• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). Come here to have fun, be ready to be teased and not take online life too seriously. We now measure and review equipment for free! Click here for details.

Neumann KH120 for living room?

Joined
Jan 22, 2021
Messages
49
Likes
28
#1
Hello everyone!

I am planning on putting together a stereo system purely for music listening purposes. I have one in the house where I grew up, but will be moving soon and plan on starting a new one completely from scratch.

The room in which I plan on putting everything together is quite big (compared to what I am used to), roughly 25m² and cubic. Listening position would be around 3m from each speaker.

I plan on using a Raspberri Pi as a streamer, or a CCA should I find one for cheap. Maybe even a Xiaomi Mi Box if I add a TV. I would stream either from my stored music files, or Spotify. I will most likely get a Qobuz subscription too, because the Spotify Masterings seem to do something funky (does anyone share that experience?).

From what I've read on this forum as a lurker, active speakers seem to offer the most bang for your buck. Naturally I came across various offerings from Genelec, Neumann, Adam.... The Neumann KH120 piqued my interest, since it can be had for a reasonable price on the used market, and is a technological marvel.

I plan to add a subwoofer later on. Does anyone have experience with using the KH120 + Sub in a living room scenario? Would this work to a satisfying degree or would I be better of with, let's say, an Adam T7V with suitable subwoofer(s)? My thinking is, if I take the low end off the speakers I should be able to get the benefit of the smaller/faster driver in the KH120.

Alternatively, I am not opposed to going the passive route. I am looking at the Kef LS50s, which can be had for a bargain price at the moment on the used market (500€ - 700€), or the Technics SB-C700. Would the Coaxial design of the LS50/the SB-C700 offer a much wider sweet spot than the KH120 / be more forgiving in setting it up properly?

Please excuse me for this long post! I searched through this forum, but most people use the KH120 in a nearfield environment, and rightfully so! Also please excuse my quite superficial understanding of loudspeaker design, room integration, speaker placement etc.
Curious to hear your suggestions/to learn something new!
 
Joined
Jan 21, 2019
Messages
46
Likes
38
#2
Hello Gurkerl,

I currently use a pair of KH120 in a rectangular room that is 25m² with tall ceilings (3,7m). I have quite a bit of furniture in here (bed, sofa, tall bookshelf, warderobe, etc.), but it is still quite a reverberant room due to the tall walls.

My setup is nearfield at the desk though. I really like it in this configuration.

For a living room mid- or farfield setup I am not so sure. At the beginning I was comparing them to my Q Acoustics floorstanders, and thought the Neumänner sounded a bit darker and smaller in comparison. Maybe that is due to their narrow directivity, but I am not sure.

BTW I added a JBL LSR310S sub a couple of days ago, which has proven to be a very good idea.
 

ernestcarl

Major Contributor
Joined
Sep 4, 2019
Messages
1,305
Likes
932
Location
Canada
#3
Hello everyone!

I am planning on putting together a stereo system purely for music listening purposes. I have one in the house where I grew up, but will be moving soon and plan on starting a new one completely from scratch.

The room in which I plan on putting everything together is quite big (compared to what I am used to), roughly 25m² and cubic. Listening position would be around 3m from each speaker.

I plan on using a Raspberri Pi as a streamer, or a CCA should I find one for cheap. Maybe even a Xiaomi Mi Box if I add a TV. I would stream either from my stored music files, or Spotify. I will most likely get a Qobuz subscription too, because the Spotify Masterings seem to do something funky (does anyone share that experience?).

From what I've read on this forum as a lurker, active speakers seem to offer the most bang for your buck. Naturally I came across various offerings from Genelec, Neumann, Adam.... The Neumann KH120 piqued my interest, since it can be had for a reasonable price on the used market, and is a technological marvel.

I plan to add a subwoofer later on. Does anyone have experience with using the KH120 + Sub in a living room scenario? Would this work to a satisfying degree or would I be better of with, let's say, an Adam T7V with suitable subwoofer(s)? My thinking is, if I take the low end off the speakers I should be able to get the benefit of the smaller/faster driver in the KH120.

Alternatively, I am not opposed to going the passive route. I am looking at the Kef LS50s, which can be had for a bargain price at the moment on the used market (500€ - 700€), or the Technics SB-C700. Would the Coaxial design of the LS50/the SB-C700 offer a much wider sweet spot than the KH120 / be more forgiving in setting it up properly?

Please excuse me for this long post! I searched through this forum, but most people use the KH120 in a nearfield environment, and rightfully so! Also please excuse my quite superficial understanding of loudspeaker design, room integration, speaker placement etc.
Curious to hear your suggestions/to learn something new!
Love my KH120s, but... At three meters I'd try to go with something bigger if possible just for the extra headroom -- 7 to 8" at least. I've listened to the KH120 at 3 meters and was not happy with the apparent increased "darkness" even after applying the shelving boost -- the two rooms listened to were over-treated in the HF, though, so maybe that influenced my perception.
 
OP
Gurkerl
Joined
Jan 22, 2021
Messages
49
Likes
28
Thread Starter #4
Hello Gurkerl,

I currently use a pair of KH120 in a rectangular room that is 25m² with tall ceilings (3,7m). I have quite a bit of furniture in here (bed, sofa, tall bookshelf, warderobe, etc.), but it is still quite a reverberant room due to the tall walls.

My setup is nearfield at the desk though. I really like it in this configuration.

For a living room mid- or farfield setup I am not so sure. At the beginning I was comparing them to my Q Acoustics floorstanders, and thought the Neumänner sounded a bit darker and smaller in comparison. Maybe that is due to their narrow directivity, but I am not sure.

BTW I added a JBL LSR310S sub a couple of days ago, which has proven to be a very good idea.
Thank you for your answer, Buddelpudding. Would you say something like Jbl 308p or Adam T8V/T7V or similar would be better suited in that regard? Or would you push me in the passive direction ala Kef LS50 or Elac DBR 6.2?
The LSR310S is also on my radar. Do you by any chance know of a guide on how to set a subwoofer up properly? I would really love to educate me on that topic.

Love my KH120s, but... At three meters I'd try to go with something bigger if possible just for the extra headroom -- 7 to 8" at least. I've listened to the KH120 at 3 meters and was not happy with the apparent increased "darkness" even after applying the shelving boost -- the two rooms listened to were over-treated in the HF, though, so maybe that influenced my perception.
Thank you for your answer, ernestcarl. Your statement does reinforce what I've been thinking. Perhaps I'll wait for now and find out what my specific listening position will exactly look like, then I'll decide on what to get. Might very well be that it is less than 3 meters from the speakers.



Also I've been looking at offerings from Edifier and Swans, but there is not a lot of information about these two brands. Does anyone have any experience with their speakers? Specifically Edifier S3000Pro & S2000Pro, and Swan M300 & M3A seem to offer a lot for their money.
 

Ron Texas

Major Contributor
Joined
Jun 10, 2018
Messages
3,695
Likes
4,577
Location
A mysterious place with no name.
#5
At a distance of 3M any studio monitors which was designed for nearfield will most likely not reach their peak performance. The LS50's being "regular" stereo speakers should work better as they are designed for mid field. Even those when augmented with a sub (or two) would probably be running out of oomph at 3M. My System is LS50's plus 2 Rythmic L12 subs in a smaller room than you have and at 2.2 M. I think you should probably be looking at a pair of floor standing speakers. Don't jump to conclusions about active speakers. They have several very vocal supporters here which might give you a slanted impression. Unless you spend a lot of money they tend to be designed for near field and have limited output. I've seen the mention of limited output in many of the reviews here. Sorry, I don't know what's available used in your corner of Europe.
 
OP
Gurkerl
Joined
Jan 22, 2021
Messages
49
Likes
28
Thread Starter #6
At a distance of 3M any studio monitors which was designed for nearfield will most likely not reach their peak performance. The LS50's being "regular" stereo speakers should work better as they are designed for mid field. Even those when augmented with a sub (or two) would probably be running out of oomph at 3M. My System is LS50's plus 2 Rythmic L12 subs in a smaller room than you have and at 2.2 M. I think you should probably be looking at a pair of floor standing speakers. Don't jump to conclusions about active speakers. They have several very vocal supporters here which might give you a slanted impression. Unless you spend a lot of money they tend to be designed for near field and have limited output. I've seen the mention of limited output in many of the reviews here. Sorry, I don't know what's available used in your corner of Europe.
Thank you for your reply, Ron Texas. Does that hold true for those big 7-8inch Monitors as well, that even those are designed for nearfield/desktop listening? If so, what is their advantage/disadvantage when compared to a 5inch monitor - even when paired with a sub?
Well, LS50s are all over the used market everywhere at the moment since everyone is chasing the Metas, it seems like :)
 

Ron Texas

Major Contributor
Joined
Jun 10, 2018
Messages
3,695
Likes
4,577
Location
A mysterious place with no name.
#7
Thank you for your reply, Ron Texas. Does that hold true for those big 7-8inch Monitors as well, that even those are designed for nearfield/desktop listening? If so, what is their advantage/disadvantage when compared to a 5inch monitor - even when paired with a sub?
Well, LS50s are all over the used market everywhere at the moment since everyone is chasing the Metas, it seems like :)
According to some of the reviews here the 6.5" passives play louder than the 5" passives. Perhaps you can reimagine your seating and move closer to the loudspeakers. To get the full benefit of subs with the LS50's you need a high pass filter. I got best results at 100 hz/ 24db octave.
 
OP
Gurkerl
Joined
Jan 22, 2021
Messages
49
Likes
28
Thread Starter #8
Thanks again! I forgot to ask earlier: what are some towers you would recommend? I haven't really looked at towers, because I thought I wouldn't get any benefit from them when paired with a sub. Also, I don't know when I'll be moving again. Some towers look like a pain to move around :D
 

Ron Texas

Major Contributor
Joined
Jun 10, 2018
Messages
3,695
Likes
4,577
Location
A mysterious place with no name.
#9
Thanks again! I forgot to ask earlier: what are some towers you would recommend? I haven't really looked at towers, because I thought I wouldn't get any benefit from them when paired with a sub. Also, I don't know when I'll be moving again. Some towers look like a pain to move around :D
I don't know what you can buy used in Europe. Probably KEF or Focal would be OK. Towers are difficult to move around. When I was starting out (which was when we hunted wooly mammoths for food, LOL) I wished that I had smaller speakers. So either move closer to the speakers or go with a stand mount which has a 6.5" mid woofer. Also check the LSR306 review here, for a cheap active solution.
 
Joined
Jan 21, 2019
Messages
46
Likes
38
#10
Thank you for your answer, Buddelpudding. Would you say something like Jbl 308p or Adam T8V/T7V or similar would be better suited in that regard? Or would you push me in the passive direction ala Kef LS50 or Elac DBR 6.2?
The LSR310S is also on my radar. Do you by any chance know of a guide on how to set a subwoofer up properly? I would really love to educate me on that topic.
Sorry, I have not listened to either of these speakers, nor do I want to push you towards passive speakers, although the Elacs seem to have a good reputation/test on this forum.

Concerning your second question, I am looking for such a guide as well, just getting into the sub game...
 
OP
Gurkerl
Joined
Jan 22, 2021
Messages
49
Likes
28
Thread Starter #11
I don't know what you can buy used in Europe. Probably KEF or Focal would be OK. Towers are difficult to move around. When I was starting out (which was when we hunted wooly mammoths for food, LOL) I wished that I had smaller speakers. So either move closer to the speakers or go with a stand mount which has a 6.5" mid woofer. Also check the LSR306 review here, for a cheap active solution.
Yes, Focal, Kef, Elac etc are quite easy to find. The same goes for german manufacturers like Nubert, Teufel, but there is less information about these out there.
Thank you for the recommendation, I have checked out the 306p. I am glad to live in this day and age, where there are numerous affordable quality speakers. Same for electronics!
 

q3cpma

Major Contributor
Joined
May 22, 2019
Messages
2,534
Likes
3,211
Location
France
#12
The KH120A might do it, but only with a subwoofer. 2-way coaxials are flawed by design and will have a lot less headroom than conventional speaker of the same size, I don't recommend it for such a listening distance.
Unless you can afford the bigger models from Genelec or Neumann, I can only recommend a pair of KEF R3.
 
OP
Gurkerl
Joined
Jan 22, 2021
Messages
49
Likes
28
Thread Starter #13
The KH120A might do it, but only with a subwoofer. 2-way coaxials are flawed by design and will have a lot less headroom than conventional speaker of the same size, I don't recommend it for such a listening distance.
Unless you can afford the bigger models from Genelec or Neumann, I can only recommend a pair of KEF R3.
Thank you for your answer. This is quite interesting. Do you have a thread you can refer me to, for educational purposes?
Let's say I want a wide/forgiving listening area - what would you recommend I look out for? Also based on room size, would you recommend tower speakers for my purposes, even if I plan on adding subs?

In general it seems like I need to do more research before looking into specific models. Do you know about a comprehensive, research backed guide that covers speaker set up with regards to room size, listening distance, room treatment, subwoofer integration, etc.?
I do want to get the best possible results out of my room with a reasonable budget (don't we all :p) when sitting in the ideal listening position, but also when I have friends around that wander all over the place. Obviously there will be compromises when not in the ideal position, but how would we go about mitigating those?
 

Ron Texas

Major Contributor
Joined
Jun 10, 2018
Messages
3,695
Likes
4,577
Location
A mysterious place with no name.
#14
The KH120A might do it, but only with a subwoofer. 2-way coaxials are flawed by design...
Horsefeathers. My LS50's with Rythmik L12's work great. They might not be for 3M LP, but they will work better than the bulk of active near field monitors will work when those are used mid field.
 

DjBonoBobo

Active Member
Joined
Jan 21, 2020
Messages
215
Likes
347
#15
It would be helpful if you could describe in more detail what your needs are. For example, at what volume you want to listen.

I myself use the KH120 with an Antimode 2.0 as a second system in the 20 m² living room rather for background listening at a distance of more than 3 meters. I am very satisfied with it and have everywhere a sound that is "good enough" and never disturbs me. I have never seen the limiters blinking red, but I also just never listen very loud there. I just have a few Basotect modules in the room for flutter echo and some reverberation reduction, etc.

As a main system I have the KH310 with the KH750 and MA 1 in the near field in an acoustically heavily treated room. This is of course something quite different, especially in terms of stereo imaging, precision, low end, etc. - but I think I would never have achieved that at a distance of over 3 m in the living room with acceptable effort. I haven't really tried other systems either though, so my experience is limited.
 

q3cpma

Major Contributor
Joined
May 22, 2019
Messages
2,534
Likes
3,211
Location
France
#16
Horsefeathers. My LS50's with Rythmik L12's work great. They might not be for 3M LP, but they will work better than the bulk of active near field monitors will work when those are used mid field.
Better than active monitors their price? I don't think so. Here are some THD measurements at 90 dB, not even considering IMD problems:


We can remark that the KH120A is -60 dB (0.1%) while the LS50 is -43 (0.7%) at 1 kHz. Same for 250~400 Hz, 1% vs ~0.2%.
We'd need some more data to completely judge, but it's quite obvious that a speaker with such a small woofer area and coaxial constraints can't really do it for mid field.

By the way, I'm not a KEF hater, I consider the R serie as the best passive serie there is (and even amongst the best speakers).
 
Last edited:
Joined
Sep 10, 2020
Messages
46
Likes
32
#17
Over the past weeks, I have noticed a direct competitor to the Kh-120 which could worth investigating: The APS Klasik 2020. It has received a glowing review at SoS (excellent frequency response and almost sealed-box behaviour), it´s bigger (and quite heavier, at 10 kg) and more powerful than the Kh-120, it has a 7 inch woofer and reaches 39 hz at -2db, and ¡surprise!, it has analog phase correction, a feature that only the very expensive monitors from PSI Audio had so far. It has been directly compared by some people to the Kh-120 at gearslutz, and they seem to prefer the Klasik 2020. I suspect it may be best suited for midfield rather than very close nearfield (one guy has complained about hiss noise).
 

q3cpma

Major Contributor
Joined
May 22, 2019
Messages
2,534
Likes
3,211
Location
France
#18
Over the past weeks, I have noticed a direct competitor to the Kh-120 which could worth investigating: The APS Klasik 2020. It has received a glowing review at SoS (excellent frequency response and almost sealed-box behaviour), it´s bigger (and quite heavier, at 10 kg) and more powerful than the Kh-120, it has a 7 inch woofer and reaches 39 hz at -2db, and ¡surprise!, it has analog phase correction, a feature that only the very expensive monitors from PSI Audio had so far. It has been directly compared by some people to the Kh-120 at gearslutz, and they seem to prefer the Klasik 2020. I suspect it may be best suited for midfield rather than very close nearfield (one guy has complained about hiss noise).
7" woofer to 3/4" tweeter without waveguide = prehistoric relic as far as directivity is concerned (something that matters a lot at 3 m). Let's add that phase correction is only a bonus, not something very important to get and that APS isn't honest enough to provide measurement data, unlike the mentioned competitor.
 

waynel

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Forum Donor
Joined
Nov 14, 2019
Messages
744
Likes
853
#19
Hello everyone!

I am planning on putting together a stereo system purely for music listening purposes. I have one in the house where I grew up, but will be moving soon and plan on starting a new one completely from scratch.

The room in which I plan on putting everything together is quite big (compared to what I am used to), roughly 25m² and cubic. Listening position would be around 3m from each speaker.

I plan on using a Raspberri Pi as a streamer, or a CCA should I find one for cheap. Maybe even a Xiaomi Mi Box if I add a TV. I would stream either from my stored music files, or Spotify. I will most likely get a Qobuz subscription too, because the Spotify Masterings seem to do something funky (does anyone share that experience?).

From what I've read on this forum as a lurker, active speakers seem to offer the most bang for your buck. Naturally I came across various offerings from Genelec, Neumann, Adam.... The Neumann KH120 piqued my interest, since it can be had for a reasonable price on the used market, and is a technological marvel.

I plan to add a subwoofer later on. Does anyone have experience with using the KH120 + Sub in a living room scenario? Would this work to a satisfying degree or would I be better of with, let's say, an Adam T7V with suitable subwoofer(s)? My thinking is, if I take the low end off the speakers I should be able to get the benefit of the smaller/faster driver in the KH120.

Alternatively, I am not opposed to going the passive route. I am looking at the Kef LS50s, which can be had for a bargain price at the moment on the used market (500€ - 700€), or the Technics SB-C700. Would the Coaxial design of the LS50/the SB-C700 offer a much wider sweet spot than the KH120 / be more forgiving in setting it up properly?

Please excuse me for this long post! I searched through this forum, but most people use the KH120 in a nearfield environment, and rightfully so! Also please excuse my quite superficial understanding of loudspeaker design, room integration, speaker placement etc.
Curious to hear your suggestions/to learn something new!
I own a pair of KH120s and like them a lot for nearfield use but I wouldn't pick them for my living room. As an experiment I tried listening to them loudly at 8 feet away and wasn't happy with the sound , I don't think they could handle the volume needed to fill most living rooms.
 
OP
Gurkerl
Joined
Jan 22, 2021
Messages
49
Likes
28
Thread Starter #20
It would be helpful if you could describe in more detail what your needs are. For example, at what volume you want to listen.

I myself use the KH120 with an Antimode 2.0 as a second system in the 20 m² living room rather for background listening at a distance of more than 3 meters. I am very satisfied with it and have everywhere a sound that is "good enough" and never disturbs me. I have never seen the limiters blinking red, but I also just never listen very loud there. I just have a few Basotect modules in the room for flutter echo and some reverberation reduction, etc.

As a main system I have the KH310 with the KH750 and MA 1 in the near field in an acoustically heavily treated room. This is of course something quite different, especially in terms of stereo imaging, precision, low end, etc. - but I think I would never have achieved that at a distance of over 3 m in the living room with acceptable effort. I haven't really tried other systems either though, so my experience is limited.
Being completely honest and knowing myself too well, it's probably going to be mostly background listening levels, while I wander around and do other things. That said, I'd still love to occasionally have an ideal representation of what went into the recording - even if it means locking myself into fixed position. I am not someone who loves blasting his music either way.

So what I've gathered so far: for a listening distance at around 3m the KH120 won't cut it probably, with or without a sub. I'll keep it in the back of my mind though, as I evaluate my listening position/room further. Still unsure whether active or passive is the way to go. Still unsure whether coaxial or not. Sub is a must either way.
I'll call that progress, so thanks to everyone who contributed so far!
 
Top Bottom