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Monitoring Upgrades:Neumann vs Geithain, HD650 vs 800 vs Amp Studio Headphones
Old 29th June 2017
  #1
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Monitoring Upgrades:Neumann vs Geithain, HD650 vs 800 vs Amp

I'm thinking of upgrading different stages in my monitoring, I've got a Neumann KH120 and recently heard a pair of ATC SCM50 ASL. The remote forum has a lot of people with similar taste in monitoring and I mostly do location jazz, classical and folk.

The long read, which you can skip this paragraph: My neumanns are really good, but the detail isn't as good as it could be, even with my room adjusted, eq adjusted and angles and spacing correct. The low-mids are a little indistinct and it can be tricky to tell if stuff is a little on the muddy side or not and in the high end it's difficult to hear types of noise, codec differences. Furthermore low bass, reverb tails and compression artefacts are difficult to discern, and the listening area is a little small. They are amazing monitors, don't get me wrong, but the ATC's level of detail and separation blew me away, and I could hear all of the above issues, I usually switch between my monitors and a pair of Sennheiser HD650 and HD26 headphones to try and hear these details. In the HD650, the treble is a little soft coming from my Prism Lyra 2 headphone out.

TL;DR, So reading up, I've heard the Geithain RL906 are supposed to be an amazing upgrade in terms of detail and a bit better bass than the KH120s. KH310's are supposed to be a lot better bass and a minor upgrade in detail to the kh120s. Is anyone using either for mixing or checking location recordings? Is there another option in a similar price range? Thinking also about getting a separate headphone amp for the HD650 or just get the HD800, if anyone has any recommendations for that... The Geithains are super portable too, and I could potentially buy a sub down the road...
Old 30th June 2017
  #2
Gear Addict
 

Hi whippoorwill, I have a pair of KH120's and the general sound compared to my friends KH410's is very disappointing. The mids are so much better with the dome midrange. The KH310's are supposed to be even a bit better with the new driver design over previous KH models and I have been considering these. After hearing the 410's I'm having a hard time even listening to the 120's. The clarity and depth with the 3 way speaker is just stunning, very revealing, I'm listening through it instead of to it. Never heard my recordings sound better. For headphones I just got a pair Sennheiser HD600's and like them, very neutral. Using a Schiit Magni 2 headphone amp, very neutral with plenty of gain at a bargain price. Use HD25's for location recording.
Old 30th June 2017
  #3
Lives for gear
HD 800s are my reference headphones, they are ring radiators and very difficult to beat on all levels
HD 25s are my location monitor cans, closed back ,isolated, very dependable
My monitor LS are AVI ADM 40s actives that use the Skan Speak Illuminator mid/ bass, a prodigious driver with huge transient extension
I have recently changed to SB Acoustics Satori ring rads to the 40s, both driver share the same designer and the results are quite brilliant
Lack of fuzz and intermod really enhance the top octaves and the bass transient are much improved, piano sounds very real and reverb trails more evident
Female vox spot on
I am not an ATC fan , many are, but the mid range sound muddy to me, that dome rad has phases issues imho
My 40s now sound like my HD800s, this has been my aim for many years, and I am so pleased the the Satoris have been a perfect match
Not too keen on many control room nearfields, heard some Genelecs recently in a huge OB Truck, great for penetrating the voluminous talk back and vox clutter but not good SQ imho
SOS loves their new v expensive dual concentrics, havent heard em yet, speakers as ever, the most contested part of the chain
Roger
Old 30th June 2017
  #4
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PS Ring Rads are much better for my low level tinnitus!
Old 30th June 2017
  #5
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rolo 46 View Post
HD 800s are my reference headphones, they are ring radiators and very difficult to beat on all levels
HD 25s are my location monitor cans, closed back ,isolated, very dependable
My monitor LS are AVI ADM 40s actives that use the Skan Speak Illuminator mid/ bass, a prodigious driver with huge transient extension
I have recently changed to SB Acoustics Satori ring rads to the 40s, both driver share the same designer and the results are quite brilliant
Lack of fuzz and intermod really enhance the top octaves and the bass transient are much improved, piano sounds very real and reverb trails more evident
Female vox spot on
I am not an ATC fan , many are, but the mid range sound muddy to me, that dome rad has phases issues imho
My 40s now sound like my HD800s, this has been my aim for many years, and I am so pleased the the Satoris have been a perfect match
Not too keen on many control room nearfields, heard some Genelecs recently in a huge OB Truck, great for penetrating the voluminous talk back and vox clutter but not good SQ imho
SOS loves their new v expensive dual concentrics, havent heard em yet, speakers as ever, the most contested part of the chain
Roger
I could have sworn you used Quad ESLs.
Old 30th June 2017
  #6
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For impact and real scale, seek a larger (much larger) monitor than the small Neumanns. I have had them and liked them for location use. However, when working to refine the program material, I need to hear the bottom octave and all flaws in the range where the ear is most sensitive.

I made a move to a giant PMC super stack, but that is not necessary for all.

I, too, am a fan of the Neumann 410 and the Geithain.

Geithain has a great range but the famous ones are the ones you cite--900 series. Worth trying to hear in person, but that is a little difficult in most cities.

I would say that they are so good that a special trip might be made to DE to hear them.

Not an endorser of ATC here since I feel it is a cult item with an artificially high price. The ATC 150 is a very good speaker though. It has the 15" woofer.
Old 30th June 2017
  #7
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I'm quite picky so heres my adventures so far:
Ive tried focals before and they are pretty at the Twin level but moderately indistinct, and anything below that range sounds compressed and small at best.
Genelecs are unpleasant to me, they are tiring and make things sound aggressive to me when I've heard them, quite a lot of experience with focals and genelecs.
Adams I can't work with, I've tried a few times and they just are totally off. I can't tell what level anything is at.
ATC were a little unpleasant in the upper mids and the bottom octaves seemed a little lacking, but it seemed accurate all the way down, but incredible otherwise to me, but I've not heard studio speakers above £10,000 before, the presentation was similar to the neumann sound character to me, especially in terms of mid range forwardness, but the price is ludicrously high.

I'm in Newcastle Upon Tyne, England so I might be able to get a demo of Geithains/ Neumann KH310s shipped up from somewhere...
Id like to demo the HD800s too..
Old 30th June 2017
  #8
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Was just in Newcastle last week. My first visit to your city. Had a great time.
Went to an fantastic outdoor amusement park with a crazy wild rollercoaster. It scared me and I thought I would be ejected from the car.
Old 2nd July 2017
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sd270 View Post
Hi whippoorwill, I have a pair of KH120's and the general sound compared to my friends KH410's is very disappointing. The mids are so much better with the dome midrange. The KH310's are supposed to be even a bit better with the new driver design over previous KH models and I have been considering these. After hearing the 410's I'm having a hard time even listening to the 120's. The clarity and depth with the 3 way speaker is just stunning, very revealing, I'm listening through it instead of to it. Never heard my recordings sound better. For headphones I just got a pair Sennheiser HD600's and like them, very neutral. Using a Schiit Magni 2 headphone amp, very neutral with plenty of gain at a bargain price. Use HD25's for location recording.
I might check out the hd600s for their high end range! I've not actually used the hd25s in a while, I did like them but never compared them to the 26s, just a few pros I was working with recommended the 26s higher
Old 2nd July 2017
  #10
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Thread Starter
Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush View Post
Was just in Newcastle last week. My first visit to your city. Had a great time.
Went to an fantastic outdoor amusement park with a crazy wild rollercoaster. It scared me and I thought I would be ejected from the car.
Shame we didn't meet up! Would be great to chat sometime if you're ever in the area
Old 27th July 2017
  #11
Gear Nut
 

I own bothNeumann KH 310's and Geithain RL944's. Imo Geithains monitors reproduce sound more delicate, detailed and natural. I really like the Neumanns (especially the price/quality) but they sound slightly muffled and superficial when compared with the Geithains.

Quantitywise though, KH 310 is a much bigger speaker than Geithain RL906. The Geithain will be more delicate, but the Neumann will play louder, bigger sound and has very nice bass extension. Imo the RL906 needs a sub and the KH 310 does not.
Old 27th July 2017
  #12
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by whippoorwill View Post
KH310's are supposed to be a lot better bass and a minor upgrade in detail to the kh120s.
I have owned both Kh 120's and KH 310's and I don't agree. These are very different animals.
The 310's reproduce midrange 'cleaner' and sounds more detailed.

Bass indeed is different too. Kh 310 extends suprisingly low and sounds very tight in the low-end. 120 is nice bass for its size but it does not extend very low and you can hear the port.


Imo the 310 is a benchmark monitor. It has no flaws and provides very good quality for what you pay. I would only go for the Geithain 906's if you determine to add the sub later on.

Last edited by Martijn W; 27th July 2017 at 12:44 PM..
Old 27th July 2017
  #13
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Don't mess around.

Get a pair of ATC SCM 50s with the new ATC tweeter and Super Linear LF drivers. If, like Rolo, you are not a fan of the dome then get the SCM20 ASL. Both are fantastic speakers. The 25 is the dodgy speaker in that lineup, the box simply isn't big enough for itself (sounds best plugged up).

Personally I use a pair of SCM40 passive tower speakers for mains and then the C1C and SCM7s for rears when doing surround work. I love the sound I get and very detailed.

A mastering studio I'm involved in (essentially any Naxos release is mastered there) uses HD600/HD650 headphones which I find too boring. I much prefer my AKG K702 which are a bit more forward in the HF but I like it for editing and QC of material.

Dave
Old 27th July 2017
  #14
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Well in the end, I'm going to take a bit of time upgrading various elements.
Getting in some geithains for testing in the next two weeks, also trying to demo some amphions.
The ATCs are well out of my price range for the moment. Part of me wants to take out some sort of ambitious loan and buy a pair of £10k speakers but I really can't justify it at the moment.
Thinking of upgrading my stands to a pair of Argosy Spires.
And fiddling more with room treatment and re-cabling stuff.
Then in the next month or so I can put in an order for some new speakers.
Has anyone any recommendations for or against the argosys? Or another brand.
Old 27th July 2017
  #15
Gear Addict
I looked into the Spires. Didn't go for it. Instead went for concrete blocks at 160 lbs a stack. As dead as can be and very stable. Check out Sound Anchors. The adjustable ones are nice for different monitors. I'd think once you have your monitors and desk and everything locked in in the room, you'd benefit from their 4 post versions. Maximum rigidity.

Maybe check out Tower Sonic since you're in the UK.
Old 12th August 2017
  #16
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Updates, didn't go for the argosy's. John Willett dropped off a pair of Geithain RL906's yesterday as the UK dealer.
I can't stop listening to them, tracks I've struggled the mix recently I looked at again and it was amazingly quick to resolve issues.
The soundstage is meters wide and I was worried that it was so wide that how could you know where to place anything or if anything was truly the middle? Mid-field level of soundstage.
I listened attentively to some mono music and found it leaned about 3 degrees to the left. Sure enough, the trimmer in the back was mildly off kilter on the left unit and I carefully readjusted with a flathead.
Perfect balance 0 degrees is the mono location.
Detail for days. Waiting to receive amphions but I don't know how they could beat this, this is the best two-way nearfield I've ever heard.
I don't want to let it leave my house.
Old 17th August 2017
  #17
Gear Nut
 

nice!!
Old 10th September 2017
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whippoorwill View Post
I might check out the hd600s for their high end range! I've not actually used the hd25s in a while, I did like them but never compared them to the 26s, just a few pros I was working with recommended the 26s higher
I do love my HD26's. Flatter than the 25's and an everyday workhorse like the 25's are.
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