KRK Systems ROKIT 8 G2 by aunshui
Here’s one of the most common features of your typical home studio – KRK Rokit monitors. I’m honestly shocked that no one has reviewed these yet, since you could walk into almost any home studio in the world and have a 1 in 2 chance of finding them. Anyway…
I purchased these from B&H back in September 2008; I believe I paid $250 each, or $500 for the pair – a quick price search confirms that this is still the going rate. I’m not sure if KRK has updated these since I bought them, but I haven’t heard anything to the contrary so we’ll just assume the ones I have are identical to the ones you can buy today.
A little about myself: I’ve been engineering and musician-ing for north of a decade. It was only recently I put 2 and 2 together and figured I may as well start producing my own tracks as well. I first purchased these for video post, and while I still do that, they are primarily used for music production, specifically dance music - everything from funk and disco to trance and house, with a little rock and hip hop thrown in for good measure.
I opted for the 8-inch model, partially because I was 18 and thought it would eliminate my need for a subwoofer (more on that later), and partially because I was 18 and thought big speakers looked cool (also more on that later).
In my time as an engineer, I’ve mixed on everything from 40,000-watt PA’s to fancy studio monitors from brands such as Adams, Genelec, and PMC. I’d have to say that these KRK’s, while certainly not “boutique” in any way, sit squarely in the middle of the field – there’s really nothing outstanding about them, but they get the job done. No, the detail isn’t as earth shattering as some of the high-end brands that charge twice as much (or more) for a single monitor as what a pair of these go for, but they allow you to hear your mixes reliably, and can get pretty loud if you need them to (I’ve since learned to be more careful with my listening levels than I was in my college days).
As with any studio monitor, we’re looking for “truthful” sound reproduction, not enhancement, and the KRK’s deliver with a pretty flat response across the board. My only beef is the bass.
KRK says these go down to 44Hz – that might be true, but even if it is, it’s not a useful 44Hz, meaning that I can’t hear the low end of my mixes accurately on these monitors alone (I took a mix from my room, which sounded fine, to my school’s studio with a dedicated sub and heard nothing but bass). For more modern styles, especially dance music, you’re going to need a dedicated sub, which, if you buy the matching KRK, will also handle crossover duties. I’m going to be getting one ASAP, and I suspect it’ll make these monitors much more useful than they already are. If bass is important to the music you’re making, I would recommend you budget for a sub right off the bat.
I’m giving these a 7, an above-average rating for an above-average monitor given the price range, with a point knocked off because I think KRK is lying about bass response.
Ease Of Use
FOR THE LOVE OF GOD GET A SOUND CARD! When I got these in 2008, I hooked them up with a 1/8th inch to stereo RCA cable from my computer’s headphone out, because I didn’t have a soundcard. Though it could have been due to crappy unshielded outlets in college dorm rooms, I could hear my computer “thinking” through the monitors – even worse, when I plugged in an external hard drive I could actually hear the plate spinning, typically louder than whatever I was actually trying to listen to! I quickly shaped up and bought a card (at the time, an MBOX 2, but that’s a story for another review), which completely eliminated the problem. I’m now onto a MOTU Ultralite mk3, and haven’t noticed this problem since.
Another thing that could be considered “ease of use,” it’s a bit hard to position such large monitors correctly in the sort of cramped studio environments people typically buy these for, so I might suggest going for one of the smaller models if space is at a premium – and use the extra money to get a subwoofer!
These seem to run somewhat loud, so much that I rarely turn the volume up past -6db (fine tuning is handled by my sound card, I would suggest you operate in the same way). I suppose there are scenarios where cranking things past 0 might be called for, but I haven’t encountered any of them yet. The MOTU cards seem prone to hot signals, so I wouldn’t blame the monitors on this entirely (I do remember keeping them closer to -3 when I had my mbox).
9, because if these monitors are too hard to figure out, I’d recommend a new passion.
KRK’s website has all the info. Reproduction is handled by (in this case) the 8” driver and 1” tweeter, and you’ll find more or less what you’d expect on the back side – RCA, XLR, and balanced ¼” inputs, a volume knob, HF attenuation, a power switch, and an AC socket.
The color is also a feature – either you like it or you don’t, but bear in mind that you don’t buy a statue to listen to it. If it bugs you that much, there are at least 2 other color schemes available, but I think the classic bumble bee looks best, and they go quite nicely with my MoPho.
8, because I like having 3 different input options, minus a point for size and the fact that some people might not like yellow.
Bang for buck
I don’t think you’re going to do much better for $500, or even less if you buy used. They’ve been nothing but reliable so far, and after having been moved a whopping 4 times in the past 2 years, I think that says something.
If you’re a demanding audio perfectionist, used to mixing on monitors that cost as much as a fancy Italian sports car, these aren’t the monitors for you. If you’re working on a new genre of music that requires accurately reproducing flea farts recorded 4 miles away, these aren’t the monitors for you. But if you’re a new producer who is tired of mixing on headphones and wants a well-built, faithful monitor that will help you make better music without breaking the bank, these might just be the monitors you’re looking for.
As a closing thought, I’ll compare these to some of the other monitors I see in the home studios I frequent. I personally think these are better than the other big-name “budget” monitors they’re typically pitted against (Yamaha and m-audio come to mind), but there are a lot of factors in that equation, and I admittedly haven’t spent as much time with those as I have with my trusty KRK’s, so I’ll just say what I know for sure – these reproduce sound better than any other $250 speaker I’ve heard.