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Neumann KH120 A monitors - any negative opinions or reviews?

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Neumann KH120 A monitors - any negative opinions or reviews?

Postby samuk » Sat Feb 09, 2019 5:45 pm

Hi,

I am considering buying a pair of Neumann KH 120’s.

My main concerns are:

1. Is there is insufficient extension of the bass frequencies? They are stated to have response down to 46Hz, which seems like it would be enough but I am unsure is this will be adequate or whether I will need a subwoofer also.

2. Do they KH120 A’s have any particular characteristics they have that might be off-putting to some people’s ears?

As far as I’ve read, these are very accurate, neutral monitors. I’m yet to come across a negative review. I’m setting up a project studio in my flat and they will be used to mix a range of genres, but mostly Indie guitar based music and some electronica. The room is 363 cm long x 273 cm wide. I am in the process of figuring out what acoustic treatment to get, there will be some (bass traps, wall tiles for flutter echo, some broadband absorption) but not as complete as a purpose built professional studio.

Also, if any one has any suggestions for alternatives around £1k mark per pair I’d be grateful to hear them.


Thanks in advance for any advice
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Re: Neumann KH120 A monitors - any negative opinions or reviews?

Postby Jack Ruston » Sat Feb 09, 2019 5:54 pm

Is there enough low end to mix?

Yes, in that people mix records on all kinds of small nearfields, not least of all NS10s, which have less apparent low end than those.

No, in that despite Neumann being far more honest about the numbers on their specs than many manufacturers, small nearfields just don't tend to achieve the sort of reproduction that a larger system has. Theres a significant difference and it's not one you can get around cheaply.

Should you get a sub? No. It will likely do more harm than good.

Should you get the 120s? The most important factor is the direction a pair of speakers lead you in as a mixer. Do they tend to make you undercook the mix because they're too bright, for example. This depends on your aesthetic and on the character of the speakers.

I'd suggest that with some careful treatment, and a few months of working with them, you will likely deliver the best results you're going to be able to deliver in that space, with that budget.
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Re: Neumann KH120 A monitors - any negative opinions or reviews?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sat Feb 09, 2019 6:05 pm

For that sort of money there aren't many better options out there, and I personally rate the KH120s very highly. The new DSP-controlled KH80s might also be worth considering as the performance is very similar -- and slightly better in some respects -- but they also have additional room-matching facilities which could prove useful.

Clearly, a small speaker like the KH120 is never going to produce 30Hz drones at a volume that can rearrange your internal organs, but I've used them for location recordings and mixing and found them very well-balanced tonally, and reasonably revealing of the low-end instrument character, timing, and balance.

Would you need a sub? Well, if you want to 'feel' the bass then possibly, and Neumann do make a couple of matching subs if that's what you want/need... but if you go down that road you're opening a huge can of worms and in a room the size of yours and I really wouldn't recommend it. Instead, check the low-end balance on decent headphones which will remove the room and be far more accurate than any speaker system of any size in anything other than a large professional mixing room.

Having said all that, people have very personal and particular views and expectations of their speakers -- not all of them realistic or appropriate! The only way you'll know whether the KH120s will work for you is to try them, ideally in your own working space, before you buy. The better professional dealers are very very good about demos stock for that purpose, but if you buy mail-order you can probably return them (if you're careful unboxing them) if they don't work for you.

H
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Re: Neumann KH120 A monitors - any negative opinions or reviews?

Postby Sam Spoons » Sat Feb 09, 2019 6:56 pm

I've been considering a monitor upgrade to a pair of KH120s for a year now, my current, 40 year old passives are very good though so I keep putting it off but, after much discussion on hear and looking at reviews it will definitely be the Neumanns I buy (eventually).

WRT room treatment, I have a room a little bigger than yours and have seven home made broad band absorbers and three bass traps. The room sounds pretty good to my ears and I modelled my panels on the Gik Acoustic panels (link below) and Super Chunks bass traps, I am very happy with how they look.

Image

https://gikacoustics.co.uk/product/gik-acoustics-242-acoustic-panel/
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Re: Neumann KH120 A monitors - any negative opinions or reviews?

Postby James Perrett » Sat Feb 09, 2019 9:42 pm

The KH120's don't sound particularly lacking in bass. When I compared them to my 15" Tannoys there was a fairly subtle difference at normal listening volumes with the bass sounding slightly more extended and effortless through the Tannoys. I'm currently involved in a project which is being mainly mixed through KH120's and I'm perfectly happy to use them.
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Re: Neumann KH120 A monitors - any negative opinions or reviews?

Postby John Willett » Sun Feb 10, 2019 8:45 am

At their price range I cannot think of anything better than the KH120A.

They go down to 52Hz (-3dB) - the -6dB point is 46Hz.

They are pretty neutral and trustworthy without any specific "charactistics".

I used the forerunner, the O110, and compared those to the KH120 before I decided to pay more and go fo the RL906.
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Re: Neumann KH120 A monitors - any negative opinions or reviews?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sun Feb 10, 2019 10:11 am

John Willett wrote:...before I decided to pay more and go fo the RL906....which I now distribute and sell

Just for complete clarity and the avoidance of misunderstandings! ;-)
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Re: Neumann KH120 A monitors - any negative opinions or reviews?

Postby Zukan » Sun Feb 10, 2019 11:35 am

Happy KH120a owner here. Excellent little monitors.
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Re: Neumann KH120 A monitors - any negative opinions or reviews?

Postby samuk » Sun Feb 10, 2019 12:42 pm

Thanks everyone for your replies, really helpful.

I think I’m confident now in getting the KH 120’s, although seeing your review of the KH80’s Hugh has made me start researching them as they do - going by the data - seem to be more accurate with only slightly less bass extension (the KH 120’s go 7 Hz lower).

I won’t be getting a sub now given that I have a relatively small room. I might end up hiring a studio with one though to check mixes through at a later date if I think there might be an issue with bass that I’m not hearing. I also have a pair of DT 770’s so will be checking everything through them to take the room out of the equation, and of course I’ll be checking mixes through every other listening device that I can.

Sam Spoons - your room looks great, very much how I’d like to have mine setup. Currently I’m getting an acoustic consultation from Gikacoustics but I am considering making some treatment myself.

Thanks again!
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Re: Neumann KH120 A monitors - any negative opinions or reviews?

Postby Sam Spoons » Sun Feb 10, 2019 3:16 pm

samuk wrote:Sam Spoons - your room looks great, very much how I’d like to have mine setup. Currently I’m getting an acoustic consultation from Gikacoustics but I am considering making some treatment myself.

Thanks, it's taken a long time but I'm a very happy guitarist :D .

Building the traps myself saved about 40% over the cost of buying the Gik panels, IIRC the whole lot cost a little over £300. It's worth using decent facing fabric (I used 'Cara', bought from Gik) as it's easier to get a good looking job.
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Re: Neumann KH120 A monitors - any negative opinions or reviews?

Postby John Willett » Sun Feb 10, 2019 10:32 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
John Willett wrote:...before I decided to pay more and go fo the RL906....which I now distribute and sell

Just for complete clarity and the avoidance of misunderstandings! ;-)

Well, they are double the price of the Neumann - and I had to give a reason why I don't use the K+H / Neumann now, as I was suggesting that the KH120A were the best in their price range ;)
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Re: Neumann KH120 A monitors - any negative opinions or reviews?

Postby alexpen » Sun Feb 10, 2019 10:42 pm

I strongly suggest to check APS Klasik.
I'm a big fan of KH310, but not 120
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Re: Neumann KH120 A monitors - any negative opinions or reviews?

Postby MeJ » Sun Feb 10, 2019 11:53 pm

samuk wrote:1. Is there is insufficient extension of the bass frequencies? They are stated to have response down to 46Hz, which seems like it would be enough but I am unsure is this will be adequate or whether I will need a subwoofer also.

2. Do they KH120 A’s have any particular characteristics they have that might be off-putting to some people’s ears?

I purchased KH120As after carefully comparing all the monitors in that price range at a certain excellent establishment in North London.

I chose them for neutrality and accuracy despite their bass reflex design. I realised in the end that a bass reflex in such a small rigid cabinet has very little entrained energy. I could not afford 310s.

People vary in their taste and expectations, of course. Some people like small Genelecs, I don't because they do not sound right in the top to me. Some people Like Focals, I do too, they are lovely but they are too hifi sounding for me to use as monitors. Etc, etc...

In a small room as you describe they will do very well with plenty of bass but more importantly, they give the feel of the bass. IMHO there's no harm at all in having a sub if you want to hear and feel the low bass, but in a small room do not trust a sub's response if you want to attempt a mix, turn it off! You can't really do bass trapping in a small room it needs to be 1/4 wavelength to be much use and there's not enough room for that (and not enough active modes to smooth the bottom out!). I use mine with subs which I switch out.

I used to be perched in front of Tannoy Golds for years in the 70's/early 80's and any modern monitor would be a pleasant change. The Tannoys did have superb imaging due to the coaxial source, but sizzled like a steam engine in the upper mid once loud. The KH120s are as good in image and localisation, in my view. There is no perfect speaker as we all know -- but I can rely on them to give me a clear insight into what's happening. Probably you can too. Several people have now said so :thumbup:

An old geezer.

Oh and PS I demo'ed them for a week in my space first. Very good to do that with any speaker you plan to buy!
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Re: Neumann KH120 A monitors - any negative opinions or reviews?

Postby John Willett » Mon Feb 11, 2019 7:49 am

MeJ wrote:I purchased KH120As after carefully comparing all the monitors in that price range at a certain excellent establishment in North London.

There are three excellent establishments in North Nondon:- KMR, The Studio Shop and Funky Junk. :thumbup:

;)
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Re: Neumann KH120 A monitors - any negative opinions or reviews?

Postby MeJ » Mon Feb 11, 2019 11:16 pm

John Willett wrote:
MeJ wrote:There are three excellent establishments in North Nondon:- KMR, The Studio Shop and Funky Junk. :thumbup:

;)

Just so, but I didn't want to appear to be promoting any of them. But I went to the first :) And will again!
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Re: Neumann KH120 A monitors - any negative opinions or reviews?

Postby Wonks » Tue Feb 12, 2019 10:46 am

Don't be afraid to mention shops that have provided good service. It benefits us all to know where we can get it.
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Re: Neumann KH120 A monitors - any negative opinions or reviews?

Postby John Willett » Wed Feb 13, 2019 8:02 pm

MeJ wrote:
John Willett wrote:
MeJ wrote:There are three excellent establishments in North Nondon:- KMR, The Studio Shop and Funky Junk. :thumbup:

;)

Just so, but I didn't want to appear to be promoting any of them. But I went to the first :) And will again!

All three are excellent in their own way and all have knowledgeable and helpful staff. :thumbup:
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Re: Neumann KH120 A monitors - any negative opinions or reviews?

Postby baward » Fri Feb 15, 2019 3:10 pm

FWIW, I LOVE my KH80's (with no sub)
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Re: Neumann KH120 A monitors - any negative opinions or reviews?

Postby rggillespie » Sat Feb 16, 2019 11:11 am

The Kh120s get such positive feedback on this forum and in reviews I went ahead and bought a pair on a 'try before you buy' scheme in January. Its hard to know if something will work for you if you cant have a home demo. They are a big step up from my equator audio D5s in every respect technically but after two weeks I found I wasn't enjoying listening to them. I think I found they are on the cool side tonally and I found returning to the inferior D5s a relief. The resolution is nowhere near the KH120s, which are in every way you'd judge it superior, but I just prefer the warmer sound of the D5s. As monitors are so important getting it right is a must, but it is very subjective. So I'll go now and listen to some of the competition Adam, Focal, Dynaudio, Genelec etc , get a home demo and hopefully one of them is right for me. So I'm not knocking the Kh120s in anyway at all but just pointing out there are other options and in my case I'm glad I had the option of try before you buy. Best of luck with your purchase, and do get a sale or return option just in case. You'll have the right monitors for years so its worth getting it right.
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Re: Neumann KH120 A monitors - any negative opinions or reviews?

Postby John Willett » Sat Feb 16, 2019 2:14 pm

rggillespie wrote:The Kh120s get such positive feedback on this forum and in reviews I went ahead and bought a pair on a 'try before you buy' scheme in January. Its hard to know if something will work for you if you cant have a home demo. They are a big step up from my equator audio D5s in every respect technically but after two weeks I found I wasn't enjoying listening to them. I think I found they are on the cool side tonally and I found returning to the inferior D5s a relief. The resolution is nowhere near the KH120s, which are in every way you'd judge it superior, but I just prefer the warmer sound of the D5s. As monitors are so important getting it right is a must, but it is very subjective. So I'll go now and listen to some of the competition Adam, Focal, Dynaudio, Genelec etc , get a home demo and hopefully one of them is right for me. So I'm not knocking the Kh120s in anyway at all but just pointing out there are other options and in my case I'm glad I had the option of try before you buy. Best of luck with your purchase, and do get a sale or return option just in case. You'll have the right monitors for years so its worth getting it right.

You are not supposed to enjoy listening to monitors. :mrgreen: :beamup:

They are there to tell you what is wrong with your recording so you can correct it.

And, at their price bracket, the KH120A seem to do better than anything else.

Personally I would use the KH120, but I wouldn't use any of the others you listed (except the D5 which were the tops in their price bracket - but Equator is long gone now, it seems).

I used the forerunner to the KH120 for many years and had to pay almost double to get anything better.
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