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Do aluminium Genelecs have a particular "house sound"...

Digby

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...and is this sound an acquired taste?

From remembering the 8030Cs I bought (and subsequently returned), two things stuck out in my mind - a rather light or taut bass and a somewhat forward or airy presence to the upper mids/treble. Is this the typical "house sound" of the Genelec aluminium bodied speakers? I ask because I stumbled across this video comparing Neumann KH80 DSPs and Genelec 8020Ds, with in-room recording of both speakers.

Both are similar sized speakers, highly rated and with not dissimilar FR.



What was interesting about this video to me, flawed though it is (recorded in someone else's room and played back on Youtube through my speakers, in my room), is that the same characteristics of the 8030C I notice in the 8020D.

When I bought the 8030Cs, I thought a part of my problem with them was that the small size contributed to a lack of bass, but listening to the Neumanns in the video, the perception is of quite a bit more bass than with the Genelecs. Also, the Neumanns have what I would call a typical speaker sound, nothing really jumps out and grabs you, perhaps it could be called somewhat dull, but I have found this presentation translates well at all volumes.

The Genelec is definitely taut or lean in the bass by comparison and with a slight forward perception to the tweeter, combined with a certain airy quality that is not present with the Neumann (which sounds a little more...boxy?). This is something that I, personally, found grating at volume - it was too much and made music sound fatiguing.

I remember with the 8030C thinking it didn't render piano and cello very realistically, well, in this video there is some classical music not hugely different from what I would listen, here (video starts at correct time):


First, listen to the Neumann, which seems to have quite a balanced presentation, there is bassline at 4:52 that seems rendered well for the size of speaker, yet when the Genelec comes in at 4:55, the same bassline falls away almost to nothingness. The presentation of this track, in particular, is starkly different through the two speakers. I don't think it can be argued that these speakers are quite different from one another in presentation. I imagine those that hear both speakers will strongly favour one or the other, not both equally.

Before anybody thinks otherwise, this isn't a Genelec hate thread, nor do I want it to descend into name calling. I am aware many like this sound presentation (that of the aluminium Genelecs), maybe it is more accurate even, but I would argue that is not going to be to everyone's taste and is somewhat atypical.

The Genelec sound may not be for everyone, however highly rated they are. They seem to have a presentation that is rather leaner in the bass, slightly forward in the upper mid/treble and with an certain airy quality, compared to many other speakers.

Please listen to the tracks in the video and compare for yourself.

So, what is the point of this thread? Well, I don't think recommending Genelec speakers to everyone who asks for excellent speakers is the correct approach. There are those that will very much like their presentation and those that will not. I don't think either type of listener is wrong, but I think the strong recommendations that are given to these aluminium Genelecs may leave about half of listeners over the moon and half less than impressed.

Opinions?
 
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Marc v E

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From what I perceive from my own genelec 8030a compared to the beolab 9, which are quite smooth sounding in the top end, I would say the Genelecs lack a bottom end to be considered full range. But for their size they have amazing bass imo. And to me they sound very balanced, not fatiguing in any way.

I use them with a topping dx7pro btw.

I do think Genelec has a house sound but it's more related to the size of the cabinet and Genelecs goal to be as neutral as possible.

If I would hazard a guess I would say you're either missing bass because its less coloured, the genelecs were placed well below ear height or your musical taste requires lots of bass.
 
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Digby

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OK, but please listen to the second youtube link of light classical type music. There is obviously a marked difference in reproduction between the two speakers, yet they are both considered quite accurate speakers. I think it will best illustrate my point.
 

LightninBoy

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The measured FR response in the room is nearly identical. And they sound identical in the video.
 
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Digby

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All tracks sound identical to you...really? They sound quite different to me, some tracks more so than others (dance ones were more similar). What did you use to listen to them?

I feel like you didn't have enough time to listen fully, you listened to all the tracks fully?
 

ririt

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I recently had the opportunity to compare side by side 8030 with Neumann in a showroom in Paris. They sounded very similar to me. My overall impression was very positive, they sounded well-balanced with impressive low end respective to their sizes
 

Marc v E

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OK, but please listen to the second youtube link of light classical type music. There is obviously a marked difference in reproduction between the two speakers, yet they are both considered quite accurate speakers. I think it will best illustrate my point.
From what I could hear on a short listen via the beolab 9's I would say the Genelecs are tuned to have more low end, although slightly and the neumanns are completely neutral, making them seem to have slightly extended highs. The rest is almost completely the same to my ears.
 

Sancus

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idk what "House Sound" means in this case(obviously 2-way Genelecs all sound similar? they are practically identical other than size...the Ones don't sound the same as the 2-ways) and I don't have time to analyze all the music in this video right now.

That said:

a) Recording speakers like this is not accurate. Speakers and microphones both have directivity. Neumanns and Genelecs do not have the same directivity. That's ignoring all the other variables.

b) It makes no sense to record 2 speakers in stereo if you are trying to evaluate tonality. This is just dumb, but all the YouTubers do it because they have absolutely no clue what they're doing.

c) This method of comparison where you play a music track and then switch between speakers is terrible. A much better way to do it would be to play 2-3 seconds of a track, then switch and repeat the exact same passage. The repetition and short duration are important, because audio memory is very poor. There is no way to evaluate small differences in tonality if the passages are different on each speaker! At 4:52, when it switches to the Genelec, there are very few lower frequency notes left, maybe 1 second max. Why not repeat the exact same notes on each speaker so you can be sure what you're comparing???

d) Sighted comparison is sighted. Especially problematic when differences are subtle. Why not blind this? It's simple to do in a video("speaker A", "speaker B", no speakers visible), and I have seen more competent folks do this for microphone comparisons.

In conclusion, YouTube speaker comparison videos are garbage and they're especially garbage for speakers like these which are very closely matched.

All that said, if you ask me, the Neumann sounds very slightly tubby in the 4:52 passage, but that could easily be one of the problems listed above, especially the recording itself or the fact that the music passages being compared are not the same. It's not possible to say anything certain about the speakers.

Pretending all those problems don't exist and this is useful in any way: They sound about as close as I'd expect any two speakers to ever sound. There will always be slightly audible differences in directivity and frequency response unless the designs are literally identical and then they'd be the same speaker.

Finally: What does aluminum have to do with anything? Literally all Neumanns above the KH80 are aluminum, the KH120 is aluminum, the KH80 isn't most likely due to cost cutting, and the KH310 and KH420 are wood/polyurethane. Not that I think the polycarbonate cabinet is bad or anything. The cabinet materials don't have anything to do with the sound, or Neumann wouldn't used a bunch of different ones.
 
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Tangband

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...and is this sound an acquired taste?

From remembering the 8030Cs I bought (and subsequently returned), two things stuck out in my mind - a rather light or taut bass and a somewhat forward or airy presence to the upper mids/treble. Is this the typical "house sound" of the Genelec aluminium bodied speakers? I ask because I stumbled across this video comparing Neumann KH80 DSPs and Genelec 8020Ds, with in-room recording of both speakers.

Both are similar sized speakers, highly rated and with not dissimilar FR.



What was interesting about this video to me, flawed though it is (recorded in someone else's room and played back on Youtube through my speakers, in my room), is that the same characteristics of the 8030C I notice in the 8020D.

When I bought the 8030Cs, I thought a part of my problem with them was that the small size contributed to a lack of bass, but listening to the Neumanns in the video, the perception is of quite a bit more bass than with the Genelecs. Also, the Neumanns have what I would call a typical speaker sound, nothing really jumps out and grabs you, perhaps it could be called somewhat dull, but I have found this presentation translates well at all volumes.

The Genelec is definitely taut or lean in the bass by comparison and with a slight forward perception to the tweeter, combined with a certain airy quality that is not present with the Neumann (which sounds a little more...boxy?). This is something that I, personally, found grating at volume - it was too much and made music sound fatiguing.

I remember with the 8030C thinking it didn't render piano and cello very realistically, well, in this video there is some classical music not hugely different from what I would listen, here (video starts at correct time):


First, listen to the Neumann, which seems to have quite a balanced presentation, there is bassline at 4:52 that seems rendered well for the size of speaker, yet when the Genelec comes in at 4:55, the same bassline falls away almost to nothingness. The presentation of this track, in particular, is starkly different through the two speakers. I don't think it can be argued that these speakers are quite different from one another in presentation. I imagine those that hear both speakers will strongly favour one or the other, not both equally.

Before anybody thinks otherwise, this isn't a Genelec hate thread, nor do I want it to descend into name calling. I am aware many like this sound presentation (that of the aluminium Genelecs), maybe it is more accurate even, but I would argue that is not going to be to everyone's taste and is somewhat atypical.

The Genelec sound may not be for everyone, however highly rated they are. They seem to have a presentation that is rather leaner in the bass, slightly forward in the upper mid/treble and with an certain airy quality, compared to many other speakers.

Please listen to the tracks in the video and compare for yourself.

So, what is the point of this thread? Well, I don't think recommending Genelec speakers to everyone who asks for excellent speakers is the correct approach. There are those that will very much like their presentation and those that will not. I don't think either type of listener is wrong, but I think the strong recommendations that are given to these aluminium Genelecs may leave about half of listeners over the moon and half less than impressed.

Opinions?
One must always listen with the ears to the loudspeakers, and in the same room. Long time listening with two loudspeakers is also great to make any valid judgement.

The taste in sound quality is not entirely equal for every listener . Some listeners are used to listen to very poor loudspeakers with bad directivity - that will become their reference and it takes some hours to listen to a ” correct ” loudspeaker to get used to the sound .
Every loudspeaker is a compromise and the sound taste is slightly different to.
No loudspeaker is as good as the ” real” thing in a concert hall.
 

liquidlino

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Genelecs are popular in studios for their unhyped response curve, natural impulse response, and most of all, a wide listening field where tonal response stays relatively consistent (so you can move up and down the console without colour shifts occurring)
 
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Digby

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idk what "House Sound" means in this case(obviously 2-way Genelecs all sound similar? they are practically identical other than size...the Ones don't sound the same as the 2-ways) and I don't have time to analyze all the music in this video right now.
Do the wooden enclosure Genelecs sound the same? Not according to some that have heard both. It wouldn't surprise me if the Ones did sound different, perhaps I should have said 8 series - my mistake.

In conclusion, YouTube speaker comparison videos are garbage and they're especially garbage for speakers like these which are very closely matched.
I don't agree. I hear similar attributes to the sound I heard in my space with the 8030C. There is a not insignificant degree of translation there, whatever flaws there may be in methodology.

I didn't say it was perfect, but I think the idea everything must be done to some vanishingly high standard before we can take anything away, is just a way of dismissing things out of hand.

FWIW, I think I could pick out Genelec 8 series speakers in a blind test from their sound profile. Other brands of speakers less so.
Finally: What does aluminum have to do with anything? Literally all Neumanns above the KH80 are aluminum, the KH80 isn't most likely due to cost cutting and that's it. Not that I think the polycarbonate cabinet is bad or anything. The cabinet material doesn't have anything to do with the sound.
I'm not sure aluminium has anything to do with it, but I think the rounded speaker shape with relatively small baffle may have something to do with it.

Aluminium may have something to do with it though, being more inert than wood it may contribute to the leanness in bass (8 series seems more mid bass lacking than deep bass), maybe?
Some listeners are used to listen to very poor loudspeakers with bad directivity - that will become their reference and it takes some hours to listen to a ” correct ” loudspeaker to get used to the sound .
Every loudspeaker is a compromise and the sound taste is slightly different to.
I am comparing them to speakers with good directivity.
 
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LightninBoy

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All tracks sound identical to you...really? They sound quite different to me, some tracks more so than others (dance ones were more similar). What did you use to listen to them?

I feel like you didn't have enough time to listen fully, you listened to all the tracks fully?
One doesn't need to listen to all the tracks. Most of them are so sparse in the frequency band that they tell you nothing even when the speakers are quite different. I've literally listened to dozens of comparisons on this channel and the rock track (Man on Fire) is, IMO, all you need to listen to to compare the speakers. As an experiment, I closed my eyes and paused the video when I thought a change was made. The only time I got one right consistently was during the Man on Fire track.

I'm listening through my desktop/studio recording rig which I've corrected flat down to ~40ish hz. Speakers are JBL 306mkII and Tannoy TS10 sub.
 

abdo123

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a) Recording speakers like this is not accurate. Speakers and microphones both have directivity. Neumanns and Genelecs do not have the same directivity. That's ignoring all the other variables.

This is not really an argument btw. seems like a bunch of sentences mashed up together.
 

abdo123

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This is actually one of the best 'comparision' videos i have seen on Youtube. The speakers are not only volume matched but they are also at the exact same position.

A lot of care was taken, and it's natural that most people here don't hear the difference.
 

Sancus

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One doesn't need to listen to all the tracks. Most of them are so sparse in the frequency band that they tell you nothing even when the speakers are quite different. I've literally listened to dozens of comparisons on this channel and the rock track (Man on Fire) is, IMO, all you need to listen to to compare the speakers.
Ah yeah that brings up another good point, where the pink noise at? It's absolutely correct that exciting as many frequencies as possible is the way to go, so rock music is definitely good but pink noise is always the best for tonality comparison. And why Erin used it in his center speaker comparison video.

Record 1 speaker at a time, fully blinded, playing pink noise and I'd buy that might be useful.

I don't agree. I hear similar attributes to the sound I heard in my space with the 8030C. There is a not insignificant degree of translation there, whatever flaws there may be in methodology.
You can agree or disagree but it's just your sighted opinion based on a flawed recording translated through multiple flawed recording and playback devices. So it doesn't actually translate to anyone else.

Do you understand that? Same applies to anything I say about how these speakers sound via this video. Literally just not useful information to anybody else.
 
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Digby

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You can agree or disagree but it's just your sighted opinion based on a flawed recording translated through multiple flawed recording and playback devices. So it doesn't actually translate to anyone else.

Do you understand that? Same applies to anything I say about how these speakers sound via this video. Literally just not useful information to anybody else.
No, this is where you are wrong. It shows a trend, a trend I have noticed in real life playback. It doesn't matter too much the flaws in methodology, as the trend remains constant.

I did not state it was perfect, but it does have some value. I don't buy that it doesn't translate to others, as I don't have this crazy notion (that some here nurture) that everyone's ears are so different from each other, that nothing can be ascertained from one person listening that cannot, in any sense, translate to others. That seems more voodoo than science.

I'm honestly surprised at those who have said they hear *no* difference (I don't require them to hear precisely the differences I hear, but none whatever...in any of the tracks? Very interesting)

You said most 8 series speakers sound very similar, so should we be surprised if I notice a similar character in the entire series. Would I need a double blind test to recognise this character or not? Have you double blind tested them all, else how would you know? (you see how silly this can get).

You have both Neumanns and Genelecs, do they sound exactly the same to you?
 
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LightninBoy

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This is actually one of the best 'comparision' videos i have seen on Youtube. The speakers are not only volume matched but they are also at the exact same position.

A lot of care was taken, and it's natural that most people here don't hear the difference.
I'm a defender of the YouTube speaker comparison concept and this channel exemplifies why.
 

Tangband

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This is actually one of the best 'comparision' videos i have seen on Youtube. The speakers are not only volume matched but they are also at the exact same position.

A lot of care was taken, and it's natural that most people here don't hear the difference.
Even so, recording loudspeakers is not an easy task because you need a lot of experience how to do it.

1. The microphones used may differ more than +-10 dB 20-20000 Hz. This gonna colour the sound and its very audible. Are your microphones of a very high quality and do they have a frequency response +-1 dB in the audible area ?

2. The microphones should be nearer the loudspeaker than the critical distance in the room - ie less than 1 metre. And yes - you can only record one loudspeaker , because otherwise you gonna have comb effects. In this youtube video - the recording is done in the wrong way and are therefore of no value at all. Its wortheless.

3. Putting the microphones at listening position gives very false results - what you really are recording is only the room response - not the loudspeakers direct sound because you are way outside of the critical distance. This gives results of no value. A lot of recording amateurs dont know anything about this.
After 5 ms soundtravel and more, ( 1,7 metres distance and longer ) the ear/brain starts to select sounds and the mic take up all sound. You cant trust measurements in this case because of the precedence effect. The mic and brain are VERY different.

Read more about critical distance here :
 
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dshreter

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Aluminium may have something to do with it though, being more inert than wood it may contribute to the leanness in bass (8 series seems more mid bass lacking than deep bass), maybe?
Inert doesn’t make a speaker lean… but for that matter all of the genelecs are equalized to produce nearly flat on axis response. Any differences due to materials would come out after equalizing anyway. Which is also not to say they don’t have any difference at all.
 
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