Neumann KH120 mixing monitors
Neumann KH120s are two-way, ported, active near-field speakers with a generous frequency range for their size, providing detailed playback down to 52Hz. They are considered something of a benchmark for speakers in this class.
What do Neumann KH120s sound like?
Neumann KH120s have extraordinarily detailed mid-range, and an impressive low-range extension for such compact monitors. They are incredibly fast, offering incredible precision in the time domain – something ported speakers in particular can often struggle with.
To my ears, they can be a little boxy. But as someone with a tendency to mix a little dark, that can be a good thing, forcing me to open up a mix in a way I mightn’t on other monitors. Built for an unforgiving accuracy, they’re not my favourite speakers to listen to – but that’s what makes them useful.
Why are Neumann KH120s useful?
Neumann KH120s are predominantly useful for mixing. They lack the frequency response necessary for mastering, but can be a useful secondary reference.
I tend to do most of my mixing on these. Although their bigger brothers – the K&H 0300s – can reveal more detail, they can also have a tendency to make anything sound great. With the two-way design, and a less extended low end, you have to fight harder to make something sound good on the KH120s – which will make it sound good anywhere. Then I can really get into nuances on the bigger speakers.
History of the Neumann KH120s
The Neumann KH120s are the update to the older Klein & Hummel 120s – the little brother to the K&H 0300s. After Sennheiser took over Klein & Hummel in 2005, they folded the brand into Neumann, creating the Neumann KH line of speakers.
This history puts them in the same family as the older K&H speakers. The consistency in design is close enough that I have successfully created a Frankenstein surround setup for film mixing by combining the different speakers in the past.
Interesting features of the Neumann KH120s at Old Cottage Audio
Neumann speakers are designed to meet the stringent demands of the German broadcast industry, manufactured to such tight tolerances that individual speakers can be swapped in and out of pairs and still match better than ‘matched pairs’ of even other high-end brands.
Having initially bought a single Neumann KH120 to use as the centre speaker for my surround setup, I only completed the pair years later. The only discernible difference between the two speakers is a slightly different shade of light on the Neumann logo when they’re switched on.