First impressions of the KRK Ergo

This week, I was able to install and test the first of my “year end” gear additions, the KRK Ergo, a digital room analysis and correction system.   I realize there are lots of skeptics with regards to room correction via equalization.  In fact, I’m one of them!  So I’ll say from the onset that, to me, room treatment is the first and foremost step to room accuracy.   80% of your gains will come from your room treatment, but the Ergo can provide some incremental improvement.  It doesn’t work when you try this in reverse order…

Nevertheless, I have long suspected that I was suffering from a low frequency null smack dab in my listening position.  Over time, I was able to compensate simply by knowing my room and literally sliding my chair back a few feet into the sweet spot.   The Ergo took approximately 10 room measurements; so rather than equalizing just your focus position (as is the case with many competing products), the Ergo attempts to build a 3D image of your room.  You use the supplied software to control the measurement/calibration process from a computer attached via firewire.  The measurement process begins at your focus/mix position, and then prompts for additional random positions until the software is satisfied with its room knowledge.   The software then downloads the settings to either the “A” or “B” speaker position on the Ergo- meaning you can store two separate room calibrations on this device (pretty handy)!   After calibrating, you can disconnect the Ergo from the computer and use it as a standalone device anywhere between your DAW and your monitors, or keep it connected via firewire for an elegant DAC interface to your monitors!

In my case, the digital outs from my DAW feed into my Yamaha o2r96 mixing board which, in turn, connects to my monitors (Barefoot MM27s and Avantone Mixcubes).  I simply redirected the XLR stereo outs from the o2r96 into the Ergo, and now use Ergo’s nifty A-B switching to toggle between the Barefoots and the Avantones.

So the question I assume your asking  about now is whether the difference is noticeable?  Candidly, it was very subtle in my case, which I take as a good thing!   This tells me that my room was already dialed in, as I suspected, but I do believe it helped address that nasty little null.  I’ve replayed four recent mixes that I thought were right on, and with the Ergo, the bass guitars were noticeably hot – makes sense because of compensating for that null at 100Hz right?   I quickly revised the mixes and my tests indicate a better, tighter result.  Again, we’re talking subtleties but as you know, it doesn’t take much to get the lower frequencies out of whack.

In summary, the pros outweigh the cons, in my opinion.  The Ergo is relatively inexpensive and it is a better than average room correction gadget because it builds a 3D room image vs. focusing just on your mix/focus position.   It can easily toggle between various filter modes including bi-passing all filters entirely so at the worst case, you’re back to where you started but with a well-built DAC/A-B switching/master volume control between your DAW and monitors.   It’s worth adding that the monitor switching also enables you to configure subwoofer switching – but in my case, not required.  The Ergo also includes a separate headphone out and level control although I wish the jack were located on the front of the unit instead of the back.  Seems to me that the Ergo offers some nice utility beyond its core function so that was the tipping point for me…  And, did I mention that it helped me dial in my mixes in less time?

Verdict: It’s not a game changer, but it’s still a winner!

Here is a link to the most recent trade press review I could find, courtesy of Mix Magazine.

14 Responses to “First impressions of the KRK Ergo”

  1. T-tone Says:

    What kind of adaptor did you have to use for the supplied mic in ERGO?

  2. Adrian Says:

    Hello, not sure what you’re asking exactly (re adapter for the ERGO) because you simply use a standard microphone cable (XLR m/f) and plug directly into the ERGO unit to perform calibrations. No outside adapter required.

  3. T-tone Says:

    I was looking at the ERGO box and didn’t see XLR jack all I seen was a 1/4 input for the mic input?
    BTW nice mix sounded well balanced!
    That what got me interested in ERGO my mixes are to bass heavey even with sound panels hanging every wheres. I can’t get my mixes balanced, It’s either to much mid/highs or to much lows. Thanks for your time

  4. Adrian Says:

    Hello – yes the microphone input is indeed 1/4″… sorry my bad from before… it’s been a while since I’ve calibrated my room… That said, I wouldn’t place the Ergo in a category of a silver bullet. It made very subtle changes for my mixes, and I’d like to think it’s because my room was fairly dialed in before. But, for the money, it’s as easy of an acid test as I can envision… most people, from what I gather, are generally pleased with the results (with the Ergo). Thank you for the compliments as well!

  5. T-tone Says:

    As I commented earlier I have some room treatment put have some trouble area’s in the bass frequencies. Just I eat up a lot of CDR’s getting that “just perfect mix” not to mention how many times I have to remix with several different media players. Just wondered if the ERGO might help out. Also do you use it for your final mastering mix down? Your mixes are definitely well polished and sound very professional. I have decent gear esp. the mic’s and mic pre’s is where I invest a lot in. No problems with the tracking end. Only mix down problems. Figured ERGO might help out. From what I hear from your mixes sounds like it doing a great job.

  6. Adrian Says:

    Thank you, again, T-tone for the compliments. Truth be told, I can’t give all of the credit to the ERGO, however…. The other thing is, I’ve been in your shoes going thru countless CDRs doing searching for that perfect mix… It’s a time sink for sure. The biggest step change for me came when I invested into Barefoot MM27 monitors. Even though they are expensive, the amount of time I was spending (even as a hobbiest) was even more so… The other thing I do is send my mixes out for professional mastering – - – “most” of what you hear on my blog has been mastered, but not all, so clearly it starts with achieving the base mix and for this I credit the Barefoots more than anything else. I am convinced that if we hear it accurately at our mix desk, we have discerning enough ears (all of us) to get pretty close to professional results… The ERGO is very helpful, don’t get me wrong, but if I were to put it on a pie chart, I’d give a 70% slice to the MM27s, 15% to the ERGO, and the other 15% to professional mastering. By the way, LOTS of detailed info on the MM27s on gearslutz.com Hope this helps!

  7. Reuben Says:

    Sorry to jump in but the 1/4″ on the supplied cable has two rings. Most standard XLRs have one ring. does this not make a difference in the calibration?

    Thxs
    Reuben

  8. Adrian Says:

    Reuben, my memory is a bit foggy on this… I don’t recall a cable being supplied with my Ergo. I used a standard microphone cable (XLR m/f) to connect the calibration mic to the Ergo and it worked w/o a hitch.

    Appreciate you stopping by and posting… perhaps someone else knows differently?

    -Adrian

  9. Alex Massaad Says:

    Cool Review Adrian, I’m getting an Ergo this week and I’m excuted to check out how it works out in my studio space too,

    cheers

  10. John Anthony Says:

    I enjoyed your review AND the music. Very nice. Being a Mastering Engineer, I had assumed the tracks I was hearing on your site were professionally mastered. I really don’t think the average home recording artists realize how important professional mastering is, especially today with almost everyone recording at home in less than perfect conditions and without years of experience. Nice to see someone like you taking your very good music seriously enough to send it out for real mastering. Your finished product is very nice. Now, where can I purchase the CD?

    John Anthony, Omni Mastering

  11. Adrian Says:

    Hi John! Thank you very much for the compliments – and yes I’ve come to appreciate the importance of professional mastering as the final (but essential) step in the production process. Tell you what… if you’re interested I’d be more than happy to have you write a “guest post” on the topic; aimed, as you say, to the average home recording artist – and have no issues with you publishing your credentials and cross-links etc to benefit your services! Let me know of this is of interest and send me an email if so (the link is on the home page/side bar menu). Again, appreciate you stopping by and taking the time to comment! All the best – Adrian

  12. Joao Caracas Says:

    Hello Adrian,

    I`m interested in buying the ERGO, but i dont have an audio interface. Could I use the ERGO as my audio interface? Can i record say a guitar or vocals with a microphone using the ERGO, so i can get low latency, rather than using the built-in audio interface inside my macbook pro? I use ableton live as a DAW.

    thank you,

    Joao

  13. Gerard Manley Says:

    Thanks for your great assessment. The sound you produce certainly gives weight to your opinion. I am a rank amateur with no real likelihood of getting a purpose built studio, but I do field recordings of acoustic musicians/singers and I wonder if you think this unit would be valuable for that kind of use?

    I hope it wouldn’t be an insult to say that your recordings sound like the “perfect” tracks used to showcase the features of keyboards – clear, crisp and ACCESSIBLE!

    Cheers
    Gerard

  14. Daniel facundo Says:

    i have a room that is half treated with foam no bass traps and my moniters (krk 8’s gen 2,m audio bx5’s) are positioning in the corners and wondering how much the ergo would help in just balancing out my room.

Leave a Reply



I am a professional hobbyist when it comes to this.   Though my relationship with the piano began at a young age, I only recently pulled off the gloves to rekindle it and haven’t looked back since.   This was partly inspired by huge advancements in music production technology now available to all  – and from the comfort and privacy of your home!   I’ve never subscribed much to job titles so I won’t attempt to label my genre.  Besides, composing music mirrors life in that there are really only two ways to write a song: your way, and the wrong way. 

Thank you for your interest and encouragement.