KRK’s 10S powered subwoofer is the company’s latest innovation aimed at enhancing their ROKIT G4 [Tape Op #137] and V-Series [#118] monitoring systems. Built on KRK’s legacy for sonic accuracy and performance, this powerful but compact subwoofer utilizes a custom-voiced, glass-aramid woofer, delivering tight and defined bass. The 10S is sturdily built, but at 34.5 pounds is not a backbreaker thanks to a powerful lightweight Class D amplifier. Its dedicated crossover makes it easy to pair with KRK or other studio monitors.

The 10S features a 10-inch front-firing woofer and port, with a listed frequency response of 34 to 110 Hz, bass extension down to 28 Hz, and a max SPL of 117.2 dB. There are several controls, including a four-position crossover, plus Polarity, Input Sensitivity, and ground lift switches. Most notably, the 10S offers multiple input and output connections: XLR, 1/4-inch TRS, and even RCA! This makes it a good option for almost anyone, from hobbyists using vintage prosumer analog gear to the modern pro studio. There’s also a footswitch bypass control (available separately) that provides full-range audio to the monitors without having to switch off the subwoofer or repatch. Lastly, it has a standby option that saves energy when not in use. This feature worked well overall for me when coupled with KRK G4 series monitors – my whole system automatically goes into standby when not in use. The only caveat is it takes the 10S a moment to wake up, and then G4s follow a few seconds later.

For review, I set up the 10S with a pair of KRK ROKIT 7 G4 monitors. The set up instructions were intuitive and taught best practices for subwoofer configuration. I followed them precisely, adjusting the Crossover control (4 fixed frequency selections), Input Sensitivity, Polarity, and volume until it metered as suggested.

In the end, I deferred to my ear, opting to turn the 10S down a few extra notches than recommended as I had to place the subwoofer near a corner – it was too huge sounding while referencing “Breathe” from Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of The Moon. Yes, I’m old school. My immediate reaction was pleasant – I could instantly hear and feel the kick drum and bass translating clearer in my untamed mix environment.

During mixing and mastering, kick drums sounded tighter and punchier, translating nicely to headphones. Bass vibrated pleasantly and was definitely enhanced with the 10S (as one would expect when using a sub), but it wasn’t flabby like some other poorly designed subwoofers I’ve heard. The way I configured the 10S, it’s not that I could hear more low end per se – but there was definitely better definition in the low end, which again translated to well-balanced mixes.

Since KRK claims that their sub “plays well with others,” I plugged the 10S into a pair of Focal Solo6 Be active monitors [Tape Op #60], placing it in the center (behind my desk) this time, which performed much better than having it close to a corner. The difference in playback with the sub inline was remarkable. The low end was so much tighter and clearer. Furthermore, by allowing the Focals to focus on the mids and highs, they seemed to brighten up a bit. The whole mix sounded clearer. I would almost say that I hear the benefit of this sub more through my Focals than through the KRK monitors it’s designed for. That’s not to say it didn’t enhance the KRK monitors, which it did, but the idea that a sub at this price point pairs so well with monitors in a price category above it is enticing and impressive, especially when your studio budget might not allow for a sub that costs upwards of $1000 or more!

I’m not used to mixing with a sub. But instead of turning this review into a discussion on the philosophy of mixing with or without one, let me just say that I found the 10S enhanced my monitoring significantly. It might also be a solid investment for your low end. At this price point, there’s not much to debate over if it takes your mixing to the next level – especially if you already own a pair of KRK monitors. As of publishing, KRK has released a newer model subwoofer (S10.4) with similar specs and features.

Tape Op is a bi-monthly magazine devoted to the art of record making.

Or Learn More