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New to Genelec Loudspeakers

Updated on July 24, 2013

Music that makes ears smile.

Here they are, the pro speakers at home, in the middle of adjustment to find the cleanest sounding position. Took a few days after this photo.

A small pro-audio shop let me audition for more than an hour, listening to my own CDs. There was a clear winner. Years later I bought from them. Want to know about the auditioning and the setup? That is what this lens will be about.

How I got to choose Genelec

Crisp, unveiling, but not sharp - sound like great headphones

Auditioned Genelec 8030s years ago among Mackie, Dynaudio, Yamaha, JBL and others on the rack at Rock oN pro-audio store in Shibuya, Tokyo. For more than an hour they let me have - at the prior smaller location - the room full of famous speakers all for myself and my fave CDs, which included some test signals. Then and there I kept switching and came back to a name I had never heard before: Genelec. They made it clear to my ear, these were the most neutral, analytic, and easy to listen to, in their class. That is two-way active speakers, a pair in the price range of a decent laptop PC. They reminded me most of the effortless listening experience with Stax electrostatic headphones.

In 2009 December, I got this 37" flat screen at a great price, and once the space left below was clear I visited the Rock oN shop again, gave the 8020B a quick listen, found them as clear as the 8030, just lacking bass pressure. Not an issue as I use subwoofers. A few days later, proudly took delivery of my first 8020B for home theater use. First calibration done, amazing clarity even at low levels. They replace SONY SMS-3 professional studio monitors and work with two homebrew 12" subwoofers in closed tubes and Denon SC-A7L for the rear channels.

Later I shall explain why I find studio monitor speakers for home use deliver great bang for the buck.

Positioning - the battle for your sound - Good speaker placement: out in the clear

Screen and sound stage
Screen and sound stage

Outside a pro audio studio, where the sound comes before the sight, at home, speaker placement is a visual compromise and a dance with the acoustic detail.

After a few days of tweaking the best position for these speakers turns out to be near the shelf edge, below the screen, because it would be hard to mount them besides the screen without obstructing the view or the doors.

At first I had the speakers further behind, parallel with the screen. Was impressed by the clear reproduction already, but some of the finer detail was missing. Especially the 15 cm of shelf in front of the speakers caused audible coloration. This was easy to confirm by playing pink noise test signal and covering the shelf area in front of a speaker with one of the thick felt squares you can see next to the amp in the photo. Remove the felt and put it back, easy to hear the coloration. While I kept the pink noise going through one speaker, I moved it back and forth to find the clearest position. It is near the front edge of the shelf.

The best vertical angle is as the maker says in the manual: aim the the acoustic axis at the ears while seated. Toe-in I had first aimed at my eyes, so that both sides of the rounded enclosure appeared the same, but I found better center voice stability and sound stage by turning out the speakers just a little bit so they aim slightly beyond the ears. Back and forth trial and error for better or for worse and finally changing position just little taught me the subtle differences towards the most free-sounding placement.

It is a dance with the details as always with new speakers or audio components. Which choice is better? A, B, A, B, different music or test signals, A, B, A, B. Every time it teaches me to trust my ears as well as to respect the limits of discernment, bordering on self deceiving or placebo effects. Keep the better choice and check for the next issue. I do this for my hobby and have nothing to sell. If it helps or works for you, I would appreciate a comment below. No obligation.

After position changes, I re-run the calibration with the A/V amp set-up microphone.

Was not satisfied with the soundstage. Singers appeared not stable in the center and minor head movement shifted their virtual place. Got better when I skipped the automated calibration which left the left and right front speakers with different equalizer settings. I set the equalizer manually by playing 1/3 octave filtered noise, measuring the resulting sound pressure level (SPL), recording the results and aiming to correct the greatest deviations, using the same settings for L and R. Now the center soundstage is more stable and wanders much less when I move my head. The sweet spot got bigger.

Equipment list - The stuff that plays back the music

  • DVD player Pioneer DV 366 (bought region-free, using digital coax out)
  • AV amp Pioneer VSA-LX52, Japanese equivalent to VSX-23TXH

    (sold Onkyo TX-SA703, still in picture)

  • Front speakers Genelec 8020B (active, using amp pre-out)
  • Subwoofer amp 2x Kenwood L-06M,

    Subwoofer drivers 2x Panasonic CJ-SW300D downfiring, enclosure 150L closed cylinder (former Audioplay Charly S)

  • Rear speakers Denon SC-A7L ceiling mounted

On audio equipment, vote with your ears, or ask someone nearby to help you. Text and images are no substitute for music and your living space. But it is all we got here. Go ahead, type right in.

Opinions? - Very welcome. Thank you.

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