Tuesday, August 18, 2009

KRK Rokit 5 - Gen 1 vs Gen 2

KRK Rokit 5 Generation 1

KRK Rokit G5 Generation 2

It has been almost 4 years since I purchased my pair of KRK Rokit 5 G1 reference monitors. Back then I was totally hyped just to buy a decent pair of monitors, it didn't matter if they were super expensive or more affordable, but it was more important to stop trying to do my mixing on my desktop speakers...lol.
Surprisingly, the songs I mixed on my desktop speakers turned out decent, considering they were a Harman Kardon set with a sub, so I could at least hear what was happening in the low end.

It was time though to work seriously, and this, my friends, is where all my money started flying out the window! =o) Let me just say though, that these monitors really outperformed themselves from my very first mixes until the ones I am currently doing now. So much that when it my studio at work needed a pair of reference monitors, they were my first choice and also because they were within budget.

So that day I went out to Long & Mcquade and bought a second pair of Rokit 5's. I was expecting to buy the 2nd generation (G2) which have a slightly different look and design. And I have been comparing both the G1 and G2's for the last 16 Months, doing A/B tests with the same Material and working in the same room to mix in and here's what I have to say, and later I will actually compare specs as per KRK:

It seems to me that the G2 of KRK monitors have a slightly more colored sound, but not the kind of color that would take away from the original sound of the source material, but the speakers exhibit a sort of clarity in the mid range that the G1 do not. The low-end also seems to sound slightly different in both generations (I don't want to necessarily get into the frequency response curves to compare the two, but rather let my ear tell the story for now) as the G2 of KRK 5's sound more refined and the response feels more accurate in the low end, something I feel is a direct result of the redesign of the cabinet shape. The square shaped cabinets of the G1 of KRK 5 seem to have a slight roll off in the lower end, and that is considering that these monitors reach down to 53hz.

I've always enjoyed the clarity of tweeters on both G1 and G2 and don't have many issues with their response, but the look is slightly different on the G2 as the enclosure around the tweeter is simply shaped differently.

Now: Here's what I learned from comparing G1 vs G2 Specs:

G1: 53Hz-20kHz
G2: 52Hz-20Khz

Signal to Noise (HF/LF)
G1 & G2: 82dB/90dB

G1 & G2: .05%/.02%

Crossover Freq.
G1: 3.0KHz
G2: 45Hz
Subsonic Filter
G2: 45Hz.

G1: 16 lbs
G2:13.4 lbs

KRK Key Technologies for the G2:

  • Radically curved front plate design virtually eliminates diffraction distortion
  • Waveguide design provides amazing detail and imaging
  • Front-firing port provides low freq extension without boundary coupling
  • New speaker voicing for even more accurate frequency response

SO, my ear has told me a few things on this lesson. First is that the imaging is definatly something that has been improved on the KRK G2 and this proves to be a result of their design as the curved sides eliminates diffraction distortion and this is especially true when you are monitoring on a wider plane. (If your speakers are further apart). New speaker voicing, and although the Freq. response is only 1 Hz lower in the G2, has proven to give the overall sound a better result. The front-firing ports are also really handy when mixing close to a wall, which most of us do, where lower frequency's get coupled and bass traps are needed, these ports help that issue. Cross over frequency was something I thought might have been different between the two, and therefore proving the mid range to be more present, but this would seem to be false as the cross over freq. is the same in both G1 & G2. The "mid range" improvement I am hearing is more a result of the waveguide design on the G2 which helps the speaker voicing and delivers better imaging.

At my home studio, I am still using the G1, because I like them and have gotten used to mixing on them, especially because I've been working on a project, and I wouldn't want to suddenly swap out my ref. monitors. I am definitely loving the G2 though and would recommend anyone upgrade if you are interested. For me, it comes down to what you are used to, what you can hear out of your monitor, and how to act on what you are hearing. So if you like what you are using, and are getting great mixes, then still with it. I really like KRK reference monitors though, and I havn't looked back. Most of my mixes end up being very true when I bring it to another sound system, or in a car.

What I would recommend however, is buy the KRK Powered Subwoofer. It will tell you exactly what is going on in the 20-50Hz range which is something that you and I had to learn by countless trial and error and learning how to read the monitors without a sub. You can get used to them without a sub, which I have, but it would make life a lot easier for you.

Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed!


  1. hey i just got a pair of the gen 1's, i got a great deal on them, i really want them as a b set of monitors, my main pair of mons currently is the Edirol MA10D's --- they were cheap --- really cheap! but whatever i hear out of those badboys will be consistent in car /stereo / headphones. but yeah im jazzed to get down to using my g1's

  2. Thanks a lot man.I'm getting ready to purchase my first pair of reference monitors and found a pair of the KRK 5 1st generation that are reasonably priced second hand.I hope mine turn out to be as good as yours have been for you.

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  5. Just lucked up on a pair of KRK8 G2 for $299 bucks!!! They are so amazing!!! Thanks for the analogy. The bass response is a little lower than the KRK 5 G2s, on the 8s its 44Hz to 20Khz. I wanted to ask is it necessary to buy a KRK sub-woofer or can I go with another bran-name as long as it's starts at 20Hz? Thank you-

    1. Although the Frequency response is stated to go to 44 Hz, I think you will find that a sub will clean up the low end (from about 80 Hz and below). That will also take some stress off of the cone and enable it to be more precise with the mids. I found I needed to provide a bit a of a bump via EQ in the low end to get the KRKs to sound "full" in the bottom end, and then they could start to sound a bit "woofy" (of course some of that may have been my room as well). I am very much looking forward to adding a sub!

  6. I just bought a pair of used G1 Rokit 5's for 149 USD at Guitar Center, I play guitar and use the Line 6 UX2 interface w PODfarm amp simulator and it sounds pretty dang good, can't complain at all, these are a great deal on the used market, I would buy again in a heart beat, playing music off the lap top is nice too. Overall I'm impressed, solidly built, sounds great and still fits on the desk! Enjoyed your article, tnx! cogs

  7. Yes I admit, I've been neglecting my blog, but I have to say, thank you everyone who is contributing!

    I also agree about buying the KRK subwoofer, as
    "Anonymous April 17, 2012 9:25 PM" stated..lol
    this might be the perfect time for another blog!

  8. I have only one issue with these monitors, the fact that out of the pair that I have, both needed to have the amplifiers replaced under warranty after about a year of use in my home VO studio. I would have expected better life out of these especially considering they are mainly used for monitoring dry voice tracks. I can see one going down, but when the second one went down less than 3 months after the first I am wondering if I bought the right brand.

    1. Hey dmklmm, that is really unfortunate. I own both the G1 (Going on about 9 years now!) and the G2 about 6 years old)....Both sets never had to any replacements or had anything go wrong. Fingers crossed! =o)

  9. Hi, I know that what was reviewed here were the G1 and G2 KRK Rokit 5 studio speakers but I'd like to provide my comments on the G3 Rokit 5s. I got a pair of the Rokit 5 G3 monitoring speakers last month and I must say they're impressive. Not only do they sound great, they're also neutral and honest. Since the price is low compared to many popular studio monitors, I wasn't really expecting much from them, but thankfully I read many reviews naming it as one of the best including Studio-Speakers.com. I decided to give them a chance and I'm happy that I did. These studio speakers are the best value for money.

  10. This is an old article but people are probably still reading this, so I'd like to share an article that may be useful to beginners who still haven't decided on which studio monitors to get. This is a list of the best selling studio monitors on Amazon as well as Sweetwater. The KRK Rokit 5 G3 studio speakers made it to the list of the best selling studio monitors, as well as the JBL LSR 305 and the Mackie CR3. While this doesn't necessarily mean that they're the best in performance, it should still give you an idea which monitors people are paying money for.

    1. how do you think the rokit 5 gen 1 monitors are today with normal use? I just found a pair selling for dirt cheap and seems to be in working condition. wonder if it reaches reasonable standards for today