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Genelec 1031A Measurements & Review

jmtabernero

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View attachment 329440



The Genelec 1031A is a classic model, still frequently seen in professional studios.




Frequency Response
View attachment 329442



The speaker has a broad and subtle V-shaped sound character around the mid-range, dipping by about 1-2dB. In some cases, the high frequencies might feel slightly bright. The low-end limit is around 38.3Hz at -6dB, with a slope of -46dB/oct. Overall, it impresses with its very smooth frequency response.




Nearfield Measurements


View attachment 329441





Directivity

View attachment 329443View attachment 329444


Compared to some of the best modern products, the 1031A's control of directivity around the crossover region is a bit lacking, yet it still boasts overall smooth directivity. Notably, around 15-16kHz, the speaker impressively compensates for the dip in the front with off-axis response. It's unclear if this is an intentional design aspect of what's often referred to as 'listening window tuning'.





Vertical
View attachment 329445View attachment 329446




The vertical directivity is smooth except at the crossover point, which is quite narrow at around +/- 15 degrees. If one sets up the speaker height without consulting the manual to match ear and tweeter height, it could lead to significant discrepancies. The acoustic axis of this speaker lies between the tweeter and the woofer, at the upper edge of the woofer frame.





Beamwidth
View attachment 329447View attachment 329448



As mentioned, the directivity angle around the crossover is about +/- 15 degrees. Since the directivity pattern is continuous (especially considering a +/- 10 degrees for a 3dB standard), careful setting of ear height is crucial. While it’s not a critical issue for casual listening, it’s significant for studio applications.





Polar plot

View attachment 329449


This speaker's performance is quite impressive. The slight elevation in high frequencies, causing sidewall reflections, might be a contributing factor to Genelec's reputation for 'beautiful sound'—though this is just a speculation.





View attachment 329450
The vertical polar plot shows uniform and smooth characteristics, except for the narrow crossover area.





THD

View attachment 329451View attachment 329452View attachment 329453

At 85dB SPL, it exhibits very clean response across the full spectrum with harmonic distortion ranging only from 0.3 to 4% after 100Hz. The control of second harmonic distortion due to asymmetrical motion in the lows is beautifully minimal.







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Even at 95dB SPL@1m, the speaker maintains its characteristics well, with distortion below 0.5% after 100Hz, and excellent low frequency response.






Multitone DIstortion
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For a 2-way speaker, the response is surprisingly clean. It makes one wonder if a larger size is necessary.






View attachment 329459

One might think the performance can't get better, but distortion decreases further. Even with a larger speaker, using a subwoofer and avoiding the resonant point of the front speakers proves to be beneficial for clean and faithful sound reproduction.








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The speaker shows very low distortion across the full range and remains stable even at 96dB SPL.





Compression test
View attachment 329462
Its compression performance is also impressive. If it had been even more extraordinary, the discontinuation of this model would have been deeply regrettable.




In conclusion, my personal thoughts:

Having been involved in music, I've often heard about the reputation of this speaker. As mentioned at the beginning, it's not hard to find studios still using this model despite its discontinuation.

This made me very curious about its actual performance. Upon review, the individual units and the overall completeness of the speaker are indeed of very high quality, living up to its reputation.

Though the directivity design may be slightly inferior compared to Genelec's current flagship products like The Ones series, 8341, and 8351, it still performs competently in 2023.

However, as mentioned in the review, considering the narrow sweet spot on the vertical axis and its center being at the edge of the woofer frame rather than the tweeter, users who haven't thoroughly read the manual might have been experiencing a hollowed sound at the crossover point unknowingly.

That concludes this review.
Thanks @Nuyes, much appreciated this measurements/review.
 

IamJF

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This speaker is a perfect example of great measurements and bad sound!
You often found these in studios, also at the university I studied sound engineering we had our surround studio equiped with 5 of these. While relatively linear in frequency response (so you can judge a mix on these when you are used to them) - highs are painful, mids have no resolution and low frequencies are resonant and not precise. But they go loud for the size - which makes the high frequencies even worse.
Through the obtrusive high frequencies you very easily hear mix decisions - at least for a while ... ;-)

I'm very happy that new Genelecs moved away from these and sound more relaxed (but still more "agressive"/"forward" as Neumann to stay in the "company sound" - that's why I prefer the Neumanns)
 
OP
Nuyes

Nuyes

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The first time i see such detailed measurments about this generation of Genelecs, that are very fatiguing fo me. And they give me clues why. Woofer is crossed a bit to high to be perfect; as it goes into the (well surpressed) breakup modes a bit below 1kHz. But the main thing that i don't like is the high MD above 10kHz of the tweeter. That is probally the main reason why so many find them very fatiguing, while they are neutral and in normal distortion measures there is little to see that cause that.

I'm nitpicking off course. They are objectivly seen very good speakers. But i can't listen long to them without ear fatigue, and i was alwasy wondering why and this measurment with the MD gives me clues i was searching long for. Thanks.
In fact, there's something I haven't shared with you all. It's a behind-the-scenes story about this speaker measurement.

First, could you please take a look at this data?

91.png
92.png
93.png

(Blue represents before repair, and red represents after repair.)






After completing the measurements and organizing the data, I was shocked. There was a dip around the frequency I assumed to be the crossover point.

Based on the test results, I was convinced that the units' polarity might have been assembled in reverse. I contacted the owner of the speaker and got permission to disassemble it.

Upon disassembling and testing the speaker, I discovered that the tweeter was indeed assembled with reversed polarity. However, there were no separate polarity markings on the post side of both the tweeter and woofer, and the post standards were the same. Therefore, I believe it was a mistake that could easily have occurred on the production line.



added ---- 07-12-2023 ----

I have been in communication with a technical expert from Genelec, who thoroughly investigated this speaker sample and informed me about it.

Since he will provide detailed data and explanations, I will only share the conclusion.

In conclusion, the Genelec 1031A sample I measured was originally shipped in proper condition by the manufacturer. It is speculated that the polarity of the tweeter was altered during disassembly and reassembly, either by the importer or a private repair service.
The cabling was done so meticulously and bonded so well that even I was deceived..
I apologize for any confusion caused.
 
Last edited:

Waxx

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It's not with this model alone i had this problem, all designs of the brand of that era (before the dual concentrics) have this issue for me and many others, and the newer generation still have it, but in a way lesser amount. This speaker i can listen to for maybe an hour, but the 8030C i almost weekly use in a radio studio where i have my weekly show is much more ear friendly and i can listen to for a few hours before ear fatigue kicks in. The dual concentric models are on the point that it hardly becomes a real issue (altough i still would not buy them for this).

It intriges me, as they measure very good on most factors, all factors that Amir measures and i could not find an objective reason for it from his measurments. The ear fatigue problem is also not a problem for everybody, only a fraction of the listeners have a problem with it and there is no clear sign or pattern why.
 

martijn86

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In fact, there's something I haven't shared with you all. It's a behind-the-scenes story about this speaker measurement.

First, could you please take a look at this data?

View attachment 329749View attachment 329750View attachment 329751

(Blue represents before repair, and red represents after repair.)






After completing the measurements and organizing the data, I was shocked. There was a dip around the frequency I assumed to be the crossover point.

Based on the test results, I was convinced that the units' polarity might have been assembled in reverse. I contacted the owner of the speaker and got permission to disassemble it.

Upon disassembling and testing the speaker, I discovered that the tweeter was indeed assembled with reversed polarity. However, there were no separate polarity markings on the post side of both the tweeter and woofer, and the post standards were the same. Therefore, I believe it was a mistake that could easily have occurred on the production line.
I'm surprised that I still hear about this mistake occasionally. I had B&W 683 S3 towers and Audessey noticed that one speaker was out of phase. Apparently the speaker terminals where wired incorrect internally.

Thanks for the great review! I imagine that anyone who still has a set will not easily part with them.
 

Absolute

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It's not with this model alone i had this problem, all designs of the brand of that era (before the dual concentrics) have this issue for me and many others, and the newer generation still have it, but in a way lesser amount. This speaker i can listen to for maybe an hour, but the 8030C i almost weekly use in a radio studio where i have my weekly show is much more ear friendly and i can listen to for a few hours before ear fatigue kicks in. The dual concentric models are on the point that it hardly becomes a real issue (altough i still would not buy them for this).

It intriges me, as they measure very good on most factors, all factors that Amir measures and i could not find an objective reason for it from his measurments. The ear fatigue problem is also not a problem for everybody, only a fraction of the listeners have a problem with it and there is no clear sign or pattern why.
Interesting, but not surprising. If you look at the predicted in-room response of some of the Genelec speakers, you see that they're top-heavy. In my own experience the flat on-axis target doesn't combine well with constant directivity in the higher frequencies in a reflective environment. Examples where the trend is a flattening out of the high frequencies;

1701086967427.png

1701087050960.png


For this particular speaker the answer may lie in the multi-tone distortion plot and the tweeter break-up, but I would first try to EQ the speaker flat to eliminate that as the main problem as the broad v-shape slope is questionable in my opinion.
 

Sokel

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Interesting, but not surprising. If you look at the predicted in-room response of some of the Genelec speakers, you see that they're top-heavy. In my own experience the flat on-axis target doesn't combine well with constant directivity in the higher frequencies in a reflective environment. Examples where the trend is a flattening out of the high frequencies;

View attachment 329765
View attachment 329766

For this particular speaker the answer may lie in the multi-tone distortion plot and the tweeter break-up, but I would first try to EQ the speaker flat to eliminate that as the main problem as the broad v-shape slope is questionable in my opinion.
Not only is top heavy but on top of that is elevated at 2-4Khz,the worst possible region.
The exact opposite of my favorite small 8030.
 

ocinn

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Narrow vertical dispersion is hugely desirable in studio situations due to console bounce.

Now obviously you want the vertical fall-off to be smooth, which this isn’t exactly a shining example of, but there are FAR FAR worse 2 way monitors than this.

Incredible such an old Genelec product is this good.

Unfortunately many studios place these (and other small speakers like NS10s) horizontally which is awful. It’s a shame.
 

IamJF

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Narrow vertical dispersion is hugely desirable in studio situations due to console bounce.

Incredible such an old Genelec product is this good.

Unfortunately many studios place these (and other small speakers like NS10s) horizontally which is awful. It’s a shame.
Vertical dispersion is only narrow in the crossover region. That means desk reflection will be tonally uneven.

There are very good speaker since a long time - big ATCs for example. When you hear them in comparison ... but that's probably a "little" unfair ;-)

Surprisingly many studios seem to not really care about their monitoring situation when you look at the pics. Laying 3 different speakers on the meter bridge has nothing to do with monitoring (maybe for impressing musicians?). There is a reason they need 3 different monitors and non of them sound right ...
 

IamJF

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It's not with this model alone i had this problem, all designs of the brand of that era (before the dual concentrics) have this issue for me and many others, and the newer generation still have it, but in a way lesser amount. This speaker i can listen to for maybe an hour, but the 8030C i almost weekly use in a radio studio where i have my weekly show is much more ear friendly and i can listen to for a few hours before ear fatigue kicks in. The dual concentric models are on the point that it hardly becomes a real issue (altough i still would not buy them for this).
That's exactly what I also hear - I was surprised with the "ONEs" models, they sounded "right" and not typical Genelec.

It intriges me, as they measure very good on most factors, all factors that Amir measures and i could not find an objective reason for it from his measurments. The ear fatigue problem is also not a problem for everybody, only a fraction of the listeners have a problem with it and there is no clear sign or pattern why.
In the old ones it was the sound of the Seas metal tweeters. I never liked them, also in other speakers. They have their resonance very close to 20kHz and sound stressful. But they put all the details directly in your face, for e.g. cymbals are very good to hear. Some people (drummer ;-)) like them cause of that.
I just resently talked to a friend (also a drummer :cool:) who used a lot of this Seas tweeters (the newer ones are better btw!). And I always told him to check out Bliesma or ScanSpeak Beryllium. After hearing the metal 1" Bliesma he was surprised how much cleaner this tweeter is. And now he built his reference Speaker with Bliesma Beryllium ... which sounds "soft" compared to these older metal tweeters but still with all the details.

These more modern tweeters have their membrane resonance way higher (T25A 30kHz, T25B about 45kHz) - so my current theory is that this helps with less "metal" sound.
But don't aks why ... :p (maybe perfect pistonic behaviour or something like that ... not sure)
 

Waxx

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That's exactly what I also hear - I was surprised with the "ONEs" models, they sounded "right" and not typical Genelec.


In the old ones it was the sound of the Seas metal tweeters. I never liked them, also in other speakers. They have their resonance very close to 20kHz and sound stressful. But they put all the details directly in your face, for e.g. cymbals are very good to hear. Some people (drummer ;-)) like them cause of that.
I just resently talked to a friend (also a drummer :cool:) who used a lot of this Seas tweeters (the newer ones are better btw!). And I always told him to check out Bliesma or ScanSpeak Beryllium. After hearing the metal 1" Bliesma he was surprised how much cleaner this tweeter is. And now he built his reference Speaker with Bliesma Beryllium ... which sounds "soft" compared to these older metal tweeters but still with all the details.

These more modern tweeters have their membrane resonance way higher (T25A 30kHz, T25B about 45kHz) - so my current theory is that this helps with less "metal" sound.
But don't aks why ... :p (maybe perfect pistonic behaviour or something like that ... not sure)
I heared these metal domes from seas in other speakers also, and there it's not an issue. Genelec does use the Seas H1124-06 25TAFD/GW-G tweeter in this speaker, the same that is used in the Harbeth HL5+, and that is a speaker i can listen to for hours. My ex wife had (and still has) those in her house in Geneve, and I did listen to it for hours without ear fatigue. I'm very sure that it's not the tweeter itself that is the cause. And other Seas metal domes are the same in my experience.
 

Haskil

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Bravo for the test !
For years, this Genelec and its big sister the 1032 were used in the studios of France Musique, the public classical music and jazz station in France (Radio France).
I listened to them a lot, a lot during the broadcasts and in particular during the Record Critics' Tribune where blind recordings are broadcast and where we have to give our choices. Heard therefore with instrumental, vocal, orchestral, operatic music, etc. These speakers have never been a hindrance to our listening and comments whatever the repertoire...
We listened to them at a distance generally equal to 2.5-3 m... No hearing fatigue, no particular brilliance in the treble (in treated and large volume studios)... but a very open, very free, dynamic sound making the acoustics of the places where the records were recorded very well heard.
They have just been replaced by Neuman KH 310s announced as better, more efficient but we are not crazy about it... in our listening conditions of a studio with rather dull acoustics. In short, we preferred the old ones... to which we were accustomed: this explains... we will eventually get used to the Neumann KH 310.
 

IamJF

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Can imagine it works in a dull room? Maybe they also built the rooms at these times with all that carpet and too much high frequency absorption to deal with the speakers?

How do you perceive bass quality of the Neumann in comparison? Do you get enough level?
 

SCR

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Very happy to just have found this thread and the measurement, they were my main speakers for nearly thirty years.
 

Formant

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Bravo for the test !
For years, this Genelec and its big sister the 1032 were used in the studios of France Musique, the public classical music and jazz station in France (Radio France).
I listened to them a lot, a lot during the broadcasts and in particular during the Record Critics' Tribune where blind recordings are broadcast and where we have to give our choices. Heard therefore with instrumental, vocal, orchestral, operatic music, etc. These speakers have never been a hindrance to our listening and comments whatever the repertoire...
We listened to them at a distance generally equal to 2.5-3 m... No hearing fatigue, no particular brilliance in the treble (in treated and large volume studios)... but a very open, very free, dynamic sound making the acoustics of the places where the records were recorded very well heard.
They have just been replaced by Neuman KH 310s announced as better, more efficient but we are not crazy about it... in our listening conditions of a studio with rather dull acoustics. In short, we preferred the old ones... to which we were accustomed: this explains... we will eventually get used to the Neumann KH 310.
Transitioned from 1031a to O310, granted theres been some good mixes on the genelecs, but it was like a veil on the mids was lifted from the mix. 1031a, although the graphs here dont really show it, always seemed very smiley curved. I never disliked them but the 310 translate better and a bit more revealing in the mids, neither have a fatigue.
 

dfuller

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I prefer the 1031As to 8050s by quite a bit, FWIW. The 8050s are far more compromised IMO. I don't particularly like either, but I can make sense of the 1031s.
 

Chez

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Genelec support informed me a few years back the 1030A had a flatter frequency response. Wondering how it would test out compared to its brethren.
 

Haskil

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Transitioned from 1031a to O310, granted theres been some good mixes on the genelecs, but it was like a veil on the mids was lifted from the mix. 1031a, although the graphs here dont really show it, always seemed very smiley curved. I never disliked them but the 310 translate better and a bit more revealing in the mids, neither have a fatigue.
I have known 1031 and 1032 for years and years in the broadcast booths of French Public Radio as well as on the other side of the glass for broadcasts during which guests listen to music.

The acoustics are obviously worked and different depending on the studio and the use made of it. I also know them in the editing room for recordings made by Radio France of its orchestras and concert series. There, they are listened to in close proximity: approximately 1.5 m.

In none of these configurations have these Genelecs ever tired my ears! The Neumann KH 310 replaced them recently. I don't know them well enough to comment, but listened to in the same place and for the same use, they didn't seem "better" than the old Genelecs and perhaps even a little dull: but I repeat, we'll see good to use because they are in any case much better than other crosses during the tests...
 

Haskil

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Can imagine it works in a dull room? Maybe they also built the rooms at these times with all that carpet and too much high frequency absorption to deal with the speakers?

How do you perceive bass quality of the Neumann in comparison? Do you get enough level?
The acoustics are different at the Radio depending on how the studio is used: very absorbent when you just talk, semi-reverberant when you listen to recorded music or can play it in very small groups: typically a piano , a harpsichord, a solo violin, etc.

The Genelec behaved well everywhere and even listened to at a relatively great distance in a studio of approximately 40 m2 with more than 3 m under the ceiling...

The Neumann KH 310, as far as I could judge, had excellent, deep bass. and very clean when the volume is relatively high, as well as the midrange and treble very well integrated: very homogeneous, beautiful and quite dull in sound, quite smooth without anything highlighted. Which is a very good sign. But I don't know them well.
 

Digby

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"From a nearfield listening distance of a little over 3', the Genelecs sounded almost shockingly real, with the kind of micro-detailing that is rarely heard outside of a live performance
micro-detailing.....micro-detailing....?

micro....dynamics? :eek:
 
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