KRK Systems VXT4 by Enlightened Hand
There is sometimes a need for a small, effective monitor set for critical listening in situations where recording production personnel might be traveling to different locations or monitoring in acoustically challenged or overly small spaces, or even just times when the user is on a limited budget, but still has a serious desire for quality. It's for those reasons that I think the KRK VXT4 was designed. As far as I'm concerned the VXT4 definitely hits those marks squarely in the center.
I originally purchased my pair of VXT4 a few years ago for carrying with me as I did location recording work. I needed small and accurate, active monitors and I didn't want to pay a fortune for something that might get damaged in my travels. At $600 US per pair the VXT4 was the perfect choice price wise. The innovative shape of the cabinet and it's composite materials intrigued me.
KRK uses woven Kevlar woofer material in the 4" driver, combined with silk dome tweeters. The cabinets are shaped to mitigate diffraction distortion common to typical cuboid shaped cabinets. KRK claims the cabinets are filled with ABS structural foam which is said to allow them to design the cabinets with no parallel internal walls, in order to prevent internal nodes and the density of the foam prevents cabinet resonances. The speakers are ported with a front facing, slotted, rectangular, round edged port that sits right below the mid/bass driver. The KRK logo lights up upon power up from flicking the switch on the rear of the unit. Also residing on the rear panel of each speaker is the audio cable input, which is a locking, combo, XLR/TRS jack with a push button release. Next to the jack is a set of three toggle switches (well protected by a finger guard to prevent accidental switching) including a ground lift switch, a clip indicator/limiter engage switch and an auto mute feature switch. There is no frequency adjustment toggle on the VXT4. The speaker's internal amplifiers connect via a simple plug into the lower part of the rear panel, directly to the user's wall socket.
So how do they sound?
Well after setting them up in my listening space in a one meter equilateral triangle listening position with the speakers slightly toe-ed in to meet my ears, and after calibration I put the VXT4 trough their paces listening to several tracks that I had mixed myself and a few commercial releases that I was intimately familiar with. I found the sound surprisingly revealing.
As small as the VXT4 is it certainly doesn't have a small sound. The sound is full, accurately separated and detailed throughout the midrange, clear and slightly forward voiced in the highs, without being harsh, and things remain realistic and credible in the lows for a speaker of this size. Low frequency transient detail can often be a problem with ported speakers. But with the VXT4 kick drum sounds were not lost in the mix and had a clarity that was impressive considering the ports and the size of the speaker. Bass guitars came across equally realistic and clear though no bass elements of any mix were all that deep in frequency content. There is a limit to the ability of a speaker this small to reproduce adequate bass content and the VXT4 is no exception to that. But given it's size what it puts across is much more than one would expect and the clarity and definition of what is offered means that mixing in the bass frequencies on these speakers need not be an act of futility.
Since purchasing them I have mixed dozens of tracks on the VXT4 and even tracked quite a few with them as well. I am consistently impressed with the non-boxy, non-"cardboard" sound of these speakers. They reveal details in a very natural way that with relatively little adjustment period on my part allowed me to make mixes that translate just as I expect them to. I've used many authentic studio monitors in my time as a recording engineer and mixer. In my experience I have never come across a pair of speakers this size, at this price that are this good at letting me just monitor without excessive worry about mix translation. As small as they are and at the power levels they are capable of I wouldn't expect anyone to replace a set of large multi-drivered mains with the VXT4. But to sit on a meter bridge and get a detailed look at a mix or even to do most of the mixing on they are perfect for the job. At the price they are at such useful quality is unheard of IMO. I highly recommend them as I have had no problems with them in the over 4 years I have had them at my service.
They punch well above their weight. They are priced to accommodate any reasonable budget. They are small enough to rest on a meter bridge or work in a small studio. They are a wonderful deal.