Although best known for their high-end microphones, Neumann are now dabbling in the output side of things with the release of their new line of Neumann Studio Monitors. Part of this collections is the KH 120 A – a small but powerful monitoring speaker. We say ‘dabble’, but this is much more than that, as the KH 120 A proves one of the best speakers in the sub-$1,000 price range. Let’s take a closer look.
The KH 120 A is a good-looking little speaker, with a clean design and a high-end build. Nothing too dramatic, but there is a robust cast-aluminum cabinet with an anthracite finish and a chunky aluminum baffle that would look sleek in any studio setup. It features a compact design, standing at around 11” tall and just over 7” wide. The build quality is excellent, as you would expect from a Neumann product in this price range.
While the design is stylish but minimalist, you will find a dimmable illuminated Neumann badge. This badge glows white unless the internal protection system is activated, then it flashes a gentle red warning. In terms of connections (which are naturally located around the back), this speaker is a little limited compared to its peers as it comes with just one XLR input. Not particularly versatile in this respect, but otherwise there are not many complaints.
Looking at the drivers, the KH 120 A features a 3.25” composite sandwich cone woofer and a 1” alloy fabric dome tweeter, which are both magnetically shielded. The woofer cone is protected by a sturdy metal grille, while the baffle itself features an ‘Elliptical Mathematically Modelled Dispersion’ (or ‘MMD’ for short) waveguide for the tweeter. This promises a smoother off-axis response and a wide horizontal dispersion, so moving around the speaker won’t cause any drop off.
Looking at the spec sheet, Neumann have crammed a lot into such a small package – a testament that these innovative features are working. There’s a free-field frequency response extending between 54Hz and 20kHz (±2dB), with huge power on offer. Located on the back panel is a standard but useful control panel. These include acoustic room control switches (bass, low-mid and treble) to control the frequency response, to ensure the speaker is sounding good wherever it is placed in the room. There’s also an output level switch and a rotary sensitivity control.
Overall, the KH 120 A provides you with exactly what a studio professional would want – an incredibly flat response. The tone is full of life and the bass is rich and punchy, although these are not consumer speakers – they happily snub warmth for a dry, honest and pure sound, leading to highly accurate mixing and mastering. There’s a superbly deep soundstage with excellent separation of instruments. Ultimately, if your mix sounds good on this speaker, you can guarantee it will sound awesome anywhere else.
With a response that’s flatter than a pane of glass and a similar clarity, there are no surprises that we highly recommend the KH 120 A to studio professionals of all levels. Ultimately, if you need to have full confidence in your mixes, you won’t go far wrong with this monitor!