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Neumann KH120 II Monitor Review

Rate this monitor speaker:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 1 0.3%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 3 0.8%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 34 8.6%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 357 90.4%

  • Total voters
    395

teashea

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Get the KH150
You'd be less limited
I agree that hat the KH 150 is much better for this purpose but I would never go over ten feet with the KH 150's. They are simply not designed for this. They are designed as nearfield monitors. Their best performance is nearfield - not midfield. I use my two pairs at 1.0 - 1.4 meters in my studio.
 

teashea

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i would be very happy to use them for that. but it depends on your spl and bass extension requirements. if it meets those then i can't see why not


If you have a sub and a little EQ, the JBL Stage A-130 will fill the bill as well:

Neumann KH 120 II
SCORE: 6.7
SCORE w/ sub: 8.5


JBL Stage A-130
EQ Score: 6.29
with sub: 8.54


The Neumann score should also indicate "EQ Score" as it likely uses internal EQ and steep DSP crossover.
The JBL's have higher distortion and do not a flat frequency response.
 

DearSX

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These are designed as nearfield monitors. While I find my KH120 II's adequate at 2 meters, that is not their true place. My KH 150's are better at 2 meters. However, even the KH 150's are really designed as nearfield - not midfield - monitors.
Thanks for answering all those questions. I'm listening at about 6 feet which is about what Neumann recommends as the top end. So far, my wife is like why do you even need more than the KH120ii? I'm like "BASS". Is the KH150's bass much better? I don't want a sub, I may end up going with the KH420 at some point, but maybe they will release a new version soon.
 

teashea

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Thanks for answering all those questions. I'm listening at about 6 feet which is about what Neumann recommends as the top end. So far, my wife is like why do you even need more than the KH120ii? I'm like "BASS". Is the KH150's bass much better? I don't want a sub, I may end up going with the KH420 at some point, but maybe they will release a new version soon.
Understand that Neumann monitors will not give you increased bass. They will provide exactly the bass contained in the recording.

Also note that there are very very few recordings (except organ, hop and EDM) that have any bass content below 40 hz. Music producers know that fewer than 1 percent of listeners have systems that can reproduce bass below that level. There are very few instruments that produce frequencies below that level. Also, they apply a high pass filter than cuts anything below that frequency.

That is exactly what I do in almost all of my music productions, even HipHop.

If you want exaggerated bass, do not waste your money on Neumann monitors.
 

teashea

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if the active crossovers can make it truly 3 way in this configuration it may reduce thd distortion further.
assuming the directional bass signal part doesn’t affect the mids on the 5.25 inch driver at certain spl.
One important issue to consider. Inaudable is inaudable.
 

DearSX

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Understand that Neumann monitors will not give you increased bass. They will provide exactly the bass contained in the recording.

Also note that there are very very few recordings (except organ, hop and EDM) that have any bass content below 40 hz. Music producers know that fewer than 1 percent of listeners have systems that can reproduce bass below that level. There are very few instruments that produce frequencies below that level. Also, they apply a high pass filter than cuts anything below that frequency.

That is exactly what I do in almost all of my music productions, even HipHop.

If you want exaggerated bass, do not waste your money on Neumann monitors.
Agreed, but I know I am missing bass in many some of the songs I listen too. I listen to R&B/Hip-Hop from the 70s-now. but even on a song like Sail from AWOLNation, I know I am missing bass. I listen to the same song on my friends dual 10" 4 way speakers, and a lot of the song is missing down low. Agreed though, for most music it totally fine, I'm going to keep my Wharfedale Linton for listening to a lot standard music. But maybe I am wrong, and its the setup not the speaker. Again, thanks for you input, really appreciate it.
 

HQY

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Agreed, but I know I am missing bass in many some of the songs I listen too. I listen to R&B/Hip-Hop from the 70s-now. but even on a song like Sail from AWOLNation, I know I am missing bass. I listen to the same song on my friends dual 10" 4 way speakers, and a lot of the song is missing down low. Agreed though, for most music it totally fine, I'm going to keep my Wharfedale Linton for listening to a lot standard music. But maybe I am wrong, and its the setup not the speaker. Again, thanks for you input, really appreciate it.
listening at 6 ft and love bass, then you may consider 120ii/750. it's a cost effective setup.
 

teashea

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Agreed, but I know I am missing bass in many some of the songs I listen too. I listen to R&B/Hip-Hop from the 70s-now. but even on a song like Sail from AWOLNation, I know I am missing bass. I listen to the same song on my friends dual 10" 4 way speakers, and a lot of the song is missing down low. Agreed though, for most music it totally fine, I'm going to keep my Wharfedale Linton for listening to a lot standard music. But maybe I am wrong, and its the setup not the speaker. Again, thanks for you input, really appreciate it.
Sounds like you know what you are doing. Those Lintons are beautiful.
 

teashea

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I have reported it before. It is Fading Sun by Terje Isungset.


I don't know how it comes across in youtube. But on anything other than a proper headphone or a speaker with very deep bass response, it either gets distorted, doesn't play loud or both. You don't even need to crank it up. Whoever says bass distortion is not audible, needs to listen to the first 30 seconds of this track! :) I like that it is such a quick and highly instructive track. You can easily rate how good or bad the bass is.
That is quite a demonstration song............. I listened to it on Amazon Prime Music Ultra HD with KH 120 II's, KH 150's, Klipsch Cornwall IV's and Legacy Focus speakers. Terrific test - very revealing.
 

teashea

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Full track analysis in this case can be misleading. What is special about this track is that when the sub-bass comes, it is by itself and not mixed with a bunch of other stuff. So it is a very easy bass distortion test. I have other tracks that are more full spectrum but they are not remotely as revealing as that one.
The uncluttered sound is wonderful. 33 hz is about as low anything meaningful. And the bells etc are so clear and well recorded. Yes........
 

teashea

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Enclosure of KH120ii is very well controlled and not resonant at all - I would say less as the old model. When i have time i will do a few measurements with acceleration sensor.
But as my measurements don't show the THD peak from amirm I don't think it's a normal problem of this speaker.
From my hand-on-the-box test, they seems excellent and better than my KH 120A's. I have been known to preach that the fancy snake oil isololation dampers are not needed with Neumann monitors. It is interesting to look at photos that Neumann uses of its moniotors. No snake oil complex dampers anywhere to be seen. I do use half-inch pads.
 

teashea

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BTW those ProAC Studio 100 were very popular especially in mixing world, to this day the biggest name today uses them - Serban Ghenea. His assistant that's doing mostly atmos upmixing now is using them for stereo work as well, but at least he got Genelec 83x1 + W371A based system, yet he said it's too good sounding for mixing lol. Resonating box with V shaped response is weapon of choice for many mixing engineers https://www.stereophile.com/content/proac-studio-100-loudspeaker-measurements
What old school audio engineers use is not a very good guide. So many Yamaha NS 10's - such an incredibly poor (disgusting) speaker.
 

teashea

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I mean there's some truth to that, if one was always mixing on flawed monitoring (like NS10s, Sennheiser HD600, cars etc.) then switching over late in the career isn't a good idea for multiple of reasons. Those are just 100% personal opinions and nothing more
Yeah. I always cringe when I see a pair of NS 10's in a studio. They are indefensively, laughably awful.
 

teashea

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I have KH 750 + KH 80s for my computer desk system which is calibrated via MA-1. Wondering if I replace the KH 80s with KH 120 II, would the low pass frequency change since KH120 can go lower frequency ?

I saw some comments in this thread that, for a desk/table system, KH 120 II would provide NO more practical benefit over KH 80 in a KH 750 system, Is this confirmed or just theoretical analysis ?
I do not think this is true. In fact, for one of my studio workstations I have KH 310's with alternative KH 120A's/KH750. I thought that I could keep the 120A's instead of replacing them with KH 120 II's. However, after listening to my KH 120 II's (a different workstation) and studying Amir's measurements, I am beginning to cave in. Just sent email to my two pushers, er sellers, about pricing.
 

teashea

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Since these are dsp based, I assume it is "optimal" to use the spdif digital input. For computer based listening what dac/adc has a USB input, spdif output AND an adequate volume knob?

Or is everyone running something like the RME Babyface pro?
New audio interfaces tend to have excellent converters - better than the $3,000 "pro" interfaces from ten years ago. Look at the test reports by Julian Krause on YT. A new Audient iD44 Mk II or an SSL 12 make anything else unnecessary.
 

DSJR

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Understand that Neumann monitors will not give you increased bass. They will provide exactly the bass contained in the recording.

Also note that there are very very few recordings (except organ, hop and EDM) that have any bass content below 40 hz. Music producers know that fewer than 1 percent of listeners have systems that can reproduce bass below that level. There are very few instruments that produce frequencies below that level. Also, they apply a high pass filter than cuts anything below that frequency.

That is exactly what I do in almost all of my music productions, even HipHop.

If you want exaggerated bass, do not waste your money on Neumann monitors.
You forget a small bass-mid driver working its guts out below 100Hz is going to add to the midrange distortion almost certainly and I believe the port output will be considerable as well. One reason I dislike tiny 'midwoofer' drivers held flat to 50Hz or below no matter how 'loud' they can go. Forgive me here, but I still feel you can NEVER do better than a larger good quality bass driver working less hard and I feel this applies to smaller rooms as well. I'm not a fan of subs either (all those extra boxes to trip over ;) ) BUT, I can definitely see the point in a pair of KH120's being properly integrated with a sub, removing the ports and bass-mid drivers of all that hard work and so allowing less distortion in the midrange with I believe audible benefits! A win-win situation if you can do this! :D
 

teashea

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As a quick and dirty assessment. Let’s have a look at the respective distortion charts from both speakers around 100hz (xover). Unfortunately Amir did not measure distortion and Neumann only provides it for a whopping 90dBSPL for the KH80.

Distortion
KH80 at 100Hz, 90dBSPL: ca. -30dB (worst case 2nd Harmonic)
KH120: ca -50dB (2nd and 3rd pretty equal).

So yes when crossing over at 100Hz or less, the KH120 would have less distortion when played at 90dBSPL. However if this is audible is a different matter. Let alone if one plays at this level (the KH80 is more comfortable in the 80dB SPL range approx, but no distortion data is available - at least I couldn’t find it on the fly).

In order to determine the xover where distortion from the KH80 becomes benign (eg-40dB, 1%) the chart gives ca 200Hz. However at this point the sub can be located so two subs would be recommended, so the cheaper option would be KH120 only one sub (KH750).

Because distortions drop generally significantly with lower SPL, I would venture the guess that for around 80dB the KH80 and 120 will probably be similar when xover around 100hz with a KH750.

Again very quick and dirty but I hope it explains the general direction.
Props for focusing on the issue of audiability. If it is not audable, it is not audable.
 

teashea

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Really? That's a very wide-ranging statement and could do with a bit of substantiation, rather than just falling into the "hearsay" category. Of course, it's a point of view that comes up on HiFi forums that differ from this one. Keep in mind, even back in the 1970s, the "studio monitors" produced by companies such as B&W, IMF, etc., all tended to strive for a flat on-axis frequency response.

Maybe if they happen to be working in an unfamiliar acoustic room environment that might ring true. However, although tainted sound reproduction in one's monitors may still allow one to achieve a reasonable result, but it's probably going to result in a less-than-ideal mix. It does appear that the variable "requirements" for mixing are as variable as the "quality" of loudspeaker designs.

But why make the job harder for oneself? I really doubt that the mooted approach is actually all that good.

In the end, any mix made on imperfect monitors is likely to be a less-than-perfect mix. However, it can still sound acceptable, just not perfect. If less than perfect is acceptable, then mixing on non-flat monitors is acceptable.
Amen
 

teashea

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You forget a small bass-mid driver working its guts out below 100Hz is going to add to the midrange distortion almost certainly and I believe the port output will be considerable as well. One reason I dislike tiny 'midwoofer' drivers held flat to 50Hz or below no matter how 'loud' they can go. Forgive me here, but I still feel you can NEVER do better than a larger good quality bass driver working less hard and I feel this applies to smaller rooms as well. I'm not a fan of subs either (all those extra boxes to trip over ;) ) BUT, I can definitely see the point in a pair of KH120's being properly integrated with a sub, removing the ports and bass-mid drivers of all that hard work and so allowing less distortion in the midrange with I believe audible benefits! A win-win situation if you can do this! :D
Which is why KH 120 II's are designated and designed as nearfield monitors.
 
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