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RonGherkins 14th December 2011 01:53 PM

Neumann KH120A
Over the past year and a half, I've had the opportunity to audition and use an extensive array of monitors in different studios and on different projects in the sub 2k category. There were not limited to, but including some of the most popular models such as the Yamaha ns10s/hs50/hs80s, the KRK rp5/rp6-g2s, dynaudio bm5a/bm6a mk ii, adam a7x, and the focal cms 65.

More recently, I took to auditioning several pairs of speakers I had short listed in the $1300-1700 range including the focal cms65, the adam a7x, the dynaudio bm6a mk ii, and the Neumann KH120a.

The Neumanns are a new model based upon the classic K+H 0110 monitor which, although extremely well received, I have not had the opportunity to hear. The monitors have a clean look, feel well put together and extremely solid with the exception of possibly the input gain knob (a little flimsy, I'll have to be careful).

Previously to the Neumann's I had been using a combo of the dynaudio bm5a mkii and the krk rp5-g2, neither of which was very accurate in the low end, but together I made do when I was at my project studio. Since monitors are a personal decision, I wanted to be as sure as possible with my decision. I trek'd to a few studios to hear the monitors I had short listed, and had actually ended up purchasing a pair of Focal cms-65 after another day of listening at a few dealers. At this point, there was no where to demo the KH120a's as they were a relatively new monitor. Both pairs of focal cms 65's I received ended up having issues, and while waiting for another(!) replacement, I was back on my research tip.

As soon as I heard the Neumann's at the dealer I knew I had to take them home and try them out in my room. I kept them over a week and after much hemming and hawing decided to go with the KH120A's over the CMS-65. The Neumann's are crisp, and well defined across the entire stereo spectrum. They never sound dull, but also never overly hyped. I am shocked how accurately they reproduce the low end in ways the bm5a mkii and rp5-g2 cannot. My mixes translate extremely well, without the need for as much switching between different reference sources.

Feature wise, the Neumann's offerings are pretty standard in most areas. 4-position bass, low-mid and treble acoustical controls, ground lift, and universal switched mode power. The option to dim or turn off the LED light is welcomed and appreciated, as well as a nice touch. As is the red light if you're overloading them. I feel compelled to mention once again here just how detailed the KH120s are across the entire audible spectrum. They have a very nice stereo image as well.

I'm extremely pleased with the KH120A. These monitors, along with the cms-65, are the best in their price range, and even hold their own against certain more expensive offerings (looking at you genelec). They are easily obtainable for 1500, so make sure to not pay more than that as some places have them listed a lot higher. Work with a reputable dealer you trust to try a pair out!

Well priced
Amazing detail and low end reproduction for their size
Very flat response

Finish isn't as nice extremely close up (painted aluminium+anthracite)

Ward Pike 2nd March 2012 02:38 AM

Neumann KH120s after 2 months
I added these recently to complement my Mainfield Tannoys (which I use for tracking) and KRKs. The KRKs are disconnected now.

The KRKs flatter a mix but the KH120s are ugly like Yammies but without the ear fatigue.

My mixes have NEVER sounded better. Are they worth $1500? Not to listen to, but your mixes will be worth it. I compared a lot of monitors before I made this decision. These are going to stick with me for a long time. They are a great investment. Solidly built and with great features such as clip indicators built into the neumann badges.

Self powered with very little inter-modular distortion. I highly recommend them.

superjimmer 4th March 2012 06:12 AM

Best Monitors for my room yet
I record and mix records every day. Recent monitors I've owned for extended spells include Genelec 1031, Focal Twins, Barefoot MM27 and PMC AML1 monitors. I have a medium sized control room that has a 100hz null and that in general is very tricky. These Neumann KH far outperform the other speakers mentioned and at a fraction of the price. I do have a Klein & Hummel subwoofer but the mixes translate with or without the sub engaged. Genelecs sounded pinched, Focal Twins had a dark colored bronze sheen/overtone and tricky tweeter positioning, Barefoot were stunning but mixes didn't translate, felt like looking at my face too close to a super mirror, couldn't get volume or perspective right. Amazing beasts though. PMC AML1 were best of the bunch but a little hyped in the high frequency and my pair was old so they would overheat every 5 hours! The Neumann KH120a are just perfect for my tricky room, sound natural and what the clients hear in my studio for the first time is basically what they get at home or in the car. For me I don't get ear fatigue, I don't think about the monitors ever, I just hear the music and can do my job better.

charlesvk 17th March 2012 03:21 PM

Neumann KH120a
While I write this, I´m listening to "The Dark Side of the Moon" by Pink Floyd on SACD. Whether you appreciate this music or not, I can recommand listening to it, even if it were just to gain more insight in the quality of your monitors.

This album is superbly mixed and when played on the Neumann KH120A´s some exceptional things come together. I have not heard something so beautiful before.

Listening to "On the run" brings out the quality of the stereo imaging of these monitors. You´re right there. The hihats are haunting. The synths are tight, go deep and those saws are really edgy. Hypnotising...

You should hear the guitar solo in "Money". It runs right through you without getting harsh for one moment. Wow! The mids on these monitors are great. Very transparant. If your vocals aren´t well mixed, you´ll know...

To be frank: I wasn´t prepared to hear how badly mixed/mastered a number of well known albums are. Be prepared, the stakes are set higher!

And if I look at how they´re built; these monitors will last for a long, long time. They are made of cast aluminium. And even with a mere 5.25" woofer I must say I´m impressed by the bass respons. I have not yet heard any distortion at louder listening levels either.

I can say only one thing: if you´re looking for honest monitors, for this price they are incredible. If you´re on a budget; I really recommend waiting a while and keep saving your money. You won´t regret it.

All in all a worthwhile investment, I reckon.

chrisdee 16th September 2012 12:35 PM

Just bought these speakers after I had a chance to A/B them against A7x, A3x, Genelec 8030a, 8040a and 8240a. I also got to borrow them to test them in my home studio. Of all the speakers mentioned above KH 120 translates the best.

They are also the most detailed when it comes to mixing and especially when EQ'ing. I can hear issues and detailes in my mixes that I can't with my Genelec 8040a.

The Genelecs are brighter, has more depth (to much to accuratly mix imo) and sounds a bit hifi. Thats fine for listening
but not for hours of mixing and for translation. KH 120 is superior in this reguard.


Fugi 27th April 2013 08:10 AM

Another happy Neuman KH120 user
Hey Gearheads,

I've been using this website as a source for research and alot of information in my field, I finally decided that it was a little weird to not to have a profile on a forum that I have spent so much time browsing through. And would you know it, my first post is a review!

Around 4 weeks ago (as a semi-professional audio album project was heading my way for mixing and mastering) I realised that my KRK 6's were simply not making my life easy, I loved those damn things, I loved the flattering tone and I loved them as a starting monitor set for when I first stepped into the world of audio engineering. Fast forward 2 years, and I was seriously questioning why my mixes weren't translating well? That big bass I heard on my KRK's? what happened to them? The middle? an absolute mess, how did this happen? the high's, unbearable. All of this struck me whenever I would bounce a track that I had mixed, and listened back to it on headphones, hi-fi system or even just a laptop speaker.
After seeing the rave reviews on this site, I decided to pull the trigger on a pair of KH120's, (I was very close to getting a set of Acoustic Energy AE22s, but due to me travelling around from different setups, I realised that they would be too heavy for the job).

The first thing that struck me when I took the monitors out of the box was the build of them, typically German (in a very good way), built solidly, fine engineering, with a paint finish that I didn't love but was willing to look past. I was also very happy with the manual that came with the monitors, Neumann have very much aimed these monitors at engineers, giving you settings to use on the room correction EQ found at the back of each monitor depending on your placement of them. For instance

Against a wall- Solid- Bass=-5db
Soft- Bass=-2.5db

Near a desktop- Small (desktop)- Low-mid=-1.5db
Large- Low-Mid=-3db

My studio is quite small, but well treated with lots of acoustic tiles and bass traps, so I happily left the EQ flat on them, though I could see how this would be great use for someone with a very untreated room (particularly the untreatment of corners)

After setting them up on monitor stands (30 degrees towards me, with the tweeter's slightly above my ears), I finally turned these bad boys on. The lit up Neumann symbol is very nice, and very useful, turning red when you overdrive them (which can be changed by changing the lighting settings, or simply putting up the output level of the monitors). I decided the first track I would try out would be Zero 7's ''Red Dust'', an ambient track that I've been listening to for years now.

Flabbergasted would be a word if there ever was one for what I felt, listening to the same track hundreds of times before, I've never heard it with so much detail, clarity, wideness and punch, a pure pleasure to listen to. As you've probably read on KH120 reviews before, the low end is extremely surprising for monitor of they're stature, very, very, very clear and full of depth, changing the track to Pink Floyds ''Speak to me/Breathe'', It was synonymous to having the the band play infront of me, each instrument in their own selected pocket of the stereo field, as revealing as ever. I went through many tracks through a variety of genres, each one as shockingly detailed as the next, and in each song I found myself discovering new sounds, of ambience and timbre that I had never noticed before (Muse's Exogenesis Symphony was particularly incredibly; pure silk to my ears). Not all songs however were quite as incredible as I expected, I noticed with a lot of 90's Hip Hop tracks a large level of muddiness and dirtiness (that doesn't really hinder the tracks, but showed me that the KH120's really do have a no B.S way about them, they give you the absolute picture, and nothing else).

For the past 2 weeks I've been mixing on these and it's been a pure joy, again as I previously said the depth in the stereo field enables me to easily place instruments in their respective pockets. The mid-range is particularly useful at getting the relationship between guitars and vocals perfect). On a final note the translation of these monitors are probably the best thing about them, heard my mixes on several different headphones, car radio, ipod, ipod dock, hi-fi, phonograpth, you name it: your mix will be universal after putting them through the Neumanns. You would have to pry these from my cold inebriated fingers.

Hope you enjoyed my review, as the title says another happy KH120 user :)

kfhkh kfhkh kfhkh

pencilextremist 8th June 2014 08:06 PM

very accurate monitors
I purchased these monitors a few months ago and they have made a dramatic difference to the quality of my productions.

Firstly lets talk about build quality: They are typically german and very very well made, solid as a rock and are well shielded from noises and interference. The bass, low mid and treble switches are very handy to have on the back and are easy to access. No complains at all, quality control is second to none.

Now about the sound:

When I first plugged these in I couldn't believe what I was hearing...where was all the bass coming from? I honestly thought there was a sub in the room, but the bass was just so much clearer and more even. Then there's the depth, the soundstage sounded a lot deeper and more 3D with an amazing sense of space but also never sounding hyped in any way. Imaging was also improved and width, but at the same time, if something is low quality you WILL hear it unlike a lot of other monitors. I compared these to genelecs and although the genelecs were really good, they sound too nice, and the same goes for focal.

I then went onto listen to some of my old mixes, and omg they sounded bad on these, so I had to remix some things and when they sound good on these they'll sound good on everything you put it on. The way a mix translates is amazing, and my room is far from perfect...I'd imagine in a very well treated room the results would be even better. The monitors also revealed more problems in my room and made me realise how my room was colouring the sound. My previous monitors were KRK V6 series II and whilst they were OK they are nowhere near as accurate as the neumanns, I wish I'd have got these much sooner...

I'd happily protect these with my life and guard them 24/7 with a shotgun because I doubt I'll ever need another pair of monitors again.

satissounds 9th June 2014 07:48 PM

I have had these monitors in my small studio for about 2 years now. I agree with all the above reviews. These are by far the best sounding monitors I have ever owned. For such small speakers they can go plenty loud. Also the bass is really good. Since I've got them my mixes have never sounded better. I have found that if they sound good in my studio, they sound good everywhere else.

I intent to keep these monitors for many, many years.

Highly recommended.


I3enjam1n 26th January 2016 03:58 PM

Superb sound quality for the money
I bought the Neumann KH 120 studio monitors few weeks ago, after growing tired of the rather small sound and somewhat harsh high end of my previous Genelec 8020s. The Neumanns were just what I was looking for, very revealing and flat frequency response for a very good price.
The build quality is just what you'd expect from Neumann, quality materials and great German engineering. The body of the speakers is aluminium and these feel really solid and are quite heavy for their size. I use isoAcoustics 155-models for stands, great fit for the Neumanns, gives clarity to low mids.
The soundstage is clear and the separation of instruments in a mix is great. Overall sound is neutral, doesn't add or take anything away from the music. I can hear new things in some of my favorite tracks with these(compared to the Genelecs). I really like the midrange and smooth, not hyped high end that's still there but not annoying or fatiguing. The bass is also incredibly good for monitors this size, it goes to about 48 Hz. Lot's of volume available, I tried to make the limiter go on but my ears couldn't take it!
The engineer in me loves the fact that these ship with a operating manual with a lot of measurement data and stuff.

I can highly recommend these monitors.

And did I mention these have a glowing NEUMANN logo!! gooof

alainH 28th January 2016 09:04 PM

Neumann kh120a
these speakers changed my mix drastically. No more bad surprise on the balance of the mix. Of course, the sound has to be relearned as for any speakers,but it is easy to correct what you hear from the beginning. As well, even if the bass is giving you an average how it sounds, it is tricky as you want to feel it .

but if you hear it, it is probably enough in the mix.

The middle frequencies are very clean to work on and if you get a homogeneous mix, you can be almost sure that it will sound.
I rediscovered albums that I knew and have been surprised to feel some that I always liked but feeling something missing which actually sounded on the Neumann pretty muffled.
It is then revealing a bright or dark mix obviously enough .in that sense so ,
my expectations are reached.
I recommend...

zeizel11 16th February 2020 03:02 AM

First off, let me just say that I have never owned a really good pair of monitors before. I also have never mixed in a treated room before. So do with those two facts what you will. This is both a review of these specific speakers as well as a review of the importance of room treatment and accurate monitoring!!!

Guys, I just really think it can never be stated enough how important this is. For the most part, gear is just gear. That new compressor, EQ, microphone that you just bought is not going to change your whole life or your career. There isn't necessarily a microphone or a compressor that is going to make your recordings really sound professional if they werent before. For logical proof of this, all you need to do is check out the number of professional musicians and recording engineers who regularly use 50, 100, 200 dollar pieces of gear and microphones and crank out big hits. It's entirely possible. It gives you a different sound, but its doable.

The one exception to this rule is monitoring. You just can NOT make a good record if you aren't hearing what you're doing.

I recently put up a dozen or so acoustic panels in my room, put some trapping in the corners, and bought these new Neumann KH 120 speakers. I swear, I did one mix in my room with a song my friend had been working on, and it was easily the best sounding mix I've ever put out. Not only that, but I was able to go and listen on other speakers and not cringe at what I was hearing. That awful feeling of being completely unsure of what your mix will actually sound like when other people listen to it was completely gone.

These speakers are a joy to work with. They are accurate and completely neutral. At the same time, they're pretty fun to listen to!! I would 100% recommend them to anyone who works in a small room who is looking to make mixes that are balanced and not too compressed. These speakers do not reward overEQing and overcompressing. On the contrary, they will make you a more subtle engineer.

The only downside is they are obviously a bit lacking in the bass. It is definitely noticeable. I had previously been mixing with a monitor/sub setup and so at first it was a bit jarring to not have the *thump* I was used to. However, that sub was making what I was listening to more inaccurate and I was therefore making bad decisions. Even though it is hard to hear below 100 hz or so, everything up until that point is 100% accurate. All you need to do is do one quick test with a sub or with headphones and you will be able to tell if you need to boost or lower that 50 hz kick or whatever.

Get these speakers

treat your room

make good mixes

Alex_Djuran 3rd June 2020 09:21 PM

I just got these a few days ago so perhaps I'm a bit biased, but take my word for it, these speakers are out of this world!

I started out mixing on a pair of JBL LSR305s which I quickly replaced with Focal Alpha 65s and used those for about 2 years before I upgraded to these and I'm kicking myself for not doing it sooner. I cannot stress enough just how blown away I am by the KH120.

When I took them out of the box, I was surprised at how heavy they were. Seriously, these things weigh 3 times what you'd expect a monitor this small to weigh. Another thing I instantly noticed was just how hard they were. It would be easier to murder someone with these than a cast iron pan, which ironically is what it felt like they were made out of.

Powering them on and listening to my favorite tracks was the most eye opening experience I've ever had since I started working in music production. I could hear everything and I mean EVERYTHING. The instrument seperation, the vocal clarity and hell, even the bass were all extremely well defined and audible on their own. I've been struggling to transcribe harmonies from some songs that I love and with these, I was able to do it in under half an hour. Another thing that surprised me was just how non fatiguing they are. I used to take break after break from my Focals, as they just felt like my ears were being drilled after a few hours of work. With the Neumanns, I could probably never get tired of them, atleast based on the last 10 hours of listening and mixng with them nonstop.

The accuracy of these monitors is already well known, so I won't babble to much about it but sweet christ are they neutral. The sound just floats into your ears and gives you everything that's there. Nothing more, nothing less, which is what a studio monitor really should do.

My biggest concern with them was that they'd not extend far enough in the bass. I record and mix mostly natural acoustic music; rock, punk, metal, indie etc. and I can say without any doubt that they extend enough. I might pick up a sub for them at some point but at this moment, I don't feel any need to do so. The room that I mix in is very very small, say about 4 meters long, 3 meters wide and 3 meters tall. I had alot of issue with big monitors like the Focal Alpha 65 and Eve SC207 being very boomy and very unforgiving in my room, where as the Neumann was consistent and never gave me any problems. My room is moderatly treated, so I can only assume that they are very forgiving to most acoustic environments.

All in all, I am very happy I listened to a few people from this forum. Saving up the money and buying these might just be the best investment I've ever made and I'm incredibly glad that I did. Cannot recommend them enough!