KRK Rokit 5 G2 Quick Review

So, I work in front of a computer most all day throughout the week (yep, Gunnar glasses review coming soon!). I absolutely love Pandora, Spotify, Slacker Radio, etc. to listen while I work and, for a time, got by on my cheapo Creative 2.1 speaker setup. It served it’s purpose, and to be honest, I almost didn’t take the plunge. But, when I’d listen to something like classical or some great guitarist – you know, really well-recorded stuff – I’d really start to want to hear all the little details. Yes, even details from internet streams, not CDs.

I would always think of studio monitors in those instances. I’ve been in several studios through the years and have heard all sorts of setups. In most cases, the rooms had open faced boxes with 8 inch woofers and funky rounded edges. I knew they were high end . . . that was their purpose, of course.

Fast forward to about 6 months ago. I had heard of KRK from my good friends Jim Murphy of Mission House Music and Adam Kohout and they couldn’t say enough about how much you get for the money on the brand. Now, KRK makes some “serious” gear . . . to the tune of $2,000+ per speaker . . . that aint me! I thought I’d dip my toe in some entry level jobbies from the company – albeit very well reviewed across the board. So, I went with the KRK Rokit 5 G2 model. (click here for the newer model). I sit about 2 feet from my montitors, so 5 inch woofers would be fine, I thought . . . I was right.

It really is almost baffling to hear really, really good sound for the first time. I’m not talking about mind-numbing, blow-you-out-of-your-chair sound . . . this is just, in a word, perfect. I spent allot of time just going back to favorite songs and picking out things I never heard – a mandolin here, some crazy percussion I missed out on. I could ramble on and on – just know they are outstanding speakers. It’s the kind of purchase you have no remorse for (they’re not dirt cheap, but for the price, totally merited).

Some highlights:

  • Powered speakers – no need to have an amplifier
  • Frequency range control – I didn’t tweak too much, but there is room for setting up for your particular room
  • Front ports for low end – very nice; most have rear ports for bass . . . these push it right to you!
  • XLR inputs – I grabbed a Peavey USB to XLR adapter and use mic cables for a totally noise free signal. I was skeptical, but this really does work.
  • RCA Inputs – there are still RCA plug inputs . .. can use at the same time as XLR for 2 sources if you’d like.

These are not bass heavy, so don’t think you’re going to shake the windows. I’m sure they’re not totally specified to be “reference” speakers . . . then again, they’re better than 99% of what I’ve heard in my lifetime, so I won’t worry about it! I reeeeaaally want to get the companion subwoofer just for fun, but I (along with my wallet) will talk myself out if it a while longer! Update: Broke down and bought subwoofer when I found a deal – totally worth it for amazing depth.

If you’re in the market for a great sounding speaker set, definitely give these a try . . .

Powerline Networking Review (Homeplug AV)

OK, it’s time to give a quick review on something that’s saved my sanity. I’ll preface this by saying when we built our house almost 8 years ago, I made a bone-headed decision not to wire it properly for a network. Well, now we are a cable free, Netflix/Hulu/Amazon only family and I’m finding that hard-wired network appliances are much more reliable than their Wi-Fi alternative . . .

I say that to say this . . . if you live in a home built before the last decade, there is a very good chance it is not wired for a home network and you rely on good ol’ Wi-Fi to get by. Well, there is a very cost-effective way to get reliable, speedy* networking so your Playstation/Roku/AppleTV/XBox/whatever can efficiently talk to the net.

I started with the Zyxel PLA407 set (cheap at Amazon) a couple of years ago and they have been rock solid. You can even encrypt the signal if you’re super paranoid. They only run at 200 Mbps. Of course, that’s double a standard network speed, but far from the now standard Gigabit speeds. However, I’ve found it’s more than enough to stream across devices (server to apple TV or television, talking between devices). Plus, it’s MUCH cheaper than wiring your house.

Setup is dead simple: Plug in one network device to an outlet near your Wifi-router and plug it into the router. Then, in any other outlet in your house, plug the other network adapter. You can then plug it straight to the device (i.e., Playstation, etc.) or, as I do, use a simple 5-port switch to distribute to other devices. That’s it . . . all done with much better speed and less lag time than your wifi can provide.

Oh, and another plus:

  • You can use other brands if they are “Homeplug AV” certified. For instance, I have a 3rd homeplug adapter from Trendnet that is located at the far end of the house and plugged into an old Wireless N Wifi router. It gives a good connection to the outside garage about 100+ feet away for my treadmill TV.

So, there you go . . . if you think you need more speed, they offer these up to a gigabit – click here to see ’em all.

Have a blessed week, everyone,

LM