Review: KRK RP4 G3
Strap yourself in, we have some new Rokits. Joining the Rokit 8, 6 and 5 is the three-way Rokit 10-3 and the baby RP4 Generation 3 (G3). Sitting under the VXT Series, Rokits are the ‘prosumer’ range of KRK powered speakers, but still maintain respect for neutral response and good translation — especially the larger siblings in the lineup.
The RP4 G3 is a 30W, two-way studio monitor designed for those seeking affordability and compactness in equal measure. The system consists of a four-inch glass-Aramid composite (Kevlar) woofer and a one-inch soft dome tweeter, bi-amplified with 10W to the tweeter and 20W to the woofer. Frequency response is quoted from 51Hz up to 35kHz, with the crossover point at 2.3kHz. We received a pair in the black finish, but you can get them in white or silver too.
Unboxing the RP4s makes you realise these things are small. But far from being toy-ish, they still have a certain no-nonsense stance about them, underpinned by their reassuring weight. The four-position frequency adjustment knobs on the rear are firmly detented in 1dB steps (+2dB for LF), and the Volume knob ranges from -30dB to +6dB. The RP4 accepts inputs via balanced TRS/XLR, or unbalanced RCA connectors.
There’s a certain ‘awww’, baby-animal cuteness about the RP4s, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that the sound may match the looks — and no one wants a ‘cute’-sounding studio monitor.
But my first experience with the RP4s decisively trashed that preconception — they sound huge for their size. Perhaps most unexpected was their high-fidelity sonic output that spanned the entire audible frequency spectrum with ease. These speakers enjoy being turned up. Which is great, because you can — 30W isn’t dangerous by any stretch. The front-facing LF ports provide a deceptively extended bass response, and the tweeters emit silky smooth highs. Honestly, it was a big surprise hearing small monitors produce such an immersive soundscape. Maybe my expectations were too low. But if you think a four-inch studio monitor is a joke, some alone-time with the RP4s will force you to reevaluate.
After recovering from the ear-opener, I made note of a few niggles. Midrange clarity is a bit average on busy mixes. The high end is slightly restrained for my taste, as with most KRKs I’ve listened to, but the +1dB HF boost helped out. And while the soundstage is wide and impressively three-dimensional, the stereo imaging lacks pinpoint precision. For the most part, though, I was too busy being wowed by the speakers to care.
So other than its small size, why would you buy the KRK RP4s? After all, you wouldn’t want to put all your mixes in the hands of four-inch monitors, right?
Well, probably not exclusively. But here’s what I believe makes a compelling case for the RP4 G3.
You don’t put big fish in small fish tanks. Acoustically speaking, it’s advantageous to use smaller monitors in smaller rooms. It means you don’t excite the room in ways it can’t handle, limiting the potential for low frequency standing waves to cause peaks and nulls in your space. It also allows you to make wider use of a speaker’s power capability. So home studio owners, don’t bother cramming your dual eight-inch monitors and 12-inch subs into your bedroom — save that for a bigger space. Instead, grab a pair of RP4s for not much more than $500, hear your mixes more cleanly, and be amazed that big sound can come in small packages.