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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

cryptout

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You read the post and my comment at the end? Sonarworks does very wide EQing, the other softwares are more precise. And my experience with MA-1 is also a very precise correction.
I understand you don't WANT to buy the mic but I'm pretty sure results are better. ;-)

And no, up to now nobody has done the efford to do the measurements and corrections. I don't use Sonarworks any more. Maybe you could bring some light to this topic when doing your setup and provide a few measurements. Do you have send back options in your country when buying stuff? Just test the MA-1 and when you are not happy send it back. I'm betting a 6-pack you won't :cool:
Okay I’ll let it go hahaha, thanks for the replies.
 

adg

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I wanted to post some pictures of some custom Mayan Walnut stands I made (with some help) for my KH120 II's.

I was previously experimenting with using IsoAcoustics ISO-130 or ISO-155 isolation stands (I have a set of each that I've bought and kept over time), but both were too short with the short supports. The tall supports, on the other hand, were too tall.

I also liked the idea of having some usable space underneath the stands, and I happened to own some 5 x 7" felt trays I thought could fit underneath the stands.

The stands, with the IsoAcoustics ISO-PUCK mini pucks, elevate the speakers 5.9". Because the bottom of the KH120's have rounded edges and a beveled back, I designed the stands to be as shallow as could actually be used to support the speakers. I have a standing desk with about 9" of space behind it, so I was fine with the monitors hanging a bit off the back of the desk, but not the stands themselves.

I was also considering creating some oversized circular cutouts in the top surface of the stands so I could bury/embed the IsoAcoustics pucks (with some breathing room around the sides of the pucks), but I decided it wasn't worth messing around with.

Right now I have some felt between the IsoAcoustics pucks and the stands, but I'll remove those soon.

I know this has nothing to do with sound, but I figured other KH120 II owners might be interested.
 

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Yiakubou

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I am using K&M 26772 Table Monitor Stands, which I think is honestly great match for these, not just in color and style. Very sturdy and quality construction, take little table space as you can still somewhat use the space underneath the speakers, and they allow to rise the Neumanns high enough so that the acoustical axis is at ear level.
 

adg

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I am using K&M 26772 Table Monitor Stands, which I think is honestly great match for these, not just in color and style. Very sturdy and quality construction, take little table space as you can still somewhat use the space underneath the speakers, and they allow to rise the Neumanns high enough so that the acoustical axis is at ear level.

I've seen those online but not in person. I usually don't love the designs that just rely on cranking down a knob without the uses of teeth or notches.

I did really enjoy the (I believe) K&M-made Genelec 8030C stands I had with my 8030Cs. Those weren't height adjustable, but they had nice angle adjustment and were attractive.

On another side not, I had previously bought the $400/pair Neumann LH 65 Table Stand for KH 120 Monitors, but I found these design of those disappointing. I returned them and made these wood stands instead.
 

teashea

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I wanted to post some pictures of some custom Mayan Walnut stands I made (with some help) for my KH120 II's.

I was previously experimenting with using IsoAcoustics ISO-130 or ISO-155 isolation stands (I have a set of each that I've bought and kept over time), but both were too short with the short supports. The tall supports, on the other hand, were too tall.

I also liked the idea of having some usable space underneath the stands, and I happened to own some 5 x 7" felt trays I thought could fit underneath the stands.

The stands, with the IsoAcoustics ISO-PUCK mini pucks, elevate the speakers 5.9". Because the bottom of the KH120's have rounded edges and a beveled back, I designed the stands to be as shallow as could actually be used to support the speakers. I have a standing desk with about 9" of space behind it, so I was fine with the monitors hanging a bit off the back of the desk, but not the stands themselves.

I was also considering creating some oversized circular cutouts in the top surface of the stands so I could bury/embed the IsoAcoustics pucks (with some breathing room around the sides of the pucks), but I decided it wasn't worth messing around with.

Right now I have some felt between the IsoAcoustics pucks and the stands, but I'll remove those soon.

I know this has nothing to do with sound, but I figured other KH120 II owners might be interested.
pretty
 
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jhaider

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On another side not, I had previously bought the $400/pair Neumann LH 65 Table Stand for KH 120 Monitors, but I found these design of those disappointing. I returned them and made these wood stands instead.

Neumann has a new model with I think a bigger base. That said, I own and generally like LH 65. Their flaw is no fully concealed wiring. I wedged the cabling into the back channel but needed to add two zip ties around the post to keep it there.
 

IamJF

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I could not compare these speakers 1:1 and blind and level matched ... but my PERSONAL impressions.
The "Standard" Genelecs are brighter/more "in your face" as the Neumann. I don't have this "feeling" with the ONEsI heared.

Older Genelecs where very bright - I really disliked this charakter as I disliked the metal Seas tweeters in all other builds I knew from that time. But it makes mixing easier cause you could hear every detail very easy (until your ears get tired ...) (We had big Genelecs in our University Surround mixing room at that time)

For me Neumann is detailed enough and more pleasant to work with but still shows everything you need.
To answer your question - I would say details are easier to hear with Genelec but your ears get tired quicker. (But when used to it ... you can work with both)
 

BubbleBuddy

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everyone has a different opinion with how much bass they want, or punch etc. over the last 13 years, i've gone from rokit 8s to yamaha hs7s + hs8s sub, and produced on a lot on higher end focals and other speaker models w/dsp setups in studios. Cant speak for using the genelecs a lot, but I've heard them in person before and they are good. When i got the kh120 ii, no sub, I was playing some lower-sub freq 2 step garage music at 84 db (listening position). not super bass heavy in specific. All of the walls shook from the bass. it woke up my roommate that was taking a nap and we share a wall (perpendicular to the speakers). it shook her room as well. tons of bass (in my opinion). i actually ended up trimming -2db off the bass pretty quickly.

depending on listening position and other factors, you'll notice the bass more. But, theres serious bass on these that i did not expect for a small speaker. plenty for me at least, and worth the clarity in the other aspects of the speaker! but for real, that cabinet is no joke with the bass.

The biggest highlight for me is the tweeters. I cant believe the clarity that is present without harshness. It's ASMR to me. Im nowhere an expert on speaker knowledge, but when im listening to music on these speakers it feels like i have headphones on. so smooth. Maybe thats a phase linearity thing.

i can't think of a downside to the kh 120ii, maybe except if you wanted more *punch* nearfield. Even so, it's still great in that department.
Appreciate your input. When I sampled the KH 120ii's in person against the Yamaha HS5's, they seemed way way better in terms of bass. I might just have to try renting a pair to see if I feel that same difference in my actual room when compared to the JBL 305P's. I'm mostly just confused that the technical specs and measurements here don't seem to suggest that the KH 120ii's should be so much more powerful in bass performance!
 

Pearljam5000

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Appreciate your input. When I sampled the KH 120ii's in person against the Yamaha HS5's, they seemed way way better in terms of bass. I might just have to try renting a pair to see if I feel that same difference in my actual room when compared to the JBL 305P's. I'm mostly just confused that the technical specs and measurements here don't seem to suggest that the KH 120ii's should be so much more powerful in bass performance!
I had the older KH120 they had an insane amount of bass for their size
the HS7 I audioned barley had any bass
at all
 

IamJF

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When comparing KH120ii and KH120 the first thing which is obvious is that the new version has deeper and a little louder bass. So it's a little warmer and fuller which is good for this little speaker and my opinion ;-). But when close to a wall/table you need to trim it down, that's for sure.
 

adg

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@Pearljam5000 asked if I could do a short comparison of the KH120 II and 8030C. I owned the 8030C's for about 18 months and the KH120 II's for about six weeks.

To preface, I did not test both monitors side by side, and I am a noob when it comes to audio science. I understand the concepts of frequency response, but I can't speak technically to anything when comparing the two monitors. I bought both monitors as a result of them being top recommendations on ASR,and because they were the largest monitors I am willing to put on my desk. I wanted 99th percentile "endgame"-eligible monitors for my desk without going into 99.9th percentile territory of $3,000/each pricing.

When I was looking at the 8030C's, I had considered the SAM models, but figured I could use REW and my UMIK-1 to do a calibration instead. I wasn't willing to spend the money to get the Ones, and for my purposes, figured the diminishing returns would be too much. I never got around to calibrating the 8030C's. I did set all the dip switches to the recommended settings given the placement of the monitors. With the KH120 II's, I bought the MA1 calibration mic and did an initial calibration, but need to redo it now that I have the monitors on my custom stands. I like that after calibrating the KH120 II's, you can disconnect the network cables. You can then toggle between your calibration settings, or having the monitors use the switches/settings on the back of each monitor.

Before pointing out a few highly subjective audio differences, I want to mention that both products are very nice and classy, and I am a sucker for well-made products. I can't speak to any differences between the build quality of the original KH120 versus the KH120 II, but both the 8030C and KH120 II seem well built and are built in European countries, which is a plus to me. I suspect the Genelecs have a more polarizing design, but in my opinion, both monitors look great. I also appreciate that both companies have grills over the drivers.

As for audio, there are only a few differences I can think to point out. Please note I am comparing imperfectly calibrated KH120 II's (it was my first time with a calibration, and it was fairly casual) to uncalibrated 8030C's. I am listening from about 2.5' to 3' from both monitors.

1. I agree with @IamJF that the Genelecs are brighter/more in your face than the Neumanns. In my case, I don't know if that is due to the Neumanns being calibrated or not. I also don't know if this observation is supported by graphs of both monitors expected performance, but I do think there is a slightly different sound produced by both monitors.

2. I wouldn't stand behind this statement, but I think the 8030C's sounds slightly more strained/pushed when listening at louder volumes. I like to occasionally listen at higher volumes (nothing I would think is extreme), and while the Genelecs could go loud enough for me, I feel like they seemed like they had less extra audio overhead. Maybe that part is obvious based on the amplifiers/max SPL (I have no idea).

3. The KH120 II's produce more bass. This is my only observation I feel fairly confident about. I believe this observation is supported by @amirm's testing and both manufacturers published specs. I am pleased by the extra bass. Because my current listening environment is in a room sandwiched between my toddlers' rooms, I don't have a separate subwoofer, and won't get one until moving to a new house in the new couple of years.

Final notes:

1. I love Genelec as a company, their philosophy, aesthetic, materials, warranty, etc. If the 8030C is upgraded at some point and produces more bass, or has an even cooler aesthetic, etc., I would probably try them to replace the KH120 II's. I am obsessive upgrader/optimizer.

2. I have never used any Genelec software, but it seems like lots of people complain about the software engineering at Neumann. My initial calibration worked without issue, but the usability of the software left something to be desired, and I initially had a hard time even finding the MA1 software. I find the Neumann website a bit annoying.

Anyway, please let me know if you have any questions. If anyone wants more non-audio comparisons between the two, I would be happy to offer them.
 

Pearljam5000

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@Pearljam5000 asked if I could do a short comparison of the KH120 II and 8030C. I owned the 8030C's for about 18 months and the KH120 II's for about six weeks.

To preface, I did not test both monitors side by side, and I am a noob when it comes to audio science. I understand the concepts of frequency response, but I can't speak technically to anything when comparing the two monitors. I bought both monitors as a result of them being top recommendations on ASR,and because they were the largest monitors I am willing to put on my desk. I wanted 99th percentile "endgame"-eligible monitors for my desk without going into 99.9th percentile territory of $3,000/each pricing.

When I was looking at the 8030C's, I had considered the SAM models, but figured I could use REW and my UMIK-1 to do a calibration instead. I wasn't willing to spend the money to get the Ones, and for my purposes, figured the diminishing returns would be too much. I never got around to calibrating the 8030C's. I did set all the dip switches to the recommended settings given the placement of the monitors. With the KH120 II's, I bought the MA1 calibration mic and did an initial calibration, but need to redo it now that I have the monitors on my custom stands. I like that after calibrating the KH120 II's, you can disconnect the network cables. You can then toggle between your calibration settings, or having the monitors use the switches/settings on the back of each monitor.

Before pointing out a few highly subjective audio differences, I want to mention that both products are very nice and classy, and I am a sucker for well-made products. I can't speak to any differences between the build quality of the original KH120 versus the KH120 II, but both the 8030C and KH120 II seem well built and are built in European countries, which is a plus to me. I suspect the Genelecs have a more polarizing design, but in my opinion, both monitors look great. I also appreciate that both companies have grills over the drivers.

As for audio, there are only a few differences I can think to point out. Please note I am comparing imperfectly calibrated KH120 II's (it was my first time with a calibration, and it was fairly casual) to uncalibrated 8030C's. I am listening from about 2.5' to 3' from both monitors.

1. I agree with @IamJF that the Genelecs are brighter/more in your face than the Neumanns. In my case, I don't know if that is due to the Neumanns being calibrated or not. I also don't know if this observation is supported by graphs of both monitors expected performance, but I do think there is a slightly different sound produced by both monitors.

2. I wouldn't stand behind this statement, but I think the 8030C's sounds slightly more strained/pushed when listening at louder volumes. I like to occasionally listen at higher volumes (nothing I would think is extreme), and while the Genelecs could go loud enough for me, I feel like they seemed like they had less extra audio overhead. Maybe that part is obvious based on the amplifiers/max SPL (I have no idea).

3. The KH120 II's produce more bass. This is my only observation I feel fairly confident about. I believe this observation is supported by @amirm's testing and both manufacturers published specs. I am pleased by the extra bass. Because my current listening environment is in a room sandwiched between my toddlers' rooms, I don't have a separate subwoofer, and won't get one until moving to a new house in the new couple of years.

Final notes:

1. I love Genelec as a company, their philosophy, aesthetic, materials, warranty, etc. If the 8030C is upgraded at some point and produces more bass, or has an even cooler aesthetic, etc., I would probably try them to replace the KH120 II's. I am obsessive upgrader/optimizer.

2. I have never used any Genelec software, but it seems like lots of people complain about the software engineering at Neumann. My initial calibration worked without issue, but the usability of the software left something to be desired, and I initially had a hard time even finding the MA1 software. I find the Neumann website a bit annoying.

Anyway, please let me know if you have any questions. If anyone wants more non-audio comparisons between the two, I would be happy to offer them.
Thanks
 

axtpdjcnex

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Hi, guys! I am looking to buy this monitors, but recently I've been reading Mike Senior's book, where he talks about problems of resonance in audio production. How bad really is the problem in case of KH 120's? Data shows big bass resonance and a bit around 300hz region. Do you think it is good idea to cover the ports with the piece of acoustic foam to minimize the resonance in exchange of bass roll off?
Industry standard NS-10 or especially Auratone Mix Cubes are awful in terms of balance, but waterfall measurements are quite good.
Please give me an enlightenment about it.
 

dominikz

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Hi, guys! I am looking to buy this monitors, but recently I've been reading Mike Senior's book, where he talks about problems of resonance in audio production. How bad really is the problem in case of KH 120's? Data shows big bass resonance and a bit around 300hz region. Do you think it is good idea to cover the ports with the piece of acoustic foam to minimize the resonance in exchange of bass roll off?
Industry standard NS-10 or especially Auratone Mix Cubes are awful in terms of balance, but waterfall measurements are quite good.
Please give me an enlightenment about it.
Waterfall measurements from different sources are difficult to compare because depending on how you configure the view resonances can seem more or less severe than they are in reality.
Resonances in Neumann KH120 II are very well controlled - I would not plug the ports.
On the other hand the CLA-10 (supposedly an NS-10 clone) enclosure seems much more resonant when the same scale is used
index.php

I personally can't see any metric where the NS-10 would perform better than the KH120II.
 

axtpdjcnex

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Waterfall measurements from different sources are difficult to compare because depending on how you configure the view resonances can seem more or less severe than they are in reality.
Resonances in Neumann KH120 II are very well controlled - I would not plug the ports.
On the other hand the CLA-10 (supposedly an NS-10 clone) enclosure seems much more resonant when the same scale is used
index.php

I personally can't see any metric where the NS-10 would perform better than the KH120II.
Here though, the port resonance helps to extended the frequency response of the speaker down to 50hz, when the woofer goes only to about 70hz. Unfortunately, this is just one of the tradeoffs of ported design.
 

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dominikz

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Here though, the port resonance helps to extended the frequency response of the speaker down to 50hz, when the woofer goes only to about 70hz. Unfortunately, this is just one of the tradeoffs of ported design.
More LF extension is a feature of vented loudspeakers, at the expense of steeper roll-off below it - IMHO nothing wrong with that :)
 

somebodyelse

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Here though, the port resonance helps to extended the frequency response of the speaker down to 50hz, when the woofer goes only to about 70hz. Unfortunately, this is just one of the tradeoffs of ported design.
I think you're talking about different sorts of resonance. You're talking about the intended Helmholtz resonance of the reflex design. There is also the undesirable higher frequency pipe resonance in the reflex port, particularly when the port is long. From photos of the inside of the KH80 it appears Neumann address this with holes at the mid point of the port covered in foam to damp the first resonance mode. Others have used different techniques, but often they are just left untreated and show up in the response.
 

teashea

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Is the KH150 worth basically double the KH120 II price ?
That is an excellent question. I have both. I think it really depends on one's individual needs. For me, the answer is yes for some of my uses. For others, the KH120 II is all I need. For my mixing/mastering workstation I have both.
 
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