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Neumann KH 310A Review (Powered Monitor)

andreasmaaan

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I have corrected my post: I meant to write "the consumer may end up ruling out a speaker which he might have liked"

In response to your question, my last four speakers were: Spendor SP9/1s (loved them, would probably rate poorly), B&W 802 S3s (ear-piercing hated them, would probably rate very high), PSB T2s (liked them but "sparkly" treble and "constrained" bass at normal/high levels, would probably top passive), Stirling LS3/6s (really like them but rather "loose" sub-bass and limited extension and a bit "forward-sounding" in my current small and narrow room with untreated walls, would probably rate poorly).

Very interesting, thanks.

I think the LS3s would rate quite highly. Horizontal and vertical off-axis peaks/dips are complementary, which should result in a fairly smooth PIR, and on-axis/LW is very flat.

PSB would also rate well I think. The sparkly top-end is apparent in the measurements, wouldn't you agree?

Not sure about the B&Ws. There are some basic measurements here but it's hard to conclude much from those.

The Spendors also seem to measure quite well: you have to keep in mind that those graphs have a 19dB vertical scale!

If I stretch its on-axis response to the scale that the spinorama uses, it ends up looking quite good. Here it is side-by-side with the KH310:

1605979935018.png


And keep in mind that the Olive score discounts everything above 16kHz (IIRC), so the early HF roll-off would not be a problem.

The measured in-room response there also seems to look similar to what you'd expect would give an okay Olive score, too (keeping in mind the measured response in a real room is always going to be a bit shabbier than the so-called PIR):

1605979367384.png
 
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Vintage57

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I guess these have absolutely no tweeter hiss?
The KH120 and the KH420 have no hiss. I’m going to go out on a limb and say the KH310 don’t
 

tuga

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Very interesting, thanks.

I think the LS3s would rate quite highly. Horizontal and vertical off-axis peaks/dips are complementary, which should result in a fairly smooth PIR, and on-axis/LW is very flat.

PSB would also rate well I think. The sparkly top-end is apparent in the measurements, wouldn't you agree?

Not sure about the B&Ws. There are some basic measurements here but it's hard to conclude much from those.

The Spendors also seem to measure quite well: you have to keep in mind that those graphs have a 19dB vertical scale!

If I stretch its on-axis response to the scale that the spinorama uses, it ends up looking quite good. Here it is side-by-side with the KH310:

View attachment 94898

And keep in mind that the Olive score discounts everything above 16kHz (IIRC), so the early HF roll-off would not be a problem.

The measured in-room response there also seems to look similar to what you'd expect would give an okay Olive score, too (keeping in mind the measured response in a real room is always going to be a bit shabbier than the so-called PIR):

View attachment 94896
I still have the actual in-room response of the SP9/1s (listening distance of about 2.5m and no EQ):

 

andreasmaaan

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I still have the actual in-room response of the SP9/1s (listening distance of about 2.5m and no EQ):

Other than the absence of that low-midrange dip that plagues all the third-party measurements but is absent from yours, the in-room responses actually track amazingly closely, wouldn't you say?

I wonder if they had a defective sample.. Or if perhaps a room effect fills in the anechoic dip there in your case...
 
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Distortion looks lower in KH310 than KH80 to me:

View attachment 94889

Note especially that, below 100Hz, 2nd 3rd harmonic dominates in the case of the KH310, whereas a spray of higher-order harmonics are present in the case of KH80.
It`s more obvious by comparing the Neumann measurements:

KH 80 -> Harmonic Distortion at 90 dB SPL (Blue: THD, Green: 2nd harmonic, Red: 3rd harmonic)


KH310 -> Harmonic Distortion at 90 dB SPL (Green: THD, Blue: 2nd harmonic, Red: 3rd harmonic)




KH80 -> Maximum SPL at 1m (Blue: 3% THD, Green: 1% THD )


KH310 -> Maximum SPL at 1m (Red: 1% THD, Blue: 3% THD)



In addition you also have to consider the lower Intermodulation Distortions of a three way speaker.
In this example it is 10-15dB lower (comparison of a 2way and 3way Klein Hummel speaker):

Source/ details: https://en-de.neumann.com/file-finder -> Glossary for studio monitors: Erläuterung der Messkurven, German
 

andreasmaaan

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It`s more obvious by comparing the Neumann measurements:

KH 80 -> Harmonic Distortion at 90 dB SPL (Blue: THD, Green: 2nd harmonic, Red: 3rd harmonic)


KH310 -> Harmonic Distortion at 90 dB SPL (Green: THD, Blue: 2nd harmonic, Red: 3rd harmonic)




KH80 -> Maximum SPL at 1m (Blue: 3% THD, Green: 1% THD )


KH310 -> Maximum SPL at 1m (Red: 1% THD, Blue: 3% THD)



In addition you also have to consider the lower Intermodulation Distortions of a three way speaker.
In this example it is 10-15dB lower (comparison of a 2way and 3way Klein Hummel speaker):

Source/ details: https://en-de.neumann.com/file-finder -> Glossary for studio monitors: Erläuterung der Messkurven, German
Yes, thanks :)

I didn't have these measurements available when I posted, but they all tend to confirm the point that the KH310 has significantly lower distortion than the KH80.

CC: @matt3421
 
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It is the only one Amir has shown to be the case. I am virtually certain there have to be other woofers that are similarly effected. Even if most are not.

If Amir would just move to Hawaii with a more stable year round temp it wouldn't be a problem. :)

OTOH, shipping costs to get things measured would be thru the roof. :(
:::
Yes, lets not be shelfish here.... if Amir needs to move to Hawaii for better measurements, then so be it. :)
 

thewas

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JBL LSR is the previous gen, this gen is 308p Mkii, so you're not comparing apples to apples.
The differences of both generations are small, actually the 305 MKI measures even more linear than the 305 MKII. ;)
If you look at the measurements I would wager the only significant difference between the 308p Mkii and this Neumann is the higher distortion on the 308p,
Distortion makes a significant difference but even more intermodulation distortion and the cleanness in the midrange of the Neumann 3" mid dome which is one of the objectively and subjectively best mid drivers in the world, where distortions count much more than in the bass or highs.
Also the more vibrating enclosures of good cheap monitors like JBL, Kali etc. give a coloration that isn't seen directly in spinoramas. I owned the Kali IN-8 which is a step further to the 308 being a 3-way coaxial design from the same engineer who designed also the JBL 30x but again it cannot be compared to the KH310.
I'm thinking if you don't listen at loud volumes then perhaps it would be difficult to give a preference to one or the other in blind testing.
I am rather a "wooden ear" that usually doesn't never manage to listen to differences between amps, sources or even high bit rate MP3s but there I am quite sure that most listeners could tell blindly which is which, can only recommend you to do test them yourself, or actually not if you are happy with 308 and don't want to change them.
But I suppose I'd expect the Neumann's to be better given that they cost over 10 times more than the JBL's! ;)
Yes they are and this is something that a single number like the Harman score doesn't show. I can and do EQ many of my loudspeakers like LS50, JBL LSR, Kali IN-8 and Neumann KH120 to a higher Harman score than the KH310 without EQ, but I would always chose the latter.
 

Xyrium

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Besides the connectivity options, I wonder how subs from studio companies compare to say a Rythmik.
I've had a pair of F12's before. While they were good, most of the studio stuff uses DSP now. So, I'd say the advantage may actually be in favor of the studio gear, unless Brian gets on board with DSP and dumps the fascination with servos. I'd love to see a DSP product from him.

That said, I had the XLR2 amp that he offers, and the connectivity and adjustability options were fantastic on it!
 

digicidal

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And these are the perfect size to go in my entertainment center as well. With no ports to worry about either, I might just have to give myself a pair of these for Christmas this year... I think I've been a good boy. :p
 

StefaanE

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I've had a pair of F12's before. While they were good, most of the studio stuff uses DSP now. So, I'd say the advantage may actually be in favor of the studio gear, unless Brian gets on board with DSP and dumps the fascination with servos. I'd love to see a DSP product from him.
I had a look at the Rythmik site, and their servo system looks very much like the Philips MFB (Motional FeedBack) from the late 1970ies. They must be some of the earliest powered speakers. In those days, I was fascinated by the technology, but never had the money to buy them.
Does DSP outperform servo-based systems without information on the actual sound produced by the speaker?
 

AudioSceptic

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Its a design made with and for Neumann and unfortunately only available there, who the OEM is is to my knowledge not publicly known.
From the 2013 SoS review I mentioned earlier
Three-way speakers are supposed to provide greater mid-range clarity than two-ways, mainly because each driver has less of the spectrum to worry about, and so can be more linear and accurate, resulting in fewer intermodulation issues. While some of the latest two-way designs are beginning to challenge that view, the clarity and resolution of the mid-range in the KH310A is pretty special. When the words 'mid-range' and 'special' are used in the same sentence, a lot of people will think of the well-known and much-loved ATC mid-range driver, and K+H actually used it in their O500C model. However, it was deemed too expensive for the new KH310A, so the Neumann/K+H designers designed their own 75mm mid-range dome driver, which they describe as being more cost-effective, more sensitive, having lower THD and intermodulation distortion, and better break-up behaviour. That's a very bold claim, but on listening it is very easy to believe; the mid-range is very revealing and very accurate.
 

richard12511

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So do I as it needs very good driver, crossover and baffle design to really minimise resonances instead of just attenuating them with an overall DSP EQ.
Kinda the opposite of the JBL M2 design, iirc.
 

andreasmaaan

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I had a look at the Rythmik site, and their servo system looks very much like the Philips MFB (Motional FeedBack) from the late 1970ies. They must be some of the earliest powered speakers. In those days, I was fascinated by the technology, but never had the money to buy them.
Does DSP outperform servo-based systems without information on the actual sound produced by the speaker?
The two are not really comparable. DSP, as it's employed by most manufacturers who use it, simply implements a high-pass filter and voltage limiting to protect the woofer from over-excursion/over-heating.

In more sophisticated implementations, DSP may also be employed to create a voltage/frequency dependent limiter or high-pass filter. Implemented in this way, it allows for maximum bass extension at low SPLs, and maximum output (with less bass extension) at high SPLs.

However, DSP solutions like this all differ from servo control and motional feedback in the sense that they do not employ real-time feedback (instead, they are based on known/measured characteristics/parameters of the driver).

In theory (and maybe already in practice?), a system could be designed that employed a combination of these methods.

Did that answer the question? Or am I telling you what you already know, lol?
 

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