The second-generation Rokit 5''s spatial imaging and full-range sound belie its small size and affordable price.
KRK Systems' new Rokit G2 (Generation 2) monitors sport a distinctive contoured design that is intended to decrease unwanted reflections and therefore deliver a more direct signal from the speaker elements to your ears. The G2 series comes in three sizes: the Rokit 5, 6, and 8; the number denotes the woofer size in inches. For this review, I tested a pair of Rokit 5s ($300 per pair).
Standing about 11 inches high, 7.3 inches wide, and about 9 inches deep, the Rokit 5s are compact enough to easily sit on a small desk or bookshelf, making them ideal for a tiny studio or home listening environment. The 1-inch soft-dome tweeters are recessed in a concave divot that serves as a waveguide. The 5-inch aramid-and-glass-fiber woofers sit above a long, thin, rectangular front bass port.
The KRK logo on the face doubles as the power light, which glows softly when the integrated power amps are switched on. The amps are rated 15W RMS into 10Ω for the tweeter and 30W RMS into 10Ω for the woofer. The back panel features XLR, TRS, and RCA inputs, as well as two knobs: one is a notched pot for adjusting the speaker level (from +6 dB amplification to -30 dB attenuation), and the other is a 4-position rotary switch for boosting or cutting the frequencies above 2 kHz (from +1 dB to -2 dB).
The Rokit 5s showed up at the perfect moment for me. To avoid wasting precious time and resources in my larger studio, I had just installed a small listening environment in my basement for editing and premixing on a laptop with a Digidesign Mbox. Monitors were all that was lacking, so when the KRKs arrived, I eagerly set them up. I quickly realized I didn't have any TRS cables, however, so I used the Mbox's ¼-inch headphone output with a Y-cable and an adapter to feed the Rockit 5s' RCA inputs. Unbalanced, yes, elegant, no — but it saved me a trip to the studio, thanks to the monitors' having three different input-connector types.
Like most basements, mine does not possess an ideal acoustic environment, but I was instantly pleased with what I heard on the Rokit 5s. The first thing I listened to was a mix I'd been working on for two days straight, and I'd become very familiar with all its nuances. The stereo imaging was quite precise, the low end was full but tight, and the top end was very present without sounding strident or harsh. In addition, the speakers gave me a nice, deep soundstage, allowing me to really hear the effect of the reverb and the spatialization I'd been focusing on for that mix.
To find out if I was missing anything, I borrowed a pair of ADAM A7s I'd used fairly frequently. After a few days of switching between the ADAMs and the KRKs, my overall impression was that the Rokit 5s held their own pretty well against the A7s, which sell for more than three times as much. The A7s get much louder (their amps have 50W of power each) and have a more extended, silkier top end (even when I engaged the 1 dB boost on the Rokit 5s), but for the most part I was working just as confidently on the Rokit 5s.
The thing that really surprised me was the quality of the Rokit 5s' low end, given the small woofer size. For most tasks a subwoofer isn't necessary, although in one passage of a certain song, I had boosted a drum pattern that my studio's subwoofer revealed to have way too much subsonic energy, which wasn't evident on the Rokit 5s. If you do want a subwoofer, KRK recently introduced the latest addition to its G2 series, the KRK10s.
TO THE MOON
I must admit I am mighty impressed by these little speakers. Although they won't be putting my studio mains out of commission anytime soon, I can't imagine them sounding much better for their size and price. I can only guess that the 6- and 8-inch versions sound even better in the low end, as they spec out 4 Hz and 8 Hz lower, respectively. For a small project studio, a home editing station, or anybody on a budget, I highly recommend listening to the KRK G2 series.
Value (1 through 5): 4