The Kali Audio LP-8 is a music production speaker monitor for DJ/producers. It’s a great value at roughly US$500 for a pair, and it sounds clear, crisp, and good for producing and mixing. It’s also got dip switch controls in the back for tailoring the LP-8 to suit your production environment. Recommended.
First Impressions / Setting up
The LP-8 is a larger monitor than I am used to having in the studio. Although it is quite bigger than the five or six-inch monitors, the LP-8s do not feel too heavy. Even with the lighter weight for their size, the build quality feels very solid. The materials of the monitor feel high quality and all of the connectors feel sturdy.
Starting with the front of the studio monitors, the LP-8 features a one-inch soft dome tweeter, an eight-inch woofer, and a front-facing port tube. The tweeter features Kali Audio’s “3-D Imaging Waveguide” technology which the company claims gives the monitors a more natural and lifelike sound and makes it easier to hear details in the music you are playing. The eight-inch woofers produce a clear low end that doesn’t sound boosted or overhyped. It has a front-facing port tube instead of a rear-facing one found on many other studio monitors to give the LP-8 a more measured low-end response when placed near a wall, which tends to happen in bedroom and home studios.
Moving to the back of the LP-8 you have balanced inputs on XLR and 1/4” TRS and unbalanced inputs on RCA. Next to the inputs, you have a knob for volume control, a built-in power supply that uses a standard IEC power cable, and a power switch. Above these inputs and controls, we have what Kali Audio calls “Boundary EQ Control”. This is a series of dip switches to control the EQ of the monitors along with a visual guide to help you EQ the monitors depending on how and where you have them set up in your studio.
The LP-8s are very simple to set up: Plug in the power cable, plug in your audio source, turn the monitors on, and you are ready to go. The one extra step you need to take with the LP-8 is setting up the Boundary EQ Control to get optimal sound – you just look at the guide on the back on the monitor, then you match the EQ dip-switches to how you have the monitors set up in your room.
Kali Audio advertises the LP-8s as outperforming other monitors in its price range, and after spending time with them I would agree. The sound is very crisp and punchy with lots of volume. The midrange can be a bit upfront at times, which can be both a good and a bad thing. Good because the LP-8s can somewhat highlight vocal-driven and synth-heavy music, and bad because it can bring problems related to vocals and synths to the fore.
This can be useful in a production and mixing situation where you’re working on your own song (ie lets you spot harsh frequencies in a vocal performance or synth lead) but if you’re listening for enjoyment, it can be a bit too much at times (ie the sibilance or “esses” of some of Bjork’s earlier work). That said, you do get used to it after a while, though it can be a bit fatiguing at higher listening volumes during longer sessions.
At first I was worried that the eight-inch size of the LP-8s would be overkill for my relatively small home studio space (big studio monitors may potentially overpower smaller spaces leading to uneven responses, particularly in the lows) but they still sounded decent and consistent.
The LP-8s are solid studio monitors if you’re looking for bigger speakers for your production space and are on a budget. They’re also a good alternative to the ubiquitous KRK Rokit speakers, plus they do sound different. If you’re in the market for a pair of studio monitors for around US$500, the LP-8s are highly recommended.