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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: 27 6.0%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 419 93.1%

  • Total voters
    450

thewas

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Choosing between the 8361 and KH420 is the audiophile version of Sophie's choice
To make your choice even harder, a good friend of mine used to have a pair of KH 420 (and before their predecessors K+H O 410) in his home and now has pair of ME Geithain 921K (coaxial with cardioid bass) which he prefers even more, especially for people who just want "plug'n'play" probably the best solution around.
 

Jukebox

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I meant to note that there is absolutely no need for a sub unless you want to play extremely, extremely loud!
Or maybe the best place for imaging and soundstage is not the best place for bass, as usually happens, so you need subwoofers to smooth bass out.
But it is so much more easier with just two full range speakers...
 

Digby

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This is true, but only if the 3 way loudspeaker is a very good one . A bad average passive 3-way loudspeaker in the 400 dollar area will perform much worse than Genelec 8030c , soundwise .
I think the comparison is silly. Few who have the space and budget for KH420 will be looking at the 8030c and vice versa. The problem is the score encourages people to think that it is all-encompassing, when it only works apples to apples, not to oranges. There was a whole thread that went through this, so there is no need to discuss it here.
 

Robbo99999

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Having just read the review without having read any of the comments yet, I'll quickly post my thoughts. First a question, even though the low distortion is impressive in this speaker, have we reviewed any speakers that have even better distortion results, ie similar to well measuring headphones? Any speakers that can rival good headphones in the distortion variable? Here's the distortion results from this review:
index.php


My other thoughts on this speaker, it's unholy expensive, but that is one nice frequency response tuned down to just below 30Hz even!
index.php
 

Pearljam5000

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To make your choice even harder, a good friend of mine used to have a pair of KH 420 (and before their predecessors K+H O 410) in his home and now has pair of ME Geithain 921K (coaxial with cardioid bass) which he prefers even more, especially for people who just want "plug'n'play" probably the best solution around.
Problem is they're very uncommon and servicing would be a pain unless you live in Germany.
I wish your friend would someday compare the 8361 to 921K, that would be interesting
 

Robbo99999

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Hello All,

Why is it that the amplifiers on these powered speakers get a pass?

If these amplifiers were separate we would be wondering if they were under powered or if the SINAD were to high.

As it is, the speakers are great and the amplifiers do not get a sweep or a plot posted.

Seems like we should start testing speakers with a good enough integrated amplifier and stop giving the amplifier even a mention.

Thanks DT
I agree there's a bit of a dichotomy there between the standards imposed on seperately measured amplifiers vs those that sit inside active speakers and aren't measured yet would often measure fairly poorly by our standards. I would wager that it's too complicated to measure the amplifiers within active speakers and would involve a teardown, etc.
 

Vintage57

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Neumann Product Selection Guide provides a nice overview of speaker and sub combinations (except the prices ;-)) Although, they don’t have the KH750 DSP sub listed View attachment 203726
My setup is 2.3 with 3 KH805’s and it’s an end game setup.
Here’s the thing, they’re not expensive and match seamlessly. The KH805’ was designed for 2 channels and is only available used. Neumann stopped making them a couple of years ago. Used they’re about $1K each. That’s what I paid for mine.
The smoothing in low frequency and the added punch from lack of bass compression at high volume has to be heard and felt to be appreciated.
I give them a solid 9.0 with multiple subs.
This is with no DSP or EQ.
 

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Robbo99999

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My setup is 2.3 with 3 KH805’s and it’s an end game setup.
Here’s the thing, they’re not expensive and match seamlessly. The KH805’ was designed for 2 channels and is only available used. Neumann stopped making them a couple of years ago. Used they’re about $1K each. That’s what I paid for mine.
The smoothing in low frequency and the added punch from lack of bass compression at high volume has to be heard and felt to be appreciated.
I give them a solid 9.0 with multiple subs.
This is with no DSP or EQ.
That looks pretty nice, although it looks better than it "should" because your y-axis is covering nearly 120dB range vs the normal 50dB y-axis that we're used to seeing here on ASR. So the dips and peaks look more than 50% less scary with the way you've set up your y-axis, ha!
 

anmpr1

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1) So, this makes me wonder again why those who call themselves "audiophiles" avoid speakers like this. Maybe they are more interested in the visual appeal than the sound itself. 2) If they were truly interested in sound, they shouldn't ignore these. ...Bewildering.

3) It is another example of why I have eternal gratitude to ASR, ...guided me away of stupid and expensive mythology.

1) You answered your own question, probably. In the scheme of loudspeakers, industrial cosmetics will not be many people's first choice of design, if the goal is integration within a typical domestic environment. One cannot simply discount that aspect, out of hand. Back in the day, JBL took their 'industrial' studio monitors and cosmeticized them for domestic consumption. Neumann could easily do that, for an extra thousand dollars. If they don't offer it, it is because the domestic scene is not their bag.

2) Pace the notion of 'true interest', it is similar to someone arguing how if a driver was truly interested in performance, they would seriously consider a Caterham Seven, whereas another might frown and say that anything less than a Hayabusa is slumming it. But the vast majority of drivers are looking for something a little more practical, and most folks prefer something enclosed, with air conditioning.

3) ASR is what you say, but then again, it's not like these 450s are inexpensive, although they are certainly not stupid.

PS: The Nuemann site shows one of their smaller self-powered loudspeakers (KH 120) in white. This version tends to camouflage the strictly industrial look of the grey box, and might better integrate into a 'modern' feng shui. The problem with the 420 is that it's a pretty large loudspeaker, with a form factor that is difficult to aesthetically massage.
 
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thewas

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Problem is they're very uncommon and servicing would be a pain unless you live in Germany.
I wish your friend would someday compare the 8361 to 921K, that would be interesting
Yes, that is unfortunately really a problem abroad, which is a shame as MEGs are really good solutions for homes, from their cardioid bass to their wood veneers and I don't know anyone who heard them and didn't really like them.

My friend had compared in the past his KH 420 to some earlier Genelec coaxials like the 8351A and had preferred the Neumann tonality a tad more. But as said the biggest advantage of the 921K is that thanks to the cardioid bass it works better in typical rooms for people who don't have or don't want to deal with measurements and equalisers to equalise the bass region.
 

Vintage57

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That looks pretty nice, although it looks better than it "should" because your y-axis is covering nearly 120dB range vs the normal 50dB y-axis that we're used to seeing here on ASR. So the dips and peaks look more than 50% less scary with the way you've set up your y-axis, ha!
Fair point.
 

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HarmonicTHD

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Having just read the review without having read any of the comments yet, I'll quickly post my thoughts. First a question, even though the low distortion is impressive in this speaker, have we reviewed any speakers that have even better distortion results, ie similar to well measuring headphones? Any speakers that can rival good headphones in the distortion variable? Here's the distortion results from this review:
index.php


My other thoughts on this speaker, it's unholy expensive, but that is one nice frequency response tuned down to just below 30Hz even!
index.php
Regarding distortion. Question is if it is audible or relevant at common listening levels and while also considering the dominance of room modes in the lower frequencies plus this:

Post in thread 'I cannot trust the Harman speaker preference score'
https://audiosciencereview.com/foru...n-speaker-preference-score.31454/post-1116099
 

edechamps

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F1308

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It's important that you understand what those numbers DON'T tell you.

That number quantifies how flat the speaker measures -in a vacuum, which is a useful metric for sure, but you also have to think of the real-world scenario. There is basically no difference between 6.2 and 6.31 in practice, especially after you put the speakers in a real room and the response becomes much more "wiggly" as you go lower in frequency. That score is not accurate enough for us to care about these little decimal differences (they are both very good in this regard). If you see a speaker ranked at 6.2, and another ranked at 3.5, that's a large enough difference to be very significant.

Secondly, that number doesn't take into account maximum output and distortion. The Genelec 8030C is a smaller speaker, with a little woofer and tweeter, that's it. It can only play so loud. If you want speakers for a large room, the little Genelec won't be able to play loud enough for that space, compared to the larger KH310, with its much larger woofer and dedicated midrange driver. Of course, subwoofers can always help, but the 5-inch woofer of the 8030 would still be responsible for the entire range above the subwoofer and bellow the tweeter crossover, something like 80-3000 Hz. In the case of the KH310, because it has more drivers, each one is responsible for a smaller frequency range, which helps the speaker play louder and with less distortion.

Lastly, the score doesn't take into account how wide or narrow the directivity is. Not the main issue in this case, but you should be aware of it.
Thanks, but we are talking monitor speakers, if I am not wrong.
I play synthesiser, make my own music and adjust their voicing (mixing) accordingly.
People like me will most probably be working near-mid field and 1.5 to 3 meters is the working envelope announced by the maker for KH420.
Then I go searching ratings and find the top with subwoofer is Genelec 8030C at 8.5.
What else, then ?
By the way, I heard several comparitions and many others sounded much better than the Genelec 8030C to my ears...but I always wanted to pay attention to what the experts say.
 
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F1308

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I am the only one who's getting really upset at those people spending tremendous sums to get some of the best speakers in the world and then defeating the whole point by sitting way too close relative to speaker size, making them sound worse due to insufficient acoustic summation? They should be ashamed of themselves…
Perhaps they move up and down according to the wave being played.
A new exercise to keep being fit.
The Well Fitted Music Listener, Bach permitting.
Taykos ? Go down !
Pianos? Follow the glissando !
Piccolos ? Hurry, on you feet and ready to jump !
A horn being blown on the left channel ? Run, run, run !
 

thewas

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Me? 420s. I'm not a fan of the Genelec sound.
Have you heard some MEGs? If you prefer the Neumann to the Genelec sound I am sure you would probably really like them.
 

dfuller

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Have you heard some MEGs? If you prefer the Neumann to the Genelec sound I am sure you would probably really like them.
Nope, not common in theUS
 

JustJones

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Fantastic ! 8000 euros for the two, but the price of hifi passive speaker of great quality is more expansive... and certainly not so good... and this Neumann have à lot of possibility for a good integration in the room...

Genelec 8361 have more for the same price with GLM.
But I Think Neumann have also a similar product
https://en-de.neumann.com/ma-1

Focal have a similar model https://www.focal.com/france/pro-audio/enceintes-de-monitoring/sm6/enceintes-de-monitoring/trio11-be a little less expansive. My be a test if Focal send to Amir ?
I have the Focal Trio11 be and I don't think it would measure as well as the Genelec 8361a or Neumann kh420. They can be found used around $6500. I DSP mine with Minidsp SHD. Driver and size wise it's about the same as the Neumann has a very nice dispersion and the bass is good but needs some EQ to tame boomyness. They weigh 82 pounds so would be expensive to ship. Maybe a local pro shop or Focal could send one. There are measurements Here.
 
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