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Neumann MA 1 with KH80 - Are My PMCs Redundant?

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Neumann MA 1 with KH80 - Are My PMCs Redundant?

Postby Bob Bickerton » Wed Mar 03, 2021 12:03 am

So first some background: I've had PMC monitors in my somewhat small and unusually shaped control room for some years, starting with TB2SAs with the Flying Mole amps and then Result6s following an amp failure on the TB2SAs. I had my control room assessed (with the TB2SAs) by Marshall Day acousticians and then treated and whilst it's not perfect, things improved greatly.

Kwackman of this parish, kindly gave me a replacement Flying Mole amp and so I put the TB2s back into service as monitors to be used for location recording.

But I have a couple of projects lined up where I need something more compact as I'll be on tour and working in 'unknown' acoustics/rooms, and may have to fly on occasion, so I've just purchased set of Neumann KH80s.

They are pretty amazing - I prefer the stereo imaging to the Result6s and whilst I'm used to the 'PMC' sound I'm thinking the Neumanns give little away.

What's interesting is that the Result6s and the KH80s sound so different, and of course, faced with that, I'm now asking myself which is more accurate, which will deliver better mixes.

Crude analysis and my ears are telling me that the PMCs are somewhat lacking in the low mids relative to the KH80s, or maybe the KH80s have a bloom around there, but the opposite is true about mids.

Add to my (internal but now externalised machinations) is the option to use the Neumann MA-1 with Neumann's Automatic Monitor Alignment software. I'm tempted to give that a try, because with some balancing, I may not need the PMCs at all!

So, I'm throwing this out for comment as I know a number of readers have the KH80s, but I'm also interested to know if anyone has tried the MA-1. There's certainly positive comments in that other forum.

And I'm curious to know if SOS will be planning a review of the MA 1 system as that would be complimentary to the monitor reviews.

Bob
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Re: Neumann MA 1 with KH80 - Are My PMCs Redundant?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Wed Mar 03, 2021 12:37 am

I think that midrange difference you've identified is mostly down to the phase linearity of the KH80 through the crossover region, thanks to its DSP processing, compared to the Result6's more traditional analogue filters and associated phase shifting. We perceive it as a more forward sound, but it's not really more forward in the amplitude sense.

The improved imaging is partly tied into the same phase linearity benefits, but also the narrower baffles help a lot.

I think you'll quickly get used to the KH80s and appreciate their benefits... and then wonder at how we coped with simple analogue speakers for so long! Personally, I'd be very happy to work with the KH80s alone.... Although the auto-power facilities seem unreliable judging by the feedback we've seen in the forums!

I'm afraid at don't know the situation regarding a review of the MA-1. I was hoping to get my hands on the new sub and MA-1 combo to try with my KH310s... That said, I have been generally underwhelmed with Neumann's painfully slow and restrictive software development for the KH80s. I hope that situation improves in the future, but even without it, the KH80s are genuinely impressive monitor speakers.
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Re: Neumann MA 1 with KH80 - Are My PMCs Redundant?

Postby Music Wolf » Wed Mar 03, 2021 8:09 am

I took delivery of my KH80s five days ago, and I'm equally impressed.

I did the basic setup using the iPad app (which just takes some basic information regarding room dimensions / monitor position) and I too had been wondering about the MA1, but first I need to sort out a nasty dip at 125Hz with some more physical treatment (the problem being that room height and width are almost identical).

I've not looked into the detail but, at first glance, the correction software is free but you are buying an individually calibrated mic. It did cross my mind that this could mean that a group of individuals could share the cost and pass the mic between them? (probably wouldn't help Bob living where he does).
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Re: Neumann MA 1 with KH80 - Are My PMCs Redundant?

Postby blinddrew » Wed Mar 03, 2021 11:56 am

Music Wolf wrote:I've not looked into the detail but, at first glance, the correction software is free but you are buying an individually calibrated mic. It did cross my mind that this could mean that a group of individuals could share the cost and pass the mic between them? (probably wouldn't help Bob living where he does).
Or, having bought an MA, it could be hired out for a reasonable fee... ;)

I'm a KH80 user, but not used any of the supporting software and have now disabled the auto-standby function as that was getting increasingly problematic.
Never heard the PMCs though so can't really comment on that front, but definitely one of the advantages of the Neumann's is that next time I do some band recording (2022 at this rate) I'll be able to pop them back in the boxes and take them with me. :thumbup:
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Re: Neumann MA 1 with KH80 - Are My PMCs Redundant?

Postby Bob Bickerton » Thu Mar 04, 2021 11:00 am

Thanks for the replies everyone.

I think I'll give the MA-1 a miss for now and may give them a tweak with the iPad app once I get the mounting sorted (I've ordered some Isoacoustic stands to get them at the right height).

They look ridiculously small, but then size isn't everything!

Bob
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