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Big and bad... and beautiful!



If you look around at the studio monitor offerings out there, you'll notice a lot of 5-8" two-way speakers that are intended for nearfield use. What's less common are somewhat larger speakers that are designed for bigger rooms, louder monitoring levels and the greater coverage demands at midfield monitoring distances. KRK (who like Harmony Central is a Gibson Brand) is one of the companies that offer them, and today we're examining the latest version of their well-regarded 10-3 three-way studio monitors - the KRK ROKIT 10-3 G3. Intended not only for nearfield use but also for midfield monitoring, do they deliver the goods?





What You Need To Know

  • The KRK ROKIT line is now on its third revision, and comprises several models, including bi-amped two-way 4, 5, 6 and 8 inch two-way models, and the three-way tri-amped 10 inch model under consideration here - the ROKIT 10-3 G3 three-way studio monitors.

  • The ROKIT 10-3 G3 is a fairly large speaker, measuring 21.5" H x 12.8" W x 14.4" D and weighing in at a hefty 46 pounds. The 10-3's frequency response is rated at 31Hz-20kHz.

  • The ROKIT 10-3 G3 is a three-way design, and comes equipped with a 10" Aramid glass composite woofer, a 4" Aramid glass composite midrange driver and a 1" soft dome tweeter. Both the woofer and midrange drivers feature KRK's signature yellow color. The crossover frequencies are 378Hz and 3.3kHz.

  • The cabinets are made of MDF and wrapped in what KRK calls a black vinyl wrap. The front edges of the monitor faces are curved to help reduce edge diffraction. The cabinets are ported and feature a front firing "slot" port below the woofers. Front firing ports don't suffer from the placement issues and possible rear wall interference that monitors with rear-firing ports do, which makes placing these speakers in your room much easier. Also, the elongated shape of the ports seem to reduce wind blasts which are sometimes an annoyance with round ports.

  • Power is provided by trio of Class AB amps per enclosure. The 10-3 G3 has 140W total, with an 80W amp for the woofer and a 30W amp for the midrange driver, and another 30W amp dedicated to the tweeter. The ROKIT 10-3 G3 can generate up to 113dB peak SPL, which should be plenty for most mid-sized control rooms and all but the most high-SPL crazed among us.

  • In this day and age you never know what you might need to connect to your powered monitors, and KRK has thoughtfully included a variety of inputs to facilitate this including an unbalanced RCA input as well as 1/4" TRS and XLR balanced inputs.


  • As you might expect from a premium studio monitor, there are rear panel controls for adjusting the sound to your room and personal tastes. There is a Volume control for trimming the level anywhere from -30dB to +6dB. You also get a pair of EQ rotary switches; one for the lows and one to adjust the highs. The HF Level Adjust knob has +1dB, 0dB, -1dB and -2dB settings, while the LF Level Adjust knob offers +2dB, 0dB, -1dB and -2dB options. The filters are shelving, and seem to have their greatest effect from about 200Hz down, and above about 5kHz or so.
     
  • Rounding out the rear panel are a fused IEC power receptacle and power on/off switch that illuminates the front panel KRK logo when the speakers are powered up.

  • The ROKIT 10-3 G3 can be used vertically or horizontally. The speakers ship in the vertical configuration, but the six hex screws holding the front baffle in place can be removed, and the sub-baffle holding the midrange driver and tweeter unscrewed (via four Phillips head screws) and rotated 90 degrees so that the tweeter still sits above the midrange driver when the speaker is sitting horizontally. It's a very cool feature that allows the user to configure the speaker to their preferred orientation.  






Limitations

  • The ROKIT 10-3 G3's size and weight may make them a bit big for some smaller space-challenged rooms. They're not unreasonably large for a three-way speaker with a 10" woofer, but they're still substantial.

  • No grilles are provided. Since most people tend to remove the grilles from their studio monitors when they get them and put them in a closet, chances are you won't miss them.

  • Since you need to access them regularly, rear panel power switches can be a bit of a hassle compared to front panel mounted switches, especially on a speaker of this size.

 


Conclusions

KRK keeps refining their ROKIT line, and the current generation proves that you don't always get what you pay for - sometimes you actually get more than you expect! The 10-3's surprised me with their tremendous value - I expected them to cost significantly more based on their sound. They are no-compromise studio monitors that deliver excellent performance in both midfield and nearfield monitoring applications. A three-way ten inch studio monitor that sounds this good for about a grand a pair? Wow! I can't think of anything else out there that even comes close. It's ROK-solid value (sorry - I couldn't resist) for folks who have larger rooms and need midfield monitoring, or who prefer bigger and more powerful nearfield monitors.

I love the adjustable vertical / horizontal midrange and tweeter orientation - an unusual and very notable feature. While I'm not normally a big fan of three-way nearfield designs, the ROKIT 10-3 G3 doesn't suffer from any significant issues at their usual weak area - the crossover points. The voicing is very well done with a very balanced sound, and solid stereo imaging. While they are not quite as authoritative in the low end as the higher priced KRK-designed Gibson Les Paul 8 reference monitors I recently reviewed, the bass is more detailed than what you'll get from the typical 8" nearfield and fully up to the demands of midfield monitoring, although if you're the "damn my hearing, dime it!" kind of person and like it exceptionally loud you might long for just a bit more level.

The ROKIT 10-3 G3 models have fast transient response, and their smooth and natural high frequencies sound similar to that of the pricer Gibson speakers. Probably their main downside is their size. While not at all unreasonable for a 10" three-way, they're still big enough that they may pose a problem in some smaller rooms. For those who find themselves in that situation, KRK does offer other models in the ROKIT series, such as the KRK ROKIT 4 G3's I reviewed recently, but if you have the room for these bad boys, you definitely owe it to yourself to give them a serious audition. I think you'll be very impressed when you do.



Resources

KRK ROKIT 10-3 G3 ($839.00 MSRP each, $499.50 "street")

 

Buy from Sweetwater or B&H


KRK's product web page


KRK Rokit 10-3 G3 specifications:

    •    Configuration: 3-Way
    •    System type: Active Studio Monitor
    •    Low-Frequency: 10" Aramid Glass Composite woofer
    •    Mid-Frequency: 4" Aramid Glass Composite Midrange
    •    High-Frequency: 1" soft dome tweeter
    •    Frequency Response: 31Hz - 20kHz
    •    Max Peak SPL: 113 dB
    •    Amplifier Class: Class A-B
    •    Power Output: 140W
    •    High Frequency: 30W
    •    Mid-Frequency: 30W
    •    Low Frequency: 80W
    •    Input Impedance (Ohms):10 K Ohm balanced
    •    HF Level Adjust: -2dB, -1dB, 0, +1dB
    •    System Volume: (-30dB - +6dB)
    •    Indicators: Power
    •    Input Connectors:
    ◦    Unbalanced RCA
    ◦    Balanced 1/4" TRS
    ◦    Balanced XLR
    •    AC Power Input:
    ◦    Selectable 110V-120V / 220V-240V (50Hz - 60Hz)
    ◦    or 100V (50Hz - 60 Hz)
    •    Enclosure Construction: MDF
    •    Finish: Black vinyl wrap
    •    Port Configuration: Front firing slot port
    •    Dimensions (H x W x D): 21.5" (545mm) x 12.8" (325mm) x 14.4" (365mm)
    •    Weight:46 Lbs. (21 Kg.)
 


 


__________________________________________________



Phil O'Keefe is a multi-instrumentalist, recording engineer / producer and the Senior Editor of Harmony Central. He has engineered, produced and performed on countless recording sessions in a diverse range of styles, with artists such as Alien Ant Farm, Jules Day, Voodoo Glow Skulls, John McGill, Michael Knott and Alexa's Wish. He is a former featured monthly columnist for EQ magazine, and his articles and product reviews have also appeared in Keyboard, Electronic Musician and Guitar Player magazines.  



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