The Genelecs Files

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by GoodEnoughGear, Jan 23, 2017.

  1. GoodEnoughGear

    GoodEnoughGear Evil Dr. Shultz‎

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    Intro
    Over the last year or so I've been researching a 2 channel near-ish field setup, and eventually settled on a pair of Genelec 8030B monitors with the 7050B sub. This thread is to post my motivations and impressions of the combo, and to create a place for general Genelec discussion going forward.

    [​IMG]

    I was specifically looking for speakers for a small space, as I wasn't sure whether these would live on my desk or flanking the TV in the den (which is a small space itself). I was also motivated by portability - it's nice to have decent sound you can lug with you to a vacation cottage or a party.

    As my handle suggests, I'm looking for a good value proposition. I believe in spending good money on good products that deliver. In this case "Good Enough Gear" is a 2.1 setup that will not significantly throttle future upstream gear like a better DAC and preamp (than the GOV2/GO2A I am currently using), and that is resolving and transparent enough to provide a decent basis for critical listening as well as "just tunes". I'm not going to be evaluating Yggdrasil-killers with this chain or trying to tweeze out an imaginary nuance from some exotic preamp. That's for folks with much more money and time than I have.

    Reserving space below for segments of the review.
     
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  2. GoodEnoughGear

    GoodEnoughGear Evil Dr. Shultz‎

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    Caveat and first impressions

    The TRRS-->Dual XLR Adapter I bought causes a hum emanating from something iffy in the TRRS portion. It is definitely wiring iffyness as unscrewing the barrel reduces it significantly, as does rotating it. With the monitors sensitivity turned down to allow for ample personal listening SPL at max volume on the GOV2 it is inaudible at 1 meter, but it is there and needs to be fixed. I just don't have the kit to do it. Secondly, the stands are still en route, so first impressions are near-field on my desk without much setup. Lastly I have noob ears and little experience. This is a big step on the road to changing that.

    These things are built like tanks, and the quality is excellent. You can tell they're designed to be working gear - the handles on the sub, the solidity of the monitors, good feel to the dials and switches. And the monitors are actually not overwhelming for a desk with the supplied iso-pod feet...they are functionally elegant where the LS50 is polished clunkiness.

    I have little comparative basis for SQ evaluation, but they sound great. Clear, articulate, and I finally realize what I've been missing under 60Hz. Take all this initial stuff with a pinch of salt, but they sound like Andros on my desk, with the benefit of real soundstage. They sound incredibly well controlled - I must be running them at 20% input sensitivity or so, and that is loud enough to piss off my wife in the next room with the GOV2 on low gain/max volume. But what really hits home is how relaxed they are - they get loud without losing any of the clarity and finesse so you almost don't realize they're loud at all. And that bass...I was randomly trying stuff and put on my wife's Andreas Vollenweider to gain some sympathy from her ;). Holy fucksticks, he really exercises very precise sub bass and it makes all the difference being able to hear it - you realize you're actually missing the bedrock of some of his tracks! I did need to futz a bit with the sub sensitivity to calm some boom, but this was literally with no proper setup. Imaging was excellent with a bit of adjustment of toe-in and angle on the iso-pods on the desk, but I'm really looking forward to getting them set up on stands.

    I moved them to flank the TV the next day, so until the stands arrive they're behind the screen unfortunately. WAF was flagging with cabling snaking all over the place, so I made the call to compromise listening in the short term and get the spaghetti cleaned up. I'll post detailed impressions once the stands are in and I've had a chance to get them positioned as well as the room will allow.
     
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  3. GoodEnoughGear

    GoodEnoughGear Evil Dr. Shultz‎

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    Competitors and the KEF LS50

    To understand the contenders in this space it would be worth perusing the following two threads:

    http://www.superbestaudiofriends.org/index.php?threads/kef-ls50-competitors-that-fit-on-a-desk.291/ (Kef LS50 competitors that fit on a desk)
    and
    http://www.superbestaudiofriends.org/index.php?threads/nearfields-for-audiophile-listening.1466/(Nearfields for audiophile listening?)

    I sourced the Genelecs, including a set of stands, a carrying case for the 8030s and 4 XLR cables for just shy of $2200 and $200 import duties, so let's say $2400.00 all told. My 'model' competitors were a pair of LS50s ($1500) plus a NuPrime STA-9 ($650) which comes out to $2150 before shipping. The LS50 actives are $2200 on Amazon, so IMO with international shipping and duties thrown in I have come out even at very worst, and in reality likely somewhat ahead with the Genelecs vs LS50s.

    So for roughly the same dollars, what did I get on paper over the LS50s?
    - A subwoofer, and one that integrates well. 8" driver, down to 25Hz. 5.1 capability.
    - 58Hz to 20KHz +/- 2dB (8030s) vs 79Hz to 28KHz +/- 3dB (LS50s) without the sub
    - Smaller footprint
    - Adjustable stands

    At least on paper it seems a more balanced and flexible solution than the LS50s, with a caveat that the LS50s are held in high esteem by many...and they look very pretty, too. But for me the Genelecs clearly won out in the theory department.
     
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  4. GoodEnoughGear

    GoodEnoughGear Evil Dr. Shultz‎

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    The Genelec Family

    If you're looking at Genelec, you'll see they have consumer offerings these days: the G One, Two and Three actives and a couple of compatible subs, the F One and F Two. These are based on older Studio monitor designs and feature RCA vs XLR connectors (The G Three and F Two have XLR 2 channel as well). I felt I'd get more out of the classic monitor line.

    Classic Line
    In terms of the classic monitors, you have the 8010A, 8020C and 8030B monitors. In addition to SPL and FR, there are some key functional differences that were important to me:
    8010A has some coarse input sensitivity switches, but is effectively an active on/off monitor depending on the source for volume control.
    The 8020C adds a rotary input sensitivity control
    The 8030C adds a front-mounted power switch (sorry Schiit, me likey ;) and more importantly an XLR output that is attenuated by the volume control, allowing for daisy-chaining of monitors OR connecting the sub to these outputs (instead of going source-->sub-->monitors which would be the case with the 8010 and 8020) so the sub's volume matches the monitors. This is one of those killer features that makes a huge difference if you intend to use the monitors sensitivity control actively.

    All the classic monitors are class AB.

    There are two subs, the 7040A and the 7050B. They output the same SPL and have the same width and height, just the depth differs. The big difference is the 7040A goes down to 30Hz (6.5" driver) and has just two channels where the 7050B goes down to 25Hz (8" driver) and supports 5.1 channels. I wanted the 5Hz and the 8" driver.

    The two subs are class D.

    SAM Line
    The SAM monitors are digital. They're pretty cool and have fancy DSP and all that, but I wanted to stay in the analog realm and not have an ADC in the mix.
     
  5. GoodEnoughGear

    GoodEnoughGear Evil Dr. Shultz‎

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    Detailed setup and listening impressions
    OK, stands are here finally. The cats have a couple of scratching posts back :).
    20170128_140520.jpg

    The stands don't go quite as low as I'd like, but with the iso-pod base the monitors can be angled downward perfectly. Sitting on the sofa, my ears are at the base of the monitors, sitting on the kist/table thing in front the tweeters are at ear height. If I am critically listening I don't like slouching, and my Aeron chair will be the perfect height, so I think it's actually fine.

    20170128_140810.jpg

    Geek Out V2 with cunning cork mod doing DAC duty. Geek on high gain and input sensitivity at about 20% gives enough SPL bandwidth to get as loud as I care for in this space. I'll test later, but I'm pretty sure these could shatter the windows at full chat. The TRRS connector needs redoing still.

    Sub is at -3dB input sensitivity, with -4dB roll-off to tame some boominess.

    Sounds frigging lovely once set up! I'll get to do some specific listening later. Will update.
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2017
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  6. Thad E Ginathom

    Thad E Ginathom Friend

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    Very nice.

    You know how ducklings can get fixated on something like a moving ball instead of their mum? Although I've found other stuff to have bigger dreams about since, Genelec was the first serious active monitor that I encountered, and with those lovely curves and all, not to mention the very lovely sound, I got a fascination for the brand.

    Being a damn fool, I turned down a superbly-priced second-hand pair of an earlier model. I wanted the curves. So my fascination is still hands-off. Not the first, or the last, time that curves have got me into trouble.

    So no need for a pre-amp/volume knob?

    Looking forward to your further review and comments.
     
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  7. GoodEnoughGear

    GoodEnoughGear Evil Dr. Shultz‎

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    Well, kinda. Each monitor has its own volume control (input sensitivity adjustment), and that control affects its XLR out. But that's just a single channel, so it's not realistic to use those as a master volume control. It is better to think of them as master input sensitivity control for that entire channel, whether it's sub or satellite actives (up to 6 daisy-chained is possible) you have downstream.
     
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  8. Thad E Ginathom

    Thad E Ginathom Friend

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    oh, ok... so you do need a knob/pre-amp/monitor controller. Which is the case with most speakers like this, I think. The controls on each speaker are to set up the position adjustment and overall balance, not listening volume. When I last looked, only the most consumer-oriented, lower-cost Genelecs had a single-point volume control.

    What's in your chain to do that?
     
  9. GoodEnoughGear

    GoodEnoughGear Evil Dr. Shultz‎

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    GO2ASE, and/or JRiver currently. Even on 24-bit material you get 48dB transparent attenuation with digital control on a 32-bit DAC (AFAIK), and most of my stuff is Red Book anyway. Logical next step before putting more in the signal path would be Gungnir Multibit, using JRiver digital volume control and JRemote.
     
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  10. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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    I am fascinated by the 8351A...
     
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  11. Thad E Ginathom

    Thad E Ginathom Friend

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    Oh My God, a whole new generation of beautiful young things.

    Damn, it's hard, getting old.

    Edit: You probably read this already.


    .
     
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  12. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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    I will be a sad man if I ever get so old that things aren't hard anymore. Wait I mean... no... that's pretty much how it sounds.
     
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  13. Poleepkwa

    Poleepkwa Friend

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    @GoodEnoughGear . I noticed you say you imported the G's. I thought SA had some official distributer? Have you noticed that Genelec also has a M- series? Those I have not heard.
     
  14. Thad E Ginathom

    Thad E Ginathom Friend

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    It's not that bad. Who knows... I might get my hands on a pair of gennies one day.

    But hey, I really do have an interest in Genelec. Mustn't make this another of those Thad-destractions!
     
  15. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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    Coaxial and point source etc have been my buzz words du jour, which is why those 8351A's are so... hardening. Next up I'll be wondering if it's possible to wrangle a Danley synergy horn into a desktop application...

    But back to @GoodEnoughGear did you source that combo as a package deal (I've seen this same package in a couple online vendors) or did you piece it together yourself from various sources?
     
  16. Thad E Ginathom

    Thad E Ginathom Friend

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    I was very tempted to go hear Geithan RL906, which, for me, would have been a huge amount of money. I decided it was best to stay away. 2K in British pounds (no sub): more that @GoodEnoughGear's setup.

    I forget the Genelec model I had the chance with, but it was the old flat-ches.... err, straight-sided shape. Ten years old and never used (Oh god, I can't believe what I'm typing today). No... really. One would wonder about the integrity of some of the parts like the supposed-to-be-flexible edging --- but it was through the national distributor here, and they would have given them a thorough check over for me. Chance of a lifetime missed. There are people who say that the older Genelecs sounded better than the newer models.

    I heard some of the bigger Genelecs, with DSP and room-correction software. Pretty good results in a hotel meet room. As also, a couple of years later, with the diddy-tiny "computer-speaker" model. At that size, it should not have sounded so good. But I couldn't get over that it should not have cost that much either.

    Very much ahead. I like the LS50s too, but not like Genelec.
     
  17. OJneg

    OJneg The Most Insufferable

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    Genelecs are pretty good, but also overhyped. I think folks should demo other studio monitor options. As well as consider passive-separate options once you start climbing up in price.

    Jus' sayin'\/
     
  18. GoodEnoughGear

    GoodEnoughGear Evil Dr. Shultz‎

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    The combo you may still see available is the "Triple Play", but is the older 8030A models which don't have the sleep function. BHP wants $2500 though, and I would have had to ship further at greater cost. I got mine from Thomann (www.thomann.de) as separates. I don't believe there is a current Triple Play available. I opted to import as we don't seem to have the current models available readily in S.A. and our local prices are ridiculously marked up.

    [Edit: added info]
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2017
  19. GoodEnoughGear

    GoodEnoughGear Evil Dr. Shultz‎

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    Yes, I did look at the M030, but they're not compatible with the 7050 sub and I didn't want to go SAM. We do have Genelec dealers, but I shaved off about 400 euro importing myself. Go figure...
     
  20. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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    I've never even heard of Geithain before... interesting looking stuff, and almost entirely contained with Germany it seems.

    On the topic of esoteric brands, these ones cropped up on my radar as well (mainly through their associations through Bruno Putzeys, one of the big dudes behind class D)
    http://www.grimmaudio.com/
    http://kii.audio/en/


    I've never actually heard a Genelec. They don't seem to be very common in my area. This is the dominant brand in these parts, and not well known outside of Canada:
    https://www.long-mcquade.com/?page=departments&DepartmentsID=42&FilterBrand=143
    Not stupendously amazing, but overall quite nice at their price point (CAD)
     

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