, and I think it’s fair to say that it’s the best sound I’ve heard from a set of KRKs (sadly, I’ve never used Exposes). There are three basic characteristics that make a monitor good; it needs to have a relatively neutral response across its frequency and dispersion range, it needs to respond quickly to both rising and falling signals across its range and it needs to not distort – in other words it needs to be flat, fast and clean. Straight out of the box, with no running in, the V6s sound punchy and connected, imaging is good and reference tracks from blastbeats to fragile solo vocals all seem to make sense.
However good a speaker’s spec may be in a test chamber, it all changes the moment you put the box in a room and sit in front of it; but what you can hear is how natural sounds appear to be, and how well they translate to other environments (which is actually the ONLY thing that matters). I’ve listened to more than my fair-share of speakers in my room, and ultimately, I condense all my tick-boxes to a single one; do they sound “right” to me? They do!
The V series is priced at a point where some seriously good nearfield monitors start to appear, and I think they stand well in that class. Obviously, different people like to hear different things from their speakers and the only real way to know if a set will suit you is to do a listening test, but all the basics of a very nice set of monitors are here, and the range of adjustment on offer could make them a decent bet if you had to buy online without a chance to try them.
Just in case you’re one of those people who can’t resist the temptation to poke a pencil at that little, very yellow, tweeter, there’s a pair of optional protective grills in the box too! Oh, and after I finished playing with all the back-panel options I found an included adjusting tool shaped like a key.
Overall? KRK really should be proud of this one!