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HEDD 20 Mk2 - Are they worth the money ?

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HEDD 20 Mk2 - Are they worth the money ?

Postby Marbury » Thu May 13, 2021 2:28 pm

As some of you will know I have been in line for new monitors to replace my dinosaur Spirit Absolute 2's for a few years. I tend to take an age before making a buying decision (and sometimes the wrong one once made) but the HEDD 20's (currently unavailable) seem an outstanding pair BUT the price is massive. I can afford them (probably won't be going on the tax return as I have already bought quite a bit of gear) but are they worth the money ? I was set to buy a pair of Neuman KH80s (small room) but I am very tempted by the HEDD's, especially as they are analogue.

Anyone here own a pair ?
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Re: HEDD 20 Mk2 - Are they worth the money ?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu May 13, 2021 2:39 pm

My recommendation; save yourself £100 and get the Neumann KH310s.

Similar idea and size, but with the benefits of a sealed cabinet. All analogue. Stunningly good speaker at a bargain price!

If you feel the 'linearising' is important, then any of the Room Correction plugin systems can help with that... or look at any of the DSP-based speakers currently on the market.
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Re: HEDD 20 Mk2 - Are they worth the money ?

Postby Marbury » Thu May 13, 2021 2:41 pm

Thanks Hugh, I will check them out. I have since read somewhere that Amphions are excellent too.
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Re: HEDD 20 Mk2 - Are they worth the money ?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu May 13, 2021 2:50 pm

There are lots of great speakers around... much depends on budget, space, room acoustics and practicalities... not necessarily in that order!

If you're looking at a roughly £3k5 budget, then you have the choice of Adam S3s, Amphion One18s (with amp), ATC SCM12s (with amp), Barefoot Footprint 01s, Dynaudio Core 47s, Geithan MO2s, Hedd 20s, and Neumann KH310s.

They are all very capable monitor speakers... but of all those, I'd personally stick with my earlier suggestion. ;-)
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Re: HEDD 20 Mk2 - Are they worth the money ?

Postby Zukan » Thu May 13, 2021 2:50 pm

Amphions are excellent, as are the 310s. Any chance you can audition them side by side?
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Re: HEDD 20 Mk2 - Are they worth the money ?

Postby Marbury » Thu May 13, 2021 3:00 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:There are lots of great speakers around... much depends on budget, space, room acoustics and practicalities... not necessarily in that order!

If you're looking at a roughly £3k5 budget, then you have the choice of Adam S3s, Amphion One18s (with amp), ATC SCM12s (with amp), Barefoot Footprint 01s, Dynaudio Core 47s, Geithan MO2s, Hedd 20s, and Neumann KH310s.

They are all very capable monitor speakers... but of all those, I'd personally stick with my earlier suggestion. ;-)

As you know I have had the Neuman KH80s in my sights for some time. In your opinion Hugh, is it worth the extra outlay for the KH310s for difference in quality, as well as future proofing my monitoring ? If so, then I may go for these, even though they don't quite look as aesthetically pleasing as the HEDDs
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Re: HEDD 20 Mk2 - Are they worth the money ?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu May 13, 2021 3:33 pm

Marbury wrote:As you know I have had the Neuman KH80s in my sights for some time.

The KH80s are exceptionally good little speakers -- with the emphasis on little! And with the KH750 sub they make a very formidable 'full-range' monitoring system.

From a purely personal viewpoint, I'm not impressed with the iPad-only setup options, and there are a disturbing number of reports about inconsistencies in the auto-standby facility -- although that can be disabled, of course. Hopefully, future DSP-based Neumann monitors will address these failings, but I'm not holding my breath.

In your opinion Hugh, is it worth the extra outlay for the KH310s for difference in quality, as well as future proofing my monitoring ? If so, then I may go for these, even though they don't quite look as aesthetically pleasing as the HEDDs

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder! ;) Personally, I much prefer the look of the 310s!

Are the 310s worth the extra outlay over the 80s? I'd say yes, but we are talking about quite different styles of sound presentation between them.

Linear-phase speakers have a very different sound signature to traditional designs, and it is undoubtedly more accurate and realistic -- especially through the critical midrange. Once you're used to a linear-phase design (or good linear-phase room correction) then old-school analogue speakers probably won't make the grade any more.

If Neumann brought out a DSP linear-phase version of the KH310 (and they must be working that way) then I might be tempted... but the current KH310s are phenomenally good at what they do.

I like the deep LF extension of the 310s too. There might not be trouser flapping levels of power in the very lowest octave, but they do let me know if there's something going on down there and that's important to me and what I use them for. I know of no ported speakers of similar size that can tell me that, although they might flap my bell-bottoms better on kick drums! :lol:

I just appreciate what the KH310s can tell me about the music. I've auditioned and tested some speakers costing well over twice as much that really aren't as capable or revealing.

The 310s also have a very honest and neutral sound -- there's no hype involved at all, to the point where some might initially think they sound bland. They're not -- the depth and detail is phenomenal -- but they're not in your face with false bravado like some brands I could name!

And the mechanical layout of the drivers means they can be used in the very nearfield (which suits my application) without issues. Think of them as a KH-80-sized two way with a subwoofer bolted on the side... But with better bass extension and a freedom from port resonances and bass smearing. Lots of manufacturers employ the same driver layout for the same reason.

To be fair, I've not had much time listening to the Hedd20. I know Paul Ward rates it, though, and I trust his opinions (most of the time)... but I'm not wholly convinced about the folded midrange ribbon, and I found the designer's earlier ADAM speakers were inconsistent in their sound balance and character, which doesn't fill me with confidence.

But as I intimated earlier, by the time you're spending £3k on monitors none of them are duds and it comes down to personal preferences and how well (or otherwise) they work in your own room (largely due to the speaker's polar radiation and room treatment interactions).
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Re: HEDD 20 Mk2 - Are they worth the money ?

Postby Marbury » Thu May 13, 2021 4:34 pm

Thanks Hugh for a very comprehensive answer to my question. I have heard that the initial first response to hearing the 310s is disappointingly bland and flat, but their sound apparently grows on the ears. To be honest, anything will sound better than my Absolute 2s. I am monitoring critically with my trusty, and acurate Shure SRH 840 headphones but it would be nice to hear it in the room. I am also getting very into experimental sound design of late so another reason to upgrade.
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Re: HEDD 20 Mk2 - Are they worth the money ?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu May 13, 2021 4:38 pm

Marbury wrote:To be honest, anything will sound better than my Absolute 2s.

That much is undoubtedly true!

I have heard that the initial first response to hearing the 310s is disappointingly bland and flat, but their sound apparently grows on the ears.

:lol: Yes... but that says much more about the listeners' experience and expectations than it does about the KH310s.

It's not so much the sound 'growing on the ears' so much as the listener learning to appreciate what good sound is really all about!
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Re: HEDD 20 Mk2 - Are they worth the money ?

Postby Trevor Johnson » Thu May 13, 2021 7:45 pm

I have had two sets of Blue Sky, subs and satellites, in an acoustically treated room, both of which failed due to PSU failures, but a decade or so ago (and I am sure later products are fine).

From that experience, the idea of the KH80 plus sub is quite enticing, but may not quite work out in real life. Subs take up a lot of space and there are a lot of interconnects. And the issues with the KH80 simply turn me off.......

https://www.soundonsound.com/techniques/studio-sos-making-small-room-sound-good

If they are Hugh's monitors, they must be good..............

The ATC SCM12 Pro would be my choice, but only because I have listened to them and they reflect what I like speakers to sound like, which goes back to the Beeb LS35/Spendor BC1 era, and, of course, I would choose my own power amp... (not the P1 pro).
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Re: HEDD 20 Mk2 - Are they worth the money ?

Postby James Perrett » Thu May 13, 2021 9:57 pm

Trevor Johnson wrote:The ATC SCM12 Pro would be my choice, but only because I have listened to them and they reflect what I like speakers to sound like, which goes back to the Beeb LS35/Spendor BC1 era, and, of course, I would choose my own power amp... (not the P1 pro).

I've not heard the KH310 but I have compared the KH120 alongside the LS3/5a and I would say they represent a progression from the BBC sound. They are a very similar size but the KH120 sounds bigger but still well balanced.
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Re: HEDD 20 Mk2 - Are they worth the money ?

Postby Marbury » Fri May 14, 2021 12:11 pm

Perhaps because a lot of my monitoring is up close and usually evening, perhaps a good, accurate nearfield (not 3 way) with a good bass extension may be the way to go. It would also mean me not having to treat the room which would be an added pain.
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Re: HEDD 20 Mk2 - Are they worth the money ?

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Fri May 14, 2021 12:41 pm

If you're in a non-treated room there really is no point at all in blowing £3k on speakers. You will never get to appreciate what the speaker is capable of and what you're paying for.

I've just reviewed the updated Focal Alpha Evo65s. Compact active two-ways. Bass extension down to an impressive 40Hz, but still tight and well-controlled without smearing. Great imaging, and a neutral, transparent sound, and all for the bargain price of under £600 a pair.

I was genuinely impressed with what they can do, and especially so for the money. They'd be a huge step up from your Absolute poos, but they won't break the bank and you're not throwing pots of money into something that you won't be able to benefit from by not having a good acoustic space.
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Re: HEDD 20 Mk2 - Are they worth the money ?

Postby RichardT » Fri May 14, 2021 1:02 pm

Marbury wrote:Perhaps because a lot of my monitoring is up close and usually evening, perhaps a good, accurate nearfield (not 3 way) with a good bass extension may be the way to go. It would also mean me not having to treat the room which would be an added pain.

You would still benefit massively from room treatment, even with nearfields and low volumes. In fact, if you need to monitor at low volumes, the extra clarity and impact makes it a much more workable experience. If you have 3k to spend I would spend about 2k on monitors and the rest on room treatment (less if you make the treatment yourself).

Or you could get 3k monitors and add the room treatment over time.

It really does give you the best bang for the buck of anything you can do in your studio!
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Re: HEDD 20 Mk2 - Are they worth the money ?

Postby Luke W » Fri May 14, 2021 2:43 pm

Marbury wrote:I have heard that the initial first response to hearing the 310s is disappointingly bland and flat, but their sound apparently grows on the ears.

It's already been said in one way or another, but one person's bland and flat is another person's accurate and revealing ;)

I still don't regret a penny of my 310s, they're incredible bits of kit and once something sounds good on them, it really does translate well to anywhere else I've tried so far. Bad mixes stand out a mile as well, which is exactly what you need from a monitoring system.

Marbury wrote:It would also mean me not having to treat the room which would be an added pain.

As others have said, even just the basics are worth doing regardless of what speakers you go for. When I put my current space together I was mainly working on headphones with no real plan to invest in decent monitors as the space is pretty small. I had an old pair of passive Tannoy Reveals that I put on some nice heavy stands and when I had some time spare I decided to build some treatment. The difference was amazing, even with my battered old Tannoys it was like night and day. I've since upgraded to the Neumanns, and as impressive as they are, I still think the difference the treatment itself made with much lesser monitors was just as significant.

The room treatment advice gets given over and over again on here, but it really is for good reason. :thumbup:
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