Recently updated in 2021, the 10-inch KRK S10.4 Studio Subwoofer is the mid-sized of the three options in KRK’s subwoofer range, which includes the S8.4, S10.4, and S12.4, featuring 8,” 10,” and 12” drivers, respectively.
The S10.4 utilizes a front-firing, 10-inch glass aramid composite driver with KRK’s distinctive yellow and black “bumblebee” color scheme. It features a front-facing slotted port, allowing the subwoofer to be placed vertically or on its side. The S10.4 is a relatively large subwoofer and can generate up to 117 dB SPL, which means it can generate serious wall-shaking low frequencies.
The KRK Subwoofer line also features some significant improvements over the previous versions, including a redesigned MDF cabinet and a newly designed slotted front-firing port. Rear-mounted controls include stereo inputs and outputs for both unbalanced (RCA) and balanced (XLR and TRS) connectors, volume, and input sensitivity (Normal/High), as well as a polarity switch (0 or 180 degrees). The sub also features a ground lift (on/off), auto standby (on/off), and a four-position crossover to help balance the frequency curve of whatever studio monitors you choose to pair it with. The crossover has four notched settings (60, 70, 80, and 90Hz), allowing you to tailor the S10.4 to work within your studio monitors’ optimal frequency range. Typically, your studio monitors will be able to manage low frequencies approximately 10 Hz above the lowest frequency that they are capable of reproducing.
A subwoofer with the sonic power of the S10.4 will, in a lot of cases, not be a viable choice for smaller rooms, because it can cause more acoustical problems than it solves. These problems might include room modes (when a sound wave travels between two opposite boundaries) and standing waves (a combination of two waves moving in opposite directions). Depending on the size and sophistication of your studio and the style of music you are working on, you may want to consider going with the smaller KRK S8.4, which is still capable of generating significant bass frequency response.
As with any bass management function, it helps to let your ears be your guide to achieve the best sounding results, and you will have to experiment with different mixes, room tuning, and speaker settings to dial in the optimal frequency curve for your studio space. Plan to take some time to correctly dial in your S10.4 into your studio space.
If you are still experiencing acoustic problems in your room, it is possible that your nearfield monitors are placed too close to the wall, or they might not be separated far enough from each other relative to your mix position. It is also possible your subwoofer might be placed at a point in your studio where standing waves are causing phase issues. Acoustically treating your studio space with bass traps, acoustic panels, diffusers, etc., or placing your S10.4 on a speaker stand or thicker isolation pads will help reduce these kinds of acoustical problems.
The KRK S10.4 has a footswitch input jack which, when engaged, bypasses the sub and it filters out the sub’s frequencies, so your monitors receive the full frequency signal. You can use any generic latching footswitch. The footswitch input is a particularly helpful feature to have, especially if your studio is in proximity to neighbors or family members who may not appreciate the sonic disruptions a subwoofer like the S10.4 can generate. The footswitch also makes it possible to be able to switch the subwoofer in or out during tracking sessions and while comparing mixes.
The KRK S10.4 delivers tight, not flabby, low frequencies suitable for most musical genres and will deliver extra punch in your mixes under 60 Hz that you may not be getting from your main pair of nearfield monitors. The KRK S10.4 delivers universal connectivity via XLR 1/4-inch TRS and RCA inputs and outputs, making it compatible with just about any pair of powered monitors you might be using. The input sensitivity controls and ground lift switch will help prevent ground loops, and the KRK S10.4 crossover function will help to isolate the low-end frequencies relative to the frequency curve of your nearfield monitors.
The KRK S10.4 is a professional-grade studio subwoofer that will be an excellent choice for a wide range of home and professional studios. To help you dial in the S10.4 into your studio, the KRK website has detailed setup instructions, downloadable test tones, and placement suggestions on how to correctly set up and get the most out of using your KRK studio subwoofer. The KRK S10.4 will help you to hear, and even feel, frequencies that are much lower than those able to be played through a typical mid-range studio monitor. If you are mixing audio for TV or film, then a subwoofer like the KRK S10.4 is practically essential, especially if you are mixing in surround sound, which is becoming increasingly more common at the home studio level.
The KRK S10.4 Studio Subwoofer is available now for $499 MAP. To learn more, go to krkmusic.com.