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Genelec 8030C Studio Monitor Review

amirm

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#1
This is a review and detailed measurements of the powered Genelec 8030C Professional Monitor (speaker). It is on kind loan from a member and costs US $700 each.

The 8030C has the same look of Genelec speakers of the last decade or so:

Genelec 8030C Professional Studio Monitor Speaker 2-way Audio Review.jpg


To me it looks more "cute" than serious piece of gear.

There are a few dip switches in the back and control its operation:

Genelec 8030C Professional Studio Monitor Speaker 2-way back panel inputs switches Audio Review.jpg


I set all the switches on the right to off which tailor the tonality of the speaker. I left the gain at -6 dB as supplied by the owner.

Measurements that you are about to see were performed using the Klippel Near-field Scanner (NFS). This is a robotic measurement system that analyzes the speaker all around and is able (using advanced mathematics and dual scan) to subtract room reflections (so where I measure it doesn't matter). It also measures the speaker at close distance ("near-field") which sharply reduces the impact of room noise. Both of these factors enable testing in ordinary rooms yet results that can be more accurate than an anechoic chamber. In a nutshell, the measurements show the actual sound coming out of the speaker independent of the room.

I used over 800 measurement point which was sufficient to compute the sound field of the speaker. Measurement axis is the recommended upper part of the woofer ring, not my usual tweeter axis.

Temperature was 78 degrees. Measurement location is at sea level so you compute the pressure.


Spinorama Audio Measurements
Acoustic measurements can be grouped in a way that can be perceptually analyzed to determine how good a speaker is and how it can be used in a room. This so called spinorama shows us just about everything we need to know about the speaker with respect to tonality and some flaws:

Genelec 8030C Professional Studio Monitor CTA-2034 Spinorama frequency response measurements.png


The on-axis (black) is what we hear the most and we want that to be as flat as possible. Such is the case here with a slight dip in the 2 to 4 kHz.

The inclusion of a wave guide (dished out surround on the tweeter) means that width of the woofer radiation is better matched to that of the tweeter (they would be wildly different otherwise as one is operating at its top end, but the other at its bottom).

We can see an off-axis response that is excellent sans the same dip which has deepened a bit more:
Genelec 8030C Professional Studio Monitor CTA-2034 Spinorama Early Window frequency response m...png


Putting the two together and this would our predicted in-room response in far field standardized room:
Genelec 8030C Professional Studio Monitor CTA-2034 Spinorama Predicted In-room frequency respo...png


All great other than some energy lose in that 2 to 4 kHz range. And a minor one at that.

Speaker Dispersion Measurements
Let's measure how wide the response is before we lose 6 dB of sound strength (red):
Genelec 8030C Professional Studio Monitor Horizontal Beamwidth Measurements.png


Using that metric we have 60 degrees to either side of the speaker which is good. This means you don't have to sit right at tweeter axis if you don't want. This is useful in near-field operation where you are going to move around some and angle of your ear to monitor can change a lot.

Using 3-D "heatmap" of the same we get:

Genelec 8030C Professional Studio Monitor Horizontal Directivity Measurements.png


Often speakers have this kind of response but start to narrow more at we get past 10 kHz. Not so here. Directivity width is maintained much more to upper ranges of the response. So you get a bit more high frequency energy than you would with a speaker that narrows more.

And here is vertical:
Genelec 8030C Professional Studio Monitor Vertical Directivity Measurements.png


Unlike the more expensive Genelecs with coaxial drivers, vertical directivity is not nearly as good but this is very typical. We have rather large variations with that single "eye" above our axis so try to stay more or less at the tweeter height (or tilt it up so it points at you).

While we are on pretty pictures, I thought I also dig in and see what is up with that dip in 2 to 4 kHz:

Genelec 8030C Professional Studio Monitor dip 3D soundfield visualization.png


Looks like there is more woofer energy than tweeter there. But otherwise very clean.

Here is the individual driver responses:

Genelec 8030C Professional Studio Monitor Speaker 2-way Woofer Tweeter Response.png


Speaker Distortion Measurements
Let's start with our standardized distortion measurements at 86 and 96 dB SPL @ 1 meter with room effect taken out with our Klippel measurement system:

Genelec 8030C Professional Studio Monitor Relative THD Distortion Measurements.png


At low volumes at least (left graph), I am impressed that we see much less bass distortion than we typically see.

At 96 dB SPL, the situation naturally gets worse and distortion is not as controlled. Here is the actual levels as opposed to percentages at 96 dB SPL:

Genelec 8030C Professional Studio Monitor THD Distortion Measurements.png


If you look to the top left, you see that distortion is below the fundamental signal which is good. Often I have that exceeding the level of the signal itself!

We now switch instruments to my Audio Precision for more distortion drill down:

Genelec 8030C Professional Studio Monitor THD vs Frequency at 86 dB SPL Harmonic Distortion.png


At lower test SPL of 86 dB SPL, distortion level is more or less the same as recently reviewed Revel M105 non-active hi-fi speaker. But if we increase the level, the Genelec pulls ahead in bass (solid pink):

Genelec 8030C Professional Studio Monitor THD vs Frequency at 106 dB SPL Harmonic Distortion.png


In mid-range though, the Revel (dashed orange) still does better.

Next test is amplitude compression. Here we compare whether the speaker produces less sound pressure at higher levels than lower ones. An ideal speaker would keep getting louder forever. A real speaker has stiffness which increases non-linearly and so reduces output. Same thing happens with the "motor" (voice coil action within magnetic field) gets weaker as the woofer travels father from its rest position. The combination of these factors and any electronic limiters in these active speakers (if any) will reduce the output linearity:

Genelec 8030C Professional Studio Monitor Speaker 2-way Amplitudue Compression Measurements.png


I am continuing to refine this test and here, I added a second frequency of 50 Hz. We see that there is strong limiting at 50 Hz relative to 200 Hz normal test frequency. So the notion of "how loud this speaker plays" is highly dependent on the content. The more low frequencies you have, the more compression you get. In this case we have a 6 dB difference between 50 and 200 Hz.

You all are a fan of multitone (32) tests so here it is as a comparison to a Behringer B2030P:
Genelec 8030C Professional Studio Monitor Multitone vs Behringer 102 dB SPL SPL Harmonic Disto...png


The Genelec is producing much less intermodulation distortion in bass, confirming what we found before, but also in tweeter. Both however produce similar amount of distortion in the 500 to 1.5 kHz region.

Comparing the Genelec 8030C at two output levels gives us:

Genelec 8030C Professional Studio Monitor Multitone 0 vs +6 dB SPL SPL Harmonic Distortion.png


We mainly see a rise in distortion in the same region stated above. Unfortunately that is the most audible region to us. Hopefully the music you play provides good bit of masking.

Finally here is the spectrum of a 100 Hz tone:

Genelec 8030C Professional Studio Monitor 100 Hz Harmonic Distortion.png


I measured my room noise (not shown) and it was about half as much as what you see in the spectrum of the distortions. So even the 10th harmonic is representing proper distortion levels that are above room noise. In other words, mere act of playing a 100 Hz tone/note, will create distortion well into area of our hearing that is most sensitive.

On the other hand, the second and probably third harmonic help to increase the perception of amount of bass there is.

There are so many distortion mechanisms in speakers that we have a lot more work left to fully characterize them. So expect this measurement section to keep evolving as I find more and better ways to measure these non-linearities.

Speaker Listening Tests
I set up the Genelec 8030C on my workstation desk on a 5 inch high stand that is tiled up a few degrees. I pointed the speaker right at me and started to play. Instantly all of my reference music tracks "translated" to this speaker and sounded just beautiful. My track list is varied from Blues, to Rock and classical and all without exception sounded great.

Not wanting to leave well enough alone :), I decided to play with EQ. I added my usual low frequency cut of 30 Hz with 36 dB slope. To my surprised it lowered the bass some. I played around with but could not find a setting where it did some good but did not impact bass response. I also went after one of the small resonances in the response and had the same issue.

I went after the dip in 2 to 3 kHz and there, the difference was a very positive one:

Genelec 8030C Professional Studio Monitor Roon Eq Correction.png


That increased detail nicely with no negative side-effects at all.

Once there, the response was exceptional. As often it happens, I could not stop listening to my music tracks. An example is this high-res download:
Naxos 8.559757

John CORIGLIANO (b. 1938)
Conjurer* • Vocalise†

Evelyn Glennie, percussion*
Hila Plitmann, soprano

Electronics produced and performed by Mark Baechle
Albany Symphony • David Alan Miller


John CORIGLIANO Conjurer  Vocalise Album.jpg


Can't quite find the track I was playing but here is a sample:


The classic Roger Waters demo album was to die for:
Roger Waters Amused to Death Album.jpg



All was not well though. On tracks with deep bass such as the Animals from Dunwells produced severe distortion at anything but modest levels:


Bass response was impressive and deep but turn up the level and you are greeted with static and clear distortion.

Conclusions
Some audiophiles like to say there is a dichotomy between accuracy and good sound in speakers. They need to listen to a speaker like Genelec 8030C to change their mind forever. Accuracy is what we need to reproduce all that is in our recording without permanently boosting and lowering some frequencies/tones.

Importantly, accurate speakers provide similar pleasure when listening to well recorded music. Despite having very different pedigrees, I find the Genelec 8030C just as nice sounding as my Revel speakers. There is an incredible "rightness" that clicks when the response is kept flat in 200 to 4 kHz or so. Delight sets in and you melt in your chair, enjoying well recorded music and appreciating the art instead of speaker bringing attention to itself. There is no "oh that sounds bright" or "why is the vocal recessed."

I wish you could be here to experience in excellent in sound reproduction that these well engineered speakers following best acoustic research and science provide.

No, one size does not fit all. The 8030C is a near-field monitor that opts to bring you more bass as the expense of limited headroom in deep region there. Fortunately that limitation does not protrude often so the capabilities it provides are near perfect. Considering its price, I think it is a great find.

Needless to say, I highly recommend the Genelec 8030C monitor.

-----------
As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

Two reviews on a weekend. Did you read that? I said weekend. While you all are enjoying reading these reviews, I have to work! I demand double pay for overtime work. Please reach in your wallet and donate using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
 

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F1308

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#3
Thank you very much.
Any chance to know SINAD values of the amplifiers used in this powered speaker...? Two class D 50 w as per Genelec.
 

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amirm

amirm

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Thread Starter #4
Thank you very much.
Any chance to know SINAD values of the amplifiers used in this amplified speaker...?
No way to determine that.
 

3125b

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#8
I see them new for 504€ each. Good performance for that kind of money.
 

3125b

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#10
Well, you'd have to (more or less) destroy the speaker for that.
 

q3cpma

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#11
Thanks a lot, I don't have to buy a rope as accessory for my constant praise of this model. Too bad about that little tweeter/woofer level mismatch and power response dip, probably something to do with the high crossover frequency. Oh well, still okay for a nearfield 2-way where on-axis and LW matter more, but that makes it more even with the KH120A which also has some problems in the power response.

By the way, no lack of SPL problem with this one?
 
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stunta

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#13
Give yourself a golfing panther @amirm, your speaker reviews are absolutely kick-ass! And they keep getting better. A gold standard that will be hard to beat. Makes purchasing decisions so much easier. Thank you.

so do you recommend this speaker only for near field use?
 
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amirm

amirm

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Thread Starter #17
I cannot understand....You feed a signal that is amplified and goes to a woofer...Why not, please?
I can't tap the amplifier to measure that. A microphone measuring the speaker is not the same as measuring the amplifier. Speaker considerably changes that signal.
 
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amirm

amirm

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Thread Starter #18
so do you recommend this speaker only for near field use?
I only listened to it that way. And I worry about the lack of power in deep bass. If you add a sub and integrate, maybe it works just as well for far field.
 
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amirm

amirm

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