With its latest VXT near-field active studio monitor range, American firm KRK is taking on monitor giants such as Genelec and Mackie. There are three models in the range, with the VXT6 being the mid-sized model.
First thing's first, these monitors are heavy. Weighing 27lbs each, they're capable of inducing lower-back agony, so be careful.
Once you've got them in place and wiped the sweat away, you'll notice there isn't a straight edge or right angle anywhere to be seen. The 'bubble' design is certainly striking and will divide opinion - personally, we quite like it.
All cosmetic considerations pale into insignificance next to how the speakers actually sound, of course. On firing them up, you'll notice that the mid-range is much more evident here than on other monitors. We wouldn't go so far as to say that the sound is 'clattery' but there's a lot in the mid-band to listen to.
Initially, this came as a surprise, but we soon came to enjoy the added attention to detail we could hear as a result. Elsewhere, the bass extension is very impressive. There's plenty of warmth here and the speakers remained consistently rock solid - exactly what you need at the bottom end.
High frequencies are well presented too. Hi-hats fizz appropriately, while the warmth and air you'll hear on well-captured vocal recordings is apparent. Plenty of serious amateur and project studios require the ability to monitor at lower volumes for much of the day and night so we're pleased to report that the VXT6s perform very well under such circumstances. In case the monitor's default settings don't suit your studio's acoustics, you can modify the top end by +/- 1dB with a shelf above 2kHz.
At the bottom end, unnatural bass boost provided by proximity to walls can be countered by changing the 'whole space' toggle switch to 'half' or 'quarter' space settings.
The VXT6 is a very good monitor, but don't take our word for it - go and check it out. The subtleties that separate one pair of speakers from another can have a huge impact on the way we work and the mixes we create and one man's idea of sonic heaven is another's hell.
What we like about the VXT6s, though, is that they aren't boringly transparent or 'pure'. Like all monitors, they offer colouration and while the initial impact of the speaker's mid-range is striking, it's something you could well come to like. The monitor performs well at low volumes but rewards those brave enough to crank them up.
Get down to your local dealer and set these up against KRK's biggest competitors. The sound may or may not be for you but these speakers more than hold their own in impressive company.