A few weeks ago, my wife and I cleaned out the garage in order to have the floor professionally coated. A task like this, even though we’ve only been in this house for two years, means the usual purging of the stuff that has inevitably accumulated. She was done in a couple of days. Her frustration mounted as the time drew nearer to our epoxy date, and I still wasn’t ready yet. My bay of the garage was still full of stuff. I made the deadline in the nick of time, but only after selling off some unneeded collections of things and filling up the garbage can a couple times.
I have noticed that many of us audiophiles are also hopeless collectors (read: hoarders). Yes, I know the old saying that it isn’t really hoarding if your stuff is cool, and in our case, we have the coolest stuff, but the fact remains that when it comes down to a moving project- we’re generally all in trouble.
When the conversation comes around to speakers, we’ll often start talking about our main speakers, and then joking about the “others,” the speakers that are either in secondary systems, or just sitting in our closets – or in the garage. I’ve heard of some really nice speakers just collecting dust in peoples’ crawlspaces.
A couple of years ago, I bought out a bunch of equipment from a guy for a low flat price. He just wanted it all out of his house. I resold some of it, and came out slightly ahead, while keeping some of the pieces that I wanted to hold onto. One of those pieces ended up being this pair of passive studio monitor speakers by KRK, the 7000B 2-way design that instantly impressed me.
There isn’t very much information out there about these speakers except that they are built with Focal drivers, which is likely why they blew me away right from the start. No specific data about the woofer seems to be readily available, but the tweeter is the T90, and is the typical inverted Focal design. Through some digging, I found that they originally sold for about $1,000 for the pair.
They are square boxes with the tweeters set back in a time-aligned fashion. The cabinets are painted in a stone gray. They have as much WAF (wife-acceptance factor) as a bulldozer. Even to me, they’re rather ugly, with exposed yellow cones set of against the speckled gray, and logo sticker on the front. They are winners on sound, alone, unless you have one of those concrete houses or an industrial loft apartment.
However, here is the bottom line, despite their only-a-mother-could-love look, they are actually one of the best sounding sets of speakers in my home, and some of the most enjoyable to listen to. So, what am I doing with them? Am I featuring them prominently in a serious system? Are they my main speakers somewhere? Well… no. In fact, I’m practically wasting them. They reside on my workbench, where they rock for me when I’m restringing guitars or fixing something. Their source component is an old Pioneer 300-disc changer filled with CDs that I’ve burned. I come down to my bench, hit the “Random” button on the player, and set about my tinkering. Power is supplied by an old Rotel RA-2020 integrated amplifier. At the moment, I’m experimenting with this little S.M.S.L. DAC in-between. Cabling is all basic Monster Cable that I’ve picked up here and there.
As I’m writing this, I’m listening to Lyle Lovett’s I love Everybody. The thing about the 7000B’s is that they have an interesting character to them. Some people don’t like studio monitors because they tend to be very flat, uncolored, and accurate. These are certainly every bit of that, but they also have a distinct Focal flavor to them. If you’ve listened to other Focal speakers, you might know what I mean. The highs are very accurate, indeed, but there is a particular crispness and depth from the inverted tweeter that gives more intricate detail than many other speakers, without being overly forward. There is a striking realism in these monitors, while still maintaining that Focal warmth.
Suddenly, I feel like listening to Alan Parsons Project’s “I Robot” through these. As the track rumbles in, the 6.5 kevlar woofer stays remarkably tight while producing enough low end to hit me in the chest. The Rotel amp is barely breaking a sweat at the KRKs are brought to an incredibly loud level. While I cannot find any real specifications on these, I can tell you that that these speakers don’t take much to drive.
Even though I’m not using “reference” equipment here, and my placement certainly leaves much to be desired, the KRKs provide stellar imaging, sounding like a huge multi-driver speaker delivering depth and spaciousness- even though I have them too close to the wall behind them and spaced only five feet apart.
I know I should be lashed with a wet noodle and charged with the high crime of audio abuse for my under-utilization of these speakers, but as my changer lands on some UFO right now, and the volume comes up again, the bottom line is, I’m doing what makes me happy. I’m enjoying my hi-fi. It’s not gathering dust, going unused, or sitting on a Web site hoping someone will buy it from me. Yes, I’m a collector, practically a hoarder of audio, but it brings me pleasure. As always, I welcome your comments and love to get your letters. What gear are you “wasting?”
KRK 7000B studio monitors
Rotel RA-2020 integrated amplifier
Pioneer PD-F1039 CD player
S.M.S.L. 793II DAC/headphone amp
Gemini PL-100 power conditioner
Monster Cable interconnects and speaker cables