I auditioned them at professional studio. It's a very smart choice -- you definitely won't need an amp.
They sound precise and image very well. They also have built-in room EQ. They haven't been marketted into audiophile crowd and the price they're sold for IS a steal.
They deserve the best rating indeed.
I owned a pair and liked them pretty well. They are well priced for what they offer in a smallish package; but they have somewhat different strengths than good audiophile speakers which may or may not match your needs and tastes.
I wrote a review of sorts here:
Bottom line- not quite as refined and open in the mids and highs as the best audiophile speakers (which are more expensive, too considering amps, cables, etc.), ergonomically and visually challenging (pro audio connection options, power switches on back), but very powerful and lively, with very good bass and useful EQ in a small package. Hard to beat for the $, if you can live with their studio heritage features.
Thanks guys. Your replies are really helpful.
If I have understood well, main drawback for them could be their not fully refined presentation compared to top domestic speaker. Although I do not find them pretty, I do not really care about their raw looking.
One last question. Does their metal dome tweters have a big influence in the way they sound? Does it mean metallic, harsh high mids and treble? Or do you need to A/B them against a top notch soft dome to appreciate the difference. Does it intrude in the listening or do you need to really concentrate on it to realise their metal nature?
While I am looking for a very transparent system, a clinical sound is not what I am after.
Finally, I will use them at low volume. Can you comment on how they perform this way?
I've not heard them, but they should be comparable to several ported 2-way monitors in that price range. For example, JBL's LSR6328.
You might consider a 3-way sealed active monitor like this:http://www.neumann-kh-line.com/neumann-kh/home_en.nsf/root/prof-monitoring_studio-monitors_nearfield-monitors_KH310A
Read review here: http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/oct13/articles/neuman-kh310a.htm
I own the K+H O300D, which is the previous version of the KH 310 A. It's the best speaker I've heard. The SOS review of the O300D is online.
Once you hear Event Opal, you'll realize that it's a champion and flagship of all active studio monitors
The tweeter is very clear, but it still has a trace of ringing. Not offensive or too hot, but compared to my RAAL ribbon tweeters or the Eton dome in my Daedalus they are not as totally natural. Still, the sound is very well integrated and balanced. The highs do not "stand out" from the mix.
The K&H may well be better, but at a sizeable premium. The package price of the Opals is hard to beat. Low volume is ok; some older versions did have low level hum, corrected later.
I think many would argue that ATC is the king of the active studio monitors. They are priced beyond my reach and don't offer a sealed 3-way. K+H probably gets you quite close at a considerable savings.
Like I said, I've not heard the Opal. But, I can read the published distortion graph at their web site. Notice that the graph doesn't go below 200 Hz. Notice that they've chosen to show the 3rd harmonic instead of the 2nd.
Now compare that to the KH 310A. At 200 Hz, the 2nd, 3rd and THD are about 50 dB down at both 90 and 95 dB SPL. The Opal is only about 20 dB down at 90 dB SPL. The KH 310A doesn't produce that much distortion until the very bottom of the audio band. You can easily find passive audiophile speakers that match or better the distortion of the Opal.
And check out the rest of the KH 310A measurements. Very few companies are confident enough to publish these sorts of details. The horizontal and vertical dispersion graphs are very useful.
KH seems to be a good alternative to Event Opals. While googling, I found the 120A which has amazing reviews and with a size more according to my needs. Main difference with Opals is that KH120 does not go as deep in the lower end, but some reviewers report better tonality. Price is also much lower. For the future, there is a matching KH sub if I decide to go the full range route.
I have decided to give them a try.
I'll report my findings to this forum once I have done a thourugh testing.
Thanks to all!
I own a pair of Neumann KH 120A. It is the best small speaker I've heard. Tonally it's almost identical to the O300D, but lacks the amazing detail of the O300D and, of course, the bass response. It's bass response is a valid 50Hz; that's something you can do with an active design. It's also ported, but if you high-pass it when using a sub that should not be a detriment.
I'm using a pair of HSU ULS-15 subs with my active monitors. I recommend them highly. They are sealed, beautifully made, not too huge to place, never seem to break a sweat and are fairly priced.
BTW, I'm not using my KH 120As and will post them for sale soon. They were used atop my O300Ds for a couple of months and never set up in my office. They've been in their original boxes on a closet shelf in the master bedroom.
Bob_Reynolds - Please notify us when your ad is posted. I would be interested in learning more about your Kh120As and the price.
Macrojack (Tom), I've been meaning to get them posted for several months now, but other stuff always seems to take priority. I'm getting killed at work as of late, so "soon" maybe optimistic.
Knowing that you are overloaded with your work I feel a little bit guilty on asking you some further questions. I'll try to keep it short:
1- Is detail loss so perceptable in the 120A vs the O300?
2- I have always seen pictures of 300's set up in landscape mode. Is there any reason why they cannnot be in portrait mode? Have you tried it?
1) The difference in detail is fairly obvious (once you're heard it) between the O300D and every other speaker I've ever heard in my room -- Meadowlark Kestrel, Spendor S8e, M&K S150THX, JBL LSR4328, KRK VXT6, KH 120A and a friend's Focal Solo 6. It's not that the KH 120A (or any of the others) is obviously lacking in detail. I lived happily with each for several years. It's just that the O300D is in a different class; it's simply a special speaker. With each of the other speakers you tend to keep turning up the volume trying to hear into the mix more, but you never get there. You don't know what's missing until the O300D lets you hear it. This was a revelation for me and my Solo 6 friend.
2) The 0300 (and KH 310A and speakers with that driver layout) are designed to be placed on the console bridge. That's why you don't see many 3-way designs without resorting to this driver layout; the height of the tweeter becomes too high. Some speakers with this driver layout provide for rotating the Mid/Tweeter pair so that the speaker can be oriented in a more traditional fashion. I'm pretty sure that horizontal dispersion would be better with a traditional layout, but the it's pretty damn good as it is. The graph shows it and I hear it.
I would not recommend using the O300 (or KH 310A) speaker in "portrait" orientation due to the orientation of the tweeter wave guide. I believe horizontal dispersion will suffer.
It's hard to tell (at least it was for me) from the pictures how small the O300D is. I can send you pics of my setup that might give you a better idea of their size.
Bob - I'd really like to see those photos.
I meant to comment earlier that the O300D being a 3-way could be a major factor in its detail capability. Having a dedicated midrange driver is what I was looking for this time out. Note that all the other speakers I've owned and compared to the O300D were 2-way designs.
If you have the coin (sadly I don't), the ATC SCM25A (http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/may13/articles/atc-scm25a.htm
) should be state of the art.
While googling for the ATC, I found out its tecnical specs which helped me to understand what you mean about potential issues with horizontal dispersion. Figures for the SCM 25 are: horizontal dispersion 80 degress, vertical dispersion 10 degress. Swithching the layout would produce an extremely narrow sweetspot. Clear now!
Also ATC seems to be a step ahead from KH in terms of resolution. Cost reflects it as well. That was quite shocking provided that many reviews give the O310 top ratings in this chapter...
As I would use them just for listening, not for mixing, I'm not sure if the difference would be worth. In any case I need to thing a little bit on how convenient a "portrait" position would be in my sitting room.
Maybe I need to order a couple of different speakers from shops with a one month trial period and make my decision based on what I hear.
All, thanks againg for sharing your experience.
Yes, as I said earlier, many people consider ATC to be the best of the active monitors. Their prices would seem to indicate it.
I think the comment in the ATC review I posted a link to on SOS also applies to KH speakers -- if you don't have the money don't audition them. My friend with the Focal Solo 6 was quite happy with them. When he came over to listen to the O300D all he could say was damn, damn, damn... He says his next speakers will be KH.
Hi Tom, I think I have created a virtual system that shows my current system. Not much to look at, but gets the job done.
I own the KH310A. They are an absolute pleasure to listen to. Being a sealed system, nothing is bloated or hyped. If the recording is good, it will sound good. If it's bad, well, you get the idea. This is what should be expected from a pro studio monitor. I highly recommend them to anyone looking for a serious monitoring system. They may just end your search for the "perfect" speaker. And considering the fact that you're getting the power amps with the package, it's a no brainer.
I agree with Spenceroo's comment regarding getting the amps. Think about what it would cost to tri-amp a pair of passive speakers. In that light, the cost of the KH 310A is a steal.
I should have probably stated that I have not heard the Opals, so I can't really compare them to the KH 310. I owned the Focal Twin 6 BE monitors in the past, and thought they sounded great as well after a long break in period. I could easily live with them in my living room. Don't overlook them - you can usually find them used in the $2400 range. They sound superb and are impeccably built.
KH 310A are definitely at the top of my list. Only caveat is, they have to be placed horizontally, which makes for a more difficult setup. Also, I would need to get the right stands, as my current ones (some very nice, heavy ones) are designed for horizontal speakers (not a big deal though).
About Event Opal after some opinions and reviews highlighting some character in the treble and a less than refined nature, I have almost discarded them. I'm too sensitive to that part of the spectrum.
I have also read about the Focals Twin 6 BE. Not sure on this ones. Too many different opinions about them might be pointing out to some character in their sound (too mid rangy maybe?). Also they seem to be second to the O310.
All in all, looks like there is no real alternative to the O310 in their price range. And there is an amazing consensous on their sound qualities.
I've not heard the Focal Twin 6, but I have heard the Solo 6 as I mentioned above. My issue with the Twin 6 is the driver layout. Since Focal publishes effectively zero technical data on their speakers, an audition is critical.
The Focals do sound a bit bright right off the bat, no doubt because of the BE tweeter. You really have to break them in good. Hundreds of hours good. If your ears are sensitive to the initial brightness, there are controls on the rear panel to tame the highs. I found that placing the Focals in the vertical position sounded better in my room than the landscape position. If my budget was low, I'd go for a set of used Focals and could easily live with them. They do sound really good. If you can swing the 310s, then by all means get them. They sound incredible right out of the box. It may be hard to find a used pair of 310s, since they are a new model.
Any recommendation on speakers stands that would hold a horizontal loudspeaker?
I'm a huge fan of my Sound Anchor adjustable studio stands. This is the 3rd pair of stand mount speakers I've put on them: M&K S150THX, JBL LSR4328 and K+H O300D. Not only does the plate adjust for height, which is critical, but it also can be rotated 90 degrees to fit speakers with different footprints. They are built like a tank.
Check out the V Series stands at webmall2000.com
Looks like a new, nice pair of stands would substantially raise total cost. I have decided to go with my current stands (artesania audio) for which I'll order in a local workshop custom made, larger top plates to better support the speakers.
Thanks for your suggestions.