In an ever-evolving pro audio environment, our tools as producers and engineers need to evolve with our needs. Long gone are the days of a band burning the midnight oil at a recording studio with a staff, now replaced by “Hey, I can come to your place tomorrow to track guitars?”
With home studios capable of producing big-studio-quality results, recording musicians today should have at least a basic means to track themselves at home. Now, we’re not expecting the barely-an-engineer musician type to have a big mixing desk with some fancy KRK V Series 8 speakers on it. But you do need something to monitor with that sounds decent, gets loud enough, and won’t break the bank.
Over the past few years, compact monitor speakers have really come into vogue, starting with IK Multimedia’s iLoud range of speakers. While KRK had some compact monitor speakers of their own (like the wonderful V Series 4 speakers), those didn’t hit the same level of portability and functionality.
Enter the KRK GoAux 3s, a set of portable, self-powered, monitor speakers with mobile-friendly features like Bluetooth connectivity, a carrying case, and more.
We checked out the KRK GoAux 3 for the past couple of months and have a few thoughts about them. Let’s get this out of the way now: We won’t be mixing our next record on them. While they bear the familiar KRK look with their bright yellow, woven glass aramid woofers, and they sound very nice (more on that later), we didn’t feel they translated accurately enough to make critical mix decisions worthy of a professional result. For that, the KRK V Series 4 or ROKIT 5 G4 speakers are a fabulous option when you want familiar KRK sound in a solution small enough to fit in your studio apartment or dorm room—or mobile studio.
Is there room for this other option in the KRK product line? Absolutely! Now that that Band-Aid has been ripped off, there is a lot of good to say about these speakers. First, to be clear, the KRK GoAux 3s sound good! We have been relying on them for video editing, and they have proven invaluable at our video desk, which is independent of our music production mix desk (we have many KRK VXT 8s and 4s across multiple studios). Audio accuracy isn’t critical in our video editing suite because we edit the audio in a more critical listening environment, but we do need to hear what’s going on while editing video content and want it to sound good while working.
The Bluetooth connection makes this a simple and appreciated setup, though these compact speakers regrettably lack ¼” or XLR inputs (the slightly larger GoAux 4 adds quarter-inch inputs as well as some additional features). Want to practice guitar in your hotel room? With the right interface to your guitar, you could run amp modeling software on your smartphone or tablet and pair it with these speakers. This also makes it easy to jam out on the patio, too!
The GoAux 3 speakers are plenty loud, and there is adequate tone control on the rear of the speakers to fine tune the sound. We can think of a variety of applications we would love these for. Grab-and-go to track at a friend’s house? Sure! They’re accurate enough for that, so why not?
Want some personal monitoring for your keyboard rig? These speakers sound great for that but would have been made even more useful with the inclusion of built-in threads for screwing onto a microphone stand. Depending on your keyboard controller though, you might be able to simply set these speakers on top of the keyboard or stage piano.
General purpose speakers for everyday computing? Hell yeah! They blow our Bose computer speakers out of the water ten times over. They put out a very good amount of bass for a small desktop speaker. Gamers will definitely enjoy having a set of these on their desk. For music creation, the included isolation pads keep the bass response clear and focused. Having a carrying case that can hold the speakers and stands is a great detail you won’t find elsewhere.
KRK does try to make these a viable mixing solution and went above and beyond with some of the smaller details. They include monitor isolation stands. Not pads, but actual stands with adjustable angle, so you can really decouple the speakers from whatever desk you find yourself in front of.
With multiple input sources like Bluetooth, 3.5mm, and RCA, the possibilities are endless for how you might use these wonderful speakers. There really are many reasons to put these to use, but for critical mix decisions, you’ll want to step up to KRK’s full-fledged monitor speakers like the ROKIT or V-Series lines.
If you’re in the market for a small speaker solution for almost any application, we definitely recommend taking a look (and listen) at the KRK GoAux 3 Portable Monitor System.
Frequency Response: 65Hz – 20kHz
Peak SPL: 99 dB SPL
Weight: 6.94 lbs for the entire package: speakers, stands, carrying bag, etc.
The KRK GoAux 3 (MSRP $349) sells for approximately $314 (pair).