Full KRK V6 S4 Review
Today we're taking a look at the new KRK V6 S4 nearfield studio monitors. They’re two-way active studio speakers featuring a 6" woofer and a 1" tweeter and are designed for accurate audio reproduction in pro environments - like your high-end home DJ studio.
KRK is best known among DJs for the popular and cost effective Rokit range. The V-Series are a reintroduction of an older line; positioned slightly higher price-wise to take advantage of KRK’s current strong presence in the affordable monitor market.
KRK also offers a V8 S4 (8" cone) and a V4 S4 (4" cone). The V series has been engineered to provide consistent response across all the range, with the only real difference being in the bass response of the larger-coned models.
The V6 sits in the middle with a suggested retail price around £500 per speaker, which although not cheap, is still firmly low to mid-market for studio reference monitors. They also appear well placed to target the large market of DJ / producers looking to combine a DJ set up with a small studio for music production at home.
First impressions and setting up
Out of the box we get the monitor itself, a kettle power cord and a short instruction manual. There’s also a key to adjust the back panel settings, and some protective grilles for the cone and tweeter, which may also be useful if you’re not a fan of the iconic yellow cones.
Appearance-wise, the speakers look purposeful, if not pretty. These are speakers focused on performance more than aesthetics. Industrial screws punctuate the face plate, the corners are nicely rounded and there is a handy EVA foam cushion on the underside of the speaker for acoustic isolation. There’s a pleasing heft to the unit and everything feels solid and well put together.
The cone and tweeter are housed in a ported cast-aluminum / MDF enclosure with a prominent letterbox port under the cone to move that bassy air around – which gives the units a vague resemblance to Mike from Monsters Inc, particularly when perched on top of stands.
Flipping the unit around, the back panel is filled with an array of setting options for attenuation and EQ tweaking. There are 49 user-selectable EQ settings to allow you to overcome any acoustic shortcomings in your room and a precise seven-way attenuation switch for level matching. An ingenious single Neutrik connector allows you to connect both XLR or TRS cables in the same socket.
Those 49 EQ settings are the result of exhaustive research - KRK has apparently worked with hundreds of audio professionals to get the response right for the V Series. This strikes me as rather a large sample base of opinions to distil down but there’s no doubt a lot of work has gone into making these monitors sound good in a variety of environments straight out of the box.
So what makes them sound good? Well it’s largely down to the construction materials. A Kevlar dome tweeter that is "sweet and non-fatiguing" (ie doesn’t tire your ears out) is teamed with a 6" Kevlar woven woofer. Kevlar is used because it retains rigidity and stiffness under pressure and basically stops moving when it’s supposed to. This is key for accurate sound reproduction. It’s also the reason bulletproof vests are made of Kevlar – definitely a situation where you want something to stop moving when it’s supposed to!
The speakers have a total power output of 155W with a maximum sound pressure level of 110dB (which, in other words, refers to how loud they are). They yield an impressive flat response between 49Hz (low end) and 19kHz at the top. Flat response is a subjective term, as all environmental conditions will affect sound and these are not flat in the manner of say Yamaha’s classic NS10s – they are ported, not sealed cabinets.
But like all studio reference monitors they’re designed to reflect as much of the sonic spectrum as accurately as possible and not colour the response, boost the bass and so on, unlike audiophile or cheap hifi speakers. Thus, a "flat" response.
That’s the theory. In practice they sound wonderful. Ported cabinets are commonplace on smaller speakers where the cones don’t have enough space to move those low frequencies - but less so on bigger speakers. A good ported speaker requires close matching of driver, enclosure and port and I’m happy to say these are among the best ported speakers I’ve used. I’m not usually a fan, not least because of the usual distracting blast of air accompanying the ports on smaller speakers, but these V6’s have all but eliminated that.
I tested them on tracks I know particularly well (because I wrote them) and also some favourite tracks and songs from other artists - and I was knocked out with the deep bass response and the particularly punchy mids which revealed a detail in one song I hadn’t heard before on my existing speakers.
Detail is the key word here; the sonic detail reproduction is fantastic. Transient reflection is fast and responsive, due to the rigid Kevlar construction, the stereo field is wide and the treble is bright, sparkly and almost "widescreen" in nature.
I think the V4 S6s make a compelling case for those looking for home studio monitors that provide stunning sonic detail that can equally serve a high quality DJ set up or a home production studio. Given there is such a big potential market for this I think they will find a lot of fans.
For those looking for a step up from the Rokits without spending significantly more, they are an obvious choice. They are still a serious investment at around £1000 for a pair but I can see them becoming popular with both home studio users and professional engineers alike due to the compelling price / performance ratio.
The KRKs V6’s really hit the spot. They are well thought out, highly researched, accurate sounding monitors for punchy small studio set-ups, and are equally great for home DJ rigs. While not the cheapest out there, they nonetheless offer exceptional value for money.
- V6 S4 Studio Monitors
- From: KRK
- Price: £500 (each)
- Reviewed by:
Have you got your eye on these? Maybe you've bought a pair already? Please share your thoughts on them in the comments below.