What motivated my choice was the frequency response curve. I wanted them mainly to mix, so I wanted some quality nearfield monitors that were as flat as possible, and I got them.
I use them with my Tascam M3500 mixer and a Universal Audio Apollo
Very, very neutral. I had the Adam f5 before and, for the price, I was very satisfied with them, but not for mixing, It took me some time to get used to these Neumann, a little over a month. The vocals seemed too upfront, compared to the rest, but now it doesn't seem that way (maybe it was the break-in or my ears that got used to them). Anyway, ever since my mixes sound much more open and precise. Every instrument is in its exact place in the stereo field. Considering the size of the woofer, a 5-incher, it goes pretty deep, even though I don't think it's that accurate. I'd say you can trust them with your eyes closed from 100Hz to 20kHz, below that you'll need a sub (I have the Adam sub7). The stereo image is amazing for monitors this size, they blew me away. They have a good dynamic response, too.
It's been four months since I mix with them and it's a real delight, the manufacturing quality is great, you can really tell they are German and, especially that they are Neumann... They are a bit heavy, but I won't complain about that.
I have worked with Adam, Sonodyne, Genelec, Graal Audio, Mackie, Behringer... I think their price is a bit high. They should cost the same as the Sonodyne (around $1300), but 250 bucks more aren't the world...
What I like best is the precision and the neutrality of the frequency response.
What I like the least: You need to be right in front of the monitors for the stereo image to be optimal (they are not the best to edit with Pro Tools when the Mac is next to the mixer, but that's not really a defect, it's just the sweet spot that is narrower than with my old Adams. I don't think that's a defect, quite the contrary, but it did annoy me in the beginning...
• Which technical specifications motivated your choice?
Irreproachable German construction.
The fact that Neumann uses such strict technical specs that they consider all KH120 to be matched. And you can see and hear that right out of the box.
The frequency response (even if it's only one factor, the other and no-less important ones are the listening space and position).
The three frequency correction controls (which are stepped, so stable) have a well-chosen response, in relation to other speakers at the same (and even higher) price point.
• Use: Professional. Album mixing and premastering, as well as audio post-production.
Is the frequency response neutral enough?
The frequency response curve seems incredibly neutral to me.
If you focus on each frequency range, on each instrument, everything is in the right place.
• Is the stereo image good?
Very good. With a very clean phantom image.
You can even move one feet from the center without the image being distorted.
The phase coherence and flat frequency response certainly have something to do with that.
• Is the sound clear and accurate across the entire frequency spectrum?
YES...Within the physical and acoustical limits of speakers this size.
Nevertheless, it has an extremely extended response in the high end, while remaining unaggressive up to frequencies that largely exceed our hearing range.
I was also surprised by the presence and accuracy of the lows.
No issues to mix the bass nor the kick, always you know where you are. However, to mix special effects or the 30Hz of large organs, you'll need bigger speakers.
Personally, I think the subwoofer option isn't necessarily the best. It is very hard to place and set a subwoofer if you want to do it by the book. If you don't have enough experience, you might end up setting it in a way that harms rather than improves the natural balance of the kh120 down to around… 45 Hz, I'd say (if my ears don't deceive me!). This is only my personal opinion, obviously.
These speakers either reproduce sound very well or they simply not reproduce it at all (in the low end).
• Is the dynamic response faithful? ...
Very large headroom. I don't hear any compression.
I have already cranked them quite a bit. They have more than enough power for me. I stop before the security signal activates. It's even scary. (I'm about 5ft away from the speakers).
• How long have you been using them?
• Which feature do you like the most / the least?
The most: It seems as if I'm pitching these speakers, but I really love everything about them.
A good sound for a more than reasonable price.
The least: It would be easier to have the power switch on the front panel, rather than on the rear.
• Did you try any other models before buying it?
I have known the NS10 for 20 years. I still mix with them sometimes. You need to know them to work with them
Mackie HR 824: Good, but a bit soft and sound changes depending on the listening level (even if you consider the Fletcher and Munson curves)
I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN ON THE LOOKOUT FOR THE NEW REFERENCE THAT CAN REPLACE THE NS10. IN OTHER WORDS A PAIR OF MONITORS THAT WORK ANYWHERE, THAT PROVIDE ALWAYS THE SAME INFORMATION ON EVERY MIX AND THE SAME FEELING WHEN LISTENING TO THEM.
I have a small 118 sq ft room and I was looking for the right sound, without a huge bottom end nor flattering highs, but I also did not want a pair of sterile speakers.
I'll tell you, these Neumanns will become the NS10 for home studios and more.
Their neutrality is incredible, like their dynamic response. In short, I was shocked by their quality, which made me think of mastering speakers, without them being so. You can nevertheless tell right away in which league these speakers play. I was looking for a compromise between Adam and Focal, without the too wonderful highs of the Adams nor the lack of musicality of the Focal.
The stereo image is very good, I wouldn't say extraordinary because they are small speakers and the image depends a lot on the room.
I've been using them for one week after having had the Mackie mr5 (too much lows) and Adam a7 (highs are too precise), I was surprised by the size of these speakers, which are too small for my taste, they seem bigger in the ads. They are worth their price, no doubt about that, even though $1500 isn't exactly cheap.
Is the frequency response neutral enough?
Excellent linearity, these small monitors are very revealing,
My room has no particular acoustic treatment, but I've had no ugly surprises, my mixes sound very good on other systems.
The EQs on the rear are easy to use and effective.
Is the dynamic response faithful?
Very faithful, they even provide a sensation of depth that I had never felt with monitors this size, or even with bigger ones.
It's a treat to listen to jazz and classical music with them.
Is the stereo image good?
The stereo is impeccable and the sweet spot is very generous, allowing you to work smoothly, even with lateral movements.
Is the sound clear and accurate across the entire frequency spectrum?
The balance across the entire spectrum is very nice.
* Highs are very well defined, clear, but smooth, they are not aggressive. That said, if a song is mixed with too much highs, you'll notice it right away.
* Excellent high/low mids.
* Lows and sub lows: I wouldn't say that they are better than the mids or the highs, they are simply the continuation. They are clean and clear down to 50Hz, without muddiness; deep and punchy lows, as J-C Van Damme would say.
Finally, the lows are what impress you the most because they are usually limited with monitors this big, so you don't see them coming. If you close your eyes you could even think you have a 7-inch woofer.
Moving on, these little monitors have an incredible output power, I have really cranked them up, but the limiter has never activated so far (the Neumann logo is supposed to light up red), and they sound well-defined both at soft and loud volumes. I have found myself working at much lower volumes than before, since their definition is so good that you can't miss a single detail.
How would you rate its value for money?
They aren't cheap, but their value for money is excellent, I prefer them to the DB1s, which are much more expensive.
Did you try any other models before buying this one?
After moving, I found myself with a 97 sq ft home studio, so I had to sell my Bm5a and my Bm9 sub, even though I was pretty satisfied with them
So I went looking for new monitors, after having tested the cms40 for two weeks (they are great but without enough lows), I hesitated between the Bm5a compact, the cms50 and even the small PMC DB1s, which I was able to test, but they didn't convince me. I know the K+H O110 well, so I fell for the KH120s, whose low end is richer than that of the O110 and the DB1s.
I can't stand to have headphones on my ears for more than 5 minutes, so my monitors are vital to me.
Finally, thanks to their small size and their sound quality, I have now a more detailed and balanced sound (even in the bottom end) than in my old home studio, which was bigger and acoustically treated. Plus, I don't need a sub now!
Based on your experience, would you buy this product again?
I'd say yes, although I don't have enough experience with these small Neumanns to be entirely sure and objective. I bought them one and a half months ago and I use them almost every day, I'm satisfied with them and feel like a fish in a pond in my home studio.