I wish I could include the legendary Stanton in this title, but unfortunately they had nothing new to show beyond a new firmware on the SCS.4DJ (just like last year, in fact) and pictures can’t do that any justice. And besides, we’ve dedicated enough coverage to the SCS.4DJ at this point, I think we can all take a breather. Instead I was greeted with some new offerings from KRK and Cerwin Vega that should get us all excited.
The Rokits have been updated to G3 this year and given a few interesting design changes. They aren’t hugely different from the G2s, and KRK lovers should know exactly what to expect, but there are enough changes to make someone want to switch over. The front face has been given a more dramatic angle, and the front face has been optimized to allow air to flow forward, instead of shooting it out the back like most monitors, where it usually meets a wall in a home studio.
The Rokits still retain their high frequency adjustment knob on the back, but they have listened to demand and added a low frequency knob as well so you can really dial in an accurate sound scape for your mixing and mastering. While, as I’ve said already, NAMM is not the best place to preview speakers or monitors, the listening I did get on all three models (5”, 6” and 8”) was really crisp. I could hear a slight difference with the 5”, but as its putting out less wattage (50 watts for the 5”, 75 for the 6” and 100 for the 8”) that’s only to be expected.
I couldn’t tell how clinical they can get compared to my G2s at home, but once again, that would require a full on listening in the correct environment and NAMM is definitely not it. Needless to say, check these out if you’re in the market for monitors. The prices for the 5, 6 and 8 are $149, $199 and $249 respectively, per speaker.
So one of the most common questions we can get as DJ “experts” or whatever we are considered beyond “what’s the best controller I should buy” is “what kind of speakers do I need”. Much like most people who buy DSLRs don’t need them, most people who buy studio monitors don’t need them. If you’re recording mixes or testing out tracks for a club, a studio monitor is going to be very flat and can count against your listening experience. You need desktop speakers.
Now, I’m not going to point you at Bose, or Logitech or any of the standard consumer stuff because, while it’s more than adequate, it’s still cheap and can easily buckle under the abuse we naturally put speakers through. The Cerwin Vega desktop speakers I heard, though, even at NAMM, were really crisp and heavy and clean and everything you’d want.
They have had the XD3 for years, but have now added a 4” and 5” version, as well as an 8” powered subwoofer. Right off the bat, they are made of wood and have a really great feel to them. The sound, as far as listening to anything at NAMM goes, was really great. While we can’t push them too loud, I’m sure they can stand up to the necessary abuse at home, and can give us DJs a better image of what our mixes sound like when someone is hearing them on a real speaker, and not on a clinical monitor.
They all have a front facing 1/8” headphone out and auxiliary in, and if you add in the powered subwoofer (which I didn’t get to hear added in) you also get a desktop port for another aux in and a global volume knob. They run for $119, $159 and $199 per pair, 4”, 5” and 8” respectively. I’m hoping to get a pair to review and put through their paces later in the year.