Recording Reviews: KRK V6 Series 4 Studio Monitors - Recording Review
KRK V6 Series 4
Can you get truly professional reference monitor performance at a project studio price?
by Phil O'Keefe
- In terms of size, the V6 is the middle monitor in the new V Series generation 4 lineup, with the larger V8 and slightly smaller V4 filling out the series. The V6 is a two-way nearfield monitor with a 6.5" woofer and 1" dome tweeter.
- The cabinets on the 4th generation V6 are made from MDF with an aluminum front baffle plate, and feature a front-ported bass reflex design. Each monitor measures 13.89" H x 9.09" W x 11.34" D and weighs 20.72 pounds.
- On the bottom of the cabinet, a non-skid EVA foam pad helps isolate the speaker acoustically from the surface on which it sits. You'll also find threaded universal mounting points installed on the bottom of the cabinets.
- A large port located on the bottom of the monitor's front face, just below the woofer, looks roughly rectangular at first glance but is actually shaped as a isosceles trapezoid. The shape, coupled with the large size, really does a good job at all but eliminating distracting wind blasts that often accompany front-facing round ports.
- The KRK custom-designed 6.5" woofer is made from woven Kevlar, which translates to low weight and incredible strength. It uses a ferrite magnet and has a cast aluminum frame to help reduce the weight of the V6 Series 4.
- Unusually, the 1" dome tweeter is also made from Kevlar. Like the woofer it was custom designed by KRK and features a ferrite magnet.
- The woofer and tweeter are bi-amped, and driven by lightweight and efficient Class-D amplifiers with 125W dedicated to the woofer and 30W for the tweeter for a total of 155W per speaker. This drives the KRK V6 Series 4 to a maximum peak SPL of 115dB.
- The KRK logo on the front panel is illuminated and serves as a power-on indicator. You can dim or even turn off the illumination with rear-panel switches.
- The logo slowly dims and brightens cyclically to indicate when the monitors have gone into their low-power standby mode (i.e., when they haven't received any signal for more than 30 minutes). You don't have to think about this feature or "do" anything - when you're not using the speakers they go to low-power mode, and once they start receiving signal again, they wake up.
- The monitors include optional metal grilles. You simply remove the six bolts from the monitor's front, lift off the aluminum faceplate, place the grille and faceplate into position, and then re-attach the bolts. Those who travel with their speakers will appreciate the grilles, but just about everyone else will probably leave them off.
- The rear panel has not only the XLR input jack, IEC power cable port, and power switch, but also various controls for adapting the monitors to your room and preferences. KRK gives a lot of options; There are a total of 49 different combinations of EQ voicing variations.
- A -dB Level Attenuation switch trims the response from 0 to -3.0 dB in half-decibel steps, which is handy for matching the KRK V6 Series 4 monitor levels to another set of speakers you may also be using as a secondary reference.
- The High and Low EQ Controls each have seven-position knobs, with settings of H1 - H7 for the highs, and L1 - L7 for the lows. The "flat" position for each is the 4 setting.
- Going from H1 to H7, the high frequency switch positions let you select among a high shelf with -2 dB at 10 kHz, high shelf with -1 dB at 10 kHz and a parametric EQ with -1 dB at 3.5 kHz, high-mid parametric EQ with -1 dB at 3.5 kHz, flat, high-mid parametric EQ with + 1 dB at 3.5 kHz, high shelf with +1 dB at 10 kHz and parametric EQ with +1 dB at 3.5 kHz and high shelf with +2 dB at 10 kHz.
- The low frequency switch offers a similar set of cut and boost options, with the low shelf being set at 75 Hz, and a PEQ adjusting the low-mids at 200 Hz.
- A panel of five DIP switches, labeled System Settings, control standby, ground lift, input sensitivity, input level attenuation (-10 dBV or +4 dBu), and the behavior of the front panel logo LED.
- With this many switch positions it would be easy to forget what everything does, but fortunately KRK has clearly labeled the rear panel so you don't need to hunt for a manual.
- You'll find a Micro USB port on the rear panel. KRK says that at some point they may offer user-updates to the onboard DSP (which is mainly used for the EQ adjustments) via this port, but it currently offers no user options, nor can it charge external USB devices.
- While it's easy to set up the speakers to run at -10 dBV levels, there are no unbalanced RCA or stereo 1/8" inputs. If you need to connect your mobile device or something using RCA connectors, you'll need suitable adapters.
- The EQ switches, while powerful and offering settings that are generally useful in a wide range of situations do not allow boosting the high mids at 3.5 kHz while slightly attenuating the highs at 10 kHz, or vise versa. In other words, the highs and mids can not be adjusted independently. Likewise, the low and low midrange EQ can not be adjusted individually, so you can't cut the low mids at 200 Hz while boosting the bottom at 75 Hz with the low frequency controls.
KRK says they sought the input of hundreds of professional engineers, producers and mixers in developing the 4th generation V Series monitors. This input obviously played an important role, and helped KRK dial in the sound in a way that is accurate and yet still widely appealing. These speakers were designed to provide the crucial monitoring accuracy that's essential in professional studios, and which will also be appreciated by professional sound design and broadcast facilities. With loads of options available for tailoring their response to your room and personal tastes, they're bound to work well in a variety of acoustical environments - although I do wish the high and low midrange parametric equalizers at 3.5 kHz and 200 Hz were adjustable separately from the high and low shelving equalizers. Fortunately that won't be a significant issue for most users.
I really like the sound of these monitors. They're plenty fast in terms of the transient response, and you'll find ample bass too, especially for a mid-sized nearfield with only a 6.5" woofer. The treble is really rather unique from the Kevlar tweeter, with a very alluring and expansive stereo soundscape that's almost three-dimensional in character. A step up from the KRK Rokits, the KRK V Series is more refined, detailed and expensive sounding without costing a lot more money. I can see these becoming popular with discerning home studio users as well as with professional engineers, especially because the price is so surprisingly low for a professional reference speaker of this quality. -HC-
KRK V6 Series 4 powered nearfield studio monitors (each $799 MSRP, $599 "street")
KRK's product web page
KRK V Series 4 quick start guide (PDF file)
You can purchase the KRK V6 Series 4 powered nearfield studio monitors from:
KRK V6 Series 4 Specifications:
- Configuration: 2-Way
- System type: Active Studio Monitor
- Low-Frequency: Woofer, 6.5" cast aluminum frame, Kevlar cone, ferrite magnet
- High-Frequency: Tweeter, 1", Kevlar dome, ferrite magnet
- Frequency Response: 49Hz - 19kHz
- Frequency Range: 40Hz - 24kHz
- Max Peak SPL: 115 dBSPL
- Power Output: LF (125 Watts), HF (30 Watts), Total (155 Watts)
- High Control: H1 (High Shelf -2 dB 10 kHz, H2 (High Shelf -1 dB 10 kHz / High Mid Peq -1 dB 3.5 kHz), H3 (High Mid Peq -1 dB 3.5 kHz), H4 (Flat), H5 (High Mid Peq +1 dB 3.5 kHz), H6 (High Shelf +1 dB 10 kHz / High Mid Peq +1 dB 3.5 kHz, H7 (High Shelf +2 dB 10 kHz)
- Low Control: L1 (Low Shelf -3dB 60 Hz), L2 (Low Shelf -1.5 dB 60 Hz), L3 (Low Shelf -2 dB 60 Hz / Low Mid Peq -2 dB 200 Hz), L4 (Flat), L5 (Low Mid Peq -2 dB 200 Hz), L6 (Low Shelf +1.5 dB 60 Hz), L7 (Low Shelf +3 dB 60 Hz)
- Enclosure Construction: MDF / Aluminum
- Grille: Included
- Dimensions (H x W x D): 13.89" (353mm) x 9.09" (231mm) x 11.34" (288mm)
- Weight: 20.72Lbs. (9.4 Kg.)
Phil O'Keefe is a multi-instrumentalist, recording engineer / producer and the Senior Editor of Harmony Central. He has engineered, produced and performed on countless recording sessions in a diverse range of styles, with artists such as Alien Ant Farm, Jules Day, Voodoo Glow Skulls, John McGill, Michael Knott and Alexa's Wish. He is a former featured monthly columnist for EQ magazine, and his articles and product reviews have also appeared in Keyboard, Electronic Musician and Guitar Player magazines.