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7.1.4 setup, Genelec vs KEF

Keksstein

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Hello,

next year I will be able to create my own home cinema/ music listening room in the basement, room is big (enough) and symmetrical. Around 27m2 / 290 square feet.

I really want to spend much time in this room, 50% of the use will be simply to listen to music. Its kind of unrelaxing to look on black walls and the white screen typically for a cinema room with projector so I decided to use a big OLED TV and create more of an relaxing area. Don't get me wrong, best audio/video quality is the goal here and the room will be acoustically planed/treated.

After calculating a little bit I found two possible high end setups for this room:

Genelec 8361A Front + Center
Genelec 8341A Rear
Genelec 8331A Atmos

or

KEF Blade One (or Two) Meta Front
KEF Reference 4 Meta Center
KEF R3 Meta Rear
KEF LS50 Meta Atmos

The KEF Setup is a bit more expensive, if you use amps like the TP RA3 this would also be possible.

I really don't know which setup is better on the paper, I know the Genelec Ones, they sound impressive. But I think, specially in Stereo, the KEF Blade can outperform the 8361A a little bit, the Uni-Q Driver offers a little bit lower distortion and the bass drivers are bigger which should also help. (for Stereo) The Blade has even a little bit better directivity plot the the Genelec. But I really dont know how well the Blade/Reference will mix with the R3, perhaps there will be a noticeable difference in sound between front and rear.

The Genelec Setup will have one big benefit, because all of the speakers are part of the One series, there will be nearly no sound difference between the channels. Not sure if the KEF HF/MF driver is the same in the Blade and the R3. And the 8331A for the ceiling should easily outperform the KEF LS50. (R3 is to big for the ceiling, room is only 2,2m/7,22ft high)

So what do you think, which setup is superior? Of course, I will listen to all of those speakers before buying. It will be impossible to hear all speakers as a surround setup so I need to decide with stereo speaker pairs.

Thanks!

Greetings from Germany,
Jan
 

delta76

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Both, with correct placement & calibration, will sound just the same. You would need to think about subwoofers as well because they will play a big part in home theatre set up. Definitely NOT just 1 subwoofer if you are spending that much money.

I would say 8331A is very overkill for Atmos, something like 8030c is more than enough. but well...
 

holdingpants01

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Both should sound great. While I use Genelecs for Atmos, in my opinion KEFs should be much easier to install and should be quieter. In front I use 8351B and 8341A and these are fine and not that noisy, but the smaller 8330 are definitely noticeable. 8331 should be better, but maybe not. I don't see a subwoofer, but it is needed to bass manage surrounds and it could make Genelec more expensive, especially with two or more. Keep in mind that Genelecs are active, use XLR inputs and there's also an additional cable for GLM control. The problem is power and XLR can go in parallel, but GLM control is a serial connection. This means that every (but the last one) monitor need to be connected with 4 cables - power, input, GLM in, GLM out. This can seriously mess the visual side. For recreational use I would go with KEFs, they look more home friendly, passive connection is much easier to manage, should be less noisy, easier to switch everything on and off, easier to fix if something happen to any element etc. Either will sound awesome, but depending on which AV you choose you could do whole room correction and bass management even better than the GLM.
 

Ellebob

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We install both at work and for me it would be Genelec. YMMV.
However, ease of install goes to Kef but I doubt that is a big deal if doing a dedicated room, you can wire for whatever you need .
Looks while subjective I would say goes to Kef.
Another consideration is being faithful to the original material. It is highly unlikely any of the material you are listening was mixed on Kef but I would bet some of what you listen to was mixed on Genelec, maybe even the same models. This would be a minor consideration but kind of just nice to know.
 

FrantzM

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Hi

Adding to the chorus.. Either system would sound awesome.. A few things:

  1. 8331 for Atmos is overkill (being polite) or a waste (being blunt but truthful :)).
  2. If you could get the "regular" LS50 for Atmos.. would save you a few dollars you could applied to (item 4)...
  3. You will need serious subwoofers as in multiple subwoofers, as in more than 2 ;)... and a way to control , integrate these with the entire set up... THis system is good as it is but would be endgame with serious subwoofers. At least 3 ... These don't need to be either Kef or Genelec. I find these to be to expensive for the performance. THe ususal suspects (SVS, Rythmik, HSU, etc). Please don't even think REL subwoofers. DON'T think REL: Waste of money.
  4. What you put in front, Pre/Pro is very important in such a endgame system.. thus consider something darn serious such as Trinnov, Storm or at the very least the Monoprice HT1. I'd like to bet they would extract more from the Genelec speakers than Genelec own's GLM and be compatible with the Kef (or any speakers, active or passive) if you go that route. Plus the superlative bass management of Trinnov in particular, but also Storrm with the ART inclusion, or even the Monoprice HT-1 offer... heck.. I'd go Trinnov and be done :).
  5. This system is great as it is, with so

You would be building an endgame, system either way, Genelec or Kef. Either way, you must add good subwoofers and a serious PrePro ... The Genelec active speakers, would dispense of thinking you about amps but you would need to think about cable management and AC power for each speakers.. A bother to be honest, but it is a one-time issue, once this endgame system is installed you may not even have to care about wiring since you would nto be changing it .. perhaps ever...


Peace.
 

Ellebob

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I would disagree with the 8331 being too much for Atmos. I find Atmos is tough to get good coverage in most homes. You tend to have relatively low ceilings often under 3-4 meters and you are trying to cover 2 rows of seating. Having good dispersion in both the horizontal and vertical dimesnion helps achieve this and a coaxial based speaker is better suited for this application. If budget is tight then compromises have to be made. The same is true with subs I would use GLM if possible if going Genelec, I don't say the same for Kef but they are ot integrated in the same software like Genelec. Yes, you can get more output for less money but in a system like this I would want the best integration as well. If budget doesn't allow then you can certainly expensive subs to get the output you desire.
 
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Keksstein

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Thank you very much :)

you are right, I have forgotten a few things. Subwoofers are planed of course, since they are not as complicated as fullrange speakers I was thinking of building them myself using ~8 ScanSpeak 30W4558 Woofers. (I already have 4 of them) They need around 55l (1,94cu ft) in a sealed enclosure, a flat case can be mounted directly on a wall, because of the huge amount of drivers distortion is low, even if you boost a little bit to get down to 20Hz frequency linear. In the German home cinema community they are very popular for Single Bass Arrays (or Double Bass Arrays) With an concept like this, room resonances in the LF can be handled really good.


Of course, the company which will do the acoustic concept of this room need to decide what makes the most sence. I'm really sure I will not buy Genelec or KEF Subs, they are simply to expensive. Using a few Rythmik L12 is my backup plan.

For the Preamp I was thinking of using an Marantz AV10. As far as I know, it will be updated to Dirac Live Art next year and I really don't see an big advantage over the Strom Audio preamps after that. Since the speaker placement can be done perfectly in this room, the remapping Trinnov is famous for is not very useful. (I think?) With the Genelec solution, both would have a minor (unimportant) benefit because they offer AES/EBU output. Since Genelec Speakers use DSPs internally, it would be nice to stay digital here. I know, analog XLR will work well to. Only for the better feeling.

All cables will be hidden, there is not really a problem if each Genelec Speaker has 4 cables connected to it. KEF LS50 and R3 can perhaps be placed invisible because they will not produce heat, a minor benefit.

Its interesting that you think both systems will sound the same if the environment is good. Sure, the Blade looks fascinating but I'm not sure if this is enough for me to spend more money.

If I can use a “cheaper” speaker for Atmos I wont complain. :)
This is also a good information because the LS50 was feeling like an downgrade to me.

Best regards,
Jan
 

JLGF1

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Rythmik L12 is good for music and ok for HT in a small room, but that's their entry level sub. For a SOA HT I would think much higher up the product line, even when using multiples, like the E18 or higher.
 

Pearljam5000

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Both, with correct placement & calibration, will sound just the same. You would need to think about subwoofers as well because they will play a big part in home theatre set up. Definitely NOT just 1 subwoofer if you are spending that much money.

I would say 8331A is very overkill for Atmos, something like 8030c is more than enough. but well...
They would never sound exactly the same
 

AudioJester

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Are people puting LS50 and 8331 boxes on/in ceiling?
Why not use an atmos in ceiling speaker?
 

Sancus

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Are people puting LS50 and 8331 boxes on/in ceiling?
Why not use an atmos in ceiling speaker?
Because ceiling speakers are all pretty bad. Even the Kef ones, which are better than average, are way way worse than an 8331A.

This isn't really that unusual -- all the newer high end studio setups I've seen use ceiling mounted speakers, not in-ceiling. Including the Genelec ones, even though Genelec makes in-ceiling speakers.
 

Vacceo

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I think you have all technicalities covered and your choice is something I'd personally do too, so from starters, you got me subjectively as I like coaxials and I like both KEF and Genelec. But let's give a thought at a couple extra elements that while not technical, may (or may not) be relevant to you.

Electronics here have a point, but not in the SINAD department. The AV10 is a fantastic choice as it will give you a very clean response and all the connections you may need. Heck, even if you want to add a turntable, you can do so! If you're planning on going Dirac, the Genelec calibration is redundant, more so when you can apply ART to the system. On the same line, ART works better the larger the frequency response the speaker gets, so not really a bad idea to go Genelec either.

Storm adds the digital part which is great on the Genelecs, but I really don't know how much "audibly better" will a fully digital system get over a more traditional passive system. Sure, no ground loops, but you may not get them either (or fix them) with passives.

Genelec is also more "visually compact". Even a hefty Genelec 8061 will be less obtrusive than a Blade, but on the same element, I think the Blade is a beauty to look at, so having them around can actually be pleasant by itself.

Keeping it with KEF, instead the LS50's for Atmos, perhaps a set of wall-mounted almost up the ceiling, R8's may do the trick.

And to add something for your consideration, perhaps Perlisten, even being non-coaxials, may be a good passive option too.
 
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Keksstein

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For the Subwoofers I really think building them myself is the best way, also to integrate them perfectly in the room.

For the Dirac ART support, as far a I know it will work if you place 1-2 Subwoofers near the rear speakers. The Perlisten setup Storm was using to show the advantages of Dirac ART is optimised for being loud, their speakers cant produce deep bass as far as I know. I would like to listen to them but Perlisten is not really common in Germany.

If its only the look, the Blades will win in my opinion.

The R8 are a perfect idea! I thought they will measures terrible because they are build to reflect the sound from the sealing for Atmos, have seen the ASR test and was surprised! The little issue in Frequency response will not be noticeable or Dirac can handle this.

Best regards,
Jan
 

Vacceo

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Perlisten is not really common anywhere, they are a 3 year old (or so, I cannot remember exactly) company...

Oh, this may not be relevant, but with the AV10, you have 15 channels, so you can even set a room 2 and 3 with the spare channels for whatever other area of your house you may enjoy.
 

delta76

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Are people puting LS50 and 8331 boxes on/in ceiling?
Why not use an atmos in ceiling speaker?
In ceiling speakers are limited by the laws of physics. They will sound bad, the only pro they have is they are hidden.
Sure if you just want sounds like helicopter direct above your head, they will be sufficient. We at ASR are spoiled by measurements and will not be happy a speaker that measured bad, even though it might be adequate for the job. I just sold dome flax pair because it was measured bad
 

holdingpants01

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BTW after some time listening to music in Atmos on a proper setup, I really have hard time coming back to stereo with the same albums. Not all of them sound better this way, but many do. It's all the hi-fi people wants from speakers but it's impossible to do otherwise. All the talk about speakers disappearing, tall sound, envelopment, width, depth is there without any tricks, all at once. Lack of destructive mastering is probably one of the biggest factors outside of more sound sources. I wouldn't ignore top or any channels for music listening. Interestingly the center channel is usually almost unused in music, quite the opposite with the movies.
 

test1223

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With this budget and a dedicated room I would plan to build every speaker, the tv and everything else in wall since the room acoustics become much more important in this price category compared with the quality differences of the speakers.

A design like the blade is only really worth the money if you can place the speaker fare away from every object and every wall. In a multi channel set-up according to your plan even the center speaker only will interfere with the waves from the left and right speaker, so it is very likely that you can't really get the advantage of such a speaker in a multi channel room.

If you build an in wall set-up it will most likely sound much better since you can avoid almost all sources of early diffractions even if the speaker on it's own aren't as good as a kef blade.

As an inspiration you can have a look at the room of the SE music lab https://www.semusiclab.com/lab
Here you see how an almost perfect 3d audio room looks like. Of cause you almost certainly will not build something similar, but you should be aware that the integration of the speakers and room acoustics is much more important than the decision if you use Genelec or Kef speakers.

If you can't or didn't want to build a room with such good room acoustics it becomes much less important if you buy a top of the line speaker or the price performance speaker only.

The complains of the spinorama of in wall speakers have to be put into context by comparing such a spin with a spinorama of a good speaker mounted near a wall. There a multiple more issues with such a speaker mounted near a wall compared with an in wall speaker. Of cause the best solution would be a perfect speaker for in wall mounting or using a good rectangular speaker and integrate it into the wall.
 
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