You are here

Neumann KH120 II

Active Monitors By Phil Ward
Published June 2023

Neumann continue to set new standards in compact nearfield monitoring.

Neumann KH120 IIIf you read my review in the January 2023 issue of the Neumann KH150 you’ll know that I was more than just a little impressed. To my ears, the KH150 significantly raises the standard of what’s possible from a reasonably compact and relatively affordable active nearfield monitor. And now, in what seems almost indecent haste, Neumann have taken the engineering philosophies and electronic innards of the KH150 and integrated them in an updated version of their smaller KH120 model. So, here’s the KH120 II. You may wish to refer to the longer and more comprehensive KH150 review for a little more background.

The original KH120, launched in 2010, is Neumann’s longest‑established monitor and was the first new model to be introduced following parent company Sennheiser absorbing the venerable Klein + Hummel speaker company in 2005. The KH120 was, in fact, closely related to the Klein + Hummel 0110 model that was reviewed in these pages back in 2007. Of course the Kdesignation of all Neumann’s monitor model numbers is a respectful nod to Klein + Hummel — founded, would you believe, way back in 1945.

Spot The Difference

Although slightly larger than the original KH120, the KH120 II is significantly more compact than the KH150. And rather than incorporating a 165mm (6.5‑inch) bass/mid driver, it makes do with a smaller 130mm (5‑inch) unit. The 25mm‑dome tweeter fitted to both models is the same, but the elliptical waveguide of the KH120 II is necessarily slightly smaller than that of the KH150. A significant difference between the KH120 II and its predecessor is that, where the enclosure of the original model was a fully die‑cast aluminium component, the new model is constructed using the same technique as the KH150, with a wooden carcass and composite polycarbonate front and rear mouldings. That might seem like a downgrade, but Neumann say that the new model’s enclosure construction technique actually results in improved resonance performance (very rigid, die‑cast aluminium enclosures can be prone to resonant ringing, much like bells are), while also offering dramatically better energy efficiency in manufacture. Around the back of the enclosure are a couple of M6 threaded inserts that enable the monitors to be installed using one of Neumann’s wide range of mounting accessories.

In terms of aesthetic style, the KH120 II follows the established Neumann monitor design language very closely, and without size reference in photos it’s not easy to tell it apart from the KH150. The Neumann style isn’t going to win any beauty prizes (to my jaded eyes anyway) but it looks suitably serious and professional, and is finished to a high standard. And speaking of finish, the review pair of monitors were dressed in Neumann’s corporate, charcoal‑coloured textured paint, but there’s a white option available that looks classier to me. That’s probably what I’d go for if I was buying my own pair.

And while I’m on the subject of options, the KH120 II is available in both a standard version that offers just conventional analogue and digital audio inputs, and a network‑enabled version that also makes possible connection to AES67‑compliant Audio over IP (AoIP) systems such as Dante and Ravenna.


You are reading one of the locked Subscribers-only articles from our latest 5 issues.

You've read 30% of this article for free, so to continue reading...

  • ✅ Log in - if you have a Subscription you bought from SOS.
  • Buy & Download this Single Article in PDF format £1.00 GBP$1.49 USD
    For less than the price of a coffee, buy now and immediately download to your computer or smartphone.
  • Buy & Download the FULL ISSUE PDF
    Our 'full SOS magazine' for smartphone/tablet/computer. More info...
  • Buy a DIGITAL subscription (or Print + Digital)
    Instantly unlock ALL premium web articles! Visit our ShopStore.

Claim your FREE 170-page digital publication
from the makers of Sound On SoundCLICK HERE