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Friday, September 6, 2013

Home Recording Review!
KRK ROKIT RP 10-3 Powered Loudspeaker:
"Impressive Monitoring For Your Home Rig!"



Brevis...
Price: $839 retail ($500 street)
Likes: amazing accuracy, good amp
Dislikes: no front panel power switch
More info: KRK ROKIT RP 10-3

by John Gatski
  I remember when KRK launched its first line of professional studio speakers back in the mid-1990s. The brain child of Keith Klawitter, the signature, yellow-driver speakers offered an audio presentation that allowed engineers to accurately monitor tracking and mastering sessions. Today's KRK ROKIT RP 10-3 three-way pays homage to those high-end KRK speakers — with terrific music reproduction at very competitive prices. List priced at $839 each and street priced at just under $500, the designed-in-USA/manufactured in China monitors are readily available from Internet and storefront dealers that cater to the pro audio/musician clientele.

Features
  The KRK ROKIT Powered RP 10-3 is a three-way, active speaker utilizing a 10-inch Aramid glass composite woofer, 4-inch Aramid glass composite midrange, and 1-inch textile dome, neodymium magnet tweeter. 140-watt class A/B amplifiers (80 watts for the woofer, 30-watts each for midrange and tweeter.
  The components are well matched and mounted into a 21.2-inch (540mm) x 12.7-inch (325mm) x 14.3-inch (365mm) cabinet. The rigidly braced cabinet has a curved front surface to reduce unwanted sonic diffusion, and its front-mounted slotted bass port keeps the bass extended, yet tight and fast in low-end response, by reducing back wall/speaker interaction. The KRK RP 10-3 weighs in at a substantial, but not overly cumbersome to move, 41 pounds each.
The KRK ROKIT Powered 10-3 speaker is an example of today’s USA-design/made-in-Asia synergy. It is an accurate, easy-to-listen, powered speaker that is perfect for serious home recording rigs — even compared to speakers at twice the price.

  Keeping in mind that the KRK RP 10-3 is a $500 powered speaker, the amp/crossover section is terrific! Bucking the new class of amps that are used in many powered speakers, the ROKIT 10-3 is equipped with 140 watts of Class A/B bipolar watts: 80 watts go to the woofer, and 30 watts to the mid and tweeter. Crossover frequencies are listed at 400 Hz and 3.75 kHz.
  The amp is key to the KRK’s terrific sound. Even at its low price point, the KRK RP 10-3’s accuracy, projection and ample low end are a couple of classes above what you will spend on this speaker.


Lots of analog input options


  To help tailor sound to your home studio, the RP 10-3 features adjustable high frequency control (-2dB, -1dB, 0, +1dB) in case you need to add a little bit of boost to a dark-sounding room or dial back the top-end in a more-live sounding room. The volume control provides plenty of gain for most any line input device.
  Speaking of inputs, there are plenty. The RP 10-3 sports RCA, quarter-inch and XLR inputs. The inclusion of RCA jacks is important because many of today’s home studios mix in consumer audio components, such as a DAC, which may only have RCA outputs. The little things mean a lot.
  In the EAN Price Check, we found most Internet and brick and mortar retailers discounting the speaker to $499 from its $839 retail. I find that such street pricing is typical with Asian-manufactured audio electronics, often 30-40 percent off retail. In any case, it is a serious speaker at a great price

The set up
  I put the KRK RP 10-3s in my home recording rig, connecting them to an Oram T16 analog console output, as well as using them on my computer mixing desk, connected to Apple Logic and Benchmark DAC2 D and Mytek Stereo 192/DSD DACs, both fantastic sounding DACs that decode PCM and DSD. I connected the speakers with premium analog cables from WireWorld, which makes some of the most transparent cables I have used for recording and playback. All components, including the KRK speakers were plugged into AC power, courtesy of Essential Sound Product’s Music Cord Pro II cables and strip.
The RP 10-3 sports RCA, quarter-inch and XLR inputs. The inclusion of RCA jacks is important because many of today’s home studios mix in consumer audio components, such as a DAC, which may only have RCA outputs.

  I placed the speakers about a two feet from the back wall and four feet apart, with a bit of tow-in towards the listening position. Although you can use the RP 10-3 in a horizontal or vertical placement, I stuck with the more traditional vertical orientation. In a 5.1 or 7.1 system, you could lay the center channel horizontally. At 41 pounds, the speaker can still be moved easily, and I liked its compact dimensions.
  I played test tones and music samples for the set up and adjusted the HF contour switch to ascertain its effect. Since it varies the level only a couple of decibels in its adjustment range, I did not find it made that much difference with the music I was playing. Hence, I left it in the flat position.

The audition
  With pre-recorded high-res music, I immediately noticed the RP 10-3’s clean, tight bass projection. None of that puffy, ported midbass I have heard countless times with lesser powered studio speakers. And they had good bass extension to 42 Hz in my room — about two feet from a rear wall.
  The rest of the audio spectrum was relayed with a character much above their price point. Treble was present, yet mostly accurate, and midrange vocals and instrumental music sounded natural and smooth. The RP 10-3s did a great job with several acoustic guitar and jazz guitar/amp recordings that had I made in 24-bit; the stereo image was wide with detailed plucks and picking properly placed.
  In other mixes that I had completed in Apple Logic and Bias Peak editing software via the Macbook Pro, the RP 10-3 handled whatever I played through the pair. Drum cymbals, for example, sounded natural, metallic, yet not hard edged. It definitely is a good speaker for mixing and editing in-studio. 24-bit PCM violin and cello recordings also sounded quite real — with the essential harmonics of the bow-on-string action emerging from the midrange and tweeter.
  Again I can't stress enough how good the amp section is, keeping out the edgy, treble harshness exhibited by  budget powered studio monitors. Although 140 watts does not sound like a lot of power for a three-way, the KRK’s played in excess of 95 dB (about as loud as I could stand) without harshness, which is a testament to the RP 10-3’s amps.
  I was so impressed with the RP 10-3’s performance that I really had no major complaints about the speaker. The cabinet is not as overbuilt as other high-end speakers I am used to reviewing, but the structure gets the job done and does not negatively affect the sonics. My other complaint is one I have with many powered speakers — no front panel power switch. For me, it’s just a convenience thing — not having to reach around back to turn it off after a full day of record/editing sessions.

The verdict
  The KRK ROKIT Powered 10-3 speaker is an example of today’s USA-design/made-in-Asia synergy. It is an accurate, easy-to-listen, powered speaker that is perfect for serious home recording rigs — even compared to speakers at twice the price. Its low-end response and lack of exaggerated treble or ragged midrange, thanks to the matched drivers and quality amp/crossover sections, put it nearly in the audiophile class of performance. It’s that good and gets our Everything Audio Network Stellar Sound Award.


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