• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required. There are daily reviews of audio hardware and expert members to help answer your questions. Click here to have your audio equipment measured for free!

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

computer-audiophile

Major Contributor
Joined
Dec 12, 2022
Messages
2,565
Likes
2,858
Location
Germany
Do YOU have both speakers next to each other and tested it?
No, I had used the KH120A for 10 years nearly every day and I didn't notice anything like that. I thought the cast aluminium housing was of particularly high quality and see the new one as a cost-saving measure, even if it is perhaps no worse. I generally don't listen to sound files on the Internet that are supposed to prove some kind of tonal subtlety. I think it's an unsuitable means.
 

IamJF

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 27, 2023
Messages
457
Likes
570
Location
Austria
So - you didn't bother to search for the test but don't care anyways cause you don't "belive it". You never compared but are sure you are right.
You know that this site is named "audiosciencereview"?

(I did no sound comparison of the speakers btw. It's a comparison of the CABINETS. And the aluminium has a little ringing when nocking, test it yourself. I was surprised the difference is clearly noticeable compared to the new one. That's not about the sound of the speakers (mkii is better btw) - it's about the old discussion about aluminium is such a great material for speaker housings (it isn't, but it's sturdy))
 

computer-audiophile

Major Contributor
Joined
Dec 12, 2022
Messages
2,565
Likes
2,858
Location
Germany
... the aluminium has a little ringing when nocking,
That is true. Also many turntable platters are ringing when you hold them in your hands and bang upon it. But it is without relevance in normal operation, when it ist damped by the mat e.g. or other means.

You could certainly quantify cabinet vibrations even more precisely using measurement technology, for example by using structure-borne sound microphones or strain gauges or laser surface scanning. But I'm no longer in the physics lab these days. Incidentally, I have never heard Genelec alumminium cast enclosures referred to as 'ringing', which you can hear. They emphasise this in their advertising and I think it's a good thing.


The MKIIs are obviously better, which is also reflected in the technical data and price tag. However, I had already changed my mind before they came onto the market.
 
Last edited:

IamJF

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 27, 2023
Messages
457
Likes
570
Location
Austria
That's the reason I got an acrylic turntable platter ;-) Acryl is a great material cause it's heavy and provides some damping.
I also don't think the alu housing makes problems with the KH120 or Genelecs but it's nonsense to say aluminium is the better material for building speakers - it CAN be good with some caution and additional damping.
 

TheBatsEar

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jun 16, 2020
Messages
3,027
Likes
4,857
Location
Germany
I didn't know MDF is a kind of plastic.
Yeah, no, but the front is plastic, i think.
I have no problem with it, as the v2 measures well.

Not sure i can see the metal or plastic/mdf enclosure in these lines either (dotted lines are v1):

Again, these are really, really good. Even the old ones. What a time to be a Neumann customer :cool:
 

computer-audiophile

Major Contributor
Joined
Dec 12, 2022
Messages
2,565
Likes
2,858
Location
Germany
That's the reason I got an acrylic turntable platter ;-) Acryl is a great material cause it's heavy and provides some damping.
I also don't think the alu housing makes problems with the KH120 or Genelecs but it's nonsense to say aluminium is the better material for building speakers - it CAN be good with some caution and additional damping.
Ok, I can easily agree with that. I, on the other hand, don't like acryl as a turntable platter material at all. I have been involved in turntable tuning for decades and have also used a stethoscope, for example, to track down vibration nodes. The vibrations of the cabinet were also an issue when building my own loudspeakers.

When you get right down to it, in the world of the finest vibrations, the cabinet material actually has an effect on the sound signature. Nevertheless, I didn't hear any ringing in my Neumann KH120a. :)
 

Randyman...

Member
Joined
Apr 6, 2023
Messages
77
Likes
64
Happy holidays. So - Talk me into a KH-120-II L-C-R upgrade! :)

If I decide to do the KH-120-II + MA-1 deal (from https://www.musicstore.com/en_US/USD/Neumann-KH-120-II-Black-Promo-Set/art-REC100 - damn good deal!) - How do I go about adding a 3rd KH-120-II for Center? Do I need to buy another MA-1 license, or will the MA-1 included in the pair also cover the center? I'm also poking Sweetwater to see if they will come close to the musicstore.com pricing (they have worked with me on pricing in the past as I have a sizeable purchase history through them).

Size wise - the KH-120's are a noticeable step-down from my larger 8" Dynaudio AIR-15's (Active/DSP'd and Bi-Amped with 200w+200w - circa 2002). Even my current surrounds have a larger footprint (Dynaudio BM-6P 6.5" ported passives). MLP is approx. 9 feet (3 meters).

Since I have subs, I'm thinking the actual output will be comparable (if not on-par) between them, while also getting a nice improvement in overall presentation with the KH-120's. I've had to repair the PSU/DSP/Amp modules on the AIR-15's numerous times now - and at $375 per repair - I'm at the end of my rope trying to keep them functional. I was pondering going full external bi-amp on them with BuckEye and MiniDSP - but that seems to be pissing money away.

I'm familiar with the original KH-120A's as we run them in our QC stations at work, and only had 1 or 2 fail out many dozen units. I'd really like to see a KH-150-II, but I know the price and availability will both be deal-breakers for a new L-C-R setup. TBH - The smaller size of the 120's will also help with some space limitations I'm running into trying to swap my current/aging 60" TV for a new 65" TV (60"s seem to have gone the way of the do-do). Maybe upgrade to L/R KH-150-II's later - and move 120's to Surrounds.

Remainder of the system is an older Denon AVR-4000X (MultiEQ XT32) with various sources, Dynaudio BM-6P passive surrounds, JBL Loft 5" wide-heights (not Atmos); MiniDSP 2x4 Balanced for Sub management, and two Dynaudio AIR-BASE-2's (dual 10" each) on external amplification = Crest CA9 (overkill). The subs are happy running pretty high as needed to meet the 5.25" in the KH-120's (100Hz is not out of the question). Mostly used for TV (L-C-R), but this is my primary 2.2 music enjoyment system as well.

Thanks for either talking me off the ledge, or giving me the confidence to jump in with both feet! I have an itch to upgrade, but the continual repairs for the 20 year old AIR-15 system and potential improvements from a smaller system are really piquing my interest. The price from musicstore.com seems like a no-brainer.

Toodles :cool:
 
Last edited:

HarmonicTHD

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Mar 18, 2022
Messages
3,326
Likes
4,809
Happy holidays. So - Talk me into a KH-120-II L-C-R upgrade! :)

If I decide to do the KH-120-II + MA-1 deal (from https://www.musicstore.com/en_US/USD/Neumann-KH-120-II-Black-Promo-Set/art-REC100 - damn good deal!) - How do I go about adding a 3rd KH-120-II for Center? Do I need to buy another MA-1 license, or will the MA-1 included in the pair also cover the center? I'm also poking Sweetwater to see if they will come close to the musicstore.com pricing (they have worked with me on pricing in the past as I have a sizeable purchase history through them).

Size wise - the KH-120's are a noticeable step-down from my larger 8" Dynaudio AIR-15's (Active/DSP'd and Bi-Amped with 200w+200w - circa 2002). Even my current surrounds have a larger footprint (Dynaudio BM-6P 6.5" ported passives). MLP is approx. 9 feet (3 meters).

Since I have subs, I'm thinking the actual output will be comparable (if not on-par) between them, while also getting a nice improvement in overall presentation with the KH-120's. I've had to repair the PSU/DSP/Amp modules on the AIR-15's numerous times now - and at $375 per repair - I'm at the end of my rope trying to keep them functional. I was pondering going full external bi-amp on them with BuckEye and MiniDSP - but that seems to be pissing money away.

I'm familiar with the original KH-120A's as we run them in our QC stations at work, and only had 1 or 2 fail out many dozen units. I'd really like to see a KH-150-II, but I know the price and availability will both be deal-breakers for a new L-C-R setup. TBH - The smaller size of the 120's will also help with some space limitations I'm running into trying to swap my current/aging 60" TV for a new 65" TV (60"s seem to have gone the way of the do-do). Maybe upgrade to L/R KH-150-II's later - and move 120's to Surrounds.

Remainder of the system is an older Denon AVR-4000X (MultiEQ XT32) with various sources, Dynaudio BM-6P passive surrounds, JBL Loft 5" wide-heights (not Atmos); MiniDSP 2x4 Balanced for Sub management, and two Dynaudio AIR-BASE-2's (dual 10" each) on external amplification = Crest CA9 (overkill). The subs are happy running pretty high as needed to meet the 5.25" in the KH-120's (100Hz is not out of the question). Mostly used for TV (L-C-R), but this is my primary 2.2 music enjoyment system as well.

Thanks for either talking me off the ledge, or giving me the confidence to jump in with both feet! I have an itch to upgrade, but the continual repairs for the 20 year old AIR-15 system and potential improvements from a smaller system are really piquing my interest. The price from musicstore.com seems like a no-brainer.

Toodles :cool:
In your case you might not need or even might not be able to make use of the MA1 system. Because with your Non-Neumann subs your AVR will have to handle all the room correction, the sub / mains cross over and the phase alignment of the sub and mains.

EQing the KH120 L R with MA1 first and then run the Denon room correction might lead to unexpected results. Plus the KH120 center channel would not be aligned with MA1standard version. IMHO not really an elegant approach.

Taking full advantage of MA1 for home theater requires a KH750 sub plus the extended (newly released) MA1 Home Theater license which covers at least a 5.1 setup and costs ca 200USD more. (please check Neumann as I am quoting from memory). In this case you would not use the AVR room correction system and the sub xovers would also be handled by the KH750 DSP.

Also remember for MA1 you need an separate audio interface with 48V mic phantom power for the MA1 mic to setup the system once. The smallest Focusrite or MOTU interfaces for about 100USD work already well.

So either go full Neumann or save yourself the 200USD for the MA1 and 100 for the audio interface
 
Last edited:

Randyman...

Member
Joined
Apr 6, 2023
Messages
77
Likes
64
Thanks for the fast reply! :)

Interesting. I'll need to ponder then.

I'm using individual PEQ in my current AIR-15's and the MiniDSP 2x4 (for Subs) to get the major issues sorted with UMIK-1/REW, then I run Audyssey (only to switch to "GEQ mode" and lessen most of the corrections lol). My AVR is not "iPhone App" compatible for Audyeesy. A new AVR with iPhone-app compatible Audyssey is also on my list - but likely after the L-C-R upgrade. I could see that totally eliminating the need for MA-1.

Is there any way to have the MA-1 correct the L-C-R system as "full-range" (possibly even with the "C" as a separate Left channel; corrected as a standalone system) - then let me chop it up (bass management) between the AVR and MiniDSP? The speakers would not be networked, but likely run standalone - or as 2 separate systems (L/R pair, and C as an orphaned L of a second pair). Or would that also require a second MA-1 license for the orphaned Center?

Alternatively - Is the 120-II's onboard PEQ manually accessible w/o purchasing MA-1 if doing my own UMIK-1/REW measurements? This would also be acceptable. My current speakers only have 5-bands of PEQ - so that is really all I need (plus MiniDSP for subs).
 

HarmonicTHD

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Mar 18, 2022
Messages
3,326
Likes
4,809
Thanks for the fast reply! :)

Interesting. I'll need to ponder then.

I'm using individual PEQ in my current AIR-15's and the MiniDSP 2x4 (for Subs) to get the major issues sorted with UMIK-1/REW, then I run Audyssey (only to switch to "GEQ mode" and lessen most of the corrections lol). My AVR is not "iPhone App" compatible for Audyeesy. A new AVR with iPhone-app compatible Audyssey is also on my list - but likely after the L-C-R upgrade. I could see that totally eliminating the need for MA-1.

Is there any way to have the MA-1 correct the L-C-R system as "full-range" (possibly even with the "C" as a separate Left channel; corrected as a standalone system) - then let me chop it up (bass management) between the AVR and MiniDSP? The speakers would not be networked, but likely run standalone - or as 2 separate systems (L/R pair, and C as an orphaned L of a second pair). Or would that also require a second MA-1 license for the orphaned Center?

Alternatively - Is the 120-II's onboard PEQ manually accessible w/o purchasing MA-1 if doing my own UMIK-1/REW measurements? This would also be acceptable. My current speakers only have 5-bands of PEQ - so that is really all I need (plus MiniDSP for subs).
Yes a new AVR might be a better bang for the buck.

The KH DSP is not accessible to the full extent. The used to have a separate app which allowed some 5 band EQ but that is worthless imho as it doesn’t even come close to what MA1 does. The new KHs are meant to be used with MA1 otherwise you are simply spending the money without really using its major advantage.

I have KH80, KH750 and MA1 in my office. For my HT I use KEF passive speakers, Denon 3700 with the MultiEQ-X software.
 

Randyman...

Member
Joined
Apr 6, 2023
Messages
77
Likes
64
Great input - thanks :)

I did just get a 4K TV for Black Friday (to be delivered Monday) - so upgrading to a 4K AVR with iPhone-App Audyssesy control seems like a good idea. I'm pretty sure my AIR-15's will hold-up for 6 months before they need to be repaired again (and I'm not going to pay to have them repaired again!). I'm just really itching for some Neumann's or Genelec's :) But good ol' common sense and cool heads prevail. Thanks for the chat!

**UPDATE** - Refurb'd AVR-X3800H (current model) on the way (Refurb from Denon + 30% Black Friday deal and free shipping!). Was actually cheaper than a few refurb'd X3700H's, and has 4 sub-outs...
 
Last edited:

IamJF

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 27, 2023
Messages
457
Likes
570
Location
Austria
If you are still into buying Neumanns show your dealer this deal: https://www.da-x.de/de/neumann-kh-120-ii-stereo-set-paar-mit-ma-1-messmikrofon.html

Multichannel MA-1 is finally here - that's great news! A pitty they take € 300,- extra for that - but it's one of the best calibration systems available. For sure better as Denons approach and at least on par or better as Dirac. Actually it's pretty similar to Dirac in operation.
So I would definitely recommend to use MA-1, especially when you plan to upgrade the remaining speakers over time for Neumanns.

KH120ii for 3m distance and home cinema ... depends on the level you need. ATMOS reverence level is probably to much but that's pretty brutal, I never watch that loud. And the idea to upgrade to KH150 later and use KH120 for surrounds is a pretty good one ;-). There was a good deal for KH150 last summer, just keep an eye open. Maybe even KH80 for heights.
Crossover at 100Hz is for sure a good idea when room acoustics alow it.
KH150 also has a little narrower "beam" and would be beneficial in an only little treated living room.
 

HarmonicTHD

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Mar 18, 2022
Messages
3,326
Likes
4,809
I want to buy them, what's best sub with them for untreated room?
As @IamJF wrote. KH750. In order to take advantage of MA1 and integrate a sub correctly with KH DSP speakers eg 120ii via MA1 you need the KH750 as it also has a built in DSP to which the MA1 can “talk” to.
 

Randyman...

Member
Joined
Apr 6, 2023
Messages
77
Likes
64
I'd likely need dual KH750's (to smooth out response, and for SPL) - and I already have sub's I'm happy with. So I think in my case I'd either run the KH-120's w/o MA-1, or get the MA-1 license just to open up the greater DSP tweakability via manual tuning and REW.

What, exactly, is "left on the table" if buying a pair of KH-120-II's w/o MA-1? What parts of the on-board DSP can still be accessed and tuned manually w/o MA-1? @HarmonicTHD mentioned their is still a 5-Band EQ available. Is it user-friendly to tune via the network? Bass management would be upstream in the AVR (then subs integrated via MiniDSP 2x4 - to hopefully still end up with a coherent turnover).

For those following - I have a new X3700H on the way that will allow manual Audessey tweaking from iPhone - somewhat negating the absolute need for MA-1 (the current AVR-x4000 does not have iPhone/Audessey compatibility). But having the per-speaker PEQ is still a desired capability.
 
Top Bottom