Review: KRK Rokit 6 G3 Powered Monitors
Full KRK Rokit 6 G3 powered monitors review: The rounded looks, distinctive yellow cones, keen pricing and good reputation of KRK's Rokit range of speakers have made them one of, if not the, most popular choice for DJs looking for monitor speakers for their home studios.The new KRK RP6 G3 (the "G3" stands for "3rd generation", and the "RP" for "Rokit powered", hence colloquially "Rokit 6") are aiming to continue this tradition.
We've had a pair in the studio here for a couple of weeks, and we swapped them out for our long-term test model, a pair of Reloop Wave 5s, in order to reacquaint ourselves with KRK and to get to know this new addition properly before writing our review. Read on for our thoughts...
Why powered studio monitors?
For those of you unfamiliar with the powered studio monitor concept, let me explain: Unlike traditional speakers that need an amplifier, these have an amplifier built in. Moreover, each speaker has its own independent amplification; each speaker is therefore independent, and indeed they're often sold individually, so you'd usually simply buy two to make your stereo pair.
That means they have their own power supply, their own volume controls and so on. You turn them off an on independently, and if you want to keep things balanced, any adjustments you make on one need to be made on the other - that's the nature of such monitors. All of this is done, of course, in the name of sound quality, something producers tend to rightfully take very seriously.
Are you're planning on producing serious DJ mixes, starting to make your own music, making mashups, re-edits and so on? If so, those gaming speakers you've been using with your DJ controller really aren't going to cut it, and doing it all in your headphones can get terribly weary (not to mention feeling a bit weird when you're using the same 'phones for monitoring your main mix and your cue mix). In short, decent speakers will help you to up your game considerably. Enter the KRK Rokit range - realistically priced but punching above their station.
First impressions & setting up
The KRK RP G3s are a medium-sized speaker, that'll work fine in all but the very smallest of practice rooms, but that said they are a step up from truly compact speakers. The diminutive little Reloop Wave 5s, for example, are appreciably shallower, lighter and just overall smaller than these. The Rokits are certainly not going to look right sat either side of your computer monitor!
No, they deserve proper stands, mounting or some other way to get them at head height and to give them half a chance to for a decent stereo image, away from reflective walls and so on. Speaker placement is an art and a science; once you start spending reasonable money on your speakers, it's worth considering it to bring the nest out in your speakers.
The RP6 G3s are actually the middle in the range, with the RP5s and RP8s also now out in G3 guises. Just for the record, I think these are the best of the three for most people, as the 5s tend to sound less full, and the 8s are a bit big for the average sized room (at least, here in Europe!). The basic premise of course, is the bigger the speaker the more air it pushes around, so it's not, ahem, Rokit science: Get a big, heavy speaker and it will be louder and give you more bass over an equivalent smaller model. But go too big, and you'll stop getting the benefits and start getting cramped in your little bedsit. As I say, for most folk, I think these'll be about right.
So positioning is important, but thankfully there are a few controls to help you get the sound right once they're in place. You're going to do most of your EQing on your DJ controller or mixer, so no sweeping tone controls here, but there is a -/+2dB high frequency roll-off knob and the same for low frequency on the back, plus of course a volume control. Plug in your choice of input (balanced XLR/TRS or unbalanced RCA) and you're off.
Warm! The bass is full, deep and grabs you from the first kick drum. Next, you notice the clean, clear hi-hats, and, turning them up, decent mid-range that cuts through to complete a beguiling sound. Now, I am a DJ, not a producer, and I know that any tonal deviation from hallowed transparency is to be frowned upon, but frankly I couldn't tell you whether these are particularly true to the "original" recordings or not; what I can tell you is they sound bloody fantastic when DJing at home, throwing today's dance music at them.
They "go" a lot deeper than the Reloop Wave 5s I've been using recently, a product of the size and weight primarily, and they sound warmer, too. The front port (that slit hole at the bottom) "moves a lot of air", so to speak, helping to deliver that lovely "thud" to the bass. I realised how much I'd missed this size of speaker; they certainly seem to bring the best out in the music I always seem to up playing, which is a mixture of dub, funk, soul, house, disco, rock, and of course good ol' EDM (as I believe the kids call it nowadays). So they're cheaper than "serious" studio monitors, and they are pretty good sounding, certainly for the price. One thing these aren't, though, is in any way more flexible than purist monitors.
The Reloops I mentioned, as well as Pioneer's S-DJ05 and S-DJ08 models (to give you a few examples) take this purist monitor concept but add a wired remote to let you easily mute, adjust volume, and switch between inputs. Not these; while you can wire up three inputs things, there's no switching, and all adjustments have to be made by reaching around the back of the speakers individually and making your tweaks. The idea, of course, is that once you're set up, all changes are made at mixer stage not speaker stage, but if you're after an all-rounder set of speakers to use with DJ controller, home cinema, computer etc all in one easily switchable set-up, these probably aren't those. They're designed, first and foremost, to sit either side of your primary music making set-up and pump out reasonably accurately - and loudly - what you put into them.
So what are the differences from the G2s? These have that LF (low frequency) adjust knob on the back that I mentioned earlier. The G3s also have a large, flat rubber pad factory-attached to the underside; I honestly can't remember if the G2s did or not, but it's good to see someone's aligned and stuck it on for you, unlike with some speaker brands where you have to do this yourself. (Of course, if you're going to mount them on stands, maybe you didn't want that in the first place...). That really seems to be about it for the changes. Otherwise, they're strikingly similar to the model they replace; a lack of screws holding the speaker panels in place around the front and no obvious fuse on the back are about the only other major differences I can spot.
Overall, I have to say I think these are a great compromise between purist monitor technology, price, and DJ-flavoured looks/needs. No, they are not "serious" studio monitors, in that they don't deliver quite truly transparent sound of much more expensive models, including those in KRK's own range, but as always, you get what you pay for - and you're getting very close here, for a keen price.
They are well made, well proportioned, decent monitors that'll do fine for just about any DJ out there looking for high quality monitoring for DJing practice sessions, and for a first foray into producing. The sound is warm and powerful, and even if you use them at parties (which we never recommend, please don't...), KRK has built limiters into them to hopefully reduce your chance of getting drunk and blowing them up through turning "everything to 11"!
Overall, if you want general purpose all-rounders there are more practical speaker systems out there, and if you're a serious producers, spending more will get you better results - but for DJs looking to make the next step up, and who are on a keen budget, the KRK RP6 G3s come highly recommended.
Well made, smart looking, decent sounding... there's a lot going for the KRK Rokit 6s. Sure they're not as flexible as some, and the purists may scoff at the sound quality for production purposes, but for DJs on a budget wanting decent "thump for the buck"? They're a winner.
- RP6 G3
- From:: KRK
- Price: $199 (each)
- Reviewed by:
Do you own any Rokit speakers, these or another model? Would you like to? What are your experiences with them? Please share your thoughts in the comments.