Founded in 2018, Kali Audio blasted onto the scene with an impressive lineup of studio monitors. Continuing with their success, they have returned to the drawing board to refine their offering. In this review, we check out the new LP-8 V2 to see what’s changed and whether it is worth picking up for your studio.
Kali Audio LP-8 V2
The Kali Audio LP-8 V2 is an impressive evolution of what was already a popular and capable front ported studio monitor. Check out the highlights below before we take a closer look.
The Kali Audio LP-8 V2 has a lot to offer people looking for affordably priced monitors that perform well. Let’s dive into the details to see what this latest generation model provides.
The original Kali Audio LP-8 offered fantastic sound quality, but there were some niggling issues that held it back from potentially becoming the go-to entry-level option.
This second generation addresses those concerns without compromising the good qualities that the original possessed.
First is the smoother and more refined top-end response. The previous generation was a little too sharp in the highs and could be perceived as grating over longer listening sessions. This new model features a tighter, more focused high-end that delivers clarity without harshness.
The mid-range was already one of the original’s best elements, and Kali Audio has retained that quality with this latest series. It is full of body and life and a joy to listen to. Accuracy is high, which is especially important if you are a producer or sound engineer. Dependable and satisfying.
Speaking of satisfying, the low-end delivers a forceful punch that is rich and dynamic. Plenty of body and warmth without distortion or sloppiness. Clean and defined, the 8-inch woofer can deliver great bass even within the confines of demanding bass-heavy EDM genres.
The balance between all the frequencies is well-executed, and the response is accurate with minimal peaks and dips. This is a studio monitor that you can rely on. And at this price point, it stands out as one of the best in the range.
The waveguide develops a broad and generous soundstage with excellent imaging. This is an aggressively priced monitor that performs much better than expected.
Another exciting development over the previous generation is distortion and port noise reduction. Everything is cleaner and more precise. A testament to Kali Audio wanting to push themselves to deliver the best possible product.
It is an excellent entry-level buy for new creators setting up their studio. But even for seasoned pros, this is an affordable option that you can depend on. At this price, there is little to fault.
I’ve already had the chance to review the smaller LP-6 V2, so I knew what to expect here. And as I mentioned in that review, the quality on offer here is impressive when you factor in the price.
The solid cabinet features MDF construction with the standard vinyl wrapping you’ll find on many monitors. This wrapping is durable but, as with any wrapping, can be prone to warping or peeling if exposed to excessive temperatures. Don’t leave this monitor in direct sunlight for extended periods.
Excellent quality at this price point.
Beyond the cabinet, the rest of the execution is excellent. The paper cone woofer is reasonable, and the soft dome tweeter is also up to what I would expect in this price range.
The front-firing port also integrates well and helps minimize port noise. It also ensures smooth and powerful bass without compromising the rest of the frequency range.
For a studio monitor in this price bracket, the LP-8 V2 does a commendable job of balancing quality.
The Kali Audio LP-8 V2 offers a frequency response of 37Hz-25kHz (-10 dB). The tight response is accurate and better than most monitors in this price range.
Wide frequency response that is neutral and accurate.
Another notable change from the previous generation is the move to a bi-amped Class D amplifier. It’s powerful and efficient and delivers 60W to the low-frequency driver and 40W to the high-frequency driver for a total output of 100W.
Peak SPL tops out at 117 dB at 1 meter, which is more than enough for most studio settings. Plenty of headroom and equally fun for the occasional burst at higher volumes. Distortion is ultra-low and a noticeable improvement from the previous generation.
This is one area in which the Kali Audio LP-8 V2 excels. It offers a comprehensive suite of tuning options that give the unit maximum versatility. It can comfortably adjust to a variety of studio settings.
The back of the unit features an array of dip switches that combine for various options.
The pictorial guide makes tuning simple and easy.
The first three switches allow you to shape the output based on monitor placement. Whether you have it on a mixing console, sideways, or close to a wall, you’ll have the tools at your disposal to tackle the situation.
The next two switches handle LF Trim to tame or boost the low end. Both +2dB and -2dB options are available. The same applies to the next two switches, which give you access to HF Trim.
The last switch adjusts output if you are using the RCA connection. Something I wish more monitors offered for unbalanced connections.
If I were to nitpick, the switches are a little fiddly. But once you have it dialed in, you’ll unlikely need to wrangle with them again.
Another element I enjoy is the graphical explanation of the switches. It’s simple to understand and allows you to leave the manual in a draw gathering dust. Very beginner friendly and also great for old dogs like myself that tend to forget things.
Function over appearance is something that I cling to when it comes to studio monitors. My priority is always performance, but much like everyone else, I enjoy a good-looking bit of kit.
The Kali Audio LP-8 V2 is a sleek and attractive monitor that won’t look out of place in a studio setting. The shapely curve of the waveguide adds eye appeal, and the slight indent with the power indicator is perfectly incorporated.
The white version might suit your studio better.
The low-noise port tube does a fantastic job of delivering a smooth low-end response. But it also adds character, and I can’t help but feel like the monitor is smiling at me. And considering how good the monitor sounds, I can’t help but smile back.
For added variety, the unit is also available in white. White monitors tend to get grimy and dirty, but if you have a clean minimalist-looking studio, I could see them blending in better than the all-black version.
As with all 8-inch studio monitors, the LP-8 V2 is quite bulky. Monitors of this size are ideal for medium to large-sized studios and, to be honest, are often overkill for smaller spaces. Not only will you have more issues taming bass and reflection you’ll also have to deal with the amount of space they consume.
The Kali Audio LP-8 V2 is a large studio monitor.
The Kali Audio LP-8 V2 weighs 19.8 lbs. (9 kg). It’s on par with the other 8-inch studio monitors I’ve reviewed. If you have monitor stands, ensure that they can handle the sheer size of the unit and the weight.
Another aspect of the Kali Audio LP-8 V2 that I appreciate is its flexibility in the connection department.
You’ll have access to two balanced connection options with an XLR point and a ¼” TRS connection option. Complimenting this is an unbalanced RCA connection. If using the RCA, flick the relevant dip switch for optimal performance.
More connection options than what most other monitors offer.
This combination of options is ample to cover the vast majority of connections you’ll need, whether it be instruments, microphones, or DJ gear.
There is no Bluetooth and no headphone jack. Few professional-level studio monitors offer this, and it tends to be a feature that is inherent to more consumer-friendly speakers.
Much like the LP-6 V2, the LP-8 V2 has a slight price bump over the original series. Everything is getting more expensive, and research and development cost money. But comparing it to the previous generation is worth mentioning.
Despite the increased price point, the Kali Audio LP-8 V2 still presents sensational value. This well-rounded monitor can do a lot of heavy lifting in a studio setting, and this is a solid entry-level choice.
The Kali Audio LP-8 V2 is picking up positive reviews from both customers and music industry insiders. While there were some initial issues with the very first production batch, these issues appear to now be resolved, and most people have nothing but praise for these superb monitors.
Iterate With Purpose
Let’s face it, people always like the newest tech, and when it comes to studio monitors, it isn’t any different. New versions are always coming out, enticing us to open our wallets.
But sometimes, there is more hype than substance to new releases. Often the upgrades on previous models are minimal at best, with some manufacturers worse than others. A particular company with a bitten-into piece of fruit as a logo comes to mind 😉
Kali Audio is a new company that has quickly gathered an excellent reputation.
That is why I like to support companies that iterate on their designs with purpose and intent. Kali Audio’s latest series of monitors isn’t a hastily slapped-together model aimed at hitting the newest release list. It’s a carefully considered approach to improve on what came before.
As we continue our studio journey, it is worth appreciating meaningful reimaginings. They take the best from the past and improve on it. And if this update is anything to go by, I can’t wait to see how Kali Audio stretches itself further in the future.
There are several alternatives available if you are looking for an 8-inch monitor. Below are some choices worth considering.
JBL 308P MkII Review
The JBL 3 Series is often one of the most recommended options for entry-level monitors. Consistent performance at a great price.
- Pleasing sound profile that offers plenty of clarity and detail.
- The broad sweet spot allows you to move about the studio.
- While decently accurate, it isn’t as neutral as other options.
JBL 308P MkII
ADAM Audio T8V Review
Berlin-based ADAM Audio has gathered plenty of awards for its entry-level T series of studio monitors. The largest T8V version is a comprehensive and powerful choice.
- A dynamic and rich sound profile that retains accuracy.
- A full-bodied low-end response that delivers plenty of punch.
- The rear-facing port can be an issue if you need to place your monitors near a wall.
Adam Audio T8V
PreSonus Sceptre S8 Review
If you prefer to move up from entry-level choices, the PreSonus Sceptre S8 is worthy of consideration. Exceptional sound quality and functionality.
- No distortion, excellent spatial imaging, and accurate response.
- The co-axial design delivers a rich and engaging sound experience.
- Compared to the LP-8 V2, this studio monitor is costly.
PreSonus Sceptre S8
Should You Buy?
I’ve grown to appreciate Kali Audio’s approach toward their studio gear. Refined and workhorse options that don’t hurt the bank balance. The newest generation of LP monitors is among the best for both new and experienced pundits looking for a bargain. Impressive sound, clean design, and intuitive features. If you need an affordable 8-inch monitor, these are a great choice.
Kali Audio LP-8 V2