Focal Shape 65 vs Neumann KH120: An In-depth Speaker Comparison – 2024 Guide

You're ready to make a big purchase, but you're having trouble deciding between these two powerhouses, the Focal Shape 65 and the Neumann KH120.

Trust me, I know how difficult that decision is… especially if you have no plans on whipping out that dreaded return postage label!

You know how the saying goes, buy right, buy once! Or something like that…

Either way, I've got you covered!

I've broken down the good, the bad and the ugly of these babies, so providing you have a clear idea of exactly what you plan on doing with it, you will have a clear idea on which one is best for you, by the end of this article.

Let get into it…

Focal Shape 65 vs Neumann KH120

At A Glance:

Focal Shape 65


Focal Shape 65 Pros & Cons

  • Pros:
  • High quality sound.
  • Provides more midrange detail, extended top end, faster woofer speed and more natural sounding bass.
  • Sound is very sweet and not tiring to listen to for many hours.
  • Imaging sweet spot is wider, providing a very revealing sound.
  • Auto off/on feature is less finicky and the speakers wake up easier once they are broken in.
  • Excellent sound quality and detailed both in higher and lower range frequencies.
  • Can be positioned near a wall and work well in a smaller space.
  • Enables quicker work due to their honesty and good sound.
  • Sound translates well when listening to mixes on other playback devices.
  • Cons:
  • On & off switch is at the back, which may not be convenient for some users.
  • Lack of volume control on the units.
  • More expensive than initially budgeted for.

Neumann KH120

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Neumann KH120 Pros & Cons

  • Pros:
    – Impressive sound quality for acoustic music
    – Excellent presentation of plucked strings and small groups of players
    – Fantastic rendering of instruments like harp, lute, theorbo, viol, and harpsichord
    – Superb rendering of jazz and orchestral music with pinpoint positioning
    – Exceptional detail without harshness
    – Marvelous voice reproduction
    – Rich lows surpassing other speakers of similar size
    – Clean-lined metal design reflecting German craftsmanship
    – Tonally accurate from top to bottom of the frequency spectrum
    – Excellent bass extension for their size
    – Impressive detail resolution and imaging
    – Great value for the price
  • Cons:
    – Very high cost of mounting adaptors and accessories
    – Limited maximum SPL for larger rooms

Key Differences Between The Focal Shape 65 And The Neumann KH120

Focal Shape 65 vs Neumann KH120

The main differences between Focal Shape 65 and Neumann KH120 are several, with each offering unique features that cater to different audio needs and preferences.

Bass handling: The way these monitors manage the bass is a remarkable difference; the Focal Shape 65 uses a passive radiator while Neumann KH120 employs a ported design. The lack of bass overhang on the Neumann KH120 contributes to its impressive balance.

Frequency response range:

  • The Focal Shape 65 has a frequency response range that goes from 50Hz up to 35kHz.
  • The Neumann KH120, however, has a slightly narrower range extending from 52Hz to 21kHz.

This distinction in frequency response range can be attributed primarily to the different types of tweeters used in these speakers.

Built-in DSP crossover and driver correction: A unique feature of the Neumann KH120 not present in Focal Shape 65 is its built-in DSP crossover and driver correction which significantly enhances its performance beyond conventional two-way speakers.

User reviews on sound quality:
While both monitors have been mentioned for their excellent sound reproduction, some users have indicated a slight preference towards Focal Shape 65 due to an undefined edge perceived by them. They suggest this monitor offers better field frequency response and optimal integration compared to Neumann KH120.

Spatial imaging and resolution:
Some opinions suggest that Neumann KH120 potentially offers better spatial imaging along with an improved low end.

Despite these differences, expert reviews as of July 2023 have shown preference for Neumann KH120 A over Focal Shape 65 whilst acknowledging both monitors' solid performance.

Ultimately, choosing between these two studio speakers would be largely dependent on your individual needs and preferences for sound reproduction in your studio setup. Listening to both monitors before making your decision would definitely prove beneficial.

FeaturesFocal Shape 65Neumann KH120
Tweeter DirectivityLow tweeter directivity for a flexible listening positionNot specified
Port DesignDesigned without a port allowing it to be placed near a wallNot specified
Settings for Integration & ControlNumerous settings for optimal integration & accurate control, even in the very high endNot specified
Cone MaterialFlax sandwich coneNot specified
Fastening MechanismsPresent on the back and underneath the loudspeakerNot specified
Output Wattage220.0 watts100 watts (50Watt + 50Watt)
Power Source TypeCorded electricNot specified
Speaker SystemNot specifiedBiamplified 2 way monitoring speaker system featuring a 5.25 inch long throw woofer and 1inch titanium fabric dome tweeter
ToleranceNot specifiedPrecision manufactured to ± .5db tolerance
EnclosureNot specifiedCompact and rugged, non resonant Aluminum enclosure
Free Field Frequency ResponseNot specified52 Hertz -21 kiloHertz, ± 3 dB

What You Need To Know About Focal Shape 65

The Focal Shape 65 is a super cool speaker designed to give you the best sound, no matter where you are in the room. It doesn’t have a port, meaning you can place it right up against a wall without worrying about messing up the sound. Plus, it has lots of settings so you can tweak it to sound just right for your ears.

Now let's talk about bass – which is all about those deep, rumbling sounds. The Focal Shape 65 uses a neat technology called flax sandwich cone that really helps control that bass and keep it sounding crisp and clear. Not just that, this tech also makes lower mid-range sounds natural and detailed while keeping upper mid-range sounds perfectly in check.

Oh, and you know what else is cool? You can mount this speaker on your ceiling or wall! You'll need to get your hands on some mounting brackets though as they don't come with the speaker itself.

Just so you know, this bad boy pumps out an impressive 220 watts of power and runs off corded electric power source.

To find out more or make it your own, check out Focal's official page. Trust me; once you hear its amazing sound quality, there's no going back!

My 1 Month Review Of The Focal Shape 65

Focal Shape 65 vs Neumann KH120


The moment I heard about the Focal Shape 65, I knew it had to be mine. So, after a month of use, here's my hands-on experience and honest review of this music-making marvel.

Unboxing and First Impressions

Right out the box, the Focal Shape 65 comes across as a dedicated professional's tool. Unpretentious yet sleek design, solid build quality gave me confidence about my investment. It was pretty much love at first sight (and touch) for me.

The Sound Quality

As a music producer who requires precision and clarity, I was rapt with Shape 65's sound quality.
The low end is tight and well defined without being overpowering.
The mids are incredibly clear, allowing individual instruments to shine through.
The highs are sparkling clean but never harsh or shrill. The balance is simply breathtaking.

Tactile Experience

The build quality of the Focal Shape 65 is ace!
In-person these monitors feel robust and sturdy.
You can feel they're made to last. The rubberized controls on the back have an assured tactile feedback that I genuinely appreciate.

Notable Features

Passive radiators: This feature allows for superior bass extension in such compact cabinets.
Tweeter protection: A thoughtful touch that does wonders for longevity.
User-adjustable settings: These help in precise sound tuning based on your studio environment.

Final Thoughts

After one month with the Focal Shape 65s, I can comfortably say they're more than just speakers; they're game changers.
Invaluable tools allowing me to produce music of outstanding detail and depth – which is precisely why we musicians do what we do.
If you value accuracy, detail, depth, controlled dynamics and professional build quality,
I wholeheartedly recommend investing in Focal's Shape 65 studio monitors.

What You Need To Know About Neumann KH120

The Neumann KH120 is a top-notch speaker system. It's got two parts, each with its own 50Watt power supply. That's one for the 5.25 inch woofer (the part that makes the low sounds) and one for the 1inch tweeter (the part that makes the high sounds). What makes it special is that both pieces are fine-tuned to a super precise level of ± .5db. This means you get a sound stage and image that's hard to beat.

But wait, there's more! The speaker box itself is made from tough non-resonant Aluminum. This means it doesn't add any extra noise or rattle to your music – all you hear is pure sound.

What about the range of sound it can handle? Well, this little beast can tackle anything from 52 Hertz all the way up to 21 kiloHertz, give or take 3 dB. In other words, it can cover pretty much any sound you'd want from your music or movies.

Overall, if you're on the hunt for a robust and reliable speaker system that delivers top-tier sound quality, then this could be just what you're looking for!

My 1 Month Review Of The Neumann KH120

Focal Shape 65 vs Neumann KH120

After a month of testing the Neumann KH120, here are my thoughts:

Sound Quality

Right off the bat, I was immediately struck by the **incredible sound quality**. Each note is reproduced with an astonishing level of clarity that makes every song feel like a live performance. It's like having your own private concert right in your living room. The bass response is tight, rather than booming or muddy.
High-frequency sounds are crisp without being shrill or piercing. They're truly some of the best speakers I've ever had the pleasure to listen through.

Design and Build Quality

Physically speaking, these speakers are built like tanks. The build quality is fantastic and they exude a sense of robustness that other speakers just don't have.
Visually, they sport a sleek design that doesn’t scream for attention but offers an understated elegance when placed on any desk or stand.


I found them really simple to plug in and get started with – no convoluted setup process involved here!
The connectors feel sturdy and provide a solid connection which I appreciate considering how often I switch between audio sources.

Bullet Highlights:
+ Phenomenal sound quality
+ Robust and sleek design
+ Easy setup

Overall Thoughts

For me, it felt like Neumann nailed it on their first go with these monitors – something few companies achieve. If you prioritize sound over anything else then you can't go wrong with these.
I'm thrilled with my experience using the Neumann KH120 speakers thus far and would wholeheartedly recommend them to any serious audiophile seeking an upgrade.

Who The Focal Shape 65 Is For & Why You Might Choose It Over The Neumann KH120

Focal Shape 65 vs Neumann KH120

Who is the Focal Shape 65 for?
The Focal Shape 65 is designed for serious music enthusiasts, professional music producers, mixing engineers, and sound designers who value high-quality sound and detailed audio performance.

If you are someone who spends many hours working on your audio projects or enjoy an immersive soundscape experience during your leisure listening sessions, then the Focal Shape 65 could be the right choice for you.

Why choose the Focal Shape 65?
There are several compelling reasons why you might prefer to invest in a Focal Shape 65:
High-Quality Sound: Numerous users have praised its superior sound quality, specifically noting enhanced midrange detail and a more extended top-end compared to other speakers in this price range.
Durable Construction: The build quality ensures longevity and durability, ensuring that it can withstand long hours of use without compromising on performance.
Auditory Comfort: Users have commented that these monitors deliver a pleasingly smooth sound which prevents listener fatigue during long sessions.
Detailed Audio Performance: If working on audio projects in a home studio environment or simply enjoying music at home is important to you, then this unit's detailed reproduction of both high and low-frequency ranges will meet your expectations. A few users mentioned how they discovered previously unnoticed details in their favorite tracks after switching to these speakers.

Be mindful of factors like placement and room size to get the most out of these monitors – they're designed for nearfield listening and work best when set up correctly. They also offer easy integration with subwoofers if additional bass presence is needed for specific projects.

Remember though, investing in high-quality gear like this isn't just about improved sound quality; it’s also about trust. Trust that what you're hearing from these speakers will translate accurately onto other playback systems – something many users have noted as a key benefit of using the Shape 65s.

So if trustworthiness in translation, excellent build quality, and superior auditory comfort are paramount considerations for your next speaker purchase – don't think twice about considering the Focal Shape 65s.

Who The Neumann KH120 Is For & Why You Might Choose It Over The Focal Shape 65

Focal Shape 65 vs Neumann KH120

Who is Neumann KH120 for?
The Neumann KH120 is made for both audiophiles and those who work in sound engineering or audio production. This includes hobbyists, professionals, and anyone else who values a high-quality listening experience. It's also suitable for those who value the craftsmanship of audio equipment as well as its performance.

Why choose the Neumann KH120?
The feedback on the Neumann KH120 shows that this speaker has left a lasting impression on users due to several factors:

Sound Quality:
The sound output is staggering, especially considering their small size. They are particularly effective in presenting acoustic music in a near-field setting, with plucked strings and small groups of players sounding fantastic.

With correct positioning of speakers and listener, these speakers provide terrific spatial realism. The detail offered by these speakers is exceptional but never harsh.

Bass Extension:
They have excellent bass extension for their size. The lows are rich and surpass what other similarly sized speakers offer.

These speakers exude quality German design and manufacturing, which might be appreciated by those who value fine craftsmanship.

It's worth noting that these monitors might not be suitable for all tastes due to their tonal accuracy across the frequency spectrum without any artificial enhancement. This makes them especially ideal as a monitoring tool in audio production.

Lastly, you should bear in mind that add-ons like mounting adaptors from Neumann are pretty expensive. However, if you're after quality sound output and appreciate good design craftsmanship, this extra cost might not be significant.

In summary:
– If you're someone who enjoys superior sound quality across all music genres
– If you appreciate precision when it comes to music presentation
– If you enjoy excellent bass extension from compact-sized speakers
– If you appreciate fine engineering and industrial design…

Then it's recommended that you consider auditioning the Neumann KH120 monitors as your next purchase.

If the Focal Shape 65 vs Neumann KH120 comparison doesn't quite hit the mark for you, don't worry – I've got plenty of other posts exploring similar products that might suit your needs better.

Take a peek at how the Focal Shape 65 squares up against other industry favorites in these deep-dives: Focal Shape 65 vs Yamaha HS5, Focal Shape 65 vs Kali Audio LP-6 V2, or even Focal Shape 65 vs Genelec 8010A.

If you're looking at a smaller scale setup, you might find my post on Focal Shape 65 vs JBL One Series 104 interesting. So go ahead and explore – find what fits your sound scenario best!


What are the key differences between Focal Shape 65 and Neumann KH120 in terms of sound quality?

The Focal Shape 65 and Neumann KH120 are both known for delivering high-quality sound, but they handle it differently. The Focal Shape 65 is characterized by its optimal integration and better field frequency response, giving it a certain unique edge that some users find preferable. On the other hand, the Neumann KH120 is lauded for its well-balanced nature due to minimal bass overhang. It has a built-in DSP crossover and driver correction feature that elevates its performance above conventional two-way speakers.

How does the design of each speaker impact their performance?

The different designs used in these speakers significantly contribute to their performance. The Focal Shape 65, with its passive radiator design, handles bass differently compared to the ported design of the Neumann KH120. The type of tweeter used in each speaker also contributes to their varying frequency response ranges; as noted earlier, Focal Shape’s specifications go lower (50Hz) and higher (35kHz) than those of Neumann KH120 (52Hz-21kHz).

In terms of spatial imaging and resolution, which monitor performs better?

While both monitors have excellent sound quality, expert reviews suggest that the Neumann KH120‘s spatial imaging capabilities may be more superior. It's also believed that this model provides deeper low-end sounds than Focal's offering.

If I'm unable to listen to both monitors before purchase, what other factors should I consider when deciding between these two models?

If you're unable to audition each speaker personally before making a decision — which is highly advised — you might want to consider looking at user reviews about overall satisfaction with sound quality or clarity on specific elements like vocals or instrumentals. Other factors can include your studio setup — especially room size — as well as your budget since there may be cost differences between them.

Buyer's Guide: Important Things To Consider & Look Out For When Buying Speakers

1. Determine the Right Type of Monitor Speakers

Before diving deep into your search, it's essential to know what type of speakers to look for. In professional audio monitoring, there are several types you can choose from, including studio monitors, reference monitors, nearfield monitors, and more.

Studio monitors like the Neumann KH120 or Focal Shape 65 are renowned for their sound accuracy and detailed sound reproduction. They offer a linear frequency response that is critical for mixing and mastering tracks.

On the other hand, nearfield monitors, as their name suggests, are designed to be placed close to your listening position and provide a more intimate listening experience.

2. Check the Technical Specs

When buying a pair of audio speakers online like the iconic Focal Shape 65 or Neumann KH120, understanding their technical specifications is crucial. For instance, you need to check the frequency response.

This aspect measures how accurately speakers reproduce each frequency of audio content at different volumes.

Moreover, pay attention to whether your chosen product supports high-resolution audio playback – an essential feature if you're dealing with high-quality audio sources in professional applications.

3. Read Online Reviews

When shopping online for anything – even something as specialized as monitor speakers – reviews can be your best friend! Look for in-depth reviews that talk about products' practical performance rather than solely relying on manufacturers' descriptions.

Keep an eye out specifically for mentions about sound accuracy and detailed sound reproduction while going through these reviews – after all; these are vital characteristics when it comes down to monitor speakers!

4. Consider Your Room Size

Your room’s size plays a significant role in discerning which speaker will give optimal results. A larger room requires more powerful speakers with wider coverage while smaller rooms do well with compact models such as nearfield monitors.

5. Beware of Your Budget

Balancing quality against cost is always tough when it comes to buying professional grade equipment like monitor speakers—models like Focal Shape 65 or Neumann KH120 do not come cheap because they offer top-notch performance!

Prioritize spending on features most critical to you without going overboard with bells and whistles that might not significantly enhance your monitoring experience.

6. Compatibility Checks

Ensure that whatever speaker set-up you decide upon is compatible with your existing equipment setup—be it recording devices or playback systems! It's equally important they're compatible with acoustic spaces where they'll be used regularly!


Whilst purchasing online undoubtedly offers convenience and potentially better deals there are downsides particularly relating back services provided by physical retail stores such being able have hands-on demonstrations before purchase provide immediate troubleshooting issues arise.


You may want balance for this potential drawback looking sellers who offer good aftersales service terms answers questions prompt device repairs replacements needed.

About Author

Arielle P

Arielle P

Songwriter | Music Producer | Engineer.

With a background in music production and a strong passion for education, Arielle is dedicated to helping emerging artists navigate the music industry. She has worked with a diverse range of artists, from indie rock bands to well-known hip-hop and grime artists. Arielle's unique approach to teaching focuses on empowering artists to take control of their brand, ensuring they retain creative ownership throughout their journey. In her free time, she enjoys experimenting with new sounds in her home studio and sharing her insights through music production tutorials and workshops.

📧 Email Arielle