KRK’s studio monitors are ubiquitous in dance music circles, but can the new updated V Series still be held in high regard?
VERDICT KRK’s V series has, for over a decade, been one of the most popular and affordable sets of monitors. Coming?in three flavours — V4, V6 and V8 (woofer size) — these two-way active monitors have successfully targeted a niche occupied by serious hobbyists/underground pros after a great balance of power, frequency range, accuracy and affordability. Two previous revisions have brought gradual improvements in quality but, personally, we were always unconvinced.
The mid-range in particular always felt a little too in-yer-face. Indeed, they were regularly placed in the ‘American’ Genelec/NS10 school, rather than the smoother PMC/ATC camp. So, a worthy purchase, but ultimately we never felt comfortable using them for six or seven hours a day, and we were not alone in that department. All that, though, is about to change, with the release of the V-series version 4.
Let’s get the dull specs out of the way first. All models are bi-amped with D-Class amplifiers, independently driving a custom KRK-designed one-inch Kevlar dome tweeter (found on all models) and another custom KRK-designed woven Kevlar woofer that comes in three sizes — given away by the names of the three models available (V4, V6, and V8), which donates the size of the main driver. Power is supplied via standard kettle leads and audio is fed in via combined XLR/1/4” jack sockets. Each model is well built from a combination of MDF/aluminium materials, with all sharing a rather sexy and streamlined new curved-edge front panel.
Before we go on we have to admit that we haven’t tried the V4 or V6 variants, but previous V-series were renowned for offering very consistent performance across the range and we see no reason why this shouldn’t be the case here.
So how about that performance? In one word: exceptional. Gone is the slightly brash sound?of previous models for one of the smoothest and most accurate audio reproductions DJ Mag Tech has heard. Listening to our favourite mix references, taken from many genres and played at a wide range of monitoring levels, at no stage do we notice any discernible frequency drop- outs or pop-outs. Additionally, they offer an astounding level of surgical precision and detail we simply have not heard at this price range before, extending right down to the very lowest frequencies.
Put simply, there’s nothing going on with the?V8s that we could not hear on a pair of PMC IB1S mastering monitors (cost: £6,500) sitting next to them. Embarrassingly so, in fact, as we suddenly realise that the project we had been working on for three days had some horrible clashes in the 40-100Hz range that had been simply invisible on a pair of Mackie HR824s which were used at the writing stage.?And when writing on them, all this clarity means that you subconsciously fix (or avoid) mix problems as you go. Don’t be surprised to find that you’ve done some of the best mixes of your life before you even get to the mixing stage. The stereo field is excellent too, but then the V series have always been good in this respect.
Another huge plus with these monitors is that, unlike their predecessors (indeed unlike any new mid-size monitors reviewed in these pages), there is no perceived adjustment period. For the first couple of days it’s important to regularly flick between your mix and a pro reference, just to remind yourself how transparent and detailed they are — but, if anything, that’s satisfying rather than inconvenient. In fact, the only workflow tweak we make is when we realise we could monitor at a significantly lower level than usual and still hear everything clearly. KRK 1, Tinnitus 0.
While we’re on the subject of adjustments, we must mention another of the key new features:?no less than 49 different EQ set-ups, with two controls for low and mid/high — designed for different types of installation. This is welcome?of course, though perhaps ever so slightly OTT, especially considering the defaults we use are bloody excellent in both environments we try them in: free standing in a sound-treated mixing studio, and perched above a desk in the corners of an untreated writing studio.
Finally, a nice addition is optional front panel metal grills — great for protecting the drivers. In conclusion, we don’t really have a bad word to say about these speakers. If we were to split hairs,?we might complain that there are no front panel power switches, but that’s hardly a deal-breaker. It’s no exaggeration to say that the V8s are among the best monitors we’ve tried in this price range, and some of the nicest of this size at any price!?No matter what genre of music you make, they are capable of producing great mixes and even club- ready masters. If you are considering upgrading, you would be very foolish not to consider a pair from the V series 4 range.