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Neumann KH420 Review (Studio Monitor)

Rate this speaker:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 2 0.5%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 2 0.5%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 27 6.1%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 412 93.0%

  • Total voters
    443

SiNAS

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It took me some time (and savings) to find a new replacement for my first bought 15Y old KRK Rokit 5 (Gen1) monitors.
First i was in doubt what monitors to buy. I don't prefer using subwoofers (due to crossover settings). therefore i narrowed down my options to the following;
- Focal Trio 11's (presumed huge soundstage, les linear than the Neumann KH 420's)
- KH 420's (presumed well balanced, extremely flat and natural, Body / high SPL, quality build and good reviews, (to) expensive for me)
- Genelec 8351B (presumed well balanced, extremely flat and natural, small in size, less body, (to) expensive for me)

There was no options for me to compare those monitors side by side so i had to base by choice on reading (all your) reviews and comments. (thank you all!)
Pricing had a heavy weight factor in my decision, so at first i leaned more to te Focal Trio 11's.
Then a store in the Netherlands offered me a set of new KH 420 monitors with a huge discount which made the price-difference between the Trio's and 420's 'only' EUR 600,-.
That made me re-evaluate and reconsider. Geert's flowchart (https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...h420-review-studio-monitor.33529/post-1184784) gave me the final push to buy the HK 420's. No i am not [yet] married ;).

If you are looking for awesome monitor speakers, you found them!
Althrough not required, i played them in for approx. 20hr. at medium level and different music genres before i gave my first verdict.
Every sound can be meticulously pinpointed to their location. Even in my chamfered untreated attic, they sound really balanced, deep, punchy, and open at low and high sound levels. With these monitors I can hear sounds and placements that i never heard before in music i quite often have listened to.
The sound stage is deep (at least deep enough for me) and against a reviewers comment; 'the sound flat and boring', in my eyes they are not.

The cabinet vibrations/'resonance' is less than i expected i.r.t. the SPL it can produce. I still want to place them on Iso-Puck 76's.
One thing that i noticed is that the class AB amplifiers produce heat. (of course logical, because they are class AB's), but more than i expected.
Those 60 Watts are transformed into heat, which is quite noticeable touching the 'Accelerated Heat Tunneling heat sink' on the back side of the speaker. It is a large radiator and it gets warm but you can still touch it normally with bare hands (should have measured the temperature).

Some final things i havent read in these reviews; the rotatable elliptical Mathematically Modelled Dispersion™ (MMD™) waveguide can be turned easily by unscrewing the four (Torx 25) screws. While fitting the turned MMD those speakers touch gently the well filled white damping material inside the speaker.
The cables for the Mid-speaker and tweeter are thick.
The monitor's Center of Gravity is roughly 1/3 from the bottom (from vertical perspective). Placing the speakers horizontally (on e.g. Iso-Puck 76's) requires some form of 'balancing' (in case your monitor stand surface isn't large enough despite my large sand-filled Nowsonic Top Stand Studio 90)

So far my short experience with the KH 420's. I'm really happy with my choise!
(And yes, there might be hope for you as well... it only took 5 days before my girlfriend started to accepte the large speakers in my studio)
 

mww

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@amirm A question rising from ignorance, but what would ideal (theoretically?) horizontal and vertical directivity maps look like? Close to the horizontal directivity demonstrated by this speaker? More uniform/wider dispersion through the middle of the plot? Thank you.
 
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pio

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Wanted to share w/ you guys.. finally got my 420's yesterday. WOW!! They're set up in our bedroom for now until I can move my other gear, but man am I happy!!!!
 

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Ciobi69

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Wanted to share w/ you guys.. finally got my 420's yesterday. WOW!! They're set up in our bedroom for now until I can move my other gear, but man am I happy!!!!
They look badass
 
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MikeFromNorway

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Wanted to share w/ you guys.. finally got my 420's yesterday. WOW!! They're set up in our bedroom for now until I can move my other gear, but man am I happy!!!!
They look fantastic! And the speaker stands, wow. Do they have a link or name.

Congrats!
 
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MikeFromNorway

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Anyone know the turnover rate of the Neumann monitors? Tried searching but hard to find good info. Dreaming of these but don’t want to be the last one getting the old model.
The 420s came out sept 2014?! It will be my end game with 2 subs. I’m not in a hurry to buy
 

pio

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pio

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Anyone know the turnover rate of the Neumann monitors? Tried searching but hard to find good info. Dreaming of these but don’t want to be the last one getting the old model.
The 420s came out sept 2014?! It will be my end game with 2 subs. I’m not in a hurry to buy
Mike

Even before Neumann took over Klein and Hummel, the basic speaker was pretty much what we have today. The 420 has been around for a while..

 

Pearljam5000

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Mike

Even before Neumann took over Klein and Hummel, the basic speaker was pretty much what we have today. The 420 has been around for a while..

The 1237 is basically the same as the 1037 which came out in 2004
For some reason they don't update these designs too much.
Screenshot_20220629-223042_Chrome.jpg
 
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MikeFromNorway

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Thanks for great feedback guys. I’m not that worried about design changes, though in 8 years the tech developes quite a bit. Is it audible? Probably not. Measurable? Probably yes. A/b testing 410s vs 420s wouldnt be audible i guess. Though the future «430» might have integrated dsp, digital/less power consuming amps, Even deeper extension, spl, lower distortion and so on..
 
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pio

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Thanks for great feedback guys. I’m not that worried about design changes, though in 8 years the tech developes quite a bit. Is it audible? Probably not. Measurable? Probably yes. A/b testing 410s vs 420s wouldnt be audible i guess. Though the future «430» might have integrated dsp, digital/less power consuming amps, Even deeper extension, spl, lower distortion and so on..
On the bass extension of the 420's - they get low(!) - lower than my JBL 4367 with a 15" woofer, don't know if this is my room, but tracks from The Weeknd, Drake and other hip hop songs with healthy 808, the 420's dig deeper, they go insanely deep.

Where improvements can be made in all speakers:
Flatter frequency response, less dynamic compression through better drivers, less heat / more efficiency.

Rumor is Neumann's next model is the KH150: AudioScience Neumann KH150 -

PS - I still have my original pair of Genelec 1031's - they were phenomenal 20 years ago.. and still excellent today. The pro market doesn't "upgrade" like consumer hi-fi. Feels like consumer hi-fi stuff like B&W / Wilson release new models every 4 years or so..
 

Pearljam5000

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On the bass extension of the 420's - they get low(!) - lower than my JBL 4367 with a 15" woofer, don't know if this is my room, but tracks from The Weeknd, Drake and other hip hop songs with healthy 808, the 420's dig deeper, they go insanely deep.

Where improvements can be made in all speakers:
Flatter frequency response, less dynamic compression through better drivers, less heat / more efficiency.

Rumor is Neumann's next model is the KH150: AudioScience Neumann KH150 -

PS - I still have my original pair of Genelec 1031's - they were phenomenal 20 years ago.. and still excellent today. The pro market doesn't "upgrade" like consumer hi-fi. Feels like consumer hi-fi stuff like B&W / Wilson release new models every 4 years or so..
Have you compared the KH420 to 8361A?
 

Digby

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On the bass extension of the 420's - they get low(!) - lower than my JBL 4367 with a 15" woofer, don't know if this is my room, but tracks from The Weeknd, Drake and other hip hop songs with healthy 808, the 420's dig deeper, they go insanely deep.
Can you give us your opinion as to the strengths and weaknesses of the JBL and Neumann and the difference in their 'character'. Which do you prefer overall?
 
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pio

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pio

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Other than the looks which one is Better? :)
I haven't heard the Geny 8361in the same room as the 420's - so I really can't say. If you prefer the 8361's - you won't go wrong for sure.

FWIW, back in 2017 (or 16?, can't remember) I was torn between the Geny 8341 and the JBL Pro 708P's. (and considered the Kh120 but they were too small for my application, however sounded great).
I finally chose the 708's after a lot of back and forth. What sold me on the 708's was the sheer output and lack of compression as both sounded great to my ear. I wonder if I had gone with the Genys if the test was blind? Anyways, The 708's are exceptional and for the size, sounds like a larger speaker. I use the 708s at work paired w/ 2 10" subs (I work in broadcasting, so super lucky there to be able to have an office full of gear).
 

pio

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Can you give us your opinion as to the strengths and weaknesses of the JBL and Neumann and the difference in their 'character'. Which do you prefer overall?
Hi Digby,


I think it's worth mentioning, I have been very fortunate and have made a living being involved in broadcasting, artists, music production, imaging since the late 80's - so I pay more attention to production details than most. I'm looking for the most accurate reproduction possible.. or..at least I think I am..

KH420:

What I loved about the 420's when I auditioned them years ago was how brutally revealing they are. I love that.. that's what I look for in my gear. Song to song you can easily hear the differences in production, different mics, different recording spaces, reverb used on vocals, mic technique used on certain instruments... Not subtle, even on the same album, there are variations on songs that are clearly heard. More than any other speaker I have heard in my room, these details are presented bluntly.. without apology.
On a positive note, you hear EVERYTHING on the recording.
On a negative note, you hear EVERYTHING on the recording.
I got carried away last night and I was dissecting the music, not necessarily enjoying it. PS - there's great and also some ****** (and very ******) produced records out there..

So, the KH420 is a spot light on the material. Ruthless, unapologetic.


The JBL 4367:

I love the 4367, they do a lot of the things I like incredibly well: Dynamics, punch (!) size, volume , transparency- they're incredibly smooth which you wouldn't expect from a compression driver, but they are. Never once have I ever gotten fatigue from extended enjoyment (need to test that on the 420's).

I power them with 2 Benchmarks amps in mono, overkill, a solid 100w amp is all they need to get to scary (!!) levels. The wonderful thing about the 4367 is that it sounds as good at low levels as they do LOUD. They have a jump factor that makes them lifelike. The JBL 4367 is a hell of a speaker. The 4367 is more forgiving of crappy recordings.. they are very revealing, but not at the Neumann's brutal level.
It's looks are not for everyone.. my wife thinks they look like "concert hall speakers" .. if JBL could make them pretty, they could charge considerably more.

The Neumann's have a lot of the qualities I love from the 4367 especially in terms of clarity. They sound great at low volumes and loud.

Right now.. if I had to chose one over the other, the 4367 is the one I would keep. That's how I feel right now.. so, maybe I'm not looking for absolute accuracy?

EDIT: 7/5/2022 - the more time I spend w/ the 420's the more I like them.. they just get out of the way and the material is just there.. I keep rediscovering music to play through them. Perhaps, I am getting used to the 420's... so... today.. if I had to chose one system, it's the Neumann.
 
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Inner Space

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Right now.. if I had to chose one over the other, the 4367 is the one I would keep.
Great notes above, and I completely agree, as a person from a similar background, except I started in the late 1970s.

Assuming we're talking about leisure listening at home, my aim is that I want to hear what I hear at work, but I don't want to feel like I'm at work. The 4367 does the job for me, on both counts, better than anything else so far. But I need the 420s and similar for work.
 
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