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Genelec 8320a Review (Powered Monitor)

Frank Dernie

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almost by definition is much lower in power than the fundamental tones creating it in the 5-10 kHz range or below
Not many non-elecronic instruments have fundamentals anywhere near 5-10kHz, yes the highest note on a grand piano is around 4kHz and a piccolo is 5kHz but the highest fundamental on a trumpet is 1 kHz for example. Only some of the biggest pipe organ has higher fundamental than that.
A good rule of thumb is that the top two audible octaves only contain harmonics (overtones).
 

q3cpma

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This is a review and detailed measurements of the Genelec 8320a powered "smart" monitor (speaker). It was kindly purchased by a member and drop shipped to me for testing and costs US $625 each.

It should come as no shock to anyone that the 8320a looks just like the rest of Genelec line although the small sizes makes it look cute!

View attachment 132796

As you see we don't have a coaxial design here but rather 2-way with integrated waveguide. The back side is interesting in that there are no mechanical dip switches to adjust anything:

View attachment 132797

I have the Genelec GLM kit which I will be testing soon to see how it can configure the speaker. For now, I found the balanced analog input to be extremely sensitive. I had to turn down the volume way down both in measurements and listening tests. I am assuming it is defaulting to consumer levels.

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 performed over 1000 measurement which resulted in error rate of less than 1% or so.

Temperature was 68 degrees F.

Measurements are compliant with latest speaker research into what can predict the speaker preference and is standardized in CEA/CTA-2034 ANSI specifications. Likewise listening tests are performed per research that shows mono listening is much more revealing of differences between speakers than stereo or multichannel.

Reference axis was as instructed in the manual: at the rim of the woofer.

Genelec 8320a 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:

View attachment 132798

I was impressed by how smooth and controlled the bass response is. Post that we have some tiny wiggles here and there but nothing of note. There is however some crossover directivity error.

Early window frequency response shows good summing although a stepped response:
View attachment 132799

This partially compensates for the reverse step up in on-axis resulting in less of a step in predicted in-room frequency response:

View attachment 132800

Near-field measurements show care in how the enclosure resonance comes out of the port to make sure it doesn't interfere much with the on-axis response:

View attachment 132801

Distortion is well managed at 86 dBSPL but as expected, not so much at 96:

View attachment 132802

Interesting behavior of the tweeter limiting its response above 10 kHz.

View attachment 132803

Beamwidth is very well controlled as we could see from the design of the waveguide:

View attachment 132804

View attachment 132805

Vertical directivity is typical of 2-way speakers that are not coaxial so keep the tweeter axis pointed at your ear:

View attachment 132806

Finally, here is the CSD/waterfall showing some resonances:

View attachment 132807

Genelec 8320a Listening Tests
I always start with my female test tracks but after playing them a thousand times for testing of speakers and headphones, I am darn right sick of them! Yet, when a speaker produces excellent tonality, I can still appreciate them and such was the case with the Genelec 8320a. Track after track was enjoyable with reasonable bass response. Deep bass though as you can imagine was very soft.

Power capability was not bad. Turning up the single speaker up gradually lit up the red clipping indicator but there was no static or crackle as I have heard in other powered speakers. This only happened with tracks that had deep sub-bass. With spectrum above 40 Hz in the music, I had all the volume I needed in near-field listening (3 feet/1 meter). I especially enjoyed the track Hunted from Radical Face thundering away:


I could hear a bit of bloated bass at times which is clearly room modes so look forward to testing the unit with GLM.

Conclusions
While one expects near perfect execution from Genelec, it is still interesting to test their various designs. This little "guy" is cute, takes very little space but produces satisfying sound on the desktop that doesn't scream "I need a subwoofer." It is smooth and has wonderful tonality. And quite capable despite being such a small speaker. Of course you pay for this in its high cost at nearly $1,300 for a pair.

I am happy to put the Genelec 8320a on my recommended list.

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

Appreciate any donations using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
With this and the 8330A you supposedly have waiting, aren't you getting sick of Genelec? =)
 

daftcombo

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With this and the 8330A you supposedly have waiting, aren't you getting sick of Genelec? =)
It could be if Genelec speakers had a "color", a "house sound". Getting sick of Genelec means "getting sick of music", right? ;)
 

q3cpma

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It could be if Genelec speakers had a "color", a "house sound". Getting sick of Genelec means "getting sick of music", right? ;)
Nah, I mean reviewing countless grey stones with (now) predictable results of near perfect sound quality and mediocre LF power/conservative woofer limiter.
 

daftcombo

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Nah, I mean reviewing countless grey stones with (now) predictable results of near perfect sound quality and mediocre LF power/conservative woofer limiter.

It is predictable that the 8330A will be somewhere near 8030C and 8320A, a bit better perhaps.

But the 8350 might be able to go very loud, and the 8361 should be something different also.
 

mig59

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Delighted to read this test: tastes will vary of course, but for an aesthetically pleasing and unobtrusive speaker in a professional office, this fills a purpose that the KH80 could not while not compromising on reproduction. And, compared to the KH80 the raw aluminium 8320 has a kind of primitive, organic, industrial elegance. Goes well next to an iMac.

But I think many of the comments above ignore the GLM aspect of the speaker that distinguishes it from the 8020. I was a bit anxious about what I thought was slightly disappointing sound out of the box on arrival; I shouldn't have been, because the onboard correction elevated them out of the park. To me, while I have the option of in-box plugins and DSP in my RME DAC, the ability to use onboard, idiot-proof time and frequency correction in a matter of minutes is gamechanging.
 
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mohragk

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Maybe it's answered already, but does the 83xx range make sense if you don't have (access to) the GLM network thingy? Meaning, can I do room correction out of the box when I have a measuring mic, or do I need additional hardware? It's quite unclear to me.
 

mig59

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Maybe it's answered already, but does the 83xx range make sense if you don't have (access to) the GLM network thingy? Meaning, can I do room correction out of the box when I have a measuring mic, or do I need additional hardware? It's quite unclear to me.

GLM requires the measurement microphone kit, which I think costs in the range of $100-200, but provided you have the measurement kit it works with the stereo speakers by themselves. That is, the stereo speakers benefit massively from GLM room correction by themselves, you do not need to be running subwoofer/theatre setups to benefit from GLM.

Further edit to explain: The GLM is a combination of a measurement microphone, a software analysis program, and in-speaker DSP. Once you measure and analyse, the settings operate within the speakers. Provided you can measure (ie you have or borrow a measurement kit) nothing else is needed to benefit from the GLM settings. And the GLM settings make a huge difference -- having used 8320s, I would have no interest in a pair of speakers without the on-board GLM DSP such as the 8020s.
 

markb

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Maybe it's answered already, but does the 83xx range make sense if you don't have (access to) the GLM network thingy? Meaning, can I do room correction out of the box when I have a measuring mic, or do I need additional hardware? It's quite unclear to me.

Without access to GLM (see last post), you would hardly benefit from the DSPs inside, as you wouldn't be able to influence them. It's possible they help provide a slightly flatter frequency response out of the box (basically as Amir has tested here as well, I guess we'll find out when he tests the 8330 so we can compare to 8030). But other than with the GLM kit, you wouldn't be able to do acoustic correction without additional hardware (e.g. miniDSP/REW), and then you might as well get the analog 80xx series.
 

mig59

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Without access to GLM (see last post), you would hardly benefit from the DSPs inside, as you wouldn't be able to influence them. … But other than with the GLM kit, you wouldn't be able to do acoustic correction without additional hardware (e.g. miniDSP/REW), and then you might as well get the analog 80xx series.
. Yes, you would need the GLM measurement kit to do the one-off measurement for your positioning, but once that’s done the active DSP within the 83xx speakers stores the measurement and does everything self-contained. So you don’t need any ongoing network or GLM involvement or access at all, once you’ve set them up the first time. That’s the whole point of on-board DSP—once set up, the speakers can act “dumb” and just run off XLRs, applying room correction in-speaker without any network connection or other electronics.
 

Madlop26

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Hi

I mean!... Really!? That kind of performance from a 4 inch woofer/midrange capable of hitting nearfield, 60 Hz and .. we are complaining? , expecting better ? :rolleyes:
Perhaps they should give them away, then we will be satisfied?

Come on people! This is a nearfield monitor with a 4 inches...let me repeat this in metric, with a 105 mm woofer and we expected more output in the bass and lower THD .. in the bass?

Perspective is required in any evaluation. People, Perspective!

peace
perspectively I have to agree, lol
 

Spocko

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With this and the 8330A you supposedly have waiting, aren't you getting sick of Genelec? =)
To be fair to @amirm I did ask him if he was interested in both sizes, and as long as he hasn't reviewed them yet, he welcomes all comers - he's building quite an amazing compendium of measurements across various speaker lines for sure.
 

q3cpma

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To be fair to @amirm I did ask him if he was interested in both sizes, and as long as he hasn't reviewed them yet, he welcomes all comers - he's building quite an amazing compendium of measurements across various speaker lines for sure.
The big advantage of the 8330A is that we'll be able to compare it with the 8030C, to see exactly what the DSP may offer other than EQ.
 

don'ttrustauthority

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The panther is inappropriate because of the distortion....8030 is way better
Dude it's a 4" woofer meant for nearfield use that you compare to 6" woofer. Most people will not have room for that design.

I do wonder though @amirm is the GLM worth the extra money when you can use an app to tune the room? The 8030 is a better deal if one has space for that!
 

don'ttrustauthority

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Consider two things here.
1, the cost. They're $1250 a pair new.
2, the competition. Neumann KH80s are right around the same price point (maybe a bit cheaper, even) and their distortion performance is far better.
OMG you found out. Guess you're going to buy those then. Good for you. Victory is yours.
 

Trell

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Dude it's a 4" woofer meant for nearfield use that you compare to 6" woofer. Most people will not have room for that design.

I do wonder though @amirm is the GLM worth the extra money when you can use an app to tune the room? The 8030 is a better deal if one has space for that!

The 8030C has a 5" woofer, not 6" as you claim. For that you'll have to go to the 8040 that has a 6.5" woofer.
 

xema

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Dude it's a 4" woofer meant for nearfield use that you compare to 6" woofer. Most people will not have room for that design.

I do wonder though @amirm is the GLM worth the extra money when you can use an app to tune the room? The 8030 is a better deal if one has space for that!
Check the 8010's measurement, better than 8320 too.
 

LTig

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Lots of comparisons between the KH80 and these, while I only heard the 8020, I assume it's the same sans dsp. It was just plain better than the KH80 to my ears. The difference is in the cabinet, the KH80 vibrates a lot, while the genelec barely does at all. Cast metal vs. Plastic.
Nope, KH80 has a metal housing. Just read the specs.
 

thewas

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Nope, KH80 has a metal housing. Just read the specs.
No, only the KH120 has a metal housing, the KH80 one is from polymere composite , like for example also the Genelec M series was, not that it matters since they are/were all well engineered.
 
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