Kali Audio is continuing to make big strides in the studio monitor space. In just a short space of time, they have ascended to challenge other companies in the market. Providing affordable and high-quality monitors for beginners and professionals. In this review, we check out the Kali Audio IN-5. The latest iteration of their coaxial series of studio monitors.
Kali Audio IN-5
Having recently reviewed the 8-inch version I was eager to see if the 5-inch version was as impressive. Thankfully the same level of attention to detail is present in this more compact option. Check out the highlights below.
The Kali Audio IN-5 has a lot to offer serious producers that want exceptional quality at a low price. Below we dive into the nitty-gritty and find out if these are some of the best 5 inch home studio monitors you can buy.
There is a certain level of excitement that comes from trying out new studio monitors. Despite so many options available, they all present their own unique approach. Some succeed while others fall flat. With the Kali Audio IN-5, they certainly succeed and impressively go beyond what you would expect.
These are exceptionally neutral monitors. They offer a consistent response across the entire frequency range. A must-have for serious mixing and mastering. The highs are distinct and clear. Not overly bright but they retain plenty of sparkle in the top end.
The Kali Audio IN-5 delivers superb sound quality.
The mids are equally solid. There is plenty of depth here thanks to the dedicated driver. High clarity and high definition. Of all the frequencies the mids are perhaps a little colored. But don’t take that as a negative.
The colorization is minimal and doesn’t impact your ability to use these in a professional capacity. It’s minimal enough that only the most trained ear will be able to pick up on it.
The lows are very impressive for a monitor this size. Plenty of warmth and fullness without an ounce of mud. There is a distinct kick that is satisfying while maintaining accuracy. If you need a smaller monitor with a decent amount of low end the Kali Audio IN-5 is a good option.
The sweet spot and imaging are also more than you’d expect at this price point. Dispersion is equal and the soundstage is expansive. But these are near-field monitors.
If you are looking for a pair of monitors for casual listening in a larger space you’ll need to look elsewhere. These are right at home in a studio environment where you’ll be consistently within 1-2 meters of them.
Taking all the above into consideration it’s remarkable how good these sound. Especially at this price point. These can easily give more expensive monitors a run for their money.
At a lower price region, it’s common to see shortcuts when it comes to quality. That is not the case here. The cabinet does ‘feel’ a little hollow but by no means cheap. It’s a stable and robust box that balances functionality while maintaining a good level of quality.
The Kali Audio IN-5 offers a high level of component quality.
But the real star of the build is the coaxial driver system. Two woofers for the lows and mids with each offering a paper cone. A third soft dome tweeter rounds out the package. The ‘smiling’ front bass port also integrates cleanly into the monitor and is equally robust and well designed.
Scratch-resistant and solid the Kali Audio IN-5 offers component quality that is above my expectation at this price point.
The Kali Audio IN-5 is no slouch in the specs department either. Independent Class D amplification does the heavy lifting for the 3 drivers. 80W for the low-frequency driver along with 40W each for the mid and high-frequency drivers. Consistent performance and excellent coverage to deliver a high level of audio quality.
Excellent range and plenty of headroom are highlights of the IN-5.
At 47Hz-21kHz (±3 dB) the frequency range is also impressive. Much like the IN-8, the delivery is fantastic across the whole range is accurate.
Despite the slight drop in power compared to the IN-8 the IN-5 still manages to top out at a Max SPL of 115dB. Lots of room here. While most producers will never mix and master at these levels the added headroom is always welcome.
Another excellent feature of the Kali Audio IN-5 is the abundance of room corrective options available. Every studio space is different. As a result, you need access to the appropriate tools to adjust to your space. The Kali Audi IN-5 offers a range of dip switches to accommodate a large variety of potential situations.
The Kali Audio IN-5 gives you plenty of flexibility to adapt to your space.
You can handle variations like distance from walls along with monitor placement. Whether the monitors are on stands, on a desk, or on a workstation you have access to adjust accordingly. Adjustment options for low and high-frequency trim round out the choices. Plus the addition of a dedicated switch for RCA input.
I will admit I’m more comfortable with knobs, classic switches, or an LCD screen for tuning. The small dip switches do feel a little fiddly. But once set up you’ll rarely need to adjust them again unless you change your studio configuration.
I’m not going to lie the appearance of the IN-5 isn’t the greatest. It certainly gives off a certain retro-ish vibe which may be off-putting for some. It’s not ugly by any means but there are more attractive monitors out there.
It’s a solid black box with a finish that won’t attract fingerprints. There is a focus on functionality. And to be honest I’ll always prefer a less attractive monitor that does the job well. When it comes to serious production work it’s best to leave the glam for the rock stars! But if you do want something a little different Kali Audio does offer a white version.
The IN-5 is exceptionally functional but a little generic in appearance.
Beyond appearance, the IN-5 highlights the years of experience that are behind Kali Audio. The knowledge and attention to detail are here. Founded by industry professionals Kali Audio isn’t as ‘new’ to the scene as it may appear. The intelligent coaxial design delivers exceptional sonic performance. Even more encouraging is the level of openness they have towards feedback. Many of the initial complaints about the first series of IN monitors are no longer present in this second wave.
Despite a slightly lackluster aesthetic, the Kali Audio IN-5 is a well-designed monitor. Perfect for small to medium studio spaces.
The Kali Audio IN-5 is similar in size to other 5-inch studio monitors. Not overly large but they certainly still demand some space. The front bass port does open up flexibility for placement. Couple that with the range of tuning options and you should have no trouble finding a good spot for these.
The IN-5 is modest in weight and comparable in size to other 5-inch monitors.
At 19 lbs. (8.6kg) they offer plenty of heft and stability without feeling cumbersome. As with all monitors I suggest stable stands or high-quality isolation pads. You want to minimize unwanted resonance from surfaces. Plus it adds security to prevent accidental damage.
A full suite of connection options is at your disposal. You’ll have access to a balanced ¼ inch TRS input along with a balanced XLR point. The inclusion of an unbalanced RCA connection is a nice touch. Between the three you’ll be able to connect to almost all devices.
Three connection options are available on the IN-5.
As with the rest of the IN range from Kali Audio, there is no additional connectivity on offer. If you require Bluetooth or a headphone jack you’ll need to look at other options.
This is the real highlight of the Kali Audio IN-5. They offer amazing value. A pair of these comes in at an exceptionally low price. This makes it an excellent entry point if you are setting up your studio for the first time. Often with cheaper monitors, you end up compromising on quality. With the IN-5 you don’t need to.
If you want great performance but don’t want to fork out the cash for high-end monitors the IN-5 should be high on your list of options.
Despite Kali Audio launching in 2018, they have rapidly garnered rave reviews for their products. The IN-5 is no exception. Plenty of 5-star reviews highlight the phenomenal level of sound quality.
Do Brands Matter?
Every industry tends to have brands that dominate the space. The studio monitor space is no different. There are several well-respected brands that people gravitate towards. These brands have decades of experience in the industry. And while I don’t normally feel brands matter, in the case of audio equipment it sort of does. There is a certain level of comfort that comes from buying gear from a well-known brand.
Selecting gear from brands you can trust will save you money in the long term.
But that doesn’t mean the big dogs are the only options. There is always room for new players. But when taking a chance on a new brand it’s worth diving a little bit deeper into the details.
Kali Audio is a perfect example of a new brand done right. Launched by industry professionals with years of experience they are not your everyday newcomer. And that’s exciting. New companies are agile and innovative. They help challenge the existing heavyweights.
With a solid team behind them, Kali Audio has risen with surprising speed. Their products are becoming favorites and I’m looking forward to seeing where they go next.
If you are looking at buying some 5-inch studio monitors there are plenty of choices out there. Here is a selection of alternatives to the Kali Audio IN-5.
Focal Alpha 50 Evo Review
At a similar price point to the IN-5 the Focal Alpha 50 Evo is a solid alternative. It offers excellent sound quality and a host of useful tuning options.
- Fantastic neutrality with a well-rounded low-end response.
- A spacious sweet spot offers you more flexibility for placement.
- Attractive design but a lower Max SPL rating.
Focal Audio ALPHA 50 Evo
KRK Rokit 5 G4 Review
The Rokit range from KRK is another popular 5-inch studio monitor. The iconic yellow woofers are a common sight among many studios.
- High build quality at a very affordable price point.
- Easy to use and effective tuning options.
- Not as neutral out of the box as the Kali Audio IN-5.
KRK Rokit 5 G4
PreSonus Eris E5 Review
If the price point of the Kali Audio IN-5 is too much for your budget the PreSonus Eris E5 is a good choice. Affordable while retaining an impressive sound profile.
- Loud output while offering a high level of clarity.
- Good value for money without compromising in build quality.
- Not as balanced and lacking in low-end delivery.
Presonus Eris E5
Should You Buy?
The IN-5 is another fantastic outing from Kali Audio. It offers sound quality that is usually only seen on far more expensive monitors. The coaxial design is perfectly executed. It delivers a satisfying listening experience while maintaining sonic integrity for professional work. Effective tuning options complete the package.
Kali Audio has shown they know what they are doing. This sets up the IN-5 to be among the very best 5-inch studio monitors available today.
Kali Audio IN-5