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A tale of two speakers (B2031A and 8030c)

Digby

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A tale of two speakers - The Behringer B2031A and Genelec 8030c.
What follows is a subjective review & comparison of these two speakers based on my own audition at home. I have had the Behringer B2031A speakers from long before ASR started, the Genelec 8030cs I bought on the basis on Amir's review.

B2031A

Pros:
  • Balanced sound across the spectrum. Too much treble as is, but this can be modified to -2db or -4db with back panel. Mine at -2db.
  • Bass goes relatively low (or at least roll off doesn't seem severe) and does so at quite high volumes
  • Sound of instruments has depth and "correctness" to them (piano, cello, violin, voice, kick drum)
  • Doesn't sound like it is struggling to produce sound until quite high volumes are reached, even then I imagine it is amongst the best in its size/price class. Scales up well
  • Low noise from drivers (Similar hiss levels to Genelec. Minimal, noticeable only in dead quiet room or putting ear very close to tweeter)
Cons:
  • Can occasionally sound dull and perhaps somewhat lifeless in a dynamic sense. This character seems to go away provided you use good quality source material, so is perhaps more telling of the source than the speaker itself.
  • Speakers pop on powering on (power button to rear) with clipping light coming on and bass driver making notable excursion (I leave the speakers on for this reason. I may experiment with turning them on via energy saving plug). Pop doesn't happen when switching on from rear panel rather than top power switch
  • Tend to pick up a little radio noise/squealing at low levels. This can be improved and mostly removed with attention to cable run. Perhaps only an issue with PC usage
  • Seemed to be a cabinet resonance around 50hz when running sweep

8030c

Pros:
  • Generally a balanced sound, as per the Behringer, somewhat more lively/dynamic or "hi-fi" sounding. Certainly doesn't tend towards the dull. This could be good or bad depending on your view/tastes (For me there was too much treble and even the -2db dip switch did not cure this excess excitability).
  • The cabinet seems more inert than on the Behringer. On running a frequency sweep there was a point around 50hz where I was getting some resonance from the Behringer, not so with the Genelec (however, bass frequency response generally seems much diminished compared to Behringer. Steeper rolloff from higher, I believe - so this may give the cabinet a helping hand regarding resonance).
  • Imaging seems to be better than with the Behringer, but I cannot tell whether this is a product of the more lively character. Imaging is better, but the excess treble also tends to pull you out of the illusion somewhat.

Cons:
  • The bass...oh dear, where has it gone. It is perfectly good down to a certain frequency, but then disappears of a cliff. There are basslines that I know contain more notes, but I struggle to hear them with the 8030c. The effect is akin to listening to an old 78rpm shellac record of a violinist as they hit a really high note and the note seems to disappear. I want to emphasize this is not a case of electronic music not being bassy enough or me preferring a smiley face type EQ. The lack of lower frequency response is present on voice, piano, cello, even the violin, as much as it is on a techno track. I feel like the extended bass frequency response of the Behringer is part of the "correct" sound.
  • The speaker is tiny compared to the Behringer and seems to sound like it is struggling at rather lower volumes than the Behringer. The little woofer on the Genelec is already going back and forth a fair bit at moderate levels and with concerto recordings at a correct volume to hear the soloist, when the orchestra comes crashing back in, things sadly tend to sound as if the Genelecs are losing control
  • Referring back to the "correctness" of the Behringer sound. I am starting to think that part of the dynamism many have noticed with large & efficient speakers may be the size of speaker that the image is coming from. Although I have said the Genelec seems to provide something of better imaging, it does so with a caveat, the caveat being that I cannot, even with eyes closed, get away from the fact I am listening to (or rather hearing) a tiny speaker. A very good speaker, but a tiny one. The piano is tiny, the cello is tiny, voice is tiny. I don't just think this is a case of distortion or lack of bass frequencies, but the area in space that the sound itself is emanating from. In nature deep sounds only ever come from large objects and I think the ear/brain cannot for whatever reason be convinced that the sound you are hearing is real, when it comes from too small a source. The same pertains to the Behringer, but much less so. It is still a small speaker, but the quality of the sound emanating from it is more like that of a piano/cello/voice and so on. Whether this would be such a problem if the Genelec had a bass response similar to the Behringer, I don't know, but I suspect that a small speaker will always sound small (and therefore unconvincing to the ear) and a larger one (all else being relatively equal) is more convincing, because the bass radiates from a more natural sized object.

I sent the Genelecs back in the end. They were fine, but to me they were not a complete speaker, given the lack of low frequency response and other problems noted. It is possible I would feel the same about the Behringer, if I had to compare them to something like a JBL 4349 or M2, but they are significantly more expensive (than the Genelecs), rather than significantly cheaper (as the Behringer).

I am willing to go out on a limb and say that out of any 10 people who hear both speakers, 7 or 8 would choose the Behringer. Bass response is such an important part of music reproduction, that even if the Behringer speaker turns out to be more distorted in the bass region than the Genelec, perhaps what matters more is that the bass is there in the first place (by which I mean a slow rolloff to lower frequencies, not a sharp fall below a relatively high tuned port).

Measurements are fine and I encourage them, but if the Behringer measures worse (I believe Amir is testing one soon), but sounds better to most people (granted, speculation on my part, but see my reasoning above), then there needs to be a way for a layman to evaluate the measurements to understand what is important to them. A 5" driver is not a bass driver, even an 8.75" driver is not really a bass driver (maybe to 80hz, but not 40hz, let alone 20hz).

The Behringer bass driver has three times the area of the Genelec, the cabinet is twice the size and for a cost similar to the pair of 8030cs, you can have the Behringers and two SVS subwoofers or perhaps even three JBL subwoofers. If the Genelecs need a subwoofer or two (in my opinion they do), then you are looking at a system 2 or 3 times as expensive as with Behringer + subwoofers.

I thought the Genelecs would be streets ahead, but in the end, I think you cannot fool physics with respect to the bass and it is difficult to evaluate a speaker if you feel it is missing frequencies - you can't evaluate mid range or highs in isolation. I feel like I am now firmly in the camp of there is no replacement for displacement and when upgrading would either add subwoofers and/or seek speakers with higher driver surface area.

P.S I did not start this thread purely to upset the applecart, but just to present my experience and examine whether some of my (admittedly subjective) thoughts about larger speakers vs smaller speakers are shared by others on the forum.

P.P.S I thought the thread name would be funny, but it seems a few people have got in there with that one already....
 
Last edited:

Ron Texas

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The Behringer B2031A appears to be a direct competitor to the LSR 308. I don't think there is an applecart so to speak. Genelec speakers have very high preference scores because they are EQ'ed out of the box. Around here there is a group who worships this number so they can't stop loving Genelec. Unless you are ready to drop $10k on the 8361's there are severe deficiencies in bass extension and dynamic range. US pricing is miserable.

I haven't looked around lately, but I haven't seen this kind of love for Genelec elsewhere.
 

Pearljam5000

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A tale of two speakers - The Behringer B2031A and Genelec 8030c.
What follows is a subjective review & comparison of these two speakers based on my own audition at home. I have had the Behringer B2031A speakers from long before ASR started, the Genelec 8030cs I bought on the basis on Amir's review.

B2031A

Pros:
  • Balanced sound across the spectrum. Too much treble as is, but this can be modified to -2db or -4db with back panel. Mine at -2db.
  • Bass goes relatively low (or at least roll off doesn't seem severe) and does so at quite high volumes
  • Sound of instruments has depth and "correctness" to them (piano, cello, violin, voice, kick drum)
  • Doesn't sounds like it is struggling to produce sound until quite high volumes are reached, even then I imagine it is amongst the best in its size/price class. Scales up well
  • Low noise from drivers (Similar hiss levels to Genelec. Minimal, noticeable only in dead quiet room or putting ear very close to tweeter)
Cons:
  • Can occasionally sound dull and perhaps somewhat lifeless in a dynamic sense. This character seems to go away provided you use good quality source material, so is perhaps more telling of the source than the speaker itself.
  • Speakers pop on powering on (power button to rear) with clipping light coming on and bass driver making notable excursion (I leave the speakers on for this reason. I may experiment with turning them on via energy saving plug). Pop doesn't happen when switching on from rear panel rather than top power switch
  • Tend to pick up a little radio noise/squealing at low levels. This can be improved and mostly removed with attention to cable run. Perhaps only an issue with PC usage
  • Seemed to be a cabinet resonance around 50hz when running sweep

8030c

Pros:
  • Generally a balanced sound, as per the Behringer, somewhat more lively/dynamic or "hi-fi" sounding. Certainly doesn't tend towards the dull. This could be good or bad depending on your view/tastes (For me there was too much treble and even the -2db dip switch did not cure this excess excitability).
  • The cabinet seems more inert than on the Behringer. On running a frequency sweep there was a point around 50hz where I was getting some resonance from the Behringer, not so with the Genelec (however, bass frequency response generally seems much diminished compared to Behringer. Much steeper rolloff, I imagine - so this may give the cabinet a helping hand).
  • Imaging seems to be better than with the Behringer, but I cannot tell whether this is a product of the more lively character. Sound "imagery" better, but the excess treble also tends to pull you out of the illusion somewhat.

Cons:
  • The bass...oh dear, where has it gone. It is perfectly good down to a certain frequency, but then disappears of a cliff. There are basslines that I know contain more notes, but I struggle to hear them with the 8030c. The effect is akin to listening to an old 78rpm shellac record of a violinist as they hit a really high note and the note seems to disappear. I want to emphasize this is not a case of electronic music not being bassy enough or me preferring a smiley face type EQ. The lack of lower frequency response is present on voice, piano, cello, even the violin, as much as it is on a techno track. I feel like the extended bass frequency response of the Behringer is part of the "correct" sound.
  • The speaker is tiny compared to the Behringer and seems to sound like it is struggling at rather lower volumes than the Behringer. The little woofer on the Genelec is already going back and forth a fair bit at moderate levels and with concerto recordings at a correct volume to hear the soloist, when the orchestra comes crashing back in, things sadly tend to sound as if the Genelecs are losing control
  • Referring back to the "correctness" of the Behringer sound. I am starting to think that part of the dynamism many have noticed have noticed with large & efficient speakers may be the size of speaker that the image is coming from. Although I have said the Genelec seems to provide something of better imaging, it does so with a caveat, the caveat being that I cannot, even with eyes closed, get away from the fact I am listening to (or rather hearing) a tiny speaker. A very good speaker, but a tiny one. The piano is tiny, the cello is tiny, voice is tiny. I don't just think this is a case of distortion or lack of bass frequencies, but the area in space that the sound itself is emanating from. In nature deep sounds only ever come from large objects and I think the ear/brain cannot for whatever reason be convinced that the sound you are hearing is real, when it comes from too small a source. The same pertains to the Behringer, but much less so. It is still a small speaker, but the quality of the sound emanating from it is more like that of a piano/cello/voice and so on. Whether this would be such a problem if the Genelec had a bass response similar to the Behringer, I don't know, but I suspect that a small speaker will always sound small (and therefore unconvincing to the ear) and a larger one (all else being relatively equal) is more convincing, because the bass radiates from a more natural sized object.

I sent the Genelecs back in the end. The were fine, but to me they were not a complete speaker, given the lack of low frequency response and other problems noted. It is possible I would feel the same about the Behringer, if I had to compare them to something like a JBL 4349 or M2, but they are significantly more expensive (than the Genelecs), rather than significantly cheaper (as the Behringer).

I am willing to go out on a limb and say that out of any 10 people who hear both speakers, 7 or 8 would choose the Behringer. Bass response is such an important part of music reproduction, that even if the Behringer speaker turns out to be more distorted in the bass region than the Genelec, perhaps what matters more is that the bass is there in the first place (by which I mean a slow rolloff to lower frequencies, not a sharp fall below a relatively high tuned port).

Measurements are fine and I encourage them, but if the Behringer measures worse (I believe Amir is testing one soon), but sounds better to most people (granted, speculation on my part, but see my reasoning above), then there needs to be a way for a layman to evaluate the measurements to understand what is important to them. A 5" driver is not a bass driver, even an 8.75" driver is not really a bass driver (maybe to 80hz, but not 40hz, let alone 20hz).

The Behringer bass driver has three times the area of the Genelec, the cabinet is twice the size and for a cost similar to the pair of 8030cs, you can have the Behringers and two SVS subwoofers or perhaps even three JBL subwoofers. If the Genelecs need a subwoofer or two (in my opinion they do), then you are looking at a system 2 or 3 times as expensive as with Behringer + subwoofers.

I thought the Genelecs would be streets ahead, but in the end, I think you cannot fool physics with respect to the bass and it is difficult to evaluate a speaker if you feel it is missing frequencies - you can't evaluate mid range or highs in isolation. I feel like I am now firmly in the camp of there is no replacement for displacement and when upgrading would either add subwoofers and/or seek speakers with higher driver surface area.

P.S I did not start this thread purely to upset the applecart, but just to present my experience and examine whether some of my (admittedly subjective) thoughts about larger speakers vs smaller speakers are shared by others on the forum.

P.P.S I thought the thread name would be funny, but it seems a few people have got in there with that one already....
How far were you sitting from the 8030C?
 

RobL

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I recently acquired some Genelec 1032A’s that have replaced some JBL 705P’s in my living room. The 1032’s are the bigger brother of the 1031’s that your Behringer is copied from. Agree wholeheartedly with your conclusions.
 

dfuller

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This tracks my experience with the original version of the 2031A - the Genelec 1031. That speaker is straight up badass.
 
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Digby

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For those who don't know, please note that the B2031A is a Genelec 1031A clone. Anyway, you're comparing nearfield and midfield capable speakers, use them in their intended situations; but I'm sure you already know that.

That is correct. I did say that imaging seemed better with the Genelec (this was at nearfield). I still preferred the sound (particularly the bass extension) of the B2031A, even nearfield. Personally, I would sacrifice imaging for bass response, even in the nearfield. The Genelec sounded incomplete when side by side with the Behringer. To me, I think this lack was more significant than anything the Genelecs did better, which I noted in my first post.

TL;DR The broader point I was trying to make in this comparison is that Genelec provide high engineering (aluminium cabinets, quality electronics) within a small cabinet with small drivers, for a not insignificant sum. The Behringer provides raw size instead of engineering - the cabinet is large (relatively speaking) and the bass driver has 3 times the surface area of the 5" Genelec.

What Genelec pursue in a clever way (engineering), Behringer do with simplicity (size/displacement) at a fraction of the cost. So, is there really no replacement for displacement....thoughts?
 

tmtomh

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Just speculating here, but my first guess would be that Genelec’s philosophy seems to be to limit bass response to what the speaker can reproduce with decently low distortion. Even though the Behringer is a Genelec clone, I can easily see them tweaking the design (or just tweaking or omitting the bass DSP) to increase the bass response regardless of distortion. Moreover, high 2nd harmonic distortion of 30 to 50Hz fundamentals is going to thicken up the bass and possibly give an impression of a “live” resonant character, with the harmonic still being below the 125-250Hz range where it could start to give the speaker an unpleasant/“wrong” wooliness or boominess.
 

Trell

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For me a subwoofer is needed with my 8330A as a desktop system. I bought the 7360A subwoofer and use GLM for roomEQ.
 

Spyart

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I have B2031A for a long time (11 years?) bought them pair something like 150$ from MusicStore. And finally love them recenctly, I mean completely, when applied DIRAC on them...wow, the sound now is just "here". I have also semi-reflection_free_zone with 6 side panels around and it also improves behaviour of them. I use them for sound production and wondering switching to Adam T8V since they have better bass responce (and probably faster due to light woofer). But still cannot decide because a bit affraid of similarity after applying DIRAC on Adam too. So it would be nice to hear some impression from people who compared them both side by side. Or maybe not T8V but T7V (the only difference is bass responce I suppose).
 

theyellowspecial

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Bass definitely makes everything sound bigger. Also, sound is radiated from the entirety of a speaker's surface, so it makes sense larger speakers sound bigger. Even with very low frequencies, the body/brain can still sense the direction they come from, even if the ear/brain can't locate the source.

I elevate my bookshelves (currently A130) so the bottom half of the woofer is at ear height. At 3m distance my ears are still under 5 degrees vertical off axis, so no problems there. I have smaller elevated stereo subwoofers crossed at 100hz and a larger centered subwoofer crossed at 40Hz. This creates a large presence of sound.

Still, I'm thinking of maybe trying something like the A190s with 8" woofers providing lower directivity control, which from what I understand subjectively makes things even bigger and better.
 

More Dynamics Please

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I believe it was Toole's speaker preference research which showed that about 30% of listeners' sound quality judgment is based on bass performance. So it stands to reason that a speaker with greater bass extension will start off with a preference advantage that a speaker with less bass extension would need to overcome in other areas in order to earn overall preference.
 

MaxRockbin

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I own the 8030c's so I suppose I am biased. I do absolutely agree, you need a sub with these speakers. And they have limited power, so at any distance beyond about 1.5 -2 M - say 4-6 feet - they won't cut it.

I think with a sub and with digital room correction and within a distance suitable to their power, they are as good or better than anything I have heard in my life.

But that's not why they are worshipped on Audio Science Review. You can read stories of people raving about 50 year old speakers and how they blow away anything built since - in other places.

And it's not just "EQ'd out of the box" either. If you look at any review of any speaker on this site, you'll notice there are many curves and charts published. Not just the listening position response (which is all most speaker manufactures give you - if they give you anything.)

For example, something besides EQ that may indicate a superior sounding speaker:

Does it sound basically the same off axis as it does at the listening position? If not, your reflections won't sound the same (but quieter) than the on axis sound. Your processes reflections as room ambience - if they match. If they're off by much, especially over a wide frequency range - things won't sound as clear and natural. Also, some speakers have wider dispersion patterns than others (eg. the volume drops off faster). How that sounds in your room and to you is a subjective question. The info is there in the graphs - if you know your opinion on that.

An important instance of bad reflections can happen when the dispersion of the tweeter doesn't match the midrange. The point of the tweeter waveguide is to help those dispersions match up. Many speakers will show a significant difference in the crossover range, so that's something to look for. The Genelec has that big waveguide to help with this problem.

So, yeah, the Genelec measures well in every way that concerns people who believe measurements can guide you to good speaker sound. If you don't believe that? There are a lot of sites that support that view, but this one is kind of the opposite. Oh. Actually, the Genelec does not measure well in maximum power or in deep bass. So you can see that in the graphs too. It would save some time if you don't have a sub to know that.

For more info on understanding how the graphs and data relate to how a speaker might sound, Amir has a nice video - actually a review of the Genelec 8050, where he goes through most of the important ones.
Erin of Erin's Audio Corner did a whole series of videos explaining how the graphs and data relate to how a speaker is likely to sound.
Here's the first:

For what it's worth, I agree that the Genelec's aren't for everyone or every room. They have clear limitations. I don't personally understand the Big Speaker vs Small Speaker difference, but even Amir has sort of referenced it (though I haven't seen a post from him explaining what it really means - measurement wise). So there's probably something there. And, honestly, they didn't work for me well until I hooked up my digital room correction (Dirac Live). So your subjective experience is perfectly valid - but it doesn't contradict any of the reasons people are adoring of the Genelecs.
 
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Digby

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I own the 8030c's so I suppose I am biased. I do absolutely agree, you need a sub with these speakers. And they have limited power, so at any distance beyond about 1.5 -2 M - say 4-6 feet - they won't cut it.

OK, they need a sub, but that does beg the question, and I'm not trying to start a pointless argument, why aren't they sold with a sub? Once you add a sub, you're adding half the price of the 8030cs again and maybe two subs would be better, because of uneven bass response in room and...do you see where I'm going? It is all getting rather expensive (and complicated) quickly. What is the performance gain for the extra expense?

I'm not against anyone having 8030cs (they probably measure better than the B2031A across the midrange and high end) and supplementing with subwoofers and room compensation, but once you are $2500+ down the road, what is the audible (subjective, I know) performance improvement from a decent pair of 8" driver monitors crossed to the same subs at 80hz - as you say, you aren't going to drive the 8030c to levels approaching that of live music, subs or not (swap the 8030c out for any decent measuring 5" driver speaking running to 80hz, the result is the same).

My criticism of the Genelec 8030c is non-specific and could be leveled at almost any speaker employing small drivers. 8" drivers are relatively small drivers to play bass notes, but they seem to be the maximum manufacturers want to provide for prices short of around $4000 a pair. Why? Is it really that much more expensive to produce speakers with larger drivers or satellite/sub combos for a reasonable price.

At what point does a few db flatter frequency response (that could be likely be fixed with EQ) get trumped by an extra 10db of output for similar distortion levels?

Also, 2 metres is not very far. I think most people would like a party once in a while with a few friends and I know...I know what you're going to say, these speakers aren't built for that kind of thing, but honestly if you can't crank it once in a while, whether on your own or with friends, why not just get some very nice, expensive headphones instead and call it day?

I'm not trying to be controversial for its own sake, but why bother with reviews of countless iterations of small speakers with small drivers, if they are all much of a muchness with regard to output, even if some are flatter in response than others.

There is a visceral quality to music - that doesn't mean that measurements should be discarded, but if you can't recreate the volume of a piano/cello/violin/whatever without excess distortion, then irrespective of any measurement, I don't think you will be able to present an illusion of said instrument (all this without getting into limits of stereo reproduction - high fidelity and high technology, straight from the 1930s!)

So, yeah, the Genelec measures well in every way that concerns people who believe measurements can guide you to good speaker sound. If you don't believe that? There are a lot of sites that support that view, but this one is kind of the opposite. Oh. Actually, the Genelec does not measure well in maximum power or in deep bass. So you can see that in the graphs too. It would save some time if you don't have a sub to know that.

Well, providing you don't want to play them at volumes approaching levels the instruments they reproduce are played at. That would be something of a significant flaw, no?

Again, I don't think an 8" bass driver works wonders either, but unless every review Amir does he states "Needs a sub!" before the article, then speakers should be judged on their performance alone.

Perhaps 80% of the speakers reviewed here have been undersized for reproduction of occasional loud volume levels without excess distortion (according to the measurements). This is no fault of Amir's or perhaps even the manufacturers (people want small speakers), but I think being able to reproduce volume levels/dynamics that resemble something of the original instruments should be a given and is an important part of the illusion created by stereo reproduction of music, don't you?
 

dshreter

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OK, they need a sub, but that does beg the question, and I'm not trying to start a pointless argument, why aren't they sold with a sub? Once you add a sub, you're adding half the price of the 8030cs again and maybe two subs would be better, because of uneven bass response in room and...do you see where I'm going?
If you want full range response, you need to add a sub to most monitors except those at the top top of the range. So if the 8030s match your needed output in their range of response, they can be paired pretty easily with whatever sub you want. That could be a genelec sub or otherwise.

For critical use a subwoofer (or two) is essential, so that informs the design. Optimizing for <80 Hz response is a waste if you will offload that duty anyway.
 

Trell

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OK, they need a sub, but that does beg the question, and I'm not trying to start a pointless argument, why aren't they sold with a sub? Once you add a sub, you're adding half the price of the 8030cs again and maybe two subs would be better, because of uneven bass response in room and...do you see where I'm going? It is all getting rather expensive (and complicated) quickly. What is the performance gain for the extra expense?

I'm not against anyone having 8030cs (they probably measure better than the B2031A across the midrange and high end) and supplementing with subwoofers and room compensation, but once you are $2500+ down the road, what is the audible (subjective, I know) performance improvement from a decent pair of 8" driver monitors crossed to the same subs at 80hz - as you say, you aren't going to drive the 8030c to levels approaching that of live music, subs or not (swap the 8030c out for any decent measuring 5" driver speaking running to 80hz, the result is the same).

My criticism of the Genelec 8030c is non-specific and could be leveled at almost any speaker employing small drivers. 8" drivers are relatively small drivers to play bass notes, but they seem to be the maximum manufacturers want to provide for prices short of around $4000 a pair. Why? Is it really that much more expensive to produce speakers with larger drivers or satellite/sub combos for a reasonable price.

At what point does a few db flatter frequency response (that could be likely be fixed with EQ) get trumped by an extra 10db of output for similar distortion levels?

Also, 2 metres is not very far. I think most people would like a party once in a while with a few friends and I know...I know what you're going to say, these speakers aren't built for that kind of thing, but honestly if you can't crank it once in a while, whether on your own or with friends, why not just get some very nice, expensive headphones instead and call it day?

I'm not trying to be controversial for its own sake, but why bother with reviews of countless iterations of small speakers with small drivers, if they are all much of a muchness with regard to output, even if some are flatter in response than others.

There is a visceral quality to music - that doesn't mean that measurements should be discarded, but if you can't recreate the volume of a piano/cello/violin/whatever without excess distortion, then irrespective of any measurement, I don't think you will be able to present an illusion of said instrument (all this without getting into limits of stereo reproduction - high fidelity and high technology, straight from the 1930s!)



Well, providing you don't want to play them at volumes approaching levels the instruments they reproduce are played at. That would be something of a significant flaw, no?

Again, I don't think an 8" bass driver works wonders either, but unless every review Amir does he states "Needs a sub!" before the article, then speakers should be judged on their performance alone.

Perhaps 80% of the speakers reviewed here have been undersized for reproduction of occasional loud volume levels without excess distortion (according to the measurements). This is no fault of Amir's or perhaps even the manufacturers (people want small speakers), but I think being able to reproduce volume levels/dynamics that resemble something of the original instruments should be a given and is an important part of the illusion created by stereo reproduction of music, don't you?

The 8030C, like the 8330A, are small compact speakers intended for nearfield use, especially if one is space constrained. Don’t expect deep rumbling bass, though.

I choosed the 8330A over the 8030C because of Genelec GLM and it’s onboard roomEQ, and I’d choose 8330A with the GLM Kit over 8030C with a 7050 subwoofer and use a third party roomEQ.

In my small home office the 8330A was the biggest Genelec I could fit. I did find place for the 7360A subwoofer, though. The second pair of 8330A in this room is for my wife and she does not want a subwoofer.
 
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Mnyb

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If you want to do a 2 way , it’s not that easy to integrate an 8” properly with a tweeter. You need fancy wave guided tweeters ( like Dutch and Dutch for example) it’s mostly never done nowadays for this reason . The downsides may not show up in nearfield in very well damped studios ( huge directivity miss match).
Your usually at a 3 way midfield kind of speaker before you see larger woofers nowadays .

I to wonder how the “ big speaker” illusion is done ? Is it a large front baffle and large drivers that shapes directivity in some way combined with the whole box giving of sound ? I’m not in the position to compare a lot of speakers that some of you are fortunate enough to do.
 

Sancus

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My criticism of the Genelec 8030c is non-specific and could be leveled at almost any speaker employing small drivers. 8" drivers are relatively small drivers to play bass notes, but they seem to be the maximum manufacturers want to provide for prices short of around $4000 a pair. Why? Is it really that much more expensive to produce speakers with larger drivers or satellite/sub combos for a reasonable price.

You're missing something here. It's sort of odd to compare a 5" speaker to an 8" speaker in the first place... many Genelecs are designed to be used on desktops and consoles where space may be limited due to other stuff on them. That's what the smaller Genelecs are FOR -- to get the same level of quality/reliability just in a smaller size. They're not meant for you to buy smaller so you can save money. Nothing in the Genelec lineup is really designed to give you high value for the money.

Additionally, you can't slap any woofer size on a 2-way and still have it sound good. Beaming becomes an issue the larger you go. Woofers larger than 8" typically need to be crossed lower than a dome tweeter can handle. That's why manufacturers switch to a 3-way or use a compression driver(which can cross lower), but those things add cost and other tradeoffs.

At a certain point, you're making a speaker so big that it would look and function better as a floorstander and well then you get into the fact that the modern multi-woofer floorstander design is friendlier to most people's rooms because it's less wide.

For the mostpart, if you're not size constrained but you are budget constrained, I don't think Genelec is the way to go.
 
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