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Neumann KH420 Review (Studio Monitor)

Rate this speaker:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 2 0.4%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 2 0.4%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 28 6.0%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 438 93.2%

  • Total voters
    470

test1223

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Because the directivity index is a composite curve it tends to hide rather than reveal differences. It's why groups of curves are necessary to compare speakers.
If the power di is different it is very very unlikely that the speakers are similar. Have a look at the power di only and you can determine if two speakers might be similar. I didn't said that all other measurements are not important.

You won't find me claiming anywhere that speakers sound "the same". What I wrote was that speakers of the same type, like monopole direct radiators, will follow the same tendencies, and there is even higher convergence when the speakers in question have no notable flaws, like the KH420 or 8361A. That puts the notion of optimization into question. How much can you affect when your speaker is as good as it is?

Is there really meaningful guidance on room treatment that begins with the assumption that speakers radiation patterns show low single digit differences in output at particular angles? Early reflections are easy to affect by choice of panel, while low level reverberation is hard to control in any meaningful manner in an existing room. I would not call a choice between absorbers or diffusors or some hybrid on room surfaces to be a very nuanced choice, and the assessments by measurement microphone charting RT60 are similarly coarse.
You are right similarity was a bit of form my side, but I hope it explains the general idea. The KH420 di isn't flawless. If you have a look at the KH420 ceiling reflection you will find that a good amount of the remaining di discontinuities have its origin in the crossover frequencies under this angles. If you design a room you should consider a ceiling which absorbs the ceiling reflections. With other speakers like the 8361 you are more free to either use reflection, diffusion or absorption for this reflections. Such decisions are of cause not only dependent on the speaker but the speaker plays an important role in such decisions.
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You know Blackbird Studio C in Nashville, designed by D’Antonio?
What does this room have to do with the speakers in it? I'd argue little. It was built with multichannel in mind and assumed a broad range of differences in speaker radiation patterns. How can this room be optimized for those ATCs? I'd argue that it can't be. D'Antonio's public materials on the design say nothing about choice of speaker. The room itself took priority.
If you have a look at a good speaker series from one brand you will find that the di is similar to the point where the di control can't be achieved in the lower frequencies. E.g Kh80 and KH420.
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Therefore the tendency of the room optimization is the same. But you are right in general it is harder to build a good multi channel setup since it is to expensive to use a room which is capable to use the same big monitors as ceiling speakers. There are several compromises in designing a good room and sometimes one aspect like envelopment is determined as the important one, then you are searching for the right speakers for this room and not vice versa.

I think it's a mistake to call random experimenting with placements and panels at home or in the studio until you get the right sound "optimization". I'm sure a person could arrive at something better than a purely general approach by tweaking, knowledge of room acoustics and intuition, but it will be time poorly spent and a lot of guesswork. The word "optimization" only applies if you have a target and a method. I'd argue we have only a loose sense of the first and the second as far as room treatment is concerned. The basic approach is still to avoid problems like SBIR. Maximizing envelopment is first to do with where you listen and where you place the speakers, then choice of speakers, and then understanding that certain panel choices and positions are better than others. That's hardly optimization. In a loose sense, yes. In a strict sense, no.
For me trial and error is also a form of optimization and not the only possible way to achieve the goal. There are several simulation tools, methods and heuristics which you can follow to optimize one aspect of good room acoustic and sound and there are several measurements which can help you to evaluate in an objective manner if you got closer to the goal. You are right that it is sometimes harder to predict the exact outcome and you sometimes can't predict the outcome very well and there are some aspects which has not yet been researched.

Maximizing envelopment is first to do with where you listen and where you place the speakers, then choice of speakers, and then understanding that certain panel choices and positions are better than others.
Envelopment also has a lot to do with the kind of speaker you are using. In the near field you need an almost omnidirectional speaker otherwise it is nearly impossible to get envelopment, while with higher listening distance the speaker can beam more narrow to get envelopment.
 
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xaviescacs

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In a speaker like this one, that goes down to 30 Hz with ease, what's the meaning of the score with a perfect sub? The same speaker with a perfect bass FR, that is, fixng the actual speaker response? Or the difference in the scores, from 7.2 to 8.2, comes from adding perfect bass down to 20 Hz? Or both?
 

theron_day

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Anyone using the Neumann KH420 for home use? Why should I spend money on HIFi passive speakers when the proof and numbers are alreasy provided and Neumann seems to be transparent. Most “HiFi” speakers manufacturers wont provide testing as such?
 

Vintage57

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Sancus

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That would be with a "perfect sub".
Yes, and getting subs perfectly integrated costs money and takes time and understanding. If you're using a Genelec SAM sub then yeah the w/sub scores are probably reasonable, but if you're doing the setup yourself I would say most people end up with integration worse than that achieved by the designers of a Neumann speaker.

Realistically one should probably consider two subs that are flat to 20hz as the minimum to achieve the "with sub" performance. Because one advantage two speakers have is that they're two bass sources. Subwoofer placement freedom can compensate for this, but not always...it depends on the room, and how weird of a position you're willing to place the sub in. Often this ends up just exchanging one problematic room mode for another.
 

Vintage57

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It seems to me that neumann advised to put the speakers against the front wall. These audiophiles who take themselves for experts.
If you read the placement recommendation for the KH420 in Neuman’s owner’s manual. You will find that with bass management, I have 3 subs, the recommended distance is described in the attached.
Nowhere does it recommend to put the speakers against the front wall.
Do your homework before you snipe.
 

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Gorancho

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Anyone using the Neumann KH420 for home use? Why should I spend money on HIFi passive speakers when the proof and numbers are alreasy provided and Neumann seems to be transparent. Most “HiFi” speakers manufacturers wont provide testing as such?
Spending money on any speakers based on a review and thinking they are perfect match for your room and your ears is wrong. You should audition everything expensive in your home before purchase. Here on ASR you can find lot of tested speakers and devices and there is a chance some combination of, as you say hi fi speakers, amps and dacs is much better choice in your case than going for top speakers based on preference score. Kh420 as great as it is, is first of all tool for pro consumers in studios, and now it is finding its way in homes for hi fi setup ups.
 

Somafunk

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Spending money on any speakers based on a review and thinking they are perfect match for your room and your ears is wrong. You should audition everything expensive in your home before purchase.

In an ideal world populated by fairies, pixes and unicorns frolicking freely in the sunlight fields then I’d agree, however, how many people can actually audition hifi if equipment in theif own homes?, I’d say a very small/insignificant percentage of buyers.
 

Gorancho

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In an ideal world populated by fairies, pixes and unicorns frolicking freely in the sunlight fields then I’d agree, however, how many people can actually audition hifi if equipment in theif own homes?, I’d say a very small/insignificant percentage of buyers.
In an ideal world populated by fairies, pixes and unicorns frolicking freely in the sunlight fields 10.000 usd would grow on trees, you just pick 'em up and use to pay kh420 without hearing them ;)
You are right as i am. Majority cant audition in their homes, majority cant waste 10.000 usd just to find out its not for them.
 

Curvature

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In an ideal world populated by fairies, pixes and unicorns frolicking freely in the sunlight fields 10.000 usd would grow on trees, you just pick 'em up and use to pay kh420 without hearing them ;)
You are right as i am. Majority cant audition in their homes, majority cant waste 10.000 usd just to find out its not for them.
For some the data is more meaningful than for others.
 

Vintage57

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They look great! Was really pondering these…ended up ordering 8361’s. I like the more conventional look of these better. The Neumann’s were about CAD$1100 more for a pair, though.
Good choice.
 
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