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Question about improving my headphone monitoring at home (Neumann NDH 20)

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Re: Question about improving my headphone monitoring at home (Neumann NDH 20)

Postby CS70 » Thu Mar 25, 2021 4:57 pm

Well my mixing corner is as well a corner (a little extension) on the side of my living room, with some panel curtains as separators.

I do use the Audeze (and other open backs before them) without too many problems, but I mix at quite low levels. Most of what comes out of the headphones is low-energy high frequency and it dissipates quickly, and the hanging curtains act as a rather effective barrier. Of course you would hear something if it's all silent but by definition when there's people in the room, silent it isn't.

YMMV of course, a bit depends on the people living with you and the level you want from headphones.
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Re: Question about improving my headphone monitoring at home (Neumann NDH 20)

Postby Ben Asaro » Wed Apr 07, 2021 12:47 am

Quick update:

After a lot of specification and review-reading, I've settled on the Neumann NDH20s and a Rupert Neve RNHP headphone amplifier. They are slated to arrive this week from Sweetwater.

Thanks to everyone for your input!
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Re: Question about improving my headphone monitoring at home (Neumann NDH 20)

Postby CS70 » Wed Apr 07, 2021 9:19 am

Really looking forward to hear how they fare!
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Re: Question about improving my headphone monitoring at home (Neumann NDH 20)

Postby Martin Walker » Wed Apr 07, 2021 10:40 pm

Same here, especially on the Neve RNHP headphone amplifier.


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Re: Question about improving my headphone monitoring at home (Neumann NDH 20)

Postby Ben Asaro » Thu Apr 08, 2021 7:35 pm

Busy day here so I've only had time to unbox and connect the RNHP; the Neumanns are still in the box.

I did a series of A/B comparisons between the headphone output on my Scarlett 18i20 and the RNHP feeding from the monitor output of same, using my ATH M50x's.

The difference between the two is not subtle but it's not night and day, either. I'm guessing that the NDH20s will increase the gap a bit.

These observations are all 100% subjective!

The RNHP is really quite smooth and distortion-free; the way it handles dynamics reminds me very much of the Krell amp in my hi-fi.

Details that are completely obscured in low-resolution systems, such as the kick drum in It's Only Love by The Beatles, are noticeably clear; the kick so buried in the soundstage on this song, you really are listening for the feel of it more than anything else, it has virtually no attack. Ditto the phasing at the end of the first line in [i]Help![/]: I felt like I could pick out each individual vocal line instead of it sounding like a mass of voices. Lennon's plosives, and the chewiness of the compression are all very noticeable with the RNHP.

The sound stage it presents is wide, and I really love the control it has over the lower frequencies. They are not hyped, but held in lockstep with everything else. The overall effect is a subtle tightening of the groove.

High frequencies are smooth and extended; if there's sibilence on the vocal line, it's here as well, but it seems proportionally different; the frequency response doesn't seem as 'lumpy' as the headphone amp in the 18i20.
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Re: Question about improving my headphone monitoring at home (Neumann NDH 20)

Postby Ben Asaro » Thu Apr 08, 2021 7:46 pm

SHORT UPDATE: I configured the 18i20 so that it's feeding it's stereo output directly from two of the line outputs, bypassing the monitor volume control.

The gap definitely widened here! Listening to Black Star by Yngwie Malmsteen, the hard panned guitars are EXTREMELY wide/far apart, and you can so clearly hear the pick attack that I can visualise how he's playing just with the audio alone.

Stunning!
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Re: Question about improving my headphone monitoring at home (Neumann NDH 20)

Postby Martin Walker » Fri Apr 09, 2021 12:49 am

This all sounds very positive and upbeat - thanks Ben!


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Re: Question about improving my headphone monitoring at home (Neumann NDH 20)

Postby Ben Asaro » Fri Apr 09, 2021 1:12 am

Finally had a chance to unbox the NDH 20s. All I can say is, wow. The presentation is so uncolored, it actually threw me. If I take them off and then put them back on, I actually jumped a couple of times when the music started; the combination is so fast and detailed it’s like a high performance car. The isolation is great and I must have a small head because I don’t find them particularly restrictive. They are, however, quite heavy.

I can’t recommend the NDH 20s, everyone hears different and has different needs, but I think they will serve me well!
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