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Can't decide $3500 budget: KH120II + KH750 vs 8330 + 7350 vs R3 Meta vs Others

Infinit0

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Hi guys, I can't decide to be honest so any feedback is appreciated.

First of all, a quick introduction: I will be using this system for home/domestic purposes, for music listening pleasure and eventually some movies.
I know what studio monitors are, I had in the past some KRK VXT4 + KRK10s, KRK RP10-3 3 way, Neumann KH120 old version. I am happy using studio monitors for this, I like to listen the most close to what was recorded/mixed and I don't like all the marketing towards Hi Fi systems, cables, amplifiers, etc. I don't care about bluetooth, aptX and blah blah.

Room size: Right now my room is a living about 6.5m large x 4m wide x 2.5 height (26m2 or 65m3). Maybe in the future I may move to another house and the room size probably will be smaller (or not).
Not treated and no chance of doing it also.

Listening distance: 2 meters.

Distance between speakers: I would set up them around the TV so probably around 1.75m betweem them.
Listening levels: I am comfortable at 85dB usually I won't go louder, I don't want fatigue for longer listening sessions.

DSP by hardware or software will be really appreciated for fixing (or trying) to fix room issues.

In all scenario I would also need something to connect it to the PC/Laptop. Right now I don't own any DAC/Audio interface so also any recommendation would be appreciated until I could use the standard laptop digital output or just a cheap digital passthrough.

Contenders: (Spain/EU prices)

Neumann KH 120II ($885x2 = $1770) + KH750 ($1468) + MA1 ($266): $3504
+ Already know the Neumann sound
+ Full range 2.1
+ DSP
+ Good SPL
- MA1 could be a bit buggy
- I don't have any audio interface with phantom power, this is a big cons to be honest.
For analog I would need XLR outputs
If going digital I need a BNC connector? I don't have any clue how to get that.

Neumann KH150 ($1444x2 = $2888) + MA1 ($266): $3154
Similar to above but:
+ Nice review in this site
- No full range but maybe goes deep enough
- No way I could add 2 subwoofers as Neumann recommends if I want 2.1

Genelec 8330 ($785x2 = $1570) + 7350 ($1250) + GLM Kit ($311): $3131
+ Full range 2.1
+ GLM better/more polished than MA1
+ DSP
+ No need for phantom power
+ Digital input is XLR AES/EBU Input
+ Could add remote controller in the future
- 8" woofer
- Less power than the Neumann combo?

Genelec 8030c ($484x2 = $968) + Genelec 7050 ($985): $1953
+
Nice reviewed in this site
+ Full range 2.1
+ Super cheap compared to the other ones
- No DSP, any other way to apply it without so much complications? I am not a pro
All analog inputs so I need a good DAC/Audio interface

Genelec 8331 ($1999x2) + GLM Kit ($311): $4309
+ Nice looking love the design
+ Coaxial
+ DSP
+ 3 way
- Uber expensive
- No subwoofer and no way I could add one because it's really expensive

Kef R3 Meta ($1815) + Some amplifier ($1000-$1500): $2815-$3315
+
Nice reviews
+ No subwoofer but I could add one in the future
- No DSP

I am open also to other alternatives...if there are any better in this budget? I am looking also for a good price/performance ratio.

I would love any recommendations and feedback.

Thank you!
 

cata02

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I took the Genelec 8330+7350 route for a very similar use case; happy overall. Sound is clean and solid in my room.
The only drawback is the remote control: you need the Genelec controller + a remote (Genelec has ****** remotes for home use) which is a big bummer in a home use case; i hacked together a rpi to overcome this, which works so-so.
Genelec can be fed from TV optical cheaply and w/o any problem.

You can also look at Buchard A500+hub; i think Armin recommended Bushard for mid-field/home use and I think their hub is much more convenient (HDMI ARC input probably means TV remote control for volume should work). Buchard also doesn't need a sub, which is a good thing: one less problem to think about.
 

Matias

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I would go:
RME ADI-2 DAC FS - 1050
Apollon NCx500ST - 1100
KEF R3 Meta - 1815
SVS SB2000 Pro - 1200
UMIK-1 - 100
+ taxes and freight
~= 5500 euros

Start with the first 3, buy the sub and mic later when po$$ible.
 

DJBonoBobo

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If going digital I need a BNC connector?
Good post, because i think you wrote a good summary of the best choices available. I think you can't do something wrong with these choices and have to decide for youself ultimately.

Regarding the BNC connector: You can buy simple coaxial digital cables with RCA on one and BNC on the other side. So you'd need either an interface with a digital RCA out or a TOSLINK->Coax converter for your laptop. If you don't use an interface though, you have to rely on the volume control by your laptop. Personally i'd prefer a physical volume control somewhere. I use a RME UCX II that has several digital outputs and 48v phantom power, but it is expensive.
 

test1223

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Hello,

I would also consider tower speakers. There are many potential benefits of a tower. Multiple woofers provide a higher directivity at lower frequencies which will increase the amount of direct sound at the listening position. This increases the sound quality a lot at 2m.

You also get a typical dip around 230Hz with a bookshelf speakers and a listening distance of 2m due to the floor bounce which is out of phase at this listening distance. This can also be avoided with a tower speaker where one or multiple woofers can be placed closer to the floor.

Before buying anything I would listen to some different speakers. E.g. speakers like the Kef R3 or Neumann KH150 isn't the right choice for everyone since they beam a lot in the higher frequencies and doesn't beam much at lower frequencies. They sound very different compared to a speaker like e.g. a Ascend Acoustics Sierra Titan which provides a more constant directivity.
 

HQY

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we are in similiar situation. i recently upgraded from kh80s to 120iis. meanwhile, change kh805 to kh750. i just ordered another 750 and expect to get it next week. i like the result of ma1 alignment and beliven this 2.2 setup will bring me years of music enjoyment.

i used to consider 150s & 310s. but eventually go with the 120iis for the reasons: 1) cost; 2) i can continue to use stands i have which were made for the 80s; 3) i'm a subwoofer guy and hope the combination of 120&750 can minimize the difference between 120 and 150; and 4) 310 is good but it does not have standby, and working with subs could be a bit complicated for more crossover, and it may not have sharp image as 120.
 

Spocko

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I'm a BIG fan of Genelec GLM software and would go the Genelec 8330 + 7360 + GLM. With the subwoofer, SPL is not a problem and gives you the best price to performance if you take into account GLM analytics and reporting features.
 

unpluggged

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IamJF

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Hello,

I would also consider tower speakers. There are many potential benefits of a tower. Multiple woofers provide a higher directivity at lower frequencies which will increase the amount of direct sound at the listening position. This increases the sound quality a lot at 2m.

You also get a typical dip around 230Hz with a bookshelf speakers and a listening distance of 2m due to the floor bounce which is out of phase at this listening distance. This can also be avoided with a tower speaker where one or multiple woofers can be placed closer to the floor.

Before buying anything I would listen to some different speakers. E.g. speakers like the Kef R3 or Neumann KH150 isn't the right choice for everyone since they beam a lot in the higher frequencies and doesn't beam much at lower frequencies. They sound very different compared to a speaker like e.g. a Ascend Acoustics Sierra Titan which provides a more constant directivity.
No - multible woofers of most tower speakers don't have any directivity at all at low frequencies. You would need to separate them for that - e.g. one low and one high over the tweeter to get some vertikal directivity or at least different points in the room to get different chancellations. But it's rarely done (price and size).

You have better SBIR/Lambda/4 possibilities with a subwoofer as with tower speakers.
In the pro world we do slanted surfaces to get rid of the floor/table reflection ... not so easy at home ;-)

Listening is always a great idea if possible! But KEF R3s don't beam at high frequencies - this KEFs have one of the broadest hf available!
So you can chose - R3 for wide dispersion (= good room needed, wider than real imaging possible) or KH150 for "narrow" but still neutral beaming.

I would go for KH120ii + woofer. KH750 with it's closed cabinet sounds excellent and the setup provides full range listening - something you don't want to miss when used.
And when you need more power later on you can add that with a 2nd KH750. KH120ii is beaming less as the 150. For a bigger room and >3m distance KH150 could be beneficial. In 2m KH120ii would be fine. Imaging of the KH120ii is wide and crazy good btw.

I would give the RESULTS of the Neumann system a notch over the Genelec system. Usability in stereo systems is also ok, I had no bugs in my tests.
But for bigger systems and professional environments (e.g. volume control) the Genelec one is way more mature.
 
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Infinit0

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I finally decided to go with Neumann KH 120 II + KH 750 DSP + MA1
Using isoacoustics ISO 155 and ISO Sub
All connected by digital using SPDIF,, the output will be coming from a Matrix Audio X-SPDIF 3.
I think is a really nice end game full range solution!
I would love to get the Genelec 8431 + Sub but it's really out of my budged and also probably the difference between sound quality and price is not worth it.
Thanks all!!!!!!
 

test1223

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No - multible woofers of most tower speakers don't have any directivity at all at low frequencies. You would need to separate them for that - e.g. one low and one high over the tweeter to get some vertikal directivity or at least different points in the room to get different chancellations. But it's rarely done (price and size).
The typical tower has two or more bass drivers and a larger vertical box. Both increase the directivity which can be seen by comparing the sound power di of a bookshelf speaker and a tower speaker of the same series. The tower speaker provides an about 1.5dB increased sound power di in the lower mids to bass frequencies e.g.
https://www.spinorama.org/compare.h...2&origin1=Vendors-KEF&speaker1=JBL+Stage+A180
Because of this almost no bookshelf speaker can provide the IMHO very good sound of a more constant di tower design. Almost all bookshelf speakers don't provide the more narrow di in the low mid to bass and don't sound as good as a speaker which can deliver that.

Listening is always a great idea if possible! But KEF R3s don't beam at high frequencies - this KEFs have one of the broadest hf available!
So you can chose - R3 for wide dispersion (= good room needed, wider than real imaging possible) or KH150 for "narrow" but still neutral beaming.
In the Hi-Fi world the KEF R3 and Neumann KH150 have a narrow beam in the higher frequencies from about 2kHz to 8kHz. The sound power di of the KEF R3 and KH 150 is about 9dB an average Hi-Fi speaker has about 7dB (most randomly chosen speaker provides about this di), a wider beaming design provides about 5 to 6dB sound power di (like Focal, Revel...).

I think is a really nice end game full range solution!
Congratulations. Did you hear a few speakers before making the decision?
I don't want to offend you, but this is not an endgame speaker in many aspects. E.g. you will hear the lack of low frequency di if you compare such a speaker against a bigger speaker with similar performance in the mid to high frequencies.
 
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IamJF

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The typical tower has two or more bass drivers and a larger vertical box. Both increase the directivity which can be seen by comparing the sound power di of a bookshelf speaker and a tower speaker of the same series. The tower speaker provides an about 1.5dB increased sound power di in the lower mids to bass frequencies e.g.
https://www.spinorama.org/compare.h...2&origin1=Vendors-KEF&speaker1=JBL+Stage+A180
Because of this almost no bookshelf speaker can provide the IMHO very good sound of a more constant di tower design. Almost all bookshelf speakers don't provide the more narrow di in the low mid to bass and don't sound as good as a speaker which can deliver that.


In the Hi-Fi world the KEF R3 and Neumann KH150 have a narrow beam in the higher frequencies from about 2kHz to 8kHz. The sound power di of the KEF R3 and KH 150 is about 9dB an average Hi-Fi speaker has about 7dB (most randomly chosen speaker provides about this di), a wider beaming design provides about 5 to 6dB sound power di (like Focal, Revel...).


Congratulations. Did you hear a few speakers before making the decision?
I don't want to offend you, but this is not an endgame speaker in many aspects. E.g. you will hear the lack of low frequency di if you compare such a speaker against a bigger speaker with similar performance in the mid to high frequencies.
The A180 has a way bigger baffle - more directivity in the mids and probably more directivity vertical depending on filter frequency.
There is no directivity at bass frequencies <150Hz at all - as the measurements show.
Directivity for both is very low - I would not overestimate the influence of 1dB difference there. Reflections are still very strong for both.

"Higher frequencies" - R5 beams very little at high frequencies >8kHz. We have our frequency definitions pretty of, 2-8kHz is high mids and precence for me.
This gives a "fresh" and neutral sound all over the room cause of no "muffling" from strong tweter fall off of axis.
Wider beam in the most sensitive area of the ear (or maybe even pronaunced as the new Focal active monitor measurements show) will interact a lot with the room and sound different in every room. From lively to nasty.
And that's exactly what I my results where with a listening comparison between a controlled DI speaker (KH120) vs. more HiFi speaker (older Adam 6" monitor). The Adams sounded different in every room, the KH120 at least like a KH120 - way more reliable.
 

DJBonoBobo

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I don't want to offend you, but this is not an endgame speaker in many aspects. E.g. you will hear the lack of low frequency di if you compare such a speaker against a bigger speaker with similar performance in the mid to high frequencies.
I think the term "endgame" is very subjective. The combo of 120II+750+MA1 will be very hard to beat for the money overall and sufficient for a lot of use cases.
 

IamJF

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All connected by digital using SPDIF,, the output will be coming from a Matrix Audio X-SPDIF 3.
The Matrix Audio is for sure a great device - but a little expensive for "just" a digital out?
If you are ready to buy something mire expensive I would go for something like that: https://www.thomann.de/at/rme_babyface_pro_fs.htm

You have not only a digital output but also the needed microphone input and a hardware level control.
Good headphone outputs, analog outputs (for speaker comparisons) and the legendary RME driver + control software. They even provide an analysis and measurement software tool. Bus powered.
But yes - even more expensive, but a great package. My RME interface is about 10 years now and still gets regularly dirver updates with no end in sight.
 

DJBonoBobo

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The Matrix Audio is for sure a great device - but a little expensive for "just" a digital out?
If you are ready to buy something mire expensive I would go for something like that: https://www.thomann.de/at/rme_babyface_pro_fs.htm

You have not only a digital output but also the needed microphone input and a hardware level control.
Good headphone outputs, analog outputs (for speaker comparisons) and the legendary RME driver + control software. They even provide an analysis and measurement software tool. Bus powered.
But yes - even more expensive, but a great package. My RME interface is about 10 years now and still gets regularly dirver updates with no end in sight.
Toslink only though?
 
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Infinit0

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The Matrix Audio is for sure a great device - but a little expensive for "just" a digital out?
If you are ready to buy something mire expensive I would go for something like that: https://www.thomann.de/at/rme_babyface_pro_fs.htm

You have not only a digital output but also the needed microphone input and a hardware level control.
Good headphone outputs, analog outputs (for speaker comparisons) and the legendary RME driver + control software. They even provide an analysis and measurement software tool. Bus powered.
But yes - even more expensive, but a great package. My RME interface is about 10 years now and still gets regularly dirver updates with no end in sight.
Hey thanks for the tip! To be honest I haven't purchased the Matrix Audio yet, and yes, it's expensive for just a digital output. I was also thinking in the Topping D10s for just this purpose. What you are proposing it's great because it also comes with phantom power input If I am not wrong and I am gonna need something with phantom to use the MA1, that's another problem I don't knot yet how to solve (Maybe I could ask a friend to give me his scarlet 2i2 for a few days to just do the calibration). Also the volume control is a really good addition!
Anyway, with that RME device I woudln't have any SPDIF Coaxial output to then match to a BNC into the Neumann KH750... because it's just optical output.

Any suggestion? I don't bother to expend 800/900 in that device, if it's worth it but that details worries me.

Thank you again!!!
 

DJBonoBobo

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Hey thanks for the tip! To be honest I haven't purchased the Matrix Audio yet, and yes, it's expensive for just a digital output. I was also thinking in the Topping D10s for just this purpose. What you are proposing it's great because it also comes with phantom power input If I am not wrong and I am gonna need something with phantom to use the MA1, that's another problem I don't knot yet how to solve (Maybe I could ask a friend to give me his scarlet 2i2 for a few days to just do the calibration). Also the volume control is a really good addition!
Anyway, with that RME device I woudln't have any SPDIF Coaxial output to then match to a BNC into the Neumann KH750... because it's just optical output.

Any suggestion? I don't bother to expend 800/900 in that device, if it's worth it but that details worries me.

Thank you again!!!
There is also the MOTU Ultralite MK5 which has 48V phantom power, volume control and coaxial digital output, but i don´t know if the volume control on the front controls the spdif output or only the analog outputs - i don´t know the device and did not read the manual. It seems to be a bit like a low cost version of the RME UCX II.
Another option is using the Babyface and an additional small toslink coax converter box. AFAIK these things don´t degrade the signal (at least they should not). I can´t recommend a specific device, though.
 

IamJF

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I also used a pretty cheap toslink/SPdif and it did what it should do with out problems - convert the signal. In fact there are standard parts and circuits with a "light receiver" and conversion to Spdif electronic output, there is not a lot what can go wrong.
I use a Roland Quad capture in my office - way cheaper but drivers are somehow quirky in comparison to RME and no volume control. The MOTU has great D/A converters! Which you don't need ... ;-) Also not sure about volume control.

Audient: https://www.thomann.de/at/audient_id24.htm
Focusrite - but not sure about their drivers: https://www.thomann.de/at/focusrite_scarlett_8i6_3rd_gen.htm

There are many options of these interfaces. If you want to keep it for some time it should have good driver support and be nice looking to integrate in a HiFi setup ;-)
 

HarmonicTHD

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I finally decided to go with Neumann KH 120 II + KH 750 DSP + MA1
Using isoacoustics ISO 155 and ISO Sub
All connected by digital using SPDIF,, the output will be coming from a Matrix Audio X-SPDIF 3.
I think is a really nice end game full range solution!
I would love to get the Genelec 8431 + Sub but it's really out of my budged and also probably the difference between sound quality and price is not worth it.
Thanks all!!!!!!

Very good choice. I have KH80 plus 750 and MA1 but for office (smaller than your room) only listening.
 
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