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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

HarmonicTHD

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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.
MA1 can not be tuned via REW. Again you don’t have access to its Parametric EQ capabilities (Edit: at least not without some serious coding, see next post). It is basically a closed system intended for Neumann DSP speakers only. The app used to allow you (I am not even sure it still does) to tweak 5 frequencies from 20 to 20KhZ - completely inadequate for room correction and a toy. The app has nothing to do with MA1.

My advice in case you don’t want to go fully Neumann and replace all your subs and use DSP KHs for mains, center and surrounds: Use your new X3800 to do all the room corrections and sub xovers and forget about MA1 (maybe even get a Dirac license for it, which nicely allows you to do all and more what REW allows you to do). You can sell the MiniDSP as the AVR does everything.

Mixing 3 different DSP systems, MA1, MiniDSP and AVR (Audyssey or Dirac) is a recipe for desaster, and a waste of time and money.

Edit. See post below.
 
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TheBatsEar

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Let's not fool ourselves
Aluminum is a premium material
MDF and plastics and everything else is a downgrade from Aluminum
Yes, but the plastic/mdf speaker measures substantially better, so i would say Neumann can't stop winning, even if they have reduced cost.
As if they know what they are doing, it's spooky ;-)
 
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IamJF

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It's a pitty KH750 are so expensive and there is no controller unit for integrating other subwoofers into the system.

What's left on the table is still a best in class calibration system ;-). You could linearize your KHs with the MA-1, linearise your woofers with MiniDSP and do the bass management and delays from your AV. Makes even more sense with a few more KHs.
I know in theory this doesn't seem a big thing. But I used MA-1 now a few times in different situations and I'm sure it will give a benefit over other systems. On paper all room correction software is the same - that's not the case in real life!

Give it a try esp when you get the MA-1 for free now!
In my experience calibrating a set of KH120ii lifts it at least one level - and they play pretty good even without calibration ;-)
 

Randyman...

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Thanks for all of the input. I'll play with the expanded tweakability and capabilities of the X3700H and my existing Dynaudio AIR setup to see if I'm satisfied with what I can accomplish (manually tweaking Audyessey's results has been a dream of mine since the first time I ran Audyseey on my old NAD T175HD 15 years ago). Dirac upgrade will likely happen down the road along with the L-C-R upgrades.

Back to the KH-120-II discussion! As you were :)
 

quattro98

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I’m looking to add a pair of the KH120 II to a bedroom system. We use Apple Music as our primary source. One of the peculiarities of this is that the Apple TV is the best streamer for this service. It is limited to an HDMI output. What is the best way to connect the HDMI output of the ATV4k to the coaxial S/PDIF inputs of the monitors?
 

Rednaxela

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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.
With this you can have what you seek.
 

staticV3

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TheBatsEar

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I’m looking to add a pair of the KH120 II to a bedroom system. We use Apple Music as our primary source. One of the peculiarities of this is that the Apple TV is the best streamer for this service. It is limited to an HDMI output. What is the best way to connect the HDMI output of the ATV4k to the coaxial S/PDIF inputs of the monitors?
I have this from Amazon to get coaxial from HDMI, works fine, they cost 25€ or so and this one can be switched from 2 channel to 5.1 channel or pass through mode:

1700907906628.png
 

Rednaxela

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Out of interest, how would one control the volume when going straight from the splitter into the Neumänner?
 

Ellebob

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How will you control the volume if you connect these with the digital input? Using the digital connection you usually don't get any volume control and would need some type of preamp or network based remote that can control the monitors via the network.

If your TV has an analog/headphone output you can use an adapter cable and connect to the analog input of the monitors. Then your volume will be controlled with the TV remote.
 

TheBatsEar

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Out of interest, how would one control the volume when going straight from the splitter into the Neumänner?
Attenuation is for wimps.:cool:

If the source is a TV, you can usually turn it down using it's remote. But the question is valid for other sources, well spotted.:)
What about the MiniDSP Flex HT? It has HDMI input, a volume knob and can drive the Neumännchen. Costs a good bit more, but there is no need for a DAC, which maybe can be sold.
 

quattro98

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Thanks everyone. I’d seen the HDMI audio extractors, but there are dozens of them and I had no idea which ones work well.

I had assumed that the Apple TV could control volume. I will have to see if that’s a possibility (in other rooms, the Apple TV is connected to either a receiver or TV which provides volume control).

Other options for this system include LS50 wireless II which have an HDMI port directly (as well as built in AirPlay) or a stereo receiver and a pair of Ascend Acoustics speakers).

The Neumann have the best mounting holes and front firing ports as well as option for built in DSP correction). I want to take advantage of the holiday sales and see what I can do.
 

Ellebob

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Attenuation is for wimps.:cool:

If the source is a TV, you can usually turn it down using it's remote. But the question is valid for other sources, well spotted.:)
What about the MiniDSP Flex HT? It has HDMI input, a volume knob and can drive the Neumännchen. Costs a good bit more, but there is no need for a DAC, which maybe can be sold.
I've been working this field for a long time. I don't think I've ever seen a TV attenuate it's optical output to be used as volume control. That's even rare in professional mixers.
A mini dsp with analog output would work. Any of the number of DACs with volume control and remote would work. But going digit directly into the 120s would need a control system like Control4, RTI, URC, Creston, etc. which could control the 120s via the network. I am guessing the 120s can be controlled by the network but not sure.
 

staticV3

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Can the ATV4k attenuate HDMI Audio digitally is the question. If yes, then no additional control system would be required.
 

Ellebob

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No it cannot. Very few devices attenuate an HDMI, optical or digital coax connection.
Ease of use connecting to the TVs analog or headphone jack is best.
For better sound quality get one of the DACs that has a remote (Topping, SMSL, Schiit, etc.) and connect to the TVs optical connection.
 

quattro98

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I might well just go with the LS50 wireless for this project. We can Airplay directly to the speakers and I can connect an Apple TV via HDMI if I want lossless. The other easy option for maximum usability would be HomePods and I’d much rather have the KEFs even via Airplay.

I might look at the Neumann’s for my computer (which is also in the bedroom).
 

Ellebob

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I think the Kef LS50 wireless is a great option for TV with an HDMI ARC connection. So much better than a sound bar!
I currently have the LSX II wireless in my family room system. I am also using it with a Kali WS-6.2 subwoofer. It has been really nice, and has good aesthetics. The LS50 would be even better.
 

TheBatsEar

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I've been working this field for a long time. I don't think I've ever seen a TV attenuate it's optical output to be used as volume control.
Now that you say it, i'm not sure anymore. Have to check it out.
 
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