Since I've been using Neumann KH 120 monitors in my studio, my mixes translate perfectly from source to source. They create an unbelievable listening and mixing experience, and compete and beat out monitors three times the price. Paired with a good subwoofer and a great D/A converter, they will provide mastering-grade sound.
The KH 120's are now my ONLY reference monitors! I trust them implicitly. A wide-open sweet spot with an amazingly airly and open top end that extends for days. The mids are right there, not hyped or scooped - just acurate. The bottom is tight and punchy. They are unbeatable monitors that should be more expensive!
Outstanding Nearfield Monitor
I picked up one of these as a center speaker for doing some 5:1 mixing, and am currently using Dynaudio BM5a's for my mains. I did measurements and critical listening, and this little speaker is superior. The bass extends below 50 Hz, and it does so smoothly and tightly. The imaging and detail is stunning. I wouldn't hesitate to consider these for main near-fields in the <$1000 range.
They are shallow (front to back) and are front-ported, so they lend themselves to placing right up to your front wall ("pseudo soffit"). If you get a pair, I highly recommend trying this (on good stands), along with setting the bass adjust switch at -2.5 dB. This gave me the smoothest response measurements in my treated room.
You could even get by without a supplemental subwoofer when using these, unless you are doing hip-hop or EDM stuff — the bass is that punchy in these little guys!
Other positives: Incredible sound for their size. Aluminum cabinet built like a Hummer. Excellent manual and online information. Will hold value over time. Based on proven Klein & Himmel speaker technology (these are the improved descendants of the 10-year old K&H O110's).
Amazing for the money.
We tore the demo room up at Sweetwater. We tried everything in this units price range, and nothing else came close. Excellent non-colored separation. I have had to redo a lot of my mixes once I played them through my KH 120. Before you buy, compare these against monitors twice their price, and you will go home with these!
You won't be disappointed.
As another reviewer put it...this was one of my best purchases ever. I have tried everything to get a golden mix from KRKs to cubes to cheap family dollar speakers. None of which ever gave me the "all around" mix my ears thought they heard. That was until I purchased these lil puppies. The Neumann monitors hold their own and can handle pretty much whatever volume you throw at them - not that you would need to push them like that. You can trust what you are hearing - and this is coming from someone who has struggled with mixing since FOREVER! Buy them!!!!
Very suprised these monitors don't get more praise. They are super clear, can hear every detail, and built very very well. I would recommend them to anyone.
Major Upgrade From Yamaha HS8
So i had the hs8 for about two years now and love the sound of it. however, after doing comparisons of my mixes to a couple professional mixes I realized these things have a mid range scoop that i would miss hearing. When I listen to the hs7, it was a lot more balanced than the 8' model and the hs5 is fantastic for vocal mixing.
However, I didn't want to stay with the yammies, I wanted a different brand where the upgrade would be a serious deal. Well after reading blogs and going to guitar center to make comparisons, I heard the KH120s and boy was it amazing to hear! The frequency response was flat, balanced, very loud volume if you wanted it to be (i know other 5inch monitors you can't really push the volume to much), and the bass is very prominent!
After listening for a few hours, the 3d feel of it is awesome compared to the yamaha, sound quality is rich, flat and will let you know if your mix is crappy. I highly recommend getting a sub with these because although you'll HEAR the low freqs down to about 52 hz i believe, you want to also FEEL and get those lower freqs. Besides it's never good to rely on high, mids, lows on a two way monitor for accuracy IMHO. I got the KRK10s with these bad boys and man my mixes translate everywhere! If you want to upgrade from a yamaha or the overhyped JBLLSR series, this is the one!
When you open up the box, you will be shocked how small and compact these monitors are. You will be shocked for a second time when you hear how massive they sound as well. Unbelievable. Everyone that hears these asks me where my sub is. Such detail and depth, I have never heard anything like these monitors.
With sweetwater, I first ordered Focal CMS40 monitors mounted on isoacoustic stands which in my room and set-up were very crispy and clear but I felt the need to feel more bass rather than just hear it. I was seeking high quality monitors that would fit on my desk, a brand with an impeccable reputation, are used professionally, and had reviews. After a lot of research on my own and discussions with the always available and experienced recording engineer Evan Mulvihil, I returned them without any problem and ordered the Neumann KH120 pair with the special order Neumann LH65 desk stands and WOW!!! this was a revelation in how to hear a mix. I now feel my mix even at low volumes. The frequency spectrum is so balanced and when I close my eyes I know the position of every instrument. I have never heard recordings sound so clear and detailed ever. I am a guitarist and love acoustic guitar. When I hear guitar on these monitors I am in heaven. The sound is rich and precise. The monitors themselves are heavy. If you like your studio to look sharp you must get them with their custom stands (LH65) which are made by Neumann because the combination is killer. You get what you pay for and I am so happy with my purchase. Make sure the monitors you order sound good in the room you are mixing in. If you listen to monitors in a store you may get an idea but the acoustics are going to affect what you hear. These are near-field monitors so when you are up close to them the room acoustics will be less involved, but when you step back from your desk or sit on the sofa or walk around in your room the sound will be distinct. Maybe in another room the focals would have sounded better but I made the right choice for my room with these monitors. Thank you Evan and sweetwater for outstanding customer service and no pressure help. I will continue to upgrade my studio with you guys.
KH 120s, the most Ive ever paid for monitors
I don't think I will ever TOTALLY understand why Neumann can charge so much money for some monitors in the 5'' realm but the fog and lack of true focus is removed with professional precision. I believe it is the truest anything has sounded in my little home studio ever.
Now I am just hoping they last as long as they are worth!
the most accurate monitors for the price!
I purchased a pair of these monitors and have been very impressed with the accuracy!
everything I mix on them sounds exactly the same on other systems, especially the bass in particular, if the bass is wrong on these it will show.
What surprised me the most is how low they go and how much more detail I can hear and also depth, I would describe them as 3D compared to the KRK speakers I used to own.
Yes they are expensive but it's genuinley one of the best things I've ever purchased!
I've had the kh120s for nearly 2 months now, and I'm quite pleased with them. Very clear detail across the spectrum, and great stereo imaging. The bass is tight and focused. For a medium sized room they are perfect. I compared them in a professional listening room to Genelec 8030s, Focal cms 65, Dynaudio Bm5mkII, and they held up extremely well against all of these, and well, were my final choice obviously! :) The others are great speakers too, but I found these to be the highest quality across the board to my ears. I would say the Focal's were a bit LOUDER for bass, if you push these kh120s super hard they can't go as loud as the focals, but to me they were just slightly clearer sounding. A sub paired with them would be nice for sure, but I wouldn't say it stopped me at all from committing to them. I do a good amount of sound design professionally, and electronic based music as a hobby. I'm quite happy, as i'm sure you will be too if you choose them. Cheers!
I simply love these. I upgraded from Yamaha HS80s. Everything is flat and clear. Just what you need to do a proper mixdown.
neumann KH 120 are Great Studio Monitors!!
I have recently been on the hunt for a good studio monitor and have been reading reviews after reviews and forum gossip on studio monitors for a long time now. So I eventually went out and started listening to as many monitors as possible that I could find here in Australia. The list is so long but I fell in love with only a few and some of them were rear ported, but had to cross them off the list as my room is not the biggest and my monitors will be very close to the wall.
I have been fortunate enough to audition both the Neumann KH120 and Focal CMS65 monitors in my studio and it was interesting... The test has just been completed right now at this moment. I played vinyl on them and cd's, various types of music but mainly dance music from the 80's-2012. No MP3 files were played.
My own studio space has a clear winner....
The Neumann KH120 are to me in my room the best sounding by a fair bit!
Everything about them when played at any volume was just so precise and accurate. The low end was surprising as it had a good clean detailed sound to it and the kick drums in a track were super tight and detailed. They are not the loudest studio monitor out there but that does not matter because you aint playing the monitors at crazy volumes while producing or mastering.
The Focal CMS65's were very good and I really wanted to like the low end that the 6.5" woofer has to offer but it never wowed me at all and the top end stereo imaging on the Focal was not as impressive as the KH120's.
I am by far no expert when it comes to sound like others on certain forums and know the difference between coloured hifi sound and detailed uncoloured sound, basically I do know what sounds good and what sounds bad and have had some good experience working in a high end home theatre shop for over 4 years.
I also wanted to say don't be alarmed that the KH120's have only got a 5" woofer as I was, because I actually preferred the bass that came out of them compared to the bigger 6.5" woofer of the Focal. Even while playing some Deep House tracks with big bass lines!
To me at the end of the day all I can say is if you have the opportunity to audition studio monitors in your own studio, just do it because the Focals low end in the shop did sound deeper and richer but when I listened to them today in my studio they were bland and boring.
I hope the above helps all those on the search, good luck!!
Separation and Honesty
I've been on a little bit of a Monitor search. I've had Adam A7X, which had a nice image and decent separation, I've had Yamaha NS10m's, Genelec 8040 and 8050's, which sound great with bassy electronic music, but can be difficult to translate and learn, and then these. These are superb for the price, their detail, and their separation. Mix easier and feel confident about decisions being made.
They work very well in a project/bedroom studio. They have a large sweet spot, that allows you to find it quick and get involved. For the price they're unbelievable.
Unforgiving of a bad mix
When I first set these speakers up, my first reaction was, "Ugh! I paid $1400 for THIS??" They had muddy low-mids, very congested midrange, but pretty decent treble. The vocals in the song sounded shrill, and the singer sounded out of breath. In short, they sounded worse than some cheap Radio Shack speakers. Then it occurred to me that maybe Kelly Clarkson wasn't proper material to evaluate these speakers with.
I queued up a recording of a jazz trio that I knew to be a full, sparse mix. The music leapt from the speakers; the bass was full, cymbals shone through, and the sound stage was immense. Still, the lower-mids were muddy. I fiddled with the EQ switches on the back and cleaned that up somewhat.
I then pulled up one of my own sessions; a very sparse, just-for-giggles song that had one acoustic guitar, drums, a lead female vocal, and backing female vocals. The singer's dynamics were very broad, such that I used both automated fader moves AND compression to make them more consistent. Still, listening on these Neumann speakers, I kept finding myself turning the monitors down at one portion of the song. So I swept and EQ notch around and found a problem frequency. I beefed up the kick a bit, and did some other final tweaks. I listened back on a more full-range source with which I'm intimately familar: my Sony 7506 headphones. The mix sounded HUGE! Big, full sound on the kick, nothing annoying in the drums, vocal sitting right where it should and no more shrillness!
These speakers reveal every little mistake you made in your mix. If these speakers aren't sounding good to you, it's the source material. Note: These never sound like a high-end hifi speaker. They're not supposed to. They are supposed to be completely neutral and revealing, and they do that job very well.
An excellent choice!
Took a chance on buying these monitors without hearing them first. My sales engineer knew my listening taste and it proved to be a good move. Needed something quickly to replace my old Event 20/20's. They are very different from the Events, but in a good way. Everything about them I love.The mid-range is stunning. Very detailed. Low end is excellent. Much more than you would think from a 5.25" driver. They are a little darker than most monitors, but once you get used to them they are nice. The selectable eq switches on the back cover every listening setup. To summarize, great mixes sound amazing on these monitors. Anything less than do not sound good. Which is really what you want from a studio monitor
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