Having been raised in a very musical household, Producer, Singer, Songwriter and Guitarist Juan Pablo Vega was destined for musical greatness. After being nominated for ‘Best New Artist’ at the 2014 Latin GRAMMYs, Vega took his music career to the next level by honing in on his production skills. This dedication led him to win his first music production Latin GRAMMY award in 2016 and his first Latin GRAMMY nomination as Producer of the Year in 2019. Throughout the years, Vega has produced and/or co-written a variety of tracks and albums for high-profile Latin artists including Fonseca, Morat, Piso 21, Mike Bahía, Marc Anthony, Danny Ocean, Manuel Medrano, Monsieur Perine, Esteman, Fer Casillas, Alejandro Sanz, Debi Nova, Lasso and many more. As a longtime fan of KRK, Vega recently upgraded from his CLASSIC 5 studio monitors to the more pro-level ROKIT 8 G4s, and he looks forward to continuing to grow alongside the brand.
“I’ve had my KRK CLASSIC 5 studio monitors for a very long time, and I still use them as reference monitors in my home studio. Even though they’re small, they have a beautiful low-end and my ears trust their sound. When I upgraded to the ROKIT 8 G4s for my new studio, I noticed the difference in the sound. The G4s have a flat and faithful tone that’s true to the music I’m producing, and they definitely stand above the competition. I also deploy the KRK Audio Tools app with my ROKIT G4s, and it’s an extremely intuitive interface that helps me get the most out of my monitors. As a producer, I need a fast and reliable solution and the KRK monitors and app give me exactly what I need. KRK is a classic brand that aligns perfectly with the motivated and creative spirit of my production workflow.”
Not too long ago, we released the new generation 4 (G4) of the ROKIT professional studio monitors. Over the years many monitors have come and gone, but the ROKIT legacy is unlike any other studio monitor and surely you have seen the iconic yellow cones everywhere. Some have even contended that the ROKIT monitors are to home recording, to what the old NS-10s were to professional studios back in the day.
Fast-forward to 2020, and it’s no secret that most of those big-player recording studios have closed due to the fact that musicians and songwriters can record professionally on their own. There will always be a need for large-scale/hi-end awesome studios such as The Hit Factory in New York City (who utilize ROKIT G4 7” monitors for reference speakers among others), but even most productions out of those studios have some tracks recorded at home.
So what has made the ROKIT G4 monitors earn so much critical acclaim? What sets them apart from other affordable studio monitors? Here are 5 important elements of the ROKIT G4 that completely set them apart from any other monitor in their price range and beyond.
BUILD-QUALITY AND COMPONENTS
First and foremost, the ROKIT G4 monitors are new from the ground up. These monitors were not “built on” a previous monitor line, and have all new components. Behind those components are painstaking years of research and development in order to make an affordable monitor that can compete with others way beyond their price range. For example, the drivers are made with a top-quality rigid aramid fiber found in monitors far beyond the ROKIT G4 price tag. This material is used in both the woofer and the tweeter so that the frequency reproduction is accurate and balanced throughout the whole frequency range.
Also, the custom cabinet itself was designed at our lab in the USA in a way so that all the parts on the inside work together in harmony to reproduce the most accurate sound. This is important because every small part to a monitor can make it sound different—we used science to make sure the physical parts and location-layout all worked together to correctly aid the voicing of the monitors.
ROKIT G4 is the only monitor in its class with an LCD display which helps the user understand the chosen EQ and frequency response. There are also other preferences and options that can easily be utilized on the LCD making it a super user-friendly experience. The tactile selection knob dials through the presets and options and has a “push to select” feature which makes it simple to navigate. This LCD directly ties into the next feature of built-in room acclimation and tuning.
BUILT-IN ROOM ACCLIMATION WITH 25 EQ PRESETS GUIDED BY AN APP
No other monitor even close to the price class of the ROKIT G4 works with an app. The KRK Audio Tools app is a free (and ad-free) app available on the iOS and Android stores and houses 6 useful audio tools helping to setup any studio space. Five of those tools work with any monitor of any manufacturer, and one tool is specific to ROKIT G4. For any monitoring system, these tools include Spectrum Real Time Analyzer, Level Meter, Monitor Align, Delay Distance, and Polarity. Specific to the ROKIT G4 monitor is the EQ Recommendation Tool.
This EQ Recommendation tool is really what separates the ROKIT G4 from any other monitor on the market. Simply stated, the KRK Audio Tools app sends pink noise through the monitors and analyzes it along with the rooms physical environment. After this cycle, the app will recommend the best EQ preset on the ROKIT G4 getting the user to a “flatter” working environment. Why is this important? Because when you are “mixing” music you want the most accurate representation from the monitors so that you can make precise mixing decisions.
Think about it this way: when mixing, if you hear too much low-end from your monitors you will pull those frequencies back—this is a “mix decision.” If the abundance of those frequencies was falsely created from your monitors (inaccurate monitors), your final mix will now lack low-end. It’s a story that happens over and over again—it sounds great in your studio, but then on other systems it sounds completely different. This result is most likely because your “mix decisions” were not based on monitors with an accurate frequency response. ROKIT G4 monitors were made to fix this problem by adjusting to different environments, resulting in flatter frequency responses.
One more advantage on having the built-in EQ is the option of diversity between “creating” and “mixing.” Sometimes when we create music in different genres, we want to feel more energy from our environment. The older ROKIT generations where known for this “vibe” and really gave the creator some thump on the low and low-mid frequencies. That “thump” can still be obtained with the ROKIT G4 by adjusting the EQ settings to your taste, so you have the best of both worlds between music creation and music mixing.
ISOLATION PADS, LIMITER AND CLASS D AMPLIFICATION
ROKIT G4 monitors have high-density isolation pads on the bottom which help decouple them from the surface they are on. This helps with frequency definition and a more focused sweet-spot. They also have an on-board limiter working with the power amp in an unobtrusive manor which kicks in only when the system has hit its limit. This has two benefits: to protect the system from damaging the drivers, and to also give you clear consistent sound reproduction at very high volumes (SPL). In testing KRK ROKIT G4 with other monitors in its price class you will find the competitors either greatly distorting or even shutting down altogether with possible damage.
PROTECTIVE GRILLES AND COLOR OPTIONS
No other monitors in the ROKIT price class offer an option for protection. You put a lot of time and effort into your music, and KRK ROKIT G4 Studio Monitors are an investment into that dedication. Fortunately, you can protect them with the new stylish ROKIT G4 Grille Covers made specifically for RP5G4 (5”), RP7G4 (7”) and RP8G4 (8”). These grilles are made with premium components and built to spec insuring a seamless integration into the monitor’s cabinetry system itself. The form factor of these stylish monitor accessories have been tested not only for solid protection against all elements, but also to ensure that no frequencies are hindered by their use. Durably crafted perforated steel is the defense mechanism in place from anything getting between the monitor’s drivers and your environment. Whether you’re a producer on the move creating tracks in different places, a touring DJ, or in need of protection against whatever alien-intruders you fight off in your studio, ROKIT G4 Grille Covers will have you protected.
KRK ROKIT G4 5″ 7″ AND 8″ are also available in the stunning “White Noise”
Just like KRK Systems, ROKIT G4 user Gabe Simon is Behind Great Music as an all-in-one songwriter/producer/musician. He began his career while in college, writing for and fronting the indie-rock band Kopecky which had great and widespread critical acclaim and Alternative Radio success for the 2012 release of “Kids Raising Kids” via ATO Records and the 2015 sophomore release of “Drug For The Modern Age.” Since then, Gabe has been busy producing and writing songs for numerous projects including Dua Lipa, Wilder Woods, Jai Wolf, American Authors, Adam Lambert, Coin, and Fever 333 to name a few. Gabe is currently working with Grandson, MXMTOON, Miya Follick, Whethan, Lovely the Band, and Grizfolk.
We are fortunate to have Gabe as a “KRK Blog-takeover Artist” who has shared his songwriting approach and perspectives with us through his unique world:
As a producer/artist/creator, I spend about half my time co-writing. Before Covid-19 2020 I brought people into my home to collaborate 3-4 times a week. And now, with Zoom and plug-ins like Audiomovers, I’m collaborating probably 2-3 times a week.
I think people have trouble getting into co-writing because they think it’s scary to work out great/shitty/weird ideas in front of people. Or they think it reflects on their creativity in some negative light. But music is collaborative by nature. Playing guitar in your room is just playing guitar, but bring a friend over on drums and it becomes music. A great idea can happen in a split-second flash and if you’re not paying close attention, the moment will slip by without anyone noticing.
I’m terrible with this—I have a horrible memory and half the time I forget to hit record on my iPhone to capture the 30-seconds that happened over a 3-hour period of coffee and cigarettes with another songwriter, so I started tracking the entirety of my sessions. I don’t like when people feel like they are being recorded, (even though, ironically, that’s what we are there to do). People have a tendency to change once they know they’re on tape. So now, I’ll usually turn on my piano mics (a pair of Electro Voice 635As), and they pick up conversation incredibly well.
As a co-writer, you have to be spontaneous. Sometimes the moment is perfect, so we just have to record it where it is. I operate a studio that’s ready to go at any second, so usually I can throw a mic on the guitar (87 or 414c) and cut a vocal (SM7 or 87) in 30 minutes – then I’ll dive into production to keep the moment going.
I find co-writing is all about scene changes. The idea that sparked the excitement might come from a guitar and vocal, but the concept for verse two starts with an 808 or Mellotron line, so I want to be ready to run. I understand this isn’t feasible for everybody, but the more you can streamline your set up, the better. It helps you get out of the way and allows the music to happen.
I started producing for this very reason. I was sick of walking into rooms and running faster than the producer. I thought the pace killed the vibe because they always seemed caught off guard when we needed to hit record, so I started producing and creating in a way that focused on the moment. Thankfully, artists and writers love the efficiency and excitement of this creative process. It’s not original, but I do it my way.
But it all comes back to the moment when the universe aligns, all existence is at peace, and the greatest song idea ever is born. That moment usually happens when you’re dropping the kids off at school, or cowering in a coffee shop, or out of breath on a treadmill, but the co-writing session begins before the co-writing session. It doesn’t matter what the style is: trap, hip hop, rock, alt, pop, bedroom, electronic, or just plain old piano vocal – but come into the room prepared with something.
By nature, I’m a melody guy. I hear things and then I sing them in an unintelligible language. I do that over and over again until the chants of some lost tribal language turn into lines like “you can bury every hatchet, but you can’t bury the past.” It’s my process—it’s bizarre, but I like it. My wife hates it and my kids don’t get it, but it’s my thing. Do your thing!
Some of my best ideas come from this process. I have over 10,000 voice memos on my phone and only around 20 are worth a replay. Or at least that’s what I think… Sometimes I send one of those other 9,980 ideas to my manager or publisher who say, “You know, this song ‘New Recording 5938’ is kinda dope”. That’s the best and worst part about managers and publishers; they make you question everything. Sometimes you send what you think is the best idea ever – I mean “Let It Be” on MDMA – and get a… “Meh”.
But I love that questioning. It Keeps me on my toes—makes me work harder. Also, I only trust a few people, and I really trust them. And my own instincts. And if my wife hates it, it’s a hit.
If a song gets an A+ in all those categories, we are doing great. I want my team to love it, because if they love it they can pitch it and help it find a home.
Sometimes my team doesn’t like a song. If they don’t think it’s a hit and I do, I’ll go pitch it. There was a song that I pitched in an A&R’s office and I told them the story, and why it was great, and then I left. The next day I got a call saying, “So-and-so wants to cut it.” Your career in music only works as hard as you work. This same rule applies to your team.
My publishers (Pulse) are badasses. Not only do they make sure songs are registered properly with ASCAP (or whichever Performing Rights Organization you like), they do all the yucky split stuff. It’s usually easy: 3 people in the room, let’s split three ways. But sometimes, you got a dude who has a dude, and they brought in their mom, and her sister adds a snare on the last verse, and the artist wants 25%. Suddenly, you’re only getting 5%… so you need a publisher and a manager who fight for every piece.
You gotta knock on doors if you believe in something. I call people all the time. “What’s exciting? Who’s looking? When can I get them in the studio?” I don’t think it should be intimidating. It’s music, not life and death. And the people in this business all want the same thing you do: the moment. Where they get to be a part of building something – to hear that hit before anyone else – to dream things that 3 minutes ago didn’t even cross their minds.
“Go. Be reckless. Be smart! Create in bizarre ways. Be prepared for the unknown. Make dope shit and they will come.”
~ Gabe Simon
Gabe Simon uses KRK Monitors, Epiphone and Gibson guitars.
We created the ROKIT G4 (Generation 4) monitors specifically for modern music creators. They were meticulously re-engineered to work in any environment from professional studios, to home studios, to hotel rooms, dorm rooms, and everywhere in between. We partnered with some of the most trusted industry ears and put them up against every single monitor on the market in their price class. We went back to the drawing board many times until we were satisfied that our customers would have the best music creation tool possible.
We are thankful that our work on the ROKIT G4 series has been recognized by these great industry resources:
ROKIT G4 – 7″ (#1 Best Studio Monitor Speaker in the World Today):
“For starters, the G4 range is among the first monitor series at this price bracket to include a graphic EQ function on the speaker itself. In-built digital signal processing (DSP) offers a suite of tools, including a room analyser, to ensure the speakers’ output compensates the space you’re mixing in for any dead-zones or sonic blind spots you may be unwittingly harbouring.”
ROKIT G4 – 5″ (#1 Best Studio Monitors For Home Recording in 2020):
“The other big addition to the new line, and the reason the slight bump in price is worth it, is the addition of brand new DSP and a new rear-mounted screen that allows you to tune the monitors to your room, adjust EQ curves and eliminate problems with acoustics based upon your space.
Overall, the new ROKIT G4s will likely become the new standard in home studio setups, so don’t be surprised if your Insta-feed is soon flooded with yellow speakers and unboxing videos.”
“Accurate and consistent sound quality; good value for the money; DSP-based EQ offers plenty of room-tuning options; tight-sounding bass; Rokit 5 G4 offers good bass response for its size; Encoder/LCD interface allows for precise L/R matching; acoustic pads on bottom help with decoupling.”
We take KRK’s brand statement “Behind Great Music” seriously on all fronts. It means everything we do from manufacturing to supporting artists is all about enabling musicians to have the freedom to create and deliver the best projects possible. This month, we are excited and honored to put the spotlight onto one of the most imaginative modern music creators out there, 1$T (a.k.a. Fki 1st) who has recently released the album “Tokyo Project.” 1$T has always used KRK gear to deliver his definitive sound and style to the masses, some including “Watch Out” — 2 Chainz, “Work” — Iggy Azalea, “Notice Me” — Migos feat. Post Malone, “Weekend” — Mac Miller feat. Miguel, “The Meaning” – Fki 1st & Post Malone, and the 5x Platinum Single “White Iverson” – Post Malone, to name just a few. We were excited and thankful to spend some time with 1$T to find out how his new project came together.
1$T is originally from Atlanta and has now transplanted to Los Angeles where he spends a good amount of time in his multi-room studio facility. In that studio is where he feels most comfortable and “communicates” through his genre-less and melodic music creations. In those creations and at his core, lives the influences of artists such as George Clinton, and iconic Atlanta producer-artists Zaytoven, T.I., Shawty Redd and Young Jeezy to name a few. Known for his left-of-Trap style of music and production, 1$T got his feet wet in production initially through a friend who one summer introduced him to beat-making on computers. As music-fate would have it, from there his determination, innate skill set and easy-going demeaner all worked together to put him in a room with Post Malone where the 5 x Platinum song “White Iverson” was created.
Maybe one of the reasons why 1$T has been so successful with his collaborations is because there’s not a single rule or protocol in place when he approaches a new song or track. 1$T told us, usually the only common thread throughout his creative process is centering everything around the song title — ”the name.” “The title of the song is like a movie—it’s like a living person—if you give it a name that’s the beginning right there.” 1$T went on to tell us, “I have a list of names and titles in my phone, this is everything to me. When you base your creative process around a title it helps you see everything through.” From there 1$T lets everything go with the flow and sometimes tracks will initially support the name/title through a keyboard melody, drums or anything else that flows into his open mind in the studio.
Tokyo Project Background
1$T is one of the few and new modern music creators who has found success toggling back and forth from wearing the “producer” hat to the “artist” hat. 2016 he found himself on a sold out tour with Fetty Wap and Post Malone supporting the Welcome to the Zoo Tour. On that tour the bus was fitted with a working studio where he was able to continue working on his own music throughout the tour. This past year, 1$T got back into that artist mindset where he and his Good Gas Crew headed over to Japan on an inspirational trip where they worked on the music for the release.
The full album which was completely produced and written by 1$T, features 8 songs and 8 videos outlining the spiritual and cultural journey across the world to Tokyo. This jaunt was also documented on best understood by this video creatively rendered as a visual mixtape. While in Japan 1$T also began working on his forthcoming Good Gas Tokyo installment recording alongside Young Coco, KOHH, and many more producers and artists.
The Making of Tokyo Project
KRK: From a writing standpoint, do you usually start with building a beat, or are you “composing” with specific lyric and melody ideas?
1$T: I start with title of the song and then melody, then lyrics, and then add the drums last. For example on the Tokyo Project – I was in the studio one day and I wanted to make something smooth, I was on a really smooth vibe, real cool vibe, could have been the gas or something, but I needed a word something to describe it – VELVET described it. Then from there the melody came, then I wrote all the words, then I added the drums.
KRK: What was your vocal chain for recording vocals on The Tokyo Project?
1$T: Whenever I record, I always use the U87 mic into the SSL super analog channel – that’s the compressor and preamp all in one, and we record everything in Pro Tools.
KRK: Where do you get your “sounds” from?
1$T: When I can, I like to create my own samples – whether it’s an old song I made or old loop I made—I like to sample my own stuff, even if it’s a song I just made yesterday. I like to go through my catalog and make stuff sound different, update it.
On the song Pass it to Myself, the female vocal sample was actually from a session from 3 years ago with an artist. I like to keep my iTunes on shuffle and whatever hits my ear I sample it, so that song popped up. I pitched up the whole song with her old vocals and made it into a completely new song and now it sounds like a vintage sample.
Also, I always stay consistent with the 808 – I might stretch it or add distortion but I always use the same 808.
KRK: In a bit of detail, what are you currently working on during the Coronavirus health crisis?
1$T: I‘m quarantining in the desert so I’m creating a whole new project out here. But I’m also fine-tuning my next project that’s coming out soon called MCM aka Magic City Markous. We definitely always have more Good Gas releases coming up. We are about to drop a Good Gas song with S3nsi Molly and also working on Good Gas Vol. 4.
KRK: What are you currently using for KRK gear?
1$T: The vibe of the ROKITs for creating music is essential to me. I actually have 3 sets of the KRKs and I use them all in different ways. I can’t live without the KRK ROKIT 10-3 for monitoring. The KRK V Series is what I mix on along with the krk 12” sub. That combo is magic and the KRK 12sHO sub is the best sub ever.
Share your sound with Gibson, Epiphone and KRK at the 2020 NAMM Convention to win KRK Monitors, Headphones and an Epiphone Uptown Kat ES guitar
KRK Systems, the leading manufacturer of home and professional studio monitors for recording and mixing, together with Epiphone and parent company, Gibson Brands, will be hosting its First Annual NAMM Guitar Solo Contest at the Gibson booth (300A) during NAMM 2020. Contestants can sign up daily at the KRK section of the Gibson booth from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
From the sign-up, ten contestants will be selected on a first-come, first-served basis, and two contestants will be selected randomly, all to perform between 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. each day. During the performances, each contestant will have 15 minutes to prepare and compete. This includes selecting their guitar and digital amp tone, taking two practice runs over the simple 30-second music composition, and finally performing live in front of NAMM-goers through a pair of KRK ROKIT G4 10-3 three-way monitors on the third and final take. All final takes will be recorded live on-site.
Each day, after the final 12 daily performances, the recordings will be judged on specific criteria (Creativity, Originality, Accuracy, and Technique) by a panel of Gibson employees and endorsed artists. One winner per day will receive a pair of KRK ROKIT G4 studio monitors, KRK KNS Headphones and other Gibson and Epiphone swag. Winners will be announced daily at 4:30 p.m. at the KRK booth and on social media. They will also be contacted by a Gibson representative who will coordinate the shipping of the daily prize. The winners do not have to be present to collect the prizes.
Following the completion of the 2020 NAMM Show, each daily winner will be entered into a final, grand prize round of the competition where one grand prize winner will be awarded a new Epiphone Uptown Kat ES guitar, along with bragging rights for the year.
With KRK, you’re not going to find a group of people more supportive or fired-up about DIY music creation. On a daily basis, we thankfully hear from and talk to incredibly talented musicians, producers, mixing engineers and songwriters about their experiences with our gear. Recently, we caught up with a KRK user who we truly respect in that DIY spirit; someone who will forever be ingrained in Rock & Roll history with one of the most engaging music videos ever.
If you’re a fan of great music and music videos, you certainly remember the band OK Go’s “Treadmill Video.”—it was epic. It captured your attention immediately and it was incredibly original considering we are now at a point in time where kids eat Tide PODS® to get acceptance. No, this was not a gimmick, this was simply a group of Rock & Roll soldiers doing something they needed to do – make a video for a great song without the support of their major label, who at the time wasn’t giving them the attention they needed. In that procedure, the guys of OK Go stumbled upon something so authentic in which we now know of today as “gone viral” and “must see.”
It was “that thing” you can’t put your finger on that makes you watch certain content repeatedly. “We made that video completely on our own,” Dan told us while producing a new band out in Denver, CO. “We weren’t getting what we needed from the label at the time, so we had to figure something out with what we had in front of us—we had to do something. We didn’t ask for permission and the label basically wasn’t involved until after we uploaded it to YouTube on our own.”
KRK is very excited to have taken permanent residency in Dan’s home studio who is a principal member, drummer, producer and re-mixer for the GRAMMY Award-winning group. He relies on KRK monitors, subs and headphones to produce music with his band, but most recently, he has also implemented the gear into his workflow for projects with SoundBetter, the world’s leading music production marketplace, which helps musicians around the world connect with and hire top music pros to mix release-ready songs. With KRK’s new ROKIT G4 studio monitors, 12S powered Subwoofer and KNS 8400 Headphones, Dan feels more confident than ever in the quality of his mixes.
Though the ROKITs are his current go-to monitor solution, his initial introduction to our brand was through the eight-inch model of the renowned two-way V Series (V8) Powered Reference Monitors. “I first began my search for studio monitors because I needed something that was going to sound better than my home speakers,” he says. “I’ve been using the V Series 4 V8s for many years and I have never been disappointed. When the new ROKIT G4 range was released, I knew I had to get my hands on them.”
Working on both sides of the music industry—live stages and in-studio—Dan especially knows the value of a high-quality mix; that’s why KRK’s ROKIT G4s have become a staple solution in his home studio. “These studio monitors do their job perfectly and they’re involved in everything that I do musically,” he adds. “I receive such great feedback with the ROKIT G4s. SoundBetter clients seek professional-quality mixes that they cannot produce on their own and KRK monitors allow me to provide the most pristine mix to my clients, so I know I can meet their expectations. The reliability and quality of the G4s is something that I’ve never seen before at this price point—it’s really amazing.”
Please visit here for more information on working with Dan Konopka on the Soundbetter.com platform.
Please visit here for information on the most innovative studio monitor line on the market.
At KRK, we worked hard on making sure the new ROKIT G4 studio monitors were the absolute best they could be. We took a lot of knowledge from what we learned making the higher-end V Series 4 monitors, to reinvent a new product that delivers incredibly accurate sound reproduction for all music genres and applications.
What does this mean exactly? It means the more accurate the music playback is in terms of frequencies, levels, depth, effects and panning, the more accurate your decisions will be in your production. Ultimately, your final productions will sound better when played back on other systems outside of your studio. We spent immeasurable amounts of time and energy comparing them to everything else out there on the market, and we went back to the drawing board many times to get it right.
Below are some excerpts from new ROKIT G4 reviews:
“The ROKIT 5″ G4 is a fantastic improvement on the well-respected ROKIT theme in every way, and proof that great-sounding small monitors do not have to break the bank.”
“The new ROKIT 5″ G4 has an improved high end that is more open and detailed that that of previous models.”
“The sound and the feel of the low end on the G4 is deep, open, and dimensional. It is best described as less blunt than previous models, and offers more low-end detail and nuance than before, most likely due to the use of Kevlar®.”
“Overall, the new ROKIT 5″ G4 reminds me more of KRK’s V series 4 than the older ROKIT series.”
“Accurate and consistent sound quality; good value for the money; DSP-based EQ offers plenty of room-tuning options; tight-sounding bass; ROKIT 5″ G4 offers good bass response for it’s size.”
“On the 8-inch monitors, the bass sounded full but not flabby. Mids were vibrant, and the highs were plenty bright.”
“I was definitely impressed with the 5-inch and 8-inch ROKIT G4 Monitors and would have no problem using either in my studio on a regular basis.”
“KRK has raised the prices a little on each model in the series, but the speakers are still quite reasonable and are one of the better monitor values on the market.”
“The KRK RP8 monitors (after minimal tweaks) are as close to perfect as any monitor I’ve had in the same left/right positions. I found them to have enough low frequencies and clarity so as to be easy to mix on. Inherent problems and flaws in recordings and mixes show up at low volume levels. Love these!”
Between the matching drivers made with Kevlar®, the solid craftsmanship of the new enclosure, and the on-board DSP-driven EQ that works with the KRK Audio Tools App, we think you will hear the quality of sound immediately. Please visit your nearest KRK dealer for a demonstration so you can hear for yourself how ROKIT G4 monitors will elevate your music productions.
DuPont™ and Kevlar® are trademarks or registered trademarks of E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company.
The new KRK Audio Tools app will help anyone setup their studio for better mixing decisions! We are excited to announce that the free KRK Audio Tools App is now available for download from the Apple and Android stores. It’s a free suite of professional studio tools and includes five useful analysis-based components that help setup any brand of monitors, and one powerful tool (EQ Recommendation) that helps acclimate the new KRK ROKIT G4 monitors to their individual acoustic environment.
We wanted to build something game-changing for the new ROKIT G4 line that enables you to achieve better final mixes overall. In terms of critical listening, the G4 monitors are completely different, and a major upgrade from the previous G3 line, so our intentions with the EQ Recommendation tool were to suggest a flatter condition and help get you to a better starting point. Ultimately, it still comes down to preference and using your musical ear, but it’s certainly great to have this feature available along with the others in the app.
Five of the app tools work with any monitor setup. This includes the Level Meter, which assists with monitor level calibration to ensure all monitors are at the same dB level, as well as the Delay Analysis feature that helps calculate the time from each monitor to the user’s ears. Additionally, the app’s Polarity function is used to verify the correct wiring of monitors, minimizing bass loss and incorrect stereo imaging reproduction—the results of monitors being out of phase, while the Spectrum RTA and Sound Generator are great for finding nuances in any environment. Also included is an unprecedented Monitor Alignment feature, which is used to determine the best placement of multiple monitors within proximity. Finally, the EQ Recommendation tool, specific to ROKIT G4 helps acclimate monitors to an environment by analyzing the app-generated pink noise and subsequently suggesting the best EQ preset, which is set manually on the back of the G4 monitors.
Here is an overview of each tool:
EQ Recommendation Tool
The EQ Recommendation Tool is specific to ROKIT G4 owners, while all the other tools below will work with any studio monitor setup. Use the EQ Recommendation tool to determine which DSP EQ presets to engage on the back of your ROKIT G4 monitors. It is advised to use this tool after you align and calibrate the level of the monitors (see below).
To use the EQ Recommendation tool, use a Y-cable splitter from your headphone jack to the monitor’s inputs. Place your phone microphone at ear level in the ideal listening position and tap the play button. A pink noise signal will be played for analysis purposes. Check the signal strength level meter and make sure that the signal is not too low or too high. The analysis will take around 20 seconds to finish. During the analysis, move the phone slowly in a figure 8 pattern around the listening sweet spot while the measurement is being made. This will create a better average the data being analyzed resulting in more consistent recommendations.
Once the analysis is finished the screen will show you a recommendation EQ preset number to use with your monitors. Go to the back of your ROKIT G4 monitor and use the dial to select the recommended settings. Again, our intentions with the EQ Recommendation tool are to suggest a flatter condition to help get you to a better starting point with your monitors. Ultimately, it still comes down to your preference, style of music, and your musical ear. So, use this tool to experiment with what works best for you.
Spectrum RTA Tool
The Spectrum RTA Tool is used to measure and display the frequency spectrum of the input audio signal in real time. It uses the Fast Fourier Transform algorithm to generate its frequency analysis view of amplitude vs frequency. This analysis can be used to detect various factors that affect the listening experience in your environment. It includes a signal generator that can generate sine waves, white noise, and pink noise. There is also a peak hold function. If you tap onto the screen, a cursor display will appear showing you the actual frequency and amplitude values. To disable the cursor just drag it outside the screen.
Level Meter Tool
The Level Meter Tool is used for monitor level calibration (making sure your monitors are at the same volume). We advise to calibrate your monitors one at a time to make sure that all monitors are at the same level.
To calibrate the monitors, you will first need to generate pink noise with the Sound Generator Tool using a Y-cable splitter from your headphone jack to the monitor’s input. The ideal location for the phone microphone is at ear level in your general listening position. The Level Meter shows two bar graphs to show the actual level of the monitor, one green for the RMS value and one yellow for the peak value. You can tap the max peak label on the bottom of the level meter to reset its value. There is a red clip indicator on top of the level meter which can be tapped to reset.
Monitor Align Tool
Monitor Align Tool is used to perfectly align the angle of your studio monitors.
The left and right studio monitors should be approximately 1 to 1.5 meters (3 to 5 feet) apart and directed at a 30-degree angle towards your listening location. This will form an equilateral triangle between the two monitors and your ears. The tweeters should be at the same height as your ears when your seated in your listening position.
To use the Monitor Align Tool, start by turning your monitors so they face straight out with no inward angle, and place your device on top of either the left or right monitor. Tap the left, or right monitor icon depending on which you started with, and then turn the monitor until the desired angle 30-degree angle is reached. The speaker display graphic will turn green when the recommended 30-degree angle is reached. Repeat the process for the other monitor. Tap the listener icon to reset the process.
The Delay Tool is used to time-align your monitors in a multi monitor system. The sound from each individual monitor takes different increments of time to reach your ear. This can have a negative effect on your listening experience if the time-delays are not even. This tool will allow you to calculate the time-delay of each monitor to reach your listening spot.
To measure the delay time from one monitor to your ears, first place the microphone as close as possible to the woofer and tap the play button. This will create a reference measurement of zero milliseconds. Now, place the microphone at the listening position and tap the play button again. This will measure the actual delay time between the monitor and your listening position. The time delay from each monitor to the listening position should match as closely as possible. You can use these delay values together with the monitor align tool to help find the optimal placement for your monitors in context with your listening area (where your ears are generally located when you listen).
This tool is helpful to approximate the distance between the monitors, and then from the monitors to your ears–creating the perfect listening triangle. You can use these distance values together with the monitor align tool to help find the optimal placement for your monitors.
Polarity Tool is used for verifying that monitors are wired correctly. Individual monitor polarity in a monitoring system is an important parameter to check. If polarity is wrong (out of phase), then the sound will result in bass loss and incorrect stereo imaging reproduction.
To use Polarity Tool, use a Y-cable splitter from your headphone jack to the monitor input and send the built-in test signal to your specific monitor by holding the phone microphone up to that specific monitor. In the polarity tool screen, you can see an audio input oscilloscope configured in automatic mode. Increase the volume of the monitor until the test signal waveform is shown correctly and the oscilloscope triggers, freezing the waveform. Keep a minimum distance of 1-inch and maximum distance of 12-inches from the phone microphone to the monitor driver cone to get accurate measurements. The polarity is read indicating whether the driver is in positive or negative polarity. Green (+) for positive and red (-) for negative. You can repeat this process for the other monitors in your system setup.
Please take note that in some models (for example: ROKIT 5 [RP5G4]), the tweeter is opposite polarity of the woofer by design.
We hope these audio tools are helpful for achieving better results with your audio productions and look forward to hearing what you create!
KRK ROKIT G4 monitors have landed, and we have been asked one question a lot lately: “What’s the difference between the KRK ROKIT G3 and the KRK ROKIT G4 monitors?” In this article, with the help of the KRK Product Development Team’s inside insight (The ROKIT Scientists), we list the main features and then break down the differences both technically and sonically.
The all-new ROKIT G4 (Generation 4) monitors are starting to land in stores worldwide and are already quickly gaining mass popularity from those who are comparing them to the competition. The new lineup consists of the Bi-amped RP5G4 (5″), RP7G4 (7″) RP8G4 (8″) and the thunderous RP103G4 (10″ Tri-amp midfield). Since 2003, the popular ROKIT line (including G3) had essentially been the same design birthed from those early KRK monitors. The new G4 is not a refresh, but a complete re-engineering exercise that brings the true pro sound and experience of monitors found at a much higher price-level. In fact, many features found in the KRK V Series 4 monitors have been incorporated into the new ROKIT G4 line.
If you are reading this, you are most likely somewhat familiar with the world-wide popularity of the ROKIT Generation 3 monitors. If you are in the market for new monitors, or upgrading your existing monitors, you may be wondering what the main differences are between the two generations. Our ROKIT product “Scientists” break it down:
Q: How is the low end different on the KRK ROKIT G4 from the G3 line?
On the new G4 line, we worked hard at making the low end truly accurate with clarity so that your mixes really translate when played on different systems and devices. With the G3 series set to “0,” the low end was great for “producing.” Most pros that used them to make commercial records (specifically with “mixing”) would set the low end switch back a notch to get a more flat response. The G4 line is completely different. Because of the new design and construction, there is amazing clarity in the low end and you don’t need to boost it to “feel” it. The “FLAT” setting in general is thoroughly accurate, but if you want an added bass bump when you are producing or “creating,” you have the option to pump it up 2dB. In our research, we have found that most likely you won’t need to raise the low end because the G4 has deeper low end “extension,” and by design you will hear lower frequencies than you could with the G3 line.
Q: What is the actual sound difference when using “matching” Kevlar® for both drivers?
The G3 line had a much different sound. The matching Kevlar® brings a level of clarity and truth to what you are listening to. Kevlar® is a very tightly wound, high-quality rigid fiber material. There is a consistent sonic quality throughout the entire freq spectrum. With matching Kevlar® , you lose that feeling of various frequencies coming from different places—and sometimes you don’t realize this is happening when your mixing on other monitors—but it is. This causes instability in what you are hearing as well as ear fatigue. When you get in front of ROKIT G4 monitors, you instantly here and “feel” the solid nature of the system. Many of our beta-testers described it as hearing and feeling sonic definition. The low-end of the spectrum is also tighter and more accurate.
Q: Do speakers with matching Kevlar® generally cost more?
Kevlar® is a more expensive material to use for the drivers, so we had to work hard at making it a totally professional monitor at this price point. We used an LCD and one encoder to make adjustments to the Volume, EQ and Settings. There were no compromises in any of the form-factors, components or build quality—we were able to make this new ROKIT G4 line affordable but totally pro for any user.
Q: Why is Kevlar® a good material for THE KRK ROKIT G4 MONITORS?
Kevlar® has inherently good damping, which helps to reduce resonances or ringing. When it’s designed into a woven pattern, it also has the added benefit of non-modal diaphragm breakup. This means that any peaks and nulls in magnitude created by diaphragm breakup, is pushed beyond the pass-band of the driver. The result is a “solid” and “true” sound.
A simpler way of saying it is that this leads to a massive soundscape. You do not lose the kick drum attack when the bass comes in, because the speaker gives you the attack of the kick and is then ready for the attack of the bass milliseconds later. This is the same throughout the frequency spectrum, so it feels almost as if each instrument and voice has its own little speaker, and yet they are all together in one. This helps you dial in great tones as you are producing and recording, and helps you make great decisions when you mix and master.
Q: Are there any specific design elements of the KRK ROKIT G4 system that offer benefit, and how does that apply to the difference in sound from the G3 line?
The G4 line is a completely “new” product from conception to manufacturing. All of the new designs and components were meticulously thought out so that they all work harmoniously together. The matching Kevlar® , the DSP driven EQ, the actual sound-cavern and new front-firing port design, etc.—they all work together to benefit the listener’s experience. G3 was designed to be a good sounding speaker system that could be used as a tool for monitoring. G4 is designed as a tool for “studio monitoring” and “studio-grade applications” with the benefit of being a great sounding speaker system.
In terms of the sound, in a nutshell users will hear the KRK ROKIT G4 as punchier and clearer with a much wider and deeper stereo image. The low-end still has great extension, but it’s more accurate for mixing and mastering. As one of our reviewers said, G3 was a good sounding budget monitor, but G4 is a “great affordable studio monitor.” We took the best of what made G3 a great budget monitor and improved it to be a very professional affordable studio monitor.
Q: How is the voicing different from G3 to KRK ROKIT G4?
The voicing of a studio monitor, to put it simply, is the tone and vibe of the sound coming from the drivers (speakers). It truly is part science—and part art. Because we are using DSP for the voicing and crossover, we were able to make the G4 incredibly flat without sounding harsh or nasally. This helps make them great for getting the job done as an audio professional, while also enjoying the experience without ear-fatigue (also known as listening fatigue—a phenomenon that occurs after prolonged mixing or working with audio).
Q: What’s the purpose of the LCD DSP EQ on the KRK ROKIT G4 opposed to the switches on the G3?
The EQ on G3 and ROKIT G4 basically achieve the same purpose, but the G4 offers more options. The main difference is that on the G4 there are 5 choices each of low end and high end adjustments that are not only shelving EQs, but also peak EQs. This gives a much bigger range of possibilities and can also help with room anomalies.
Also noteworthy is that the “Flat” setting will work well in most rooms regardless of the environment, but the DSP-driven EQ offers 25 different voicing possibilities, if and when desired. That sounds confusing but it is just 5 low end and 5 high end settings (5×5=25 settings). Listen to some of your favorite sounding tracks and adjust the monitors to what you like.
Here are a couple examples of how you would use the EQ.
-2db at 200Hz is called a desk filter. It is an EQ setting that helps you if you have a large flat surface in front of your monitors, such as a big desk or big mixing board. It causes you to get a build up of frequencies in the low mids due to these frequencies bouncing off these surfaces and adding to what is coming from the monitor. You engage this and it “cleans up” those freq.
If you are in the production phase of a project and you are recording or making beats, etc. you can engage the +2db at 60Hz to bring a more creative vibe to the studio. When you begin to mix, then you take it back to FLAT so you make accurate mixing decisions.
If you have hard surfaces in your studio, your monitors may feel bright. If this is the case you can engage -1dB at 3.5kHz and 10kHz.
Q: How will the KRK Audio Tools App work to help condition an environment?
The KRK Audio Tools App is close to the final stage of development. It’s a is a simple, yet useful, pink noise generator and Real Time Analyzer that will suggest the best presets for your monitor in relation to your environment. It is not meant to be an ultimate solution, but it will help you get into a better place for producing, mixing and mastering your work.
In the past, pro studios were multi-million dollar facilities that were built around making “the monitor” sound precise. Monitors did not have EQ control and the corrections in sound had to be made to the actual room. In general, a studio design engineer would have a room built, install the monitors, and then they would play pink noise through those monitors to see where there was a build up or deficiency in the frequency spectrum. Incredibly, they would then often correct this by reconstruction of the room. If there were big dips in the low end they would put in bass traps. If there was too much of a certain high frequency, they would put up diffusers in specific areas.
In today’s modern studio, many pros are working in home-studios and project-studios of all kinds which can cause EQ issues. While we cannot correct every issue you may encounter, the G4 line will give you more EQ choices than most monitors to help you get into a better sonic environment. The app will give suggestions of things to try, but ultimately we recommend using your own ears to decide if you like the suggestions. One thing we have discovered with the V Series 4 and now ROKIT G4 is that the Kevlar® drivers and voicing really help them work in most situations just set to “FLAT”. The App will be available soon and will work not only with the G4 line but with other KRK monitors as well.
Q: How does the power amp in the KRK ROKIT G4 differ from that in the G3?
The power amp(s) in the KRK ROKIT G4 are new and completely different. Class D power has come a long way in the last 5 years. In fact up until recently, it would not have been classified as a “feature.” Our new custom Class D power runs cooler and is a bit more punchy than the Class A/B amps in the G3 line. They are also lighter in general, so if you travel with your monitors, they are easy to transport. The amps take up less space in the cabinet as well, so there’s more room for design elements inside the cabinet to benefit the listener’s experience.
Q: Why is the front slotted port on the KRK ROKIT G4 more flexible (better) for room positioning?
In general, front ported monitors don’t suffer if you need to position them close to a wall or corner. In some cases from different manufacturers, monitors that are rear-ported can have their frequency responses change if they are too close to a wall. The G4 line has a new proprietary front-firing port that systematically manages the airflow in a way that makes it conducive to virtually any configuration. This system starts from the inside of the monitor itself and continues through the port and speakers.
Q: How is the listening sweet-spot different on the KRK ROKIT G4 from the G3?
The ROKIT G4’s new Kevlar® tweeter and scientifically designed waveguide give the system a very wide sweet spot without sacrificing precision or clarity. We have conducted many blind tests with other monitors in our facility and the difference is considerable even to those who are not mixing engineers. Participants found our G4 line to have a much wider and open sound compared to other monitors in their price range. The sound has also been noted as “solid” in a “wide range” when moving around the mix position compared to other monitors.
Q: Are the acoustic pads on the KRK ROKIT G4 the same as the G3?
Yes, they are exactly the same and we kept them the same for a reason—they work very well. Most monitors at this price point to not have them. They isolate the vibrations from the cabinet so they don’t travel into your desk or monitor stands. The result is tighter and clearer low end. We have tested measurements on this concept. At one point we were going to eliminate them, but then when we did the tests and we didn’t want to cut any corners.
The new KRK ROKIT G4 monitors are now in retail stores worldwide. We highly recommend you visit your local dealer to compare and hear the difference yourself. Please visit the following sites for more information: