REVIEW: KRK GoAux 4 monitors

Andy Jones takes a look at the latest KRK GoAux 4 portable monitor system

The studio monitor is, of course, the pro producer’s best friend. And once you get to know your monitor’s sonic character, you should be able to mix any track to sound good anywhere. But for the travelling producer or mix engineer who (fortunately) finds themselves working in multiple studios, learning the in house studio monitors could be a time consuming exercise for each session. Wouldn’t it be good, then, to take along your own monitors that you know and love?

That’s impractical with most studio monitors, but KRK’s new GoAux speaker series could be the monitor saviour for any producer who is often working out and about. There are two in the range: the GoAux 3 and GoAux 4 with the numbers, as you might expect, referring to the bass driver size. What stands out immediately on unboxing is the beautiful overall package: a lovely carry case with both speakers nicely protected. It’s not a completely novel concept – IK Multimedia’s iLoud Micro speakers come in a similar bag – but to see the recognisable yellow hue of KRK monitors in such a mobile package is quite something to behold.


Flexibility and features

The KRK GoAux 4 system is truly portable, with an overall weight of just 4.3kg which includes all of the accessories, of which there are many. You get a stand for each speaker which can be angled, and these are easy to use and necessary; placing speakers on your computer desk often requires this angling, yet it’s something missing on many other smaller desktop speakers. You also get an Auto ARC (Auto Room Correction) measurement microphone to connect to the speakers at the front for some simple room correction – more on this below.

Overall Sound

GoAux 4 are bi-amped 100 watt speakers (33 watts rms per woofer, 17 watts rms per tweeter). There’s very flexible connectivity, with 1/4” TRS balanced, RCA, USB-type B, 1/8” Aux connections, plus an input for the measurement microphone. There’s even a Bluetooth option so you can pretty much connect up any device you wish.

And when you do you might be surprised with the clout of the sound given the size of the speakers. They don’t sound too enhanced anywhere, although given the small woofer size you’d expect some colouration. They deliver a clear and punchy tone, relatively flat although not quite as detailed and accurate as our reference speakers (which are much larger and more expensive).

The key here is to set these monitors up with trusted mixes first and then adjust their response, and there are two ways to do this so the sound can be improved anywhere you decide to take them. First there are three-way HF and LF controls around the back, but by far the better way is via the ARC microphone. Place it at ear height and the speakers spit out some audio to ‘listen’ to how the room affects their frequency response and adjust accordingly. It might not be as sophisticated as Genelec’s SMART system, but it is easy to set up and apply. It also does make a difference – sometimes subtle and sometimes very noticeable – but the sound does improve.



KRK GoAux 4 – The Bottom Line

Despite the KRK marketing showing people mixing music with a laptop on a plane, these are probably not practical enough to get out and start working with on a bus or train – you should most definitely turn to a decent set of closed back headphones for that, just to preserve the sanity of your fellow passengers. They do, however, make great monitors to break out in a hotel room, and also a fantastic set of second monitors to A-B your mixes with. They’re reasonably priced, the overall package is superb and the flexible connectivity and positioning options make these some of the best mobile studio monitors on the market.

KRK GoAux 4

What: A set of portable studio monitors designed for producing music on the move.

Good: Lovely speaker package in a truly mobile case. There are flexible positioning and connectivity options, and the automatic room correction allows you to tailor the speakers for wherever you use them.

Bad: They are not going to totally replace your bulkier studio monitor setup.

Verdict: ★★★★★

The KRK GoAux 4 monitors aren’t going to stop you using your main studio monitors, nor are they designed to. They will make excellent second monitors to AB mixes, and of course the portability angle will be a deal maker if you produce music on the move. In that respect, this is one of the most professional mobile speaker sets on the market.

Welcome to issue 7 of Audio Media International