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TECHNOLOGY REVIEW


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Neumann KH 310 A  ACTIVE STUDIO MONITOR


Rob Tavaglione investigates whether Neumann’s typical high quality translates from the beginning to the end of the signal chain.


UPON REVIEWback in 2011, I found Neumann’s KH 120 monitors to be effective, well designed, and pricey. Having recently spent months getting to know the KH 310 A three-way, tri-amplified monitor, I must say I feel the same way about them – along with the increased performance expectations that naturally accompany a pair of £3,000+ near/mid-field studio monitors.


FEATURES The KH 310 A packs a lot of features into a relatively small footprint (for a three-way speaker). Drivers include a 7.25in woofer, a 3.5in dome mid range and a 1in soft dome tweeter. The enclosure is not ported – it is an acoustic reflex design – and includes both rear and side panel mounting brackets. This, along with the absence of a rear port, makes the speaker a fine choice for broadcast truck control rooms and other tight spaces, and Neumann offers a number of mounting brackets and plates. The controls on the KH 310 A include three bands of EQ control (stepped low cut, low-mid cut, and high-end boost or cut); an input sensitivity control; four output levels; and a display brightness control for the illuminated Neumann logo (this LED also flashes red for protection indication and lights solid red for the over- temp attenuated output condition). The KH 310 A can reach output levels of 113dB short term (99dB long term, average) via three Class A/B power amps with 150W to the woofer, 70W to the mid range, and 70W to the tweeter. Crossover points are at 650Hz and 2kHz, each


48 April 2014


fourth order with a steep 24dB/octave. Thermo limiters are present for all three drivers along with woofer soft clip and excursion limiter and an infrasonic 15Hz HPF.


IN USE Initially


mounted along my crowded meter bridge, I began utilising the KH 310 A pair and enjoyed them immediately. Positioned only 3.5ft apart, I found them quite useful for dialogue/vocal editing as I sat very close them. It quickly became clear to me that the KH 310 A has extremely effective crossovers: virtually undetectable, with seamless transitions between all the drivers. Used without a subwoofer, I was pleasantly surprised by the KH 310 A’s bass response smoothness. It reproduced lows quite faithfully and as low as they could, with nary a chubby peak or hollow valley. Upon inviting four audio


friends over to aid in evaluation, we removed items from my meter bridge, giving the pair room to breathe, and placed them on Primacoustic Recoil Stabilizers too. With my comparable Blue Sky SAT8 monitors (three-way speakers with the same driver configuration) and video monitor removed, the KH 310 A pair opened up to reveal a sonic nirvana. It is not hype to say that these monitors sound fantastic. The


“It is not hype to say that these monitors sound fantastic.” Rob Tavaglione


sealed cab design provides tight, punchy, well-damped and accurate bass; midrange frequencies are translated in incredible detail and with uncolored, life-like clarity in vocals, instruments, and even percussion; and high frequencies are detailed, crisp without crispiness, and bright without harshness. In listening, we bounced


between folk, pop, EDM, and nu-metal; the KH 310 A pair delivered consistently in each and every genre. Even as I connected my sub to the KH 310 A pair, they exceeded my expectations. They actually ‘melded’ with my powered Blue Sky sub very nicely, with increased extension, if at the expense of accuracy.


SUMMARY Short of monitors I’d normally only find in a


world-class mastering room, this KH 310 A pair is the sweetest I’ve heard to date. I can say that I absolutely love them.


One of my colleagues said


THE REVIEWER Rob Tavaglione


has owned and operated Catalyst Recording in Charlotte, North Carolina since 1995. An early adopter of the project studio concept, Rob has recorded nearly 600 music projects since Catalyst’s inception. Rob has also dabbled in nearly all forms of pro audio work including mixing live and taped TV broadcasts (winning two regional Emmy Awards); mixing concert and club sound; mixing and music supervising for indie films; mixing webinars and webcasts; mixing live sports; and composing and scoring for film/TV and various artists. www.catalystrecording.com.


INFORMATION Feature set


• Compact sealed three-way cabinet design • Powerful analogue Class A/B amplifiers with large headroom


• Independent thermo limiters for woofer, midrange dome, and tweeter to protect the voice coils


• Four-position bass, low-mid, and treble acoustical controls


• Elliptical Mathematically Modeled Dispersion (MMD) waveguide, with wide horizontal and narrow vertical dispersion


www.neumann.com www.audiomedia.com


they are slightly forward with high-mids. He may be right, though if he is, it’s the only criticism I can imagine – other than the hefty £3,000+/pair price.


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