Neumann have announced a slightly surprising release at NAMM. Adding a smaller entry level monitor to their KH range of studio monitors, the KH 80 DSP is loaded with, well, DSP. This incorporation of what looks like quite powerful DSP will be capable of self-calibrating the monitors to the room. These should be ideal as portable monitors, small and capable of adjusting to any room.
Neumann KH 80 DSP Monitor
I am really pleased to see this release from Neumann. Adding an even smaller and more portable monitor to their KH line with this 4″ model makes a lot of sense. What makes even more sense to me however, is that they are introducing self-calibrating measurement and correction DSP with this model. Finally, a proper hurrah for portable monitoring.
We keep seeing manufacturers releasing portable monitoring solutions such as Amphion’s MobileOne12 which we saw this week. The trouble as we all know, is the room you might find yourself working in with your portable setup. Technology exists to combat room anomalies but the manufacturers haven’t been brave enough to take on the challenge.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a fan of DSP and I will be amongst the first to say “I can hear the processing”. However, there are now DSP algorithms and FIR filters, which even if you can hear an artefact of the processing, the benefit of calibrated monitoring is far outweighed. Perhaps monitor manufacturers have believed it’s not in their remit? Perhaps they believe producing a flat response in the factory is their job. Well that annoys me, and Genelec with their full range of SAM monitors just goes to prove what’s possible.
Strangely Neumann haven’t given any details about the measurement and calibration aspect away yet. It appears early customers will have to buy the “Precision Alignment Kit“, as listed under accessories on their web site, when it becomes available. This is a slight shame, as it would be good to see these elements ship together as standard. I’m sure Neumann would be quick to tell us that some customers might not want these accessories and therefore pricing them separately helps bring the cost down.
I look forward to hearing these monitors and finding out how effective their calibration method is. The big question now is, will they start to release versions of their larger monitors with this new DSP functionality. I hope so.
Loads of technical information can already be found on Neumann’s website, but unfortunately they haven’t announced prices yet. Presumably they will be less than or similar to the KH 120’s, with the all important measurement mic and interface being an additional cost.