You are here

Focal Shape Twin/Shape 65 vs Neumann KH120?

All about the tools and techniques involved in capturing sound, in the studio or on location.

Focal Shape Twin/Shape 65 vs Neumann KH120?

Postby dickiefunk » Fri Aug 10, 2018 2:13 pm

Hi,

I'm currently using Neumann KH120a's which to be honest I love but am looking to step things up a little this year. I have tried a few options in the past (Dynaudio BM5a, SE Eggs 150, Focal CMS65, Acoustic Energy AE22, Adam A7, KRK VXT8 and Mackie HR828 and the Neumann's were my favourites.
Ideally I'd like something with a similar sized footprint within a £1500 budget and was impressed with the CMS65 when I tried them. My main complaint with the CMS65 was quality control as I was sent three faulty pairs. However, in not heard of any issues with Focal monitors in recent years so am presuming these have be sorted.
I'm particularly interested in the Focal Shape Twins as they are a 3-way and am interested to know what benefit's this may give? The Shape 65 also looks like a potential option.

Has anyone had any experience with either the Shape Twin or Shape 65 and the Neumann KH120a?
User avatar
dickiefunk
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1765
Joined: Thu Jun 16, 2005 11:00 pm
Location: Cornwall, UK
http://www.richardpenrose.com

Re: Focal Shape Twin/Shape 65 vs Neumann KH120?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Fri Aug 10, 2018 2:22 pm

You could also add the Neumann KH80 to your list. The DSP crossover and driver correction built into that model really lifts it above conventional analogue two-ways in a most impressive way.

https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/neumann-kh80-dsp
User avatar
Hugh Robjohns
Moderator
Posts: 21686
Joined: Thu Jul 24, 2003 11:00 pm
Location: Worcestershire, UK
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound

Re: Focal Shape Twin/Shape 65 vs Neumann KH120?

Postby dickiefunk » Fri Aug 10, 2018 3:42 pm

Thanks Hugh I'll check out the review! Ideally I'd like something that can go a little lower than my KH120's though which is why I'm interested in the Focal Shape's.
User avatar
dickiefunk
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1765
Joined: Thu Jun 16, 2005 11:00 pm
Location: Cornwall, UK
http://www.richardpenrose.com

Re: Focal Shape Twin/Shape 65 vs Neumann KH120?

Postby dickiefunk » Sun Aug 12, 2018 3:43 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:You could also add the Neumann KH80 to your list. The DSP crossover and driver correction built into that model really lifts it above conventional analogue two-ways in a most impressive way.

https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/neumann-kh80-dsp

Maybe Neumann will update the KH120 to KH120DSP!? That would definitely be worth waiting for :thumbup:
User avatar
dickiefunk
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1765
Joined: Thu Jun 16, 2005 11:00 pm
Location: Cornwall, UK
http://www.richardpenrose.com

Re: Focal Shape Twin/Shape 65 vs Neumann KH120?

Postby blinddrew » Sun Aug 12, 2018 4:23 pm

It's got to be on the cards at some point - along with a similar 310 update. Personally I hope they do the latter first because that will be too expensive to be tempting! :)
User avatar
blinddrew
Jedi Poster
Posts: 4903
Joined: Sat Jul 04, 2015 11:00 pm
Location: York
Ignore the post count, I have no idea what I'm doing...

Re: Focal Shape Twin/Shape 65 vs Neumann KH120?

Postby dickiefunk » Mon Aug 13, 2018 10:19 am

blinddrew wrote:It's got to be on the cards at some point - along with a similar 310 update. Personally I hope they do the latter first because that will be too expensive to be tempting! :)

A Neumann KH310-DSP would be my dream monitor but sadly not a reality for me budget wise.
User avatar
dickiefunk
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1765
Joined: Thu Jun 16, 2005 11:00 pm
Location: Cornwall, UK
http://www.richardpenrose.com

Re: Focal Shape Twin/Shape 65 vs Neumann KH120?

Postby dickiefunk » Mon Aug 13, 2018 10:21 am

I'm particularly interested in the Focal Shape's but have read a few find the auto standby power saving feature a little annoying. It would have been great if this feature could be switched on or off. Also, I read that the EQ knobs on the back are not indented and are on a continuous pot? This seems a little poor choice for a monitor in this price bracket as this makes monitor matching a little more fiddly.

I really like the fact that the Focal Shapes use a passive radiators as I really dislike port turbulence. Saying that, I don't really encounter this as it's extremely rare I'm monitoring at a volume that would cause this! However, I sometimes have bass plays in that like tracking their 5 string bass quite loud in the monitors. I've also had people doing EDM and like the monitors pumping a little more which is when I hear a little port turbulence from really deep synth bass patches. The KH120's are more than loud enough as I have the output level turned down two notches from 114dB down to 100dB. Also, I never have the master output on my audio interface above 50% and the KH120's are plenty loud enough!!

I don't want to compromise accuracy but would like the monitor to be able to cope with EDM at the levels I'm working without any port turbulence. I'm leaning towards the Focal Shape Twins and may get a pair here in the next few weeks. I can pick up the Shape Twins for £1330 per pair so will see how things pan out over the next few weeks.
User avatar
dickiefunk
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1765
Joined: Thu Jun 16, 2005 11:00 pm
Location: Cornwall, UK
http://www.richardpenrose.com

Re: Focal Shape Twin/Shape 65 vs Neumann KH120?

Postby dickiefunk » Mon Aug 13, 2018 10:38 pm

One other option I’m considering is adding a sub to my KH120’s. Unfortunately the matching Neumann KH805 sub is completely out of my price range so I’m considering the Eve Audio TS range.
I really like the look of the features on the Eve TS subs and they also have remote controls for muting the sub and sending full range to the Neumanns. This feature will be seriously useful for me.
I’m particularly interested in the 8” and 10” options.

http://www.eve-audio.com/index.php?page=TS108

http://www.eve-audio.com/index.php?page=TS110

I’m wondering if the TS108 would be a good match for the KH120’s?
User avatar
dickiefunk
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1765
Joined: Thu Jun 16, 2005 11:00 pm
Location: Cornwall, UK
http://www.richardpenrose.com

Re: Focal Shape Twin/Shape 65 vs Neumann KH120?

Postby IvanSC » Mon Aug 20, 2018 10:33 am

If you liked the AE22s try the The Rocks. Same characteristics but more refined and with an amazing low end response for a sealed box.

Had mine for several years and I would bet you can pick up a pair even if they are used well within your budget. I paid about £1800 for mine new.
User avatar
IvanSC
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 2988
Joined: Tue Mar 08, 2005 12:00 am
Location: UK France & USA depending on the time of year.
Let me share my recipe for Wabbit stew with you!

Re: Focal Shape Twin/Shape 65 vs Neumann KH120?

Postby dickiefunk » Mon Aug 20, 2018 1:05 pm

Yes the Rocks would be high on my list but didn't like the v1's. The soundstage sounded pretty narrow. They also cost around £2250 new! There's also the new Mini Rocks, Rock mkIII DSP and Super Rocks but they're more expensive again!
The Mini Rocks look like a good option but these are not available at the moment there's no spec on these yet!

The Eve TS108 Sub has just arrived so I'm going to try this out with the KH120's and see how I get on.
User avatar
dickiefunk
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1765
Joined: Thu Jun 16, 2005 11:00 pm
Location: Cornwall, UK
http://www.richardpenrose.com

Re: Focal Shape Twin/Shape 65 vs Neumann KH120?

Postby dickiefunk » Tue Aug 21, 2018 7:34 am

I’ve been trying the TS108 out very briefly. I haven’t experimented with positioning or done any sweeps etc yet but initial impressions are good.
I will be using this sub for mixing a wide range of acoustic music - Jazz, Classical, Gospel, Rock/Pop etc and the TS108 is sounding very nice during my brief tests. I don’t have them turned up very high in my current small mixing room as it’s unnecessary but you can still feel the punch of the bass and the TS108 goes pretty low.
I’ve tried a sub in my small room before as I was given an Acoustic Energy dual 10” Pro Sub. This was a good sub but was complete overkill for my room and I found it hard to integrate with my satellite speakers. So far, the Eve TS108 seems to integrate with the KH120’s much better despite not calibrating the system yet!

However, in the next few months I’m going to be moving to a space almost twice as big as my current mixing room. Whilst the TS108 seems like it will integrate with the KH120’s really well for my small space I am partly wondering if I should go with the larger TS110 (though these are almost double the price of what I paid for the TS108).

I’m not sure it will be a good idea getting the bigger TS110 because of the problems even lower frequencies can cause in a room? I’m also wondering if it will be necessary for the styles of music I’ll be mixing?

I’m going to get some measurements for the new mix room over the next couple days and will report back
User avatar
dickiefunk
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1765
Joined: Thu Jun 16, 2005 11:00 pm
Location: Cornwall, UK
http://www.richardpenrose.com

Re: Focal Shape Twin/Shape 65 vs Neumann KH120?

Postby Zukan » Tue Aug 21, 2018 8:16 am

Dickie, sleep with someone and get the 310s.
User avatar
Zukan
Moderator
Posts: 7078
Joined: Thu Sep 11, 2003 11:00 pm

Re: Focal Shape Twin/Shape 65 vs Neumann KH120?

Postby dickiefunk » Tue Aug 21, 2018 10:03 am

I’ve measured the room that I will be moving to and it’s not quite as big as I thought. The room measures 5.6 x 4.4 x 2.2m.
User avatar
dickiefunk
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1765
Joined: Thu Jun 16, 2005 11:00 pm
Location: Cornwall, UK
http://www.richardpenrose.com

Re: Focal Shape Twin/Shape 65 vs Neumann KH120?

Postby Forum Admin » Tue Aug 21, 2018 10:23 am

FYI, Phil Ward has reviewed the Focal Shape Twin monitors in SOS September 2018 issue and this article will become available (to subscribers) around 10:30am Thursday 23 August 2018. There's a 10% teaser for everyone, and a single PDF (or Full Issue PDF) of the review can be purchased from that page for non-subscribers who can't wait 5 months for it to be unlocked.

https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/focal-shape-twin
User avatar
Forum Admin
Moderator
Posts: 2934
Joined: Mon Jul 21, 2003 10:00 pm
Location: A studio deep in the fenlands of Cambridgeshire, UK
SEARCH SOS - 10,216 quality articles: www.soundonsound.com/search
SOS Tutorials: www.soundonsound.com/tutorials

Re: Focal Shape Twin/Shape 65 vs Neumann KH120?

Postby dickiefunk » Tue Aug 21, 2018 8:17 pm

Thanks. I'll check out the review of the Focal Shape Twins on Thursday :thumbup:

Saying that I'm really enjoying using the Eve TS108 so far. The remote control feature works brilliantly as well!

The only small negative I've found so far is the increase of hiss coming through the KH120's when you turn the System Volume on the TS108's above 50%. I'm not noticing any increase in hiss when I turn up the Sub Volume it only happens when I turn the whole System Volume up beyond 50%. I'm guessing this is due to adding another analogue device (TS108) into the audio chain?

My mixing room has very little ambient noise and my computer is pretty much silent as it uses SSD's and ultra quiet fans so any hiss can be pretty noticeable!
At the moment I have my monitoring chain turned down quite a lot. The KH120's output setting has been turned down from the 114dB setting to 100dB and the output on my audio interface is never really turned up beyond 50%! This means I have a lot of headroom left!
User avatar
dickiefunk
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1765
Joined: Thu Jun 16, 2005 11:00 pm
Location: Cornwall, UK
http://www.richardpenrose.com

Re: Focal Shape Twin/Shape 65 vs Neumann KH120?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Tue Aug 21, 2018 8:50 pm

dickiefunk wrote: This means I have a lot of headroom left!

This means your gain structure might not be correctly optimised! :lol:
User avatar
Hugh Robjohns
Moderator
Posts: 21686
Joined: Thu Jul 24, 2003 11:00 pm
Location: Worcestershire, UK
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound

Re: Focal Shape Twin/Shape 65 vs Neumann KH120?

Postby dickiefunk » Tue Aug 21, 2018 9:20 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
dickiefunk wrote: This means I have a lot of headroom left!

This means your gain structure might not be correctly optimised! :lol:

Could you offer any advice if this is the case?
User avatar
dickiefunk
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1765
Joined: Thu Jun 16, 2005 11:00 pm
Location: Cornwall, UK
http://www.richardpenrose.com

Re: Focal Shape Twin/Shape 65 vs Neumann KH120?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Wed Aug 22, 2018 10:02 am

Your reference level position for the monitor volume control should be about 2-o'clock, rather than under 12-o'clock. That will optimise the signal levels through the monitor controller, minimise stereo tracking issues, and avoid having too much headroom in the speakers to deafen you if something goes wrong and you get full level noise!

Reduce the input sensitivity of the Neumanns to the 94dB setting if necessary to maintain a sensible reference acoustic level in the room.

It sounds like the hiss is coming from your subwoofer, and I presume that is applying high-pass filtering for your Neumanns. If so, you may need to optimise the signal levels through the sub to maximise the signal-noise ratio.

Alternatively -- and this would be my preference -- feed the monitors directly from your monitor controller with a full-range signal and split the output to feed the sub directly. Then adjust the sub's low-pass filter to bring it in under the Neumanns and balance the level as necessary.

H
User avatar
Hugh Robjohns
Moderator
Posts: 21686
Joined: Thu Jul 24, 2003 11:00 pm
Location: Worcestershire, UK
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound

Re: Focal Shape Twin/Shape 65 vs Neumann KH120?

Postby dickiefunk » Wed Aug 22, 2018 7:40 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:Your reference level position for the monitor volume control should be about 2-o'clock, rather than under 12-o'clock. That will optimise the signal levels through the monitor controller, minimise stereo tracking issues, and avoid having too much headroom in the speakers to deafen you if something goes wrong and you get full level noise!

Reduce the input sensitivity of the Neumanns to the 94dB setting if necessary to maintain a sensible reference acoustic level in the room.

H

Hi Hugh,

Thanks for the info, very helpful :thumbup: Yes I would have the reference level of my interface set at around 2 o'clock and have the Neumanns set to 94dB if I was purely using them for myself to mix on. However, I sometimes have bass players and drummers in who like it louder and want to be able to feel the sound more hence having them set to 100dB with the ability to turn them up more when needed.

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
It sounds like the hiss is coming from your subwoofer, and I presume that is applying high-pass filtering for your Neumanns. If so, you may need to optimise the signal levels through the sub to maximise the signal-noise ratio.

H

I've been in communication with Eve Audio and they have been very helpful with prompt replies. They have tested and measured the TS108 with the KH120's themselves and have said turning up the System Volume on the TS108 does not add any hiss to the KH120's but what the Focusrite does is out of their knowledge.
However, when I turn the System Volume up past 50% on the TS108 there is a noticeble increase in hiss through the KH120's
I'm not sure how the Focusrite Saffire Pro 24DSP could be responsible??

Any thoughts?
User avatar
dickiefunk
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1765
Joined: Thu Jun 16, 2005 11:00 pm
Location: Cornwall, UK
http://www.richardpenrose.com

Re: Focal Shape Twin/Shape 65 vs Neumann KH120?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Wed Aug 22, 2018 7:49 pm

Regarding your bassist and drummer... Why compromise your everyday performance? Set the monitor gain structure correctly for your normal use, and then flick the sensitivity switches up a notch or two when your chums come over! :-)

As for the focusrite, if you are running the outputs with some digital attenuation you are compromising the signal-to-noise ratio of the output converters, and that could possibly be your source or audible noise....

I'm not clear from wha you've said whether the noise is coming from the sub, or from the interface and being made more audible when you turn the sub up.

If you hard bypass the sub, is the noise level the same?

H
User avatar
Hugh Robjohns
Moderator
Posts: 21686
Joined: Thu Jul 24, 2003 11:00 pm
Location: Worcestershire, UK
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound

Next

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Saxum esse et non provolvere