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Genelec - What is the rave about?

DigiPete

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OK, I'm a Genelec fanboy.

You know that if you are a regular at CA.

 

Do they really sound better?

Are Genelecs for everybody?

What is the secret technology?

 

 

Do they really sound better?

 

Genelec stands out as the best monitors for money (IMNSHO) because they just sound invisible.

But it is not magic and as any other system, they sound best when you feed a great signal and place them wisely in a treated room. Just like anything else.

 

But that is where the "Just like anything else" stops.

Genelec goes to great lengths to help you get the best sound in the room you actually have.

They use all the tricks in the book: technology, topology, acoustic adaptation and education of their customers.

Check the chapter on technology.

 

 

Are Genelecs for everybody?

 

NO.

 

But they can be for most audiophiles depending on your preferences and how you go about your hobby.

Where Genelecs definitely are not the solution:

 

a) Users that prefer no-linear coloured sound: bass heads etc.

b) Users that prefer wood veneers or other specific colours (WAF etc)

c) Users that prefer towers

d) Users that love exchanging equipment and influencing sound that way.

e) Users that just prefers a lot of separates.

e) Under USD 800 budget for a satellite CA stereo system including DAC/AMP/Speakers/Cables (8010)

f) Under USD 3700 budget for a total CA pure digital room compensated stereo system 20-20kHz all included (PUC2, 8330, 7350)

f) Under USD 7000 budget for a total CA pure digital room compensated 5.1 surround system 20-20kHz all included (Lynx Aurora 8, 8330, 7260)

h) High end users that dislike even subtle DSP room optimization (SAM series)

i) High end users that insists DSD is the only way to go (SAM series - PCM only)

j) High end user that insists on the excellence of DXD or higher files (SAM series downsamples to 96/48kHz mid/high & bass)

 

 

What is the secret technology?

 

None of them are secrets, most are actually just common sense for smart engineers.

Some are patented but most are available to any manufacturer in some form.

You could say Genelec just does many more things according to the forces of nature.

 

But let's have a look under the hood (bonnet).

I'll be stealing the points from this page and providing my own comment for easy overview

 

 

Electro-acoustics

 

Directivity Control Waveguide (DCW™)

Enhances flat on- and off-axis response by using the curved cabinet as an acoustic lense.

 

Laminar Integrated Port (LIP™)

Makes for precise bass reproduction.

 

Minimum Diffraction Enclosure (MDE™)

The rounded design of the cabinet makes for uncoloured sound reproduction without refraction

Sharp edges would work as secondary sound transducers muddling up the sound

 

Iso-Pod™ Stand

Vibration decoupling Iso-Pod™

Rubber stands that improves sound image definition and flexible horisontal angling.

 

Highly efficient Laminar Spiral Enclosure (LSE™)

Provides accurate low frequency reproduction, a super well thought out implementation of the bass reflex port on subs.

 

Reflex Port Design

Advanced reflex port design for extended low frequency response, a super well implemented bass reflex port on monitors.

 

 

Transducers and Materials

 

Acoustically Concealed Woofers (ACW™)

Provides controlled directivity down to low frequencies on the new 8351 monitor while allowing a coaxial driver in a cabinet size normally only suited for 2 drivers.

 

Minimum Diffraction Coaxial (MDC™) Driver

Implementation of a coaxial transducer that produces outstanding sound image.

 

Natural Composite Enclosure (NCE™) Technology

The environmentally attractive wood/polymer has been selected for its resistance and durability, its high internal damping and its resilience against impacts and physical damage. The material features many of the outstanding acoustical properties found in wood fibres, being 100% stiffer than the common ABS plastics typically used in loudspeaker enclosures.

 

Versatile Mountings

Many options and accessories enables optimum installation in all spaces.

 

 

Electronics and Networking

 

Active crossovers operating at low signal levels.

Splits the audio signal into separate frequency bands so the individual power amplifiers and the transducers they drive can be fully optimized for a their frequency band.

Active crossovers come in both digital and analogue varieties.

Bass Management System

The bass content of the main channels and the Low Frequency Effect (LFE) channel are directed and reproduced only by loudspeakers capable of handling them, whether they are main system loudspeakers or one or more subwoofer(s)

 

Optimized Amplifiers

Each transducer is driven by its own optimized amplifier, see Active crossovers

 

Room Response Compensation

Fully linear frequency response in real rooms is the aim of precise compensation.

Manual DIP switches on analogue input models

Automatic DSP room compensation on digital input models (SAM)

 

Protection Circuitry

Sophisticated drive unit protection circuitry for safe operation on both analogue and digital input models.

 

Smart Active Monitor (SAM™) Systems

Networked Smart Active Monitor (SAM™) Systems feature automatic room compensation using a calibrated microphone.

SAM's take both analogue and digital inputs, but all signals are converted to digital.

 

 

 

 

Value for money

 

The Genelec 8260's IMO kicks the ass of Bower & Wilkins 800 Diamond speakers

The 800's may be better if everything is at its best: the room, the speaker placement, the DAC and the source and amps.

A situation where room correction will make no difference and where the amps are humongous Class A monsters.

 

The B&W's are notorious for being picky with amps, as they are insanely power hungry.

Somebody should probably rip those passive X-overs out of them and convert them to fully actives.

That is: do the proper job B&W didn't have the balls to do.

 

Now do the math:

USD 9300 - Two Genelec 8260's, a Yellowtec PUC2 DDC + cables (ie. everything)

USD 23000 - Two Bower & Wilkins 800 Diamond speakers - no DAC, no amp, no cables

 

 

 

Now go have a listen to some Genelecs ;-)



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Hi Pete - Have you looked into ATC powered speakers and how would you compare them to Genelec? The reason I ask is because I was looking into Genelec speakers based on your high recommendation, and a friend of mine highly recommended ATC as well (as a solid competitor).

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Hey Chris, sorry I missed your question. You posted just as I embarked on this years 3 1/2 months sailing the south Caribbean :-) No, I have only looked at ATC briefly years back, but they missed way too many of my "accept the laws of physics" & or "get the most out of going digital" boxes. I'm sure ATC's are fine in the perfectly dampened rooms (low RT60 at all freq) and build into the walls as they are designed to be. Serious competitors to Genelec I have tested and recognize and recommend listening to: [URL="http://www.dynaudio.com/professional-audio/discontinued/"]- Dynaudio Air series incl. subs[/URL] - Discontinued :-( - [URL="http://www.lyngdorf.com/"]Lyngdorf Audio[/URL] - origin of digital amplification and RoomPerfect # [URL="http://www.steinwaylyngdorf.com/en/products/speaker-series/model-s"]- Steinway Lyngdorf Series Model S or higher[/URL] ## # The Millennium Mk4 is one of the few amps that has the grunt to make a B&W 900 Diamond sing. It's actually a power DAC including a complete digital control center replacing DAC, equalizer, pre-amp, and power amp. It can even deliver digital X-over to build a true active setup if you combine multiple units. ## SL Model S is an unrecognized gem, even at USD 25.000,- They win in clarity/air/detail and WAF over my 8260's but somehow loose on SPL and double price. The larger models are best suited for oil sheiks and oligarks ;-) The digital amps can be used like the Lyngdorf Millennium Mk4. I had hoped the list would be significantly longer by now, but I suppose: a) Integrated digital systems are still scary b) Audiophiles still don't recognize the value for money in pro systems c) Audiophile brands like Linn are not ready to go all in b) My hunger for chasing new solutions have dwindled Sorry, but Genelec and SL are the only ones AFAIK that fits my softspot atm.

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My unofficial deep source at Dynaudio has these comments: The Air series got phased out as Music Group acquired TC Electronics (supplier of the electronics for Air series). Dynaudio are currently developing new digital pro and consumer monitor series with DSP room compensation, but deadline is not known at this time. IFAIK Dynaudio hired quite some people to work on the new digital lines.

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I too am a Genelec fan since I was first introduced to them when I worked at Dolby Laboratories here in San Francisco. That was when I first began to understand some of the fundamental differences in the professional vs consumer audio worlds but that is discussed in another thread . . . Regarding ATC I share Chris's curiosity about these speakers. It is important to understand that ATC is first and foremost a driver/transducer designer and manufacturer that also builds complete speaker systems much like Dynaudio. (Genelec are extremely well engineered and designed but Genelec does not design all of their own drivers - many of them are OEM'ed). ATC founder Billy Goodman is a luminary in the audio engineering world with a Masters in Applied Acoustics - his designs for tweeters, woofers and especially the 3" soft-dome mid-range are used on many many brands of loudspeakers including of course his own (ATC). Here is a good bio : [url]http://studio-hifi.com/images/ATC%20Founder%20Billy%20Woodman.pdf[/url] ATC are very well regarded in professional circles (recording artists, film and recording studios) all of which are Genelec strongholds. A few examples from the ATC brag page: Pink Floyd, Mark Knopler, Sting, Rolling Stones, Jack White, Walt Disney Concert Hall, Royal Opera House, and the BBC. Complete list here: [url]http://atcloudspeakers.co.uk/client-list/[/url] I have not been able to personally audition ATC monitors but with the strong technical engineering chops of designing their own drivers along with the star studded list of clients makes me very curious about them. Edited by heycarlos

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Pete, my first post with you. It's an honor.

 

A good read. Thank you for taking the time.

 

I've always been into high gear. Not extravagant $1,000-cables-high-gear, but solid, bang for the buck equipment. At first, I’d harvest from amongst the garden varieties of the consumer audio market, but that all changed once I’d dabbled with the music industry and consequently discovered the neutral sound of the reference monitors.

 

Fast forward to the present, and my living room boasts 8431 x 2 + 7360 x 2. There's a lot to share on the logic behind my choices, but for brevity’s sakes I'll report the sound is hands down fantastic. The imaging and clarity are astounding. The value, too, is exceptional: it would cost manifold to attain that level of SQ with consumer equipment, if at all, since that “one source” design is quite unique.

  

A lot of audiophiles would frown. As you pointed out, they require full control over the sound reproduction, visa-via choices or gear; and the look isn't fancy enough for their environments. Their lose...LOL

 

Now, if you permit me to pick your brain:

 

(1)

Am I to understand it's possible to feed the Genelec with SPDIF signal without an AES convertor (e.g., that Hosa box) by only bumping the Ohms to 110 with a Neutrik like in-line convertor? 

 

(2)

My source is an Astell&Kern sp1000, which I connect analogy. There’s an optical port, but A&K doesn’t wholeheartedly endorse using it. According to the firm, to benefit from all the processing power of the device, the signal must take the analog route. Going out digitally will delegate the sound processing, and consequently its signature, to Genelec.

 

The price to pay, of course, is the A2D conversation inside the Genelec system.

 

Given the above, do you think I would detect any difference between my current setup and a digital one? For the better? Worse?

 

 

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