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Review: V Series V4 And V8 Monitors From KRK

Taking the latest powered 2-way nearfield reference monitors out for a test drive.

By M. Erik Matlock November 30, 2016

The new V Series monitors from KRK

I have to make a confession. KRK sent me its latest line of control room monitors over a month ago. Yes. I’ve been dragging my feet on returning the pairs of new V4s and V8s for one simple reason…

They sound really good.

My standard procedure when reviewing monitors is to throw a few favorite albums at them and see what happens. If they still sound good after that stage, then we look at adding some mics and making some noise. Occasionally, they don’t make it past that stage before they’re unplugged and packed back up. No point in wasting time on something that makes good music sound bad.

With the V4 and V8, I kept throwing material at them and they threw it right back in my face.

At first, I wasn’t really sure if I was impressed or not. Running sine wave sweeps and verifying the response with a spectrum analyzer showed a slightly tailored sound. I was looking for flat response. The initial reaction involved some hesitation.

The reality, however, was that the only thing affecting the response was my room. Switching between my other monitors revealed similar coloration. So I stand corrected. Pulling a response chart directly from KRK’s own tests confirmed my room’s bias. Hesitation eliminated.

Each monitor has a full control panel on the rear with the expected XLR/TRS combo jack for an input, power switch that brings them to life with cool KRK lighted logos on the front, and system controls for ground lift, attenuation, standby and dimmer for the logo. The company has also added a precise and somewhat elaborate system of dip switches and notched EQ controls for tailoring the response to a particular room.

The rear panel of the V8 from KRK

Low-frequency response on the V4 was better than expected from something this small. It seems very similar to the Rokit 4 monitors I reviewed a while back. But something was definitely different.

As I moved from the V4 to the V8, the low frequency was fuller. I expected that. Presence was good. Stereo imaging was good. The sweet spot was nice and wide. But that wasn’t what began gnawing at me.

The thing that I couldn’t get past was the detail.

Without exaggeration, I’ve probably listened to (The) Dark Side of the Moon on more than 100 different setups. The details that caught my attention included reverb tails, background noises and several other sounds that I’d never noticed before. It actually provoked me to dig deeper into the dungeon of curmudgeon rock to see what else I could find.

One album that I pull out if monitors can get this far in my test process is Janis Ian’s Breaking Silence. (Don’t roll your eyes at me like that. I bet many of you old guys own a copy. Admit it and we can move on.)

The V4 from KRK

This is one I’ve listened to maybe 20 times all the way through before today. Now it’s been on a loop for close to three hours. Each pass reveals another faint detail that simply was not there before.

The main difference between the V4 and the V8 seems to come down to the type of mixing you do. If it’s usually along the lines of heavy stuff like rap and maybe film scores, the V8 will more than cover those styles of mixes in an average-size room. It feels like low-frequency saturation, with a deep richness. I suspect that most studios won’t even need a sub with this one. It’s all there.

For those who want more low end KRK recommends the 12sHO subwoofer, although just about any sub in the KRK catalog would probably match just fine.

The V8 from KRK

While the V8 excels in the “thumpier” department, the V4s are almost perfect for classical, rock and jazz. Very accurate, and as noted earlier, with a surprising amount of low end.

We live in a world of bigger means better, but these little guys are going to be hard to let go. I have a decent home stereo system for music and movies. In all honesty, except for the deepest lows, these things performed better than that 60-pound pile of gear. I don’t mean to gush, but they simply are so much better than I would have guessed.

In comparison to the Rokit models (reviewed here) that I checked out a while back, the increased definition of the V4 and V8 more than justifies their higher ticket price. I still firmly believe that most project studios will be very happy with the Rokits, but if the material is hypercritical, I strongly advise considering moving up to the V Series.

In my view, both groups are basically their own competition. Street pricing is $399 for a V4 and $799 for a V8. Considering the cost as compared to the quality of product, I can easily recommend them.

Go here to find out more about the KRK V4 and here to check out the V8.

Senior editor .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) has worked in professional audio for more than 20 years in live, install, and recording. Read more of his random rants and tirades here.


About M. Erik

M. Erik Matlock
M. Erik Matlock

Senior Editor, ProSoundWeb
     
Erik worked in a wide range of roles in pro audio for more than 20 years in a dynamic career that encompasses system design and engineering in the live, install and recording markets. He also spent several years as a production staff member and team leader for the largest non-denominational church in central Georgia, and served as an author for several leading industry publications before joining the PSW team.
http://erikmatlock.com

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