Neumann NDH 30
May 18, 2022 at 3:39 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 375

rudbeard

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I've seen a few announcements for these, but not much media presence, unlike their saturation approach with the NDH 20. These are designed for use as studio monitor on the go. The Neumann acoustic engineers created the open back of their studio monitors in the NDH 20 form factor. Neumann has said that their engineers worked independently from their parent company (Sennheiser) but based the NDH 20 on the HD650. I hope the NDH 30 improves on the NDH 20 by taking advantage of the potential in the open back design.

I'm sure they're also made in China like the NDH 20. Check out this video by Custom Cans to learn about the design and construction of the NDH series. I admire the design more than the sound but looking forward to an open back take on the NDH line.

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NDH 30 Studio Monitor

THE PORTABLE SOUND REFERENCE

The NDH 30 is a circumaural, open-back headphone with outstanding detail resolution and high-precision stereo imaging with razor-sharp localization. Its linear soundstage and superior transient response recommend it for the most demanding applications such as mixing and mastering.

PERFECT MONITORING IN NEUMANN QUALITY – EVERYWHERE​

The NDH 30 was developed with the aim of making the reference sound of a Neumann studio monitor setup, perfectly calibrated via MA 1, available everywhere in the form of an easily transportable headphone. At the same time, the NDH 30 forms its own sound reference in terms of headphone reproduction, which has become a key to success with the consumer. Its superior sound characteristics make the NDH 30 the first choice for mixing and mastering. Thanks to its high long-term comfort, it is just as excellently suited to high-precision editing.

Its high-quality construction of spring steel and aluminum as well as its pleasant handling properties are largely the same as those of the NDH 20. However, the NDH 30 is an open-back headphone, which means that its dynamic 38 mm transducers work as acoustic dipoles. This allows their highly refined sound characteristics to unfold optimally: extremely fast transient response, dry bass, uncolored mids and transparent highs. In other words, the NDH 30 has no sound coloration, but reproduces the signal 1:1.

UNCOMPROMISING PRECISION​

The NDH 30 owes its superior linearity, among other things, to frequency-selective absorbers that eliminate the overemphasis in the high frequencies that leads to incorrect mixing decisions in many other headphones. For example, the NDH 30 will accurately reveal whether a voice sounds muffled or needs a de-esser.

The spatial resolution is impressive. The NDH 30 allows razor-sharp localization in the stereo panorama and makes the depth of the mix evident. To minimize channel crosstalk, the NDH 30 is supplied with a high-quality, cloth covered cable that is internally balanced.

PART OF A SUCCESSFUL FAMILY​

With its high linearity and detail resolution, the NDH 30 is perfectly compatible with a loudspeaker system that has been optimally calibrated using Neumann Automatic Monitor Alignment. Mixes begun at home or on the road using the NDH 30 can be seamlessly continued in the studio using KH-Line loudspeakers – and vice versa. At the same time, the NDH 30 is recommended as a headphone sound reference; headphones, after all, have long become the dominant playback system among consumers. The NDH 30 is ideal for checking headphone compatibility and creating binaural mixes of immersive content (including VR and gaming). As consistency and reliability are essential in mixing and mastering, the NDH 30 is manufactured to extremely tight tolerances so each headphone sounds exactly the same.

FEATURES​

  • Outstanding linearity and transient response
  • High spatial resolution
  • Sound and mix compatibility with KH-Line speakers
  • High long-term comfort
  • Internally balanced, cloth covered cable (detachable)
  • Foldable for easy transport

My Speculations​

I'm looking forward to hearing more about these but I'm not compelled to buy them. I'm a fan of the NDH 20 for tracking and mixing but not mastering (they have minimal sound leak, not as objective as claimed but fairly representative of sound). The NDH 20 are a bit of a fashion statement and help people take what their hearing more seriously than the Beyer DT770. It's like how singers put more into their performance if you put a large diaphragm condenser mic in front of them but record them using a small diaphragm condenser side. I'm sure the sides of the NDH 30 will also not perform very well on camera with a green screen or with background blur filters.

To my eye, the looks of the NDH30 aren't quite as striking as the NDH 20, the black grill isn't as striking as a pattern lasercut in the flat back of the NDH 30 would be. I like the sound of the NDH 20 but hope the NDH 30 is tuned more like the Sennheiser HD560/HD400 Pro. For those that haven't opened their NDH 20, the driver is sealed into a shallow flat housing with the majority of the cup being used as a resonance chamber. I'm sure it took a great deal of reworking to make it into an open-back. It looks a bit like the Sennheiser shaped back but knowing the construction of the NDH 20 makes me wonder if they're not semi-open like the Beyer DT880.

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Frustratingly, looks like they're the same locking 2.5mm connector. I don't think they need to be balanced given the power requirements, but it would be nice if they dropped the 2.5mm. I wish they'd dropped the special cable and gone with a balanced 3.5mm single side non-locking connector - working with these as portable reference sound, I'm far more likely to trip over a long cable or need to swap to a mobile one for my travel DAC/Amp, so why make it both 2.5mm and proprietary locking connector. I give the NDH series a special exception for their use of right side cable entry as I work left handed and interfaces often have their cables on the right side. All other headphones must be left entry, the only true single-side entry.

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Interesting that the pads seem more like Suede than the NDH 20's velour. I'm not not a huge fan of the stock pads on the NDH 20, but I haven't found good replacements. I'm still working on a new design for the headband padding since it's designed to be a very easy replacement and I find the padding lackluster to ineffective.
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Technical Specifications:​

Frequency Range12 ... 34,000 Hz
Packed cube0.005 m³
Wearing styleHeadband
FoldableYes
Ear couplingCircumaural
Acoustic principleDynamic open
Transducer diameter38 mm
Transducer magnetNeodymium
Transducer protectionCloth covered grille
Nominal Impedance120 Ohms
Sensitivity at 1 kHz/1 Vrms104 dB SPL
Max input power handling1000 mW
Continuous input power handling200 mW
THD at 1 kHz and 100 dB SPL<0.03%
Cable entrySingle sided, right ear cup
Connectivity3.5 mm (1/8") TRS jack plug (straight), adapter for 6.3 mm (1/4")
Cable length3.0 m (10')
Ear cup contact pressure5.5-6.8 N
Weight excluding cable352 g
Detachable cableYes
Replaceable earpadsYes
Colours - headbandRAL 9006 White Aluminium / RAL 7016 Anthracite Grey
Colours - ear cupsRAL 9006 White Aluminium
Materials - headbandSpring steel strip, aluminium and plastic fittings, plastic trimming
Materials - ear cupsAluminium
Materials - ear padsCloth covered memory foam
Packed dimensions (height x width x depth), mm245 x 255 x 84 mm
Packed weight0.97 kg
Operating Conditions+5° C to +45° C, <90% RH; non condensing
Transport/Storage Conditions-15° C to +70° C; <90% RH; non condensing

I'll continue to update with more information as we go.
 
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May 18, 2022 at 7:49 PM Post #2 of 375

equalspeace

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By the looks of the plug these will be able to be run balanced. That's good.
 
May 23, 2022 at 11:34 AM Post #4 of 375

FullBright1

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Neumann NDH -30 "Open" Mini Review


Box : Exactly like the Closed version

Cable : SE ... Similar to previous. slightly long, cloth, medium microphonic

Build Q : I think its well designed, reminds me of a good Beyer.

Headband : Comfortable

Clamping Force : Mild

Ear Pads : Fuzzy, comfortable, will work fine for most ears

Weight : The N30s feel light on the head.

=====================


If you liked the Closed version of the NDH20, then you'll really like the N Open-30.
My 1st concern was that Neumann was going to just shave off some aluminum, put on "open" driver covers, and call it "new".
That is not what Neumann has accomplished here, sonically. Instead they have changed the tuning, slightly, and increased the overall sonic resolution.
ONE THING THO.... These are monitors...so, they are designed to let you tweek EQ, using them.

My 2nd concern, going in, was that the N30-s would be bass lite. More about that in the "Bass" section.
So what do they sound like, vs, how do they sound. Well, the how they sound is, i think, good. The "what do they sound like", is a more complicated .
Here is what they dont sound like... They dont sound like a Hifiman or an Audeze, or a Beyer. The reason is, they have a well engineered Linear
midrange forward presentation. Think "Neutral" .. So, you have nice clarity, sparkle, "airy"....definitely not a wet, lush, or round, tone.
Its a "neutral reference" tone, which means its a touch dry and balanced, aiming toward neutrality with a midrange forward presentation.
My initial impression is that these are an airy, neutral, slightly dry sound, that reminds me a bit of the Sennheiser sound, yet not including the HD560S.
-

Treble : Airy, extended... Its revealing but its not Flagship level.

Midrange : Definitely Forward from Neutral, open, slightly dry which lends to the N30's "reference" "neutral" signature .
Tonally, The N30 are dedicated to the midrange and "airy" treble..

Low Mids : Mildly stepped back to prevent any sort of interference with the N30's reference midrange point of view.

Bass : Linear, slightly neutral. Its not early Audeze Bass, it does slam... but it does carry some necessary weigh, and extends nicely down low.

Instrument Separation : Accurate

Detail Retrieval : This is a set of studio monitors for your ears, thus, the micro detail retrieval not overcooked. Its not a Planar type of micro detail retrieval..

Soundstage : Its decent. Depth, width, are fine, and the sonic appearance of the entire soundstage feels like its striving more for accuracy, only.

Timbre : Neutral meets Sparkle

Fatigue : Not a problem.

Scaling : The N30's scale well. Very revealing of your Dac/Amp... Play their best with some power.

Those who are looking for a different sound, the 'Neumann" sound, in an open version will be pleased. And those who can enjoy a non planar tone, will enjoy the N30.
Keep in mind that these are neutral and midrange forward, and are designed to let you EQ them, as you use them in a Studio.

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May 24, 2022 at 10:53 PM Post #5 of 375

rudbeard

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I like Neumann monitors but prefer Genelec. I'm encouraged by the mini-review. I know I felt less enthusiastic about the Avantone Planars than you did, @FullBright1, but I liked the NDH 20 a fair bit.

Is there any change in the comfort or is the 40g lighter weight inconsequential? I found the headband and clamp a bit much on the NDH20, but I blame the headphone hard rubber padding for that.
 
May 25, 2022 at 1:08 PM Post #7 of 375

FullBright1

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I like Neumann monitors but prefer Genelec. I'm encouraged by the mini-review. I know I felt less enthusiastic about the Avantone Planars than you did, @FullBright1, but I liked the NDH 20 a fair bit.
Is there any change in the comfort or is the 40g lighter weight inconsequential? I found the headband and clamp a bit much on the NDH20, but I blame the headphone hard rubber padding for that.

I like Genelec's. But i use Dynaudio and Adams.

And my appreciation for the Avantone's was in direct proportion to their Cost/Value. Had they been $800, then not so much.

The N30s are more comfy than the N20s. and the headband is not a prob, that i can ascertain.
Light, good sounding, headphones.
Airy, neutral, quite balanced sound. Bass is balanced.
If you listen to Planar's all the time then know that these are a totally different world regarding their sound.
They are a good $700 sound, but they are not a $900 sound, which is probably because they are monitors vs being foremost designed as a audiophile sound.
They are trying to give your MIX a flat borderline reference so that you can then EQ as you want the music to sound.
THINK : midrange forward
I have used them yesterday to Master, and they really do their job, as designed.

Audiophile headphones "master" the sound for you, and present it as their sound sig. The N30 do not. They just provide the sound, and then you take it to the Mastering level.
I'd suggest, can't prove it, but i can suggest that if you can enjoy the HD600, then you can enjoy the N30s, as the N30s have great vocal presentation, more resolution and more bass and a wider soundstage.
 
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May 26, 2022 at 4:00 PM Post #8 of 375

rudbeard

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Audiophile headphones "master" the sound for you, and present it as their sound sig. The N30 do not. They just provide the sound, and then you take it to the Mastering level.
I'd suggest, can't prove it, but i can suggest that if you can enjoy the HD600, then you can enjoy the N30s, as the N30s have great vocal presentation, more resolution and more bass and a wider soundstage.
I agree. I think that a lot of audiophiles place value "reference" headphones, not understanding that a lot of audiophile headphones should present the sound as it would sound good, that said, I can't mix in headphones that present sound flatteringly as I need to hear the rough bits.

Tracking, mixing, and monitoring headphones are all different beasts for different purposes. Extra bass and some V-shape to the treble can help in tracking instruments, the NDH20 really works for tracking vocals as the somewhat neutral-warm tonality works with instead of against the in-body experience of your own voice. I still don't know if I would mix in the NDH-30 if they're not more analytic than the HD600 line which are great sounding but still a bit veiled and relaxed-audiophile tuned.
 
May 26, 2022 at 4:02 PM Post #9 of 375

rudbeard

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Do they make a balanced cable for these babies?
Not that I can find yet, but the jack and connector it shares with the NDH20 and select Sennheiser HD500 series both support balanced wiring. The video from Custom Cans (he multimeters the PCB timestamped here to show it is L+, L-, R+, R- so it won't work with 2.5mm "standard" A&K pinout) that I linked in the first post discusses how they could be run balanced.

UPDATE: still no, but . . . Neumann now sells two cloth covered cables with balanced 4-pole 2.5mm termination. As the NDH 20 and 30 is wired internally for balanced, you would just need to be able to run it on a balanced source with a balanced plug.
  • [NEW 4-pole] NDH Cloth Cov. Symmetric Cable (1.2 m) terminates in 6.3mm & 3.5mm but you could have the amp end of the cable re-terminated assuming there are enough conductors in the cable.
  • [NEW 4-pole] NDH Cloth Cov. Symmetric Cable (3 m) also terminates in 6.3mm & 3.5mm so source-end could be re-terminated to balanced
  • [OLD 3-pole] NDH Straight Cable short 3-pole, unbalanced so both ends would need to be re-terminated to balanced
  • [OLD 3-pole] NDH Coiled Cable long coiled 3-pole, unbalanced so both ends would need to be re-terminated to balanced
 
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May 26, 2022 at 4:02 PM Post #10 of 375

gimmeheadroom

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Nice review. But for me, locking connectors are essential on everything. I use BNC, XLR, whenever possible.
 
May 26, 2022 at 4:08 PM Post #12 of 375

FullBright1

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I agree. I think that a lot of audiophiles place value "reference" headphones, not understanding that a lot of audiophile headphones should present the sound as it would sound good, that said, I can't mix in headphones that present sound flatteringly as I need to hear the rough bits.

Tracking, mixing, and monitoring headphones are all different beasts for different purposes. Extra bass and some V-shape to the treble can help in tracking instruments, the NDH20 really works for tracking vocals as the somewhat neutral-warm tonality works with instead of against the in-body experience of your own voice. I still don't know if I would mix in the NDH-30 if they're not more analytic than the HD600 line which are great sounding but still a bit veiled and relaxed-audiophile tuned.

Yes.

There is the "Audeze" sound.....and that is because an Audeze Headphone, turns your music into the Audeze Slam, etc. And Audeze HP's also makes treble more thick, tho not as much regarding the LCD-5.
There is the Hifiman Sound..... which is......."we are Asian Audiophile Headphone makers, and we like it bright, very detailed, and not too much midrange".

The N30, is not a V shape. Its soundstage is more wide then deep, as that is necessary for the accuracy.
A W + D soundstage, is an invention of the headphone, in most cases. Such as the HD800S.
The Susvara, is unique as it does not do the "lost in a big room" type of music presentation that you find with all the other ear shaped Hifiman's., which i love.
I love the Susvara, but, i enjoy the HE1000 V2, Edition Xv2, and HE1000SE even more, as they give you that magical Hifiman soundstage.
The N30's soundstage, is much closer, more in the head, then the HE1000 series, which is needful for a mixing and mastering headphone.
 
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May 26, 2022 at 4:11 PM Post #14 of 375

gimmeheadroom

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They use a locking connector on both the NDH20 and the NDH30 are a deep-insert, twist-locking 2.5mm connector.
I know. I was responding to the OP's objection to it. Just another data point, some people much prefer locking connectors.

I do agree the proprietary ones are a bad idea. 4 pin mini-XLR would help...
 
May 26, 2022 at 7:01 PM Post #15 of 375

rudbeard

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I know. I was responding to the OP's objection to it. Just another data point, some people much prefer locking connectors.
So, I'll add that my main problem is the deep insertion plus twist locking – it's so hard to know if I've completely seated the cable (stock or aftermarket) and it will function but then randomly drop out. The length and lever arm of the deep-insert plug makes me a bit worried because it is such a thin and fragile 2.5mm. The one reason that it's better to have a non-standard cable is that it saves you from blowing up your headphones due to the stupid 2.5mm standard. I hate the "standard" 2.5mm pinout and think that the 3.5mm balanced (like Ryan at Modhouse uses) is much smarter and easier to solder.

I really appreciate all of my multi-pin locking connectors like the DCA mini-XLR, etc – although I wish more were push-pull release such as the DCA and HD800 than "why must you be so small" like most miniXLRs. Magnetic push-pull, multi-pin connectors are the Camelot of connectors.
 
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