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August 2012

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One look at the Neumann KH 120 and you'll think it's a typical two-way moni- tor. The KH 120 is made with a one-piece front panel that has an elliptical Math- ematically Modeled Dispersion (MMD) waveguide for the tweeter and two large bass ports. The wide elliptical shape of the tweeter's waveguide creates a larger horizontal "sweet spot" and allows the listener more freedom to move from side to side. So even if you're sliding along a console, you're still in the sweet spot. The narrow vertical shape of the elliptical helps to reduce reflections off of the mixing console. The front bass ports minimize low-frequency compression and also allows for set up in tight spaces. Inside the aluminum speaker cabinet, you'll find two thermally protected 80-watt class A/B amplifiers. It can produce 80 watts of peak power, but really it's 50 watts of continuous power. One amp powers the 1-inch titanium fabric dome tweeter, and one powers the 5.25-inch composite-sandwich membrane woofer. The fre- quency response is 52Hz to 21kHz (+/-3 dB), with the crossover frequency at 2kHz, and a crossover slope of 24dB/octive. The steep crossover slope means less overlap between drivers; this allows more power handling for the tweeter. The self- generated noise level is 0dB at 1m, which means even in a quiet room, at a close listening distance, you won't hear hiss generated by the speaker itself. On the rear panel you'll see how versatile the design is. The speaker is meant to adapt to your environment. The universal switched-mode power supply means the KH 120 will work in any country without having to use step-up or step-down transformers. If you're using them on-location, or in a temporary set-up, there is a ground lift switch that eliminates unwanted hum and buzz by interrupting the ground loops between equipment. There is also a set of three acoustical controls that allow you to adjust the frequency response to fit your monitoring environ- ment. The bass, low-mid and treble controls offer 0, -2.5, -5 and -7.5dB attenua- tion at those three fixed frequency intervals. The user manual provides some examples of control position combinations. On the rear panel you'll also find output level and input level controls that allow you to easily interface with a variety of signal sources. The KH 120 D has an analog XLR input, as well as a 24-bit, 192kHz digital input on a BNC connector with BNC buffered output. It accepts AES3 and S/P-DIF formats. Vital Stats: Dynaudio DBM50 (www.dynaudio- Cost: $499 each Two-way bi-amplified monitor with 50W + 50W amplifiers 1.1" tweeter, 7.1" woofer Dimensions: (H x W x D): 13.7" x 9.1" x 13.2" Weight: 15.9lbs Frequency response: 46 Hz – 21kHz Crossover frequency: At 1.5kHz Max SPL: 117dB Dynaudio is a Danish audio company that was started in 1977 as a manu- facturer of Hi-Fi speakers. The founding engineers, who were music enthusiasts, were dissatisfied with the sound reproduction technology at that time. Even the best loudspeakers colored the sound. They created Dynaudio with the goal of creating a loudspeaker that could reproduce music with more accuracy and detail. They expanded into high-end car audio installations for Volkswagen and Volvo. In 1992, they started creating pro studio monitors. The latest addition to their popular BM series, the DBM50, has a unique angled design that makes it ideal for desktop monitoring. The angular cabinet design also helps to reduce internal standing sound waves. If you prefer to place the monitors on a stand, as opposed to your desktop, you can position them on their sides. Dynaudio prides itself on creating its own drivers. The DBM50 has a 1-inch silk soft-dome tweeter that uses an aluminum wire voice coil able to reproduce fre- quencies up to 21kHz. The voice coil is suspended in a magnetic fluid that helps to boost power handling, as well as improves cooling. For the 7.1-inch woofer, Dynaudio created a driver membrane using a composite of magnesium silicate polymer (MSP). This highly-rigid material has a low mass and provides good inter- nal damping properties. The 7.1-inch aluminum wire voice coil can reproduce frequencies as low as 46Hz. Using aluminum wire for the bass driver, instead of copper, Dynaudio is able to double the coil's diameter, without increasing its mass. Powering the tweeter and woofer are two 500-watt RMS power amps, meaning it provides 50 watts of continuous power, and not just at peak level. The DBM50 can produce 117dB SPL peak power, which is powerful for desk- top mixing. On the rear panel, you'll find the usual balanced XLR analog input, as well as unbalanced RCA inputs. There is a power mode switch that allows you to choose whether the monitor is "on" all the time, or if you prefer, it can be set to on/sleep, which means if no input signal is present for 20 minutes, the monitor enters "sleep" mode to save power. When an input signal is present, the monitor turns "on." It can take approximately two seconds for the monitor to wake-up. Also, on the rear panel are a series of filter controls that allow you to adjust the frequency response to fit your monitoring environment or set up. You can activate the high pass filter to match your monitors to your subwoofer, if you have one in your set up. You can choose a cut-off of 60Hz or 80Hz. Dynaudio recom- mends activating the high-pass filter to match your sub, so you can achieve a higher, undistorted sound pressure level. The three other filters are the LF, MF, and HF. The LF shelf at 150Hz allows you to adjust bass levels by +2dB, 0, or -2dB. If the monitors are close to a wall or corner, then -2dB LF is recommended to reduce a build-up of bass frequen- cies. If the monitors are farther from a wall, then +2dB can help to improve the bass response. The MF is a bell-shaped notch filter at 450Hz for the low mid- range frequencies. If you have the monitors on your console, there is typically an increase in the low mid-range frequencies. You can attenuate this range by -2dB, -4dB, or 0 for no EQ. The HF shelf at 1.5kHz allows you to boost the higher frequencies by +1dB, or if the monitors sound too bright, you can switch to -1dB. As always, the 0 position means the filter is not engaged. You can adjust your monitor's sensitivity to match your source output level. If your source has a high output, you can reduce the signal by -10dB, or, if needed, you can boost your source level by +4dB. There is also a 0 position for no change. If you haven't heard Blue Sky monitors, I hope that you've at least heard of them. Blue Sky started in 2001 with new insight into the traditional studio monitor setup. Their theory is bass management, and the use of a subwoofer to handle frequencies below 100 Hz, is the most effective way to get a room, espe- cially a small room, to sound great. By moving the low frequency information away from the satellites, you can improve the response and overall accuracy of the monitoring system. Limiting the low frequencies to one source, instead of having them come out of every speaker, allows you to limit standing bass waves that invariably amplify or cancel each other out. The result is a more consistent and even bass response in the listening position. Their newest system is the Blue Sky eXo2, a full-range near-field 2.1 system that comes with two small desktop satellite speakers, a subwoofer, and a small desktop controller. One look at the system and you'll see that the satellites and desktop remote are very unimposing. They're tiny, with a 1-inch dome tweeter and a 3-inch midwoofer. The size of the satellite cabinet is only 7-inches tall, 5-inches wide, and 4.8-inches deep. The small profile is made possible by housing the two 35 watt amps for the satellites inside the subwoofer enclosure. The subwoofer itself is also extremely compact. It's an 8-inch subwoofer inside a roughly 10-inch cube. There's a lot of stuff crammed into that cube: two 35-watt amps for the satellites, a 90-watt amp for the subwoofer, the subwoofer driver, and a power converter for the headphone preamp and the 3.5mm stereo input. The small desktop remote has two XLR, TRS and RCA inputs on the back, as well as a multi-pin port that connects the remote to the subwoofer. The multi-pin cable has two jobs. It sends the signal to the amps located in the sub enclosure, Post • August 2012 45

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