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Genelec 8341A vs Neumann KH80DSP vs KH310A, Impressions and In-Room Measurements

Χ Ξ Σ

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In the last six months, I swapped four pairs of studio monitors in my study room: the Neumann KH120A, KH310A, KH80DSP, and finally the Genelec 8341A. I wanted to share some of my listening impressions and in-room measurements with those who might be interested in getting one of these speakers. All measurements and listening were done when the speakers were paired with two JBL LSR310S subwoofers and crossed at 80Hz. Dirac Live Processor was used to correct the frequency response to the same target. I used white noise and MMM to conduct these measurements. My listening distance was 1.3 meters give or take. The speakers were placed close to the front wall window, behind a 1.5m*0.6m desk.

Previously I posted a blind test attempt between the KH310 and KH120. To recap, I found that the KH120 had a strange shrillness in the midrange, and KH310’s midrange was a lot smoother. However, after putting four different speakers on the same spots, I am inclined to say that the shrillness is more of a desk/window/room issue rather than a speaker issue. KH310 was not exempted from said shrillness when I listened to them on a daily basis. This made me realize that in a quick-switching, side-by-side comparison, an untrained listener like me could focus too much on the most obvious and dominating distinction while omitting everything else. When compared with the KH120, the KH310's smooth and pleasing upper-bass prevailed so easily. I must admit I was only looking for the upper-bass difference during the comparison and not paying attention to other aspects. It was not until I put the KH120 away and only listened to KH310 that I started hearing the shrillness again, and I was quite surprised and disappointed. However, the shrillness with KH310 was much more forgivable because of KH310’s pleasing upper-bass presentation. That being said, I still do not know what exactly caused that midrange shrillness for all Neumann speakers in my room. At least I do not know where to find them on the measurements.

Long-time viewers on ASR know that the KH80 has one of the best CEA2034 results. According to the measurements, KH80 measures better than the KH310 on every single aspect except for the size-related bass extension, which on paper can be easily improved by adding a subwoofer. The KH80 has a w/sub score of 8.4 while the KH310’s w/sub score was merely 7.6. So, theoretically, KH80+LSR310S should sound better than KH310+LSR310S, right?

KH80 vs KH310 Raw.jpg


Raw measurements were done when Dirac was deactivated. Look at the treble. They definitely use the same tweeter. The placements of these speakers and subwoofers were very close but not exactly the same due to the size difference, so the bass and lower-mid were not exactly the same either. However, when corrected by Dirac, both measured quite similarly.

Left Right.jpg


The left KH80 overlays with the left KH310, the right channel with the right. Other than the slight shift in sub-bass nulls due to the subwoofers’ optimized placement, the responses of main speakers track each other pretty well. The KH310 seems to have bigger up-and-downs from 200Hz to 600Hz.

The listening impressions were quite interesting. Though the corrected frequency responses have the same slope, I just didn’t feel that the KH80+subs produced the same bass impact as the KH310+subs did. Since the sub-bass below 80Hz was produced by the same pairs of subwoofers, the difference had to come from the upper-bass, around 80Hz to 250Hz. KH310’s upper-bass was bigger, deeper, in-your-face, and for lack of a better term, “musical”. KH80’s upper-bass did not have the same level of impact or spatial size. It even felt bass-deficient at the beginning. It sounded like listening to a pair of good-tunning headphones, I could hear the bass frequency, but I did not feel much physical impact, yet once I got used to it, I did not think there was anything particularly wrong with this impact-less bass presentation. Much like most people can easily adjust to listening to headphones’ bass without feeling weird about it.

KH80 KH310 Preferred Bass Level.jpg


Eventually I dialed the subwoofers’ volume up a bit, creating a bass shelf in the sub-bass region to compensate for the lack of upper-bass impact, and that actually worked pretty well. Still, the impact was no match, but with the elevated sub-bass, I no longer felt that the KH80+subs lacked in bass as a whole. Seems like increasing the bass volume can effectively make up for the lack of bass quality. No wonder cheap gears often have a bass boost.

IMG_8564 copy.jpg


The KH310 reacted to Dirac drastically. Most of the time I used full-range correction. I also stored filters that limit Dirac’s correction below 1kHz, 500Hz, 300Hz, and 200Hz. When uncorrected or when the correction was limited 200Hz, the KH310 sounded really big, but the image was basically spilled all over the desk. It could hardly be called an "image". As the correction increased its coverage, the image became smaller and tighter, and I started seeing an image floating above the desk.

IMG_9255 copy.jpg


The KH80, on the other hand, always presented a somewhat clear image elevated above the desk even when uncorrected. The KH80 never spilled the image all over the desk the same way the uncorrected KH310 did. With the increase of correction coverage, the size of the image also tightened a little bit, and the image started to have a clearer boundary. In other words, Dirac did not improve the KH80+subs as much as it did to the KH310+subs because the KH80+subs were more listenable in the first place.

To clarify what I mean, here is my ranking in terms of image:
Uncorrected: KH80+subs > > > KH310+subs
Partially corrected: KH80+subs >= KH310+subs
Full-range: KH310+subs > KH80+subs (mainly the bass)

Back to the question, Did the KH80+subs sound better than the KH310+subs? In my opinion, when both were uncorrected, the KH80+subs did sound better. The $4400 (now $4590) KH310 needed an additional DRC to sound as good as the $998 KH80. When both were corrected, they sounded very similar except for the KH310 still held an edge in the upper-bass department. To make the upper-bass from the KH80 system sounded as impactful as the KH310 system, one probably needs a W371 type of standing subwoofer with directivity control and cross it with the KH80 at above 250Hz. Pretty sure this was not what we usually mean by “just adding a sub or two”.

The Neumann speakers already sounded too bright out of the box, yet the 8341 was even brighter. For the KH120 and the KH310, I had to use Dirac to bring the treble down because setting the treble level to -2 was not enough, and the KH80 does not even have a toggle for adjusting the treble. The 8341 has a toggle that dials the treble down to -4, which works wonderfully for me. I no longer needed to do full-range correction; rather, I limited Dirac to below 1kHz and letting the toggle tiling down the rest. The midrange shrillness that I heard from the Neumann speakers was not completely eliminated but largely mitigated. I suppose the coaxial layout was more room-friendly. However, I have not had the 8341 long enough to definitively say that I would never find the 8341 shrill in the further. I just hope the shrillness stays absent and never comes back.

8341.jpg

The 8341 needed the least amount of room correction. The difference between the raw and corrected response mainly resided in the bass region.

IMG_9274 copy.jpg

The image was a little bigger than what I have been accustomed to, and it did not change much as Dirac increased its coverage.

Preferred Bass Boost.jpg


From everything I read about the 8341, I excepted it to have better treble, better midrange, but I did not expect the bass was also better than the 8.25” KH310. I was surprised with the transient quality in the 8341’s upper-bass. I thought the KH310’s upper-bass was impactful and had a full “body”, but I did not feel it had better transient than the KH120 or the KH80 per se. By that I mean the words “cleaner” and “faster” did not come to mind, but with the 8341 they did. The upper-bass from the 8341 was so punchy and decayed so quickly, it honestly made some music tracks sound a little dry and dead, and some others too bass-heavy. I fiddled with the target curve design in Dirac and ended up with less bass boost than I had with the KH310+subs for most music. I am still switching and deciding between the bass-flat target and the bass-boost target (the same one for the KH310+subs) for some music. This target change was also consistent with me adding more bass boost with the KH80+subs because they had the worst upper-bass. The better the bass quality, the less the bass boost I need.

Subjective Verdicts

The KH80 is the best pound-for-pound speaker in terms of accuracy. Whether or not you like the sound in your specific environment is another story. A lot of people hold an arbitrary notion that 5” is the minimum acceptable woofer size and never look at this 4” wonder from Neumann. Why? Chances are the smaller speakers might even interact with your room better than the bigger speakers do. Also, you do not need a subwoofer to appreciate the KH80. If your brain can adjust to headphones that start rolling off from 100Hz, it can adjust to the KH80, too.

The KH310 is more enjoyable thanks to its bass output. However, in the nearfield, the 8” woofer will spill the image all over the desk. Maybe some would like the “big sound”, but I like my image elevated above the desk.

The 8341 mitigates my room-related problem (for now) that other speakers and room correction could not address. I can also hear the bass clearly even with less bass boost added. The cabinet, however, feels quite rough. At its price point, I expected it to feel as nice as the KH120’s cast aluminum does, but no, Genelec likes it rough.

The CEA2034 data were incredibly useful for choosing speakers. It however does not show how the transient performance will be, or maybe it does, and I just do not know enough to find it on the graph.

I think I am done with upgrading the main speakers for now. Time to look at subwoofers…
 
Last edited:

napilopez

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In the last six months, I swapped four pairs of studio monitors in my study room: the Neumann KH120A, KH310A, KH80DSP, and finally the Genelec 8341A. I wanted to share some of my listening impressions and in-room measurement with those who might be interested in getting one of these speakers. All measurements and listening impressions were done when the speakers were paired with two JBL LSR310S subwoofers and crossed at 80Hz. Dirac Live Processor was used to correct the frequency response to the same target. I used white noise and MMM to conduct these measurements. My listening distance was 1.3 meters give or take. The speakers were placed close to the front wall window, behind a 1.5m*0.6m desk.

Previously I posted a blind test attempt between the KH310 and KH120. To recap, I found KH120 had a strange shrillness in the midrange, and KH310’s midrange was a lot smoother. However, after putting four different speakers on the same spots, I am inclined to say that the shrillness is more of a desk/window/room issue rather than a speaker issue. KH310 was not exempted from said shrillness when I listened to them on a daily basis. This made me realize that in a fast-switching, side-by-side comparison, an untrained listener like me could focus too much on the most obvious distinction while omitting everything else. When compared with the KH120, the KH310’s prevailed so easily with their smooth and pleasing upper-bass, I must admit I was only looking for the upper-bass difference during the comparison and not paying attention to other aspects. It was not until I put the KH120 away and only listened to KH310 that I started hearing the shrillness again, and I was quite surprised and disappointed. However, the shrillness with KH310 was much more forgivable because of KH310’s pleasing upper-bass presentation. That being said, I still do not know what exactly caused that midrange shrillness for all Neumann speakers in my room. At least I do not where to find them on measurements.

KH80 vs KH310

Long-time viewers on ASR know that the KH80 has one of the best CEA2034 results. According to the measurements of the KH80 and KH310, KH80 measured better on every single aspect except for the side-related bass extension, which on paper can be easily improved by adding a subwoofer. The KH80 has a w/sub score of 8.4 while KH310’s w/sub score was only 7.6. So, Theoretically, KH80+LSR310S should sound better than KH310+LSR310S, right?

View attachment 127692

Raw measurements when Dirac is deactivated. Look at the treble, they definitely use the same tweeter. The placements of these speakers and subwoofers were very close but not exactly the same due to the size difference, so the bass and lower-mid look quite different. However, when corrected by Dirac, both measured quite similarly.

View attachment 127693

The left KH80 overlays with the left KH310, the right channel with the right. Other than the slight shift of sub-bass nulls due to the subwoofers’ optimized placement, the main speakers overlay pretty well. The KH310 seems to have bigger up-and-downs from 200Hz to 600Hz.

The listening impressions were quite interesting. Though the frequency response of the KH80+subs and KH310+subs look nearly identical, I just didn’t feel that the KH80+subs produced the same bass impact as the KH310+subs did. Because the sub-bass below 80Hz was produced by the same pairs of subwoofers, the difference had to come from the upper-bass, around 80Hz to 250Hz. KH310’s upper-bass was bigger, deeper, in-your-face, and for lack of a better term, “musical”. KH80’s upper-bass does not have the same level of impact or spatial size. It felt bass-deficient at the beginning. It sounded like listening to a pair of good-tunning headphones, I could hear the bass frequency, but I did not feel much physical impact, yet once I got used to it, I did not think there is anything wrong with this impact-less bass presentation. Much like most people can easily adjust to listening to headphones’ bass presentation feeling weird about it.

View attachment 127694

I tried dialing the subwoofers’ volume up a bit. In essence, I created a bass shelf in the sub-bass region to compensate for the lack of upper-bass impact, and that actually worked pretty well. Still, the impact was different, but with elevated sub-bass, I no longer felt that the KH80+subs lacked in bass as a whole. Seems like adding a bass boost can effectively make up for the lack of bass quality. No wonder cheap gears often have a bass boost.

View attachment 127695

The KH310 reacted to Dirac drastically. Most of the time I used full-range correction. I also stored filters that limit Dirac’s correction under 1kHz, 500Hz, 300Hz, and 200Hz. When uncorrected or when the correction was limited 200Hz, the KH310 sounded really big, but the image is basically spilled all over the desk. It could hardly be called an "image". As the correction increased its coverage, the image became smaller and tighter, and I start seeing an image elevated above the desk.

View attachment 127696

The KH80, on the other hand, always presented a somewhat clear image elevated above the desk even when uncorrected. The KH80 never spilled the image all over the desk the same way the uncorrected KH310 did. With the increase of correction coverage, the size of the image tightened only a little bit, and the image started to have a clearer boundary. In other words, Dirac did not improve the KH80+subs as much as it did to the KH310+subs because the KH80+subs were more listenable in the first place.

To clarify what I mean, here is my ranking in terms of image:
Uncorrected: KH80+subs > > > KH310+subs
Partially corrected: KH80+subs >= KH310+subs
Full-range: KH310+subs > KH80+subs (mainly the bass)

Back to the question, Did KH80+subs sound better than KH310+subs? In my opinion, when both were uncorrected, the KH80+subs did sound better. The $4400 (now $4590) KH310 needed an additional DRC to sound as good as the $998 KH80. When both corrected, they sounded very similar except for the KH310 still held an edge in the upper-bass department. To make the upper-bass from the KH80 system sounded as impactful as the KH310 system, one probably needs a W371 type of standing subwoofer with directivity control and cross it with the KH80 at above 250Hz. Pretty sure this was not what we usually mean by “just adding a sub or two”.

8341 vs KH80

The Neumann speakers sounded too bright out of the box, yet the 8341 was even brighter. For the KH120 and KH310, I had to use Dirac to bring the treble down because setting the treble level to -2 was not enough, and the KH80 does not even have a toggle for adjusting the treble. The 8341 has a toggle that dials the treble down to -4, which works for me for now. I no longer needed to do full-range correction but limiting the Dirac to under 1khz and letting the toggle tiling down the rest. The midrange shrillness that I got from the Neumann speakers was not completely eliminated but largely mitigated. I suppose the coaxial layout was more room-friendly. However, I have not had the 8341 long enough to definitively say that I would never find the 8341 in the further. I just hope the shrillness stays absent and never comes back.

View attachment 127699

The 8341 needed the least amount of room correction. The difference between the raw and corrected response mainly resided in the bass region. The image was a little bigger than what I accustomed to, and it did not change much as Dirac increased its coverage.

View attachment 127700

From everything I read about the 8341, I excepted it to have better treble, better midrange, but I did not expect the bass was also better than the 8.25” KH310. I was surprised with the transient quality in the 8341’s upper-bass response. I thought the KH310’s upper-bass was impactful and had a full “body”, but I did not feel it had better transient than the KH120 or the KH80 per se. By that I mean the words “cleaner” and “faster” did not come to mind, but with the 8341 they did. The upper-bass from the 8341 was so punchy and decayed so quickly, it honestly made some music tracks sound a little dry and dead, and some others too bass-heavy. I fiddled with the target curve design in Dirac and ended up with less bass boost than I had with the KH310+subs for most music. I am still switching and deciding between the bass-flat target and the bass-boost target (the same one for the KH310+subs) for some music. This target change was also consistent with me adding more bass boost with the KH80+subs because they had the worst upper-bass. The better the bass quality, the less the bass boost I need.

Subjective Verdicts

The KH80 is the best pound-for-pound speaker in terms of accuracy. Whether or not you like the sound in your specific environment is another story. A lot of people hold an arbitrary notion that 5” is the minimum acceptable woofer size and never look at this 4” wonder from Neumann. Why? Chances are the smaller speakers might even interact with your room better than the bigger speakers. Also, you do not need a subwoofer to appreciate the KH80. If your brain can adjust to headphones that start rolling off from 100Hz, it can adjust to the KH80, too.

The KH310 is more enjoyable thanks to its bass output. However, in the nearfield, the 8” woofer spills the image all over your desk. Maybe some would like the “big sound”, but I like my image elevated above the desk, hence room correction is necessary.

The 8341 mitigates my room-related problem (for now) that other speakers and room correction could not address. I can also hear the bass clearly even with less bass boost added. The cabinet, however, feels quite rough. At its price point, I expected it to feel as nice as the KH120’s cast aluminum does, but no, Genelec likes it rough.

I think I am done with upgrading the main speakers for now. Time to look at subwoofers…

Thank you for this excellent comparison! The soundstage visualization is so simple but effective!
 

Pearljam5000

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Thanks for the comparison.
Would you say the 8341A are a league above the KH310, i mean do you feel a huge difference between them that justified the price difference? Is the Genelec more detailed in all frequencies? Thanks.
 

richard12511

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In the last six months, I swapped four pairs of studio monitors in my study room: the Neumann KH120A, KH310A, KH80DSP, and finally the Genelec 8341A. I wanted to share some of my listening impressions and in-room measurement with those who might be interested in getting one of these speakers. All measurements and listening impressions were done when the speakers were paired with two JBL LSR310S subwoofers and crossed at 80Hz. Dirac Live Processor was used to correct the frequency response to the same target. I used white noise and MMM to conduct these measurements. My listening distance was 1.3 meters give or take. The speakers were placed close to the front wall window, behind a 1.5m*0.6m desk.

Previously I posted a blind test attempt between the KH310 and KH120. To recap, I found KH120 had a strange shrillness in the midrange, and KH310’s midrange was a lot smoother. However, after putting four different speakers on the same spots, I am inclined to say that the shrillness is more of a desk/window/room issue rather than a speaker issue. KH310 was not exempted from said shrillness when I listened to them on a daily basis. This made me realize that in a fast-switching, side-by-side comparison, an untrained listener like me could focus too much on the most obvious distinction while omitting everything else. When compared with the KH120, the KH310’s prevailed so easily with their smooth and pleasing upper-bass, I must admit I was only looking for the upper-bass difference during the comparison and not paying attention to other aspects. It was not until I put the KH120 away and only listened to KH310 that I started hearing the shrillness again, and I was quite surprised and disappointed. However, the shrillness with KH310 was much more forgivable because of KH310’s pleasing upper-bass presentation. That being said, I still do not know what exactly caused that midrange shrillness for all Neumann speakers in my room. At least I do not know where to find them on measurements.

Long-time viewers on ASR know that the KH80 has one of the best CEA2034 results. According to the measurements of the KH80 and KH310, KH80 measured better on every single aspect except for the size-related bass extension, which on paper can be easily improved by adding a subwoofer. The KH80 has a w/sub score of 8.4 while KH310’s w/sub score was only 7.6. So, Theoretically, KH80+LSR310S should sound better than KH310+LSR310S, right?

View attachment 127692

Raw measurements were done when Dirac is deactivated. Look at the treble, they definitely use the same tweeter. The placements of these speakers and subwoofers were very close but not exactly the same due to the size difference, so the bass and lower-mid were not exactly the same. However, when corrected by Dirac, both measured quite similarly.

View attachment 127693

The left KH80 overlays with the left KH310, the right channel with the right. Other than the slight shift in sub-bass nulls due to the subwoofers’ optimized placement, the responses of main speakers overlay pretty well. The KH310 seems to have bigger up-and-downs from 200Hz to 600Hz.

The listening impressions were quite interesting. Though the frequency response of the KH80+subs and KH310+subs look nearly identical, I just didn’t feel that the KH80+subs produced the same bass impact as the KH310+subs did. Because the sub-bass below 80Hz was produced by the same pairs of subwoofers, the difference had to come from the upper-bass, around 80Hz to 250Hz. KH310’s upper-bass was bigger, deeper, in-your-face, and for lack of a better term, “musical”. KH80’s upper-bass did not have the same level of impact or spatial size. It even felt bass-deficient at the beginning. It sounded like listening to a pair of good-tunning headphones, I could hear the bass frequency, but I did not feel much physical impact, yet once I got used to it, I did not think there is anything particularly wrong with this impact-less bass presentation. Much like most people can easily adjust to listening to headphones’ bass presentation without feeling weird about it.

View attachment 127694

I tried dialing the subwoofers’ volume up a bit. In essence, I created a bass shelf in the sub-bass region to compensate for the lack of upper-bass impact, and that actually worked pretty well. Still, the impact was different, but with elevated sub-bass, I no longer felt that the KH80+subs lacked in bass as a whole. Seems like adding a bass boost can effectively make up for the lack of bass quality. No wonder cheap gears often have a bass boost.

View attachment 127695

The KH310 reacted to Dirac drastically. Most of the time I used full-range correction. I also stored filters that limit Dirac’s correction below 1kHz, 500Hz, 300Hz, and 200Hz. When uncorrected or when the correction was limited 200Hz, the KH310 sounded really big, but the image is basically spilled all over the desk. It could hardly be called an "image". As the correction increased its coverage, the image became smaller and tighter, and I start seeing an image elevated above the desk.

View attachment 127696

The KH80, on the other hand, always presented a somewhat clear image elevated above the desk even when uncorrected. The KH80 never spilled the image all over the desk the same way the uncorrected KH310 did. With the increase of correction coverage, the size of the image also tightened a little bit, and the image started to have a clearer boundary. In other words, Dirac did not improve the KH80+subs as much as it did to the KH310+subs because the KH80+subs were more listenable in the first place.

To clarify what I mean, here is my ranking in terms of image:
Uncorrected: KH80+subs > > > KH310+subs
Partially corrected: KH80+subs >= KH310+subs
Full-range: KH310+subs > KH80+subs (mainly the bass)

Back to the question, Did KH80+subs sound better than KH310+subs? In my opinion, when both were uncorrected, the KH80+subs did sound better. The $4400 (now $4590) KH310 needed an additional DRC to sound as good as the $998 KH80. When both corrected, they sounded very similar except for the KH310 still held an edge in the upper-bass department. To make the upper-bass from the KH80 system sounded as impactful as the KH310 system, one probably needs a W371 type of standing subwoofer with directivity control and cross it with the KH80 at above 250Hz. Pretty sure this was not what we usually mean by “just adding a sub or two”.

The Neumann speakers sounded too bright out of the box, yet the 8341 was even brighter. For the KH120 and KH310, I had to use Dirac to bring the treble down because setting the treble level to -2 was not enough, and the KH80 does not even have a toggle for adjusting the treble. The 8341 has a toggle that dials the treble down to -4, which works wonderfully for me. I no longer needed to do full-range correction but limiting the Dirac to below 1khz and letting the toggle tiling down the rest. The midrange shrillness that I got from the Neumann speakers was not completely eliminated but largely mitigated. I suppose the coaxial layout was more room-friendly. However, I have not had the 8341 long enough to definitively say that I would never find the 8341 shrill in the further. I just hope the shrillness stays absent and never comes back.

View attachment 127704
The 8341 needed the least amount of room correction. The difference between the raw and corrected response mainly resided in the bass region.

View attachment 127699
The image was a little bigger than what I accustomed to, and it did not change much as Dirac increased its coverage.

View attachment 127700

From everything I read about the 8341, I excepted it to have better treble, better midrange, but I did not expect the bass was also better than the 8.25” KH310. I was surprised with the transient quality in the 8341’s upper-bass. I thought the KH310’s upper-bass was impactful and had a full “body”, but I did not feel it had better transient than the KH120 or the KH80 per se. By that I mean the words “cleaner” and “faster” did not come to mind, but with the 8341 they did. The upper-bass from the 8341 was so punchy and decayed so quickly, it honestly made some music tracks sound a little dry and dead, and some others too bass-heavy. I fiddled with the target curve design in Dirac and ended up with less bass boost than I had with the KH310+subs for most music. I am still switching and deciding between the bass-flat target and the bass-boost target (the same one for the KH310+subs) for some music. This target change was also consistent with me adding more bass boost with the KH80+subs because they had the worst upper-bass. The better the bass quality, the less the bass boost I need.

Subjective Verdicts

The KH80 is the best pound-for-pound speaker in terms of accuracy. Whether or not you like the sound in your specific environment is another story. A lot of people hold an arbitrary notion that 5” is the minimum acceptable woofer size and never look at this 4” wonder from Neumann. Why? Chances are the smaller speakers might even interact with your room better than the bigger speakers. Also, you do not need a subwoofer to appreciate the KH80. If your brain can adjust to headphones that start rolling off from 100Hz, it can adjust to the KH80, too.

The KH310 is more enjoyable thanks to its bass output. However, in the nearfield, the 8” woofer spills the image all over your desk. Maybe some would like the “big sound”, but I like my image elevated above the desk.

The 8341 mitigates my room-related problem (for now) that other speakers and room correction could not address. I can also hear the bass clearly even with less bass boost added. The cabinet, however, feels quite rough. At its price point, I expected it to feel as nice as the KH120’s cast aluminum does, but no, Genelec likes it rough.

The CEA2034 data were incredibly useful for choosing speakers. It however does not show how the transient performance will be, or maybe it does, and I just do not know enough to find it on the graph.

I think I am done with upgrading the main speakers for now. Time to look at subwoofers…

The 8341's wider dispersion (imo) is likely to blame for the bigger image.
 
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Χ Ξ Σ

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The 8341's wider dispersion (imo) is likely to blame for the bigger image.
Honestly I don't really know how to read dispersion information from the measurements. Do I just look at the contour plot and see if the beamwidth is wide or not?
 

jhaider

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Thanks for the comparison. It's rare for someone to listen to these speakers together, even rarer to provide measurements for all three in similar placements in the same room, and rarest of all for someone to show in room measurements that actually mean something (spatial average, not useless/pointless single point)!

To make the upper-bass from the KH80 system sounded as impactful as the KH310 system, one probably needs a W371 type of standing subwoofer with directivity control and cross it with the KH80 at above 250Hz. Pretty sure this was not what we usually mean by “just adding a sub or two”.

I don't see why. KH 310 doesn't have any directivity control for the bass. It's just a closed box. Build stands for KH 80 with closed box woofers that offer similar volume displacement as KH 310 (I'm going to guess offers similar capability as Peerless's former stock "XLS8" driver, as that was the longest throw driver they offered to the public on the same frame as the KH 310 driver) you should be similar there with the right crossover. Make up for cabinet volume with power and EQ. A commercial solution would be the new KEF or SVS "micro subs."

The CEA2034 data were incredibly useful for choosing speakers. It however does not show how the transient performance will be, or maybe it does, and I just do not know enough to find it on the graph.

One intended side effect of CEA2034 for sure (and especially the offshoot "Olive score") is people started comparing minimonitors with full range systems!
 
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I don't see why. KH 310 doesn't have any directivity control for the bass. It's just a closed box. Build stands for KH 80 with closed box woofers that offer similar volume displacement as KH 310 (I'm going to guess offers similar capability as Peerless's former stock "XLS8" driver, as that was the longest throw driver they offered to the public on the same frame as the KH 310 driver) you should be similar there with the right crossover. Make up for cabinet volume with power and EQ. A commercial solution would be the new KEF or SVS "micro subs."
Oh, that was just my way of teasing that the KH80 would need another woofer/midwoofer to beat the KH310.:p The W371 was just a namedrop.
 
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Thanks for the comparison. It's rare for someone to listen to these speakers together, even rarer to provide measurements for all three in similar placements in the same room, and rarest of all for someone to show in room measurements that actually mean something (spatial average, not useless/pointless single point)!
Thanks to @dominikz and his comparison of DRCs thread, I learned that MMM is a better way to verify room correction results. My single-point measurements are propagated with comb filtering and look ugly as hell!
 

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In the last six months, I swapped four pairs of studio monitors in my study room: the Neumann KH120A, KH310A, KH80DSP, and finally the Genelec 8341A. I wanted to share some of my listening impressions and in-room measurement with those who might be interested in getting one of these speakers. All measurements and listening impressions were done when the speakers were paired with two JBL LSR310S subwoofers and crossed at 80Hz. Dirac Live Processor was used to correct the frequency response to the same target. I used white noise and MMM to conduct these measurements. My listening distance was 1.3 meters give or take. The speakers were placed close to the front wall window, behind a 1.5m*0.6m desk.

Previously I posted a blind test attempt between the KH310 and KH120. To recap, I found KH120 had a strange shrillness in the midrange, and KH310’s midrange was a lot smoother. However, after putting four different speakers on the same spots, I am inclined to say that the shrillness is more of a desk/window/room issue rather than a speaker issue. KH310 was not exempted from said shrillness when I listened to them on a daily basis. This made me realize that in a fast-switching, side-by-side comparison, an untrained listener like me could focus too much on the most obvious distinction while omitting everything else. When compared with the KH120, the KH310’s prevailed so easily with their smooth and pleasing upper-bass, I must admit I was only looking for the upper-bass difference during the comparison and not paying attention to other aspects. It was not until I put the KH120 away and only listened to KH310 that I started hearing the shrillness again, and I was quite surprised and disappointed. However, the shrillness with KH310 was much more forgivable because of KH310’s pleasing upper-bass presentation. That being said, I still do not know what exactly caused that midrange shrillness for all Neumann speakers in my room. At least I do not know where to find them on measurements.

Long-time viewers on ASR know that the KH80 has one of the best CEA2034 results. According to the measurements of the KH80 and KH310, KH80 measured better on every single aspect except for the size-related bass extension, which on paper can be easily improved by adding a subwoofer. The KH80 has a w/sub score of 8.4 while KH310’s w/sub score was only 7.6. So, Theoretically, KH80+LSR310S should sound better than KH310+LSR310S, right?

View attachment 127692

Raw measurements were done when Dirac is deactivated. Look at the treble, they definitely use the same tweeter. The placements of these speakers and subwoofers were very close but not exactly the same due to the size difference, so the bass and lower-mid were not exactly the same. However, when corrected by Dirac, both measured quite similarly.

View attachment 127693

The left KH80 overlays with the left KH310, the right channel with the right. Other than the slight shift in sub-bass nulls due to the subwoofers’ optimized placement, the responses of main speakers overlay pretty well. The KH310 seems to have bigger up-and-downs from 200Hz to 600Hz.

The listening impressions were quite interesting. Though the frequency response of the KH80+subs and KH310+subs look nearly identical, I just didn’t feel that the KH80+subs produced the same bass impact as the KH310+subs did. Because the sub-bass below 80Hz was produced by the same pairs of subwoofers, the difference had to come from the upper-bass, around 80Hz to 250Hz. KH310’s upper-bass was bigger, deeper, in-your-face, and for lack of a better term, “musical”. KH80’s upper-bass did not have the same level of impact or spatial size. It even felt bass-deficient at the beginning. It sounded like listening to a pair of good-tunning headphones, I could hear the bass frequency, but I did not feel much physical impact, yet once I got used to it, I did not think there is anything particularly wrong with this impact-less bass presentation. Much like most people can easily adjust to listening to headphones’ bass presentation without feeling weird about it.

View attachment 127694

I tried dialing the subwoofers’ volume up a bit. In essence, I created a bass shelf in the sub-bass region to compensate for the lack of upper-bass impact, and that actually worked pretty well. Still, the impact was different, but with elevated sub-bass, I no longer felt that the KH80+subs lacked in bass as a whole. Seems like adding a bass boost can effectively make up for the lack of bass quality. No wonder cheap gears often have a bass boost.

View attachment 127695

The KH310 reacted to Dirac drastically. Most of the time I used full-range correction. I also stored filters that limit Dirac’s correction below 1kHz, 500Hz, 300Hz, and 200Hz. When uncorrected or when the correction was limited 200Hz, the KH310 sounded really big, but the image is basically spilled all over the desk. It could hardly be called an "image". As the correction increased its coverage, the image became smaller and tighter, and I start seeing an image elevated above the desk.

View attachment 127696

The KH80, on the other hand, always presented a somewhat clear image elevated above the desk even when uncorrected. The KH80 never spilled the image all over the desk the same way the uncorrected KH310 did. With the increase of correction coverage, the size of the image also tightened a little bit, and the image started to have a clearer boundary. In other words, Dirac did not improve the KH80+subs as much as it did to the KH310+subs because the KH80+subs were more listenable in the first place.

To clarify what I mean, here is my ranking in terms of image:
Uncorrected: KH80+subs > > > KH310+subs
Partially corrected: KH80+subs >= KH310+subs
Full-range: KH310+subs > KH80+subs (mainly the bass)

Back to the question, Did KH80+subs sound better than KH310+subs? In my opinion, when both were uncorrected, the KH80+subs did sound better. The $4400 (now $4590) KH310 needed an additional DRC to sound as good as the $998 KH80. When both corrected, they sounded very similar except for the KH310 still held an edge in the upper-bass department. To make the upper-bass from the KH80 system sounded as impactful as the KH310 system, one probably needs a W371 type of standing subwoofer with directivity control and cross it with the KH80 at above 250Hz. Pretty sure this was not what we usually mean by “just adding a sub or two”.

The Neumann speakers sounded too bright out of the box, yet the 8341 was even brighter. For the KH120 and KH310, I had to use Dirac to bring the treble down because setting the treble level to -2 was not enough, and the KH80 does not even have a toggle for adjusting the treble. The 8341 has a toggle that dials the treble down to -4, which works wonderfully for me. I no longer needed to do full-range correction but limiting the Dirac to below 1khz and letting the toggle tiling down the rest. The midrange shrillness that I got from the Neumann speakers was not completely eliminated but largely mitigated. I suppose the coaxial layout was more room-friendly. However, I have not had the 8341 long enough to definitively say that I would never find the 8341 shrill in the further. I just hope the shrillness stays absent and never comes back.

View attachment 127704
The 8341 needed the least amount of room correction. The difference between the raw and corrected response mainly resided in the bass region.

View attachment 127699
The image was a little bigger than what I have been accustomed to, and it did not change much as Dirac increased its coverage.

View attachment 127700

From everything I read about the 8341, I excepted it to have better treble, better midrange, but I did not expect the bass was also better than the 8.25” KH310. I was surprised with the transient quality in the 8341’s upper-bass. I thought the KH310’s upper-bass was impactful and had a full “body”, but I did not feel it had better transient than the KH120 or the KH80 per se. By that I mean the words “cleaner” and “faster” did not come to mind, but with the 8341 they did. The upper-bass from the 8341 was so punchy and decayed so quickly, it honestly made some music tracks sound a little dry and dead, and some others too bass-heavy. I fiddled with the target curve design in Dirac and ended up with less bass boost than I had with the KH310+subs for most music. I am still switching and deciding between the bass-flat target and the bass-boost target (the same one for the KH310+subs) for some music. This target change was also consistent with me adding more bass boost with the KH80+subs because they had the worst upper-bass. The better the bass quality, the less the bass boost I need.

Subjective Verdicts

The KH80 is the best pound-for-pound speaker in terms of accuracy. Whether or not you like the sound in your specific environment is another story. A lot of people hold an arbitrary notion that 5” is the minimum acceptable woofer size and never look at this 4” wonder from Neumann. Why? Chances are the smaller speakers might even interact with your room better than the bigger speakers. Also, you do not need a subwoofer to appreciate the KH80. If your brain can adjust to headphones that start rolling off from 100Hz, it can adjust to the KH80, too.

The KH310 is more enjoyable thanks to its bass output. However, in the nearfield, the 8” woofer spills the image all over your desk. Maybe some would like the “big sound”, but I like my image elevated above the desk.

The 8341 mitigates my room-related problem (for now) that other speakers and room correction could not address. I can also hear the bass clearly even with less bass boost added. The cabinet, however, feels quite rough. At its price point, I expected it to feel as nice as the KH120’s cast aluminum does, but no, Genelec likes it rough.

The CEA2034 data were incredibly useful for choosing speakers. It however does not show how the transient performance will be, or maybe it does, and I just do not know enough to find it on the graph.

I think I am done with upgrading the main speakers for now. Time to look at subwoofers…
Thank you so much for this. All these speakers are on my short list for my next desktop monitors and I just got a calibrated microphone (UMIK-1) and REW to start to take these types of measurements. I currently have 3 different pairs bookshelf speakers on my desk and I am comparing the frequency response curves and trying to understand how the graphs relate to the audible differences I am hearing. Your post was so helpful! Thanks!
 

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I think it’s funny how you show how the narrower soundstage of the KH80 was preferred, yet for me I would view that as a negative vs the wider image for many (but not all) kinds of music. The fairly wide beam width was one of the things I really liked most about the KH310’s.

That said, I do think the Genelec’s strike a really great balance so that they perform excellently for all kinds of music: close up performances of unamplified voices and instruments in a room (where to feel as if it’s really there in the room, you want wide beam width — so for this e.g. my Salon2’s sound best), vs live amplified music and stage style performances (EDM, rock, etc.) narrower beams sound more true to the original (and while the Genelec’s aren’t narrow, they are compared to my Salon2’s and therefore sound better for this kind of music).

I also find that Genelec are much too bright out of the box for my taste. Note that aside from whatever Dirac modes you use, Genelec GLM can program these any filters you want. I personally use one of the “sound character profiles” in the GLM software to set I think a -1db/octave gentle roll off, rather than any more abrupt shelf you often get with the simplistic dip switches on the back.

I’m not sure what version of Dirac you have but mine via the MiniDSP SHD doesn’t have the ability to set a smooth treble roll off without dangerously just allowing it to EQ the entire upper frequencies which is NOT what I want (since this always always sounds worse, to me, so I am also pretty unhappy that Dirac tries to do this by default which seems like pretty bad design).

In contrast, Genelec GLM auto calibration tends to filter up to maybe 250hz or so and rarely any higher, unless it sees a serious issue. I honestly think Genelec GLM is better than Dirac in this way. Dirac seems just way way too aggressive with treble filtering, and doesn’t allow tuning target curves in the treble without enabling full narrow filters up there as it tries to flatten out the treble (but of course ends up making things worse). GLM will automatically make good choices and won’t mess with the high frequencies other than to adjust the overall “sound profile“ (as it calls it) via presets (which apply a few stacked shelf filters to achieve very smooth gradually roll off modes, which you can also fully edit and customize yourself per speaker if you wanted to).
 

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I think I am done with upgrading the main speakers for now. Time to look at subwoofers…

Don´t forget the rest: I think you need absorbers behind your speakers for the 150-400Hz-area. In my room they made a very serious difference. Here is an old version which already showed this: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...in-room-measurements.13540/page-3#post-408953 In the meantime i upgraded a few things and more absorbers in front of the windows, but you can see already what i mean.
 

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This is great! It also kind of gives an illustration that conventional thinking of best measurements coupled with subs does not automatically translate to higher preference. Thank you for enlightening me. I previously thought that based on preference ratings with the caveat of not as much spl, the genelec 8030c would be the best choice if I pair it with multi subs and spending more would not get me any further towards perfection. Not all is in black and white as it seems.

How did you integrate the JBL 310s? Is it left output on source going to one sub then that sub is connected to left speaker; and right output on source going to the other sub then that sub is connected to right speaker? I ordered genelec 8030c and I am thinking of getting jbl lsr310s for ease of integration or minidsp 2x4. Since you paired it with even higher series like the 8341a and the neumann 310 which I definitely drool over but cannot afford, I am thinking whether the jbl lsr310s is a good buy.
 
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I think it’s funny how you show how the narrower soundstage of the KH80 was preferred, yet for me I would view that as a negative vs the wider image for many (but not all) kinds of music. The fairly wide beam width was one of the things I really liked most about the KH310’s.
I wonder if you used the KH310 in a living room or in a study room behind a desk? I guess when there were enough distances from the floor and ceiling, The image would be big and centered. When they were put near a desk, however, the image would descend way below my eye level due to one-sided reflection. Ironically that is what the KH310 is designed for as a nearfield monitor. I never had a chance to put them in my living room. Maybe I would love the wide image there.
 
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Dirac seems just way way too aggressive with treble filtering, and doesn’t allow tuning target curves in the treble without enabling full narrow filters up there as it tries to flatten out the treble (but of course ends up making things worse)
Glad you mentioned it. About that, I posted a few measurements of Dirac and the hosting applications' impact on the high-frequency response days ago.

In summary, I found that:
1. Dirac changes the high frequency even if the correction is limited to a lower frequency.
2. Different hosting applications change the high frequency differently. Audirvana creates a zigzag. Audio Hijack creates a roll-off.
3. Switching between Dirac filters triggers a temporary low-pass filter.
4. Turning Dirac off while leaving the hosting application results in a weird notch.

Maybe I didn't post it at the right time, no one responded to my thread.o_O I asked a technical expert/industrial insider about this, his guess was :
1. Though the frequency correction is limited, the phase correction is still active. Altering the phase will naturally alter the response in the frequency domain. No big deal.
2. Filters developed by Dirac might not be translated perfectly when going through another developer's specifications. From his experience, even importing a simple set of PEQ into different software can result in different measurments. Still nothing to swear about.

So yeah... Dirac isn't perfect. Whether the jaggedness in the high frequency is consequential is another story. I haven't got a chance to use the GLM kit yet because I want to try one new thing at a time. I might have to use them to perform high-pass filtering if I upgraded to a different pair of subwoofers.
 
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This is great! It also kind of gives an illustration that conventional thinking of best measurements coupled with subs does not automatically translate to higher preference. Thank you for enlightening me. I previously thought that based on preference ratings with the caveat of not as much spl, the genelec 8030c would be the best choice if I pair it with multi subs and spending more would not get me any further towards perfection. Not all is in black and white as it seems.

How did you integrate the JBL 310s? Is it left output on source going to one sub then that sub is connected to left speaker; and right output on source going to the other sub then that sub is connected to right speaker? I ordered genelec 8030c and I am thinking of getting jbl lsr310s for ease of integration or minidsp 2x4. Since you paired it with even higher series like the 8341a and the neumann 310 which I definitely drool over but cannot afford, I am thinking whether the jbl lsr310s is a good buy.
I connected them just the way you described. I don't know much about subwoofers but I think the LSR310S is a hassle-free solution.
 
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Don´t forget the rest: I think you need absorbers behind your speakers for the 150-400Hz-area. In my room they made a very serious difference. Here is an old version which already showed this: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...in-room-measurements.13540/page-3#post-408953 In the meantime i upgraded a few things and more absorbers in front of the windows, but you can see already what i mean.
I like your illustration. Unfortunately behind the speakers stand the window. I think putting absorbers on the window will look really weird.
 

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Honestly I don't really know how to read dispersion information from the measurements. Do I just look at the contour plot and see if the beamwidth is wide or not?

My favorite things for judging dispersion width are:

1. The horizontal off axis curves that @MZKM posts for each review
2. The beamwidth graphs that Amir and Erin post with their reviews. I like both the regular and normalized versions(for different reason).
3. The early reflections directivity index at the bottom of the spinorama(blue dashed line). This (unfortunately) lumps vertical and horizontal dispersion into one. I've seen @napilopez include a "horizontal early reflections directivity index" as a separate line, which I found super helpful.

The first one is (imo) the best for comparing really small differences. I'll take two graphs and put them side by side to see which is wider. Wider dispersion is indicated by the off axis curves being closer in level to the on axis curve. A good example is below, with speakers with very different dispersion widths (JTR 212RT and Revel M105). Notice how much smaller in area the Revel set of curves is, which indicates a much wider dispersion pattern.
Screen Shot 2020-09-04 at 8.32.02 PM-min.png


One thing I'm still not sure of, is which frequency ranges I should be focusing on the most. Usually I'm looking at like 2-8kHz, but I don't really have a good reason for that.
 
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