We tested the Neumann KH 120 active studio monitor!

The Neumann KH 120 A is an active studio monitor that can be easily placed in most studios thanks to its compact size.
The main advantage of this product is its accurate sound reproduction, of which Neumann is justly proud. If you want quality studio monitors that deliver a rich sound, the KH 120 A is one of the best choices. Not all studio monitors are the same; the KH 120 A allows you to hear your audio the way it should be heard.

The Neumann company

Neumann was founded by Georg Neumann in 1928. They are best known as a manufacturer of high-quality microphones. In 2019 they launched their first headphones – the Neumann NDH 20.
All their products are made with quality and precision in mind. While many other audio companies have moved to automate key parts of their manufacturing processes, Neumann continues to rely on craftsmanship and rigorous testing of their products to guarantee perfect quality.

Neumann KH 120 Technical data

  • Type: active
  • Power supply configuration: bi-amp
  • Frequency range: 52Hz – 21kHz, ± 3 dB
  • Crossover frequency: 2kHz, 24dB/oct
  • LF driver: 5.25-inch composite sandwich cone (50W, 80W peak)
  • HF driver: 1″ titanium fabric dome tweeter (50W, 80W peak)
  • Total power: 100W (180W peak)
  • Maximum sound pressure level (SPL): 111.1 dB
  • Dimensions: 277 x 182 x 220 mm
  • Weight: 6.4 kg

Features

After years of perfecting sound recording through the manufacture of microphones, Neumann set out on its next challenge: to create a speaker monitor that would represent sound as accurately as possible.

The Neumann KH 120 is a model of precision German sound engineering. Every detail has been taken care of in the manufacturing process, everything has its function, and a well thought-out and precisely designed monitor has been brought to market.
Despite its compact size, the Neumann’s KH 120 has an impressive sound quality, which was clear to us from the very first tests.

Neumann’s KH 120 A can be used as a proximity speaker or as a rear speaker in multi-channel systems. The speaker system uses the latest electronic and acoustic simulation and measurement technologies.
The active studio monitor provides low distortion but high frequency reproduction.

Bi-amped bidirectional monitor

The KH 120 is a two-way system with a 5.25-inch composite sandwich cone and a 1-inch titanium fabric dome tweeter, magnetically shielded. The speaker also features two 80 W class AB amplifiers with thermal protection. This ensures stability and a confident sound and minimises the risk of overheating.

Despite having ‘only’ two amplifiers, the sound is extremely clear and decisive – perhaps even better than some three-amplifier systems.
The speaker enclosure is free of resonances thanks to the solid aluminium construction. Both the woofer and tweeter are protected by a very strong metal grille.

Mathematically Modelled Dispersion (MMD) waveguide

Neumann equipped the KH 120 with a waveguide with mathematically modelled dispersion. This allows the speakers to provide more accurate sound distribution both horizontally and vertically, and in different rooms with different acoustic conditions.

The sound radiated in the horizontal direction has a wider coverage, allowing it to move over a wider area in the near listening position without compromising sound quality.
However, sound in the vertical direction has a narrower spread, reducing reflections that can degrade sound quality, such as those from a table, instruments or other objects. For this reason it is very important that the speakers are placed at the right height.

The different acoustic properties of a room have a major impact on the sound. Therefore, the acoustic treatment of interior spaces should not be neglected! In a studio, the acoustics of the studio are even more important. Perfect sound recording or other musical production can only be achieved under ideal acoustic conditions. Deep sound absorbing membranes and diffuser front panels should be installed on the walls, and if the studio has a lot of glass, we recommend thick, dense acoustic curtains in front of the windows.

Thanks to its wide frequency range, the KH 120 is capable of reaching very low frequencies – 52 Hz to be precise. For this reason, it is unlikely that a separate subwoofer would be needed for low sounds.
Of course, the size of the room should also be taken into account when positioning the speakers. In general, the larger the studio, the more likely it is that a separate subwoofer will be needed for the KH 120.

Sound

The KH 120 is one of the most level sounding speaker monitors in its price range. It delivers a very clear and realistic performance thanks to its flat frequency response and impressive bass response.
It’s also very loud, so don’t be fooled by its size, you won’t be disappointed if you choose the KH 120 for your medium to small studio.
For larger studios, however, you may need a separate subwoofer!

The KH 120 provides excellent and intense bass response. However, depending on the size of your studio, you may need to add a subwoofer to the system.
For a completely honest sound, you may find mistakes in your previous studio work and mixes, and these may need to be corrected.

Conclusion

This speaker is one of the most popular monitors for home studios. The sound is accurate, clear and realistic.
Despite its size, this speaker performs well into the lowest frequencies of the frequency spectrum. It does this effortlessly, even at higher volumes. For larger studios, it’s worth testing how the bass sounds, and if you’re not satisfied, you’ll probably need to get an extra subwoofer.
All in all, the Neumann KH 120 A active studio monitor is a product that we definitely recommend if you want the best and most honest sound reproduction.

Written by Róbert Polgár