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Anyone else's Neumann KH80 randomly reset themselves?

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Anyone else's Neumann KH80 randomly reset themselves?

Postby Kayvon » Tue Aug 18, 2020 1:08 pm

Hi all,

First off I've contacted Sennheiser support about this and the chappy on the phone was helpful although the relevant people were a bit hard to get hold of to troubleshoot (currently on holiday, I missed him after calling back a fortnight ago as well).

Basically one of my KH80s keeps on powercycling or restarting itself. This was happening with or without audio running through it. V annoying and has happened in the middle of a take before. It's been happening more often recently and unfortunately has now started happening in the other one as well.

Interestingly I was producing all last night with a lot of 'sub' bass hits going through the speakers and it didn't happen once. Typically I've very much been sporadically going back and forth to my setup and I'm starting to wonder if that has something to do with it as from what I gather the auto power off circuits of gear can cause problems. Maybe with them constantly working hard they're a bit more 'warmed up' and less likely to power cycle?

So yeah, it would be good to hear of other peoples experiences with these monitors which, as good as they sound have really turned me off DSP monitors. TBH I'm not even very keen on the sound of them when they're in room correction eq mode and prefer to run them flat.

Few more details; I think from when I first bought them one of the two was less inclined to auto power off but at that time I suspected it was due to one of the main outs on my Mackie desk being a bit noisier than the other. So at that point I didn't bother contacting Red Dog who I bought them off and then after a while they unfortunately went bust. So now these monitors are well out of warranty. Also, I use them in local control mode and have tried the reset thing, interestingly I've just tried it again this second and the slightly better speaker won't reset to factory default mode and isn't being recognised by the Neumann control app :roll:

All pretty disappointing if you ask me. The option to get them replaced at £234 each is always there but I think I'm probably out when it comes to having computers in my speakers tbh.

Oh yeah, and Neumann never implemented the low latency mode...
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Re: Anyone else's Neumann KH80 randomly reset themselves?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Tue Aug 18, 2020 1:23 pm

That does all sound disappointing for a premium product, I agree.

I seem to recall hearing that there is an internal tweak to adjust the sensitivity of the auto shut down, but I don't have any details. One to discuss with Neumann's rep I think...

On a more practical note, it may not be the case -- and I'm definitely not trying to teach egg-blowing... but I'm wondering if your monitoring chain gain structure might be awry.

It could be worth trying a lower output level setting on the KH80s (if you're not already at 94dB SPL) so that you need to push a little more signal into the speakers to achieve your preferred acoustic reference level, for example, which might help to keep things above the switching threshold...
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Re: Anyone else's Neumann KH80 randomly reset themselves?

Postby Kayvon » Tue Aug 18, 2020 2:36 pm

Hi Hugh, thanks for the reply.

I use them at the 94dB setting but to be honest since moving I haven't set them up again properly with a level meter. I'm currently using them directly from the main outputs of my RME Babyface but it was happening with a Steinberg Ci2 interface with different cables as well. Ideally I'd be using a monitor controller or a desk but it is quite a neat set up this way.

I'm gonna disable the auto standby for a while and see how that affects things. One more thing I didn't mention, occasionally after going into standby the flakier speaker buzzes excessively. I'm guessing that one was faulty from the factory. The other one has now started to play ball with the Neumann app but still won't reset with the flashing rosé factory default.

Well, I guess I'll have to wait and see what happens with the auto standby turned off. I don't suppose it'll affect the electricity bill a great deal and it's not the biggest hardship to reach over and turn them off each night.

Perhaps all this constitutes fair grounds for upgrading to a four way system? Or at least a 3.5 way :lol:
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Re: Anyone else's Neumann KH80 randomly reset themselves?

Postby blinddrew » Tue Aug 18, 2020 10:37 pm

Just to answer your opening question, i've had my KH80s for quite a while now and had no issues of any kind. But I've never used the control app on them.
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Re: Anyone else's Neumann KH80 randomly reset themselves?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Wed Aug 19, 2020 6:49 am

Kayvon wrote:I'm gonna disable the auto standby for a while and see how that affects things.

Good idea -- that will prove whether the power cycling is an issue with that function or not.

Another test you can do with the auto power function turned on is:
1. set both monitors to 94dB SPL and turn the volume pot to minimum
2. then feed a healthy mono signal into both speakers (ideal via a cable splitter so they are being driven with exactly the same level)
3. and then see if one turns on or off significantly before the other.

That might indicate if one speaker is behaving significantly differently to the other.

One more thing I didn't mention, occasionally after going into standby the flakier speaker buzzes excessively.

That doesn't sound good... and it also suggests it's not actually turning off properly!

I'm also told by another KH80 user that spurious clicks on the audio lines from the connected source equipment can be enough to cause the speakers to power up apparently at random...

But it does sound like you might have a 'friday afternoon' speaker there... :-( ... but just for balance, I'm told that the in-warranty defect rate for the KH80 has historically been extremely low and better than other KH products...
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Re: Anyone else's Neumann KH80 randomly reset themselves?

Postby Mike Shand » Wed Aug 19, 2020 7:19 am

Yes, I’ve had (still unresolved) problems with them “randomly” waking up, but never the opposite problem described by the OP. The threshold can be adjusted somewhat in the app, but I have not observed it making any difference to my problem.
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Re: Anyone else's Neumann KH80 randomly reset themselves?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Wed Aug 19, 2020 7:26 am

Yes, the random waking up thing is probably due to odd glitches and clicks on the audio cables picking up interference, or ground disturbances. Easily provide by disabling the auto-power mode.
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Re: Anyone else's Neumann KH80 randomly reset themselves?

Postby kesman2401 » Mon Aug 31, 2020 11:19 pm

I'm gonna disable the auto standby for a while and see how that affects things.

Hi Kayvon, I wonder is this problem still happening to you since you disabled the auto standby feature?

I got a pair of these monitors a few weeks back and one or the other will just shut off at random. It's been happening ever since I got them. The light on the front panel goes off and sound stops. It might come back on after 10 or 20 seconds without me doing anything, but often won't wake up again at all and will then require me to switch off the speaker from the back and switch it back on again (although I did manage to wake one up tonight with a short output volume boost on my interface). Apparently the Auto Standby feature is set to 90mins by default but I'd be doing well getting through half that period of time before one of the monitors nods off, even with sound being played back through them the whole time (!!).

The Auto Standby feature has been set to 'On' on Local Control since I got them, but I have just turned it to 'Off' to see if this improves things. As was mentioned above, really disappointing stuff from a premium product...
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Re: Anyone else's Neumann KH80 randomly reset themselves?

Postby Watchmaker » Tue Sep 01, 2020 1:34 am

I have no problems with mine. I don't use "auto" anything though. If I can't trust myself to power stuff down properly, how can I trust a team who's designing for an unpredictable and variegated user base?
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Re: Anyone else's Neumann KH80 randomly reset themselves?

Postby blinddrew » Tue Sep 01, 2020 9:57 am

As before, no problems here. Auto-standby works as you'd expect.
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Re: Anyone else's Neumann KH80 randomly reset themselves?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Tue Sep 01, 2020 11:22 am

The Auto-standby function is obviously totally dependent on the input signal level.

Consequently, if your monitoring chain gain-structure is awry, or you are in the habit of listening to music at very low levels for long periods*, then the speaker's auto-standby circuitry may well decide to shut down at inopportune moments.

*I find when I have my KH310s on for background music the input level is around -40dBu...
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Re: Anyone else's Neumann KH80 randomly reset themselves?

Postby Kayvon » Fri Sep 11, 2020 9:58 pm

I haven't forgotten about this thread but I'm still doing some testing, most recently I've been trying the gain pots at 0dB instead of -15dB. Which has made things worse with regarding to inopportunely turning off.

Thought I'd post because I had to laugh, came in to do some music, one of the monitors was already on i.e. hadn't gone into standby, the other was off. I press play on a YT video and the one on standby sparks into life and at the very moment audio starts playing through the other one decides to have a snooze :headbang:

kesman2401 wrote:Hi Kayvon, I wonder is this problem still happening to you since you disabled the auto standby feature?

It didn't as far as I could tell. So I guess it would suggest a problem with that feature.
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Re: Anyone else's Neumann KH80 randomly reset themselves?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Fri Sep 11, 2020 10:13 pm

Kayvon wrote:I haven't forgotten about this thread but I'm still doing some testing, most recently I've been trying the gain pots at 0dB instead of -15dB. Which has made things worse with regarding to inopportunely turning off.

That doesn't seem surprising since, for the same acoustic listening level, you'd have to run a lower input signal level input... And if it was previously borderline for the auto shut-down threshold, it would now be 15dB lower! ;-)
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Re: Anyone else's Neumann KH80 randomly reset themselves?

Postby Kayvon » Fri Sep 11, 2020 11:01 pm

Hah yes. I thought I'd better at least try though as I can't second guess what's going on in these boxes. I'd wondered if a little self noise might help proceedings heh

Hugh Robjohns wrote:The Auto-standby function is obviously totally dependent on the input signal level.

Consequently, if your monitoring chain gain-structure is awry, or you are in the habit of listening to music at very low levels for long periods*, then the speaker's auto-standby circuitry may well decide to shut down at inopportune moments.

*I find when I have my KH310s on for background music the input level is around -40dBu...

I'm starting to think I may just listen to music too quietly for the standby threshold. As there's seemingly nothing else I can do with regards to levels from the monitors, I can't reduce their output any lower.

I vaguely understand the concept of s/n ratio vis-a-vis digital level vs analogue attenuation but in practical terms will the monitors 'see' any difference between the output from my audio interface vs the same level coming from a monitor controller? Will it effectively be something like impedance? I'm sure there's an article on this very site about it somewhere...

There's one more thing I think I can try which is to have the speakers in network control mode but just don't use any of the eq functions and they won't permanently be plugged in to a router either. There's an option to adjust the standby level in the app. I guess I'm gonna have to dig out my measurement microphone!
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Re: Anyone else's Neumann KH80 randomly reset themselves?

Postby adambier » Sun Nov 01, 2020 8:56 pm

I've had my KH 80 DSPs for a few months now and while the sound is fantastic, random sleep/wake occurrences are driving me nuts.

Initially it seemed like the signal measurement system used to go into and out of standby was completely random, and Sennheiser actually had me ship my units (which had been in stock at Sweetwater here in the U.S.) to their Connecticut service center so they could install some kind of mod (not sure exactly what it was supposed to do, but apparently issues with the U.S. mains service are known to create problems). According to the support tech, these mods are identical to ones installed (only now, I assume) at the factory, which of course raises the question of why they haven't done a recall for un-modified units.

Anyway, following the installation of the mods, the system has become much more reliable and less random, and as long as you don't set the standby voltage/SPL threshold too low in Neumann.Connect (which, as an aside, really ought not give you the option to do so, since low enough settings make it impossible for any circuit to separate signal from line noise). Spending HOURS running experiments and collecting data at different thresholds (with short standby times) I can safely say that it indeed seems both units function properly in this respect. The occasional false positive (a speaker waking while no signal is present), while also mildly annoying, isn't a big deal and may be due to remaining line noise (my cables are in a dense space).

However, I am still randomly experiencing a situation whereby one speaker or the other (but mostly my right one) will all of a sudden go into standby while a strong signal is (and has been for some time) present. At that point, the unit will (correctly) wake up again a few seconds later, but it's super annoying and I have no idea what's causing it. The protection circuit hasn't engaged, since the logo hasn't turned red before powering off/going to sleep.

All that's left for me to do now is to swap out XLR and power cables, swap the connections on my interface, and see if the problem still exists when I set the units to local (not networked) config and see if there's any difference. Turning off standby altogether does fix this issue (the speakers stay on 24/7), but that's not enough information to fully diagnose this. I will continue to collect data and email the Sennheiser support team, but if any of you have any relevant experiences, insights, or things you've heard from Sennheiser, I'd greatly appreciate hearing about them.
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