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KRK Classic 5 Review (Studio Monitor)

amirm

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#1
This is a review and detailed measurements of the KRK Classic 5 powered studio monitor. I purchased it from Amazon when it was on sale for $134. It normally costs US $149.50 including Prime shipping.

The Classic 5 has quite a sturdy and solid build distinguished by the bright yellow woofer cone:

KRK Classic 5 Review Bookshelf Powered Studio Monitor Budget.jpg


I like it! Back panel shows the usual controls and connectivity:

KRK Classic 5 Review Bookshelf Powered Studio Monitor back panel xlr Budget.jpg


Different than many of its competitors, the Classic 5 uses class AB amplification. As a result after a few minutes of use, I could tell the top back panel becoming warm.

The controls with rubberized finish feel good.

Measurements that you are about to see were performed using the Klippel Near-field Scanner (NFS). This is a robotic measurement system that analyzes the speaker all around and is able (using advanced mathematics and dual scan) to subtract room reflections (so where I measure it doesn't matter). It also measures the speaker at close distance ("near-field") which sharply reduces the impact of room noise. Both of these factors enable testing in ordinary rooms yet results that can be more accurate than an anechoic chamber. In a nutshell, the measurements show the actual sound coming out of the speaker independent of the room.

I performed over 800 measurement which resulted in error rate of less than 1% throughout the range.

Temperature was 60 degrees F. Measurement location is at sea level so you compute the pressure.

Measurements are compliant with latest speaker research into what can predict the speaker preference and is standardized in CEA/CTA-2034 ANSI specifications. Likewise listening tests are performed per research that shows mono listening is much more revealing of differences between speakers than stereo or multichannel.

Reference axis was the tweeter center.

KRK Classic 5 Measurements
Acoustic measurements can be grouped in a way that can be perceptually analyzed to determine how good a speaker is and how it can be used in a room. This so called spinorama shows us just about everything we need to know about the speaker with respect to tonality and some flaws:

KRK Classic 5 Measurements spinorama CEA-2034 frequency response.png


The on-axis response starts off well but then we have some sudden glitches followed by exaggerated level above 4 kHz. The glitches seem to be caused by the port resonances mixing with the woofer:

KRK Classic 5 Measurements  Driver near-field response.png


Directivity has some errors during the crossover region causing a dip in the upper mid-range:

KRK Classic 5 Measurements spinorama CEA-2034 Early WIndow frequency response.png


Putting the two together, we get:

KRK Classic 5 Measurements spinorama CEA-2034 PIR Predicted In-room  frequency response.png


Rather bright and not very even.

CSD/waterfall shows some of the resonances we saw in frequency response:
KRK Classic 5 Measurements CSD Waterfall.png


Lack of a waveguide shows large directivity change in the response of the tweeter:

KRK Classic 5 Measurements  horizontal Beamwidth.png


As you see, its beam narrows quite a bit so how much you toe it in will determine how bright it is. The same happens if you shift left and right.

KRK Classic 5 Measurements  horizontal directivity.png


KRK Classic 5 Measurements  Vertical directivity.png


Distortion is fairly under control at 86 dBSPL, but not 96:

KRK Classic 5 Measurements Relative Distortion.png


Level of distortion exceeds the fundamental signal below 50 Hz so filter that if you can:
KRK Classic 5 Measurements THD Distortion.png


Speaker Listening Tests
Typical of other bright speakers the first few seconds sounds good but quickly becomes too much of a good thing. So out came the equalization tools to tame that:

KRK Classic 5 player equalization.png


I worked from right to left. A shelving filter helped but the sound remained bright somehow. I then dialed in that little resonance removal notch at 2.6 kHz. That increased clarity but some brightness remained. I then remembered about the distortion exceeding 100% below 50 Hz so put a high pass filter there. Once there, performance improved substantially. This is a speaker with good bass capabilities with almost no dynamic limit in desktop use. As a result, I could turn up the volume as much as I wanted which always pleases me. :)

Conclusions
While the build quality is pretty good, the Classic 5 has some design flaws the worst of which is the elevated highs. It seems purposeful to sell more speakers this way. Equalization was very effective to transform this monitor into a capable monitor with much better power handling than most of its competitors.

Overall, I can NOT recommend the KRK Classic 5 out of box. If you can apply EQ to it, then I will recommend it. After all, the EQ solves its tonality issues but nothing brings more power to a monitor that gets that right but distorts easily!

------------
As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

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imagidominc

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#3
I literally just demoed these 5 minutes ago. Imagine my surprise when they showed up on here! :eek:
They sounded good, but I detected that "artificial" brightness that you noted, which seems to be a common thread with a lot of showroom speakers in big box stores (Klipsch).
Definitely decent and cranked up at a loud volume they still sounded clean.
Didn't have a chance to EQ but will try that.
 

direstraitsfan98

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#5
When you put these KRKs on a desk close to the walls they really slap. Like really, really hard. And you even feel the bass in your chest like a subwoofer. Source: my old roommate used to mix on these and I became quite familiar with their sound through a wall :D
 

LightninBoy

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#6
Funny, I always perceived the KRK sound as bass heavy, but it seems to actually be mid-light. Its almost the exact opposite of the Yamaha HS series. Maybe if you paired the KRK with a Yamaha HS, you'd get a balance sound :)

Any comment about hiss? If there is no hiss they might be a better desktop option than the JBLs.
 

acbarn

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#10
The original version of these (G3) served me well as my first set of monitors for desktop music production some years ago. Decent performance and build quality at a great price. They’re popular for a reason. Of course, they can’t compete with Genelec, Neumann, Adam, et al...
 
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amirm

amirm

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Thread Starter #13
Did you measure the -2db hf switch and see did it fix the speaker?
Of course not. It takes me half a day to measure a speaker. I can't keep flipping switches and running everything over and over again.
 

YSC

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#14
Of course not. It takes me half a day to measure a speaker. I can't keep flipping switches and running everything over and over again.
Can I suggest maybe a quick sweep with rew to check if the speaker is like this having a slight shelf at hf or lf to see how well it compared to standard settings. Obvious not a day long klippel scan but we could see if built in modes helped
 

Putter

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#15
Did you measure the -2db hf switch and see did it fix the speaker?

QUOTE="amirm, post: 623752, member: 2"]Of course not. It takes me half a day to measure a speaker. I can't keep flipping switches and running everything over and over again.[/QUOTE]

I'd be more interested as to whether the -2db treble setting improved your subjective listening and how it compared to your EQ adjustments. That would hopefully not be too time consuming.

Alternatively, they appear reasonably flat 30 degrees off axis.
 

Alice of Old Vincennes

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#16
I literally just demoed these 5 minutes ago. Imagine my surprise when they showed up on here! :eek:
They sounded good, but I detected that "artificial" brightness that you noted, which seems to be a common thread with a lot of showroom speakers in big box stores (Klipsch).
Definitely decent and cranked up at a loud volume they still sounded clean.
Didn't have a chance to EQ but will try that.
Why?
 

Wombat

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#17
Why do companies think elevated highs are what sell speakers? I guess everyone is following the Klipsch model these days
For the same reason TVs have a 'showroom setting"- to not appear dull in comparison to the other 'attention-getters' in a retail environment.
 

Wombat

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#18
Of course not. It takes me half a day to measure a speaker. I can't keep flipping switches and running everything over and over again.
Maybe just frequency response with the greater HF cut?

Approx. interpolation is good enough for the in-betweens.
 
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Alice of Old Vincennes

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#19
When you put these KRKs on a desk close to the walls they really slap. Like really, really hard. And you even feel the bass in your chest like a subwoofer. Source: my old roommate used to mix on these and I became quite familiar with their sound through a wall :D
Better than a baseball bat through the wall at a frat party.
 

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