Neumann NDH-30 Open-Back Studio Headphones: Review


For virtually a century, Neumann microphones have been utilized in broadcast cubicles and studios across the globe. World leaders broadcast a number of the most vital addresses of the twentieth century by their merchandise; and there’s a excellent likelihood that a few of your favourite albums and radio packages had been recorded utilizing the Neumann U47 or M49 Series Microphones.

Neumann.Berlin (or Georg Neumann GmbH) have been a fixture within the professional audio world for nearly 100 years however solely entered the patron headphone class again in 2019.

Neumann turned a part of the Sennheiser Group again in 1991 however didn’t deviate from its core enterprise of microphones, pre-amplifiers, and studio displays.

Neumann NDH-20 (Closed-back, $549)
Neumann NDH-30 Open-back Studio Headphones
Neumann NDH-30 (open-back, $649)

The Neumann Closed-Back NDH-20 Headphones had been their first product and designed particularly for mastering professionals who required a headphone to match their KH 120 studio monitors.

The NDH-20 supplied a really linear sounding tonal steadiness, good isolation, in a compact design that engineers might take with them to each the studio and different recording venues.  

What the NDH-20 couldn’t do was present the same soundstage to the KH 120 or different studio displays. While the closed design was nice for isolation, it additionally restricted what engineers might hear for in regard to the soundstage. Numerous engineers went again to the corporate and requested them to develop an open-back pair of studio headphones.

Neumann created the NDH-30 for this group of individuals. The NDH-30 retains the design, supplies, and signature of the NDH-20 however incorporates an open again design as an alternative.

If you look at each the NDH-20 and NDH-30, you may assume that the strong metallic earcup plate of the NDH-20 was eliminated and that’s it.

Having spoken to the engineers at Neumann, the interior design may be very completely different and way more sophisticated.

Neumann NDH-30 Open-back Studio Headphones Side

The Skinny

The unboxing of the Neumann NDH-30 revealed that they’re clearly designed for studio use; the cups and body are manufactured from aluminum and the general construct is designed to deal with its fair proportion of abuse.

The hinges and all stress factors are strengthened; there may be little or no use of plastic and what exists is held in place by top quality {hardware} for ease of substitute ought to it develop into essential in a couple of years.

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The cable is material wrapped and attaches to the appropriate earcup by way of a recessed 3.5mm port (TRRS 4 pole connector), and may be very strong and designed to resist the pains of studio life.

Neumann NDH-30 Open-back Studio Headphones Internal Earcup
Neumann NDH-30 Open-back Studio Headphones Driver Rear

Internally, the Neumann NDH-30 makes use of a 38mm driver with a nominal impedance of 120 ohms and a sensitivity of 104dB (1 kHz/1Vrms). 

A good friend of mine who has been modifying his NDH-30 headphones (Vitaly Belz) was variety sufficient to supply me with some inside pictures.

The drivers come from Sennheiser, and are marked #528480 which is similar half used within the HD558 and HD598 headphones. Both Sennheiser fashions have an impedance ranking that’s significantly decrease together with a a lot increased sensitivity.

This means that the Neumann model is using completely different inside damping and different customizations as properly. The drivers used within the NDH-20 and NDH-30 will not be the identical and there are some extra tweaks to the NDH-30 that alter the tuning considerably.

Neumann NDH-30 Open-back Studio Headphones Earcup Interiors


Having beforehand owned a pair of the Neumann NDH-20s, I had some expectations in regard to what I’d possible encounter with the NDH-30; the Neumann sonic signature is rather more linear in comparison with different studio headphones out there and it will be truthful to explain them as barely lean sounding.

If you used to a hotter, and lusher sounding presentation, the Neumann NDH Series are a slightly large departure from that sort of headphone.

Remember that these are tuned so that each change on a mixing board is delivered to the ear; what is likely to be perceived as a barely ahead sounding midrange is definitely the absence of the everyday drop within the midrange that accentuates the bass and treble ranges on most client headphones.

All of that could be a fancy approach of claiming that your typical pair of headphones places extra emphasis on the bass and treble as a result of most individuals react extra positively to that sort of tuning from a listening pleasure perspective. That doesn’t make them correct.

Bass notes have good extension and definition however they’re most definitely not going to impression you an identical approach {that a} bass heavy design may. The NDH-30 ship bass notes with velocity and texture and the main focus is on accuracy.

Depending on the supply materials, you may discover them to be slightly bass shy — however then you definitely take heed to one thing like Dvořák’s “Symphony No. 9 in E Minor, Op. 95” and instantly they rattle your enamel.


The decrease midrange is recessed barely from the mid bass which retains male vocals from sounding too thick or chesty; the timbre is slightly correct however it will be truthful to say that they sound considerably lean on this a part of the vary in comparison with some fashions from Audeze that add some extra coloration and impression with the identical tracks.

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The midrange has a gentle carry that’s accentuated considerably by the absence of a “V” tuning on both aspect; this enables strings to come back throughout with glorious readability and backbone. Piano notes have glorious weight and are available throughout slightly naturally.

Female vocals are fascinating as a result of they don’t have the everyday higher midrange carry that pushes them forward of the instrumentation with maybe an excessive amount of power and hardness relying on the standard of the recording.

These will not be lush sounding headphones so don’t anticipate overly heat sounding vocals that smear element considerably. There is a barely lean high quality to feminine vocals that one can tune with EQ or a hotter sounding amplifier and supply.

The treble can come throughout as being considerably well mannered sounding, however don’t let that idiot you — actually vibrant sounding recordings will come throughout that approach. These will not be headphones that may gloss over poor recordings; there may be ample treble extension and airiness which helps with the soundstage depth and width.

Snare rattle is sort of good with sharp edges and cymbals have sufficient power to sound very pure.   

The phrase pure additionally defines the soundstage and imaging slightly properly. The NDH-30 doesn’t ship the kind of cavernous soundstage that you simply get with the Sennheiser HD800s or the element retrieval of the Audeze LCD-5, however the proportions in all 3 dimensions make you’re feeling that you’re definitely listening to the entire house and it’s very straightforward to trace everybody.

The imaging and soundstage efficiency are influenced slightly considerably by the DAC, supply, and headphone amplifier. You will discover any change within the system slightly shortly. A heat sounding headphone amplifier will alter the tonal steadiness including some physique and coloration to any vocal tracks.

Neumann NDH-30 Open-back Studio Headphones Folded


The high-end headphone market is dominated by planar magnetic and electrostatic headphones in 2022, so it’s considerably straightforward to neglect that dynamic driver headphones are nonetheless the drug of alternative within the studio.

There are a couple of planar fashions making some headway in that division however throughout the studio atmosphere, headphones just like the Beyerdynamic DT sequence, Sony 7506, AKG 240, and Audio-Technica’s ATH-MXX Series are nonetheless broadly used.

The Neumann.Berlin NDH-30 supply an upgraded degree of efficiency over the aforementioned headphones at a slightly inexpensive value. The tuning will definitely attraction to those that desire a impartial and correct tonal steadiness, mixed with glorious velocity, readability, and element retrieval.

These are properly price testing should you need a studio-level pair of headphones that may be tweaked along with your DAC and headphone amplifier.

Where to purchase: $649 at Amazon

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