NAMM 2023: Berlin speaker and microphone expert Neumann has a philosophy to "never be satisfied with what has been achieved so far". This could either make you very unhappy, or lead to the creation of the best studio monitors ever. So are the company's new KH 120 IIs the greatest? And will Neumann ever be happy?
Neumann's 2010-released KH 120 speaker was, according to us and many others, one of the finest studio monitors ever built. Honestly, if we'd built a speaker that good we'd have redefined the expression 'resting on your laurels'. Not this Berlin-based manufacturer, though.
The improvements in the KH 120 II are two-fold according to Neumann. Firstly, some new features and design elements have improved the sound. A new woofer means better SPLs and less distortion at the low end, while a 'linearized phase response' - with onboard DSP reducing phase issues caused by analogue filters - means better mids, accuracy and transparency.
The second big addition - and something all the rage in studio monitoring at the moment – is the ability the monitors have to compensate for their acoustic environment. Monitors such as Genelec's The Ones, and cheaper releases by IK Multimedia and KRK, enable speakers to self-adjust to compensate for acoustic issues in your room. The theory is that, by doing this, they still present you with a true version of your mix, no matter how rubbish your acoustics.
The KH 120 IIs do this using Neumann's MA1 hardware/software solution. This is sold separately (around $£250), but does mean that if these monitors sound as good as Neumann says, they should sound as good wherever you put them.
List prices are pretty decent given all of those claims - between $999 and $1250 a unit depending on your connectivity requirements. There's more about the KH 120 IIs on the Neumann website, and you can get more of the latest NAMM news from our NAMM 2023 hub page.