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Unity Audio - the new Rock MK-III 2 way active monitor
Old 18th January 2019
  #1
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Unity Audio - the new Rock MK-III 2 way active monitor

UNITY AUDIO - ROCK MK-III 2 WAY ACTIVE MONITOR




Unity Audio have updated their award winning 2 way active near-field Rock monitor with the release of the new MK-III model.

The Rock was the first active monitor in the Unity Audio range which was launched 10 years ago. The highly respected and revered Rock has been embraced over the decade by thousands of professional engineers, producers, artists, recording and mastering studios all over the world. Being hailed as the modern 'NS-10', it's forte being a brutally honest mixing reference monitor that gives the information to form intelligent decisions about the recording, mixes and balance.

Staying true to the MK-II

Rather than discontinuing a model after a few years , Unity Audio's philosophy is to evolve it's range of monitors. Unity's founder and designer Kevin Walker explains the reasons behind this.

“ Being an engineer and user of professional audio products myself, I can put myself in the shoes of our customers. Relying on key integral equipment like monitoring, you'd like to have peace of mind that the monitors you rely on day in day out won't become discontinued and obsolete, but rather have longevity and continued development. We knew we had to keep many of the Rock MK-II attributes in tact as there's so many people who love them and trust them implicitly. We worked long and hard to achieve this but also to improve and evolve the Rock as well. We have a number of longstanding diehard Rock MK-II users that auditioned and subsequently bought the new MK-III and we've received nothing but praise. Confirmation that it's still a Rock at heart but even better!” Kevin Walker – Unity Audio MD

The Rock MK-III still retains many key features and most importantly the overall sonic footprint of the previous MK-II model. One key factor is the original Tim De Paravicini SP64 input/crossover which is still used, albeit modified to accommodate other changes in the new model.

The integral 50kHz folded ribbon tweeter is also still present. The cabinet dimensions remain exactly the same and still use the original Baltic Birch plywood sealed cabinet design to guarantee fast, accurate and detailed low frequency information. The same Corian front baffle is employed to ensure a resonant free solid mounting platform for the drivers.

MK-III Key Changes

New 180mm Crystal Membrane Woofer

The key changes on the MK-III include the new replacement Crystal Membrane 180mm woofer and the amplification The new woofer is the same physical size as the previous MK-II, but electronically and mechanically far superior.

The 180mm woofer cone is manufactured with the same successful sandwich AS technology: a paper cone to which a special aluminium foil is glued with enhanced acoustic characteristics, lesser distortion, improved dynamics and much higher SPL capabilities. The aluminium foil which covers the paper cone has been pressed into a special shape, closely imitating the way a finished crystal would look, hence the term Crystal Membrane.

This stamping stiffens the aluminium dome considerably which diminishes the membrane-internal resonances resulting in*less sound coloration. The unconventional voice coil mounting results in the expansion of the transmission range of the woofers by nearly an octave. Due to the specially wide double asymmetrical ('DAS') rubber surround, the Rocks new woofer can handle up to ±15mm excursion.

New Amplification

The Mk-III model now uses very high quality quiet efficient Class D amplifier with a huge combined output of 360 watts per cabinet resulting in a monitor with loads of headroom, detail and dynamics.

The Unity Audio Rock MK-III is available now at £2,144.00 a pair ex VAT / $2,938.00 a pair ex Tax/

[email protected]
Unity Audio - Professional and Hi-Fi active loudspeaker design and manufacture
Tel: 0044 (0) 1799 520786
Attached Thumbnails
Unity Audio - the new Rock MK-III 2 way active monitor-rock-mkiii-angle-up1.jpg   Unity Audio - the new Rock MK-III 2 way active monitor-rock-mkiii-straight.jpg  
Old 18th January 2019
  #2
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Daaaaaaaaamn, can't wait ;-) Reminds me of Elac's

Old 18th January 2019
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Solar View Post
Daaaaaaaaamn, can't wait ;-) Reminds me of Elac's

Didn't they always use Elac drivers and ribbons? Now they have replaced the Elac middle-class woofer with the one Elac offers in its upper range since a decade or so.
Elac isn't cheap, but the prices Unity Audio takes for building a cabinet and putting Elac drivers and a class d amp into it is a bit too much. Maybe I don't do them justice...
I have a 2.1 set for my AV receiver from Elac and love it to pieces...

The cabinets seem to use exactly the same frames for the speakers and the measurements of the cabinets are nearly the same: 28,20 × 20,00 × 33,00 cm (Elac)
290mm D x 220mm W x 325mm H (Unity Audio)

799,- for a passive one (Elac BS 244.3):

Old 19th January 2019
  #4
I have the Rock mkIII along with the new Avalanche mkII sub. These are an absolute JOY to work on for many hours.
Old 19th January 2019
  #5
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These look very promising
Old 19th January 2019
  #6
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Best monitors period.The Mk2 already was
Old 19th January 2019
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DirkP View Post
Didn't they always use Elac drivers and ribbons? Now they have replaced the Elac middle-class woofer with the one Elac offers in its upper range since a decade or so.
Elac isn't cheap, but the prices Unity Audio takes for building a cabinet and putting Elac drivers and a class d amp into it is a bit too much. Maybe I don't do them justice...
I have a 2.1 set for my AV receiver from Elac and love it to pieces...

The cabinets seem to use exactly the same frames for the speakers and the measurements of the cabinets are nearly the same: 28,20 × 20,00 × 33,00 cm (Elac)
290mm D x 220mm W x 325mm H (Unity Audio)

799,- for a passive one (Elac BS 244.3):


lol dang, that's the same speaker.
Old 19th January 2019
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FoundationsAudio View Post
lol dang, that's the same speaker.
I just looked and the elac are ported. So they look the same but the cabinet probably makes a big difference for accuracy. But they’ll have less low end so you’ll probably want a sub.
Old 19th January 2019
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FoundationsAudio View Post
lol dang, that's the same speaker.
Is it tuned like the rocks tough the components are the same?
Old 19th January 2019
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bleen View Post
I have the Rock mkIII along with the new Avalanche mkII sub. These are an absolute JOY to work on for many hours.
How much different are the new amps and - regardless of how great they sound - do you feel they are almost a different speaker than the rocks mk1/2 since one of the integral parts of those were their bespoke Class A/B amps? Hope that makes sense
Old 19th January 2019
  #11
Quote:
Originally Posted by superwack View Post
How much different are the new amps and - regardless of how great they sound - do you feel they are almost a different speaker than the rocks mk1/2 since one of the integral parts of those were their bespoke Class A/B amps? Hope that makes sense
Having owned both the mkI and mkII, the new versions with the new amps feel like there's more headroom. I've never come close to clipping them - granted, I don't monitor loudly in general, but when i want to give 'em some grunt, they never feel like they are struggling under the load.
Old 20th January 2019
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DirkP View Post
Didn't they always use Elac drivers and ribbons? Now they have replaced the Elac middle-class woofer with the one Elac offers in its upper range since a decade or so.
Elac isn't cheap, but the prices Unity Audio takes for building a cabinet and putting Elac drivers and a class d amp into it is a bit too much. Maybe I don't do them justice...
I have a 2.1 set for my AV receiver from Elac and love it to pieces...

The cabinets seem to use exactly the same frames for the speakers and the measurements of the cabinets are nearly the same: 28,20 × 20,00 × 33,00 cm (Elac)
290mm D x 220mm W x 325mm H (Unity Audio)

799,- for a passive one (Elac BS 244.3):

Even if they share the same woofer and tweeter, it’s not fair to compare them because there are also many differences between the Unity Audio Rock MK3 and mentioned Elac speakers.

Different housing
Different crossover
Sealed vs bass reflex
Active vs Passive

Good quality crossovers and amps can have a huge impact in construction costs, plus don’t forget to factor in the cost of r&d. I think as a rule of thumb that on average 20% of the price of a speaker is the actual cost of all the parts and production, but to cover r&d, marketing, customer service and making a profit so the company can sustain, makes for the other 80%. Again, these are not hard numbers but average.

I’ve heard the Rock and Boulder family of studio monitors on multiple occasions and they always impressed me a lot. Yes, expensive (from my point of view), but so are many other monitors which they can compete with. The Super Rock in particular is a favourite of mine, I preferred it over a 3-way monitor costing almost twice as much at the time. In the end I think you get a truly wonderfully engineered speaker, worth the price of admission, but this is my personal opinion and ymmv.

Last edited by Solidtrax; 20th January 2019 at 05:00 AM..
Old 22nd January 2019
  #13
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Is there an upgrade plan from rock mkII to mkIII?
Old 1st February 2019
  #14
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skythemusic's Avatar
Wow. The MKii's are the best monitors I've ever owned. These look interesting to say the least.
Old 2nd February 2019
  #15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Solidtrax View Post
Even if they share the same woofer and tweeter, it’s not fair to compare them because there are also many differences between the Unity Audio Rock MK3 and mentioned Elac speakers.

Different housing
Different crossover
Sealed vs bass reflex
Active vs Passive

Good quality crossovers and amps can have a huge impact in construction costs, plus don’t forget to factor in the cost of r&d. I think as a rule of thumb that on average 20% of the price of a speaker is the actual cost of all the parts and production, but to cover r&d, marketing, customer service and making a profit so the company can sustain, makes for the other 80%. Again, these are not hard numbers but average.

I’ve heard the Rock and Boulder family of studio monitors on multiple occasions and they always impressed me a lot. Yes, expensive (from my point of view), but so are many other monitors which they can compete with. The Super Rock in particular is a favourite of mine, I preferred it over a 3-way monitor costing almost twice as much at the time. In the end I think you get a truly wonderfully engineered speaker, worth the price of admission, but this is my personal opinion and ymmv.
Well, that's not a very accurate rule of thumb.
You have to factor several things when dealing with speakers and that's what dealers have to make, what the distribution makes, what the manufacturer makes, then the labour, parts, other expenses, marketing, etc... So the sum of parts might even be lower.

That is however, not the point.
In the Super Rock, they used a "custom" Seas woofer similar to the prestige line up with a Mundorf ribbon tweeter.
The amps they built into that series of speakers and the Rock MKII are not that impressive and I've meet a few guys who had issues with their units.

However, the speakers are amazing.
They use good concepts with great parts and charge a decent price.
Amphion also uses seas and sound amazing, but use a passive crossover.

Unity doesn't sound "better" because they are active.
However, I get what you are trying to say and I agree, these speakers sound awesome and if I didn't have a pair of Bowers and Wilkins, I'd have gotten myself a pair of the Boulder MK2's or a pair of KS Digital A300 (ATC and PSI 3 ways were way outside my budget).

As with everything, YMMV.

Last edited by mista min; 2nd February 2019 at 12:30 AM.. Reason: Left out part of the sentence... Thank you android....
Old 2nd February 2019
  #16
Quote:
Originally Posted by geeorge View Post
Best monitors period.The Mk2 already was
I thought the boulder was better but maybe that has to do with the coaxial woofer midrange and tweeter making the stereo image more precise and cohesive.

The Rock does not have as good a phantom middle as a PSI A17, but they are two completely different speakers and concepts with two different characters.
Old 2nd February 2019
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mista min View Post
I thought the boulder was better but maybe that has to do with the coaxial woofer midrange and tweeter making the stereo image more precise and cohesive.

The Rock does not have as good a phantom middle as a PSI A17, but they are two completely different speakers and concepts with two different characters.
Because the ribbon its implemented like the Adam very narrow sounding I have other ribbon one with proper dispersion and the sweet spot its almost like the coaxial one very wide.
Many people mentioned that to Kevin but he didnt do anything with the ribbon.The Super Rock has mundorf which have better stereo image.The sweet spot its narrow no.doubt about that make.it.hard.to.choose them.just because of that.I had problem.with the adam loosing the sweet spot.all the time.
Old 3rd February 2019
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geeorge View Post
Best monitors period.The Mk2 already was
That's awesome! Many thanks for your opinion and support George!
Old 3rd February 2019
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bleen View Post
I have the Rock mkIII along with the new Avalanche mkII sub. These are an absolute JOY to work on for many hours.
Don, thank you so much for your continued support, this means a lot to me as you are a long standing Rock MK-II user that I admire and respect.

To have diehard Rock MK-II users give the big thumbs ups for the new Rock MK-III is awesome. You know I didn't want to deviate massively from the MK-II as there's just so many of them out them being used day in and day out by a very broad spectrum of serious engineers, artists, producers, recording and mastering studios.

It's a big relief that all our hard efforts to refine and evolve the Rock have paid off with some of my key long standing users confirming its still retains all the great attributes of the previous model, but with added improvements.

'Evolution & Revolution'. We prefer to refine and evolve our range rather than discard it and produce a complete different product. Placing myself in the shoes of a customer that's forked out good money, I'd feel reassured that my investment in a product and model isn't just thrown away, that a manufacturer listens to feedback and develops it further. Where ever possible we offer upgrades too.
Old 3rd February 2019
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FoundationsAudio View Post
lol dang, that's the same speaker.
Hi, I'd just like to point out several facts for everyone. Unity Audio are not copying Elac or ripping them off.

Elac manufacturer Hi-Fi speakers but like similar sized established companies that have the capability to also develop and manufacture drive units, they have an additional OEM business supplying companies like Unity Audio. We've had a long term relationship with Elac from the very start, coming up to ten years ago.

Regardless of the fact we both use Elac drive units, EVERYTHING ELSE IS DIFFERENT!

1) All Unity Audio products use a sealed, or Aperiodic Vent cabinet design, Elac use a ported design.

2) All Unity Audio products are fully active, using a mixture of our own custom designed Class A/B amplifiers and OEM supplied high quality Class D amplifiers from established and well respected European suppliers. In the most part, Elac designs use a traditional passive crossover network relying on external amplification.

3) All Unity Audio products have custom designed input/crossover circuits tuned for that specific model.
Old 3rd February 2019
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colin McCabe View Post
I just looked and the elac are ported. So they look the same but the cabinet probably makes a big difference for accuracy. But they’ll have less low end so you’ll probably want a sub.
Thanks Colin for acknowledging and posting that Elac's are ported and Unity Audio models are a sealed cabinet design, it makes a BIG difference! We choose this route from the very beginning, coming up to ten years ago now, and the reason for this are several; way better low frequency accuracy, superior timing/phase and transient response, which in my opinion is always overlooked in preference to frequency response.

Adding a sub-woofer like our new 12" active Avalanche MK-II DSP comes down to many things, like personal preference, room size, type of production material, certain live band recordings, etc etc.

There's a load of Rocks out there without subs, but I have to say that a very large percentage of Avalanches out in the field have been teamed up with Rocks. I've noticed a common thread in that almost all Rock users that purchased Avalanches did so just to have the occasional option to go full on 2.1 and go to number '11'.

So many Rock users who sometimes for various reasons needed a bit more grunt, or that 'Extra push over the cliff', ( I've just popped in two 'Spinal Tap' references within two paragraphs..HaHa! ), but didn't want to part with their beloved Rocks and more importantly didn't want to get into another larger unknown, compromised, additional outlay monitor. The Avalanche ticked that box for every Rock user I've ever spoken to.

Hope that all helps.
Old 3rd February 2019
  #22
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Kevlar's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by geeorge View Post
Is it tuned like the rocks tough the components are the same?
Good question.

Yes, we worked hard to retain that Rock sound that so many people love and rely on.

Although the amplification is now Class D, something I thought 10 years ago we'd never do, it's very similar to A/D D/A convertors, both have come a very long way over the past decade.

Apart from that change the new Rock MK-III uses the very same original Tim De Paravicini ( E.A R ) designed SP64 input/crossover albeit with some crucial component changes to accommodate the new ELAC ( same size as MK-II ) Crystal Membrane woofer.

The sealed cabinet and Corian front baffle are exactly the same, no changes whatsoever.

The folded ribbon tweeter ( No, it's not an Adam, and no it's not from China ) apart from some cosmetic changes is the same unit we've always been using.

I've already had a load of hardcore MK-II users purchase the MK-III and without exception they've all come back with the same comments ( see our Facebook page /web site ) that we've nailed it! It's still has all the great elements that people love about the previous version but now with additional beneficial advancements.
Old 3rd February 2019
  #23
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Kevlar's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by superwack View Post
How much different are the new amps and - regardless of how great they sound - do you feel they are almost a different speaker than the rocks mk1/2 since one of the integral parts of those were their bespoke Class A/B amps? Hope that makes sense
Good question, and I've pretty much answered this in a previous post from Colin, so please see my response to that.

I'll add though that the new amps are more powerful, there's 180 watts on the tweeter and 180 watts on the woofer so heaps of headroom and improved SPL coupled with the new woofer too.
Old 3rd February 2019
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bleen View Post
Having owned both the mkI and mkII, the new versions with the new amps feel like there's more headroom. I've never come close to clipping them - granted, I don't monitor loudly in general, but when i want to give 'em some grunt, they never feel like they are struggling under the load.
Many thanks again Don for posting your comments. Thats's one of the main objectives that we wanted to achieve with MK-III so thanks for posting for others to see.
Old 3rd February 2019
  #25
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Kevlar's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Solidtrax View Post
Even if they share the same woofer and tweeter, it’s not fair to compare them because there are also many differences between the Unity Audio Rock MK3 and mentioned Elac speakers.

Different housing
Different crossover
Sealed vs bass reflex
Active vs Passive

Good quality crossovers and amps can have a huge impact in construction costs, plus don’t forget to factor in the cost of r&d. I think as a rule of thumb that on average 20% of the price of a speaker is the actual cost of all the parts and production, but to cover r&d, marketing, customer service and making a profit so the company can sustain, makes for the other 80%. Again, these are not hard numbers but average.

I’ve heard the Rock and Boulder family of studio monitors on multiple occasions and they always impressed me a lot. Yes, expensive (from my point of view), but so are many other monitors which they can compete with. The Super Rock in particular is a favourite of mine, I preferred it over a 3-way monitor costing almost twice as much at the time. In the end I think you get a truly wonderfully engineered speaker, worth the price of admission, but this is my personal opinion and ymmv.
SOLIDTRAX...YOU F****** ROCK MATE!

You get us, and you get how all business have to work. I had some clueless, delusional idiot on social media the other day slate Unity for the Rocks asking price....saying they should be $300 a pair...! Where do I start...I could feel myself getting drawn into his tractor beam, but in the end I just deleted that post.
Old 3rd February 2019
  #26
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Kevlar's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by coin777 View Post
Is there an upgrade plan from rock mkII to mkIII?
Another great question.

I'm very disappointed and saddened to say that on this occasion, unlike previous Boulders that have been part of an upgrade path it's not possible. I've looked at this long and hard and it really isn't feasible or financially justifiable to offer an upgrade from previous Rocks to the new Rock MK-III.

Here's why. Unlike the Boulder where a significant number of crucial and expensive parts get recycled from the customers Boulder MK-I or MK-II, and reused in the new model, virtually nothing can realistically be recycled and reused in the new MK-III.

The cabinet and Corian front baffle although external and internally have the same dimensions and volume, the machining on the plywood Cabinet and Corian front baffle is different to accommodate the new woofer's mounting holes and the tweeter has a slightly different housing profile behind the ribbon.

Actually it's easier to say THE only part that is retained albeit with some component changes is the SP64 input/crossover circuit board.

I did think about offering a part exchange but we'd end up with a lot of used MK-I's and MK-II's and the reality is we're just not geared up to sell second hand equipment. Sorry...
Old 3rd February 2019
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mista min View Post
I thought the boulder was better but maybe that has to do with the coaxial woofer midrange and tweeter making the stereo image more precise and cohesive.

The Rock does not have as good a phantom middle as a PSI A17, but they are two completely different speakers and concepts with two different characters.
I'm pleased you like the Boulder but to be fair it's not a fair comparison as it's over twice the price, 3 way not 2 way, larger woofers and the the Boulder has that amazing coaxial mid/hf.
Old 3rd February 2019
  #28
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Kevlar's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by geeorge View Post
Because the ribbon its implemented like the Adam very narrow sounding I have other ribbon one with proper dispersion and the sweet spot its almost like the coaxial one very wide.
Many people mentioned that to Kevin but he didnt do anything with the ribbon.The Super Rock has mundorf which have better stereo image.The sweet spot its narrow no.doubt about that make.it.hard.to.choose them.just because of that.I had problem.with the adam loosing the sweet spot.all the time.
Hang on here George...back up.....

Not a single customer that has paid money and actually purchased a Rock, and I sincerely mean no one, has ever mentioned this to me. Yes, some people like yourself that hasn't purchased the product or possibly even heard it, most likely just perpetuates the misconception and story that I've written below.

The only similarity to an Adam is that their both a folded ribbon. It's a misconception that the Rock has a dispersion or stereo image issue which was born out of the original MK-I Hugh Johnson Sound on Sound review 9 odd years ago.

I was always dumbfouded by that remark in the review as quite to the contrary, we get nothing but praise for the stereo imaging etc. To this day this misconception still occationally rears it's ugly head.... I admire, respect, and like Hugh a great deal, he's written several amazing reviews for us over the years and some time ago I did mentioned ask him why he made this comment and he said in hinesight it wasn't really an issue but needed to have something in the 'Pros & Cons' round up section that concludes all SOS reviews.

I have to also say that forums can be a double edged sword. They can be informative, helpful and educational, but errors and misconceptions can easily be perpetuated.
Old 3rd February 2019
  #29
Quote:
Originally Posted by geeorge View Post
Because the ribbon its implemented like the Adam very narrow sounding I have other ribbon one with proper dispersion and the sweet spot its almost like the coaxial one very wide.
Many people mentioned that to Kevin but he didnt do anything with the ribbon.The Super Rock has mundorf which have better stereo image.The sweet spot its narrow no.doubt about that make.it.hard.to.choose them.just because of that.I had problem.with the adam loosing the sweet spot.all the time.
I would say comparing to the Adam S1 or S2, the unity has a much better stereo image.
Also, you have a wonderful stereo field on the Rock

It's just some speakers in a similar price range had a bit better stereo image and some others didn't....

To be honest, I never really liked the super rock, but the the Rock and the Boulder are amazing
Old 4th February 2019
  #30
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevlar View Post
Hang on here George...back up.....

Not a single customer that has paid money and actually purchased a Rock, and I sincerely mean no one, has ever mentioned this to me. Yes, some people like yourself that hasn't purchased the product or possibly even heard it, most likely just perpetuates the misconception and story that I've written below.

The only similarity to an Adam is that their both a folded ribbon. It's a misconception that the Rock has a dispersion or stereo image issue which was born out of the original MK-I Hugh Johnson Sound on Sound review 9 odd years ago.

I was always dumbfouded by that remark in the review as quite to the contrary, we get nothing but praise for the stereo imaging etc. To this day this misconception still occationally rears it's ugly head.... I admire, respect, and like Hugh a great deal, he's written several amazing reviews for us over the years and some time ago I did mentioned ask him why he made this comment and he said in hinesight it wasn't really an issue but needed to have something in the 'Pros & Cons' round up section that concludes all SOS reviews.

I have to also say that forums can be a double edged sword. They can be informative, helpful and educational, but errors and misconceptions can easily be perpetuated.
Ive compared them just once with eve 3 ways and the eve was much wider sounding .But everything else was just superior on the rocks just more expensive accurate sounding .Ive seen comments from rock owners stating its a bit like the adam I cant be exactly sure I didnt like the way Adam done it it was very narrow.Still think that wave dispersion improve a lot the sweet spot and stereo image with them ribbon tweeters at least this Is what I heard.But then my opinion wasnt intented to spread misconception apologise for that.The new rocks are superb and if one want true sounding speaker this the one.
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